Labour’s Failure and Institutional Analysis 853


Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to oppose Brexit in Parliament is as culpable as Harriet Harman’s failure to oppose welfare cuts. It will haunt Labour just as much. The job of opposition is to oppose. We currently have a more right wing government than I imagined the UK would ever see in my lifetime, and it is riding a tide of racist populism in England and Wales, barked on by a far right media whose ownership and world view is ever more concentrated. This is no time to drop the duty of resistance.

Corbyn’s view of the EU is ambivalent. Both major English and Welsh parties are led by people who are at least highly sympathetic to Brexit. That is a democratic failure when 47 per cent of the English and Welsh voters supported the EU.

The problem with the EU as a cause is that it is supported by some extremely unpleasant people. Straw (father and son), Mandelson, Osborne. The EU has nobody given media coverage to speak for it in the UK that is not amongst the most despised members of the political class. And in criticising Corbyn’s failure to oppose Brexit, I find myself echoing Blairites, which is uncomfortable.

But there are two major problems with the left criticism of the EU. The first is its willingness to be hijacked to the racist cause with the economically illiterate argument that immigration means competition for the fixed number of jobs, and thus drives down the living standards of British workers. That atavism I dismiss with contempt. Not least because even if it were true, it shows a very narrow lack of concern for workers of the world outside Thanet. Beggar thy neighbour is not a socialist motto.

The second and more subtle trap into which the left falls is to view the EU as a set of policies. It is not a set of policies, it is a supra-national institution. At the moment its policies tend towards the neo-liberal because at the moment Europe, and especially the UK, is dominated by neo-liberal governments. The notion that leaving the EU will bring more social justice under the reality of continual Tory governments is one of the more risible contentions of much of the British left.

The EU can very much be a force for good. I am personally convinced that there are two reasons Scotland is so much more pro-EU than England. The first is a generally more internationalist and communal outlook in society at large. The second is that during the Thatcher years, when Scottish industry was being devastated and there was a deliberate government policy of no action to alleviate suffering communities, EU regional policy provided the only ray of light. I recall personally seeing big signboards at the dualling of the A9 and the construction of Dundee airport, stating that they were paid for by EU Regional Funds. As Corbyn pointed out in the referendum, workers’ rights, the maximum working week, tachometers, many health and safety standards, all came from the EU when doctrinaire right wing Westminster documents were abolishing “red tape”.

This failure to note that the EU is an institution not a policy, is reflected in the Left’s current attitude to trade agreements. Trade is an extremely good thing. Neo-liberal governments around the world have added highly undesirable extras to trade agreements. The role of Investor Protection clauses which allow cabals of lawyers to adjudicate billions of dollars to rapacious corporations is well understood. But it is not a necessary feature of a trade agreement. Nor is it necessary for a trade agreement to forbid state aid. It is a perfectly logical position for two states to trade without tariffs while accepting that the organisation of the internal resources of a state is its own affair. The neo-liberals are in any event inconsistent here. They ought to believe that state aid to one industry is going to cause inefficiencies which will balance out by giving the state traded with comparative advantage elsewhere. Because neo-liberal governments have secured the addition of these unnecessary bolt-ons to multilateral trade deals, does not make the concept of multilateral trade deals in itself bad. And again, the notion that Liam Fox is going to negotiate anything fairer is hysterical.

Corbyn’s failure to oppose Brexit is a symptom of the abandonment by much of the left of the principles of internationalism. Internationalism is not possible without international institutions. To write off those institutions because they are currently controlled by right wing governments is short-sighted to the point of being stupid. That it leaves the left vying for the racist vote with the atavistic right is a plain signal of what a wrong direction it is.

Labour is becoming an irrelevance in Scotland. The latest opinion poll has SNP 47%, Conservative 27%, Labour 15%, Lib Dems 4%, Greens 3%. This continues a trend of Labour bleeding support to the Tories. It is however fascinating that the Tories in Scotland having achieved their highest point, that point is still lower than the lowest point of Labour in the UK under Corbyn. Yet Tory ministers are prepared to take this Tory “popularity” in Scotland as evidence they can ride roughshod over the Scottish people en route to Brexit.

More significant is what is happening at council by-elections all over Scotland, held under Single Transferable Vote. It has become an accepted part of political life here that Tories, Lib Dems and Labour will transfer their preferences to each other. So Labour voters will transfer to Tory rather than to SNP or Green. This everyday collusion with the Tories reveals Scotland’s remaining Red Tories for what they are. It also makes it essential that everybody in the crucial council elections looming in Scotland votes SNP first or at the very least ensures they use all their preferences and include all the SNP candidates.

I have blogged for some years now about the deep gap in social and political attitudes between England and Scotland. That this gap manifests itself in attitudes to the EU is not surprising, and if that has become the wedge all well and good. That the same gap is resulting in a clear choice between Independence and the Tories – both Tory rule from Westminster and the Tories in Scotland – is the inevitable working out of the same process.

That is why all the Scottish left should now suspend dispute and get behind the SNP until after Independence, provided the referendum happens before the end of next year (which appears happily almost inevitable).


853 thoughts on “Labour’s Failure and Institutional Analysis

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  • fred

    Congratulations to JK Rowling for winning book of the year at the British Book Awards. Scotland should be proud of her.

      • Habbabkuk

        Sharp Ears has said harsh things about J.K.Rowling but that’s because she’s got a down on successful people and especially on successful women

        Sad to see “Republicofscotland” going down the same road.

        • Sharp Ears

          Ask Craig about Rowling and her interference in the Scottish referendum.

          She also opposes the Artistic BDS on Israel.

          I took great satisfaction putting some avocados back this morning, saying so that those around heard – ‘I’m not having those. They are Israeli grown on stolen land’.

          • glenn

            “Interference”?

            You mean she’s not allowed to campaign in public matters, other than on the side of which you approve?

          • Habbabkuk

            “I took great satisfaction putting some avocados back this morning, saying so that those around heard – ‘I’m not having those. They are Israeli grown on stolen land’.”
            _____________________

            And anyone who bothered to listen thought “what the f*** is this nutter going on about?”.

          • Habbabkuk

            “She also opposes the Artistic BDS on Israel. ”
            ____________________

            As do the majority of academics and people in the creative arts. Good for J.K.!

          • Sharp Ears

            I have no views. It’s HER inconsistency that bugs me,

            In 2014, she was opposed to Scottish Independence and gave £1m to the Better Together campaign.

            Craig in October last year….:
            ‘A year ago I published about Daisley:
            It is amazing to me that a supposed “journalist” working for a broadcaster would be so completely open about their anti-SNP, unionist, anti-Corbyn and far right agenda. Daisley is only very small beer, a stinking, sweating foot-soldier of the forces of reaction. But if you can stand it, the way the unionist establishment interacts and thinks is revealed very clearly from a study of his twitter feed. Messages are exchanged with Aaronovitch of Murdoch, Nick Cohen of the Guardian, with John McTernan of the Blairites and with J K Rowling of the 1%, and a great many others. The SNP and Corbyn are smugly derided by all. These well-paid state supporters live in a cosy Panglossian paradise and have contempt for anyone who is not “in”.’
            https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/10/ugliest-face-unionism/

            Now following the vote to leave the EU, she has a different view.

            I cannot stick her.

            JK Rowling: Scotland will see independence after Brexithttp://mashable.com/2016/06/24/jk-rowling-brexit-scottish-referendum-independence/#Um0WA0Of.PqZ

        • JOML

          Only if you don’t understand where I’m coming from, hence the reason it was addressed to Fred. Funningly enough, I find it humorous that you find another person’s comment “stupid “. Each to their own, etc.

  • Republicofscotland

    The police are likely to recommend indicting Israeli PM Netanyahu, over accepting illegal gifts. There are currently multiple investigations, into the conduct of Netanyahu.

    “Details of the probes into Mr Netanyahu have been scarce, and it was reported in June that the Chief of the Israeli Police Roni Alsheikh had demanded they be conducted in total secrecy. ”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/benjamin-netanyahu-corruption-investigation-police-bribery-a7574391.html

    Pity the Hague, haven’t the gumption to look into Israel’s activities regarding the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

    • Habbabkuk

      “The police are likely to recommend indicting Israeli PM Netanyahu,… etc..”

      ________________________

      There you go, RoS : as I’ve said before, Israel is a state under the rule of law and even the highest politician in the land is not immune from the due process of law.

      Just close your eyes for a moment and imagine “President” Assad, “President” Nicolas Maduro Moron or any of this blog’ s other poster boys being investigated by the police with a view to prosecution 🙂

  • Republicofscotland

    “The United States has blocked the appointment of former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to lead the UN mission in Libya, in a move intended to reassure the Tel Aviv regime of the new US administration’s support for Israel at the world body.”

    One has to wonder, in what state the oppressive apartheid military state of Israel would be in, if the Great Satan decided not to be its attack dog any longer.

    Would they still be as arrogant, sly, war like in nature, with a oppressive attitude towards Palestinians? I wonder?

    • Habbabkuk

      Nice bit of Israel-hating there, RoS, keep it up and you’ll feel you’ve grown a pair 🙂

        • Habbabkuk

          Since the following :

          “oppressive apartheid military state” of Israel”, ” its attack dog” , “arrogant, sly, war like in nature”

          are no more than your “truth”, yes, you’re indulging in Israel-hating;

          And not for the first time either 🙂

          • D_Majestic

            Known as free speech, old boy. Sadly it’s getting less and less popular in the West as time goes on.

          • Sharp Ears

            As Corporal Jones used to say ‘They don’t like it up ’em!’, ‘they’ being the Israel lovers when told some truths. I

          • michael norton

            I think they also say that in France, these days.
            How are the Presidential candidates mapping out, will Hollande pull the election because of terror?

  • J

    “The problem with the EU as a cause is that…”

    I liked the way Ken Loach summed up the ambivalence in his address to the European film Awards in January:

    “The left had a dilemma, and the dilemma was this – and I’m talking about the serious left, I’m not talking about the social democrats who I see as centre-right anyway, so let’s not discuss the social democrats in this context! The social democrats have been central to the attacks on workers’ rights. You think of Blair; you think of the pressure in France at the moment. They don’t represent the interests of the people; they represent the interests of business. Let’s speak of the serious left. For the serious left, it was a tactical question. Because if you grant that the European Union is a neoliberal organisation, then, how do you deal with that? Do you stay inside and work with left groups, express solidarity with groups like Podemos and Syriza (or what’s left of Syriza) and hope to change from within or do you stay outside and hope to weaken the whole project in order to establish something different? So it was a tactical question. The central analysis that the European Union is a neoliberal project was agreed, and that’s the next point I want to come onto, – is it true? Is it true that the European Union, stands not for the interests of the people but the interests of big corporations? That it’s been a central contributory factor to the British leaving, to the problems that we see around us? Or is it a benign organisation? People have talked about a social market which will work for the benefit of people. Or is it in fact working against the interests of people? And that is a really central question that I think all Europeans must consider.

    So, is it true? Is the EU to blame for the British rejection? Or in part to blame? I went back to the founding treaties of the European Union, and this is what you find: in the treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, article 119 says that, ‘states are required to adopt an economic policy conducted in accordance with an open market economy with free competition’. Article 120 says ‘states must act in accordance with the principles of an open market economy with free competition’. In other words, protections for working class people, planning how we organise our production, planning so that areas will not be left behind, planning so that we can make investments in new industries when the old industries have died and gone: that cannot happen. That’s there in the founding document; you can’t do that. And bringing it up to date, and there are many examples – and I’m not a specialist in European law by any means, but it’s quite easy to find out. To take one example of current practice, there’s something in this labyrinth of European instructions and organisations and proposals, something called, remarkably, the Fourth Railway Package. The key point in that is that it prevents renationalisation of the railways. Now, the main opposition party in Britain proposes taking the railways back into public ownership. The privatisation of the railways has been an absolute disaster, an unmitigated disaster: more expensive, more subsidy from central governments, chaos of competing companies using the same track, the track alternatively private, public, now going to be partly private again, absolute anarchy; you can’t buy a ticket for where you want to go in one station because it’s owned by a different company to another station. You couldn’t have a more ridiculous example of the appalling effects of privatisation. What does the Fourth Railway Package say? It requires all member states that have not already done so, to open rail services to the private sector. Ignore the evidence, get big business in to make a profit. That’s where the European Union stands.

    The trade treaties – for example TTIP, we’ve all been talking about TTIP and that seems to be dead in the water – but of course they have just signed one, CETA, with Canada. Large corporations will be able to sue governments, democratically elected governments, in special courts that are set up by the treaty. So where is our democratic process? Private companies can sue us. We democratically take a decision to move to public ownership to defend the environment, which will inhibit the big corporations from making as much money as they could; we’re taken to court and told ‘you can’t do that!’. Or penalised. Or fined. And it’s interesting that those on the right who talk about defending the country’s independence when it was a question of moving out of Europe, don’t seem too bothered by this. Not bothered by this lack of independence. Not bothered either by the lack of independence in our defence arrangements, our nuclear deterrent depends on the United States. No question of losing our independence there to bother the far right! Independence was a slogan, but when it comes to the interests of big business, forget it. And that was the hypocrisy at the heart of the leave campaign. Our ability, as democratic states, to take decisions in the interests of the people are undermined when the European Union signs a trade agreement which creates courts of law that can give corporations the right to decide things that we should democratically decide ourselves. It affects issues of privatisation or taking things back into public ownership, like the postal services, which have been privatised, or the utilities: gas, water and electric. These are natural monopolies with no part for big corporations to play but again, the EU would inhibit, or does inhibit, our right to take them back into public ownership. So, the right wing claim they want national independence, but if it’s a toss-up between business and your democratic rights, they’ll choose big business.

    How has the European Union performed in the courts? Well, again European Union courts prioritise the interests of corporations over the interests of workers and over the interests of trade unions. Again, I’m not a lawyer, but it’s easy enough to find out. There’s been whole series of cases: Viking, Rüffert, Laval and Luxembourg cases, where the interests of corporations override the interests of people at work. One example is posted workers, where workers coming from countries where wages are cheaper can be employed according to the wages in that country. That undermines collective agreements. A union makes an agreement, and then it’s undermined by the European Union.

    There’s a question of the freedoms, the free market in labour. And the free market in labour is a difficult one for people on the left, because the people on the right take great delight in making immigrants the enemy, and people on the left are determined not to do that, and to see people who come to work as fellow members of the working class. And there should be unity between us, absolutely. But equally, if there’s a free market, then the employer will choose the labour that is cheapest, that’s the point of the market. Paul Laverty and I had a good example of this when we researched a film called It’s a Free World, and we went to a farming area in the east of the country. We met a group of women, middle-aged women, who had come from the Baltic countries, and they were brought over to work the fields. They all lived in one house in dormitory rooms; they had had to pay to get there, to come from their own country; they had to pay to live there in this house – they were living six in a room, or seven in a room – pay that rent; pay transport to the fields where they were working and then were paid – well we reckoned, if it wasn’t the minimum wage, then it was probably just below the minimum wage. With these reductions they were getting much less than the minimum wage. They were taken there by bus; they worked eight, ten hours, taken back to their house. They went out one day a week, when they put on their best clothes to go to the supermarket to buy food. And that was their life. And we said to the people who were employing them, ‘why don’t you use local people?’ The people who had worked the farms were out of work in the villages, and in the towns – ‘why don’t you employ these people?’ And the guy said, “Well if they want to live in my house, if they want to pay for their transport to the fields and if they want to work for this wage, then yes, but they don’t”. Well of course they don’t! They couldn’t live on the money. That’s the reality of the free market in labour. And I think it does the left no good to deny that. We have to confront that’s what that free market means.

    And the same is true for the free movement of capital: if the free movement of capital – a key pillar of the European Union – if that has a reality, it means factories close in one country, the investment goes somewhere else where the labour is cheap. And again, that’s the reality. Of course, it’s not only within Europe, it’s global. And we see work being taken to other parts of the world, and we see areas lying desolate. And again, that’s the reality.
    How has the European Union acted when there have been particular critical moments? Well, we have a classic case in Greece. What the European Union has done to the Greeks is devastating, humiliating, totally undemocratic and should not have happened. One of the great stains on the European Union’s history. Greece was given loans it has no chance of repaying. The money goes to the creditors; it’s not there to reinvest in the country. The great benefit of this? Well we know the assets are sold. There’s a fire sale, so all the great things the Greek people have worked for – sell them off, sell them off to private corporations. And that’s the name of the game isn’t it? That’s the name of the game.
    It’s not a great balance sheet when you’re selling the European Union to people; it’s not a great balance sheet. And that was the left’s dilemma. Do we stay within that and try and change it or do we leave? I mean, I voted to stay, because the danger is that the UK government will be even worse. That’s not a good prospect. And again, we wanted to stay in solidarity with left groups across Europe. But it was a tough choice; it was a tactical decision.

    Now, what are the consequences for the people that we know, the communities that we live amongst, work amongst – what are the consequences? And I have to say the process to which the EU has contributed – it goes a long way back – it began with the Chicago economists, didn’t it, and then it was taken up with delight by Reagan and Thatcher, capitalism red in tooth and claw. It kicked off in our country in ’79, ’80 and we had factory closures, unions defeated, wages lowered, mass unemployment, alienation. And that’s been there ever since, mitigated some years, boom and bust, but substantially that’s the process. And it seems to us that the European Union has been a part of that; it’s been implicated in that project for the reasons I’ve tried to outline very briefly. So, what is the reality in people’s daily lives?”

    http://www.europeanfilmawards.eu/en_EN/ken-loach-keynote#

    • Hieroglyph

      That’s a good find, and encapsulates the ambiguity far better than I ever could. I’m not in Europe anymore, but I probably would have voted leave – just. Or perhaps stay – just. It was a tough call.

      “But there are two major problems with the left criticism of the EU. The first is its willingness to be hijacked to the racist cause with the economically illiterate argument that immigration means competition for the fixed number of jobs, and thus drives down the living standards of British workers.”

      I’m afraid that’s what people are seeing on the ground. Actually, I agree it’s not just the immigration that drive wages down (and the inflation measure is patently a con job). Unemployment, and union-bashing, helps keep people in line, and not asking for too much. However, a pro-EU case has to argue convincingly that immigration is a positive for the economy, and this, to my mind at least, this been done, or at least not effectively. Perhaps Craig could explore this topic further? I suspect that ‘open borders’ was just part of a package, to ensure wages are kept down, and this is what Loach discusses. I’ve no problem with immigrants; I am one. But, corporate big dicks are not socialists, and using free-movement of labour to weasel the rules and drives down costs is just what they do. Not the fault of your poor Polish brickie of course, but a fact none the less. Also, the EU is totally corrupt, much like the US. Perhaps staying in and cleaning house is a better strategy, but it’s a fine line.

      • giyane

        In the electrical installation world the government has legislation requiring high standards, which UK nationals are aware of and have to comply with, but it does not enforce them at Building Control level which allows appalling standards to prevail. The concepts involved in best practise are quite esoteric.
        Like the difference between painting by numbers and real art.

        The problem is that the ignorant and the immigrant may for completely different reasons be completely unaware of the underlying principles of the work, and therefore do less and charge less. I have tried charging less as well, but get criticised for doing more. People think you are trying to make it more complicated in order to charge more.

        Then the white collar people who get interviewed say there’s a skills shortage. There’s no shortage of skills, but the people with skills are not wanted because the people without the skills work faster. In this game nobody’s bothered about the cost of having to rectify basic faults after the place has been decorated and the property sold.

        There is no point in government training to standards that its own employees do not supervise and enforce. Why train masterchefs to work in MacDonalds? The only thing the Left is interested in is pay differentials and the only thing the Right is interested in is pay costs. Somewhere between the two politics is a very hard-working electrician doing it for love and spending his weekend doing the paperwork. That includes the hard-working immigrants who work hard to comply with the rules.

        If I was a cow I wouldn’t give 2 litres of milk for £1.60. But as an electrician I’m doing it for a lot less than £1.00

    • Habbabkuk

      I surprised the Mod didn’t cut all of that and just leave the link, that’s what happened to me once. Mind you, I was probably quoting from an Israel-friendly article or something equally heinous 🙂

      • bevin

        Yes it happened to me once too, and I was not quoting from a fascist friendly article.
        In this case the Moderators were absolutely right: J’s 20:15 comment is the best thing, among many good things, on this page.

        • Habbabkuk

          As so often, Bevs, you miss the point (it is not for me to say whether deliberately or out of ignorance).

          The point is that J’s post was not a “comment”. It was a very long cut-and-paste from somewhere else.

          Got it now?

    • Resident Dissident

      “I liked the way Ken Loach summed up the ambivalence in his address to the European film Awards in January:”

      Well I suppose it makes a change from thanking the world and his dog. I bet most of the luvvies went to the bar.

    • philw

      Thanks for that, J.

      Ken Loach is really very good and knows his stuff. It forms a good rebuttal to Craig.

      Craig says “The second and more subtle trap into which the left falls is to view the EU as a set of policies. It is not a set of policies, it is a supra-national institution. At the moment its policies tend towards the neo-liberal because at the moment Europe, and especially the UK, is dominated by neo-liberal governments…”. But the EU is not a neutral institution, that could be used for left-wing ends – it institutionalises policies. It has neo-liberalism built in. This is not to say that it could never be changed. But it is a hugely uphill job. If the left-wing groups in individual countries are prevented from delivering their agendas, as Syriza in Greece, then they will struggle to hold on to voters who will turn to right-wing populist alternatives. Without left-wing governments in individual countries how do we reform the EU? It’s Catch-22. I respect Varoufakis and Diem, but I cannot see how they get round it.

      Craig, on the other hand, simply has his head in the sand on this matter – hence the dismissal of all Brexiters as racist.

      • Iain Stewart

        “I respect Varoufakis and Diem, but I cannot see how they get round it.”
        The proposal is for a new treaty. See also Benoît Hamon and Thomas Piketty.

        • philw

          To be worthwhile a new treaty has to basically imply a new institution. This will only happen with the breakdown of the current EU. UK leaving is contributory to that.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      J,

      I am a massive fan of Ken Loach…since when I was a kid in Oldham.

      He did this film in Barnsley – just across The Pennines.

      Kes was a “Drama” but to me much of it looked like a documentary. It could have been filmed in my school in Oldham.

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064541/

      I think I understand why Craig Murray does not share Ken Loach’s view of The EU, but no one is going to change his mind by argument, which is a pity – cos otherwise I think he is a very decent bloke.

      A lot of people quite obviously have the same problem.

      Tony

    • Laguerre

      Although I only read what was quoted, Loach does not talk of ‘ambiguity’, only of the disadvantages of the EU. He does not apparently mention that the alternative is certainly likely to be worse. It’s much like Syria. People go on about how evil Asad is, which is only moderately the case, and all the time forget that the alternative, a jihadi government in Syria, would be a hundred times worse.

      The problem comes with Loach’s presentation of the EU as dictatorial. It is not. It is more democratic than Britain. It has a set of rules which can be exploited – it does not forbid renationalisation, by the way, only dictate that such a move should be competitive. Everybody else does that to great advantage. Only the British whinge. As Loach whinges.

      • Laguerre

        Anyway, Juncker will be leaving soon. He’s said he won’t be standing again. As Craig says, you shouldn’t confuse institutions with the policies of particular personalities.

    • Babushka

      This profound piece reminds me of my early days in the fifties as an immigrant child in Australia, living amongst traumatised “displaced persons” who had been recruited from post WWll camps in Europe.
      In my case, and experience, the women and children were treated with relative dignity (although the boys got the cane, while the girls got a gentle ruler on the back of the legs)
      The men were little more than slaves, working extremely long, back breaking hours for peanuts in hell holes like abattoirs and hydro electricity schemes. One haunting, poignant account is set in Tasmania is “The Sound of One Hand Clapping”.
      I was compelled to renew my “Alien” registration long after I was married to an Australian army officer.

      All the while, my young and energetic parents resolutely built their New Lives as Model New Australians, in their far-flung colonial convict outpost.
      These days it seems that not even the tiny luxuries enjoyed by my parents then, are available to the workers described in these posts.

      Exploding nuclear power stations, a mysterious gaping hole in the spillway of major dam in Northern California…surely the uber rich must know that Life on this Planet won’t be anything like they expect, if this rate of wanton destruction continues.

  • Sharp Ears

    The state broadcaster doesn’t want us getting the word from anyone but itself.

    Nato says viral news outlet is part of “Kremlin misinformation machine”
    ‘In the world of viral news, it’s a relative baby – but it’s already become so controversial that a Nato spokesperson told BBC Trending that Sputnik is an agent of Russian misinformation.

    Sputnik was set up in 2014 and puts out podcasts, radio shows and text stories which are shared thousands of times a day on Twitter and Facebook. It’s recently been adding international bureaux, including a UK headquarters in Scotland.

    But at the same time Sputnik has also been on the receiving end of criticism – by US intelligence agencies, the British defence secretary, and now by Nato, who says it is part of a “Kremlin misinformation machine.”‘
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-38936812

    1,080 words. A real hatchet job. Methinks they doth protest too much.

    Craig was speaking on it recently. I thinks its website looks fresh and good news gathering.
    https://sputniknews.com/

  • K Crosby

    ~~~~~The EU can very much be a force for good.~~~~~

    Bullshit, it’s a billionaires’ masturbation club. Ask the working class, ask the Greek working class, ask the Ukrainian working class ask the Palestinians, the Syrians, Libyans, Yemenis, Bahrainis…..

    Exit has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with opposing the fascist pigs who run the country.

    • giyane

      K Crosby

      The fascist pigs who run the country have ground the real value of wages down through immigration.
      I used to charge £10 p.h in 1980. I was working for £12 p.h this week. Ask the Kurds if they were better off under Saddam Hussain than under the criminal government of Barzani. Ask anyone affected by neo-con aggression whether they were happier under the evil dictators or now under the heel of Islamic terrorists.

      Brexit was an act of sabotage by working people against fascist neo-cons. Obviously the neo-cons have to keep smiling bravely while they spend zillions of hours and pounds they haven’t got getting the machinery working again. I think they are now getting the message that further sabotage is planned. Unfortunately the leaks which disposed of Clinton have not yet manifested themselves in the UK middle classes.

      Corbyn pulling the emergency chain over his members opposing Brexit has not exactly good opposition. Is there a feeling that if the middle classes joined in the sabotage of the Tory machine, the whole fucking edifice might collapse bringing down not only the Tory red and blue parties, but a hell of a lot of asbestos dust and boulders in between?

      • K Crosby

        Immigration is a smokescreen for moral cowards to hide behind. The quantity and quality of jobs is determined centrally through employment law and police with big sticks.

        • giyane

          I haven’t had a job for most of my working life. I have either been self-employed, temporarily employed or papered over the cracks of occasional employment by having my own company.
          I’m not aware of any central organisation of employment except for the Jobcentres who tell you to go home and go online, or G.P.s who tell you to change your job if you are physically not fit enough to do your present one.

          I did have a job for a short time in a small office which did nothing and sold nothing. It was rather well paid but there wasn’t any work to do. I have the moral courage not to blame anyone for providing or not providing me with a living. I work round the malign intentions of the Tory government. There is always work to do. God provides.

    • Paul Barbara

      There can be little doubt racism was at work; people voted OUT for various reasons. I voted out for basically the same reasons you speak of; being run by faceless Eurocrats selected by the Banksters and Corporations, as part of an ever more ‘Centralised’ eventual One World Gulag.
      Glad the blogs back!
      Earlier I kept getting:

      [Mod: Error text removed while this is investigated. Most probably a bizarre bug in a WordPress addon but being looked into further]

  • Tony_0pmoc

    I came across The Saker’s website about a year before The US Neocons – driven by (Victoria Nuland’s FU EU) coup in the Ukraine.

    The Saker, born in Switzerland – but whose parents come from Russia is a very clever, and courageous young man who actually now lives in The USA.

    I do not watch TV, but I did follow most of the videos uploaded to Youtube on The Saker’s website as well as the detailed analyses written in English.

    The Saker is still alive with his wife and family.

    Mikhail Sergeyevich Tolstykh ( Givi ) isn’t.

    He was assassinated 4 days ago.

    The moral of this story would appear to be “Do not give Interviews to The UK’s Daily Telegraph”

    https://www.sott.net/image/s18/377207/full/Givi_RIP.jpg

    Tony

    • Resident Dissident

      Or fight in illegal wars and then abuse your prisoners. Why do you think he was singled out for inclusion on the EU sanctions list?

      • Tony_0pmoc

        Resident Dissident, I saw the video at the time. Givi, just stuffed his military metal badge in the prisoners mouth.

        He knew what the US Neocon controlled UkroNazi’s had been doing to his mates.

        Assuming he is still alive which he probably is…no parts of his body were cut off and stuffed in his mouth so far as I know. Such details would have leaked out.

        Givi was merely defending his country from attack by the American and British Extreme Right Wing Neocon Nazis.

        I can dig it out if you like, but I’d rather not.

        The war in the Ukraine was always completely ridiculous.

        I just want them to stop.

        Not kick it all off over again.

        There is no future in that.

        Tony

        • Resident Dissident

          There was whle lot more than in the video – interesting however how you justify the abuse by that committed by others. This is why we have the Geneva convention and why you are now eulogizing a war criminal.

    • Habbabkuk

      Will Mme Le Pen even make it through to the second round of the French Presidential? I wonder if her vote won’t be squeezed from opposite sides by Messrs Macron and Hamon in the first round.

      • Laguerre

        You’re wrong, I think. Le Pen will make it into the second round. She’s made some good speeches recently. Hamon doesn’t have a chance. Present thinking still seems to be Le Pen vs Macron in the second round.

  • bevin

    Resident Dissident:
    ..you can dismiss the 84 witness statements as pure hearsay.”
    Most of what you call ‘witnesses’ would not be accorded that status in any court not run by marsupials. They might as well be figments of the imagination, and they probably are. It is known that the British government offers Syrians enormous sums of money to produce propaganda, no doubt these, otherwise incredible, ‘witness statements’ came out of one of the refugee relief budgets thoughtfully provided by the very people driving them from their homes.
    Has their been a shred of credibility in these ‘reports’ we would have heard by now from the seven year old girl blogger in Aleppo who is one of our media’s primary sources.

    • Resident Dissident

      As I said compulsive liar – you’ll be telling us next that Trotsky wasn’t responsible for the Kronstadt massacre or that he didn’t criticise Stalin for not being sufficiently “militarized” in the campaign to collectivize agriculture ie he didn’t kill enough kulaks.

      • bevin

        Now, now try and keep a civil tongue in your head-God knows there’s room enough.
        As to Trotsky’s culpability over Kronstadt, that is well established. The collectivisation campaign was carried out under the mistaken belief that capitalist extensive commodity production was a key ‘stage’ which it was necessary to go through in order to enjoy the “benefits” of capitalist industrialisation. It was a very sad example of the infection of mechanical pseudo marxist thought in high places, not unlike the Groundnut scheme in fact or what happened in Clare’s Northamptonshire

        • Resident Dissident

          “The collectivisation campaign was carried out under the mistaken belief that capitalist extensive commodity production was a key ‘stage’ which it was necessary to go through in order to enjoy the “benefits” of capitalist industrialisation”

          And of course it had nothing whatsoever to do with getting rid of the hatred kulak class and starving millions to death in the process. It’s funny how these little details, and others such as the syphilitic Lenin establishing the KGB and the gulags or the imperialism of the Soviet Union, are always glossed over as slight errors on the part of the autocrats you support rather than pointing to fundamental flaws in their political philosophies.

          • bevin

            The Soviet Union to which I imagined that you were referring was the one on this planet, not the fantasy world that Applebaum and Conquest put together for the amusement of Blairites who dress up as Dissidents on the weekend while supporting everything that the powers that be want.
            By the way , have you ever heard about the Jallianwala Bagh, or the 1943 ‘famine’ in Bengal that killed 4 millions? They were roughly contemporaneous with the events to which you refer. They differ in several ways-the pilgrims in Amritsar were not armed and included women and children- but most notably they were deliberate acts not of some foreign revolutionaries but of British Civil Servants and politicians, everyone of whom retired, honourably with fat pensions and lived among the applause of the Blairites and Tories of that and every succeeding generation.

          • Habbabkuk

            Bevs

            I think you’ll find out that the late,great Robert Conquest was writing (oh, sorry, “putting together his fantasy world” 🙂 )
            some time before the Blairites appeared on the scene?

            Seriously, though, it is strange that you should appear to be questioning the accuracy of Conquest’s writings about the Soviet Union (the GuLag, the Ukraine famine, the forced transfer of entire nationalities, etc). After all, even the Russians under Gorbachev and subsequently confirmed his facts. I fear that you are a sad case of denial – and that inevitably redounds on your credibility on other matters.

          • bevin

            Conquest was a gifted propagandist, nothing more or less. Like all propagandists he relied on truths which he used ‘with bad intent’- you know the drill, you do it all the time.
            Take that “Ukrainian Famine” for example- it was not Ukrainian at all, it extended far beyond the Ukraine’s borders, which it must be said, did not include much of what is currently called Ukraine, least of all Galicia from which the Holodomor nonsense emanates. There is no need for me to tell you this, but many readers of the blog are unaware of how deceitful Conquest was, leave alone the economic conditions in the Soviet Union in the late 1920s. These are complex matters.
            As to the arrival of the Blairites-there is nothing new about them. They have been around for centuries, they change their name when it becomes necessary to do so (it is necessary now, lads) but the nature of the nasty little carrion eating beast remains the same.

          • Resident Dissident

            Spot on Habba. Please note Bev’s claim about Trotsky’s culpability for Kronstadt – it has some bearing about our little side debate as to whether he is a Trot, a Stalinist or a Leninist. Howver, he is a busted flush regardless.

          • Resident Dissident

            “it was not Ukrainian at all, it extended far beyond the Ukraine’s borders, which it must be said, did not include much of what is currently called Ukraine, least of all Galicia from which the Holodomor nonsense emanates.”

            Yes the man made famine extended into Belarus and Russia – it clearly didn’t affect Galicia as Galicia belonged to Poland at that time. Eastern Galicia was only annexed by you Imperialist friends in 1939 following Molotov- Ribbentrop – and deportation of its Polish population to Siberia and Kazakhstan is of course one of the many other stains on the Soviet Union’s copybook.

            Yes I have heard of the Bengal famine and many other stains on the copybook of the British Empire – which is of course why we did the right thing in giving nearly all of it after WW2 – if only the Soviet Union and now Putin had given up their imperialist ambitions at the same time.

          • Habbabkuk

            “These are complex matters.”
            ____________________

            That’s a comment often heard from people who try to defend the indefensible, Bevs.

            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            As for your “As to the arrival of the Blairites-there is nothing new about them. They have been around for centuries”, that’s an interesting take even if it is Leninist or Troyskist.

            So here’s your task for this evening: who were the “Blairites” (and, opposed to them, the “Corbynites”) of the 1945-51 and 1964-70 Labour governments?

          • Resident Dissident

            The Bolsheviks have always hated social democrats with a vengeance – I think that is what Bevin means by “Blairites”.

  • Squonk

    Site Downtime:

    A currently unused WordPress plugin (addon) was trying to access part of the file-system it doesn’t have access to and tripped up over a security setting which blocked it. Why that happened isn’t clear at the moment but the offending plugin has now been removed from the system.

      • Sharp Ears

        Was that something to do with a list of links to social media sites (none of which I subscribe to) which appeared under the blog posts?

        I think as the situation in the world worsens, on all fronts, internet activity on social media sites increases.

        • Squonk

          Normally the share on social network links appear as horizontal coloured buttons on most devices however they were displaying as a default simple vertical list for some due to a cached version from when the site wasn’t initialising correctly. Anyone still seeing this should clear their browser cache.

          • Iain Stewart

            Thanks for sorting it out. Any idea where to purchase these tantalisingly described horizontal coloured buttons? 🙂

    • Habbabkuk

      “Yes Assad, is a dictator, yes democracy is sparse [ sic ] on the ground in Syria..”
      ___________________________

      Those sound like good reasons for not fawning over him on this blog.

        • Sharp Ears

          Assad has not stolen homes and land and has not occupied another country.

          Israel, not content with their appropriations so far, have their eyes on the Syrian Golan Heights.

          I forgot to mention the bounty underneath the Med that rightfully belongs to the Palestinians. Lovely oil and gas.

          • Habbabkuk

            Didn’t Assad père invade and occupy part of Lebanon for a while?

            PM – I don’t distinguish between the Old Brute and the Young Doctor; prefer to think of the “family firm”.

        • Habbabkuk

          “Oh I don’t know, Assad, Netanyhau, I wonder whose [ sic ] killed the most people? ”
          _______________________

          Assad fils, RoS, no contest. The citizens of his own country.

          And let’s not even talk about what the founder of the family firm, aka the Old Brute, got up to, eh?

      • bevin

        There is a difference between ‘fawning over’ a man and accusing him of heinous crimes which were in fact committed by his accusers.
        In the case of Assad, he is accused, by fans of imperialism (of the sort featured in your looking glass), of using poison gas and of being responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands-in fact both have been traced to the hands of the wahhabi militias employed by the US and NATO governments-over which you drool, breathlessly.

      • Laguerre

        “Those sound like good reasons for not fawning over him on this blog.”

        I haven’t seen any “fawning”. Nor would you if you were interested in the truth. Asad is a mild dictator, isn’t he, as you would expect of an ophthalmologist who practised in Acton. However Netanyahu’s people have told you to ramp him up as evil, so you do it. Very obedient you are. Me, I want peace in Syria, so that people can go home. But you prefer the jihadis in power in Damascus, because that is what Netanyahu wants.

        • Habbabkuk

          “I haven’t seen any “fawning”. ”
          _________________

          Then you haven’t been paying attention, mon cher.

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          ~”Asad is a mild dictator, isn’t he, as you would expect of an ophthalmologist who practised in Acton.”

          __________________________

          The second part of that is more ridiculous than the first. Have your ever wondered why he didn’t just stay in Acton and decline his father’s invitation to return to Syria to take over the family firm? (advance warning: answers like “because he was a good son” or “because he’s a Syrian patriot” won’t do).

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          “However Netanyahu’s people have told you to ramp him up as evil, so you do it”

          ___________________________

          A comment which says rather more about how you arrive at your views than it says about me 🙂

          ****************************

          I feel sorry for your students.

          • Laguerre

            “A comment which says rather more about how you arrive at your views than it says about me”

            Really? You following Netanyahu’s policy is said to be a comment about me? Not all Israelis follow Netanyahu’s policy, but you do. It’s getting quite fascisctic to suggest that only Netanyahu’s views are of value.

          • Habbabkuk

            “A comment which says rather more about how you arrive at your views than it says about me”
            _____________________

            Meaning the sort of person who accuses others of writing their comments from a script handed down by the PM of the State of Israel (how silly!) might well be doing exactly that himself. I mean, no normal person would come up with such nonsense. But someone following the instructions of a group like Hamas or Hizbollah might.

            All clear now, I hope?

          • Laguerre

            H

            A wonderful expression of denial! How could you do better to deny a truth than what you just said! Very subtly done.

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile in France.

    “Refugees sleeping on the streets in freezing conditions in Paris are having their blankets and sleeping bags stolen by police while being “violently” forced to move on, a report has found.”

    I’m pretty sure the likes of Anon1 and Norton, on learning this will, be physically excited by it all, what a way to get your jollies.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/refugee-crisis-paris-migrants-france-police-sleeping-bags-blankets-violence-refugee-rights-data-a7575376.html

    • giyane

      On the other hand I know of a refugee family who were taken by taxi to a hotel and put up for the night by the French Police.

      Are you sure we’re not being wound up for another UK bombing escapade by MSM moral outrage?

      • Republicofscotland

        Giyane.

        Re your first paragraph, oh well that one family’s treatment, evens up all the other injustices then?

        As for your second paragraph, why don’t you ask the immigrant in France that had a police baton shoved up his…..b…side, if its msm bluster.

        • giyane

          RoS

          Hollande has a plan with Erdogan for ethnically cleansing Kurds out of Turkey where they have lived since before the Turks came on the scene. They are supposed to move into the Al Qaida and Daegshit ethnically cleansed areas of Syria. Fortunately Hollande, the Parisian moped adulterer, forgot to put 2-stroke oil in his political petrol and the master plan has never got off the ground,

          Are we supposed to feel some sense of moral superiority over the French because we merely delegate violent extremism to proxy political Islam? Maybes there’s some kinda legionnaire honour in Robespierre-style state enforcement of sexual terror?

          Anyway the driving force behind all this, the US neo-cons, have been temporarily shafted by Pres Trump. Not before time.

        • Iain Stewart

          As a point of information, Théo is not an immigrant. He and his family have shown exemplary dignity after this case of police rape.

    • Laguerre

      I’m not convinced by this report. It could have happened – any police are notoriously racist. But when I passed this evening, the street-sleepers were tucked up as they normally do in the metro. There are hostels opened when it is cold.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, Saudi Arabia’s deputy premier and interior minister, has been presented with a CIA award for his work fighting terrorism.”

    F*ck me, and I thought Kissinger and Obama receiving the Nobel Peace prize, was the height of hypocrisy.

    To award a terrorist state minister, a worthless gong for killing and murdering under the guise of fighting terrorism, especially Saudi Arabia one of the worst terrorist backing states on the planet, leaves me speechless.

    https://www.rt.com/usa/377087-cia-awards-saudi-antiterrorism/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=aplication_chrome&utm_campaign=chrome

  • eldudeabides

    Craig claims: “We currently have a more right wing government than I imagined the UK would ever see in my lifetime, and it is riding a tide of racist populism in England and Wales, barked on by a far right media whose ownership and world view is ever more concentrated…..

    The EU can very much be a force for good.”
    ———————————————————–

    Nonsense.

    The left versus right thing has very limited relevance in modern decades.

    The real battle is between Globalists and Ordinary People.

    And how any sane person can continue to argue about the benefits of the EU, is well beyond me. 16 million people in the UK, some 25% of the population, have less than 100 quid to their name. The elite love their EU vehicle. It’s a money maker for the elite.

    And as well as holding one’s nose in Brussels, one also has to ask why EU leaders have not been charged with war crimes (aiding and abetting dark prisons, torture and rendition).

    • Stu

      The battle is between the people stealing all the wealth and everyone else.

      You will notice that your anti EU heroes – Banks, Hammon, Farage, Boris, Gove – are all wealth thieves extraordinaire.

      • Loony

        There are some other “anti EU heroes” Try people like Michael Foot through to George Galloway. Corbyn is somewhere on this spectrum too.

      • eldudeabides

        Stu said: “You will notice that your anti EU heroes – Banks, Hammon, Farage, Boris, Gove – are all wealth thieves extraordinaire.”
        ——————————————–

        how’s your pals these days, Davy Cameron and Osborne?

        And not forgetting all your other mates, big business and the main stream media (all parked offshore).

    • Republicofscotland

      “And how any sane person can continue to argue about the benefits of the EU, is well beyond me. 16 million people in the UK, some 25% of the population, have less than 100 quid to their name.”

      ___________

      I fail to see how the above, could possibly be laid at the EU’s door. However, if it were laid at Westminster door a case could be made.

      Such as the British government spending billions of taxpayers money bailing out their bank buddies, or the British government, pushing for a low wage economy in Zero hour contracts, again aiding their rich Tory donor employers.

      Or how about the British governments perverted fascination with extreme austerity, or the British governments insistance on renewing obsolete nuclear weapons at a unimaginable cost to the taxpayer.

      Or the exponential rise in the Privy Purse, or the need to spend billions more taxpayers cash on building not one, but two aircraft carriers, when the NHS in England, (which was abolished in 2012) is stretched to the limit.

      If you think things are bad now inside the EU, just wait till we’re out. Then you’ll really have something to gripe about.

      • michael norton

        Or Rolls Royce making ships that are guided by robots – no need for human workers, so no more need for immigrants.
        Scotland will become a wasteland if you stay in the E.U. they will suck you dry,
        like are are doing to Ireland / Portugal / Hungary / Spain / France / Italy / Cyprus / Greece.
        The E.U., will probably end up being Luxembourg / Poland / Austria and GERMANY

        • Republicofscotland

          “Scotland will become a wasteland if you stay in the E.U. ”

          ______
          Norton.

          On the contrary, Scotland will become a much poorer place if it’s dragged out of the EU. For Scotland receives hundreds of millions in EU grants, for farming etc, one would be foolish to think that Westminster would give assurances, that they will pay it after we leave the EU.

          Just like they gave the assurance of £350 million, that would go back into the English NHS after we leave the EU.

          As for “sucking Scotland dry” Westminster has been doing that for decades now.

          • michael norton

            You people are labouring under a misunderstanding.

            The E.U. as you knew it, is almost done.
            France id fit to explode, even without nightsticks up the bottom.
            Fillon is about to be indicted, perhaps in the next month, he is history.
            The ruling Socialist Elite are history.
            The Quisling Macron has been stealing money from the French state to prop up his campaign.
            He is bating of suggestions he has been having a relationship with a male person, whilst being married to his school teacher, yes, his school teacher.
            Marine has ripped off the E.U. this will give her even more credibility with the down-trodden French workers.
            She is leading the polls.
            More and more people think she will become the First Woman of France.
            She will trigger Frexit.
            Without France sucking up to the tit of Germany, the present E.U. is done.
            Italy is staggering into financial catastrophe.
            Wake up Scotland, you could soon be leaving a 300 year old Union for a crock of shit.
            There is no pile of gold under the rainbow, you have to earn your keep.

          • Laguerre

            MN, Your post is even more fantasy-heavy than usual.

            The French police are notoriously racist, as are most police forces. The minorities are not about to vote for Le Pen.

            Quite why the fact that Macron married his school teacher should be a problem escapes me. Or indeed if he is gay, if he is. Private life is not an issue in France.

            You don’t bother with the electoral mechanics, which make it improbable that Le Pen will be elected. And then again, even if she is elected, one MP (député) is not enough to change the law.

            If what you present as reasons the EU is about to fail are all there is, the EU will still be going strong when you’ve passed on.

          • Loony

            You sound like a beggar. “I like the EU because it will give me more money than England will give me”

            Those who demand to be free cherish freedom for its own sake. You can never be free if you suck from the teat of patronage.

          • MJ

            “For Scotland receives hundreds of millions in EU grants, for farming etc”

            Unfortunately for Scotland, if it wants to be out of the UK but in the EU, it will have to pay its own membership subs to cover its EU income, plus a chunk more to keep the EU edifice standing. Until now Scotland has been picking up bumper EU grants while the cost has been borne by the UK as a whole. That’s all going to come to an end I’m afraid.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Republicofscotland February 12, 2017 at 19:50
            But WHICH ‘farmers’ get the dosh? The megabuck farmers, I suspect.
            You don’t like being governed from London? But you’re OK to be governed by faceless Eurocrats SELECTED by Banksters and Corporatists? Do you REALLY believe they would have your, or Scotland’s, interests at heart?
            If Scotland has things others want, they will find a market.
            ‘Build a better mouse-trap’….
            IN the EU, Scotland will be dragged into NATO’s wars, whether they want to be or not.
            Independent, it can say ‘No way, Jose’.

          • eldudeabides

            republicofscotland – why are you determined to stay aboard a sinking vessel.

            the EU is finished. The party is over.

            Greece is in turmoil. Italy, Spain and the Rep of Ireland in dire straits.

            Holland, France and Italy seeking to hold referenda in the close future.

            I’d like to see the criminals in Brussels prosecuted before the show ends.

          • michael norton

            Well put eldudeabides,
            yes the hated, corrupt, non-democratlc European Union, is grinding down to dust.

        • nevermind

          don’t worry about Rolls Royce, Michael, they will be looking to manufacture were they have access to large markets and modern expertise, which could be Scotland within the EU.

  • Habbabkuk

    Will Mme Le Pen even make it through to the second round of the French Presidential? I wonder if her vote won’t be squeezed from opposite sides by Messrs Macron and Hamon in the first round.

  • michael norton

    Tadef
    Some of you Israel haters might find these snippets of information to your taste.
    Tadef is two miles from al-Bab, which has been re-taken by the forces of the Syrian Government, it is on the road to al-Raqqah,
    which is the capital of Islamic State, in Syria.
    The Turks have taken al-Bab
    the Turks intend to take a massive swathe of Northern Syria, this was always their intention.

    Look up Tadef, it was mostly J*** living there.

    • nevermind

      And where have they moved to Michael, to Israel? were they have no constitutional rights?
      or could they have asked for asylum in Iran? were their traditions and religious freedom is enshrined in the Constitution?

    • michael norton

      “The battles began a short while ago to complete what had been achieved yesterday,” said a commander of a leading FSA group fighting in al-Bab, who requested anonymity.
      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-albab-idUSKBN15O100

      Now here is a question, why would The Free Syrian Army, need to request anonymity?

      The Free Syrian Army was started by Turkey in Hatay Province, which decades earlier Turkey had stolen from Syria.
      Almost everyone is a Turkish Citizen or an ethnic Turk.
      This is where the Russians bombed the Turks – but said sorry, it was a warning.

      • michael norton

        This is a war, welcomed and probably initiated by Turkey to steal all of Northern Syria, no doubt under the watchful auspices
        of OBOMBA to mess up Iran

    • Laguerre

      “the Turks intend to take a massive swathe of Northern Syria, this was always their intention.”

      More fake news. The Turkish offensive has come to a halt. The objective remains unclear, but the idea that it was intended to block the Syrian Kurds from joining up with their relatives to the west in Afrin remains the most probable. It’s an old idea that the Turks want to recover North Syria – it’s impossible, and even Erdogan should have figured it out by now.

  • RobG

    Lots of riots this month in France…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr_e3En-Xus

    … as the plebs continue to protest against all things neo-con. There’s quite literally a revolution going on, which I’m sure you’ve read about in your favourite rag. The presstitutes’ views about the forthcoming French presidential election are also right on the mark (not).

    • Iain Stewart

      Cher Rob, are you referring to The recent protests in support of Théo the police rape victim in Bobigny? Or have you observed something else which would be “quite literally a revolution”? Could it be some of the “total chaos” which nobody else has noticed yet? Or could it be a little post prandial Sunday evening exaggeration?

      And could you explain your constant comparison of journalists with prostitutes? Are sex-workers such contemptable people in your view? Do you know any journalists personally, and have you shared your views with them? Or have you had a regrettable experience with either profession (if it was possible to distinguish them at the time)? 🙂

      • Habbabkuk

        Iain

        A lack of success with the fair sex (payant ou gratos) often leads to the excessive consumption of alcohol. 🙂

      • RobG

        Iain Stewart, if you believe that the mainstream media tell you anything resembling the truth you are sadly mistaken. A Good example is the recent Amnesty International report about torture in Syrian prisons, which has been widely proven to be total bullshit…

        https://off-guardian.org/2017/02/10/amnesty-international-admits-syrian-saydnaya-report-fabricated-entirely-in-uk/

        … just like everything else the presstitutes say about the ‘Syrian regime’ (which is in fact a democratically elected government). All this fake Amnesty International report points towards is that the psychos in Washington won’t slide away back into the slime, and they’re trying to re-ignite the conflict in Syria, which will kill huge numbers of innocent people.

        I’m sick to death of the egits who still buy into all the childish propaganda that totally corrupt western governments now churn out. I’m also sick to death of the government trolls and vermin who now infest boards like this (all on tax payer’s money). Black is white, down is up, blah, blah, blah.

        These vermin are all going to be dealt with; make no mistake about that.

        I hope this clarifies things.

        But perhaps you would prefer to remain in La La Land as they steal all your money and imprison you in a police state (it’s all been written into law, and people like me have been banging on about it for years now). I’m just about at the stage where I’m giving up trying too make people aware of what’s going on. Cue Dylan Thomas:

        Do not go gentle into that good night,
        Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
        Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

        Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
        Because their words had forked no lightning they
        Do not go gentle into that good night.

        Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
        Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
        Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

        Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
        And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
        Do not go gentle into that good night.

        Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
        Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
        Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

        And you, my father, there on the sad height,
        Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
        Do not go gentle into that good night.
        Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

        • glenn

          You think that Amnesty is in the business of telling flat out lies, RobG?

          You also believe that the Syrian regime “is in fact a democratically elected government”?

          My word.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ glenn February 12, 2017 at 23:44
            I was an active member of AI for years, then for ‘Action by Christians Against Torture’.
            I have been trying to get a comprehensive reply from Diana Sayed of AI since before Christmas; all she has sent is a link to their reports.
            I had sent her links which showed AI had the wrong end of the stick, but she has stopped replying. The other day I reiterated my request, and added the latest AI Report fiasco.
            My faith in AI has dissipated. In 2012 they elected Suzanne Nossel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzanne_Nossel) as Executive Director of AI USA. There was such a furore that she had to step down in January 2013.
            I’ll let you check out her pedigree! And what were her ‘achievements’ in the year she was Exec. Director? Why, in Afghanistan and Russia!

          • glenn

            Paul: I too was an active member of AI for years. Craig Murray himself was kind enough to give a talk I arranged for our local branch a few years back, to the appreciation of a very good turn-out.

            Their response over the compromised UK director Irene Khan a few years back, i.e. handing over to Khan and her assistant the best part of £1M for having to leave early for their astonishing incompetence (to do with Syria, as it happens), pissed me off considerably.

            All the same, I find it hard to take RobG at his word – which implies that AI just make up flat-out lies.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ glenn February 13, 2017 at 01:44
            AI USED to be very careful about carefully checking the information they put out; clearly, that is no longer the case.
            Just like the Guardian used to be a good paper, it has now been ‘nobbled’; I suspect the same has happened to AI.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Iain Stewart February 12, 2017 at 21:59
        ‘…And could you explain your constant comparison of journalists with prostitutes? Are sex-workers such contemptable people in your view…?’:
        I often use the term ‘presstitutes’ myself; it is not a denigration of prostitution, which is very largely brought on by necessity, in order to feed and house themselves and often their children.
        But the selling of a presstitute is far more harmful; it makes them complicit in the crimes, wars and lies that they are covering up, in order to pump out lying propaganda for the perps, and could lead to WWIII. It has already led to the wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, as well as murderous interventions and drone strikes in many other countries.
        Lies led to the Korean War, Vietnam, even America’s entry into WWI and WWII; the war against Spain (‘Remember the Maine’), the War to steal Texas, California and New Mexico (check ‘Spotty Lincoln’) and much more. It led to the Federal Reserve Mega-Scam.
        Here is a GOOD example: ‘German Journalist Blows Whistle On How the CIA Controls The Media’:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elgvr5Vb2m4

    • Laguerre

      What riots? The news hasn’t reached Paris. Burning cars is par for the course. Molotov Cocktails is when it gets serious. France has a wonderful revolutionary tradition.

      • RobG

        The French media is as tightly controlled as the UK and US media. It’s not much different from North Korea.

        Get real: there’s a revolution happening in France, and folks should not believe what the paid-for vermin on boards like this say.

        Are you saying that the RT piece I posted, which shows riots this month in France, is ‘fake news’.

        Ha!

        The response of the security service psychos/criminals shows that they are losing control, which is exactly what happened during the collapse of the Soviet empire.

        The plebs stopped believing all the bullshit.

        So go on then, explain why we have to invade and bomb the next country…

        • Laguerre

          No. You live in France, so you know as much as me. What is not clear is the revolution. By whom against what? The minorities perhaps but les blancs , non.

          • RobG

            Laguerre, watch and make up your own mind (it’s French language)…

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlnQ801wWf4

            In these uncertain times I’ll take a very large leap and say that the neo-con candidates (purportedly left and right wing) haven’t got a hope in hell of winning the presidency, and that includes Marine Le Pen. We will know in the next month or so who will be the next occupant of the Élysée Palace. I would hazard a guess that the next President might even be wearing jeans.

  • Dave

    The irony behind the growth of an SNP that favours open borders is their support is from voters opposed to mass-immigration who have rallied behind the SNP as a strong voice for Scotland to protect them from the globalisation that the SNP wants to further embrace. In England the same sentiment/revolt fed the growth of UKIP who blamed the EU, but the SNP fooled their voters by blaming England/London instead by pretending that austerity was a Tory rather than EU policy to save the Euro.

  • Habbabkuk

    Mme Le Pen will not be the next President of the French Republic but let us pretend for a moment that she will and that she will decree a referendum on FREXIT.

    I am certain that she would not win such a referendum.

    After all, the people would be voting on something rather more serious than a mere set of Treaty changes (even if those Treaty changes did bear the sonorous name “Constitutional Treaty”, aka Daddy Lisbon).

    • Laguerre

      So you’ve finally understood that Le Pen will not get a Frexit. It took you a while.

      There are lots of other reasons behind.

      • Dave

        I suspect Marine Le Pen’s policy is to secure the aims of Fexit within the EU. That is to seek reforms that strengthen the French interest within the EU. A return to Gaullism that weakened following UK entry and the reunification of Germany. But a smaller more French EU based on the idea that a threat to Leave is also a call to reform an institution. Difficult considering the power of Germany, but possible if Poland and Italy remain members.

      • Habbabkuk

        What on earth are you going on about, Laguerre? I’ve never believed that there will be a FREXIT (even if Mme Le Pen were to become the next French President – which she won’t) and accordingly have never said so. You have set up another straw man.

  • Habbabkuk

    I wonder if Mme Le Pen has her eyes on 2022? Having realised she won’t make it this time round and hoping for a 2017-2022 Presidency which will have done the unavoidable heavy lifting and made itself highly unpopular as a consequence. She would still be relatively young.

    • Laguerre

      No, Le Pen is the past. She has had her chance this time. Like Brexiters, she looks back to an imaginary past, of whom the voters will soon be dead. Macron, and this is what I like about him, is a man of the future, and ready to adapt to what the young want. It may turn out to be less succcessful than hoped, but at least the interests of the young will be served.

      • Habbabkuk

        I agree that Le Pen père is the past but would suggest that Mme Le Pen’s constituency is rather different from her father’s; she has succeeded to some extent at least in rebranding the National Front – which is not to say that the NF’s policies are any less odious. UKIP took a long time coming, after all. But let us wait and see nearer the time.

    • Loony

      As I understand it the appeal of Le Pen largely revolves around French nationalism. By 2022 the EU will be formally dead and buried so it must be a matter of some conjecture as to whether Mme Le Pen will have anything attractive to offer in a post EU world that came about without her assistance.

      If the French are to get off their knees then now is the hour – for history is impatient to be written.

      • Laguerre

        You make a lot of assumptions. The populist movement, so strong today, is likely to be dead and discredited by 2022. By then the Le Penist vision is unlikely to play still. Their elderly voters will be dead, and the young, who knows?

        • bevin

          “Like Brexiters, she looks back to an imaginary past, of whom the voters will soon be dead.”
          “The populist movement, so strong today, is likely to be dead and discredited by 2022.”

          Surely the past to which she looks back-one of Gaullist nationalism, strong economic growth, rising living standards (declining work hours, increasing wages)- is far from imaginary. Which I suppose is why you feel that as the old pass away and the new generation whose experiences are so different come in she will lose support.
          The likelihood of populist movements disappearing seems remote: they will disappear when they succeed or fail. And both will depend upon their coming close to power.
          The only likely alternative is for an authoritarian movement, promoting the same policies that Hollande, Sarko etc have pushed, decides that it has lost confidence in the people and will ‘reform’ whether they will it not, using force to do so.
          Which is where revolution comes in.

    • michael norton

      Habbs, Marine is almost certain to get it , this time, just like Brexit & The Scottish Donald
      did.

    • Sharp Ears

      Yes. Excellent.

      The appalling BBC, in the form of their reporter Will Gompertz, studiously avoided any mention of Loach or his award for Outstanding British Film, in their roundup of the event and the winners.

      I trust Wills and Kate and their followers were squirming in their seats when Loach spoke.

        • Sharp Ears

          Yes, they got round to it eventually.

          I was referring to the live broadcast as the ‘fest’ ended. A dull affair and subdued I thought. Fry is past his sell by date with his own silly and now predictable vocabulary.

      • Sharp Ears

        A nice piece on the film by Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian.

        ‘All of which has to bring us back to Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake. It is a film which has its doubters, who are uneasy with what are arguably rough edges, and I myself wouldn’t argue that it is flawless. But it has something which lacking in so many Brit social realist film, or any films at all. I, Daniel Blake has passion. It is enraged about injustice in the real world, and in Churchill’s words, sees no need to be impartial between the firemen and the fire. It is a movie which repeatedly hits the C major chord of unashamed idealism and standing up for the benefit claimant and the unemployed. This is an issue that has been revived again with the recent BBC drama The Moorside, about the Shannon Matthews case: how do you represent the working classes on screen? Loach and his longtime screenwriter Paul Laverty chose not to do that kind of big, real-life case of grisly irony and bad faith, but a fictional, researched conglomerate of a thousand, unsung little cases of people who are not in fact skivers or scammers, but people left exposed by the new political austerity. The I, Daniel Blake award was a ringing Bafta moment.’

        https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/feb/13/la-la-land-ken-loach-baftas-2017-verdict-peter-bradshaw

        • J

          Guardian can’t bring itself to state what ‘austerity’ means in this instance. A recently added Merriam Webster definition is as follows:

          “…the indenture of national populations through taxation without spending on projects for the populations taxed..”

          “…the practice of moving public money, via taxation, into private pockets through servicing financial sector gambling debts.”

      • nevermind

        he must have enjoyed his five minutes of limelight, Brian, and well deserved it was. I Daniel Blake is the best description of what is happening in reality, creeping fascism by a right wing cabal that harasses disabled people, the unemployed and those unfortunate to be homeless or poor.
        thank you Ken Loach.

  • Loony

    RBS is about to announce its 9th straight year of losses. Would the insanity that is RBS be a product of Scotland or of London. Either way how come the “force for good” that is the EU did not manage to prevent this fiasco?

    I note that both Scottish politicians and EU functionaries remain strangely silent when to comes to offering explanations. Maybe it is a Scottish disease as another lunatic bank was also based in Scotland. Or maybe it is an EU disease and problems have metastasized from Deutsche Bank. Or maybe it is all the fault of racist people who voted to leave the EU.

    …or maybe the game is over but the delusional populace have conspired to steal the referee;s whistle.

        • michael norton

          This is shocking
          David Davis criticised for ‘sexist’ Diane Abbott text
          Ministry of Truth
          Racist, Sexist, misogynistic
          he ticks most of the boxes

      • Loony

        You sound like a classic European.

        Let me tell you how it is. The EU has a Central Bank. The clue is in the name – it is called the European Central Bank. Among many other things it is responsible for EU banking regulation. Deutsche Bank is based in Germany and Germany is part of the EU hence the ECB has some jurisdiction over the activities of Deutsche Bank. Deitsche Bank has a derivatives portfolio in excess of $57 trillion – that is a lot of $’s.

        RBS is recognizing its losses – albeit on a piecemeal basis. Deutsche Bank is not. The fact that it is not recognizing its losses does not mean that it does not have losses. It is not recognizing its losses because the entity that should force it to do so, the ECB, is not forcing it. Therefore either the ECB is derelict in its duty or (and more likely) it is a component part of a massive criminal organization commonly known as the EU.

        • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

          You may recall that all outstanding derivatives contracts through Cantor Fitzgerald were forgiven after 9/11 when 658 of their employees on yje 105th floor of the WTC were murdered.

    • Babushka

      Loony please do not stop posting your views, even tho it seems people are not listening to you. Or worse, putting you down.

      “Seems” is the operative word here: sometimes it takes a while for the penny to drop.
      I for one am grateful for your posts.
      Thank you

      • Loony

        The problems of Monte dei Paschi are widely known. But then you are talking about an Italian Bank – not a German Bank. Always remember that under the EU you are living in a system where some members are provably more equal than others.

        Some people seem obsessed by apartheid and its latest manifestation in Israel but simultaneously are completely disinterested in the apartheid being busily erected by the EU.

        Prove your virtue – love a Palestinian and despise a Greek, for that surely is the path to heaven,

        • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

          The common currency (euro) was seen as the crowning glory of the EU but turned out to be its crowning folly.Back in 1966, Helmut Schacht, former Reichsbank governor and Finance Minister,pointed to this in ‘The Magic of Money’. For this monetary union to work, member states would have to pool or surrener their soverignty. Thus , one might argue that it was designed to fail in orfer to make such a surrender acceptable.

          • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

            Sorry, should of course be Hjalmar Schact(family from Schleswig-Holstein area, and he served as minister for the economy rather than finance, as well as president of the central bank.

          • Habbabkuk

            Kerchee

            Your posts leave me perplexed.

            Schacht wrote in 1966.

            However, the Werner Committee was commissioned to produce a report on Economic and Monetary Union in 1970 and reported in the same year; its report is widely regarded as the intellectual father of the single currency (the Euro) idea, as the following extract from the beginning of the report shows:

            “A monetary union implies inside its boundaries the total and irreversible convertibility of currencies, the elimination of margins of fluctuation in exchange rates, the irrevocable fixing of parity rates and the complete liberation of movements of capital. It may be accompanied by the maintenance of national monetary symbols or the establishment of a sole Community currency”).

            Werner reported in 1970 – the year of Schacht’s death – and Schacht wrote in 1966.

            The Werner report was only put into practical effect by the Maastricht Treaty of 1991 – 21 years after it was written and 25 years after Schacht wrote.

            I wonder if your original appellation – “Helmut” Schacht – does not mean that you were confusing Hjalmar Schacht, a pre-war German economy minister and President of the Reichsbank, with Helmut Schlesinger, a one-time President of the Bundesbank who was never a minister and who was notoriously sceptical about EMU?

  • Sharp Ears

    Well it’s time for Bibi to head for Washington. He has a lot on his plate.

    Netanyahu’s Meeting With Trump to Set Tone for U.S.-Israel Relations
    https://www.newssniffer.co.uk/articles/1324145/diff/1/2

    Spot the difference. ‘investigations’ becomes ‘inquiries’. LOL
    Before
    ‘Apart from the challenge from the right, the meeting comes at a difficult time for Mr. Netanyahu, as he faces at least three investigations into allegations of corruption.’

    After
    ‘Apart from the challenge from the right, the meeting comes at a difficult time for Mr. Netanyahu, who is facing at least three inquiries into allegations of corruption.’

    • Alcyone

      Operative words are “allegations of corruption.”

      What is your point? Aren’t you glad that the inquiries have not been brushed under the Persian carpet, or thrown into the Arabian Sea?

    • Habbabkuk

      It certainly is – or perhaps just rather mindless.

      As I have had occasion to say before: Israel is a state under the rule of law and even the highest politician in the land is not immune from the due processes of law. Justice is a live concept and will run its course, as it did in the case of former President Moshe Katsav.

      Unlike the position in various other states over whose leaders tend to fawn on this blog and elsewhere.

  • Alcyone

    Rolls-Royce braced for record £4bn loss as it counts cost of the plummeting pound and bribery fine

    Curiously, no mention here of the advantage to RR with the falling pound stimulating foreign sales and existing prices yielding higher Sterling revenues. And diversion activities merely in passing.

    Companies like RR should be leading the way to Make Britain Great Again post-Brexit.

    Is Theresa intimately in touch with the many top business CEOs around the land? Why is this not visible? There is No Economy without Business. Business without Economy is Blind; Economy without Business is Lame. (You read it first here.)

    How does Business lead the Economy to make Britain Great again. Discuss. Are the Tories best placed to lead this? Do they understand it? Are they up to it? Labour is certainly not.

      • Alcyone

        Thanks for your Contribution. There is no labour without the Entrepreneur, save some self-employed. All are to be Respected.

        • bevin

          “There is no labour without the Entrepreneur, save some self-employed. ”

          The whole of human history contradicts this fatuous statement: the entrepreneur is a parasite burdening labour and crippling humanity. The entrepreneur is the Pied Piper of greed leading life towards extinction.

          • George

            Thanks Bevin. I was going to respond directly but you’ve nicely summed up the idiocy on display here. I can only wonder about the strange theology that can produce a statement like “There is no labour without the Entrepreneur”. Perhaps the capital letters are indeed important – as an indication of a new pantheon of gods. The fundamental fact remains that labour can exist without business, and has done so for thousands of years, whereas business cannot exist, even as a possibility, without labour.

  • Anon1

    Note to Sharp Ears:

    Ken Loach’s lefty wankfest is all over the BBC . The bit they haven’t shown is all the multi-millionaire luvvies gushing in the audience. I wonder how many of them have taken a refugee into their homes?

    • J

      “I wonder how many of them have taken a refugee into their homes?”

      Agreed. If they’d taken in as many as you they’d be entitled to their smugness.

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