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Showing posts with label The Telegraph. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Telegraph. Show all posts

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Capitalism fails, yet the left is silent – an eerie vacuum

“The rich run a global system that allows them to accumulate capital and pay the lowest possible price for labour. The freedom that results applies only to them.”

The words, not of some leftie like me, but of Charles Moore of The Daily Telegraph, Thatcherite to the core. As Newsnight observes, no such words are coming from the left – global capitalism is in crisis, the crisis forecast for it by generations of left-wing intellectuals, yet the left in Britain is virtually silent. This theme was also addressed at length by Julian Coman in the Observer last Sunday: he comment -

Intellectuals of the right are making withering judgments that Labour has not dared to make for quarter of a century.”

Charles Moore is calling for the Right to redefine itself, intellectually and morally, while Labour, especially that pathetic thing called Scottish Labour, is engage in endless theorising and speculation about the structure of the party, and why they have now lost two Scottish Parliamentary elections.

The Right knows it is threatened by its record and by what its values have produced.

Labour is in denial over its record, and has no values: it stand for nothing, has no vision for society – it is simply the once highly successful electoral machine called New Labour, now rusting in the desert, out of fuel, with bits falling off it at regular intervals. It dare not look back at its failures, and the destruction it has wreaked – the sight is too awful for it to contemplate. It requires an acknowledgment of guilt, contrition, a repudiation of its key architects, Blair, Brown and Mandelson, and of the parasitic creatures that fed from its bloated body for so long – the the trades union officials, the strategists, the political advisers, the spin doctors and sycophantic commentators and media personalities.

Instead, the parasites now cluster around the machine trying to repair it, crying out in frustration that it had worked before, it can work again, if only they can find the replacement parts. They remember their glory days in the sun, the halcyon days before Iraq, before Parliamentary scandals, before their great leader quietly and obscenely enriched himself and departed, and they yearn desperately to relive them.

The Right, in contrast, know exactly who they are – a successful project that has run for centuries in Britain, aimed at enriching themselves by bleeding the ordinary people. Their only concern is that, in a democracy, however constrained by unelected Lords and patronage, there are limits to what the people will sit still for, and the Right are aware that they have over-reached themselves, that the curtain has been pulled aside revealing, not only the ugly face of the British Establishment behind it, but the very nature of the levers being pulled. The incompetence and venality of Labour over 13 years did not result in the great electoral victory for the right in the 2010 general election, but a messy, inconclusive outcome, and an even messier Coalition with the feeble and vacillating LibDems.

Worst of all, to the north of them, the people of Scotland have made a decisive choice in favour of a political party that has a vision, values and clear objectives, and terrifyingly, a party that is immune to the flattery, the patronage, the bribery, the bullying, the intimidation, the misinformation that is the stock in trade of the Right, a party that cares about the people it serves, and which will act solely in their interests – a centre-left Social Democratic party of the kind that has worked quietly and effectively in Scandinavia for generations. And this party has reduced the Tories and the Liberal Democrats to a pathetic, irrelevant shadow of their former selves, and has successfully challenged the power of the Scottish Labour Party and defeated it conclusively.

Charles Moore memorably describes New Labour’s architects as “the people who adopted vulgar Thatcherism, people who didn’t really understand …. adopting a religion that they didn’t really understand.”

He went on to say the caricature of “the capitalists in the top hats and stripey trousers” ripping off the people was now compounded by the fact that they were being paid by the taxpayers.

Charles Moore concluded his piece by saying “What’s really important right now is that the Right should admit how much it has got on the wrong side of this argument, and somehow those who support the free market have become identified with the powerful, and with  a country that feels to be, at this point, both morally and actually, bust”. The country he refers to is the UK -  but my country, Scotland, is not morally or actually bust, Charles.

Now both old-time religions – Thatcherism and New Labour Thatcherism – have failed to deliver the promised land, and The Rapture will be a long time a’comin’, brothers and sisters ….

Saor Alba!

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The UK Establishment - why they don’t want Scotland to leave the Union

In their more macho moments before the watershed Scottish National Party victory on May 5th 2011, prominent members of the British Establishment, who appear in many guises -  political, academic, military, media pundits, celebrities, etc. - said they would be happy if Scotland decided to leave the Union. This took many forms, from “It’s your decision - we won’t stand in your way …” to “We’ll be glad when you go - drain on our resources, subsidised ..” etc.

But as the polls began to move decisively in favour of the SNP during the campaign, the tone began to shift, and a note of panic increasingly began to sound. Dire warnings to the Scottish electorate were delivered of the horrors that awaited them if Alex Salmond got an overall majority and consequentially the ability to pass a referendum bill.

The prospects of Independence and Separation were rattled in the voters’ faces, like bogeymen on a stick, but instead of provoking terror, this resulted in a collective yawn, then a derisive laugh from the sophisticated Scottish electorate, followed by a swift two fingers as they entered the polling booth.

The election result threw the Establishment into a blue funk. Having thrown their heavyweight champions, political and media, into the arena in Scotland during the campaign, they had the humiliating experience of seeing them thrown back contemptuously through the ropes on to their arses at the ringside.

The note changed rapidly yet again, this time to demands for an instant referendum, followed by a second referendum on the negotiated terms, just in case the first one didn’t deliver the expected rejection, and some even suggested a referendum of the entire UK electorate.

Of course, this farrago of nonsenses didn’t emanate from the English people, who showed a disturbing tendency to either express admiration for the Scots and their concern for their people, or to say bluntly “If you’re going, get on with it. F*** off and good riddance - get off our backs so we can get our own independence for the nation of England, the sooner the better!”, sentiments that most Scots could understand and even applaud as being at least honest and direct.

And the English people were beginning to take a long, hard look at what the corrupted politics of Westminster, the insatiable greed of the financial establishment, the global posturing in foreign wars and the benighted Coalition government were actually doing for them. Ominous noise were being made by the trades unions …

That most contemptible of groups, the Scottish Unionist Establishment - a client group wholly dependent on the UK for their status, the descendants, literally or figuratively of those powerful chiefs and landowners who had betrayed their own people in 1707 and thereafter in their greed for English gold - were running round in circles, as the implications of their long, expedient, quisling subservience became increasingly evident. Their very identity was threatened by Scotland’s independence.

So the real question that must be addressed is - 

Why don’t the English Establishment (and their client Scottish counterparts) want Scotland to leave the Union?

Yesterday’s Telegraph (the Union and the Establishment in print) epitomised both the fear and the insidious nature of the remedies that might be sought against that fear. Vernon Bogdanor - The Telegraph

Salmond ‘could split the UK against the wishes of majority’

Who is being quoted in this scare story? “One of the world’s most respected constitutional experts” according to Simon Johnson, Scottish political editor of the Telegraph - one Vernon Bogdanor, emeritus professor of politics and government at Oxford University, the beating heart - together with Eton College - of the British Establishment and its grip on power delivered through birth, money and privilege.

Vernon Bogdanor? The name - and the sentiments - rang a bell with me. April 2010 and Dinner with Portillo, a programme on the subject of Scottish independence. I dug it out, and I’ve done an edit (edits signalled by fades)on the half hour programme, partly to get it to fit into the YouTube 15 minute slot, and partly to cut out a lot of the drivel emanating from Ron Liddle and Hardeep Singh, two of the dinner guests.

And although it’s over a year old, and preceded the May 2010 general election, and the May 2011 Scottish election, it’s still relevant, and the answers are all there …

What becomes progressively evident from this discussion is that the fear in the minds of the English Establishment that the UK will not exist in any meaningful sense after Scotland leaves. UK Minus - a union of England, Wales and Northern Ireland will have no relevance, no point, and will rapidly break up. This can either be viewed as realpolitik, or as contempt for the two nations of Wales and Northern Ireland, seen post-Scottish independence as two vestigial appendages of England - relics perceived as about as relevant as earlobes or the veriform appendix.

This view is now echoed daily in the media, who talk of the break-up of the UK, or the end of the UK when Scotland goes, with a pointed disregard for the ancient and proud nation of Wales, and the more recent, but equally proud nation of Northern Ireland, a nation that has transformed itself in very recent times as it emerges from a long, dark night of violence and internal strife.

This is emphatically not how Scotland sees Wales and Northern Ireland, as the meeting of the First Ministers of the devolved nations meeting this very day in Bute House, Edinburgh clearly demonstrates.

The answer to the question of why the UK doesn’t want to lose Scotland - in spite of  UK Establishment claims that Scotland could not survive outside of the UK, that Scotland is a dependent subsidy junkie, that it is a burden to England and so forth, or its pious nonsense about fracturing ancient ties of blood and and tradition  - is fourfold.

The first reason is that Scotland autonomy in foreign policy and defence would threaten UK defence policy, and crucially its nuclear deterrence policy, and therefore it pretensions to be a world power, albeit one totally subservient to American foreign policy. A closely linked sub-agenda is the private profit to be reaped from war and defence expenditure as the operating principle of the UK State.

The second reason is the awful prospect that Scotland would be economically successful, demonstrating that a state can serve all of its people, especially the the most vulnerable, while being economically viable, becoming, in the words of a great English poet “the cynosure of neighbouring eyes”.

The third reason is that Scotland, far from being a drain on UK resources, is in fact a net contributor to them, and subsidises the UK.

And the last, and perhaps  most poignant reason is that somehow England would lose its soul as Scotland regained its own identity, something elegantly expressed by one of Portillo’s dinner guests.

It’s not true of course - the British Establishment would lose its tarnished soul, but the people of England would regain their soul, and their pride as a nation again - a nation unafraid to speak its name.