The UK’s Fake Politics 128


I found this list on the Facebook page of Anya Darr. The information in it checks out, and it is pretty startling.

I was anxious to namecheck Anya Darr because she is being evicted from her little cottage while awaiting a fresh disability assessment from the NHS. It is a story typical of the cruelty of Tory Britain. There are plentiful resources for everybody to live comfortably, but many millions of lives are blighted by massive and growing inequality of wealth distribution.

Starmer New Labour has now adopted the position of opposing strike action by the working class because it is an inconvenience to the public. The inconvenience of refusing their labour is the only tool the working class has to combat destitution where the price of everything is permitted to rise except the price of labour.

Despite blatantly lying to gain election by the membership, Starmer has dropped all of Corbyn’s key plans to renationalise the railways and public utilities. In fact he appears to have no serious plans at all to combat the collapse in social values and devastation of the poor caused by rampant neo-liberalism.

That is not an accident. New Labour has returned to its modern role as a fake opposition designed to give a simple illusion of democracy and political choice.

The people on Anya’s list are not peripheral figures. They were at the heart of the Parliamentary Labour Party who destroyed Corbyn and their closest allies now again control Labour through Starmer. John Woodcock, now a Tory peer, and Wes Streeting were politically joined at the hip. Owen Smith, now a Big Pharma lobbyist (again) was once the Blairite choice to replace Corbyn. Privatised water director Angela Smith once pretended to support Corbyn’s popular policy of water renationalisation.

The politics of those people listed is, and always was, entirely four square with the Starmer group currently controlling the Labour Party.

Once these right-wing Labour MPs leave the Parliamentary party, we can see who they really are. Frankly, Starmer with his anti-union drive is scarcely disguising it now.

The United Kingdom is an entirely fake democracy, where a whole generation of right-wing charlatans seeks to follow the footsteps of Tony Blair to massive self-enrichment. That is the “alternative” to the populist English Nationalist Tory Party. The United Kingdom is a total bust, no longer a viable political entity. It cannot serve the interests of the vast majority of its people, and the elite in control have skewed its governance systems to produce levels of inequality which have become socially unsustainable, with no democratic outlet for change.

Scottish Independence will only be one aspect of the subsequent dissolution of the current UK structure. It will prove the catalyst for a great deal more radical change, and the much needed blast to the Westminster political system. I remain confident that we will see real and fundamental change, and in our lifetimes, which will sweep away the current political class.

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128 thoughts on “The UK’s Fake Politics

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  • AAMVN

    There is strong support for a general strike in the autumn. Unions and industrial action are perhaps our only tool remaining to exert influence on those in power. It’s shameful that Labour will not support the RMT and other strikers, but hardly surprising. They have been groomed to be as you say a fig leaf opposition. The UK is no longer and maybe never was a democracy. May Scotland break the chains and show us what we could be….

    • Bramble

      It was briefly democratic in 1945, when it voted for the welfare state – but it took the shock of WW2 to achieve that. The last gleams from that brief beacon died in 2019, when social democracy under Jeremy Corbyn was rejected by the electorate following a concerted propaganda campaign led by the right and centrists together. Labour is now just as much a Selfservative Party as the Tories, and the electorate only cares about its wallet and whether the people down the street are proper white English or not.

  • Jay

    Yes never mentioned either that virtually all Blair and Brown’s ministers also went on to work for private healthcare firms, weapons manufacturers etc. So too the other half of the “progressive alliance” psyop … Clegg and his Orange Book buddies, all now corporate shills.

    Ah but that was then .. what about the new generation, the fresh, beloved faces of ChangeUk and “a new kind of politics”? Chukka and Luciana Berger went straight into PR for the Saudi regime with Edelman UK, Chris Leslie into the debt collection-bailiff industry.

    This is all suppressed by the frauds’ erstwhile champions and boosters in the liberal media. Essential in order to perpetuate a myth that “centrist” “moderate” politicians (and journalists) are good, public-spirited people; and to try and excite their dupes about a glorious “progressive alliance” of self-serving charlatans administering austerity and war.

  • Cube

    Speaking as someone from the south of England I hope Scotland does vote for independence and gains it. Soon followed by a re-united Ireland and stronger calls for Welsh independence. It seems to me to be the quickest route to collapsing the old guard establishment of England. Perhaps when the last of their empire is truly gone we will stop listening to them and their forlorn dreams of better days. Perhaps we will be able to embrace a politics suitable for the 21st century instead of pining for the imagined glory’s of late 19th. Whilst the world still works for the English establishment they will not change and it seems the English public are still willing to follow them despite the obvious rot. Until the English are shook from their Hypernormalisation and believe change is possible we will not be able to move on.

    • Goose

      Indeed.

      But the Scots in the HoL and much of the Scottish Labour contingent are part of the same UK establishment system. Look at the Privy Council’s membership. The idea this is some evil Home counties, British Empire nostalgia/revivalist club based in London, running whole the show is wrongheaded, if only that were the case. The British establishment stretches the length and breadth of the UK. The titles, the class system; judiciary, intel agencies, broadcasters and media, politics, City money, monarchy all tightly interweaving. And the disorganised, chaotic opposition to that lot makes it easy to defend. They’ve got a good thing, and they won’t give it up without a fight. It’s why most people holding radical ideas for UK democratic / constitutional reform in the UK surrender them to the status quo. Facing down that lot is a battle lost.

      And they’ll always find new recruits…

      Given recent demonstrations protesting the pitiful pay in the legal profession – the long hours in unpaid preparatory case work – you can fully understand why so many seek a way out by entering politics. Tony Blair, it’s fair to say, would never have amassed similar wealth (tens of £££millions) practising law. Barristers imho, make for the worst politicians, as they’re basically actors already. Court being much like putting on a performance; already well versed in bending the truth and/or lying by omission i.e. their moral compass is already well and truly skewed. Blair and now Starmer, being typical examples.

      Guardianistas are up in arms because Starmer’s ruled out any govt he leads rejoining the single market and/or customs union. He’s also emphasised he opposes freedom of movement. FoM obviously being one of the most significant losses from our hard Brexit, especially so for the UK’s young. I have criticisms of the EU, but ultimately those relate to the nature of its institutions and its backroom appointments, and the democratic deficit therein. However, the fundamental ideas and principles underpinning the EU are sound enough, they just need some democratic finessing.

      Starmer’s either misinformed, lying, or just too lazy to explain FoM; as it’s always been non-EU migration behind UK public antipathy towards migrants. The UK govt always controlled non-EU, throughout our EU membership. This regardless of the tabloids pretending various human rights challenges were somehow solely down to that EU membership. It was convenient for the Tories and Labour let this tabloid lie stand that they were powerless. This blaming the EU for that which Westminster always controlled. As with recent rows over the ECtHR – an entirely separate court and related convention.

      FPTP elections, in which we choose between liars on the right versus liars on the centre-right, is seemingly our lot in life.

      • Jimmeh

        @Goose

        > Barristers imho, make for the worst politicians, as they’re basically actors already.

        You may be confusing UK barristers with Hollywood “barristers”. I don’t know whether Hollywood does a good job of representing US attorneys, but UK barristers generally aren’t putting on a show for the jury (or the cameras); their job is to persuade. Sure, persuasion involves lies both of omission and comission.

        But isn’t persuading people the core role of a politician? My biggest gripe about Labour isn’t that they’re all in it for the money; it’s that their “leaders” don’t lead. Corbyn led, after a fashion; he presented striking new policies, and advocated for them. But he’s not really a fighting man, so when fighters came after him, he didn’t fight back. And not being a barrister, his persuasive skills were lacking.

        It began with Blair, and his focus groups. Blair’s approach was to find out what his target electorate wanted, and make that his policy. That means he was following, not leading.

        I think it’s also a good thing if legislators understand the law. I realise that laws are generally drafted by civil servants, not politicians; but if the politicians don’t understand what their civil servants are drafting, you get rotten laws that don’t serve any good purpose.

        • Goose

          Jimmeh

          I realise it’s a sweeping generalisation with limited supporting anecdotal evidence. And of course there are good lawyers & barristers out there.
          But it seems too much of a coincidence that both here and in the US, some of the most insincere, underwhelming, ideologically unclear politicians of the past three decades have had law backgrounds. In the US : Bill Clinton, Obama, H.Clinton. Here Blair, Starmer, Sturgeon. We’ve had a generation of vague, triangulating centrist politicians who seemingly stand for nothing beyond holding power and serving elites. People who are good at making excuses and dodging around direct questions, i.e. in interviews they act more like lawyers than politicians.

        • Nick

          But isn’t persuading people the core role of a politician?

          No. The core job of government is running the country in such a way that everybody has a decent life, and opportunity to make use of their talents.
          Unfortunately, to get a job in government, you have to be good at persuading people. So that becomes the end, instead of merely the means.

        • Blissex

          «It began with Blair, and his focus groups. Blair’s approach was to find out what his target electorate wanted, and make that his policy.»

          The important word here is “target”, because the mandelsonians had decided to adopt thatcherite policies, and selected thatcherite voters as focus groups members to be able to say that’s what the (target) electorate wanted.

          That did not work either: the result was that New Labour lost 5 million votes between 1997 and 2020.

          «laws are generally drafted by civil servants, not politicians; but if the politicians don’t understand what their civil servants are drafting, you get rotten laws»

          Even politicians who are lawyers rarely have the time to read the drafts the civil servants prepare, and anyhow in earlier decades many ministers and MPs were not lawyers (businesspeople and landowners on the Conservative side, academics and shop stewards on the Labour side) and yet laws were made according to the political orientation of the politicians.

  • Wee Jim

    Have any Labour politicians commented on the behaviour of the “fuel protestors” inconveniencing the public and creating widespread air pollution?

  • Robert Dyson

    I liked your positive ending. I am sure another policy is to demoralise people so that they give up hope. How do you prevent an independent Scotland being in the grip of that same elite working through a fake politics? I always had hope that as countries freed themselves from colonial rule the new governments would work for the interests of the majority. In many cases the government formed by a country’s natives has over time (sometimes short) become corrupt and politics again becomes a route to become rich rather than develop the wealth of the country from the many.

    • Blissex

      «How do you prevent an independent Scotland being in the grip of that same elite working through a fake politics? I always had hope that as countries freed themselves from colonial rule the new governments would work for the interests of the majority.»

      The ruling elites love “representative democracy” because it is easier and cheaper for the investor classes to purchase representatives than to pay tributes to dictators and kings.

      But to achieve that a large part of the population has to be complicit and support it, and the problem in places like the USA, UK, etc. that a substantial minority of the voters, the upper-middle classes, are corrupt themselves, more than the politicians, because they have become tiny “investors” too, their obsessions being booming house prices and stock prices. The usual “leftoids” always mention the “1%”, but it is really the top 20-40% that are enthusiastic supporters of thatcherism/neoliberalism.

      https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/jun/29/how-right-to-buy-ruined-british-housing

      «I spoke to Phil Salter, a 79-year-old retired carpenter in Cornwall, who bought his council house in Devon in the early 80s for £17,000. When it was valued at £80,000 in 1989, he sold up and used the equity to put towards a £135,000 fisherman’s cottage in St Mawes. Now it’s valued at £1.1m. “I was very grateful to Margaret Thatcher,” he said.»

      A retired carpenter has joined the upper-middle class thanks to Thatcher and Blair. Rejoice! Rejoice! 🙂

      • Mart

        The 1% are those who genuinely benefit; less wealthy supporters are deceived. Sure, council house sales made money for many purchasers – Thatcher used publicly-owned assets to bribe the electorate. But that was a one-off. The deception comes through the subsequent artificial inflation of house prices introduced by the Tories. Homeowners are brainwashed into believing that the price bubble is making them wealthier. The bubble is created by the banks – they create new money out of thin air when they make a loan. They direct most of their loans into the housing bubble rather than real wealth-creating investments. It’s making most of the population poorer, although at a slower rate for homeowners than non-homeowners.

        • Blissex

          «The 1% are those who genuinely benefit; less wealthy supporters are deceived. Sure, council house sales made money for many purchasers […] But that was a one-off.»

          I guess that the retired carpenter is now resentful of Margaret Thatcher for that one-off one million pounds capital gain, and has stopped voting Conservative 🙂

          All those people who cashed in their £500k-£1k property profits and went to live in comfortable affluence in Spain or France also probably are angry that they have actually become “poorer, although at a slower rate for homeowners”. 🙂

          Poor homeowners, I cry for them on learning that their huge capital gains are actually a deceitful one-off life-changing redistribution from the lower classes! I wonder why they kept voting Conservative and New Labour even if those were were so mean to them… 🙂

          • Johnny Conspiranoid

            “I cry for them on learning that their huge capital gains are actually a deceitful one-off life-changing redistribution from the lower classes! I wonder why they kept voting Conservative and New Labour even if those were were so mean to them”

            Me too. It’s not as if any more is going to come their way from the efforts of the Tory/NuLab/LibDem party.

          • Mart

            The price discount on council houses (what I called a bribe) represented real wealth – it was a transfer of wealth within (rather than “from”) the working class, effectively segregating us in the interests of creating division. It was not a transfer from rich to poor, of course – I agree with you there.

            Resentment is fomented in those who are not homeowners, and it seems people such as yourself, against the homeowners. Your carpenter won’t be resentful, as I know you know from your sarcastic tone. Maybe you could argue the bribe-takers deserve the resentment, but I’m prepared to forgive them – very few people would turn down “free” wealth. However, for those who now attack the wealth of the homeowners, the fomented resentment is useful politically. It creates a smokescreen around their wealth-grab.

            The transfer of wealth that’s happening now is one from those with at least some wealth (e.g. homeowners) to the ultra-rich, making the transferor poorer. But it’s disguised very effectively in a number of ways, artificially-created house price inflation being a major factor.

            To understand how a homeowner is becoming poorer while their house is increasing in price you need to understand better the nature of wealth and money. While money in the bank is wealth it is also the unit of measure of wealth, and it’s a very bad one. A scientist would never accept a unit of measure that continuously changes its value, but money is one such. Money doesn’t convey wealth-benefits until it’s converted into an asset that does, such as a house. So money is more potential wealth than real wealth.

            What’s important to understand is that the wealth-benefits confered by a real wealth asset do not change with the price of that asset. A house does not provide more shelter or become closer to the shops simply because its price has risen. When viewed this way the wealth of a homeowner (one with no other assets) does not increase – it stays at one unit of house-wealth.

            But when wealth is measured using my “house-wealth” unit (which, unlike money, keeps a constant value) we can see that the homeowner is getting poorer in the house-price bubble – their salary is now worth fewer house-wealth units as are their cash savings while their house has stayed at the same value.

            In the 1970s my salary was worth one quarter of a house; today, were I working at the same grade I’d be lucky to be earning one tenth of a house. This applies to the vast majority of the population who are not rentiers – the bubble is making us all poorer, even homeowners.

          • Mart

            Johnny Conspiranoid,

            Interesting that you quote Blissex’s paragraph that best demonstrates his failure to grasp my point. That neither of you get it is understandable – it’s not easy to see through the deception foisted on us by the red, blue and yellow Tories. If it were they wouldn’t be getting away with it!

            Anyway, have a read of my second reply – it’s an attempt at clarification, probably in vain.

        • Pigeon English

          There are many points Marti is saying. I will try to rephrase some of them. About 30 years ago 3 average Yearly salaries would buy you an average priced house in the UK while now it’s 10 yearly average salaries for an average priced property.

          In 1997 we bought a 2-bedroom flat for £120,000 but were looking at a fantastic gem of 3-bedroom for £160,000. We did not dare to risk it (London was expensive and overpriced). So the fantastic gem was £ 40,000 more. Every year our 2-bedroom flat was going up and up in price and we were getting richer, but 10 years later we had to pay more, between £100,000 and £150,000 for 3-bedroom flat in the same area, not even nearly as beautiful as the one for £160,000. Did we get richer in the mean time?

          Then there is the biggest scam that no one is addressing the creation of money out of thin air by parasitic – sorry financial – sector. Best kept secret IMO. Allegedly Henry Ford said “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”

          If you are not moving to smaller property or abroad you are stuffed. 10% deposit on £120,000 is very different from 10% on £240,000.

          • Pigeon English

            I forgot to say 20% 0n £240,000.. That is basically £50,000 deposit with average salary of allegedly £25,000. Probably I got this wrong but it looks like soon you would need 3 yearly salaries for a deposit.

  • John Edwards

    When I first started reading this blog I was strongly opposed to breaking up the British State and had no sympathy for Scottish independence and said so in the comments. However. over the years I’ve been persuaded by Craig’s arguments that the UK is a toxic, corrupt, dysfunctional political entity which has to be broken up and the Scots would be doing everyone in these islands a favour by being the first to get out.

    • Ebenezer Scroggie

      Scotland, under the current SNP leadership, is a “toxic, corrupt, dysfunctional political entity”.

      Part of the problem in Scotland, as in the rUK, is that we don’t have a functioning Opposition.

      Although nominally a multi-party state, Scotland is run by a tight coterie clustered around the Dearly Beloved Leaderene and operates in exactly the same way as a One Party State does.

      The principal characteristic is of the Scottish “government” (formerly more correctly known as Scottish Executive) has been spectacular blithering incompetence in everything from ferry-building to hospital-building to roads and health and education and a’athing else.

      All that, plus a very extreme nastiness towards political opponents of any persuasion including those who might otherwise be on their own side.

  • Mist001

    The thing is that no matter what party any politician belongs to, be it Tory, SNP, Greens, whatever, they are part of the ‘establishment’ and as such have certain immutable patterns of thought and behaviour. The dream is to have one of these establishment politicians work their way through the ranks playing by establishment rules and once they become Prime Minister of the UK or an independent Scotland, suddenly do a complete volte face and show themselves to be a true renegade by doing things that are not expected of the establishment politicians. All it takes is one person to do that and the landscape will change forever.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see anyone around who will do that.

    • tom welsh

      “All it takes is one person to do that and the landscape will change forever”.

      Unfortunately I don’t think that could happen. If you can put aside popular prejudices, consider Mr Trump. If anyone has ever been in that position vis-a-vis the US establishment, it was he. Elected by stealth, completely blind-siding the whole system, he had a unique opportunity to reform it. Unfortunately his presidency demonstrates conclusively that even the one man supposedly “at the top” cannot accomplish anything if the bureaucracy digs its heels in and refuses to obey him.

      “Unfortunately, I don’t see anyone around who will do that”.

      Nor could you, as the system has been painstakingly designed and implemented to make it voter-proof and honesty-proof. Trying to reform it from inside, by legal or political means, is like a goldfish trying to escape from its bowl.

      • Goose

        Trump’s naïvety fuelled what many misinterpreted as bravery.

        I don’t think Trump ever really understood the enormity his challenge to the system represented; a nonpolitical, establishment outsider taking the GOP on. Then the ‘MAGA’ momentum grew to the point where, like a rolling snowball gathering mass, he became too big to stop. If only Corbyn had had a fraction of his chutzpah, and brazenly called the UK media out as a bunch of liars. We’ve seen with the RMT’s Mick Lynch, how these establishment journos can be made fools of, Mick’s unapologetic straight talk earning him much respect.

        Trump’s presidency was a terrible wasted opportunity, given he promised to ‘drain the swamp’. And I doubt they’ll allow Trump or any leftist equivalent to stand again. Both parties will close ranks and work together to prevent another gatecrasher wrecking their ‘liberal consensus’ club.

        • Jimmeh

          > If only Corbyn had had a fraction of his chutzpah, and brazenly called the UK media out as a bunch of liars.

          I watched in horror as Corbyn took those lies on the chin, and failed to come out fighting.

          The lies weren’t just from the media, incidentally; half his front bench weere Labour Friends of Israel, and his own party officials were determined to see him destroyed. I have never understood why he didn’t put his dukes up.

    • Goose

      Scrapping the House of Lords and reforming the discredited honours system would start the ball rolling towards wider political reform. Michael Gove recently talked about moving the HoL to Durham, this would probably achieve the same result.

      The honours system should be scaled back and reserved for those who’ve shown either genuine altruism, or great heroism.

      This shouldn’t be too much to ask for in 2022. However, watching David Lammy yesterday, interviewed by the odious Nick Robinson, Lammy began blathering on how he favours incrementalism, and how his parents loved collecting royal memorabilia. As Nick Robinson grinned widely in approval. And this is the state of the so-called ‘progressive’ opposition in 2022.

      • MrShigemitsu

        Did you hear Lammy declaring that a prospective “serious party of government” does not go about supporting striking [RMT] workers?

        That from a supposed Labour Party, founded by the Trades Union movement.

        They are a disgrace, squatting in the place that a genuine party of the left should be occupying.

        The Labour Party doesn’t need, or necessarily even want, to win a general election; preventing socialism and socialists from ever achieving power in the U.K. is their sole aim, and up until now it’s been mission accomplished.

        • Goose

          He’s very gaffe-prone.

          Asked whether he supported strike action by BA workers, mostly check-in staff, Lammy said: “No, I don’t. No I don’t – it is a no, it’s a categorical no.”

          Days later, he apologised, saying he wrongly thought staff wanted a 10% pay rise, rather than reinstatement of their Covid pay cut.

          This is Labour’s shadow foreign secretary.

          • tom welsh

            And the Foreign Secretary does not know that Voronezh and Rostov-na-Donu are in Russia.

            Well, to people in whose world the Channel Islands are not part of France, but of the UK, and the Falkland Islands – nearly 8,000 miles away – are also part of the UK… anything is possible.

          • MrShigemitsu

            The Channel Islands were part of Normandy when William the Conqueror invaded in 1066, so in effect he added England to the Norman empire rather than adding the islands to England!

    • Jimmeh

      > suddenly do a complete volte face and show themselves to be a true renegade by doing things that are not expected of the establishment politicians.

      Such as deciding to become an autocratic demagogue? I’m not sure I’m enthusiastic about a leader that stands on a specific platform, and then does a volte-face once appointed. I struggle to think of examples; other than Starmer, who has completely betrayed the platform on which he stood. If Starmer represents the kind of volte-face that you are thinking of, then I’m agin it.

    • Blissex

      «The thing is that no matter what party any politician belongs to, be it Tory, SNP, Greens, whatever, they are part of the ‘establishment’ and as such have certain immutable patterns of thought and behaviour.»

      Robert de Jouvenel, a french progressive journalist wrote decades ago:

      «There is more in common between two deputies, one of whom is a Communist, than between two Communists, one of whom is a deputy.»

      https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2010/dec/11/simon-hoggarts-week

      «An old mining MP called Bill Stone, who used to sit in the corner of the Strangers’ Bar drinking pints of Federation ale to dull the pain of his pneumoconiosis.
      He was eavesdropping on a conversation at the bar, where someone said exasperatedly about the Commons: “The trouble with this place is, it’s full of c*nts!”
      Bill put down his pint, wiped the foam from his lip and said: “They’s plenty of c*nts in the country, and they deserve some representation.” (To get the full effect, say it aloud in a broad northern accent.)
      As a description of parliamentary democracy, that strikes me as unbeatable.
      »

  • tom welsh

    “The United Kingdom is an entirely fake democracy, where a whole generation of right wing charlatans seeks to follow the footsteps of Tony Blair to massive self-enrichment”.

    I am pleased to see Mr Murray stating this so clearly and without (apparent) reservations. However, the implications are perhaps somewhat less obvious and therefore much easier to overlook and deny.

    Under the present political system (which is close enough to that of the USA to make little practical difference) I see absolutely no chance for serious reform or improvement. Over 150 years or more, every potential gap or leak in the system has been diligently plugged with regulations and legal precedents.

    Thus reshuffling national borders, independence movements, etc., in no way address the central issue. An independent Scotland would be exactly as corrupt and loathsome as today’s UK, because it would be governed in the same way: by interlocking networks of cronies who are adept at exploiting every detail of the current system – not scrupling to take a few shortcuts or mount the kerb when they feel it desirable. (As Mr Murray is well placed to know).

    Much as I regret to say it, the only real solution to such an entrenched bureaucratic system is violence – carefully calculated and fairly unlimited. Anyone who doubts that might profitably reflect on the fact the the last really big change in British political thinking was introduced by Oliver Cromwell, who swept away all constitutional minutiae and ruled by personal whim and the unshakeable support of the Army. For a long time after Cromwell, would-be tyrants were careful to avoid overstepping the mark and precipitating another armed revolution. Thomas Jefferson, too, believed that no constitution could survive uncorrupted without the perpetual threat – and occasional execution – of revolutionary violence.

    Without wanting to turn this post into an academic essay, I recommend these short and accessible sources:

    UK Column’s “A Dissident’s Guide to the Constitution: Episode 5, Part II — A Lawless Lawmaker”

    https://www.ukcolumn.org/article/dissidents-guide-constitution-episode-5-part-ii-lawless-lawmaker

    Randolph Bourne, “The State” (1918)

    https://fair-use.org/randolph-bourne/the-state/

    If the latter seems too long, I suggest tackling the final 6 or 7 paragraphs. If they don’t get your attention, Bourne may have little to say to you.

  • Jules Orr

    The noise is continuing that Starmer got fined by Durham Police last week and is going to have to resign. That is why Wes Streeting – the establishment’s choice to replace him – has been getting puff pieces in all the papers. He is an exemplar of the type of character you describe above, bankrolled by private health care financier John Armitage and an ardent attack dog for the apartheid state of Israel. Streeting’s ascension would be a further boon for the independence movement, clarifying exactly what Scotland would be losing by ending English rule.

    • Goose

      He’s their shadow health secretary too – coincidence or by design?

      This from yesterday: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/jul/03/labours-wes-streeting-launches-review-to-plan-for-national-care-service.

      In an interview with the Guardian, Wes Streeting said he had asked the Fabian Society to look at how the service would be funded and structured.

      [ … ]

      “It’s about how we lay the foundations for it in the first term of a Labour government and then look to build on it in a second or third term.”

      Wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him.

      • MrShigemitsu

        “It’s about…” when used to elucidate policy is a commonly employed but ultimately meaningless phrase that commits to absolutely nothing.

        Along with “we have no plans to..”, it signifies that the user has no intention whatsoever of abiding by their word.

      • Goose

        With the rule changes Starmer forced through at conference, a socialist campaign group left-winger, likely won’t receive the votes from fellow parliamentary colleagues to even get on the ballot that goes before members.

        I think the enthusiasm for Burnham, is born of unhappiness (with Starmer) and SCG realism. Of course as Mayor of Greater Manchester he doesn’t have a HoC seat at the moment, complicating matters. And being such a threat, I don’t think the people around Starmer at Southside (Labour HQ) are going to be making it easy for him to get one and return.

        The only thing new or positive about Burnham, is his seeming cast iron conversion to the merits of proportional representation for Westminster. But could he persuade Labour MPs? As the late, pro-PR Labour MP Austin Mitchell once said: the problem is, MPs tend to believe that the best system is the one that elected them.

        • Jules Orr

          Even in the remote event of PR being introduced, we know the establishment would combine to destroy the threat of even mild social democracy. Centrists are working hard day and night to discredit and Bury the idea of Corbynism long after it has been destroyed politically. Do you think they would be less implacable under a different voting system? Or do you just desire a system where someone like Sir Ed Davey perpetually calls all the shots?

          • Goose

            Do you just desire a system where someone like Sir Ed Davey perpetually calls all the shots?

            Tbh, even that would be better than the current situation. Look at recent LD leaders: Charles Kennedy, Tim Farron, even Clegg (pre coalition), any of those were a damn sight more progressive than the Tories or Labour in that time. And look what happened to the Lib Dems when they propped up the Tories – they got 7.9% in the 2015 election, that’d be equally problematic under PR, no?

            It needn’t be like that either. Under FPTP we are faced with a choice of voting for the lesser evil or not voting at all. If, under PR, the seat % threshold were set at ~5%, there’d be every reason to be optimistic about new parties breaking through. Almost certain that more people would vote Green too. Rather selfishly, I just want to cast a positive vote for a party I believe in and support – win or lose doesn’t matter, I’d be content with being free to do that and have that vote count. That shouldn’t be too much to wish for.

          • Jules Orr

            Depends what you view as better. Objectively the Lib Dems are hard-right neoliberals devoted to perpetual austerity. Last week they went further again than the Tory government or Sir Keir Starmer in calling for the Army to be brought in to break the rail strike.

    • Blissex

      «and an ardent attack dog for the apartheid state of Israel.»

      Apparently not zealous enough:

      https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2019/12/corbyn-couldnt-have-done-it-without-moderates-like-jess-phillips/

      If Wes Streeting is your idea of an ally, your enemies have caught one hell of a break. On Thursday, he and all the other ‘friends of the community’ tried to put their anti-Semitic party into government and were only stopped by ex-steelworkers in Redcar and Workington. There is always a place for atonement but the Streeting tendency aren’t here to atone. They consider themselves victims of Corbynism when they were its enablers.

  • pasha

    Nothing’s going to change until we completely rethink our concept of politics. In five words:
    Sortition is the only answer.

    • tom welsh

      Sortition would at least give us a random chance of getting competent, honest people. Maybe better than random. Rather like hereditary monarchy.

      Whereas our current system has been fine-tuned over centuries to filter out all honest, well-disposed people and select only the worst of the worst as rulers.

      It’s like the difference between Russian Roulette and a firing squad.

    • Bramble

      I don’t think the English would swallow sortition. They’d have to accept that everyone is essentially equal. The English are deeply addicted to ideas of class hierarchy (Downton Abbey played all the right notes in the right order for them) and couldn’t bear to see a call centre operative, a bus driver or a shop assistant running anything other than a bath.

      • Lysias

        Anyone who has ever served on a jury knows that average people chosen randomly can be trusted to exercise power responsibly.

        • pasha

          @Lysias
          There’s nothing average or random about jury selection. And they don’t just sift evidence, they have to listen to polis lies, advocate lies, and biased judges whose views are all too often far to the right of the most reactionary establishment opinion.

    • pasha

      @Barofsky
      The result of sortition maybe either or neither. Whatever emerges when a bunch of people selected at random are obliged to sit down and discuss things.

      @Bramble
      I suspect you may be correct, but one can always hope.

      @tom welsh
      Nothing like a hereditary monarchy. Completely the opposite in fact.

    • Goose

      If you strip away socialism all you’ve got left to differentiate the parties is culture wars and woke. And these liberal centrists have gone woke with the zeal of a convert.

      Their attraction to woke attitudes stems from the fact enforcement can be quite prescriptive and authoritarian and it costs nothing. Being on the political right they naturally identify with anything that’s prescriptive and authoritarian. It’s not about empathy, that is for sure, otherwise they wouldn’t have dumped socialism, would they?

  • Vivian O’Blivion

    When I were a lad ….
    Labour MPs were sourced from union shop stewards and Tory MPs were sourced from the Law (corporate and banking rather than criminal, I believe). It wasn’t ideal but it’s a thousand times better than today.
    Elected politicians are increasingly from the ranks of humanities graduates, usually courses with “Politics” in the title. These middle class, “never had a proper job in the lives”, parasites form our permanent managerial class. Limited real life experience and negligible commercial, business experience.
    A STEM graduate is a rare thing in modern politics. Either elected or in the ever expanding nebula of QUANGOs.
    These folk widnae ken a Kilo Watt fae a killer whale. And we wonder why we end up with the ferries fiasco.
    Crucially, these humanities graduate, professional politicians don’t have a “trade to fall back on”. They won’t buck against even the most moronic pronouncement from “the boss”. The career is all that matters. Pressing the flesh with their constituents is an unpleasant task to be endured every four or five years.
    According to the recent expose from Robin McAlpine the University of Strathclyde even runs a course on “how to hop aboard the QUANGO gravytrain”.

    • Jimmeh

      > A STEM graduate is a rare thing in modern politics.

      Not just in modern politics; it’s almost as if knowing anything about technology automatically disqualifies you for the job.

      It’s the same with the Civil Service as with MPs; or at least it was (it may be changing, very slowly). The custom in the Civil Service is to move people around from task to task, department to department, to give them broad experience. Civil servants are supposed to be fungible. You can’t just parachute into a job needing STEM skills as a one-year assignment.

      The Civil Service has a record as long as your arm of huge IT projects that failed after spending squillions of pounds. It’s almost a mark of honour to have been the senior civil servant in charge of a failed IT megaproject.

  • Goose

    Scottish Blairite, Anas Sarwar has today presented a paper on constitutional change that seeks to replace House of Lords with Senate-type chamber.

    Under the plans, the House of Lords would be abolished and replaced with an elected senate of the nations and regions. He spoke at a Fabian Society event in London. He set out plans for: “joint governance councils” between UK and devolved ministers with a legal duty to co-operate. Note the ‘legal duty’ aspect.

    Everyone should be wary of what they’re up to. As this could amount to little more than an attempt by Labour to dilute the devolution settlement(s). The devil will be in the detail of course. The UK HoL currently has no oversight role for Holyrood’s legislation, something Donald Dewar, to his credit, insisted on. These envisaged “joint governance councils” – between UK and devolved ministers with a legal duty to co-operate, sound like a threat to Scottish devolved powers. And we all know hoe Starmer is obsessed with centralisation and control freakery.

    • Goose

      His full speech is here:

      https://labourlist.org/2022/07/only-labour-will-unite-our-country-sarwars-speech-to-the-fabian-society/

      You’d be forgiven for stopping at: He [Starmer] has reminded everyone of the values of honesty, integrity and decency.

      He goes on…

      “But we need something that is more reflective of modern Britain. And which gives Scotland and other parts of the UK a greater say in UK-wide legislation.

      So in our paper today, we are proposing a new Senate of the Nations and Regions. Members should be directly elected, with a mandate to represent their nation or region. And we must learn from international best practice so that our smallest regions, including those within Scotland, have a strong voice in this new institution.”

      This reads like Holyrood will lose powers to this new institution, in some quid pro quo or trade-off.

      Quite what role he foresees for this new Senate of the Nations and Regions is hard to decipher? The HoL presently has no revising role with regards to Holyrood legislation. I can’t imagine Scottish voters would be all that enamoured by the idea of some new chamber necessitating London taking back powers, or regaining lost political influence. It’s arguable Scots shouldn’t sit in the HoL presently, though that’s also true of bishops, aristocrats and other assorted political cronies too.

  • Blissex

    «It is a story typical of the cruelty of Tory Britain. There are plentiful resources for everybody to live comfortably, but many millions of lives are blighted by massive and growing inequality of wealth distribution.»

    For a large minority of upper-middle class voters the biggest issue within the UK is that there is too much social injustice in the form of too much equality, and in particular the lower-middle and lower classes are paying too little for housing and are paid “unaffordable” wages for their work, despite being unproductive. For those voters the state and the laws are hugely biased in favour of scrounging “losers”, who therefore are entitled to much better living standards than they deserve.

    Therefore social justice would mean for “losers” to live eight to a room in unheated cellars and to work for £1 per hour 12 hours a day, or food and a bed “downstairs” and half a day a week of leave, just like in Dubai or dickensian London.

  • Blissex

    «The United Kingdom is a total bust, no longer a viable political entity. It cannot serve the interests of the vast majority of its people, and the elite in control have skewed its governance systems to produce levels of inequality which have become socially unsustainable, with no democratic outlet for change.»

    The UK did not “serve the interests of the vast majority of its people” for 900 years after 1,000 and yet abided, because the rule of the few and inequality were very sustainable, and the occasional riots and rebellions all failed and were considered a cost of doing business by the ruling class.
    There were only a few changes of which faction of the ruling class was on top, after dynastic civil wars. Welcome to the new boss, same as the old boss.

    Is there any reason to think that much change will happen in a country where the majority of the upper-middle class is very satisfied with booming living standards fueled by massive property capital gains paid for entirely by the lower-middle and lower classes>

  • Nick

    Yes, increasing inequality supported by fake politics.

    It calls into question the so-called “democracy” that the West trumpets to the world.

    Here’s what really happens in UK elections. A large bloc of voters always votes Tory because they don’t like the bolshie unions. Another large bloc of voters always votes Labour because they don’t like the rich old-Etonian toffs who consider an annual income of £250,000 to be “chicken feed” (quoting from Boris Johnson). Most of the rest are swayed by advertising (amazingly, advertisements do work). The number of people who actually try to understand what is going on is tiny, and they have a very hard time because the mainstream media (including the BBC) lie to them. Twenty years ago there were some honest journalists working for the mainstream media who tried to tell us the truth. They are mostly gone, because newspaper circulations aren’t enough now to pay for investigative journalism. We’re left with isolated bloggers and Wikileaks, and we’ve seen what the US government and its satellites are doing to them.

  • Republicofscotland

    A lot of folk no realise that Labour is no longer a socialist party, a party of the working class, I still wonder why the unions haven’t dropped Labour like a hot potato and stopped funding them. I’m sure Keir Hardy will be burlin in grave at the thought of a millionaire knight of the realm leading the party.

    The estates just had to band together to smear and demonise Corbyn having a socialist as PM and even as long term leader of the Labour party just wouldn’t do, Corbyn was stabbed in the back more times from within his party than Julius Caesar was. The power of the Tory ran media in the UK is such that folk whose grandfathers who were miners were beaten by the police on the orders of the Home Office via Thatcher, their grandparents and of course their children now middle aged adults were cut off from the welfare system or were messed about that much by it they they suffered terrible hardship, the adults and now their children have forgotten this (The grandparents have not) and even ex-mining villages voted for Johnson at the last GE, such is the persuasive powers of the media.

    Labour are not a real opposition they have been captured.

    • Nick

      even ex-mining villages voted for Johnson at the last GE

      I think that a lot of people voted Tory in the 2019 election because the Tories were the only party with a clear, unequivocal, unambiguous promise to “get Brexit done”. Labour promised yet another referendum, and anyway it was obvious to the electorate that Labour MPs had obstructed Brexit.

  • Aidworker1

    Is it antisemetic to note all (I think) of these people who undermined Corbyn were Labour Friends of Israel?

    • Republicofscotland

      Aidworker1

      Yeah, Corbyn is no more anti-Semitic than Ken Livingstone is, I’ve never seen such a concerted effort to smear and demonise a party leader as the one against Corbyn.

    • Lysias

      I just watched David Lean’s 1948 movie of Oliver Twist, in which Alec Guiness plays Fagin as an extremely repulsive Jewish villain. I wonder if Lean was able to get away with doing this because the British public was still revolted by how the Jewish rebels against British rule had been behaving in Mandate Palestine.

  • pasha

    I suspect things would be very different if MPs who advocate or vote for war were immediately and inescapably obliged to serve on the front lines.

    • Republicofscotland

      Pasha.

      Yes indeed, I recall Michael Moore in one of his videos along with a US military sergeant approach senators who voted for the illegal invasion of Iraq, and asked them if they would sign their sons and daughters up to fight in Iraq, all the senators recoiled in horror, and looked at Moore as though he had two heads.

  • Bob (not OG)

    All commenters (including me) seem agreed that those ruling us are corrupt, the electoral system is corrupt and there is no meaningful choice to make in elections anymore (except to not vote).
    However, all that is academic. Forget covid and climate change (which a cynic might say are both political). TSHTF for real now because peak oil has been reached (as was predicted many decades ago by M King Hubbert). That means things like the recent fuel protests are just the beginning. No more cheap oil = no more cheap energy, which the whole shitshow was based on from the outset. The only way the looming disaster could be (/could have been) averted was to massively reduce our consumption of energy and goods.
    Of course, no one promoted by the system would ever say that, and the media would have shunned them if they had.
    So we ended up here, and now there’s absolutely nothing any politician, or anyone else, can do about it ha ha

    • Roger

      peak oil has been reached

      No it hasn’t – far from it. The reason oil prices are high is not that the world is running out of oil, it’s that the US and its satellites are trying to impose “sanctions” on Russia, i.e. destroy its economy by not buying its exports. Combined with similar “sanctions” on Iran (another oil producer) this has led to a temporary shortage of oil.
      Saudi Arabia is still sitting on a gigantic oil lake, and there’s plenty of oil underground waiting to be discovered by drilling. People have been predicting we’re running out of oil since the 1970s (google for “the limits to growth”) and oil production has continued to increase.

      • Lapsed Agnostic

        Indeed Roger – despite what’s going on with Russia & Iran, the price of Brent crude is currently slightly less than it was ten years ago. Oil production in the contiguous US did reach a peak of around 10 million barrels per day in 1970, as M. King Hubbert predicted – but what he didn’t predict was that, thanks to slickwater fracking, the US would now be producing around 16 million barrels a day (including condensate).

        That said, oil production will probably reach a peak in the not-too-distant future, not because it’s running out but because demand for it will drop hugely, due to people in the West replacing internal combustion engine-driven cars with electric ones – especially when they realise that at current oil prices, they’re much cheaper to run. For example, even in not-too-sunny southern Britain, it currently costs nearly *ten* times less to power an electric car using solar panels on your roof, than run a petrol one.

      • Bob (not OG)

        World oil discoveries have been declining since 1964. What remains is getting harder to find and extract. M King Hubbert calculated that US domestic oil production would peak in 1970, for which he was ridiculed by the scientific community – but he was right. US oil production has steadily declined since 1970.
        The same pattern will be followed across world oil production. The North Sea produced about 3 million barrels a day in 1999, now it manages less than 500,000.
        Oil (and all fossil fuels) took millions of years to make, yet we use them in years – can that last indefinitely? Obviously, it can not.
        Yes the sanctions on Russia and Iran have backfired in the US – that doesn’t negate the fact that world oil production will go down, not up. The era of cheap oil is going or has gone.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          US oil production has not steadily declined since 1970, Bob. It declined from 1970 to about 2005 (although at a lower rate than M. King Hubbert predicted), and then increased dramatically due to slickwater fracking of shale-type source rocks – and now it is higher than it was in 1970. This is a fact.

          There’s huge amounts of oil still in the ground – and much, much more coal. Even though predictions of imminent ‘climate catastrophe’ are exaggerated, it’s true that we can’t burn fossil fuels at increasing rates for decades and decades without having a major effect on the climate though. However, that doesn’t matter much for most countries because renewables are becoming cheaper than fossil fuels, even without subsidies e.g. the electric car example I outlined in my above comment. Oil production will likely go down in the near future but only because there will be less demand for it, so the inflation-adjusted oil price will go down as well.

  • El Dee

    The Labour Party is now taking the position of ‘Well, who else can you vote for?’ to get votes. But ultimately people will just refuse to come out and vote if they don’t provide a viable opposition.

    On independence it is hard to gauge what Boris will do. I think if a referendum is refused point blank it will cause support for independence to sky rocket. Even people who won’t vote for it believe that a vote should be held. It will prove the democratic deficit beyond a doubt. Likewise if the courts find that Scotland can’t call a referendum. If he is smart he will agree one on HIS terms: i.e. to be held quickly and no doubt after some policy changes and announcements made to their advantage. Personally I believe the more time people in Scotland are given to think about this the more likely they are to vote YES. After the experience of 2014 they must also realise this. They must also realise they can’t put it off forever.

  • C avery

    The war in Ukraine typifies the fraudulent narrative. The Guardian exclaims the Russians retreat from Snake Island but the Ukrainians withdraw from Luhansk.

    • Bramble

      And does not touch on the strong possibility that the Russians withdrew from Snake Island to expose the lie that their blockade was stopping Ukrainian wheat exports. Now it is clearly the Ukrainian mines which are doing that. Not that the BBC will include it in their imperial-class narrative.

  • Olly Perry

    I really hope so, Craig. We also need to address the rampant propaganda, aka the mainstream press, that does sweet fa to hold those in power to account nor, indeed, those seeking power. as with all popular revolutions, the change needs to come from the bottom up since it sure won’t come from any of the self-interested money grubbing oiks currently posing as MPs at the top.

  • John Giles

    Same here in Australia. Our “Labor” Party are a bunch of spivs, frauds and spooks.

    Our ‘progressive’ PM reads lines written in Langley, VA and pumps money and weapons into fascist Ukraine while keeping our unemployed below the poverty line.

    • Cactus

      Hi John, howde ye do, same as it ever was with Labor eh! Wha’s like Australia! Wha’s like Scotland!

      Both Scotland and Australia have lots of good things in common.

      What time you at there?

      It’s 03:17 here.

  • Jules Orr

    Illustrating why rightwing Labour are no better than the Tories needs to be fundamental to the independence campaign because many people do believe English rule would be more palatable under the likes of Starmer, Streeting, Reeves and Lammy.

    However when has the SNP ever pointed out that Labour centrists are reactionary, self-serving charlatans? Not even the radical loose cannon Mhari Black can bring herself to. Sturgeon’s only specific complaint about new NuLabour is that they are not still trying to overturn the Brexit vote. Perhaps the blanket silence on Starmer’s Labour is because the similarities to the SNP are too obvious.

    There should be no illusions at this stage about who Labour centrists are and what their role is in UK politics, so I hope Craig they continue to be a mainstay of your campaigning efforts in the months ahead.

  • Bayleaf

    I really don’t get it. Craig has written another article that features Keir Starmer, yet nowhere does he mention that Starmer is a member of the globalist Trilateral Commission. I would have thought that being a member of the Trilateral Commission might have some bearing on the discussion, and on Starmer’s actions, but it’s almost like this is outside of Craig’s Overton window and something that’s just not discussed in polite company.

    Being a member of the globalist Trilateral Commission is by invitation only — and the organisation openly espouses and promotes its goal of creating a one-world government. Therefore, one should always consider Starmer’s actions and behaviour through the prism of his TC membership.

    So come on, Craig! While we might expect the UK media to steer clear of such inconvenient facts, you can do a lot better.

  • Johnny Conspiranoid

    ” ‘Well, who else can you vote for?’ to get votes. But ultimately people will just refuse to come out and vote if they don’t provide a viable opposition.”

    We need to look at the mechanisms which by which these situations are created and maintained if they are to be changed. For instance, what role do local Special Branch play in keeping an eye on local party branches with a view to blocking the advancement of non-acceptable candidates? Do they also keep an eye on the formation of new political groupings? What about the various ‘leadership’ type courses available, acting as a stage in sorting out who is ‘the right stuff’ for the neo-liberals/cons?
    Since the situation you describe obviously involves conspiracies, you would have to be a conspiracy theorist to understand it.

    • Bruce_H

      I didn’t realise that this body really existed so thank you for the information. Perusing the selection of members provided by wikipedia I notice that Jeffrey Epstein is a member, as is Starmer as you point out. Given the stated objectives of this organisation surely membership is incompatible with leadership of the Labour party?

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