Archive for the ‘Banks’ Category

Giorgia Meloni – Conservative or Fascist?

September 27, 2022

I’ve been watching some of the videos posted by members of the British and America right about the new Italian prime minister, Giorgia Meloni. Meloni is head of the right-wing Brothers of Italy party, or to give them their Italian name, Fratelli d’Italia. I think ‘Fratelli’ means ‘little brothers’, but if so, then someone decided that it’s not impressive enough for the English translation of their name. She and they have been accused of being Fascists, and arch-conservatives like Matt Walsh, Simon Webb, the Lotus Eaters and Piers Morgan have rushed to defend her. Part of the controversy about her concerns her party’s slogan ‘God, family and nation’. She is proudly Christian and determined to defend the faith. She also stands for the traditional nuclear family and is against adoption and surrogacy for gays. She also rejects the modern ideology she believes is threatening motherhood as an identity, along with national identity, in order, so she says, to reduce people to anonymous consumers. And she is also anti-immigration. For the above pundits, these are all Conservative policies, not Fascist. The problem is that they were also Fascist policies. Her slogan ‘God, family and nation’ sounds like a reworked version of the old Fascist slogan, ‘Family, Faith and Fatherland’. Mussolini was anti-clerical atheist, but he made a deal with the Catholic church that allowed Roman Catholic religious education in schools in return for papacy recognising Italy as a nation, something the church had refused to do following Garibaldi’s forcible incorporation of the Papal states into the new Italy during the Risorgimento. The Italian Fascists were also determined to protect the traditional family against attack from Marxism. Marx and Engels had made it clear in the Communist Manifesto that Communism sought to abolish the family. This attitude was shared by some of the sociologists and ideologues that denounced marriage in favour of cohabitation and free love in the 1960s and 1970s and it continues in the programme of Black Lives Matter, which seeks to replace the nuclear family with a communal raising of children. There was also a huge uproar in Italy a few years ago when an Italian minister, a Black African woman, declared that she wanted polygamy legalised.

Her party’s flag has also been cited as further evidence of fascism. It contains a flame, which is supposed to refer back to the flame on Mussolini’s tomb. From what I saw, the party’s flag was the tricolour of Italy with the flame in the middle. It reminded me very much of the Tricolour Flame, the name of a ‘post-Fascist’ party which emerged after the break-up of the Missimi, or Moviemento Socialie Italiano, the Italian Social Movement, the main neo-Fascist party after World War II. Another party right-wing descended from the MSI was the Alleanzo Nazionali, led by Pierluigi Fini, which claimed to be centre right rather than far right. From this you could conclude that Meloni and the Brothers of Italy were Conservatives, albeit descendants of fascism and just a little further right of the majority of contemporary European Conservative parties. Their defence of the traditional nuclear family and rejection of some gay rights certainly contrasts with the socially liberal wing of the Tories and Dave Cameron’s introduction of gay marriage.

But some of her rhetoric certainly had my alarm bells ringing. In one of her speeches, she’s supposed to have referred to the Great Replacement, the belief that non-White immigration has been deliberately encouraged in order to replace the traditional White European population. And she’s also denounced financial speculators trying to destroy the nation state. Superficially, this sounds innocuous enough with an element of truth in it. Britain, Ireland, America and many of the European countries were hit hard by the banking crash of 2008, a crash that was caused by rampant, unregulated speculation of the type Liz Truss would like to return. As for the hatred of the EU, I was told by an Italian lady while I was at Bristol uni that when her country joined the single market, prices shot up. This caused massive anger to an extent that when she went back there, she didn’t feel safe. And after Italy’s economy collapsed, the European ‘troika’ took control and dictated the country’s economic policy. But it also sounds like the coded rightist nonsense about George Soros, whose various pro-democracy organisations in Hungary and elsewhere have been accused by Viktor Orban and others like him of seeking the destruction of traditional society. More sinisterly, it recalls the vicious, blatantly anti-Semitic conspiracies about international Jewish bankers.

Her rhetoric denouncing the reduction of people to consumers also needs analysis. At one level it recalls the left-wing concerns about the rise of consumerism and the destruction of traditional values that were voiced during the emergence of the affluent society in the ’60s and ’70s. But it could also reflect another aspect of fascist ideology – the celebration of humans as producers. After Mussolini broke with the Italian socialists he gave his paper, the Popolo d’Italia, the subheading ‘the paper of workers and producers’ to reflect the corporatist ideology which promoted both workers, management and proprietors.

As she stands, it looks very much like she is a centre-right conservative with elements of Fascist ideology. I haven’t yet seen anything about her followers marching about in black shirts and jackboots, nor about the proscription of other parties and a rigid control of the media. But then she’s in coalition with Berlusconi and his Forza Italia party. Much the same was said of him when he had Italy under his libidinous rule. There was evening a book written about it describing it as a form of fascism, written not by someone from the liberal media, but by a Times journo, as I recall. Talking about his book on Radio 4 one Saturday morning, he said that the reason Berlusconi didn’t have the authoritarian, paramilitary trappings of fascism was because he didn’t need it. For example, Berlusconi owned much of the private Italian media, and dictated the direction of the state-owned broadcaster so that all of the Italian media was practically in his hands.

Meloni may not be an overt fascist, but there’s enough fascist ideology in her conservatism to be of real concern.

Are the Tories Really Preparing a ‘No Confidence’ Vote against Truss?

September 26, 2022

This is the headline I saw on a video from one of YouTube’s rightwingers earlier this evening. I hope so, and given that Truss and Kwarteng’s massive tax cuts have given the screaming terrors to the financial markets, with the result that pound is only a few pence away from dollar parity, so they should. But it wouldn’t surprise me either if they all stick to her, repeating the line like a mantra that it’s a great budget which will boost the economy. It isn’t, and it won’t. It’ll just lead to more misery and cuts to the welfare state and the NHS as the working class will be hit in order to pay back the loans the Tories will have to take out.

Well, get Truss out and the rest of her wretched party.

Internet Petition from 38 Degrees Against Bankers’ Bonuses

September 22, 2022

And I have had absolutely no problem signing it.

David, millions of people up and down the country are struggling to make ends meet. As energy, food and fuel prices continue to go through the roof, many of us will be forced to make the impossible choice between heating and eating this winter. [1]

But what’s one of the first things our new Prime Minister and Chancellor have decided to do? Increase bankers’ bonuses. [2] You can almost hear the champagne corks popping!

This is the wrong policy at the wrong time. Why should city bankers be first in line for help when millions of people around the country don’t know how they’ll keep the lights on over the coming months?

Tomorrow, our new Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, may announce this during a mini-budget – but it’s not a done deal. If enough of us make some noise and tell them this shouldn’t be a priority during a cost of living crisis, then there’s still time for them to do the right thing and drop their plans.

So, David, will you tell the Government that they should be focusing on support for ordinary people around the country – not city bankers? Simply click the button below to add your name:

ADD MY NAME

Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng seem to believe that if enough cash is stuffed in the pockets of city bankers, then this will ‘trickle down’ to the others. But it just doesn’t work like that. Ahead of a meeting with our PM on Tuesday, even President Biden said that he was “sick and tired of trickle-down economics. It has never worked.” [3]

These caps on bonuses were introduced to provide a more balanced economy – and to get away from a culture of bankers taking “excessive risks”. [4] If Liz Truss believes in ‘levelling up’ the whole of Britain, then she should prioritise places outside of the City of London and put ordinary people at the front of the queue for support.

Just months ago, former PM, Boris Johnson, floated the idea of increasing bankers’ bonuses. But after more than 96,000 of us took action, and after much public outcry, the plans were dropped. [5] We’ve shown that we can reflect public feeling and get the Government to scrap bad policies and we can do it again.

David, will you add your name to our petition calling on the Government to drop their plans to increase bankers’ bonuses?

ADD MY NAME

Thanks for all your do,

Tom, David, Robin and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES
[1] Sky News: Cost of living: Millions of people already behind with their household bills, new research suggests
[2] BBC News: Liz Truss defends plan to lift cap on bankers’ bonuses
[3] Twitter: President Biden
[4] The Guardian: What is the banker bonus cap and could scrapping it boost growth?
[5] 38 Degrees: Dear Chancellor: No banker bonuses while millions struggle

They’re also asking for donations. I can afford to do so, but some of you may wish to.

’38 Degrees wouldn’t exist without you, David.

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Liz Truss – Prepared to Be Unpopular Because She Knows the Tories Are Failing?

September 20, 2022

I just caught a clip on the BBC news of bog-eyed escapee from the High Energy Cheese lab, Liz Truss, calmly telling the camera that’s she’s prepared to be an unpopular prime minister in order to push through policies that will revive Britain. Such as lifting the cap on banker’s bonuses. The redoubtable Irish gentleman of the Maximilien Robespierre vlog on YouTube had a rather different perspective. The Tories are running scared because the polls show that if there was an election tomorrow, Labour would win hands down. When he put up that video a few days ago, the polls, he claimed, showed that if an election was called, Labour would have a 100-seat majority. To put this into perspective, Boris won with an 80-seat majority. They Tories are afraid the game’s up, and so are doing everything they can for their horrible friends and donors while they can.

It sounds convincing to me.

And it’s the same attitude shown by a number of third world dictators, who grab all the money they’ve embezzled and looted from their people before running off into exile.

Academic Historian Pauline Gregg on the Nationalization of the Electricity and Gas Industries

August 11, 2022

With the energy crisis threatening even greater numbers of working people with grinding poverty, while the bosses of these industries record obscene profits and pocket millions in bonuses, I looked up the nationalisation of the electricity and gas industries in Pauline Gregg’s The Welfare State (London: George G. Harrap, 1967). She writes of their nationalisation

‘The Electricity Bill came up for its second reading on February 3, 1947. The history of electricity supply was another example of haphazard growth and piecemeal legislation. At one time there had been no less than 635 Electricity Undertakings over the country; in London there were still 75 in 1947. The industry was governed by 243 Provisional and Special Orders and Acts of Parliament; tariffs and voltages differed from area to area, and often in adjoining districts; municipal ande company undertakings had never come to terms. Whichever Government had been returned in 1945 would have had to impose some degree of order and rationalization upon the industry. Scotland alone showed some ordered development. In 1941 Thomas Johnstone, the devoted Secretary of State for Scotland in the Coalition Government, had appointed a committee to consider the practicability of developing the water-power resources of Scotland for the generation of electricity. It was a scheme which would make work for areas which were losing their population besides bringing the great boon of electricity to small townships and scattered homesteads. It was a great tribute to a country at war that in February 1943 it had passed the Hydro-electric Development (Scotland) Act which established a Hydro-electric Board for the North of Scotland.

The Bill before the House in 1947 proposed to establish a British Electricity Authority with full responsibility for generating electricity and selling it in bulk. Local distribution would be in the hands of fourteen area boards, Scotland would still be served by the Scottish Hydro-electric Board, who jurisdiction was extended to include some 22,000 square miles north and west of a line from the Firth of Tay to the Firth of Clyde-about three-quarters of the total area of Scotland. Again the measure raised only a token opposition and took 165 Conservatives into the lobby against it on February 4, 1947, rather as a gesture against the Labour Government than from real opposition to the Bill.

A similar pattern was proposed for the reorganisation of the Gas Industry. On January 21, 1948, the Bill “to provide for the establishment of Area Gas Boards and a Gas Council” was presented by Hugh Gaitskell, who had succeeded Shinwell as Minister of Fuel and Power. It was given its second reading on February 11 by 354 votes to 179. Gas supply, like Electricity was complicated, disintegrated, inefficient and controlled by a legislative framework that was a major obstacle to improvement. All Reports agreed on the desirability for larger areas of administration and for great integration, and Gaitskell claimed that the most suitable structure for the industry would be found under public ownership.’ (pp. 73-4).

And on pages 76-77 Gregg explains why these measures were needed and that they didn’t constitute a political and economic revolution.

‘Nationalization, it has been said, was a political and economic revolution, forced through after a generation of waiting. There had been a generation-and more-of waiting, but both the election results of 1945 and the debates in the House of Commons overrode any suggestion that they were ‘forced through’. The myth that they involved “a political and economic revolution” is disposed of on several grounds: the industries concerned (with the exception of iron and steel) were either semi-derelict or in urgent need of such reorganisation as could come only from a central authority with large resources to back it; they were all natural monopolies amenable to the advantages of large-scale operation; they were either public services or approximating to such; their public control was in step with a world-wide movement and one which, in Britain itself, was already well established. Banking and insurance all over the world, big power projects like the Tennessee Valley Authority in the U.S.A., the Volta River scheme in Ghana, the Panama Canal Company, the Aswan Dam on the Nile, the Kariba Dam on the Zambezi, afforestation schemes, flood-control, navigation improvement, agricultural development, railways in Europe, America, Canada, Australia-schemes which started before or after and continued at the same time as the British nationalization undertakings – put Britain in the main flood of development, not in any revolutionary situation. For the Labour Party and for their opponents this was paradox that changed the political scene. Who had stolen whose thunder was difficult to determine, but, with the exception of iron and steel, it was unlikely that much party political capital could ever again be made out of the issue of nationalization’.

This last sentence was disproved when Thatcher and the Tories went on their rampage of privatisation in the 1980s and ’90s. But even then, support for privatisation never went above 50 per cent. The nationalisation of the utilities was common sense and the majority of the Tory party at the time understood this. Privatisation was supposed to open up further sources of investment, and competition would lower prices.

This has not happened.

Energy prices are going up, while bosses are pocketing massive pay rises. Thatcherism, as I have said in a few previous posts, has failed.

The only solution is to renationalise the utilities.

Correct Not Political on the Energy and Water Companies Profiteering While People Starve

August 10, 2022

I found this on the Community page of the right-wing YouTube channel Correct Not Political. They seem to be a group of right-wingers who go around staging counter protests or demonstrations at left-wing events. They’ve been demonstrating at the recent Pride marches, Drag Queen Story Hour, also against Extinction Rebellion, anti-racism marches for refugees and they also seem to be militant anti-vaxxers. One of their collections of videos is simply titled ‘Socialists and Commies’. But they posted this about ordinary people struggling with poverty while the fuel and water companies make hugely inflated profits.

Correct Not Political

Correct Not Political4 hours ago

Well after yesterdays announcement from the Bank of England , there is something very very very wrong in the system… So… let me get this straight:

* British Gas made a profit of £1.3bn between January & June

* BP announced profits of £6.95 billion between April and June alone

* Shell has profited by £9.4bn in a year

The MEN at the top:

* John Pettigrew, boss of National Grid received £6.5m bonus on top of his salary

* Chris O’Shea, chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica was paid almost £2m last year in salary and benefits

* Centrica’s non-executive directors were paid almost £1m

* Scottish Power’s CEO Keith Anderson is on £1.15m.

* E.On boss Michael Lewis is on £1m

* EDF’s Simone Rossi is also on £1m

* And their top execs enjoyed a share of £4.65m

* Peter Simpson of Anglian Water earned a £1.3m pay package

* Welsh Water bosses awarded themselves bonuses of over £930,000

* Severn Trent bosses awarded themselves bonuses of £5.56m

* Thames Water’s Sarah Bentley, received a £727,000 bonus on top of her £2m annual salary

Meanwhile there are…

* People who haven’t had breakfast and/or lunch TODAY, because they can’t afford it.

* People using FoodBanks because food is becoming more of a luxury than a necessity.

* Children celebrating a birthday without presents.

* Parents worrying about new school uniforms – and some schools enforcing rules which are not cost-effective.

* People who can’t get to work because they can’t afford to put petrol in their cars/pay for public transport anymore.

* People who are working so much they’re making themselves ill, and they STILL CAN’T AFFORD to pay their bills.

* People who have been given fines by these same energy/water companies because they couldn’t afford to pay their bills in the first place – increasing their debt.

* Customers being told to do STAR JUMPS TO KEEP WARM for crying out loud!

* Hose pipe bans when gallons of water leak away everyday.

* Elderly people NOT DRINKING because they’re worried about running out of water!!!

All this and energy prices are set to rise up to 75% in October…

THIS IS MADNESS!.. I’m all for supporting profits ..I’m not for supporting greed at the cost of lives of others..

Something needs to change.. Why are customers’ money being used to make life more comfortable for those who are making life more intolerable for the rest of us?

I actually don’t understand how the energy companies are allowed to get away with this and why the government aren’t stopping them instead of handing out money…..

Copied & pasted from others. Keep this going around for all to see’

I’ve got absolutely no problem posting this up despite where it comes from. Because these profiteers do need to be named and shamed. And this whole scam is why the public utilities need to be nationalised, so that they work for this great country’s people rather than exploiting them.

PoliticsJoe Video Showing the Sheer Dementedness of Liz Truss

August 7, 2022

PoliticsJoe posted this video on YouTube yesterday. Its title declares that its about ‘Just Liz Truss Being Fully Mental’, which I supposed is one way of describing some of the antics and pronouncements of this contender for the Tory leadership. It consists of a series of clips, not edited together to have her singing a stupid, satirical song about herself, as PoliticsJoe has done, but something just as damning: it shows some of her deranged political statements, together with her failing to answer tough interview questions about her broken promises and falsehoods from people like Andrew Neil. And mixed in with that is previous footage from years ago of her speaking at a Lib Dem conference when she was a young activist with them.

The younger Truss seems like a normal, sane, politically idealistic and passionate human being. She praises Paddy Ashdown and the political potential and right to self-government of the British people. A self-government that is being denied by the monarchy, whose abolition she demands. It’s a very radical proposal, and one which you tend to hear from those further left, such as the left-wing of the Labour party. But by the time she’s a Tory MP and cabinet minister, she’s been transformed. The eyes have got madder, though not nearly as bog-eyed as Nicky Morgan, and the voice has taken on a harsher edge, so that at one point she did sound a bit like Anne Widecombe. And instead of radical democratic change, she was wibbling on about having secured a prize deal for exporting pork to China. Just like she steered through a deal to export cheese to Japan, where most of the country is lactose intolerant. And other great results for Brexit.

What should really bring her down is her lies and broken promises. She’s asked by Neil how many of the 200,000 social houses she declared she was going to build were actually put up. She can’t remember. Neil tells her that it’s not hard to know how many: zero. And the end of the video shows her being patiently asked by a female journo about various promises she made when she was in office, one after another, all of which she broke.

This is the woman now trying to get her backside into No. 10, and in many ways a true protege of Boris Johnson and the Tory machine. A woman who ditched democratic idealism for class reaction, Brexit and just telling one lie after another, while gripping desperately at the tiniest success in the Brexit negotiations in order to show it as some kind of magnificent success for Britain.

The Tories are destroying the British economy, and have only succeeded in making this country’s great people desperately poorer. Brexit has actively damaged our industry, agriculture and even the financial sector, which the Tories and New Labour have favoured so much. And Truss has been a vital part of all that under Johnson and before.

Johnson out!

Truss out!

Sunak out!

Tories out!

Brexiteer Michael Heaver Reveals Reclaim Party’s Exciting Warmed-Up Tory Leftovers Policies

July 26, 2022

Michael Heaver’s another right-wing, Brexiteer YouTuber. Most of his content seems to be about how wonderful Brexit it, or would be, if it wasn’t for those evil whining remoaners and the European Union trying to sabotage it all the time. He seems to have gone from the Tories to backing the Reclaim party, as well as wanting the return of Johnson. Today he put up a piece revealing Reclaim’s new, (ahem, cough, cough) policies. Laurence Fox’s party will be fielding 600 candidates, which, if true, is definitely a challenge to the Tories and the other established parties. Their policies are:

Do Brexit properly.

Net Zero immigration.

Cut taxes.

I think there’s also something about getting rid of the Green agenda. And I also think they want to support Johnson’s return to power, because the other Tory leadership candidates are so terrible and will hand the government over to Starmer. Or such is the fear amongst some Tories.

This is hogwash. Let’s go through them.

Do Brexit properly: Can’t be done. Uh-huh, no way. It’s simply impossible, like squaring the circle or redefining PI as equalling four, which is what the Nebraska legislature did way back in the 19th century. If this had gone ahead, it would have meant that clocks would have gained fifteen minutes everyone hour. But like ‘Get Brexit done’ it makes a good slogan. You can’t enact Brexit without reneging on one of the key policies of the Good Friday Agreement, which was an open border with the Republic. It’s either that, or the Irish backstop in the middle of the sea, thus alienating the Loyalists. Johnson got into power claiming that he’d ‘get Brexit done’. Well, he did, and it’s been chaos. Britain’s trade with the EU has taken a massive hit, there are real threats to British industry and agriculture, the financial sector the Tories and Blairites have been so keen to protect and establish London as a international hub has also been threatened. By Brexiteer Tories, like Jacob Rees-Mogg, who moved his investment business across the briny to Dublin. All while he was telling the rest of us that Brexit would be A Very Good Thing Indeed. There were delays at Dover months or even years ago because of the additional red tape added to hauliers and other travellers going to the continent now that we were no longer part of the EU. That red tape is also damaging our music industry, as it’s made it extremely difficult for British musicians and performers to travel over there to perform.

We were told that the Tories had an ‘oven ready deal’ with Europe for Brexit.

We were told that the millions saved on our EU contributions would be spent on the NHS.

We were lied to.

And this, as the late, great Max Headroom used to say, is simply ‘more of the same’. Except that he was talking about epic, rocking 80s pop music and videos.

Net zero immigration. More red meat for the Tory faithful, and other sections of the population worried about immigration. Mostly non-White immigration. And there are real moral and practical problems with that. Firstly, there’s the moral question of denying asylum to people, who may very well be in real danger of persecution in their countries of origin. I think many of the prospective migrants properly are coming here for economic reasons. One former channel migrant was interviewed on GB News or Talk TV, and he said that most of the other immigrants he was with were trying to dodge military service in their home countries and hoped to settle so that they could bring their families over. I can’t say I entirely blame them for wanting to do so, especially when these countries are dirt-poor, corrupt dictatorships like Eritrea. But nevertheless, I think there are people trying to get here because they face real threats to their lives for their views or simply because of their ethnicity or religion. Gay people around the world face persecution, particularly in Africa. Go back a few years, and there were the Yezidis, whose women were raped and enslaved for sex by ISIS. Last year there were Afghans desperate to escape the Taliban takeover. And in the past few months Britain and other European nations have taken in refugees from Ukraine, escaping Putin’s genocidal onslaught. I don’t see how you can morally turn at least some of these away.

Then there’s the economic aspect. As Buddyhell over on Guy Debord’s Cat, and just about everyone else on the web has point out, Britain needs immigrant doctors, nurses and other workers for the NHS. Yes, we should be training our own. But we haven’t been doing so ever since one of the Tory ministers – I think it may even have been Enoch Powell – decided in the 1960s to solve the shortage of NHS doctors by encouraging them to come from Pakistan and India. I can’t see the Tories wanting to spend the money to pay for the proper training for doctors and other medical professionals. Not when they seem content to drive them away by not paying them what they deserve and overburdening them with work and paperwork.

People also immigrate to Britain and settle down and raise families as part of their work. I know a number of people, who came to this country to work, and particularly on ground-breaking scientific or engineering projects. This country is short of scientists, engineers and skilled technicians. These are precisely the type of people we should be encouraging to come here, if only so that they can pass these skills on to Brits.

Education is a major part of this. There’s a movement of academics, both teaching staff and students, between countries and across continents. Most university’s, I’d say, have international students, some of whom are going to try to settle down here. Academics also take up posts at universities and colleges right across the world. When I was studying archaeology at Bristol, several of the department staff were foreign. One was Portuguese while another was German, for example. At the same time, archaeological work takes people right across the globe. At the time I was there, there was great excitement about Neolithic discoveries in Ukraine. One of the lecturers had also helped carry out excavations of archaic homo sapiens remains in Romania. Another leading member of the department had also been excavating in Iran. Some of these academics will no doubt wish to settle down and make their home here. Either way, I can see Brexit and a zero-net immigration policy causing real problems with universities obtaining needed foreign academic staff.

And it’s going to be hypocritical. The Tories have, in my recollection, shown themselves perfectly willing to grant British citizenship to anyone rich enough. Just as Rishi Sunak got his green card to work in America by paying a million dollars. I strongly suspect that if Reclaim got in, we’d have more of the same. It would be easy immigration for the global super-rich, and keep out for everyone else.

Cutting taxes: More of the twaddle you’ve been hearing from the Tory leadership candidates. What this means is cutting taxes for the rich while passing the burden on to ordinary people at the bottom. This is supposed to encourage more investment, and hence more jobs. Balderdash. The money saved simply rests in the elite’s bank accounts. Meanwhile, because there’s less money going into the exchequer, the Tories and Reclaim after them will tell us all that cuts need to be made, more pushing of the mythical NHS waste, profligate spending on the welfare state, too many civil servants and so on. The result, more punitive cuts to the NHS, more destruction of the welfare state, more people struggling to survive on food banks, more starvation, malnutrition and grinding poverty.

Attacking the Green Agenda: The scientific consensus supports climate change, and the Green New Deal promises more jobs as well as combating threats to the environment. But the right don’t believe in climate change, and, with money coming in from Big Oil, they really don’t want to end our dependence on fossil fuels any time soon. All last week while the rest of us sweltered they told us that the rising heat was nothing to worry about, was not cause by global warming, and we were all wimps and weaklings for thinking otherwise. I wonder if Reclaim and its bosses also have their places booked for the biodomes the rich will no doubt retreat into as the deserts march on London, Birmingham and anywhere else.

Bring back Johnson: Really? There are people who really won’t be told. There’s a petition up for his return. Just like there are Americans who want the return of Trump. That’s incredible. Aside from the party politics, Trump was a disastrous president. A friend lent me a book on his presidency, and what came across most strongly was how incompetent he was. He quarraled with his leading generals, one of whom actually swore at him while telling him precisely what he was in the White House. He made up policies on the spur of the moment and then changed his mind just as suddenly. Appointments were made with important visitors, but not kept. Or he didn’t tell his staff about them, just forgot them. He deliberately undermined leading White House staff, replacing them and then doing the same to the new replacements, all of whom were determined to undermine their predecessors and competitors. And rather than draining the swamp, Trump was massively corrupt giving government contracts to friends and anybody else, including the Russians, who were prepared to stump up cash. Government monies that were intended to protect workers on bread and butter issues like pensions vanished in various politicos pockets, where they gave it to their favourite businessmen.

Johnson has been similarly incompetent. He was grotesquely tactless and incompetent as foreign secretary. Once he got his behind in No. 10 he showed himself unwilling to knuckle down and do some actual work. It seemed that every few weeks he was heading off to Chequers for a holiday. He caught Covid because he personally broke lockdown rules. And he gave valuable PPE contracts to his friends and other Tory donors. The result was problems with supply. But no worries, eh? His mates were all right. The parties were just a symptom of a man, who doesn’t like to work, loves the power and the popularity that comes with it, at least in his own imagination, and really, really, has zero sympathy with ordinary working people and their problems.

And he’s still clinging on to power, just like Gordon Brown tried to do with a deal with the Lib Dems after he lost the election to Cameron. Ian Hislop got very excited about this on Have I Got News For You, calling him ‘Mr Barnacle’. Well, Johnson is behaving exactly like the marine mollusc, and the same should apply: ‘get ye gone!’ It says something about the effectiveness of establishment propaganda that someone really thinks he’s done such a good job they want to keep him in power.

But back to the Reclaim party, there’s nothing new here. It’s just the same old Brexiteer Tory policies, promoted by a few new faces. And I honestly can’t see many of them getting a seat. Some might, but I foresee a lot of lost deposits, compounded with them splitting the Tory vote in certain quarters so that a Lib Dem or possibly Labour candidate get in.

I have a feeling they’ll go the way of UKIP and the Brexit party as another right-wing group trying to ‘break the mould of British politics’.

Is Shinzo Abe’s Assassin a Conspiracy Nutter?

July 8, 2022

I was shocked by the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Nara today. As they pointed out on the news, Japan has very strict gun laws, and a very low level of gun crime. This explains why his wretched assassin made his own. But I do wonder about the assassin’s motives for the murder. It was reported earlier today that the gunman, a former sailor in the Japanese navy, didn’t have a political grudge against Abe. But they said on the news this evening that he thought Abe was a member of a particular organisation, and it wasn’t known if this organisation actually existed.

Hmmm.

This sounds like the gunman was a conspiracy theorist in the pejorative sense, like the western nutters who believe that the Illuminati are behind everything evil in the world. Or the globalists. Or the Freemasons and/or the Jews. In the 1990s there were reports that there was a nasty wave of anti-Semitism sweeping Japan, and that the country had more anti-Semites than many other countries, even though it had no Jews. One the country’s big industrialists apparently said that the reason America dropped the two nuclear bombs that destroyed Nagasaki and Hiroshima, but didn’t use them against Germany, was all because of the Jews. It’s pure nonsense. There are two competing explanations for the bombings. One is that after Germany’s surrender, the American high command wished to end the war as quickly as possible. Simply fighting their way island by island across the Pacific until they reached the Japanese mainland would have taken weeks and cost the lives of even more American servicemen. Another theory is that the Americans wanted to send out a message, not to the Japanese, but to Stalin. The Russians hold the Kuril Islands north of Japan, and it seems to me that if this theory is right, then they were afraid the Russians were going to move south and occupy Japan, just as they had liberated and then occupied eastern Europe. As for the origins of the anti-Jewish hatred in the 90s, Lobster wondered if it was a result of American foreign financial policy. I think the Americans had tried to force some financial deal on the Japanese at the behest of their own bankers, and this had disrupted the Japanese economy or its financial sector. It’s possible the gunman believed that Abe was somehow involved in some kind of secret Jewish conspiracy. On the other hand, Abe himself was clearly Japanese, not Jewish, so the assassin may have believed that he was a member of the Illuminati or globalists without the anti-Semitic elements in the theory. Perhaps more information about the killer and his motives will come out later.

Whatever the killer’s motive, a leading Japanese politician has been killed and the country’s people are shock. I deeply sympathise with them in this hour, and wish them all the best following this act of terror.

Arise Festival Event Friday on Combating Injustice Against the Global South

July 5, 2022

This Friday, the 8th of July, the Arise Festival of left Labour ideas is also presenting the event ‘Justice for the Global South’, the description of which goes

Justice for the Global South – tackling climate chaos, ending the debt, vaccines for all.

Online event, Friday July 8, 13.00.Register here // Retweet here // Get ticket for the whole festival here.

With: Heidi Chow, Debt Justice /./ Nick Dearden, Global Justice Now // Asad Rehman, War on Want // Stop Oil speaker & chaired by Fraser Amos, Young Labour Student Rep.

Part of the “Lefty Lunchtime” series as part of Arise 2022 – A Festival of Left Ideas.