On Being Far Left 219

I have found myself described as far left, quite often recently. I find this rather puzzling. I would not even describe myself as a socialist. Economically, I wish to see much greater worker share ownership, limitations on extreme pay differentials between management and staff, and strong regulation of casino banking with a far smaller, taxed and regulated derivatives market. I support state ownership of natural monopolies, such as rail, roads, and public utilities. I support state welfare provision and excellent state health and education services. But that is as far as it goes. I do not advocate central planning and in general prefer to keep the state out of commercial activity – which is why I support the EU so strongly in removing barriers to the mobility of all factors of production. I am not a socialist.

This blog is read by many people who have known me since university, some even earlier. I think I am right in saying that my beliefs have not changed in any fundamental way over 40 years. What I outline above was what I believed in 1976. I stand open to confirmation or correction.

Yet in 1976 I was a Liberal, and politically centre or only slightly left of centre. My views were absolutely mainstream and were voiced in mainstream media every day.

While standing still, I now find myself far left as the mainstream political spectrum rushed rightwards past me.

Is this because the Thatcherite revolution, carried on so enthusiastically by Blair and New Labour, proved wildly successful? Is it because deregulation and privatisation has brought prosperity, harmony and an inarguably better society?

No, not at all. The new right wing consensus has been a disaster. It led directly to the great crash of 2008 and the resulting austerity, which will dog us for another two decades at this rate. It led to massive, astonishing inequality of wealth and a society in which it is considered normal for top executives of an organisation to be paid 100 times more than the lowest employee. It led to hedge fund managers owning our politicians, and to Russian mafia owning our football clubs. It led to a world where Save the Children can pay its chief executive £375,000 a year of donation money yet nobody pukes. It led to collapse in manufacturing and to vast areas of blight and hopelessness, to a generation who will never afford a house while buy to let multi millionaires abound, to QE transferring yet more money straight to financial institutions.

The great right wing experiment has been a disaster for the country. Outwith the economic field, we have seen a massive attack on civil liberties, the growth of the 100% surveillance state, and end of respect for international law including the invasion of Iraq and the programme of torture and extraordinary rendition.

Yet although the disastrous failure of Britain’s forty year far right experiment is evident all around us, public opinion continued to move inexorably ever more to the right. It did so because the sheer propaganda power of the corporate media, led by the BBC, pushed it in that direction and had the power to do so. Dissident voices were excluded from the airwaves. The positions I agree with and which I heard regularly on the airwaves forty years ago no longer get airtime, even where they retain majority public support, such as nationalisation of the railways.

Some of my views have become more radical, and they relate to the need to break up the institutions of the right wing state. I believed in Scottish independence forty years ago, but it is much more central to my thinking now. Forty years ago I would have been shocked by the idea that the BBC should be utterly destroyed, but now that seems to me the only sensible approach.

I am not without hope. There is no doubt that the Sanders/SNP/Corbyn phenomenon represents a reaction to the dreadful inequality of society and all the evils which I have described. But I would also argue that this reaction has only been practical because of the new maturity of social media, weakening the grip of corporate media on the popular field of debate and the popular imagination.

Perhaps then, without moving, I became revolutionary just in time.

219 thoughts on “On Being Far Left

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  • Resident Dissident

    “Some here I suspect consider me to be slightly to the left of Craig.”

    Not me – I place Putinistas firmly on the authoritarian right especially those who resort Rothschild shit and use links to openly racist websites in order to get at me and Rationalwiki, even when drunk.

  • lysias

    Supporters of Israel fail to recognize that their cause has increasingly become a right-wing cause, just as was support of Israel’s erstwhile ally (and recipient from Israel of nuclear weapons) apartheid South Africa. Support of Israel will increasingly over time become limited to the far right.

  • John Goss

    “Not me – I place Putinistas firmly on the authoritarian right . . .”

    Yes everybody knows what you think, how you are married to a Russian, and support the failing ‘Free Russia’ funded by the same organisations (incuding NATO) as Yatsenyuk’s Free Ukraine, how you believe Putin is a murderer, poisoning all your colleagues at Free Russia, blah, blah, blah. And yet again you choose to ‘Blame Putin’ instead of question whether the German ‘propaganda’ programme was true.

    Fortunately everybody is wise to how you operate. Divert and rule . . . Unfortunately for you you are having no more success on here than your friends at Free Russia. The Russians are wiser than the Kiev Ukainians and choose not to entertain your civil war.

  • John Goss

    As you’re here Lysias let me thank you for the link to the TV serialisation of Bulgakov’s ‘The Master and Margarita’. I watched it through. Apart from grainy pictures (might be from my end) it was a superb production. You never said how long it was! 😀

  • fedup

    who resort Rothschild shit

    Interesting to find the usual insults galore at the slightest hints of the current failed economic “doctrines” that is evidently verboten and the oh so “dissent” or conformist and boot licker of the current arrangements who is walking in locked steps not even aware of the world of shit out there that is evidently escaping the attention of the “expert”.

    Clearly the waffle forwarded by this putty penned conformist come “expert” has no basis in fact or reality and is only based on a narrow view of what is good for zionistan is the best course, damned be the consequences of the pursuance of the empirically failed Rothschild banking model.

  • Rehmat


    You’re so confused about actors in the Middle East.

    The US and Saudi Arabia want regime changes in Syria, Yemen, Iran and Lebanon – because Israel claims those countries as “existential threat”.

    Saudi Arabia wants to eradicate Shi’ites because they lead the ‘Axis of Resistance’ (Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hizbullah).

    As American professor and former UNHRC special envoy Richard Falk and American Jewish writer Steve Lendman said, “there was least Jew-hatred in the Middle East until the western power created Israel to get rid of Europe’s Jewish problem.”

    Janet C. Phelan, an American investigative journalist and author, has claimed that western powers created Israel to solve Europe’s centuries old ‘Jewish Problem’.


  • BrianFujisan

    Node @ 2;07pm..Cheers for the Link –

    ” You’re in for a disappointment. You’ll see an able politician dealing competently with a rude and biased journalist who poses a string of hypothetical questions and ignores the answers.”

    Absolutely True, And…


    ” Ok Boss’s “

  • Tony_0pmoc

    After a lifetime of not just observation, I think it is fair to say, personally on direct exceedingly close very recent evaluation…

    That he is better looking than his Dad – who is obviously better looking than me.

    And do not go doing your fkin computer searches you lizards…unless you show me your family – and your newborn baby.

    I’m a real Grandad now.

    Tony xx

  • lysias

    I have known Richard Falk somewhat distantly for some time. As a junior professor at Princeton, he audited a course in Elementary Italian in which I first learned Italian. The course was taught by Bart Giamatti, later to be President of Yale and Commissioner of Baseball. As far as I could see, Falk was a very diligent student.

    He is also Jewish, but that has never stopped him from being objective on the issue of Israel.

  • giyane


    Messrs Ob fusc, Ob tuse and Ob solete, namely Res Diss, Hab and Anon1, continue to disrupt.

    The latin suffix ob= means against. They stand united against common sense.

  • fedup

    O/T This is the news that is not being reflected in any of the propaganda organ masquerading as “news” organisations.

    At least five hundred Iraqis have been killed (including many women and children) in the latest mustard gas attack carried out by Daesh in the Kirkuk region. The weapons of mass destruction that was the reason for attacking Iraq, and later threatening an attack on Syria due to the use of the said WMD are now freely and without any problem being used by the very proxies of the CIA and the al saud pederasts and their murder fest is going unnoticed by the “investigative journalists”!

  • Order of the Buggered Ephebes

    The whole left/right dichotomy is just another variety of divide-and-rule propaganda. As a person who interprets human rights in good faith, Craig should perhaps be offset from the left/right axis in an orthogonal dimension. He’s a human-rights extremist. We set people like him against statists, not against the right.

    Human rights is silent on the traditional question of state ownership. It defines state duties but does not stipulate how they must be carried out. Even natural wealth, the great sticking point of the ICESCR, is treated not in terms of state or private ownership, but in terms of enjoyment and disposition. The agent of disposition is the people, which can allocate their wealth to the state, or not.

    If human rights gets typed as part of the left, it’s because the state’s protective duties require it to curb the sort of commercial predation that the right has institutionalized here. When states fail as the British regime has failed, no one cares whether they have nationalized the commanding heights. No one cares whether they have captured all market efficiencies. The indictment is, you have to honor your commitments. We don’t care how you do, just do it.

    The USA’s British intelligentsia is indoctrinated to whine that that is ever so hard, that poor little Britain cannot possibly do what Germany does, or what Switzerland does, or what most of Africa does. That’s why her majesty’s government will be shit through a goose in twenty years or so. If you can’t grow up and be a sovereign state, then fuck off.

  • anti-hypocrite

    RobG wrote that Sanders is a Trojan Horse; as are Syriza in Greece and Podemus in Spain: all completely left/liberal fake movements to calm the anger of the masses.

    Craig, do you agree?

    Was Lech Walesa an agent or is he being framed?

    You can’t trust anyone.

  • Herbie

    Simon Sebag Montefiore outlines Stalin’s dealing with the Rothschild operation in Baku, in his book, Young Stalin.

    “Stalin and the Rothschilds is one of the more bizarre connections that I discovered while writing a book on the dictator’s early life”


    That’s Sebag Montefiore’s excusatory version.

    The whole issue certainly merits further study.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Cheers mate..its never happened to us before…having a grandchild…

    They are safe and home and warm now – and Daddy just looks so Proud cuddling his Baby son..he has hardly slept for days…the NHS were wonderful…

    they didn’t rush anything…these things take their time – even if you are overdue.

    I don’t know how to express my joy.


  • lysias

    I am just now reading Montefiore’s new book The Romanovs. He is peculiarly interested in Jews who pop up in the course of his history, but I suppose that is understandable for someone with his family history. Other than that, the book is quite an entertaining read. I don’t think I’ve yet seen any mention of the Rothschilds. (Where I’m up to, Catherine the Great has just died.)

  • Loony

    @ Resident Dissident. You may of course be correct. This would make Deutsche Bank wrong, who recently opined:

    “Asynchronous easing by the ECB and BOJ while the Fed is on hold risks speeding up the dollar’s up cycle, pushing oil prices lower and exacerbating credit concerns in the Energy, Metals and Mining sectors. It is notable that the ECB’s adoption of negative rates in mid-2014 which prompted the large move in the dollar and collapse in oil prices, marked the beginning of the now huge outflows from High Yield. These flows out of High Yield rotated into High Grade, ironically moving up not down the risk spectrum.”

    Is there anything you can conclude from the phrase “huge outflows from high yield”? The only question, is one of fact. Has there or has there not been huge outflows from high yield. Answer there has – so there is nothing here to debate.

    The World Bank data series is not directly connected to commercial CAPEX since it includes such things as private household formation. Perhaps you have noticed that house prices are high. This just may be connected with the fact that there are few opportunities for capital investment and so money is being used to create asset bubbles – particularly real estate asset bubbles.

    What do you mean by the phrase “like others I have doubts as to the provenance of your figures”? They are not my figures, they are public domain information which you can verify for yourself if you wish – It may be a more beneficial use of your time than resorting to casual smears and innuendo.

    Consider this in North Dakota oil was recently transacted at MINUS $0.50/bbl. Do you really think that a negative sales price is a scenario considered in any normal investment appraisal? If you do that only demonstrates that you have never conducted a meaningful investment appraisal.

  • John Goss

    “The Russian TV serialization of Solzhenitsyn’s First Circle is also very good.”

    I’m sure it is. No time at the moment sadly. But will bear in mind.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    13/03/16 3:33pm

    Sure. As I understand it, Christendom over the centuries has been a great deal more intolerant of other religious beliefs than Islam has. I believe Muhammad (pbuh) advised that other “people of the book” (Christians and Jews) should be permitted to worship in their own way. Muslims, Jews, Cathars, Native Americans and countless others have been dreadfully persecuted by “Christians”, I would never deny that.

    I was responding to a direct question about whether I regarded “jihadists” as authoritarian. I regard anyone as authoritarian who attempts to force other people to adopt a particular religious belief. I don’t care what the belief is and I don’t care what the justification is. I am as opposed to Christians persecuting Jews or Muslims as I am to Muslims persecuting Bahá’ís, for example. So long as someone is not harming other people by following a particular religion or not following one at all then I regard it as unconscionable to interfere. Whether or not the “jihadists” are the creation of the US and Israel does not seem to me to be relevant to such a principle.

    Kind regards,


  • giyane


    “The US and Saudi Arabia want regime changes in Syria, Yemen, Iran and Lebanon – because Israel claims those countries as “existential threat”.”

    Oh dear, Russian cruise missiles fired from the Black Sea appear to have effortlessly hit their targets. An existing threat not an existential ( goldfish – imaginary ) one.

    I thought it was the Capitalist Zionist banker West that had fucked up the world’s economy, and therefore the Saudis’ve got them over a barrel, not the Saudis over a barrel from the West.

    I thought it was the swivel=eyed lies of USUKIS who claim and maybe actually believe in the vicarious forgiveness of an imaginary sacrificial prophet’s resurrection was going to insure them for all their nastiness, trying to cover up the fact that their gambling system has failed, not the Muslim system in need of a rescue.

    I know the zionists want the Christians to re=discover their touchstones in the bible rather than the Qur’an, but just paying Muslims to do bad things in order to discredit Islam, (like bBC propagandist Edward Stourton on his radio 4 Sunday slot today) won’t work forever.

    We don’t celebrate the spring solstice at stone henge any more. Things do change. Eventually inshallah.

  • giyane

    J S-D

    ” I am as opposed to Christians persecuting Jews or Muslims as I am to Muslims persecuting Bahá’ís, for example.”

    George Bush launched a crusade of carpet bombing against Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama bombed and invaded Libya and Syria through proxies, causing untold homelessness and insecurity.

    Could you please demonstrate your objections to Christian persecution of Muslims in proportion to the harm actually done, rather than treating Christian persecution of Muslims as if it was some kind of philosophical cloud of ideas.

  • RobG

    No mention of Fukushima (the greatest disaster in human history). No mention of what’s going on in Yemen. No mention of the massive NATO military exercise that is presently taking place on Russia’s borders – to *make us all safer*.

    Craig, if there’s a mirror nearby, please go take a look.

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