Now More Than Ever 142

I have been a political activist my entire life, though not always necessarily in the party sense. I have been deeply interested in every Westminster election since 1974, campaigned hard in many of them and indeed stood for parliament myself twice, markedly unsuccessfully. But I do not think I have ever been so emotionally invested in any election so much as this one. I really care about this.

Why is that? It is not connected with Scottish Independence, because I am entirely confident we shall get that shortly, whatever happens on Thursday. No, it is more that I care deeply about what is happening in England and Wales. I was born there, and am after all half English.

But England is no longer the country I grew up in. It has become nasty and intolerant, turning its back on the world, of which the deeply harmful decision to leave the EU is but a symptom. Racism has become commonplace. It should not be forgotten that Enoch Powell was marginalised politically for his views on immigration, but he would be comfortably within the Tory mainstream today.

Britain has turned its back on the United Nations. Ministers claim openly that consent of the Security Council for military intervention is no longer needed, because Russia can veto – ignoring the scores of vetoes exercised by the UK and US, especially on behalf of Israel. The judgement of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is simply brushed aside as Britain did not like it, when historically we have pressed other countries to follow the rulings in hundreds of cases. It has also become a major aim of government to leave the jurisdiction of the excellent European Court of Justice, which Britain led the way in founding. Britain is effectively repudiating the very concept of international law.

Added to this extreme xenophobia and loss of identification with the whole world of mankind who are not “us”, we have the abandonment of empathy and social solidarity at home. Government spending plans will reduce state spending over the next three years to below 35% of GNP. Which would be the lowest in the EU, except we will no longer be in the EU. Yet as our NHS shivers as it is starved of cash, as schools tout for funds from parents, as the disabled and dying are denied benefits unless they haul themselves into work, the country still spends £220 billion on Trident missiles to stoke a collective militarist ego.

The massive cost of Trident is best illustrated by this figure. At constant 2016 values, the total net UK contribution to the EU budget over 44 years 1973-2017 was £157 billion. Compared to £225 billion to renew Trident. That is a measure of how irrational the UK has become.

Wealth inequality has grown to astounding levels. An entire generation of young people are going to spend their lives paying rent to make the landlord class still more wealthy. The generation which got their education for free – Thatcher’s children – have forced those coming after to pay, pulling up the ladder behind themselves.

Finally, we have massive state surveillance, and an extraordinarily biased state propaganda machine and mainstream media, not just during the election, but all day and every day. This morning, on BBC Radio 4 a dreadful person named Andrew O’Hagan was allowed a ten minute unquestioned diatribe on the need for government to employ “battalions of thousands of people” to scrutinise and censor the entire internet. Amber Rudd was saying something similar shortly afterwards. And as I pointed out, the essentials of the Tory manifesto are extraordinarily similar to the BNP manifesto of 2005.

So continued Tory rule represents a political direction which appals me. This government is far to the right of Thatcher. The battles of the 1980’s represented a fight for survival of industrial communities, but this has a still more desperate feel. It is a fight for the very concept of public sector provision.

In Scotland we have the SNP to defend the values of basic communal decency. Now in England we have Jeremy Corbyn, a man alongside whom I have spoken and who gives the first real chance in a generation to voters in England and Wales to reject neo-liberalism.

This is why this election matters more than any other. The ultra-wealthy elite had succeeded in diverting the popular discontent at the wealth gap and falling standards of living for many, into xenophobia. Immigrants have successfully been scapegoated. The establishment have kept people sufficiently ill-educated, and sufficiently misled by the mainstream media, for this ploy to work.

The great question is whether the anti-establishment mood in the country has been irretrievably captured by populist xenophobia masking the intentions of the neo-liberals, or whether a return to an older tradition of genuine social radicalism under Corbyn can halt this trend. So on both sides of the equation this election is pivotal. Britain will become a nasty, uncaring, closed country to an extent I would never have believed possible. Or it will adopt policies of communal solidarity and public provision which I had almost lost hope people would have a chance to vote for again.

This is not any election. This one matters more than ever. This time, we should all really care.

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142 thoughts on “Now More Than Ever

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  • Leonard Young

    Currently much of the media making capital out of Corbyn’s and Abbott’s alleged multiple rejections of so-called anti-terror legislation. Even the ghastly Liam Byrne (sorry there is no cash left) Blairite was wheeled out by Channel 4 to defend them, but he stupidly refered to the police numbers reduction rather than explaining why Corbyn apparently wanted to reject terror laws. Unless this subject is put to rest the media are going to revive May and there are already signs of it.

    The explanation is simple. NONE of the recent Acts and Statutory instruments designed to “reassure” the electorate had anything to do with catching actual terrorists. What they did was provide for even more blanket data mining of every citizen, with no discernment. 99.99% of the electorate has no intention whatsoever of being a terrorist, and mining their personal data is futile.

    As has been demonstrated there is a long list of potential terrorists that has not been acted upon. This illustrates the myth that the Tories are somehow the party of choice for home security. They palpably are not. It is targeted, intelligent use of existing information that needs to be acted upon, not ever more legislation that simply trawls through the harmless activities of millions of people.

    • Gulliver

      Humphries interviewed Kier Starmer on R4 Today this morning, desperately trying to get him to agree with May’s wish to repeal parts of the Human Rights act. Starmer repeatedly explained that as head of DPP for 5 years he never found the act an impediment to getting terrorists off the street but pointed out numerous times that the problem wasn’t known terrorist suspects (there are numerous mechanisms already existing to deal with them) but those that weren’t yet on the radar. Every time he raised the issue of police resourcing and other similar matters (which would help identify such individuals) he was met with the same Humphries retort “yes we dealt with that yesterday” as if it was actually dealt with.

      And yes, it does not seem to have occurred to anyone that having yet more laws on terrorism does not seem to have prevented the recent atrocities, David Allen Green wrote this recently on Twitter regarding the sheer number of anti-terror laws: –

      And then there’s this on why May really wants to tear up the Human Rights Act – Revenge for making her play by the rules: –

      • Ian M

        Humphries is hopeless and well past his sell by date. Mishal Hussain was infinitely better yesterday in confronting the blustering, dissembling buffoon Boris yesterday, refusing to let him rant on about Corbyn rather than answer the questions, which was his preferred posture. What an utter idiot and mendacious toerag he is. And we are supposed to laugh at him. A foreign secretary who ‘doesn’t want to get involved’ when Trump insults and denigrates the London mayor for dealing with the recent tragedy in a calm and measured way.

    • Habbabkuk


      “Currently much of the media making capital out of Corbyn’s and Abbott’s alleged multiple rejections of so-called anti-terror legislation”

      There is nothing “alleged” about those multiple rejections -they occurred. It’s on the record.

      Check it out on that website which is so often referenced on here by one commenter in particular, ie, “they work for you”.

  • Dave

    Enoch Powell rightly condemned Labour’s Race Relations (inverted Nuremburg) Act, but this was the pretext for his sacking by Heath due to his anti-Common Market views, shared by Benn. Powell was also anti the non-independent nuclear deterrent and would have opposed UK supporting US/neo-con bomb and hope for profit in the Middle East. Yes he would have welcomed Brexit as, at last, UK emergence from defeat in WWII. Which shows common ground between the nationalists and internationalists against the globalists.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        Powell was much maligned by his intellectual inferiors, who were many. He was demonised for a single speech, in which he – tragically correctly – predicted an unhappy outcome for multiculturalism. His mistake was to include a Classical quotation. Few of his audience were capable of putting correctly in context. He was, incidentally, an excellent constituency MP.

        Heath’s sacking him says more about the intolerance of what would now be regarded as the centre-left* than about Powell.

        *the Overton Window having moved a long way since then

        • Habbabkuk

          That is absolutely correct.

          And of course Powell’s estimate of the number of people from the New Commonwealth and their descendants who would be living in the UK 20 years in the future was almost spot on.

        • Habbabkuk

          That should have been “40 years in the future”, not “20”. Apologies.

  • Skeptiktwo

    “I have been a political activist my entire life” says the man whose chosen career path was in the FCO.

    We believe you Craig, truly we do, just like we believe Theresa May.

  • Jo

    May announced today that human rights are for the high jump. The scary thing was the applause she received in response.

    As for Scotland…vote anyone but Tory here too.

    I’m concerned here tonight that Sturgeon has unintentionally assisted the Tories by claiming in a debate here that Dugdale had spoken to her about dropping opposition to indyref2 in a private conversation last year. Davidson was on to it like a flash. I really wish Nicola hadn’t done it.

    • Fudged

      Although it’s clear Davisdon was keen to jump on the matter to score points against Dugdale, as well as the chance to detract from her own inconsistencies, while at the same time capitalising on the questioning of Strugeon’s word; I don’t think either (Sturgeon or Dugdale) came out of that exchange looking very professional.
      Dugdale’s support for indyref2 is a matter of public record, so why refer to a private phone call and leave herself open to accusations of lying? Disappointing mistake. Dugdale, on the other hand, looked like she was back at school and had been accused of snogging some poor spotty twerp no other lassie would go near – infantile.

      • Jo

        @ Fudged

        Yes, I recall Kez made some statements suggesting she could alter her position on independence/indyref2. These were made publicly and we knew about them. Private conversations, however, are quite different. It’s not the done thing. My concern is that it can only benefit the Tories in Scotland and I despair at how much Davidson has got away with up here because Labour and the LDs have chosen to focus solely on opposing indyref2. Davidson should just not be where she is in Scotland.

    • fred

      She was tossing a dead cat onto the table. People only do that when they are desperate.

  • Methuselah Now


    I’m scared.

    Muslims are not allowed to have freedom of thought or speech. I’m worried because I can contrast how there was more public space for the republican argument to be put forward in the 1980`s and now the only Muslims allowed to articulate anything are hollow submissives; the neo-con establishment has persuaded even liberals in the cause of divide and conquer, separate the British Muslims who might lobby against foreign intervention from the rest of the global Muslim populace.

    And, in fear, in anger, in reflex rather than perspective, we all agree to abandon the rights of the weak against the poor, the minority against the majority, the extremist against that nice middle-class centrist moderate, we abandon confident plural liberty which – much like those working tax-credit receiving tories who didn’t think were scroungers – will practically effect us all. We are cowards and hypocrites.

    Every imam has relationships with Mi5 and Prevent, every mosque has Undercover agents observing, can you imagine the Irish catholics of past or zionists accepting that (if government wasn’t already beholden to their cause).

    When we don’t have open spaces (the pressure valves) to freely discuss ideas and arguments, we might think they disappear by force of law, but then things like Brexit are voted on almost out of the blue and our leading parties adopt even more xenophobic and authoritarian societal changes, indulging the feedback loop of fear and front-pages in the myths of hindsight and perfect safety.

    In a world of no faith, every believer is an extremist – that’s why the anti-liberal corbyn was called a cult leader, but I worry, events and the incumbent infrastructure will still force him to do some of the same anti-liberal measures and promulgate similar attitudes.

    Yours kindly,

    Methuselah Now

  • Babushka

    “Where the Rainbow Ends” was once an annual play. It is estimated that 20 million people had see the stage performance by 1961: a natural for television you might say. Why then has it been banished from our stage and from library and bookshop shelves? It is a powerful and potent story. Its influence could only be for good. But it is a book which describes exactly the type of mind and the type of traitor who would censor it. It is easy to see why it is loathed by the education and media establishment of today. It relates, in simple allegorical form, every educational aim normal to any society which has the healthy instinct to survive: honour, courage, integrity and kindliness. It also portrays, in devastating terms, the type of liberalist whose personal littleness, greed and self/interest is expressed in his hatred of his own country. It underscores the vital part in the national life of the past – ‘of the noble influence of the heroic dead’. It holds up to scorn the idler and unenthused, and forecasts the dread end which awaits him.
    Those who plan to reduce the nation to a rootless, idle, malleable rabble, would never allow such a book to have any part in the spiritual and cultural formation of succeeding generations. But to their horror, dismay and loathing, the spirit of the book is not dead, nor is the spirit of St George. It is merely asleep, waiting to be awakened.”
    -Anthony Cooney
    The Story of St George
    The Life and Legend of England’s Patron Saint

    I’ve posted this because I am also emotional about the state of affairs in beautiful England.

    God is not dead, although multitudes are hellbent on proving so.
    Whatever happens, Life goes on.
    Surely it is preferable to practice the lessons Christ taught? As demonstrated by George of Lydda who not only refused to bow to tyranny but asked for justice for all Christians?
    For this, he was beheaded.
    But like the Christ, his martyrdom Lives.

  • Paul Barbara

    @ Craig
    ‘…The massive cost of Trident is best illustrated by this figure. At constant 2016 values, the total net UK contribution to the EU budget over 44 years 1973-2017 was £157 billion. Compared to £225 billion to renew Trident. That is a measure of how irrational the UK has become….’
    Not at all irrational – it’s just how God (sorry, the Banksters) planned it. What on earth is irrational if the Banksters make bundles?
    The UN has been under the thumb of the US since day one. He who pays the piper calls the tune. They have the faux ‘currency’ to corrupt all (almost) and sundry; add that to the ‘sting’ sex and paedophilia business, and you control the ‘UN’.
    Unlike Craig, I have only been a committed campaigner for half of my life, rather than all; I woke up late (I still do!!!).
    I endorse Craig’s support for both Scottish Independence and Jeremy Corbyn; and most other stuff – but I don’t agree all Brexit supporters are racists. I voted OUT because I don’t want any part of the NWO / One World Gulag planned for us by the Bilderberg Group (pound to a penny Craig has never been invited to Bilderberg!).

  • Mark in Mayenne

    Got it. Scottish independence from GB isn’t racist, but British independence from the EU is racist.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      I hope you weren’t expecting a reasoned response to that apercu. I’ve been trying to get one for months. Good luck, anyway.

    • fred

      Cogitative dissonance, Craig, like everyone else in the world, thinks of himself as a good person, nobody likes to think of themselves as bad. He’s a Scottish Nationalist therefore Scottish Nationalism can’t be racist.

      People who voted No in the independence referendum he sees as either evil or stupid. He would have voted Yes and he thinks of himself as a good person therefore people who voted No must be bad.

  • Geoff Huijer

    This current rabidly right wing government makes the days of Thatcher look like a Sunday school picnic.

    And it ain’t going to get any better (save for a Corbyn victory in England which may only halt temporarily
    the frothing right wing.

  • Dave

    Trump’s victory has ironically publicised the influence of the deep state that operates separately from elected government. Its the same forces that attack Corbyn and are behind the relentless “terror” events and coverage in MSM to assist TM in the General Election. But how much does TM know, or does she just read the script believing it to be true. Either way it does illustrate the importance of the outcome of this election, because if TM wins the deep state wins and we’re heading for WWIII with Russia.

  • A Prole

    Our descent into neo-liberal hell has been going on since 1979. Many people in England loved Thatcher. It was never going to get any better after that and it is about to get a lot worse.

    As far as Brexit is concerned, I can vote against May, but I cannot vote against Merkel.

  • Ishmael

    Or. The extent of importance mirrors the amount of control individuals have relinquished over there lives.

    Voting is a minor amelioration presented to the masses as liberation,”modern democracy” within a fundimentally barbaric arrangement.

    But alas, what should one expect of this kind of blog, within this kind of society. Stone age, though the actual stone was infinitely better in most conceivable ways.

    “Draw in the walls, eat, get laid, back in the good old days”.

  • Manda

    Agree fully now the divisive “Thatcher’s children” has disappeared from the blog. Very good summary of what is at stake in this election.

  • Malcolm Lang

    Exactly right, you articulate my thoughts in a way I would never be able to.
    Thank you great article.

  • Andrew

    I agree with Craig that this election is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Everybody should vote against the Tories everywhere, preferably for Labour south of the border.

    But I fear the voting system and popular ignorance will conspire to disappoint, now that Scotland is lost.

    The Tories will probably be returned with a slightly increased majority – less than they’d hoped – which will sooner or later lead to calls for new leadership. Boris Johnson will again try to elbow his way to the front.

    Labour will probably get a larger share of the popular vote – more than they’d expected – but could lose some seats, which will sooner or later lead to calls for new leadership. Chuka Umunna will again try to elbow his way to the front. (Welcome home, David Miliband?).

    For the young and the poor and the otherwise disadvantaged, the future looks bleak.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  • Dave

    Ironically the relentless “terror” coverage is making a hung Parliament more likely, because although people can be manipulated by fear, there is no actual fear except in MSM, but inevitably there is concern, and in such circumstances people will prefer a peacemaker to a warmonger to address the issue. Hence Chamberlain’s hero’s return from Munich and why Corbyn is doing well.

      • Dave

        Robert Fisk is a good writer just as George Galloway is a good speaker, but both and others like them still keep within the rules of the game! That is, like Craig they expound blowback as an explanation for all the “terrorist” attacks! And this is a logical view to hold, except the reality is the absence of blowback, meaning attacks as opposed to the migrant crisis and criminality, hasn’t happened, or its gone unreported, because the attacks promoted by the state/MSM are all false flags with little loss of life beyond perhaps the patsy’s, not including 9/11 and 7/7. The manipulation involves immediate one minute silences for the victims to deter any standard inquisitive questions being asked or answered. Similar to Blair denouncing Duncan-Smith for requesting a public inquiry into 7/7 as undermining the ‘investigation’ into the attack.

  • Alan Hollingworth

    An excellent article that I concur. As someone who has experienced racism and elitism in Africa and follows the events of the world I applaud you.

  • Manda

    Some military vets have made a public intervention and come out in favour of Corbyn. Fantastic to see.

    Foreign policy needs a complete rethink, Tories = more of the same and the public have little idea what is being done in their name for geopolitical and banking, corporate and wealthy vested interests. I believe foreign policy is largely conducted out of democratic control and oversight, it certainly isn’t reported well, fully or discussed in the MSM. This is a very dangerous situation for the British public and also for the world. May’s threats to revoke many of our human rights leaves us all open to extra judicial action by the state, it would be a win for more extreme authoritarianism and further weakening of democracy and domestic legal safeguards that protect us all from the state. It appears one aspect of foreign policy is running covert Jihadi/terrorist support op to aid policies of toppling foreign governments.. Of course these trained Jihadis/terrorists are coming back to UK…
    From Mark Curtis (historian).

  • Made By Dom

    In a country that claims to be interested in mental health issues and racism, its very upsetting to watch people happily jump on the band wagon and start attacking Dianne Abbott. To say she’s incompetent or stupid without giving any specific reasons is about as meaningful as simply calling her the ‘N’ word (which she hears everyday) or threatening to rape or kill her (which she also hears on a regular basis).
    You only have to look at the growing mob of people on youtube attacking Sadiq Khan to see how quickly people jump on a racist bandwagon. The unfortunate and increasingly likely fact that some racists may themselves end up injured in a terror attack isn’t a reason to allow their extremist views to go unchallenged.

    • nevermind

      Thanks for that link to Dr. Ulfkotte, Emanuel, psssst, yes in the western world, but not here, here the PM is literally buoyed and cheerful by the opportunities to talk tough on terror, how ever much she is entwined in the subculture of MSM visa vie the terror sponsor she courts.
      The information on the internet is really the only one that counts these days, as long as it is un-spun, as it comes information.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        You are aware that Dr Ulfkotte (RIP, died in January this year, cited in the link) was a notably rightwing, antiMuslim (despite having once converted to Islam: he converted back) conspiracy theorist? And isn’t it astonishing that both ZeroHedge and Global Research, in which the article originally appeared, are, let us say, rather more sympathetic to Russia than the US?

        Handle with care tongs.

  • reel guid

    Scottish Liberal Democrats election campaign manager Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP is the subject of a police report to the procurator fiscal over his campaign spending in the 2016 Holyrood elections.

    • Ann Rayner

      Great that Alex C-H is being investigated about election expenses. I live in Edinburgh West and to date, morning of June 7th, i have had 16 separate communications from the LibDems in my consituency. Almost all have been delivered by post with my name and address on them. How do they afford this and is their spending on this constituency within the legal limit. I will keep hold of the evidence.

      • reel guid

        16 different election communications in the one constituency. Must be almost a record.

  • Michael McNulty

    The reactionaries who moan about the Human Rights Act and do-gooders are fools who let the Tories do the thinking for them. When the do-badders rule unchallenged they’ll understand why they got it wrong. They were glad yesterday when those people were the target, and they’re okay today when these people are the target, and though they don’t know who’s tomorrow’s target they’re looking forward to it. Tomorrow they’ll understand.

  • James Cann

    Allowing yourself to become too emotionally invested is only going to make the bitter pill harder to swallow, in the context of this election anyway, where there was and is only ever going to be one outcome: A Tory government.

    Corbyn has run a remarkable campaign, all things considered, but the odds have been so highly stacked against him from the very beginning that anything else would be a miracle, and miracles have a tendency of not actually happening.

    Lets just hope that Corbyn’s sterling effort has shown the PLP that it is possible for genuinely socialist policies and bold visions to resonate with the public, and that his program is not completely written off as unelectable. I hope that Labour can find someone else to carry this program forward, because I fear Corbyn just has too much ‘baggage’ to win over the kind of people who need to be won over if Labour are to govern again in future. Perhaps after the likely disasters of Brexit become harsh reality for all but the most intellectually devoid of the electorate, and with someone whom the media does not have the ammunition to attack quite so vociferously, we might be in with a more reasonable shot in 2022.

    • nevermind

      This style of campaigning will not just determine this election, any party that proposes to change the status quo as Corbyn is trying to do, will face a right wing self serving media that is lying through the teeth, a BBC, promoting the same bias for their 7 year franchise providers, and lazy MP’s who do not want to loose their safe/marginal seats.

      As long as nobody dearly wants to change this ancient disproportional and unfair voting system for GE, this bias will never change, imho.
      But then I was taught about mass media, politics and democracy by prof. John Street/UEA, and my previous long career as a political activist and election agent/coordinator.

      • James Cann

        The bias won’t change, but it will do less damage if there is less ammunition to fire.

        There is a lot in Corbyn’s closet that makes him cannon fodder for the media and his opponents. Whether you agree with it or not (I don’t) is unimportant. The fact is it’s there and has been exploited to paint him into a caricature that has little basis in reality, but has still convinced vast swathes of the population that he is an unpatriotic madman who celebrates terrorism and would result in cause economic ruin.

        Would they be able to dig as much dirt on say Clive Lewis or Keir Starmer?

        • steph

          I have absolutely no doubt that they would find something to hurl at them if necessary. But do CL & KS have ‘genuinely socialist policies and bold visions’? I think perhaps not!

          • James Cann

            I don’t disagree they would find stuff, and make it up if it’s in short supply, but they have had an easy job with Corbyn.

            Many people aren’t interested or intelligent enough to look beneath the spin, and when opponents can dig out photos, articles, and quotes appearing to show Corbyn supporting the IRA or other proscribed organisations that is plenty enough to convince many that Corbyn is not fit to govern. I think you underestimate just how damaging the ‘terrorist sympathiser’ caricature has been, particularly in the context of recent terrorist activity in this country.

            Compare that with Ed’s ‘bacon sarnie’ and ‘Dad who hated Britain’ and the difference is stark.

    • steph

      The problem is that any Labour leader espousing ‘genuinely socialist policies and bold visions to resonate with the public’ will, as if by magic, suddenly be found to be carring excess ‘baggage’. That is exactly what has happened, can’t you see? Only a completely unthreatening leader will be allowed to appear ‘electable’.

  • reel guid

    Once again Kezia Dugdale can’t seem to see the difference between supporting a referendum and supporting independence. There are some – including, it would appear, Jeremy Corbyn – who believe there should be a referendum in the interests of proper democratic choice for Scotland, who nevertheless will campaign against independence.

    Dugdale either pretends, or else stupidly believes, that being against independence is a sufficient excuse to deny the people of Scotland the right to choose which union – the EU or the UK – to remain in.

  • Bert.

    Craig, there is no point in caring deeply. It only hurts.

    One needs to be a psychopath to survive in the sick twisted dump that the thatcher mob have forced upon us.


    • nevermind

      It will take you about an hour and a bit to quickly read these questions and follow through all 12 steps, thanks.

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