Militarism and the Populist Playbook 297


Why militarism is such a surefire winner for populists is an interesting question, to which the answer is probably an unpleasant reflection on human nature. Atavism and racism are the easiest way to political success, despite the demonstrably catastrophic consequences.

For an economically dominant power to allocate its resources under the influence of militarism, and then project the resulting capability for extreme violence on less wealthy or organised states, is the time-honoured way for populist politicins to satisfy the atavistic urge they have whipped up, while minimising the catastrophic consequences at home. UK military power is not for “defence” and has never been for “defence” since the formation of the UK. It is for the projection of military power abroad. The destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen are all, in varying degrees, the result of the application of UK military force on weaker states.

These countries were unable to offer any significant military response; the major cost to the UK of destroying them has been the cost of munitions, supply and pay. Costs in British servicemen injured or maimed has been terrible for the individuals concerned but politicians don’t care; indeed our casualties are unrelentingly put to the service of whipping up more jingoism and militarism. British killed and maimed is of course a tiny number compared to the killed or maimed which Britain has inflicted.

There are other costs, of course. Almost all the terrorism in the UK has been blowback terrorism from this destruction abroad. There have also been resultant refugee flows which have disturbed the political equilibrium of all of Europe. But remarkably neo-conservative politicians are able to fashion those consequences into arguments for us to invade and kill still more frequently abroad.

Johnson’s announcement of an extra £16 billion of defence spending will be wildly popular with his electoral base, who love a bit of jingoism. It will be wildly popular with his MPs, because nothing lines the pockets of politicians and their close business associates as reliably as “defence” spending – except for Covid spending, but that giant chance to plunder the public purse will run out soon. In a country that could not afford to feed school children, a country that starves asylum seekers and lets kids drown in the channel rather than take them in, £16 billion extra to blow up other countries is no problem.

It is four times the amount of new money the government pledged yesterday to tackle the actual existential threat of climate change. To be spent instead on tackling a pretend existential threat. The idea that Russia or China wants to invade the UK is an utter nonsense. Neither has any plans to do so, nor has ever had any plans to do so. The UK has not been at war with either Russia or China for 150 years. We are however doing our best to provoke conflict, with billions more going into avowedly offensive cyber capability targeted on Russia and China. You also do not have to be a devotee of Isaac Azimov to understand that the pouring of billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money into the specific purpose of designing artificial intelligence to kill people is not necessarily a good long term goal. The advantage of these areas of spending for Tories is of course that outcomes are nebulous and thus the scope for super-profits and for corruption is simply enormous.

As I said, militarism is a very successful part of the populist brand. You therefore have this vast waste of money on offensive military capability being hailed by Labour under Sir Keir Starmer, the right wing muppet who leads the UK’s laughingly titled opposition. You also have, not coincidentally, a defence paper published on Tuesday by the SNP which tries to outflank the Tories from the right in extreme Sinophobia and Russophobia and proposes continued operations from Scottish bases post_independence by both US and English armed forces.

With the ousting of the left from Labour and the astonishing rightward gallop of the SNP, there is currently no realistic route to oppose militarism available in the UK’s – or Scotland’s – so called democratic electoral system.

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297 thoughts on “Militarism and the Populist Playbook

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  • Nickle101

    The quickest way to end British military aggression would be introduction of the draft… Middle-class kids getting blown to bits would quickly usher in the politics of peace; it would be the ‘Vietnam tragedy’ all over again.

    • Bramble

      Middle class kids would worm their way out. Working class kids would be more enthusiastic: they already form the bulk of recruits. It’s about the only way they can get a job, and it’s the biggest and bestest gang they can join. Mr Corbyn’s lack of “patriotism” was one reason for the loss of the red walls, which are full of former and future squaddies who worship the uniform. The rift in Labour is partly between militarism and mindless nationalism and pacifism. Hence Starmer’s welcome for the move (and it’s also contracts and jobs for BAe etc).

    • Esther

      Unfortunately a way out for working class kids is to join the army, especially if they don’t have much of a home life. The army becomes their family

      • nevermind

        ‘The army becomes their family.’ yep, whilst serving they wash.your gear, think for you and show you every means to kill people, build a bridge, do as you are told

        And whence the time comes that you want to forget the trauma you have just meted out, and its building up in your brain, you wake up in your sleep, drink take drugs, anything to forget what you were ordered to do.
        Your family falls apart, you lose your house, become homeless, or dependent on some charity that purports to help were your country should show responsibility for the soldiers who fought, most of them from working class neighbourhoods, the preferred recruiting ground for slogan wielding dappers reeling in fresh canon fodder.
        10% of homeless people in the UK are ex forces. A despicable fact, Esther.

        • BrianFujisan

          Well Said Nevermind.. The conning of young men and women into military is evil… Especially when the politicians know whats in store for them down the line.. And all the truths, and realities of war, and war crimes are Kept from them by a corrupt Gov, top brass, media.

          Consider this grotesque Statement from Tobias Ellwood, over the suicides of 71 British veterans and serving personnel in 2018 led UK defence secretary, Tobias Ellwood, to tell ITV News, “I’m truly sorry. I’m sorry THAT THEY FEEL THE ARMED FORCES, NHS And Government have let Them Down.”

          The NHS he says. What a despicable specimen.

          In the U.S in 2018 2000 veterans took their life.. Over 200 of them active service personnel.

          And the war machine is constantly planing more Slaughter in Foreign Lands…just look at the monsters Biden is gathering together.

          Watch this video – Aaron Maté with The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal discusses Trump’s rejection of democracy at home, and the records of the likely Biden cabinet members who have adopted the same attitude to governments around the world.-

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AWTYGZnkvk&t=9s

          I see Courtenay had a good piece on Trump / Biden war hawks.. linked on page one

    • Josh R

      Shame there’s not an easy way to take the profit out of militarism/imperialism.
      If there was no money to be made, these aggressions would cease in a heartbeat.
      Conscript capital in times of war/conflict – a very ‘patriotic’ way for the chicken-hawks to serve their country (if that’s really what they’re all about ?!?).
      Deny ‘victors’ the right to exploit & enjoy the spoils of war?
      Ah, would that it were so simple…..
      If only we had an organisation of United rather than Useless nations, as engendered by that global generation of world war survivors who we’re never meant to forget.

  • Gerald

    Increased spending on ‘cyber security’ is just graft for the security services. They love to pillage too as this article highlights.

    https://consortiumnews.com/2020/10/29/britains-profiteering-spymasters-ignored-the-countrys-biggest-threats/

    16 billion isn’t enough to seriously effect the UKs military standing in the world but as Craig points out, enough to go on flattening 3rd world countries in order to steal oil and blanket bombing muslims or non whites as chief lackey to the US. Such a ruse, hardly any of the money will go into anything worthwhile or that actually functions in battle situations and we will end up buying over priced non functioning fluff from the US (like the F35) Our troops will still be sent into battle with the wrong gear, equipment that doesn’t function and poorly armoured vehicles, our tanks will splutter to a halt in deserts because they can’t cope with sand and our newest Naval ships will spend more time in port and dry dock than at sea. The British as with the US would be at risk of utter humiliation should they be stupid enough to get involved with a peer or near peer enemy, something they haven’t done since 1945. This is why there will be no direct confrontation with either Russia or China. Both the US and the UK know they would lose, thus the con goes on, not only here but the NATO cash cow for the MIC and why ‘colour revolutions’ ‘popular democratic uprisings’ funded by the British and the National Endowment for Democracys many NGOs will remain the main methods of trying to undermine sovereign states who won’t allow themselves to be raped by the West.

    • bevin

      In many cases they are crossing the channel because our governments and their allies are blowing up their home countries. Or did you think that it is fashion that leads to the sudden rush of Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians and Yemeni (for example) into Europe?

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        “In many cases they are crossing the channel because our governments and their allies are blowing up their home countries”

        Yes, but what’s wrong with France as a refuge?

        • Donald

          Disappearing is easier here. British governments are too lazy and mean to set up systems to monitor and track immigration properly. Much harder in the rest of Europe.

          • Marmite

            That’s interesting. I always thought it had to do with language, or with the propagandistic image of British life found in popular culture, and the highly outdated perception of the welfare state.

        • Mist001

          A lot of missionaries visit foreign countries and quite a lot of them speak English. They pass that on to the people they encounter and they teach them. That’s why so many refugees and immigrants speak English.

          It makes far more sense to come to a country where you have at least a half decent chance of understanding other people and being understood than it does going to France where you’d understand nothing and nobody.

          That’s why refugees and immigrants want to come to the UK and very little of it has to do with what you read in the papers about benefits and all this.

          It’s hardly rocket science.

  • yesindyref2

    It’s smoke and mirrors from a fading and failing Prime Minister of the Tory Party.

    From Holyrood dot com, and this is the mesasage BoJo is trying to create:

    “The spending plans will also include a commitment to expand naval ship building on the Clyde, it is understood. …
    Among other things, the spending will finance the building and development of warships on the Clyde, including a new Type 32 frigate.”

    The 8 Type 26 ships are already promised, and will take until the mid-30s.
    The 5 Type 31 ships previously promised on the Clyde as 5 general purpose Type 26 frigates of the original 13 promised but now as a Type 31 Babcock contract to be built in modular form with some work at Rosyth being confirmed, the rest in other UK shipyards, means that the 6th mentioned 2 or 3 years ago, has sunk without a trace. So still an overall reduction from the 2014 broken promises – though Unionists will claim the 5 OPVs as similar to 5 frigates!

    If the Type 32 which isn’t even a concept design yet, is built in the next 10 years, it won’t be on the Clyde, nor at Rosyth. Its part in this budget review will be a placeholder more than anything else, and possibly a Type4X replacement for the Type 45 which start to reach the end of their shelf life in the mid-30s.

    The IFS have already cut down the heralded £16.5 billion figure to £7 billion in reality, the NAO had identified holes in the budgets for many spending plans, it’s [rpbably not going to be even £7 billion new spending in total over 4 years.

    Meanwhile the BAE 15 year TOBA agreed in 2008 ends in 2023, No money guaranteed for shipbuilding on the Clyde after that.

    Fortunately in their haste to do down the SNP they threw some cards away:

    “The SNP submission [to the integrated UK review] was dismissed by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace as “delusional” and “a pipe dream”.”

    Within a few weeks sensible and knowledgeable heads will hopefully have dismantled the argument being made, “Boris Johnson claims building more ships will strengthen the Union”. It’s a conjob, well, what a surprise. First time that ever happened!

    Smoke and mirrors, and a lot of seasoned commentators have fallen for it, so far.

      • yesindyref2

        Cooked your own goose there, cobby, rushing to defend your hero BoJo and his con job.

        SCOTLAND IS BEING LIED TO and you defend it.

        • Cubby

          Captain Birdseye.

          What a lot of codswallop from the Captain.

          I Don’t defend your military obsessions, you mean. Don’t you think you are old enough now to put away your model warships and start acting like a decent grown up human being?

  • U Watt

    The entire political and media class seems to be gagging for fresh wars alongside the corrupt old crook Joe Biden. WRF is the matter with these people??

    • laguerre

      Can’t say I’ve noticed that, although like everyone here I follow the news. Maybe it is more like you imagine it will happen, rather than observing that it is.

      • np

        “A bloody good war might distract us from these days of Hancockian misery” by Madeleine Grant – headline in today’s Telegraph (online).

      • M.C.

        The constant demonisation of Putin and China gone right off your radar then? Why do you think NATO has advanced all the way to Russia’s borders and the US has built up it’s naval forces in the Pacific Ocean (since Obama’s 2012 pivot to Asia) and encircling China with military bases? The new Cold War has been deliberately stoked up to facilitate proxy wars all over the shop and they proved willing to risk a hot-war in Syria when Obama backed the cuddly “moderate” jihadis allied with Al Quaeda and ISIS, as Russia attempted to wipe ISIS out.

        • Laguerre

          You think Britain (or even NATO) is planning to go to war against Russia or China? You are being even more naive than I thought. Fabricating a fake enemy is not to do with actually going to war, as U Watt maintained.

        • laguerre

          Like I replied to M.C., and should be obvious, confrontation with Russia and China is not intended to go to war, as you claimed. If we were to do so, Britain would be squashed like a bug underfoot these days. Wars are what you do to countries that can’t fight back, like Libya or Iraq.

  • Ray A

    “Johnson’s announcement of an extra £16 billion of defence spending will be wildly popular with his electoral base” is simply not true. The traitorous fourth estate might love it, and falsely claim that the ordinary man loves it; the banksters will love it; the ordinary man rather less so. The boost in defence spending is a straightforward response to murmurings about corrupt practices in NHS contract allocations. If one area comes under too much scrutiny, the natural urge of gangsters is to try a different area.

    • Los

      Perhaps the extra £16 billion on Military spending is just a way of distributing more Tax payers money to the Government’s Cronies after their current Virus conduit runs dry.

      That, and it creates a distraction from the existing corruption so bad that has even now manages to appear on Mainstream Media.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    I think you can simply conclude from this that ‘UK defence policy’ is not in fact written in the UK but rather in Washington.

    Washington has demanded 3% spending on defence as a percentage of GDP. Now obviously that will be dropping rapidly as GDP crashes due to Covid (unless they have upped the bot trading activity in the City just to add some meaningless transactions onto GDP figures to make things look superficially better).

    But you don’t get both Boris Johnson AND Nicola Sturgeon spouting the same claptrap without them actually reading from the same script written for them by the State Department.

    I would be most interested in hearing what you as an independent Scottish President would have to say in public about such documents handed down from Washington?

    You might end up having to take advice from Donald Trump on what to do about 4 years of unrivalled journalistic spitting at you, calling you everything from Putin’s bumboy to a sporran-wearing Culloden surrender monkey and the like.

    What an irony that would be. President Murray being treated the same way as President Trump. And President Putin. And Jeremy Corbyn…

      • Contrary

        Oh that is very exciting! Dinner with Arthur C Clarke – is the story in any of your books Craig? Will you write a blog for us if not? I too am an Arthur C Clarke fan (you may have guessed).

        Tatyana – have you read any Iain M Banks? A Scottish author now recently, sadly, passed away – my absolute favourite modern author. It’s space opera, but really he was the inventor of space opera and they are top class (I have one signed book by him). His science fiction is much easier to read, and makes more sense, than his bizarre contemporary fiction (written under the pseudonym Iain Banks).

  • Ken MacIntyre

    The Scottish Government was the only UK administration to implement the 1999 Royal Commission’s recommendation that personal care be free, because when NHS care is free generally there is no logic in charging care home residents.

  • Johny Conspiranoid

    “With the ousting of the left from Labour and the astonishing rightward gallop of the SNP,”

    Do you think there are people who get up every morning and go to work where they try to engineer such things? Perhaps the same people at the same places for years.

    • Father O'Blivion

      If the International Visitors Leadership Program and the British American Project weren’t producing results, the American tax payer would be entitled to sue the State Department.

  • ramblingidiot

    Mr Murray seems to be confusing the term ‘populist’ with ‘neo-conservative war party’. My understanding of populist as it currently appears in the media is some sort of anti-immigration, anti-multiculti person who is labelled with the smear term ‘far right’. I don’t know if these persons are as gleefully pro-war as Mr Murray suggests. Trump’s anti-war rhetoric attracted many of these types, who seem to be described as populists. Perhaps there is a right wing element that is populist and anti-war, and the ‘standard’ right wing which is jingoistic and militaristic. I believe ‘neo-con’ would more likely describe this element of the right wing in this day and age.

    • Yuri K

      Good point about populism. But true neoconservatism is only possible in the USA. It is one of the 2 main branches of American exceptionalism, the other one being liberal interventionism. Starting with WW1, the British traditionally just can’t stand aside when a war is going on somewhere, for fear of being forgotten by the victors. However, the list of wars that UK fought on her own has grown short. If we leave aside The Troubles for being not really a war but some kind of domestic affair, and the Sierra-Leone adventure, the last such purely British war was the Falkland War of 1982. The rest were opportunistic involvements in various American ventures. If neocons bombed and/or invaded someone, the Brits joined in. If liberal interventionists were saving someone from genocide with Tomahawks, the Brits joined in just the same. It is a British thing that needs its own name, but neoconservatism it is not.

  • Marmite

    If it wasn’t already clear to most of us over the last four decades, what is becoming increasingly clear to anyone whose mind is active is that today’s world leaves absolutely no window open for a peaceful path to peace, conviviality and survival.

    The extremist state violence authorised and practiced today seems to have guaranteed that the future is one of permanent war.

    Any politician who stands for peace, anywhere, is immediately branded an enemy of the state, if not a terrorist or terrorist sympathiser.

    No longer having any peaceful path to peace is going to be very hard to stomach for all of us who condemn any kind of violence and live by the pacifist doctrine.

    • Josh R

      Don’t give up hope Marmite,
      Bit of 21st Century imagination and a bucket full of conviction can achieve a lot. Not for many around the Globe but, for those of us enjoying more freedom than most, we can still make a right nuisance of ourselves – feet on the street and spanners in the works will do much to unseat our beneficent ‘masters’ & their stinking ideologies without compromising our ‘peaceful’ principles.

      “Pacifists? Hell, I’m a pacifist, but I always have a club behind my back!”
      Ol’ Gimlet Eye

  • Tom74

    I don’t actually believe that anything Boris Johnson is doing is ‘wildly popular’ among any group in this country except his own tiny coterie – not no-deal Brexit, not more military spending, not banning petrol and diesel cars, not the coronavirus lockdowns. None of these policies have ever been voted upon by the British people or even put out to proper public consultation. The only ‘evidence’ we have are opinion polls and vox pops paid for and produced by the same cronies and string-pullers that control Johnson. Now he has gone into hiding… sorry, I mean, isolation… because the latest Brexit ‘crunch week’ has fallen flat again. And the ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown seems to be accompanying (to put it charitably) more deaths than before the tighter restrictions. While thousands are thrown out of work because Johnson closed down the high street, while Amazon and the tech firms cleaned up. What a mess but we have to be optimistic that something better comes out of this national disaster, akin to how Germany rebuilt itself after their appalling past.

  • mickc

    Whilst I agree with most of your post, I would point out that Blair, Brown, Cameron, and May were hardly “populists”. Johnson just pretends to be one.
    Trump actually is a populist but was setting about withdrawing US troops from “abroad”, more commonly known as other people’s countries. Obviously, he was itching for a war with Iran…but didn’t.
    Obama was massively “interventionist”, but apparently that was fine, for some reason.
    And, to ride a particular hobby horse of mine, it is quite obvious that Trident, the UKs subsidy to the American MIC, should be scrapped immediately, along with two aircraft carriers the UK has no possible use for.

    • Pyewacket

      Mick, an episode of the 80s comedy, Yes Prime Minister, was screened a few nights ago. One where PM Jim Hacker decides that he will scrap Trident, and reintroduce Conscription. The typical response from Sir Humphrey was, obviously,Comedy Gold. I believe it was first shown in 1981, and the price of Trident quoted then, was a mere snip at £15 billion. We should’ve bought two !

  • iain

    Guaranteed Sturge will be in the vanguard of woke imperialist bear and dragon bating in the next few years. They won’t know what’s hit em !

  • Jm

    Boris is tucked up in bed with his Commando comics,the Dambusters on loop,surrounded by many mainly empty bottles of who knows what?
    He still hasn’t yet mentioned the Mandatory part of vaccinations to an increasingly sceptical nation.Ho ho.That’ll be fun.
    Much of the £16 Billion is being funnelled into that shadowy area of cyber capability allegedly against the Russian and Chinese threat…
    Thats code for you and i here in Blighty,the most watched nation on earth and growing.
    Poor Boris,he ate too many sweets and he’s been put to bed with a dicky tummy,or something.
    Carrie’s running the show now.
    You better believe it.

  • Lorna Campbell

    The real reason that politicians get away with this, and all the other horrors that they inflict on their populations is because they are rarely held to account – and when it does happen, it is invariably the losers who stand trial, never the butchers and planners hiding in plain sight. It is also instructive to read of how many children of the elite and political elite are ever on the front-line. WW I was probably the last war, and, perhaps, WW II to a lesser extent, where the children of the elites were expected to be shot and killed in the service of their country. Since 1945 – and even in that war, many scions were safely hidden away from the front in office in Whitehall and the various Ministries of War, etc. – the elites have managed to be unanswerable to any authority, and they happily send the children of the poor to be killed and maimed, both physically and mentally, often denying them long-term proper treatment.

    These cold-blooded users of humanity ensure that they are safe and well as they order the destruction of others, their own people and other peoples. Until they are made to answer for their decisions on conflicts, on war spending, on armaments, on social experiments that are doomed to be haywire (and they know it but it affords them popularity at the time), they will go on using us like tissues of the nasal and/or lavatory type wipes.

  • OnlyHalfALooney

    I doubt this has much to do with true “militarism”. It is probably more like the South African “Arms Deal”, which, on paper, was about modernising the South African military after end of apartheid. But it was mainly a vehicle for corruption on unbelievable scale and the enrichment of prominent members of the ANC.

    Just like post-apartheid South Africa, the UK has no real use for many of these weapons. The UK has no militarily advanced enemies, nor is the UK economically able to project military power on a global scale like the USA. There are no laser weapons in actual use, there many practical problems the main one being an energy source. A “Royal Space Force” out of nothing. Really? It’s all a load of bullshit, just like everything else that comes out of Boris Johnson’s mouth. It’s another garden bridge project.

    Unfortunately, the taxpayers’ money wasted will be real. In gratitude, the arms industry will, as is their custom, richly endow notable Tories and their cronies with “donations” and outright baksheesh.

  • Republicofscotland

    So Trumpism is rife at Westminster as the not so Priti Patel, who broke the Ministerial Code keeps her job and the person who submitted the report on her excessive bullying of Civil servants resigns, after Johnson ignores the report and backed Patel.

    Patel sings from the same hymn sheet as Johnson, and every Civil servant at Westminster will now be wondering if they’re going to face excessive bullying from this out of control Tory government with no recourse to protect their rights at work.

  • Nobilis

    [ Mod: Habbabkuk ]

    Sir Alex Allan : private school (Harrow) and Clare College Cambridge

    Sir Philip Rutnam : private school (Dulwich Prep and College) and Trinity Hall Cambridge (the poshest of the posh).

    Priti Patel – just some crappy redbrick.

    And she’s of ethnic origin.

    Sounds like the good ol’ boys ganging up on one of the oiks……

    • Goose

      The idea they’re a bunch of overly sensitive Oxbridge softies who should’ve simply ‘toughened up’ may be a popular line for the tabloids to take over this, but bullying at work can be hell, it’s no joke. And there is a pattern of this type of behaviour.

      Imagine if some civil servant had sworn and shouted at her, I’d wager they would’ve been outta there in no time.

      The key issue is how if Johnson never had to accept the findings of the inquiry, why was it allowed to proceed wasting everyone’s time?

    • M.J.

      Actually Priti Patel didn’t go to a redbrick – Keele and Essex are far too recent for that.
      Anyway, Boris backed her up and his advisor on standards resigned, and Kenneth Clarke has expressed concern.
      “These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.” – Groucho Marx
      “I have an advisor on standards. If he resigns, I’ll replace him” – Guess Who

  • N_

    “(T)here is currently no realistic route to oppose militarism available in the UK’s – or Scotland’s – so called democratic electoral system.”

    Ah, Scotland’s electoral system…

    The Hitlerite government in Edinburgh has today banned all travel into or out of Scotland “without a reasonable excuse”.

    The Hitlerite party that leads the minority government in Edinburgh with brown-nosed support from its fellow far rightists in the Green party won 46.5% in the constituency part of Scotland’s idiotic voting system in the last Scottish parliamentary election, on a turnout of 55.8%. That’s 26% of the electorate. In the regional part they only won 23%. Basically only one in four voted Hitlerite. And these Nazi scum dare close the border! If there’s any positive thing that can be said, the cops have said they won’t set up road blocks. Whether anybody will be arrested if they walk across the bridge in Coldstream remains to be seen. This is not a joke.

    The maniacs who want to give the Hitlerite party its own sovereign country to dictate to mostly want the said country to join the EU, which would mean necessarily mean having a hard border with England. (Should I say with “Westminster”?). At the same time many of them want an open border in Ireland. They see no contradiction. They care about Irish people who need to travel across the Irish border to see family, to go to work, to go shopping, to eat out, to see friends, or just because they feel like it (and why not?), but they don’t give a damn about Scottish people who need to do the same across Scotland’s border. Look at the figures for how people voted in the indyref and you will see that in the border areas there was very strong opposition to independence. (Similarly white people who have lived near and made friends with black people don’t tend to vote for the British National Party.) In the Hitlerite mind, only a “non-believer” in the rabies cult that is the Hitlerite party, or a foreigner (who would of course be thought to think the way they do purely because they are a foreigner), would see any “contradiction” between these respective positions on the two borders.

    Saying “Westminster” is in exactly the same category as saying black people have had a “touch of the tarbrush”.

    OPEN THE BORDER!!!

    • N_

      I knew it would come to this when those scum “activists” wearing hazmat suits who had their filthy xenophobic protest against border-crossers weren’t prosecuted and jailed. They should have been.

      Really it is 2020 and many need a kindergarten lesson in what the rise of nationalism means.

      • N_

        As if the SNP aren’t “populist”! They don’t exactly appeal to the intellect, do they. It’s all logic-chopping and self-persuasion and say anything to get that moron’s vote and if possible get him to do some groundwork.

        In the very near future the SNP may make it illegal to cross the border into Scotland unless you can prove you’ve had a vaccine. A case of “we want the hygienic Westminsters on our side”?

        • N_

          But remember this – that border has long uninhabited stretches which you are not going to be able to guard with police or army and hopefully not even with a party militia.

        • JOML

          N_

          Are you saying, only a “moron” would want self determination?

          What an odd think to say. Suspect you’re not up to speed with Scottish politics and the influence of colonialism. Some “morons” are taken in by the ‘Rule Britannia’ shite and vote on that basis.

    • giyane

      N_

      Your comment reminds me of the dilemmas faced in the Middle East where sovereign borders have been removed by the US on the pretext that they were British Imperialist borders . What the US was trying to do was create a borderless and ruleless land bloc in which they could do what they like.

      Normally people quickly intermarry across borders. Human lust can’t wait for permission from above. Thus the question of borders is rife with human grief. That is what Boris Johnson forgets about the Good Friday Agreement . But there are others , more powerful than BoJo, who will put him in his place. If it currently serves their interests. Borders , now you see them, now you don’t.

  • doug scorgie

    “Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.”

    Albert Einstein 1949.

  • Republicofscotland

    So Johnson will give a speech today to the branch office faithful during the Tory conference, he’s expected to give his commitment to devolution North of the border, though we all know that he loathes devolution and is desperate to roll it back.

    I fully expect the the Tory branch office faithful in Scotland to get behind their beloved leader, on outwardly supporting devolution but inwardly loathing it.

  • Republicofscotland

    Well its no surprise that John Swinney is stalling for time in allowing Gillian Russell and Judith MacKinnon to appear before the inquiry. Swinney whose party lost a vote two weeks ago on with regards to committee business then went on to say he’d reflect on how best to move forward on providing evidence to the inquiry.

    Now we see exactly which way Swinney wants to move forwards in, or is it backwards as the chair Linda Fabiani had asked for vital documentation to be handed over to the committee in Mid-July and its still hasn’t been provided yet.

    Fabiani is furious that the very long awaited governments written timeline giving information on the process undertaken by the governemnt in investigating the complaints has still not been provided, even thought the committee isn’t seeking documents the court cannot release, Swinney’s latest delaying tactics claim he cannot allow the women to appear in front of the committee because it might risk identifying the complainers.

    Swinney acting for the Scottish government is stalling, obstructing and obfuscating on producing the required documentation for the committee, a sure sign that there’s something to hide.

    • Squeeth

      The Deluge: The Great War and the Remaking of Global Order 1916-1931 (2014) by Adam Tooze has a succinct section on this, if anyone’s interested. It wasn’t we though, it was they.

  • M.J.

    A pay freeze for three years for the public sector is being considered. That may be the price of such thing as new laser weapons, a Space Command (don’t ask me what that’s for), thousands of new jobs related to new military technology, and the UK retaining a place at the world’s top table.

  • N_

    Good stuff from George Galloway:

    I will be entering #Scotland on Thursday to continue my home improvements on my new house in the borders. If fined I will not pay. @Alliance4Unity

    If I am caught crossing the border when it is supposedly closed, I shall take exactly the same attitude.

    This is the tweet that George pins to the top of his Twitter page:

    Thank you kindly. The good people of England made me feel at home for 37 years. 5 of my children were born here. Many English people came out to hear me speak. And two English cities elected me to Parliament – against all odds. They will never be foreigners to [email protected]

    What we dearly need is a popular front against fascism. Sometimes that has not been the right position to take, but it is now. If senior Scottish police officers have resisted the Hitlerite Scottish government’s efforts to close the border (I’m not sure whether they have, but they have certainly said they won’t enforce the Hitlerite border-closing decree), then THANK YOU to them as well.

    Has anyone here got contacts in Coldstream? I doubt there’s a single person in that town who supports the closure of the border, except perhaps one pasty-faced internet saddo, never seen without a “Freedom!” badge, who when he finds streaks in his underpants that he changes once a week curses the English for putting them there and who can’t get an item back from the dry cleaner’s without ranting about how an Englishman treated him with disdain in 1983.

    I haven’t got my head around the Alliance 4 Unity project yet. George seems to be speaking from the heart as well as using his head. All power to his elbow.

    • yesindyref2

      Well, N_, you won’t be surprised that the ranting claw-stretching hissing George Galloway hasn’t read the Scottish Government guidelines, as he has nothing to worry about concerning his property and its maintenance. That is OK, it’s specifically exempted from the travel restrictions:

      “travel to move home or for activities in connection with the essential maintenance, purchase, sale, letting, or rental of residential property that a person owns or is otherwise responsible for”

      and the good folk of Coldstream where the border is on a bridge don’t need to worry either as there’s a large range of exemptions for which they qualify, particularly if within 5 miles. Contrary to your extraordinary claim, the border is not actually shut! Here you go, you too can get better informed:

      https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-travel-and-transport/#exceptions

    • Republicofscotland

      So Galloway will travel and intentionally put other peoples lives at risk, what a bloody reckless fool of a man, he’s not a key worker or exempt, why should he be allowed to travel when others are heeding the regulations. I hope he’s caught and fined and sent packing, who on earth would vote for such a reckless and inconsiderate man, hopefully this has put paid to his rag tag sack of carpetbaggers heading North to resurrect their failed political career in the name of the union.

      Stay Home George don’t be stupid.

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