Posts Tagged ‘Asylum Seekers’

There Are Big Unanswered Questions about Alex Belfield, His Court Cases and the Donations from His Supporters

November 30, 2021

Okay, I admit it: I’ve put up any number of posts about mad right-wing internet radio host, Alex Belfield. So many, in fact, that one of the great commenters here described him as ‘my favourite right-winger’. Well, something like that. Belfield is interesting in that he says openly what the Tories think in private but deny in public. He’d like the NHS privatised, because somehow handing it over to private healthcare companies will reverse the lethal chaos and deprivation that four decades of Thatcherite privatisation and three decades of Tory cuts have done. Much of his views are bog-standard Daily Mail bigotry. He rants about the Channel Migrants – ‘the dinghy divers’ – as he calls them – landing here and being put in 5 star hotels. But I’m pretty sure the migrants and asylum seekers aren’t getting five star service. They’re there because there seems to be nowhere else to house them. And while I’ve no doubt some of them are economic migrants, others are equally doubtless genuine asylum-seekers fleeting some horrific regimes. He also hates British benefit recipients. There was a story in the mainstream news a few months ago that there were a couple of million jobs going unfilled. So Belfield put up a video about that, demanding all benefits be stopped so that people should be forced to apply for them. Never mind the fact that a large proportion of the benefits being claimed are by people in work, who can’t support themselves on the paltry wages the Tories and British capitalism have decided are enough to keep them alive.

He also hates the BBC, left-wing media and students and universities. He has a feud going with the Beeb. He claims he was forced out of a career in local radio because of jealousy from the other broadcasters. He, a working class lad from a pit village, who had never gone to uni, had more viewers than they, who were ‘Guardian-reading, middle-class, champagne-sipping, oyster-eating Naga Manchushy – for some reason he has an especial hatred of Naga Manchetty – twirlies. He’s been the subject of a series of raids and prosecutions, including a court action involving Jeremy Vine. He’s appealed and received donations from his viewers to help him fight these cases, all the while protesting his innocence and claiming that the courts have found him innocent, at least in the specific cases he’s put up videos about. However, the truth seems to be rather different and somewhat murkier. Jim Round, one of the great commenters on this blog, has pointed out that Belfield has not disclosed what he’s done with the money. Which contrasts very strongly with his loud denunciation of the BBC for allegedly spending half of the donations to Children In Need on the charity’s directors and staff and refusing to reveal what it has done with the donated money. Last Friday Jim made this comment about Belfield’s court cases.

‘As pointed out previously, Belfield is the defendant in all of the cases, the main one now a six week jury trial at crown court next July, something he fails to mention to is supporters.
The other is the now public Jeremy Vine defamation case. A video he posted shows Belfield waving only the letterhead of an FOI request (again, freely available) to his followers (who uncannily like Farage followers, never research anything he tells them)
There is a lot more to it if you are prepared to waste an hour of your life searching Twitter.
He has now deleted the above video, something he does regularly if his followers pass negative comments or he gets a bit to close to the line.
On a side note, the Liverpool taxi driver has been quoted as saying that the bomber asked specifically for the hospital, and the mosque story seems to come from a Daily Mail “source” make of that what you will.’

And today Jim posted this comment and link to a Twitter post about the Belfield vs. Vine case.

‘Some light reading for you, have a look at the link in this tweet (apologies for it being Twitter)
https://mobile.twitter.com/The_Mumpsimus/status/1464564826731122689?cxt=HHwWgsC4_ej8ltMoAAAA
I am (not) surprised your comments on those YouTube videos get deleted, shocking behaviour from so called bastions of free speech isn’t it?’

If you follow the link, you get to a Tweet from ‘Outing the Snallygasters’, who says of the Vine case:

‘FACT CHECK: 5th Oct’21 the High Court defamation case, brought against Alex Belfield @celebrityradio, commenced. His defence was poor & the Judge made him pay the claimants costs (£25k). He posted a number of deflection tweets/video. Here’s the truth

⬇️

https://bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2021/3068.html’

The email address is that of the official court records. The Tweet’s also worth looking at for the three pictures of the thumbnails from Belfield’s videos with ‘False’ stamped across them.

The statement that the judge ordered Belfield to pay Vine’s costs appears to contradict Belfield’s own statements that he’s a pure as the driven snow and the court hasn’t been able to find anything against him.

Belfield is doing well at the moment. He says he has over 300,000 supporters, which is quite possible. It’s a respectable number, but I get the impression that it’s dwarfed by the really popular YouTube creators, like Zoella and the beauty vloggers.

But apart from his appalling right-wing views, there are serious questions to be asked about his own conduct and what he has done with the money given to him through the kindness of his own supporters.

Racist Starmer Gives Speech to Labour Friends of Israel Next to Judaeonazi Tzipi Hotovely

November 18, 2021

Yes, I know that according to the I.H.R.A. definition of anti-Semitism, it may be anti-Semitic to compare Jews to Nazis. In the normal run of things, I’d be inclined to agree. But the term ‘Judaeonazi’ was coined by an Israeli chemist and philosopher to describe that type of militant Israeli nationalism and its attendant horror perpetrated on the Palestinians, which are exactly comparable to gentile Nazism and Fascism. Tony Greenstein has argued the case that Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians isn’t like the Holocaust, but it has very strong similarities to the Nazis’ persecution of the Jews before 1942. This was the period when Jews were rapidly stripped of their rights as Germans, had their property despoiled, were thrown out of their jobs, especially in academia and the professions. They could not hire ‘Aryan’ servants, and without any means to support themselves, were left to starve to death. Those who could emigrated. Others mistakenly stayed in Germany and Austria believing that Hitler and his scumbags were only a passing phase. And then there was the beatings and the sadistic humiliations, like being forced to push marbles along the gutter with their noses. It’s horror like this that give the lie to the claims made a few years ago by certain ‘slebs that Britain with Corbyn as head of the Labour party was somehow like the Nazi dominated central Europe of 1938. It was nowhere close, and the very claim is a grotesque smear.

Mike put up a piece today reporting and commenting on a speech Keef Stalin gave to Labour Friends of Israel. One of the other speakers apparently was the grotesque monster Tzipi Hotovely. She’s the Israeli ambassador who was given a very cold welcome by the students at LSE nearly a week ago. They were so vehement in their opposition to her presence that she ended up fleeing with her security guards and the rozzers. Patel and Nandi got on their hind legs to condemn it as intolerance, but the protest wasn’t nearly as intolerant as Hotovely herself. This is a woman who believes that Israel should occupy all of Palestine, that the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of the country that occurred at the foundation of the Jewish state in 1948, is a ‘Palestinian lie’ and that Arab villages should be razed and Jewish settlements built instead. And her British supporters are as bad. At one Zionist demonstration at which she spoke, the crowd chanted about burning down Arab villages and in support of Kach. Kach is a terrorist organisation founded on the teaching of far right Israeli activist Meir Kahane. I’ve got a feeling Kahane was involved in the Gush Emunim attempt to bomb the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem in order to bring about a war between Islam and Israel and the return of the Messiah. Dangerous, dangerous fanatical nutters.

So what did Keef Stalin have to say for himself? Well, apparently he condemned ‘anti-Zionist anti-Semitism’. Well, the Zionist right loves to conflate the two, but they’re really separate. Zionism is an ideology, not a people or religion. It first appeared among European Christians, who wanted the Jews to relocate to the Promised Land in accordance with Biblical prophecy in order to bring about Christ’s return. It was also supported by genuine anti-Semites like Richard Wagner as a way of cleansing Europe of them. The vast majority of Jews up until World War II and its horrors wished to stay in Europe and be accepted as fellow citizens by their gentile fellows. The British Jewish establishment actually condemned the Balfour Declaration in favour of the foundation of a Jewish state in Palestine. They did so because they were afraid it would lead to gentile Brits regarding them as foreigners rather than loyal, patriotic Englishmen who happened to be Jewish. In fact Zionism was linked in many people’s minds as a form of anti-Semitism. When Herzl tried seeking the support of a German aristocrat for his Zionist programme in the 1920, the man told him he didn’t want to be involved. Far from being an anti-Semite, he was a friend of the Jews and feared that if he supported Zionism, he would be thought a Jew-hater. I admit that real anti-Semites have also been hostile to Israel – some Nazis certainly were so after the War. But Israel’s left-wing critics aren’t anti-Semitic. They include many Jews and the main, pro-Palestinian organisations, like the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, does not accept anti-Semites. Thus when Gilad Atzmon, a genuine self-hating Israeli, tried to get into one of their events he was very definitely shown the door.

Starmer also claimed that he wanted ‘every Jew to count’. So would an awful lot of Jews in the Labour party. Starmer’s and the Blairite’s vile witch hunt against critics of Israel is overwhelmingly directed against Jews. They’re five times more likely than gentiles to be accused of anti-Semitism. I’ve said over and again that these are decent, self-respecting people, who have very often lost relatives in the Holocaust and been victims of real anti-Semitic abuse and assault themselves. It also includes many gentiles, who also haven’t an anti-Semitic bone in their body and who have been very active fighting anti-Semitism and racism. Like the Black anti-racist activist smeared as an anti-Semite by Ruth Smeeth, Marc Wadsworth. These people are being silenced and horribly smeared, because they’re the wrong kind of Jews. The Board of Deputies, as one of the peeps on Twitter Mike quotes, aren’t remotely interested in defending them. Well, of course not. The Board of Deputies has been one of the organisations leading the witch hunt against critics of Israel. And the Board doesn’t represent anyone in the Jewish community except the United Synagogue. It’s a sectarian organisation that somehow claims to represent British Jewry in all its diversity, and woe to anyone who points out that Jews aren’t, and never were, a monolithic group.

Starmer goes further and talks about how he was given a ‘brilliant book’ on how Jewish racism is held to a higher standard by former comedian David Baddiel. Baddiel’s extremely intelligent and hilariously funny. I saw him at the Cheltenham Festival of Literature reading from his latest novel, Time For Bed. He had the crowd in stitches. Unfortunately, he’s another intellectual whose chosen to check his brains in over his own Zionist prejudices. Years ago he popped his head up claiming that Corbyn was anti-Semitic. Now he’s repeating the old lie that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic because other nations aren’t held to the same standards. Cobblers. Jackie Walker has said that she became a critic of Israel through her anti-apartheid activism. She was an opponent of apartheid South Africa, as you might expect from a woman of colour, whose mother was a Civil Rights activist from Georgia, USA. She turned against Israel after a friend asked her how she could oppose South Africa but not apartheid in Israel. Good question, especially as apartheid South Africa was an ally of Israel in the 1970s.And speaking for myself, I have always opposed the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Years ago, when I was at College, I went to a performance of traditional Tibetan Buddhist music hosted by the college because I wanted to support the Tibetans’ attempts to keep their culture alive against enforced Chinese acculturation. I also don’t have any time for Turkey’s and Iran’s persecution of the Kurds nor the current Chinese regime’s genocidal persecution of the Uighurs of Sinkiang. And nor, I am sure, do any of the people criticising Israel. Tony Greenstein is a very proud anti-Fascist. He’s written a book on The Struggle Against Fascism on the South Coast and is very proud of the way the good peeps of Brighton and Hove, Jews and gentiles, stuck it to Oswald Mosley when he tried campaigning there. He opposes Zionism because it is a Jewish version of Fascism, which has internalised the anti-Semitic lie that Jews and gentiles are completely separate and never the twain can meet. The same noxious attitude behind the Nazis’ Nuremberg Laws.

And David Baddiel is hardly innocent of racism himself. Back in the ’90s he used to poke fun at a Black football player who had a rather exotic hairstyle by turning up on his and Rob Newman’s comedy programme in blackface as the character Mr. Pineapple Head. Tony’s got pictures of it up on his site somewhere. He points out that Baddield would be prosecuted for this in California, where it is illegal to mock ethnic hairstyles. I think people with daft hairstyles are fair comic material, whatever their race, but he has a point.

Which brings us on to Starmer’s attitude to Blacks and Asians. While he’s loud in condemning ‘anti-Zionist anti-Semitism’ – which he seems to believe is the only real kind of anti-Semitism – he is completely indifferent to the rather more severe racism suffered by people of colour. Now the level of deprivation and marginalisation varies with religion and ethnic group. Chinese do better academically and in employment that White Brits. Indians are about the same, or just below. But Blacks and Muslims are very definitely at the bottom of the heap. I’ve made it very clear that I have absolutely no time whatsoever for Black Lives Matter and Critical Race Theory, which I believe are distorting history to present a grotesquely anti-White ideology, as racist as the anti-Black racism they oppose. But BLM has at its root a genuine problem with Black poverty and deprivation, problems that do need to be tackled. Starmer is indifferent to this, however. He very desultorily took the knee, described it ‘as a moment’ and showed an opportunistic attitude to it. He is also indifferent to the bullying suffered by Black and Asian MPs and activists, like Diane Abbott. A third of our Muslim brothers and sisters in the party have reported islamophobic incidents, but Starmer is ignoring them. Possibly because the bullies responsible are his supporters.

He also seems to want to purge them. Last week Mike put up a piece reporting that a group of six or so Black and Asian MPs were set to be purged. These included Diane Abbott, Apsana Begum and Zara Sultana. Belfield put up a mocking video parodying Abbott claiming that she was due to retire. Well, that’s the first and only time I heard of it. I’ve mixed feelings about Abbott. She’s highly intelligent and on a good day can be brilliant. On a bad day she spouts anti-White rubbish. When Sasha Johnson was shot, the police urged people not to speculate. Abbott, however, jumped in with both feet, claiming that she been attacked by a White supremacist. It was natural, considering Johnson’s radical anti-racism, verging, in my opinion, on Black Fascism. But Johnson wasn’t shot by a white man. She was shot by four Black men, who seem to have been targeting her partner. Everything about it looks gang related rather than anything political. But Abbott wasn’t just wrong – the statement itself was dangerous. In such a tense racial situation, it would have been easy to start a riot. Mercifully it didn’t happen. More recently she gave an interview, which has been widely reposted by the right. Questioned about Labour’s immigration policy, but she meanders incoherently, mumbling first about wanting ‘free access’ before trailing off into a string of unconnected, and unfinished musings. People were asking whether she was drunk. I wondered if it was due to immense stress. She receives half of all the abusive mail sent to women MPs. She was also attacked in her own home by her drug-addict son. He went for her with a pair of scissors so that Abbott had to lock herself in the bathroom and call for the fuzz. After an incident like that, she really couldn’t be blamed if she did want to retire to concentrate more on her family.

But that’s not the reason. I suspect the reason is that she was a friend and lover of Jez Corbyn and is still his ally. And as she’s left-wing, she’s not going to be the type of Black that will appeal to all the Tory voters Starmer wishes to appeal to.

Apsana Begum may have been on the list because she was recently tried for housing benefit fraud. She blamed it on her husband, and claimed she knew nothing about it. This is quite credible, and I believe she’s been acquitted. But to the Tories she’s as guilty as sin. It wouldn’t surprise me if the ostensible reason Starmer wanted to get rid of her was because of the trial – Caesar’s wife must not only be chaste, but she must be obviously chaste, as the old saying goes. But she’s another left-winger and so has to go.

I’ve heard absolutely no reason why Zara Sultana could possibly be targeted for dismissal. In fact it seems that if she is being targeted, it’s because she’s too good at her job. She’s an intelligent Muslim woman who land very effective blows against Bozo and the damage done by four decades of Thatcherism, as well as defending her community. She’s a left-wing threat to Starmer, and if he does want to purge, that’s why. She’s doing what he should damn well be doing.

Throughout this there seems to be an attitude that Jews, especially Zionist Jews, suffer more prejudice than any other ethnic group. But the opposite is true. Years ago Quentin Letts, a long-term Mail columnist now writing for the times, produced a league table of relative deprivation among different ethnic and demographic groups in his book, Bog Standard Britain. Jews were at the top for having the most privilege, Blacks the least. Sixty per cent of Jews are upper middle class and most severely normal Brits have a positive or neutral view of their Jewish compatriots. Only 8 per cent of the British public are anti-Semites. That’s clearly too high, but I would imagine it was far less than the proportion of the British public who are prejudiced against Blacks, Asians and particularly Muslims. Years ago the French were being accused of anti-Semitism because anti-Semitic incidents supposedly received less attention than islamophobic. According to the Financial Times, which was then a liberal newspaper actually worth reading, this was because the French authorities were more concerned about the much higher level of prejudice against Muslims. Only five per cent of French folks thought that Jews weren’t really French. When you got to Muslims, the figure was 20-30 + per cent, if I remember correctly. Tommy Robinson is able to get away with his far right antics because this prejudice is shared by a certain number of Brits. But it’s a carefully selected prejudice. Robinson is very pro-Jewish and pro-Israel. He marched with the Jewish Defence League, a Jewish bunch of far right Islamophobic thugs and has said that if there was a war between Israel and the Palestinians, he’d fight for Israel. And the Alt Right just loves Israel. A year or so ago Richard Spencer, the founder of the Alt Right, the man who enthusiastically screamed ‘Hail Trump! Hail our race!’ when Trump won the presidential election, turned up on Israeli TV. No, he doesn’t despise Israel, as you’d expect from Starmer’s ghastly rhetoric. He enthusiastically supports it. He’s a ‘White Zionist’, and Israel is the type of ethnostate he’d like for White, gentile America. The anti-racist activist Matthew Collins even says that when he was in the BNP and other Nazi groups, one of his fellow stormtroopers told him privately that he really didn’t understand the hatred of the Jews. I’ve been told that one of the British Nazis even founded a group, Fascists Against Anti-Semitism, to try and persuade the British public that they weren’t all Jew-haters keen to restart the Holocaust.

Yeah, right. Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

And there’s a section of the Jewish community that reciprocates this racism. According to Tony Greenstein, the respected Jewish historian and very establishment figure, Geoffrey Alderman, was under pressure in the 1970s to withdraw his finding in a book on the British Jewish community published in the 1970s that 2 per cent of Jews voted NF because they didn’t want their children going to school with Blacks. The call was made by the Board of Deputies, who also didn’t like Jews attending Rock Against Racism events for the ostensible reason that Jewish youth might hear anti-Zionist propaganda. I also read on Tony’s or perhaps another Jewish blog that one Jewish Conservative MP in Barnet could be seen hobnobbing with the NF/BNP thugs at elections lamenting that the Nationalist vote was split between the two parties. When you have Jewish Conservatives supporting the NF, it shows just how integrated one section of the Jewish community is and at the same time is so bonkers you wonder if you’ve wandered into a parallel reality.

This is what Starmer’s leadership stands for: racism, anti-Semitism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing. He supports a viciously persecutory state and specifically smears purges Jewish peeps who oppose it. Israel is supported by real Fascists and racists, but he tells us that it’s opponents are anti-Semites. Meanwhile he is utterly indifferent in the poverty, marginalisation and real prejudice and violence suffered by people of colour and specifically Blacks and Muslims. He appears to support rich, Zionist, Conservative Jews, rather than the 40 per cent of the Jewish population that’s as poor and squeezed as the rest of us. That part of the Jewish population that worries about rights of work, about the health service, how they will pay for social care, whether they can afford to put food on the table and the disgrace of an immensely wealthy nation like Britain feeding the poor, the disabled and the unemployed through food banks rather than a functioning welfare state. You know, the same type of issues that caused Jews to join trade unions, found socialist groups and join the Labour party in the first place. The same Jews who are concerned about the government’s increasingly stringent asylum policy, and who are also concerned about the rise of Islamophobia and other forms of racism. You know, traditional Jewish Labour, who share the same fears and aspirations as the wider traditional members of the party. The people Starmer wants to purge.

The good peeps on Twitter haven’t been slow to condemn Starmer’s wretched speech. Go to Mike’s piece to read what such awesome peeps as Another Angry Voice, Jackie Walker – whose tweet also contains a clip of Starmer’s rant – Owen Jones, Barnaby Raine, David Rosenberg, Heather Mendick, Aaron Bastani, Ammar Kazmi, Simon Maginn, Tom London, and Chris Williamson, amongst many others, have to say about it.

Starmer is a racist disgrace. He should not be in the Labour party, yet alone its leader. If anything, he should be goose-stepping about with Tommy Robinson and the wretched EDL.

Man Arrested Outside Conference for Placard Denouncing Priti Patel – A Sign of Real Fascism to Come?

October 6, 2021

Mike’s just put up a short piece this afternoon commenting on the fact that a protester was arrested by the rozzers for holding a placard up outside the Tory party conference calling Priti Patel and nasty name. No, it wasn’t anything racist or personally vicious. It was just a comment on her politics. The placard just said ‘Priti Fascist’. Nadia Whittome has posted this Tweet aptly summing up Patel’s policies:

To summarise her conference speech, Priti Patel wants to:

– push back boats of refugees, risking lives

– make our asylum system even harsher

– further criminalise peaceful protesters

– penalise people with drug addiction issues.

A brutal, authoritarian vision for our country.

As Mike says, the demonstrator was right. Patel is a Fascist. Quite so, but she’s not as far down the line to real goose-stepping Nazism as some would like. Yesterday mad right-wing YouTube Alex Belfield in one of his videos reported that the French cops had shot at the channel migrants with rubber bullets. He felt we should be doing the same, and mocked the lefty snowflakes who would complain if we did. Simon Webb of History Debunked put up a piece stating that the Polish army had been stationed at their border to repel unwanted migrants after 1,000 had tried to enter the country illegally. Why can’t we do the same, he opined.

I think there are a number of reasons why such highly authoritarian behaviour is more acceptable in Poland but not over here. England hasn’t been conquered since William the Conqueror and the Normans in 1066. Britain went on from the sixteenth century onwards to conquer an empire in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Even after decolonisation, we see ourselves as historically the conquerors and imperial rulers, not as the subjects. It’s because of this history that demands for action against racism and the remains of colonialist attitudes have been successful.

Poland doesn’t have that history. Following the reign of Jan Sobieski, who defeated the Turks at the siege of Vienna in the 17th century, Poland was conquered and divided between Prussia, Austria and Russia. The Russians had a policy of russification. Polish was not taught in schools. If it was, it was taught as a foreign language. The country only gained its independence following the First World War. It was conquered again by the Nazis during the Second World and its people subjected to horrific atrocities. Poles, like all Slavs, were regarded as subhuman. They were rounded up to be used as slave labourers and racist laws put in place to prevent them marrying or having sexual relations with Aryan Germans. At the same time, the SS looked for Aryan bloodlines in the Polish population. Children with blonde hair were stolen and given to German Nazis to raise because of their assumed Aryan racial heritage. Polish villages were razed ready for German occupation and settlement. After the war Hitler planned to destroy their educational system and professional and intellectual classes and reduce them, along with the other Slavonic peoples like Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians, to peasant farmers producing agricultural goods for the German settlers and overlords. After the Jews, the Poles formed the largest proportion of Nazi victims in the concentration camps.

After the War Poland was again under Russian domination as a satellite of the USSR. Stalin was brutal in his treatment of them and the other subjects of his new empire. Anyone who had been to the West was rounded up and massacred or sent to the gulags. There is also the infamous Katyn massacre. Initially blamed on the Nazis, this was the slaughter of Polish troopers by the KGB preparatory to the Soviet conquest. Stalin also deliberately held his troops back from liberating Warsaw so that the Nazis could finish putting down the uprising there.

Given this experience of foreign rule and conquest, I’m not surprised that the Polish government, which is extremely right-wing, reacted with such intolerance towards illegal immigration. Which, of course, doesn’t make it right.

My fear is that, with everything else the Tories are doing to erode and destroy British democracy, the approval of the use of such military force will lead, but by bit, to the establishment of real Fascism in Britain.

As for the arrest of someone simply for holding up a placard calling her one, I fail to see how that constitutes any kind of offence. He wasn’t violent nor did the placard incite anyone to violence. I don’t even think you can call it libellous, as people with intolerant, authoritarian personalities are called Fascists and Nazis all the time. This is shown very well in Godwin’s Law, the saying that every debate on the internet will always end with someone from one side or the other comparing their opponent to the Nazis. Unless someone made a serious claim that someone was a real member of a Nazi group, like the NF, BNP, British Movement, Column 88 or such like, I really wouldn’t have thought it qualifies as libel. And I certainly concur with Mike. In the case of Priti Patel it’s fair comment.

It seems to me that the arrest of this man for nothing more than expressing a reasonable opinion on a viciously intolerant Tory minister is itself an act of Fascism.

Anti-Semitism Accusations: I Demand My Accusers’ Identities

August 21, 2021

Firstly, my thanks and warmest appreciation for all the readers of this blog, who have liked my previous post reporting that I have been unfairly smeared as an anti-Semite by the Labour party simply for criticising Zionism and the state of Israel’s barbarous, racist, colonialist treatment of its indigenous people, the Palestinians, and the messages of support I have received.

I am determined to fight this as hard as I can, but I have little hope of winning due to the perverted nature of what passes for justice in the Labour party. My accusers have, I am sure, already made up their minds that I am guilty, and I expect that in due course they will try and haul me before a kangaroo court and expel me. If I’m very lucky, they might offer me the chance of recanting and being trained in anti-Semitism awareness by the Jewish Labour Movement, which should really be called the Ultra-Zionist Bowel Movement. I am currently in formulating my reply and refutation of the accusations.

I note that once again, my accusers remain anonymous, contrary to natural justice and English legal tradition. I have therefore written to the Complaints Team demanding to know the identities of my accusers, as well as the members of the NEC who decided it had merit. I also demand copies of any correspondence between them and my accusers, and to see the NEC’s minutes regarding the decision. Here is my email:

“Dear Sir,

Thank you for informing me about the allegations of anti-Semitism that have been made against me and the consequent investigation. You shall have my reply, as requested, by the end of this week. In the meantime I have the following objection to make against the complaints process. This is the anonymity of my accusers.

The anonymous accusation is against British justice and is the hallmark of persecutory dictatorship.

As students of classical history will recall, anonymous informants were used by Roman tyrants such as Nero and Caligula. It has also been used more recently by Fascists and Nazis, as well as the Leninist-Stalinist regimes of the former Soviet bloc. The Stasi, the German secret police, had boxes of files from about ¼ of the population of the former East Germany, snitching on their friends and neighbours. I am personally acquainted with Muslim asylum seekers here from the highly despotic regimes in their home countries. They have told hair-raising stories of friends of their, who were ‘disappeared’ due to such informants. Is has been said that this is a witch hunt, but history also shows that medieval and 16th and 17th witches were treated with much better justice. In the papal states, the accused witch was allowed to face her accuser in court. She was tried by a jury, and had the right to a lawyer. If she could not afford a lawyer, one would be appointed for her. In England the vast majority of witches were acquitted.

Here it is different. The accused ‘witch’ is tried in a kangaroo court, in which he or she is denied knowledge of his or her accuser’s identity and the opportunity to question them. I have seen ample evidence that the judges are politically appointed and that the officers of these tribunals do as they have been directed by people at the highest levels of the Labour party bureaucracy. This is against natural justice and the custom and practice of English law, many of whose greatest jurists and legal theoreticians, I need hardly mention, have been Jewish. As have been so many victims of these wretched kangaroo courts.

I demand justice. I demand to know the names of my accusers and the right to challenge in an open tribunal.

I would be very grateful, therefore, if you would supply me with the names and email addresses of my accusers and the organisations to which they belong. I also request to see any correspondence between them and the NEC about me. I also demand to know the names of the members of the NEC, who decided that these accusations had sufficient merit to warrant an investigation. I also wish to see the relevant NEC minutes in which my case was discussed and the decision taken.

If this is not done, I intend to take this further with the relevant authorities such as the Information Commissioner. 

I would greatly appreciate your cooperation in this matter.

Yours faithfully,

David Sivier”

I doubt very much I shall be given them. Others have made the same request, and met the same flat denials. But the point needs to be made, and made repeatedly.

The Labour party is acting like a Fascist or Communist regime in withholding the identities of the accusers and the party officials responsible for these decisions. And I will continue to make this point so long as they accuse me and others of these abominable views.

Novara Media Attack Farage For Stoking Fears about Afghan Refugees

August 18, 2021

Farage is no longer head of UKIP, which, along with the Brexit party, seems to be extinct or nearly so. But he’s still around, doing what he does, which is stoke up fear and resentment over immigration. And he’s found a fresh target in the shape of the Afghan refugees desperately trying to flee the country before they’re massacred by the Taliban.

Nige has got his own programme on GB News, which the channel somehow hopes will save it from going under. Some hope with that! Zelo Street has pointed out that while Farage may get reasonable ratings compared to the other news programmes and channels, those for the rest of GB News’ output are still dire. As is a tweet about the Afghan refugees from the Uberkipperfuhrer. He asked how we knew that the Taliban weren’t going to come with them to Britain to launch terrorist attacks here. As Michael Walker points out, this is especially disgusting as we’ve seen desperate people fall out out of the sky where they’ve been holding on to military aircraft in desperate attempts to escape.

Walker also points out that the Taliban aren’t about to infiltrate the Afghan refugees for the simple reason that, while they are vile, they aren’t interested in spreading international terrorism. They just want to set up an Islamic state in Afghanistan. They aren’t al-Qaeda or ISIS. Although they did harbour al-Qaeda, the two are separate entities, and there were Taliban who wanted to hand bin Laden over to the Americans after 9/11.

Walker is also joined in this clip with Ash Sarkar, who says that this is Farage once again stoking fears against young, Muslim men of colour. She recalls how he tried to stir up hatred a few years ago with that post attacking the refugees trying to enter Europe from Syria. She argues that what is really needed is to expand legal ways people can apply for asylum in this country, which allows them to be properly checked. And she also makes the point that this is particularly abhorrent in that Farage is trying to stop people reacting with natural compassion and humanity towards people who desperately need help and sanctuary.

Farage isn’t the only person, who has raised concerns about the illegal immigrants crossing the channel in boats. Hatey Katie Hopkins did so a few years ago. She argued that as most of them were young, working age men, they weren’t really looking for asylum but simply for work and better opportunities. Hopkins is massively xenophobic and, in my opinion, very, very close to the Fascist right. But I think she’s right. Years ago one of the real Fascists on YouTube posted a clip from Danish television of an interview with an African emigrant to the land of the Vikings. The African fellow told the interviewers that he was told by the people smuggling him to Europe that within a year he’d have a house, a car and a cow. I wonder how many other hopeful immigrants and asylum seekers have been fed similar lies. Another rightist posted a clip from German television from a documentary in which a Syrian refugee was being interviewed. When the Syrian migrant caravan turned up in Germany, the German authorities had nowhere to put them, so they constructed barracks style accommodation in which to house them. Looking at the bunks, the Syrian woman said that if she knew they’d be living like that, then she wouldn’t have come here. Denmark has also passed legislation recently stipulating that asylum seekers must return to their countries of origin after the danger to their lives has passed. Simon Webb, of History Debunked infamy, has stated that in previous years people, who came to this country to avoid danger or catastrophe actually did this. He mentions the islanders of Tristan da Cunha, who came here briefly a few decades ago after a volcano erupted on their home. When this died down, they returned. A group of Syrian refugees, however, are fighting the Danish government’s attempts to deport them. One of them said he was determined to stay because he wants to be a doctor. Now, allowances have to be made for Webb’s Torygraph views. But it does seem to me that many of the migrants now trying to get into Europe and Britain aren’t actually fleeing persecution, but simply seeking work and a much higher standard of living.

But as we’re seeing in Afghanistan, the Taliban represent a real threat to the lives of people who have worked for or aided the western occupying forces, particularly women and girls. Simple humanity and compassion should make it clear that we do have a moral obligation to take these people.

The west and Britain owe these people sanctuary. And this tweet from Farage is a nasty piece of gutter racism. GB News should be ashamed.

Book Setting British Empire and the Debate in Its Historical Context

May 31, 2021

Jeremy Black, The British Empire: A History and a Debate (Farnham: Ashgate 2015)

This is another book I got through the post the other day after ordering it from a catalogue. Jeremy Black is, according to the book’s potted biography, Professor of History at Exeter University, and the author of over 100 books. He’s also written for the Journal of Military History, RUSI, which is the journal of the Royal United Services Institute and History Today. The list of other publications about the British Empire lists another book edited by him, The Tory World: Deep History and the Tory Theme in British Foreign Policy, 1679-2014. From this, it might be fair to conclude that Black’s a man of the right.

I read his book, Slavery: A Global History a few years ago when I was writing my own book on the British Empire and slavery a few years ago, and really enjoyed it. Instead of dealing with the British transatlantic slave trade in isolation, it showed how slavery was widespread right across the world and described how the British imperialists tried to end it in their subject territories. I bought this because, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, British imperialism has once again become a matter for heated debate and violent denunciation. The motives of the people behind some of these denunciations and demands for justice seem more than a little suspect to me. For example, a month or so ago one of the speakers in an Arise Festival online meeting was the head of the Black Liberation Movement, the British branch of Black Lives Matter. In her speech she declared that Britain should take asylum seekers ‘because you oppressed us under colonialism’. The short answer to that is that this was supposed to be corrected when the former colonies were granted their independence. Instead, many of them very swiftly degenerated in horrific, murderous dictatorships, like Idi Amin’s Uganda and Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. There was a very deliberate decision in her speech to ignore and gloss over post-colonial misgovernment and oppression, no doubt because it doesn’t fit the narrative she wants to present of Britain being responsible for all her former colonies’ woes.

I am also not impressed by the very loud demands for Oxford University to remove Cecil Rhode’s statue. Don’t get me wrong, he was a blackguard. He’s supposed to have said that the people he liked to employ were greedy sycophants, or something like that. Some critics have also said that his imposition of the colour bar in Rhodesia was particularly hypocritical, as he didn’t personally believe in it. But pre-colonial east Africa was hardly some idyllic Wakanda. Many of the indigenous peoples practised slavery themselves, and were preyed on by Arab, Swahili, Marganja and Yao slavers. And you can argue that, as horrendous as White rule was, it was far better than Mugabe’s genocidal dictatorship. The people calling for the statue’s removal seem to me to be Black African nationalists, butthurt over what they see as a slight to their racial and national dignity. But I also wonder if some of its also motivated by a consciousness of their nations’ failures post-independence.

I bought the book as it promised to discuss the debate surrounding the British Empire as telling its history. Black states that it needs to be seen in its historical context and not judged by the standards of the present day. This is actually what I was taught in my first year of studying history at College. You’re not supposed to create ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’ of history, because if things had turned out differently, our standards and culture would have been different.

The blurb for the book runs

What was the course and consequence of the British Empire? The rights and wrongs, strengths and weaknesses of empire are a major topic in global history, and deservedly so. Focusing on the most prominent and wide-ranging empire in world history, the British Empire, Jeremy Black provides not only a history of that empire, but also a perspective from which to consider the issues of its strengths and weaknesses, and right and wrongs. In short, this is a history both of the past, and of the present-day discussion of the past, that recognises that discussion over historical empires is in part a reflection of the consideration of contemporary states.

In this book Professor Black weaves together an overview of the British Empire across the centuries, with a considered commentary on both the public historiography of empire and the politically-charged character of much discussion of it. There is a coverage here of social as well as political and economic dimensions of empire, and both the British perspective and that of the colonies is considered. The chronological dimension is set by the need to consider not only imperial expansion by the British state, but also the history of Britain within an imperial context. As such, this is a story of empires within the British Isles, Europe, and, later, world-wide. The book addresses global decline, decolonisation, and the complex nature of post-colonialism and different imperial activity in modern and contemporary history. Taking a revisionist approach, there is no automatic assumption that imperialism, empire, and colonialism were ‘bad’ things. Instead, there is a dispassionate and evidence-based evaluation of the British Empire as a form of government, an economic system, and a method of engagement with the world, one with both faults and benefits for the metropole and the colony.

Black states that criticism of British imperialism is also a criticism of capitalism, which in many cases is very definitely and obviously true. However, he also criticises Kwesi Kwarteng’s history of the British empire for its denunciations of British colonial oppression in some of the colonies, like Nigeria. And while British imperialism may well have brought some benefits, much of it is still indefensible by modern standards. Like the plantations in Ireland, the genocide and dispossession of indigenous peoples, like aboriginal Australians and the American Indians, the seizure of native land in Africa and so on. He notes that the most successful colonies are White settler nations like Australia, Canada and New Zealand, but this hardly outweighs the disastrous consequences of the White invasion for the indigenous peoples.

I haven’t read it yet – I’m still making my way through a number of other books – but I hope to do so, and will probably blog about it in the future to give my views and conclusions about what looks like a timely and provocative book.

Colonial Ties, Not Oppression, Is the Best Reason for Granting Asylum

April 9, 2021

This has been irritating me for some time now, and so I’m going to try to get it off my chest. A month or so ago I went to a Virtual meeting, organised by the left wing of the Labour party, on why socialists should be anti-war. It was part of the Arise Festival of ideas, and featured a variety of speakers all concerned with the real possibility that the war-mongering of Tony Blair, George W. Bush and so on would return. They made the point that all the interventions in Iraq, Libya and elsewhere were motivated purely by western geopolitical interests. Western nations and their multinationals had initiated them solely to plunder and dominate these nations and their industries and resources. One of the speakers was the Muslim head of the Stop War Coalition, who stated that many people from ethnic minorities had supported the Labour party because historically Labour had backed independence for their countries of origin. And obviously the Labour party was risking their support by betraying them through supporting these wars. After the failure of these wars – the continued occupation of Afghanistan, the chaos in Iraq and Libya – the calls for further military interventions had died down. But now these wars were being rehabilitated, and there is a real danger that the military-industrial complex will start demanding further invasions and occupations.

I absolutely agree totally with these points. Greg Palast’s book Armed Madhouse shows exactly how the Iraq invasion had absolutely nothing to do with liberating the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, but was all about stealing their oil reserves and state industries. The invasion of Afghanistan has precious little to do with combatting al-Qaeda, and far more to do with the construction of an oil pipeline that would benefit western oil interests at the expense of Russia and its allies. And the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafy in Libya was also about the removal of an obstacle to western neo-colonial domination. These wars have brought nothing but chaos and death to these countries. The welfare states of Iraq and Libya have been decimated, and the freedoms women enjoyed to pursue careers outside the home have been severely curtailed our removed. Both of these countries were relatively secular, but have since been plunged into sectarian violence.

Despite this, one of the speakers annoyed me. This was the head of the Black Liberation Association or whatever Black Lives Matter now calls itself. She was a young a woman with quite a thick African accent. It wasn’t quite what she said, but the tone in which she said it. This was one of angry, indignant and entitled demand, rather than calm, persuasive argument. She explained that the Black Liberation Association campaigned for the rights and self-government of all nations in the global south and their freedom from neo-colonial economic restrictions and domination. She attacked the ‘fortress Europe’ ideology intended to keep non-White immigrants out, especially the withdrawal of the Italian naval patrols in the Med. This had resulted in more migrant deaths as unseaworthy boats sank without their crews and passengers being rescued. This is all stuff the left has campaigned against for a long time. I remember learning in ‘A’ Level geography in school that Britain and Europe had erected tariff barriers to prevent their former colonies competing with them in the production of manufactured goods. This meant that the economies of the African nations, for example, were restricted to agriculture and mining. As for the withdrawal of the Italian navy and coastguard, and the consequent deaths of migrants, this was very much an issue a few years ago and I do remember signing internet petitions against it. But there was one argument she made regarding the issue of the granting of asylum that was weak and seriously annoyed me. She stated that we had to accept migrants because we had oppressed them under colonialism.

This actually doesn’t work as an argument for two reasons. I’m not disputing that we did oppress at least some of the indigenous peoples of our former colonies. The colour bar in White Rhodesia was notorious, and Black Africans in other countries, like Malawi, were treated as second class citizens quite apart from the horrific, genocidal atrocities committed against the Mao-Mao rebellion. The first problem with the argument from colonial oppression is that it raises the question why any self-respecting person from the Commonwealth would ever want to come to Britain, if we’re so racist and oppressive.

The other problem is that the British Empire is now, for the most part, a thing of the past. Former colonies across the globe formed nationalist movements and achieved their independence. They were supposed to benefit from the end of British rule. In some cases they have. But to return to Africa, since independence the continent has been dominated by a series of brutal dictators, who massacred and looted their people. There is an appalling level of corruption to the point where the FT said that many of them were kleptocracies, which were only called countries by the courtesy of the west. Western colonialism is responsible for many of the Developing World’s problems, but not all. I’ve heard from a couple of Brits, who have lived and worked in former colonies, that they have been asked by local people why we left. These were older people, but it shows that the end of British rule was not as beneficial as the nationalists claimed, and that some indigenous people continued to believe that things had been better under the Empire. But the culpability of the leaders of many developing nations for their brutal dictatorships and the poverty they helped to inflict on their people wasn’t mentioned by this angry young woman. And that’s a problem, because the counterargument to her is that the British Empire has vanished, and with the handover to indigenous rule British responsibility for these nations’ affairs ended. It is up to these countries to solve their problems, and we should be under no obligation to take in people fleeing oppression in these countries.

For me, a far better approach would be to stress old colonial ties and obligations with these nations. Part of the ideology of colonialism was that Britain held these countries in trust, and that these nations would only remain under British rule until they developed the ability to manage themselves. It was hypocritical, and I think there’s a quote from Lord Lugard, one of the architects of British rule in Africa, about how the British had only a few decades to despoil the country. Nevertheless, it was there, as was Kipling’s metaphor of the ‘White Man’s Burden’, in which Britain was to teach these nations proper self-government and civilisation. It’s patronising, because it assumes the superiority of western civilisation, but nevertheless it is one of paternal responsibility and guidance. And some British politicians and imperialists took this ideology very seriously. I was told by a friend of mine that before Enoch Powell became an avowed and implacable opponent of non-White immigration with his infamous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, he sincerely believed that Britain did have an obligation to its subject peoples. He worked for a number of organisations set up to help non-White immigrants to Britain from her colonies.

It therefore seems to me that supporters of non-White migrants and asylum seekers would be far better arguing that they should be granted asylum because of old colonial ties and kinship in the Commonwealth and continuing paternal obligations, rather than allowed in as some kind of reparation for the oppression of the colonial past.

The first argument offers reconciliation and common links. The other only angry division between oppressed and oppressor.

Twitter Peeps Educate Universities Minister About What Decolonising the Curriculum Really Means

March 3, 2021

It’s not about censoring history but about including the ignored or omitted perspectives of the colonised peoples themselves.

Zelo Street put up a brilliant piece on Sunday refuting nonsense printed in the Torygraph by their reporter Christopher Hope. Hope had been talking to the universities minister, Michelle Donelan, who was extremely concerned about the ‘culture war’ being waged in the universities. She was afraid that those unis, who were decolonising their curricula were engaged in a massive piece of historical censorship. Like the former Soviet Union, they were removing those incidents that were not regarded as stains. This greatly concerned her as a former history student who was also a vehement champion of preserving our history.

This provoked a number of academics and/or students, whose universities were involved in this restructuring of their history curricula, to put her right. They informed her that this wasn’t about removing awkward parts of British colonial history, but adding to it by including the perspectives of the subject peoples we ruled and all-too frequently abused and exploited.

Alex Stevens from the University of Kent put this up:

Dear [Michelle Donelan] ‘Adding stuff in to enrich our understanding’ is *exactly* what decolonising the curriculum is doing at my university”.

Edward Anderson of Northumbria University also agreed, posting the following

When we decolonise curricula, it’s almost always ADDING more stuff in: scholarship & perspectives from the Global South, source material of the colonised not just coloniser, etc. [Michelle Donelan] must know this, but chooses to peddle a straw man, fictitious idea of what uni’s do”.

Coventry University’s Andrew Jowett backed this up with his remark

She has no idea what she’s talking about. It’s not about ‘taking things out’ of the curriculum, it’s about contextualising what is taught and ensuring other cultures and indigenous peoples are represented in the curriculum. Maybe she should attend a webinar on it”. 

And then came Dr. Priyamvada Gopal, who teaches colonial literature at Cambridge

 “Let’s break this down for [Michelle Donelan]. When we ‘decolonise’, we put the ‘offensive’ bits BACK IN. To give a random example, we tell [the] story of Winston Churchill not just as unimpeachable war hero–but as a man of empire & race science. We don’t pander to white snowflakery”.

Gopal was the centre of controversy last summer in the Black Lives Matter protests, when she was falsely accused of hating Whites because she’d put up a tweet ‘White don’t matter as White lives’, which I think she intended to mean that White lives have no more or less intrinsic value than anyone else’s. Their value lay simply in being human lives. This was in response to an enraged White chap flying over a local football match on a plane towing the banner ‘White Lives Matter’. I think another of Gopal’s tweets had been altered and the fake version reproduced by the right-wing press to present Gopal as wishing for a real White genocide. Gopal sued for libel, and I believe won.

The comments about Churchill were provoked by the denunciation s of the Great Man at a conference on his legal at Churchill College, Cambridge. Churchill was denounced by some of the speakers as responsible for the horrific Bengal famine, which killed 3-6 million Indians, and a White supremacist. Kehinde Andrews, a prominent Black racial activist, was present at this event, who is notorious for claiming that the British Empire was worse than the Nazis.

This provoked a reaction from offended Tories, like Nicholas Soames, who declared that if they were going to denounce the British wartime PM, then they shouldn’t use his money. The right-wing historian of Africa and the British Empire, Andrew Roberts, also wasn’t impressed. He is the co-author of a paper, published by the right-wing think tank Policy Exchange, defending Churchill. But I think that the allegations against Churchill are absolutely correct. He was an imperialist and White supremacist. It was the dominant ideology of the time and obviously very strong in the British and colonial ruling class. He was also responsible for the Bengal famine through the sequestration of their grain in order to feed British troops in Europe. The result was mass starvation in India, while the emergency requiring its use never came. Nevertheless, Churchill refused to release it to where it was really needed, blaming the Indians themselves for their plight. It was all their fault for having too many children. His attitude shocked many senior British officers and colonial administrators, who compared him to the Nazis.

Zelo Street described Donelan’s interview and her views as

Once again, we have a Government minister apparently not in command of their brief, with their ignorance amplified by a shameless propagandist for the sole purpose of riling up his paper’s base and demonising purveyors of inconvenient thought.

He concludes that, as for her reference to the Soviet Union, that is exactly where her government is taking us, but you won’t read it in the papers. Quite. We have a very authoritarian government, which really is determined to censor history. And the press are right behind her.

This looks like an attempt by a failing government to whip up some popularity by playing the race card. The approved Tory view of the British Empire as essentially benevolent is under attack from evil lefties, and so must be defended at all costs. Just as Britain is being invaded by all those evil refugees crossing the Channel in dinghies.

Meanwhile, people continue to die from the Coronavirus, and the government is determined to push through the welfare cuts which Mike has documented as killing the poor, the disabled and the unemployed.

But we mustn’t look there. They’re just welfare scroungers. We must be worried about the attack on our imperial history and great leaders like Winston Churchill. Even when those attacks are historically accurate.

See: Zelo Street: Decolonising Drivel Deceives No-One (zelo-street.blogspot.com)

Are the Tories’ Concentration Camps for Asylum Seekers A Deliberate Anti-Immigration Deterrent

February 11, 2021

This is another piece simply based on my impressions of the titles of a couple of videos I’ve come across on YouTube, so again, I may be prejudiced and incorrect in my assumptions. But I don’t think I am. A few days ago some of the anti-immigration channels on YouTube put up videos about the demonstrations by asylum seekers incarcerated in the new detention centres set up by the grinning racist, Priti Patel. There has also been a fire at Napier Barracks, which one of the videos seemed to insinuate was an act of arson by the immigrants there in protest at their conditions. If you believe liars like Alex Belfield, illegal immigrants to Britain are living in the lap of luxury at the British tax-payer’s expense. In fact, as Mike has pointed out, the conditions in the new detention centres are appalling with inadequate showers and hygiene facilities and arrangements for social spacing. He compared them to concentration camps. Now, according to one of these right-wing videos, the asylum seekers incarcerated in them are trying to escape back to Europe. At least according to the wretched channel, We Got A Problem.

It struck me that this wasn’t unintended. Thatcher’s whole attitude to welfare support was based on the Victorian idea of ‘less eligibility’. You make the conditions of state support deliberately harsh, humiliating and degrading to deter people from seeking it. It was the idea behind the workhouse. Now it seems the Tories have created workhouses for asylum seekers in Patel’s new detention centres as a deliberate deterrent to stop them from either coming to this country in the first place, or to encourage them to leave if they’re here.

Tony Benn warned that what governments did to immigrants was what they’d like to do to the rest of the population, if they were able Ten years ago right at the beginning of this long period of Tory rule, I was alarmed by the possibility that the Tories were considering the restoration of the workhouse system. It was only abolished in 1947 with the creation of the welfare state, and Thatcher wanted to destroy the latter. Food banks were originally set up for asylum seekers after Blair removed state support. Then the Tories expanded the system to include domestic citizens, who were thrown off state benefits thanks to the wretched welfare reforms.

Which means if this carries on, will the Tories start building camps like Napier barracks for the unemployed and disabled, as a cheap alternative to the present benefit system and to deter more of poor from seeking them? Just like they’re now doing to asylum seekers?

Starmer’s Flag-Waving and Fixation on Celebrities Shows Hollowness of New Labour

February 11, 2021

I know this is another piece of old news, which Mike has commented on already but there are a few more things to say about it. A few days ago Mike posted up a piece about an idea from the Labour party about winning more members and votes. This new, exciting strategy for gaining the support of the British public was for Starmer to be seen more with the Union Jack. Yep, Starmer’s leadership, which is already determined to copy Tory economic policies, also wants to follow them and be seen as the party of flag-waving – some critics called it’ flag-shagging’ patriotism.

The Tories have been draping themselves in the flag and waving it at every opportunity just about since they emerged in the late 17th and 18th centuries. Their aggressive projection of themselves as the party of British patriotism became particularly acute under Maggie in the 1980s. Thatcher was deeply inspired by Winston Churchill’s heroic vision of the British people and their history, and so was constantly invoking his memory and legacy. Thus we had Torygraph headlines quoting the Leaderene, screaming ‘Don’t Call Them Booj-wah, Call Them British’, while the spirit of the Battle of Britain was invoked in the Tory 1987 election broadcast. This featured Spitfires zooming about the sky, while an excited voice intoned ‘We were born free. It’s our fundamental right’. It’s a misquotation of the great Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. His book, The Social Contract, one of the first works advocating democracy and a major influence on the French Revolution, begins: ‘Man was born free, but everywhere he is in chains’. You can see why Thatcher didn’t want to include the second part of that sentence. Commenting on it on Radio 4’s News Quiz, the late Alan Coren drily called it ‘the Royal Conservative Airforce’ and made the point that all the servicemen, whose memory and sacrifice Thatcher was exploiting all came back and voted Labour. Now Starmer apparently wants to wave the flag as well in order to win over Tory voters.

The new strategy was proposed by a focus group, which were used by Blair’s New Labour to devise party policy, or put the rubber stamp on those the Dear Leader had already decided upon, when the grinning butcher of Iraq was in office. It was part of the Blairite’s centralisation of decision-making, their managerialism and their pointed determination to ignore the demands and recommendations of grassroots members. Now it seems we’re back to the same tired old attitudes and strategies.

Mike and the peeps on Twitter saw past this threadbare strategy immediately. They quoted Dr. Johnson, who said that ‘patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel’. But I remember Jon Downes, the frontman for the Devon band Jon Downes and the Amphibians from Outer Space making another observation: ‘a patriot is a man with nothing left to say’. This was in a song entitled ‘Land of Dopes and Tories’. It was a commented on Major’s Conservative party, which carried on the flag-waving while handing over vast tracts of Britain’s historic landscape to English Heritage, which promptly erected fences around them to keep the British public out, as at Stonehenge. Major’s Tories were ideologically bankrupt. It was Thatcherism with the nasty bits cut off and a marked paucity of ideas. His big notion for galvanising the British public behind his party was a ‘Cones Hotline’. This was a number you could call if you thought their were too many cones clogging up the roads. It’s hardly a grand vision, and was rightly ridiculed by Spitting Image and the rest of the media.

And Starmer’s leadership really doesn’t have any ideas. His policy so far has been to agree with the Tories, then criticise them in retrospect. He seems determined to copy their disastrous economic and social policies of privatisation, including that of the NHS, the destruction of the welfare state, and low wages, just like Blair. The only difference is that Blair and Starmer claimed that they would be able to carry out these Tory policies better than the Tories themselves.

Starmer really, really doesn’t have anything left to say. A fact also confirmed by another recommendation. This was that he should be seen with celebrities. Well, that was another feature of Blairite New Labour, which was also very relaxed, as Peter Mandelson put it, about people getting rich. Hence Blair’s desire to be seen with such celebrity businessmen as Beardie Branson and Alan Sugar. But Mike and the other Twitter peeps pointed out that, thanks to his attack on Corbyn, Starmer might find recruiting other celebs to endorse him difficult. Robert Webb apparently has torn up his Labour membership card.

I realise Angela Rayner also returned to make a speech claiming that Labour was still behind the policies laid out in last year’s election manifesto – nationalised public services and welfare state, strong unions, workers’ rights and so on, but Mike asked the pertinent question of whether you could trust her or him on this issue. And you can’t. They’ve shown repeatedly that they’re not prepared to honour the manifesto.

The flag-waving and celebrity-seeking isn’t going to win over traditional Labour voters, who will see past it. Some may even be repelled by it because of the way the Tories appropriated British patriotism and mixed it with aggressive imperialist nostalgia and xenophobia. And it isn’t going to win over Tories. There is a hard rump of extreme right-wing Tory types, who regard the Labour party as the enemies of Britain. The anti-immigrant YouTube channel, We Got A Problem, refers to asylum seekers and illegal immigrants as ‘imported Labour voters’. There are people who honestly believe the allegation that Blair deliberately encouraged mass non-White immigration to this country to destroy the largely White society at the heart of Tory visions of Britain. The same type of people, who believe that the Jews are also encouraging non-White immigration to destroy the White race, the Kalergi plan and the Great Replacement. These people aren’t going to be won over by Starmer waving the flag. They are, of course, probably not going to vote Labour anyway because of Labour’s avowed commitment of multiculturalism. Blair also waved the flag during ‘Cool Britannia’, but it also included Blacks and Asians along with more traditionally British images to project the view of a new, multicultural Britain. That was two decades ago, and while it impressed many, the super-patriotic right still regard it as some kind of betrayal of British identity through its inclusion of non-White culture. Starmer waving the flag won’t get them to change their political allegiances.

In fact, there is a sense that traditional Labour was and has always been the true party of patriotism. George Bernard Shaw pointed it out years ago in his book The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Capitalism, Socialism, Fascism and Sovietism. He stated that socialists wanted money to be spent here, in Britain, developing its industries and aiding its working people. The Tories, on the other hand, allowed the idle rich to spend their wealth abroad, while undercutting domestic industry with products from the colonies, whose people could be exploited more cheaply. Just like under slavery.

Mike made the point that you could connect British patriotism to a desire for a fairer society where people were supported by a proper welfare state. You could also begin by presenting the Labour party as the party of true British patriotism by saying that it was opposed to the rich hiding their immense wealth away in offshore tax havens, as well as benefiting from tax cuts while the rest of the population have to shoulder the tax burden. Oh yes, and industries that, instead of being owned by the British people, were owned by multinational corporations which simply took their profits without reinvesting in them.

But that would be seen as horribly xenophobic and attacking the free trade and foreign investment the Neoliberals are trying to promote, and so would probably be denounced as horribly racist. Even as the Tories continue to demonise immigrants and asylum seekers.