Multiple Crises in Democracy 398

There is a strong strand of belief among the political class that Boris Johnson has no intention of taking the UK out of the EU. His aim was to see off Cameron and install himself in No. 10, after which he will discover that leaving the EU is proving far too dangerous and call for a second referendum. I suspect that this credits Johnson with a Machiavellian genius he is far from possessing, though as a prediction of future events it is in with a chance. (Personally I am hoping for Theresa May, the reaction to whose elevation will speed up Scottish Independence).

The United Kingdom’s democracy is far from perfect. The massive anachronism of the House of Lords, the vast executive powers based on Crown prerogative, the blatant unfairness of the first past the post system, the lack of a pluralist media… I could go on and on. Referenda are a rare bolt-on to what is already a mess.

The demonstrable public contempt of the public for the political class has been mirrored these last few days by the demonstrable contempt of the political class for the public. This has been obvious in the response to the Brexit vote, and in the Labour parliamentary party’s move against Corbyn. Both are evidence that the political class feel that they should not be directed by a wider public. Alastair Campbell in discussing Brexit effectively dismissed the public as stupid and gullible.

I am not just pro-EU, I am an euro-federalist. But we have a referendum result, and it is not being respected. Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty should, in respect to the verdict of the people, be invoked in weeks not months. For the Conservative Party to view its leadership election as taking priority disrespects both the British people and the rest of the EU, who are kept in uncertainty.

The voters should be obeyed with facility. When there is a general election, the incumbent PM moves out in the early hours of the morning. There is no sign of haste to obey the public here. It is not a good attitude.

However, opinion can change. The truth is that by the time leaving the EU becomes effective in a bit over two years, over 1 million of the electorate will have died and over 800,000 new people will have come on to the electoral roll. If the margin of victory had been 5 or 6 million that would not have been relevant. But as it is the churnaround will be greater than the majority. That is not perhaps in itself sufficient argunent for a second referendum, but if the opinion polls show firm evidence of a switch in public opinion during the next 24 months, it could become important.

The question of when a second referendum on a subject might be held is a fraught one. But however the idea of further public ballots might be described, it is not undemocratic. Which leads me on to Indyref2 in Scotland. The idea is being mooted that Nicola Sturgeon may be able to secure some deal for Scotland with the EU, whereby Scotland is still part of the UK outside the EU but retains its EU privileges.

I have been puzzling over this one. I have a strong background in the subject, having been for four years First Secretary (Political and Economic) in the British Embassy in Warsaw with the specific responsibility for Poland’s EU accession. I cannot for the life of me think of any really substantive such arrangements that could work without Scottish Independence. If Scotland remains in the Union and the UK leaves the EU, there is nothing Scotland can gain by way of special relationship which is other than window dressing.

Besides which, even if a unique bargain could be struck and some special status obtained, it is indisputable that this would still constitute a “material change”. In respect for the mandate on which the SNP were very specifically elected, if the UK leaves the EU, that must still trigger a referendum on full independence.

Indyref2 must now be a given.

The Labour crisis is a result of that party’s lack of internal democracy. In the SNP, every MP and MSP must seek reselection as the candidate for every election. Sitting MSPs and MPS can be and are regularly deposed by party members without fuss.

In the Labour Party, the system has been designed to put in MPs for life. Members have no right to challenge them. An extraordinary number of the right wing MPs were parachuted in from HQ and have no connection whatsoever to the northern constituencies they represent. It is fascinating that two thirds of the Shadow Cabinet members who resigned yesterday ostensibly over Corbyn’s insufficient EU enthusiasm, represent constituencies which voted for Brexit. This might call into some doubt their own campaigning effectiveness.

Everybody knows that the Labour parliamentary party is well to the right of both the membership and the trade unions, and has been itching to get rid of Corbyn from day one. For those who have constantly stabbed him in the back for a year to criticise his effectiveness in fighting their opponents is ridiculous.

For England and Wales, Corbyn represents the only challenge to the neo-liberal values of the political class, which has succeeded in capturing an important institution. Corbyn represents a chance that democracy may have meaning, in the sense of actually presenting alternative views and policies to the electorate. The establishment is now in the end game of removing this “threat” to ensure that the next general election again just gives the English and Welsh a choice of which colour of Tory you want.

Those who see the Labour Party as just a career path (90% of its MPs and employees) really don’t care what it stands for as long as it gets into power. Power means money. Ask Tony Blair.

I do hope Corbyn hangs on. Even if he does lose the general election (by no means a given) he can provide an invaluable service by reawakening the notion that democracy should present the voters with a real choice, not just a change of troughing promoting the same ideology.

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398 thoughts on “Multiple Crises in Democracy

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  • 5566hh

    “Alastair Campbell in discussing Brexit effectively dismissed the public as stupid and gullible.”

    Didn’t you also dismiss the public as stupid and gullible after the Scottish referendum?

      • 5566hh

        🙂 By the way, keep up the good work. I would be grateful for your opinion on the current South China Sea territorial disputes.

      • Shatnersrug

        Everyone is allowed to be angry straight after a vote that didn’t go their way – it’s part of the grieving process

  • MJ

    “I do hope Corbyn hangs on”

    I think Corbyn is in a strong position. He needs only fill the vacant shadow cabinet posts.

    As the incumbent leader he can stand in any leadership election without having to secure nominations from the PLP. It is likely he will easily beat any challenger.

    In September there will be the Labour Party Conference. All the people who joined the Labour Party to support Corbyn were ineligible to vote at last year’s conference. They will be eligible this year. Conference may therefore come up with a new manifesto much more in accord with Corbyn’s views. The onus will then be on the rump of Blairite MPs either to endorse that manifesto or clear off.

    • RobG

      The latest news is that Tom Watson is still onside.

      I think if Corbyn survives today he will still be Labour leader at the next general election, which could well take place before the year’s out.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        Source: Tom Watson did not tell Jeremy Corbyn to quit – ITV News

        I find it significant that Corbyn doesn’t seem to be able to get anything much into the media right now. Or, for that matter, Seumas Milne. And I find it impossible to believe that they’re not trying. On the bright side, this is pretty naive of the Establishment, which invites the recognition that it really doesn’t give a fuck about free expression and democracy.

        • Ultraviolet

          I don’t find that significant at all. The media is universally against Corbyn. The BBC, allegedly being neutral, is the only place you could expect he might succeed. But given that their political editor conspired with a Blairite time his resignation in order to hand Cameron a party political advantage, you will wait in vain for any sense of fair coverage from that quarter.

          Social media is all Corbyn has.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            I found it significant in that it confirms that it’s not just NuBlair which is trying to dispose of Corbyn. Considering that if he is as unlikely to get elected as NuLab suggests, the Sun, Mail, Telegraph and Express should (like Guido Fawkes) be firmly behind his leadership of Labour. Saying The Establishment wwill do anything to suppress voices on the left is all too easily dismissed as conspiracy theory….without this kind of evidence. I have never seen the media so unanimous on an issue, and so reluctant to represent both sides of a case. Which is going some.

          • Ultraviolet

            Sorry, I misunderstood you.

            I agree with you about the media deliberately being part of the story. The Guardian’s position as a very active and enthusiastic participant in this attempted coup, rather than a mere reporter of it, is now sealed in history. And we all know about Kuenssberg, despite the MSM’s attempts to protect her from what should be the natural consequences of her wholly unacceptable party political abuse of her position.

  • jackie

    I absolutely hate the concept of a ‘political class’. It implies that mere mortals can’t attain a political position and that would be a terrible thing. It’s a term we need to stop using as it is just a furthering of the ‘them and us’ division.

    • craig Post author


      I fear that is a reflection of the reality. Social mobility is a thing of the past. There is an excellent book by Peter Oborne on the political class, I recommend it.

    • Shatnersrug

      Jackie most of the Blairite MPs were selected by Peter Mandelson from Oxbridge to work as spads , having left private school education – they were then parachuted into safe seats of their own. This has been going on in the Conservative party since time immemorial however with labour taking the same steps there becomes no chance for ordinary representation.

  • DomesticExtremist

    I would refer you to this Credit Suisse flowchart which shows the ways that the referendum result might get ignored (h/t Wings Over Scotland)
    No doubt this is why one faction of the Tory Party decided to install itself as the official Leave campaign (with a helping habd from the Electoral Commission), sidelining Farage and guaranteeing that win or lose, the Establishment controls the final result.
    Meanwhile, I had an awful thought this morning – David Miliband get parachuted into Baley and Spen, elected unopposed and is magically crowned New King of New New Labour. Doubly horrible as it could hand another four million votess to UKIP.

    • deepgreenpuddock

      funnily enough David Milliband appears in the odds of the bookies ‘next prime minister’ list. Odds are longish (but not all that long).

      • Shatnersrug

        Rumours abound that Blairites are going to try and parachute Miliband into Jo Cox seat. I’m trying to encourage Paul Mason to run for the seat! Join me in egging him on!

      • Ultraviolet

        What are they on? Do they seriously think Bananaman isn’t viewed with a mixture of derision and contempt by the overwhelming majority of the electorate?

        • Shatnersrug

          Well he flew in this morning. As for the Blairites they are a coordinated army that serves Blair and Mandelson. Sadly there’s about 100 of them. We need some deselections.

      • DomesticExtremist

        Let us not forget that Tony Blair’s path to power (and time in it) was smoothed by a multitude of tragic but very conveniently timed deaths about which he wrote at length in his biography.

  • michael norton

    It seems many FRENCH people would like their own referendum, this includes Madam Le Pen and old Sarky.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Agree re. Corbyn.

    Here’s a rather good supporting account of what has happened, by Jonathan Cook. (Israel only comes up towards the end – posted solely for the preceding analysis)

  • Loony

    Good to see some establishment thinking. It is not surprising that there is still no recognition of the truth behind the old maxim that “today’s revolutionary becomes tomorrows reactionary”

    There is little need to worry about a second EU referendum in “a bit over 2 years.” For the British have slain the monster and all that will be left to rejoin will be a rotting corpse. Popular demand for an exit referendum is now over 50% in France and Italy. It is not far from 50% in Sweden, Poland and Belgium.

    Scotland appears to be in a uniquely invidious position. There would appear to be a binary outcome if it were to break with England. Either it leaves to join the EU – which no longer exists, or it leaves to join an EU which still exists. If the EU exists then it will likely be required to adopt the euro.

    Educated people still seem to have a hard time understanding the evidence in front of their eyes. The euro is a tool of serfdom and its only purpose is to transfer money to Germany and leave all other users in permanent depression. Look at the economies of southern Europe and see the impossibility of economic recovery. The only reason things are not worse is because they have exported large parts of their unwanted and unneeded surplus population.

    Freedom of movement for people in these circumstances is not freedom in any normal sense of that word. It is more akin to a forced exile, where people are driven to migrate under the whip. In an exercise of raw power Germany manifests its contempt for southern Europe by preferring to bolster its workforce with migrants acquired from outside of Europe.

    How much evidence to people really need before they understand what is going on.

    Where will all of this leave Scotland? With an impoverished population through no fault of its own people, needing to flee Scotland – with, I would guess, England being a destination of choice.

    • nevermind

      Far from it Loony, there will be an EU Mk2 and I hope that its constituent part will get the message of voters and make every position in their federal Government electable. As you see from this Government, the resulting uncertainty and financial instability, vacuums will be filled and or cause consternation and delay.

      For Cameron to throw in the towel before he’s finished the Brexit negotiations, too feeble/nasty to invoke article 50 is effectively making this country ungovernable, his irresponsibility makes people poorer and it delays operations.

      What should airbus group do if its British operations are in future jeopardy,? should they carry on employing people or put them on slow go?
      And I object that you continue to witter on about German raw power and detest that their economic prowess carries many other countries, together with our contributions that is.
      You should have been more diligent and questioned your own MEP’s as to what they are not doing in the EU, badger your Government to get in there during the 1970/80/90/s, the situation we are faced with do not exist because of German raw power, utter balderdash, its down to the EU’s constituent states and their eager/lazy bodies. Stop blaming immigrants and other countries for the brown matter you find yourself in, start with your own system of unfair selection and representation. All this talk of ‘getting democracy back’ when you never had anything but the FPTP system.
      I’d rather see Germany in a club of like minded than as a stand alone state.

      The impossibility of recovery of the south is determined by the Greeks who have seemingly not changed much, their pension age starts at 55, when everyone else starts at 65. You can’t have inflexible pension age arrangements, unless your country is rich in resources. Russian sanctions have crippled Greek exports and achieved nothing, lift them.

      If you’d rather have a system in which nobody gets any support you would not be able to work to the statutes of Rome.

      • Loony

        You certainly seem to display an absolute refusal to understand what is going on. Your comment is riddled with irrelevancies, misunderstandings and wholly unjustified attempts to smear.

        If Greece raised its pension age to 100 the Greek economy would not recover. The Italian economy today is smaller than it was in 2000.

        The only reason Germany has economic prowess is because of the euro. There is a reason why German industry has not been dismantled and shipped to China and that reason is the euro. None of this has anything to do with subjective matters and I don’t care whether you object to my references to German raw power. I don’t care because what I write is true and the evidence is all around you. Open your eyes and see.

        I do not blame immigrants for anything – I do not what to conspire in forcing people from other lands to endure a forced exile simply because the euro has laid waste their homelands.

        It is a truly disgusting attitude that smears as racist any attempt to understand what is going and any attempt to help the victims of this nightmare.

        • nevermind

          If Greece raised his pension age to 100, shows how much you are on par here. Nobody argued for that to happen.
          In 1981, when I was working in Greece this debate for acession happened and it was no other than Goldmann Sachs that persuaded the rich and powerful in Greece to go with the flow, not German raw power you fool.
          Just because the UK has butchered its manufacturing by failing to invest in it for decades, producing shoddy goods and fell by the wayside does not mean that everyone else has to do the same and Germany’s success does not come from the Euro, Germans dithered, they did not want a common currency, it comes from continues R&D, modern machinery and an educated workforce, all issues you don’t seem to understand.

          Instead you whinge about a countries economic prowess, whinge about its attempts to sort out other countries problems and whinge about the inability of your politicians, instead blaming Gerry foreigner.

          what a pity.

          [ Mod: Kindly keep it civil. ]

          • Loony

            The point is that Greece cannot escape. It is in permanent economic depression, and no amount of labor reforms can change that fact.

            As a matter of fact Goldman only became involved in Greece in the run up to the euro – which was in the mid/late 1990’s not 1981 as you erroneously claim.

            The UK is not in the euro and so is irrelevant to the matter in hand. Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal ans large parts of France are the relevant entities here.

            It is manifestly obvious that Germany benefits from the euro as it serves to provide them with a weaker currency than they would otherwise have. This enables them to compete effectively in export markets. The worse the situation becomes in the European periphery the weaker the euro and hence the more competitive Germany becomes.

            Germany has all the economic incentive in the world to crush southern Europe. This is not even an argument it is a simple statement of irrefutable fact.

      • Habbabkuk (encouraging interesting and diverse views)

        Happy to agree with a lot of that, Nevermind.

        Re Greece, my advice would be for journalists and media types to get out of the decaying parts of central Athens once in a while and see whether the rest of Athens, Attica and indeed Greece are suffering.

        They might also ask the oh-so-radical Syriza government what it is doing re follow-up on the Lagarde list and the other leaked lists of people who have stashed away billions in foreign bank accounts.

  • Elaine Gunn

    Hi Craig, I agree with your analysis broadly. However I do think that Nicola Sturgeon has a duty to the majority who voted No in 2014, to explore all possible routes to keep Scotland within the EU without independence. That would be to follow the expressed wishes of our two referendum results – to remain in the UK and to remain in the EU. A second indyref needs to be, and needs to be clearly *seen* to be, a last resort based on the larger majority that Remain achieved, compared with the No campaign, and the more recent timing of that referendum. I suspect that will eventually be the case, but to skip that process would alienate pro-union voters, and risks positioning her actions as opportunism. Having said that, I’m a Yes voter, and oh my goodness that second referendum can’t come soon enough for me!

  • nevermind

    I also hope Corbyn hangs in there, in two weeks time after the Chilcot report has been aired these renegades will effectively loose the car[pet they are flying on.

    I cannot believe that there is not a concerted campaign to undermine JC’s every moment, that it happens at this point in time is coordinated, its has the media behind it and I want to know whether we really have two parties competing for voters support.
    This mass walk out of Blair co conspirators saves JC the job of sacking them, at least they went voluntarily.

    • michael norton

      The leaders of Germany, France and Italy meet in Berlin on Monday as they scramble to contain the fallout from the United Kingdom voters’ shocking decision to quit the hated EU in a referendum last week.
      The United Kingdom’s decision to become the first member state to leave the 28-member European Union has plunged the bloc into uncharted waters, sparking widespread concern and triggering losses of over $2 trillion on global stock markets.

      European leaders will embark on a flurry of diplomatic activity this week to plan the way forward, with some pushing for a quick divorce amid fears Britain’s vote to leave will create a domino effect in eurosceptic member states.

      How much is two trillion?

      • Ba'al Zevul

        It’s quite a lot of disc space. And it will magically re-appear, trust me. It always does, if you’re a banker. It droppeth as the gentle dew from Heaven.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      He should have fired them first, though. And gone on all media to point out that they were the real traitors to Labour. Now they’ve taken the initiative, I’m not seeing much hope for him. So that’s what happens to principled people in Westminster.

      Contentious reflection: if instead of isolating and marginalising Enoch Powell for his views on immigration, the Tories had at least admitted that yes, there probably would be a problem down the line, would we be looking at what we are looking at now? Irony of bitter irony.

  • Eric Smiff

    He sat in the plane, pulled a lever and the horrible thing took off by itself. Boris Bunter immediately wished he was back in the dorm eating buns and drinking pop as his captor flew him over his beloved tuck shop.

  • Brianfujisan

    I thought Craig was Spot on in his Pre Post.. Good to see Corby geting teeth…. Fuck em… i Once Said to Craig… Good To hear the Angry Voice On… The last show was great stuff… But then.. None of that was MSM

  • fred

    “The question of when a second referendum on a subject might be held is a fraught one. But however the idea of further public ballots might be described, it is not undemocratic.”

    That sounds a lot like wishful thinking on your part and is certainly not how the right wing Brexit supporters would see it. They would feel they had been cheated, they would think that there was no justice and people who have lost faith in justice have no qualms about taking the law into their own hands.

      • fred

        Justice can’t be selective. They won a referendum and they have a mandate. Democracy for all must come before the wishes of the individual. I’ve seen what happens when justice was denied to the Catholics in Northern Ireland, I saw what happened when justice was denied to the ethnic populations in the inner cities.

        Putting your own personal beliefs above democratic principles is how civil wars happen.

        • Clark

          “They” (the racists) did not win a referendum. A referendum happened to go their way. The same can be said in opposite for the Scottish IndyRef.

          • fred

            Either you believe in democracy or you don’t.

            Believing in it when it suits you and not when it doesn’t is not democracy, that is being all the things this blog pretends to stand against.

            Would you be in favour of losing a few thousand ballot papers provided it meant the result going your way as well?

          • Clark

            Calling a re-run would be entirely democratic since the referendum rules included a clause:

            “that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based on a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum”

            and that conditions was met. It may even be undemocratic NOT to have a re-run.

            No of course I don’t agree with tampering with ballot papers.

          • Habbabkuk (encouraging interesting and diverse views)

            Spot on, Clark (ie, your last comment)

      • bevin

        If the people who voted for Brexit are to be designated racists, what are we to call those who voted to remain in: ‘snobs’, ‘imperialists’ ‘Social Darwinists’?
        It must be a term that conveys the view that poor people don’t count and are incapable of forming proper opinions unless guided by that priestly caste which has been initiated into the mysteries of ruling class ideology.

      • DomesticExtremist

        Firstly it’s a bit facile, even infantile, to call all the Out voters racists.
        Secondly, had it been 52:48 and the Out side were asking for a second referendum, nobody would countenance it (just as happened in Scotland in 2014).

  • Eric Smiff

    The quotes below tell me that Johnson decided to try out his leadership credentials by jumping on the Brexit train. Nobody expected it to be successful, Cameron has disappeared and Boris has been left holding the baby. A big Boris wheeze that has gone horribly wrong and has seen him bumbling into the history books like his hero Winston Churchill.

    “Johnson became the centre of great media interest at the start of 2016 when he initially refused to clarify his support for Brexit. On 21 February 2016 he endorsed Vote Leave in the “Out” campaign for the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016.”


    Although Johnson became widely known for his strongly Eurosceptic articles in The Daily Telegraph, many of his close associates have believed this to be an opportunistic ruse, expressing the view that he is not a genuine Eurosceptic, with some suggesting that he might be sympathetic to the cause of European federalism. He welcomed Turkey’s entry into the EU in 2012.

    • nevermind

      ‘ bumbling into the history books like his hero Winston Churchill.’

      Yes its quiet astonishing that Boris did not quote Churchill during this campaign isn’t it, because Churchill, despite being a very depressed man at times, had completely other ideas to that of bumblin’ Boris. Below was his speech to students in Zurich 1947.

      “There is a remedy which … would in a few years make all Europe … free and … happy. It is to re-create the European family, or as much of it as we can, and to provide it with a structure under which it can dwell in peace, in safety and in freedom.
      We must build a kind of United States of Europe.” Winston Churchill

      • Eric Smiff

        My point being that Boris doesn’t have convictions and neither did the gadfly of his own age, Winston Churchill. It seems they were both sympathetic to European federalism at one stage in their careers.

        Boris is of course half American like the subject of his popular biography (The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History by Boris Johnson.)

      • Habbabkuk (encouraging interesting and diverse views)

        To be fair, Nevermind, Churchill also made it clear that while he supported European union he did not want Great Britain to e part of such a union.

  • Alba

    Re Indyref2
    Do you think that this would return a different outcome under the current electoral rules? Or would this require a return to the pre-2001 restrictions on postal voting which are still in force in NI?

    • fred

      Oh FFS the Nats aren’t still going on about election fraud are they? Don’t you think that if the establishment were capable of rigging a referendum they would have rigged the European one? Where are all the videos on youtube of people looking dodgy at the counts now?

      It makes no difference whatsoever if people vote at a polling station or by post. The lies about vote rigging were spread by the Nationalists in an attempt to cheat democracy and the gullible fell for it.

  • James

    I’d like to coin a new phrase which is far more accurate than the one you keep using Craig.

    Here it is: ‘Scottish Eudependence’.

    • michael norton

      If Austria, Hungary, Poland, France, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Greece
      all decide to hold freedom Referenda.

      Let’s guess, half decide to leave the E.U.

      Does that still mean the Scottish people will be keen to join the E.U.?

    • MJ

      I’d call it “Scottish Dependency” and have done with it.

      The Scots don’t want independence. That’s why they didn’t sort out the currency issue. They just think it might be better to pick up their pocket money from aunt Agatha rather than mum, on the grounds that she’s nicer and more generous.

  • Dave Gerrard

    There’s an interesting analysis here of how exactly Article 50 might be invoked.

    It seems there are two key terms in it: that there needs to have been a “decision” and withdrawal from the EU has to be in accordance with the withdrawing country’s “constitutional requirements”. The general tone of the piece is that absolutely nobody has a clue what either of those things mean in the current context.

    • michael norton

      I hope now the United Kingdom is independent again, we can stop being horrible to the Russian people,
      let’s get one over on the Americans/French/Germans and start trading with Russia, straight away.
      I bet the French would drop their principles in seconds and be right behind us and not back of the queue.

  • Manda

    “The Labour crisis is a result of that party’s lack of internal democracy.”

    Of course but then the Capitalist elite class and their enablers have ensured they have increased their control of politics and support structures over decades just as is an even more so in US. We have a lack of democracy in the west full stop.

    “The voters should be obeyed with facility.”

    Yes. That would be ‘democracy’. I am not in favour of delaying and another referendum in the future. I still do not believe the EU anti democratic structures that support Neoliberalism and Globalism are reformable, they and the ideology that supports and enables them have to be dismantled first. Once you are trapped in a spiders web it’s hard to escape and even harder, if not impossible, to refashion it to your advantage.

    You and Jonathan Cook (both great articles/pieces) mention Neoliberalism but we must not forget Neoliberalism is the current form of rapacious Capitalism which benefits the very wealthy at the expense of the majority.. Capitalism and democracy are not compatible and I believe we have little true democracy in practice, it’s a delusion we are bombarded with along with the lauded; ‘western values’ as our ‘elected’ leaders go about destroying country after country aiding and abetting in the killing and suffering of millions and destroying societies on the grounds of humanitarianism and based on lies and spin. The hypocrisy and malevolence of it all is staggering.

    This is proving to be the struggle of immense proportions… ordinary citizens v self serving, immoral Capitalism and the structures it has created to serve and promote it.. Corbyn is a rallying point for the opposition to the status quo and hope of real change that will benefit all citizens not just the few, I support him 100%, I have no choice. We need diversity, disagreement and discussion for lively and creative politics, economy and society, not follow a narrowly prescribed, vacuous, homogeneous path to huge wealth and power for a tiny minority and disenfranchised, acceptance of a road to penury for the rest.

      • michael norton

        No she was East German.

        Didn’t they kill people who tried to get out of East Germany against the wishes of the elite?

          • bevin

            Surprising lack of nuance here, for you, the GDR leaders were far from Russian Puppets by the 1960s. They appear to have regarded the Russians with a certain disdain as crude and not very bright.
            Even the dreadful Spielberg movie Bridge of Spies picked up on that.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            Nevertheless, Russian tanks were the ultimate enforcers in the Iron Curtain countries, whatever the ‘communist’ leaders of the countries thought. They saw what happened in Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

        • nevermind

          Michael, you are not daft, so look up her past, she was a scientist, not a politician. get your facts straight.
          Don’t infer the inabilities, bumbling, delays, not meaning Brexit and stultification here, with other countries.
          Everything that has happened here is down to your lazyness, your acceptance of party political mongering over the last 40 years.

          now posit your next falsehood.

      • Republicofscotland


        The EU will effectively make a scapegoat out of Britain’s exit, already the French president Hollande is making noises in that direction. It must be put to the other 27 members that it won’t be that easy to leave the EU, and you certainly won’t leave with favourable conditions. Watch out for the EU upping their game to hard ball.

    • Chris Rogers


      A cogent post and 100% thumbs up from this old bugger – please post more.

  • Eric Smiff

    The sole purpose of the vile, little Murdoch fraud SNP is to take votes from Murdoch’s much larger New Labour fraud which he has now left in the dust. Their faux left wing stance is purely to garner support from disaffected Labour supporters to bolster the Tories in the UK election.

    The real (non headline) policies of the Tartan Tories show their true colours. For example a large movement in funding from colleges to universities. Salmond and Sturgeon are the Mandelson and Blair of this decade.

  • Chris Rogers


    Whilst I respect much of your opinion, on certain issues I disagree fundamentaly with you, particularly with regards a Federal Europe, which I’m opposed too, although funnily enough, I’m a fervent believer in a Federal Constitutional Settlement for the UK – this is neither here or there, particularly given I’m favourably disposed to the ‘Confederate’ solution outlined by De Gaulle in the 60’s in the then negotiations with the UK about joining the EEC – Stuart Holland more able than me to elaborate on this, given he was heading said negotiations under Harold Wilson.

    However, I do find it strange, given how you seem opposed to both neoliberalism and austerity, that you make reference to the Federalist ambition of the Lisbon Treaty, detailed in its preamble, without making reference to the neoliberal economic orthodoxy that’s enshrined within its text, an orthodoxy that by its very nature calls for austerity, both of which I’m fundamentally opposed too, hence my ‘Out’ vote last Thursday.

    If I may, I strongly urge you to read some of the output of Prof. Steve Keen of Kingston University and Prof. Richard Werner of the University of Southampton, both being heterodox economists, with Keen being a confidant of Yanis Varoufakis of DIEM25, Keen disagreeing with DIEM25 about the possibility of democratic reform within the EU and ECB.

    With regards all other points raised in your post, could not agree more strongly with them, but will call on you and others to understand many who voted ‘Out’ have done so for honourable and rational reasons, none of which are driven by hatreds of any kind, apart from a strong opposition to the neoliberalism that drives many of the political and economic forces destroying the EU from the inside out, of which it is a major proponent.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Hate to disagree with your final conclusion, but everyone I’ve spoken to who voted Leave informed themselves as best they could,agonised up to the last moment, realised neither side would know the truth if it introduced itself to them over cocktails, and, when push came to shove, received a voice from the spirit world saying ‘FUCK THE LOT OF THEM’ – and voted for the larger of the two fuckups on offer.

      • MJ

        Everyone I’ve spoken to who voted leave did so for reasons of democracy and sovereignty and made there minds up very early. Perhaps I ought to get out more.

        • Chris Rogers


          My opinion of the EU was changed from favourable to outright hostility following the onset of the GFC and resulting Euro Crisis by 2010, Brussels and Frankfurt imposed draconian measures on a host of nations, but the last straw was the bank ‘bail-ins’ imposed on Cyprus – not too sure how the Scots feel about that, but if you are part of the EU your money is up for grabs if a bank goes tits up – alas, not too many aware of this salient fact, which is worrying on its own.

      • Chris Rogers

        Ba’al Zevul,

        Unlike many of our supposed elected politicians, I’m pleased I have some principles and won’t back track on said principles. On telling persons to ‘fuck off’ or call them out for what they are, I’ve been most active attacking all Blairite coup plotters on Social Media and certainly don’t hold back. Won’t even bother with the Tories or UKIP when the enemy is within my own ranks.

        Anyhow, as stated previously, the level of dialogue and information presented with the EU Referendum was despicable, a fact not helped by CM making this a ‘off zone’ for dialogue on such an important issue for at the end of the day only an informed citizenry can make informed democratic choices and said information was lacking in the biased MSM, which regrettably a majority of our nation still get their information from.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          I’m not suggesting otherwise, Chris. I’m just outlining my basis – I won’t call it a reason – and that of other people I know who aren’t normally frivolous – for my Leave vote. Incidentally, this also applies to some Remain votes, who voted for the smaller of the fuckups, not having heard the spirit message. My neighbour realised he was for Leave while his partner was for Remain, so neither of them voted. Having voted Leave, I have no intention of invoking the reverse ferret, either. Job done: if nothing more (and it may well be nothing more) a major shock was given to the system and complacency is at least for now no longer the order of the day.

          CM stated his reasons for not encouraging the pre-referendum debate here, and I’m entirely happy with that, as if he cares. It’s not as if the rest of the blogosphere wasn’t banging on about it, largely fuelled by MSM propaganda and spin, for week upon soporific week.

      • deepgreenpuddock

        That’s my impression too.There must have been some racists driven by xenophobia but I have not met them, and the vote was intuitively a rejection of the kind of politics of choosing the lesser of two evils as created by the Tory and Tory-lites Blairism,even if soe people were deflected by the Farage and Johnson mendacity.

  • Tom

    Members have no right to challenge them.

    I don’t know the exact details of their constitution but am sure there is a process for de-selection, albeit not as easy as might be desirable in some cases!

    two thirds of the Shadow Cabinet members who resigned yesterday ostensibly over Corbyn’s insufficient EU enthusiasm, represent constituencies which voted for Brexit. This might call into some doubt their own campaigning effectiveness.

    Another view is that the party line to remain was itself out of touch with most represented constituencies. I don’t know why there wasn’t a free-er vote on this as there was for the Tory party which would have made the result more neutral. I also fail to see how a majority of Labour supporters can be considered a failure, not least for Corbyn although he was forced to choose the losing side for the sake of party unity.

    What annoys me most is the shadow resigners all claim there is no organised plot and yet they are all claiming something which is demonstrably untrue: that the members share their view towards Corbyn. Admittedly Twitter may not be reliably representative, but in every case where they have published their resignations, at least 90% of the reaction to their decision is, to put it politely, unfavourable.

  • Get_2the_chopper

    BBC sent out a notification to my phone that Watson told Corbyn to resign. Getting a bit ahead of themselves or just maybe just a bit too excited. Either way, misinformation.

    • fedup

      Sky is at it too!

      This is the kind of invasion of Kabul by John Simpson story redux!

      Make me sick the swine, the orchestrated on the hour resignation! UK is adrift and the “red Tories” are busy trying to stop the tide of democracy that is not favouring them. Corbyn should have sacked the lot of the carpetbaggers along with that shitty strip of land first Hillary that is certainly no Tony Benn!

    • Ba'al Zevul

      He didn’t, according to Corbyn. See here:

      Even the Grauniad acknowledges that he wasn’t asked to resign.

      The resignations forced Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, to return from a weekend at the Glastonbury festival for a meeting with Corbyn, in which he told the leader that he had lost his authority within the parliamentary party.

      Watson warned that if there was a leadership election and Corbyn stood again then members would be voting with that knowledge, but he fell short of demanding his resignation.

      Though that may be one of those stories which we will have to convince ourselves we misremembered, tomorrow.

  • Alan McIntosh

    If you listen to Boris today and yesterday, he is no longer talking about Brexit, but effectively some type of pre- Maasticht arrangement.
    He wants to strip out the EU Citizenship rights and keep the single market and free movement of workers.
    Many on the racist right are going to be disappointed and if Boris cannot get that, I doubt he will support Brexit.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    The net effect of the slew of resignations is that Jeremy Corbyn has with perfect legitimacy been able to surround himself with allies who will undoubtedly give him tremendous emotional and vocal support and will urge him not to resign but to fight the buggers to the last ditch.

    That was a bright idea, wasn’t it? Well done, Benn and Co.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Also, I guess the ‘rebels’ have been a little optimistic about the chances of their constituencies re-electing them if they (a) turn into LibDems or (b) find themselves voting with the Tories at division time. As they will pretty well have to, to maintain the Establishment assault on Corbyn. Popcorn, please. It’s a long game.

    • MJ

      Yes. Despite the BBC’s frantic attempts to paint this as a crisis for Corbyn, I suspect that deep down he is rather satisfied by events of the past few days. Also, he is the only party leader to have called for the immediate triggering of Article 50.

  • Atypical_Scot

    ‘I am not just pro-EU, I am an euro-federalist.’

    The single market – the free movement of goods and capital where capitalists can freely move their means of production to exploit the lowest value of labour. Bulgarian minimum wage – 0.37 euros per hr. A fatally flawed construct that is destroying nations.

    Unless the value of labour is harmonised across the bloc, more states will suffer the same fate as Greece, and more states will follow the UK out.

  • Colin Jones

    I think you write a very sobering argument. I totally agree that the referendum is respected, however with a caveat….. that the referendum outcome is arrived at based upon a campaign with integrity, for without integrity the outcome is built on a sand of deceit, hence I must disagree that the Brexit referendum is respected.

    • MJ

      “I totally agree that the referendum is respected…I must disagree that the Brexit referendum is respected”

      Do you have a coherent view at all?

    • Loony

      Can you think of any vote in the UK in which the preceding campaign was marked by integrity?

    • Republicofscotland

      No they don’t Fred but they’ll still vote yes in Indy ref 2 and thats what counts.

      Let us put our differences aside Fred, and vote yes in the event of indy ref 2. Let us unite and decide our own destiny, that we shall remain in the EU as a welcoming, trading and forward thinking nation.

      Bear in mind Fred that after independence is obtained many folk will vote for which every party has Scotland’s interests at heart. It might not be the SNP who puts the best policies forward.

  • mog

    To add to the mix, the three biggest central banks of the world have (in the space of just two weeks) hinted at some highly significant policy changes with regard to the fundamentals of the monetary system that underlies this Neoliberal train wreck.
    The foundation of the commercial banks’ business model is at stake.
    That this should be happening at the same time that markets are ‘pandemonium’, due to the biggest upset in the global capitalist order for some time….co-incidence?

    • Loony

      You have gone to rotten heart of the matter.

      German bonds are now nominally negative all the way out to 30 years – to say nothing of the real losses if there is inflation any time in the next 30 years. Why would people do this? Probably something to do with the toxic nightmare that is Deutsche Bank.

      If you are in the UK and you have spare money then one of the better risk free investments is to overpay your utility bills. All this does is sterilize money and add to the crushing of money velocity. All hail Osbourne and Carney – innumerate morons that they are.

      • nevermind

        yep it takes a well performing economy to push so much debt around does’nt it.
        Barclays RBS and Loyds have collectively lost billions, the last two days had 80 billion wiped off the FT100 index . It hurts everyone and the only people who earn on it are currency speculators.

        • Loony

          Take a look at how much Italian banks have lost in the last 2 days.

          Take a look at Deutsche Bank – On Friday its share price hit an all time low, 88% below peak value, 2nd highest day of share trading by volume, and the largest single day decline since January 2009.

          The fact that most people don’t know this tells us that it hasn’t hurt many people yet. But it will as the pain is guaranteed.

  • Brianfujisan

    Craig an Expert

    And Fred What do you both make of this

    The EU grants for new vessels had stopped, but young ambitious skippers then turned to the big banks to finance even more powerful super trawlers being built both at Scottish and European yards, which were designed to work in the most extreme conditions at the outer reaches of the continental shelf and Rockall. The traditional inner waters had now been fished out and decimated, not by the EU but by our own Scottish fleet. The EU finally took drastic action when many fish species teetered on the brink of never recovering, and quotas were immediately cut again to the point where the new larger vessels were struggling to stay viable.

    To rein in the size of the fleet, a short-term decommissioning incentive scheme based on the vessels’ tonnage and horsepower was introduced, with a maximum compensation of £1 million for the largest vessels. Skippers who had gambled by building multimillion-pound vessels at foreign yards now found themselves at the mercy of the banks to whom they had turned to finance their venture. Cold, hard economics of the banks decided the fate of many young north-east skippers as the unsympathetic banks decided to cut their losses at the fear of further quota cuts and grab the decommissioning payment while it was available, resulting in almost brand new multimillion-pound vessels sailing to the scrapyards of Denmark to be cut up and their owners made bankrupt with their livelihoods in ruins. Many other boat-owners decided to accept the decommissioning grants as well due to a mass migration of crews to the oil industry, adding to the already intolerable stress of trying to stay viable in impossible circumstances.

    • fred

      The fishermen I know work creel boats Brian. They catch crab and lobster the vast majority of which are sold in Europe. Leaving the EU could be devastating to the seafood industry, no doubt Europe will still buy them but they could put a tariff on them meaning the Scottish fisherman would have to make less profit to be competitive.

      If you talk to the average cod they have no idea what nationality they are, they don’t know if they are Scottish, Icelandic or Norwegian, it’s purely a concept invented by humans, they travel long distances and cross whatever border they please. The decline in fish stocks started well before Britain joined the EU and has seen it’s recovery under and because of EU legislation, if it was still every country for themselves the cod would be long gone.

      The EU allocates a quota then it is down to the individual countries to decide who can catch the fish, in Scotland it is devolved so the Scottish government has full control.

      • Tony M

        A serious point Fred, surely pre-EU, fishing relied much more on instinct and crews’ experiences, knowing the grounds etc. I don’t see how it could be fished out using older traditional methods, compared with modern methods, GPS, technology, electronics sonar etc. in finding shoals and so on which has taken much of the hit-and-miss out of it. I’m aware too though that the EU makes noises about conservation.

    • Republicofscotland


      Yes I read that article as well, I found it very enlightening, also I’d add that Scottish farmers receive EU subsidies, which they rely on, as well as that, Scotland sends much of its seafood to Europe the French love our Velvet crabs and Razor fish.

  • jake

    On the matter of the EU, wouldn’t a Reverse Greenland, or some tweeked variant, be a solution to keeping Scotland in while the rUK leaves?

    On the matter of a 2nd EU Referenduum, ( y’know, to allow the Shires and the hinterland of of the metropolis to vote “properly”), wouldn’t even the prospect of Reverse Greenland be capable of being regarded as a
    ” significant material change”, and consequently as a justification for the re-run?

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