European Union

Error message

Deprecated function: The each() function is deprecated. This message will be suppressed on further calls in _menu_load_objects() (line 579 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/menu.inc).

Boris Johnson Is Not the New, British FD Roosevelt

It’s the first of July, the beginning of a new month, and a new set of lies, falsehoods, spin and propaganda from our clownish and murderous government. Yesterday, BoJob announced he was going to spend his way out of the recession caused by the Coronavirus lockdown. £5 billion would be spent on public services. Michael Gove hailed this as a ‘New Deal’, like F.D. Roosevelt’s for ’30s America.

No. No, it isn’t. Mike and Zelo Street have both published articles tearing great, bloody holes in this latest piece of monstrous spin. Zelo Street’s concentrates on the failings of Roosevelt’s original New Deal. Apparently it didn’t really begin to pay off until Roosevelt’s second term, because the great president was himself too committed to the economic orthodoxy of the time. This was to reduce government spending during a recession. Mike’s article, from what I’ve seen of it, dismantles Johnson’s promises. How much can we really trust them? Remember those forty hospitals Johnson told us the Tories were going to build. They weren’t, and aren’t. It was more lies and the number that were actually going to built was much, much lower. I think about six. The rest were going to be additions to existing hospitals, that had already been planned. And the numbers that were going to be built were far lower than those which were to be closed, either wholly or partially.

Everything says that this latest announcement of Johnson’s is exactly the same. More lies, and more promises that are going to be quietly broken later on.

And then there’s the matter of the amount Boris has said he intends to spend. £5 billion is an enormous amount, but Johnson has proudly boasted of spending such sums before. Like when he announced he was going to splurge out on renovating the country’s rail network. Zelo Street then put up an analysis of the figures and how much actually building new stations would actually cost, and the amount fell far, far short of what Johnson was actually claiming. I suspect that the £5 billion Johnson is now trying to get us all to believe he intends to spend is similar. It’s an impressive amount, but in reality much, much less than what’s actually needed.

And you can also bet it’s going to be lower than what our former partners in the EU are spending to get their economies started again. Recently, Private Eye published a piece attacking the Tories’ previous claim that leaving the EU would allow us to spend more on our economy. They compared what our government was spending with what France, Germany and some others were. They’re actually spending more than we are, which also demolishes the Tories’ claim that it was EU legislation that was preventing the government from spending more on the economy. No surprise there. The Tories have consistently lied about the European Union being the source of the country’s ills when the reverse has been true, and they themselves are responsible for the disastrous policies that have decimated our country and its people.

And when a right-wing British politico starts shouting about a ‘New Deal’, it’s always bad news.

Tony Blair similarly announced his new deal to tackle unemployment at the beginning of his government. He was going to introduce new reforms to encourage firms to take on workers. In fact, this was the wretched ‘welfare to work’ or ‘workfare’ policy, in which the unemployed would be sent to work for corporate giants like the supermarkets in return for the Jobseeker’s Allowance. If they didn’t go, no unemployment relief. As was documented by Private Eye, inter alia, the scheme does not help anyone get jobs. In fact, in the case of a geography graduate it actually stopped her getting the job she wanted. She was looking for work in a museum and had something in that line arranged as voluntary work. But the DWP insisted she work stacking shelves for Tesco or Sainsbury’s or whoever instead. It’s actually been found that if you’re unemployed, you are far more likely to get a job through your own efforts rather than through workfare.

And there’s another huge difference between the Tories and F.D. Roosevelt:

Roosevelt laid the foundations of an American welfare state. The Tories are destroying ours.

Roosevelt introduced some basic welfare reforms, like state unemployment relief. It wasn’t extensive, but it was something. The Republicans in America and the Tories over here hate the welfare state with a passion. It’s supposed to be subsidizing idleness and responsible for cross-generational pockets in which whole communities haven’t worked. The libertarianism which entered the American Republican party with the victory of Ronald Reagan was at heart concerned with reversing Roosevelt’s welfare reforms. Although it’s very carefully obscured now, it’s why the Libertarian’s magazine, Reason, in the mid-70s devoted an entire issue to denying the Holocaust. This featured articles by genuine neo-Nazis. This was vile in itself, but it was motivated by an underlying desire to undo Roosevelt’s legacy. FDR had been the president, who took America into the Second World War. This is seen as a good war, because of Nazis’ horrific genocide of the Jewish people, as well as others, though they rarely get a mention these days. If the Libertarians and their Nazi allies could prove that the Holocaust didn’t happen, it would discredit America’s entry into the War and make further attacks on Roosevelt and the New Deal plausible.

One of the reasons why he introduced unemployment benefit, such as it was, was because if you give money to workers during a recession, their spending will stimulate the economy.

But the Tories hate the idea of unemployment benefit and the workers actually having any money. They are the party of low wages, conditionality and benefit sanctions. Thatcher viewed the Victorians’ attitude that conditions should be made as hard as possible for the poor to encourage them not to rely on state assistance and agree to take work no matter how poor the wages and conditions as a ‘virtue’. It was one of her wretched ‘Victorian values’. During her reign, you couldn’t get away from her and the rest of her scummy party prating on about rolling back the frontiers of the state and the need to abolish the welfare state. The rhetoric has since quietened down and been modified, so that instead of abolishing the welfare state they talk about reforming it to target those who are genuinely in need. But the ideology hasn’t changed.

As a result, the British welfare state is in tatters. One organisation dealing with poverty and hunger in this country has stated that they’ve torn such great holes in it that it no longer functions. You can see this by the way unemployment has shot up so that one in four people is now claiming Universal Credit.

This isn’t just due to the Coronavirus. It’s due to the forty-year long Tory assault on the welfare state.

Johnson isn’t the new FDR. He’s the exact opposite – the destroyer of unemployment benefit and killer of those who need it.

See: https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2020/06/bozo-is-not-franklin-roosevelt.html

New deal? No deal! We can’t accept a plan for the future from the failed PM who deliberately wrecked it

Liar, Liar, Pence on Fire

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 02/07/2020 - 12:13am in

Friday's White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing was filled with wildly false claims about the administration’s supposed success in dealing with COVID-19. With only about 4% of the world’s population, America accounts for more than 25% of worldwide COVID-19 infections and deaths. Continue reading

The post Liar, Liar, Pence on Fire appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Jewish Board of Deputies Accuses Nigel Farage of Anti-Semitism

Zelo Street reported yesterday that the Board of Deputies of British Jews had taken a break from accusing the Labour party to turn their ire on another British politico. This was Nigel Farage, Fuhrer and CEO of the Brexit Party. According to the Graoniad, the Board had accused the man 2000AD’s Judge Dredd satirised as ‘Bilious Barrage’ because

“Farage’s airing of claims about plots to undermine national governments, and his references to Goldman Sachs and the financier George Soros, showed he was seeking to ‘trade in dog whistles’ … [he] was also condemned by the MPs who co-chair the all-party group against antisemitism”.

They then provide a series of examples from a recent tweet and interview with Newsweek magazine. In the tweet’s video message, the Fuhrage claimed that Britain was facing a wave of ‘cultural Marxism’. This is an idea that has its origins in Nazism, and their claim that Germany was being subverted by Jewish ‘Kulturbolschevismus’. Organisations funded by George Soros were also responsible for companies removing adverts for right-wing TV programmes. This was the trope of the ‘disloyal Jew’.

In the Newsweek article, Nige had ranted about ‘unelected globalists’ shaping the lives of the public based on recommendations from the big banks. ‘Globalists’ was a code word for ‘Jews’ or ‘Jewish bankers’. Goldman Sachs was the only bank he named, which followed another theme from the extreme right.

And Zelo Street also provided a few examples of his own to support the Board’s accusation. In another tweet, the Brexit Party’s Duce Faragissimo had praised Viktor Orban’s Hungary for standing up to the globalists, and wished we all did the same. He also talked about anti-Brexit plots backed by George Soros, including the campaign for a second referendum. Rants against the globalists featured regularly in his tweets. In one, he declared that we were all sick of threats from the globalists. This followed a statement that London was the world’s no. 1 financial centre, and Frankfurt only the 11th. We were, he also announced, heading toward a world where the democratic nation state had made a comeback against the globalists. Former US president Barack Obama, and Chancellor Merkel of Germany were ‘holding a losing party’ for the globalists. And then there was this series of comments about Goldman Sachs

“Goldman Sachs and big business lost the referendum … Congratulations to former EU Commission President [José Manuel Barroso], now over at Goldman Sachs. Global corporatism! … If Goldman Sachs are leaving London for the US, why aren’t they going to their beloved European Union? … Goldman Sachs Chairman thinks those who want border controls are ‘xenophobic’. Badly out of touch”.

The Street noted that these snippets showed the Fuhrage being promoted by the Beeb, Sky News and the Heil. By doing so, they were also promoting anti-Semitism. The Street concluded

Serious anti-Semitism always comes from the far right. Nigel Farage is living proof of that.

See: https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2020/06/nigel-farage-theres-real-anti-semitism.html

Farage’s rants and denunciations of the globalists, Goldman Sachs and George Soros are the latest forms of the anti-Semitic fears about Jewish bankers that first appeared in the Tsarist forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. They also have their roots in some of the conspiracy theories that emerged in the 1970s about the Bilderberg group and the Trilateral Commission. Many leading bankers, like Bernard Baruch, had backed the formation of the United Nations, Trilateral Commission and the elite Bilderberg group, which meets annually to discuss global politics. Thus the UN and the other organisations were seen as devices by which Jewish bankers sought world domination, culminating in a one-world dictatorship, the enslavement of gentiles and the extermination of the White race. Not all versions of this theory are necessarily quite so anti-Semitic. Some of them distinguish between Jewish bankers and the rest of the Jewish people, noting that some of the former, like the Rothschilds, advanced credit and loans to Nazi Germany even when the Nazis were persecuting the Jews. Other forms of the theory are more bonkers still. In one of them, the Trilateral Commission takes its name from the Trilateral ensign, the flag of the Grey aliens from Zeta Reticuli, with whom the US has made a Faustian pact. The aliens are allowed to abduct and experiment on humans in return for providing extraterrestrial technology like velcro.

I wouldn’t like to say that Farage is definitely an anti-Semite, but his rhetoric and beliefs about evil globalists comprising banks like Goldman Sachs and the Jewish financier George Soros are certainly part of a series of conspiracy theories, some of which are viciously anti-Semitic.

The Board is right to denounce Farage for spouting these theories. However, this hasn’t changed my mind about the Board as a whole. Most of its accusations of anti-Semitism, along with those of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Chief Rabbinate and their allies in the Labour Party, the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel, have been directed against Labour, its former leaders Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband, and Corbyn’s followers. They have done so not out of concern about real anti-Semitism, but from a determination to defend Israel and its barbarous ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians from criticism. At the same time the Board denounced the Fuhrage yesterday, it was also attacking Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, Lisa Nandy, for demanding the government impose a block on the import of goods manufactured in the Occupied Territories if Israel begins its planned annexation of a third of the West Bank tomorrow.

It looks to me that the Board’s accusation of Farage for anti-Semitism is intended to soothe its left-wing critics by showing them that it doesn’t just attack the Labour Party. It really does attack other parties for anti-Semitism, really. But this doesn’t change the fact that the Board seems packed with Tories and Tory supporters. And it doesn’t change the fact that Board’s chief motivation for its attacks on the Labour Party is simply an attempt to excuse the inexcusable and defend entirely reasonable and proper criticism of Israel.

The Board is right to accuse Farage. But its accusations against the Labour Party are still wrong and politically motivated.

 

 

Your aeroplane, Prime Minister

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 27/06/2020 - 5:00pm in

So this is the £980k paint job painted on to an Airbus A330, which as I understand it is assembled in France, fitted out in Spain and powered by Rolls Royce engines – a pretty good example of European cooperation in fact! And it seems likely that all the British wing assembly will not survive... Read more

Book Review: re:generation Europe: Ten Proposals for Another Europe by Floris de Witte

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/06/2020 - 9:15pm in

In re:generation Europe: Ten Proposals for Another Europe, Floris de Witte sets out a vision for another Europe, one that breaks with the purely technocratic management of European affairs, one that listens to its public and is sensitive to its younger generation. While questioning whether EU leaders would accept such radical change, Simeon Mitropolitski welcomes the call to reform the European Union through cherishing diversity, public engagement and youth engagement and recommends the book to scholars of Europe and the general public alike.

re:generation Europe: Ten Proposals for Another Europe. Floris de Witte. Palgrave Macmillan. 2019.

In his book re:generation Europe: Ten Proposals for Another Europe, Floris de Witte, Associate Professor in the Department of Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science, sets out a vision for another European Union, one that breaks with the purely technocratic management of European affairs, one that listens to its public and is sensitive to its younger generation. The raison d’etre of this book, to no surprise, is Brexit, a long and winding process of disintegration of Britain’s formal institutional bonds with the EU. The author claims that Brexit has larger significance beyond this particular national case: that it represents drama involving national and EU authorities, both struggling, often without harmony, to provide legitimate answers to new acute challenges, such as the financial crisis and the refugee crisis. This review will touch upon the main points of the book, on both levels of diagnostic and cure, and will discuss its strengths and the questions it raises.

The book itself is divided into two analytical sections, which I will call diagnostic and cure. The first includes the Introduction, plus Chapters Two through Five. The concluding Chapter Six represents the cure, or to use de Witte’s words, ‘Ten Proposals for Another Europe’. The first analytical section, the diagnostic, is focused on the current state of EU affairs following Brexit, or to be more precise, following an important step within the rather lengthy and painful saga of Brexit, a moment in which Britain went from being mostly ‘in’ the EU, with some important qualifications such as not joining the Schengen Area or the Euro, into being mostly ‘outside’ the EU, also with important qualifications. How did this happen? And what went wrong? These are the main questions de Witte asks, writing that he loves Europe and believes in European cooperation, and I am probably jumping ahead by stating that I share the main conclusions of the diagnostic he presents.

His main points are summarised in the Introduction: the EU does not feel natural but artificial; it does not feel local but distant and unreachable; it does not feel fresh but aged, tired and guarded (2). Its institutions, processes and policies are still largely the same, even though the challenges that it faces, the complexity of the world in which it operates and its salience are larger than ever before (2-3). Being himself a supporter of European integration, the author does not suggest stepping back from already achieved levels of cooperation or a return to times before the current European project. Therefore, once he draws the lines of the current state of affairs, he offers his ten proposals for another Europe, one based on bottom-up civil engagement and on more economic equality and opportunities.

The proposals are summarised in Chapter Six. Instead of mentioning them in the same order as the author presents and justifies them, I will merge them into larger categories depending on the relative weight of material and cultural elements. On the one pole, we see proposals that require only modest financial investments but have important cultural consequences in order to bring Europe symbolically closer to its citizens and the citizens from different European countries closer to one another. For this pole I will use as an example Proposal 10: A Day for the Future, a new public holiday for all Europeans, in which not the past but the future of Europe is celebrated (133).

On the opposite pole, we have proposals requiring very significant financial resources, like Proposal 2: European Basic Income. A Basic Income, given intensified attention during the COVID-19 pandemic, would mean that every European receives a guaranteed and unconditional monthly income that allows each individual to have a decent life without having to rely on work (106). Between these extremes are located other proposals, such as free interrail passes, free school lunches, more cultural exchanges and investments in renewable energy sources and in start-up hubs. All of them have the main desired or significant side effect of bringing Europeans symbolically closer to one another and closer to Europe.

I find the author’s general idea of trying to reform Europe along three main lines appealing, these lines being cherishing diversity, public engagement and youth engagement. In so doing, this project takes the EU as it is from an institutional point of view. No major reforms are conceived in terms of key actors or decision-making authorities. Also, no proposal assumes the need for an increased political weight for the European Commission regarding national governments. In this sense, all ten proposals easily fall within the public policy domain. This apparently simple shift in policy agenda looks easy to design and not so complicated to execute.

From a realist point of view, however, I do not consider it very feasible that the technocratic EU elite will accept such a policy shift that allows more popular voices in the room where major decisions are made. If there is a lesson coming out of Brexit, it is that no matter how painful European ‘divorce’ is, it may be less costly for Brussels than radical internal reforms. Brexit has not yet changed European or British internal political decision-making procedures, even if it was to be expected that the mentality of ‘we’ against ‘the others’ would freeze both camps, at least for the duration of the divorce. I also find it questionable whether the proposals would indeed strengthen European bonds; it may, in fact, be the opposite, given the opposition in many EU countries to new uniform regulations that do not take into account the national specificity of each member state.

On this note I invite scholars of Europe to discuss de Witte’s book, not just in light of his specific proposals, but also regarding his broader idea that the EU can be brought closer to its citizens, that there can be another Europe. However, the circle of potential readers extends beyond those researching Europe. Accessible language without overemphasis on technical terminology makes de Witte’s book an interesting read for the general public too.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics.

Image Credit: Image by Eirena from Pixabay.

 


Yay! Farage Sacked from LBC for Racism Comments

It isn’t just statues to Europe’s and America’s racist and imperialist past that are being toppled by the BLM movement. Nigel Farage, former Fuhrer of UKIP and now Fuhrer and owner of the Brexit Party Ltd, has also been removed from a public platform. A few days ago LBC radio announced that they were not renewing his contract.

The station’s announcement of his departure was anodyne, and gave no hint of the supposed reasons for it. LBC simply tweeted “Nigel Farage’s contract with LBC is up very shortly and, following discussions with him, Nigel is stepping down from LBC with immediate effect. We thank Nigel for the enormous contribution he has made to LBC and wish him well”. As the mighty Zelo Street, it means he’s been sacked.

Part of the reason for it was that many people, including Black and Asian employees within LBC itself, were unhappy that the station was employing him because of the inflammatory comments the Fuhrage had made about the BLM movement itself. These were in clear conflict with the station, which had endorsed the movements and its battle against racism sparked by the murder of George Floyd. Farage had released a series of tweets condemning the attack on Churchill’s statue – which is fair enough – but had denounced the protests as a form of anarchy. He declared he was going to tell some home truths about BLM on his LBC show, before going way over the top and comparing the movement to the Taliban. “A new form of the Taliban was born in the UK today. Unless we get moral leadership quickly our cities won’t be worth living in … If Boris Johnson won’t lead and stand up for the country, as its symbols are trashed, then people will start taking it into their own hands. Full on race riots are now possible. Show leadership and fast”.

At one level, it’s a fair comment. Others, like the anti-trans feminist activist Posie Parker, have made the same prediction. She too condemned the undemocratic way the statues were removed, and feared that the same disenfranchised Whites that voted for Brexit would rise up in their turn in a tide of Fascism. And yesterday the Democratic Football Lads’ Alliance did stage a violent protest against BLM and attacked the police. But coming from Farage, the prediction also looks very much like dog whistle racism. Many people thought Farage was actually calling for such White racist violence while appearing to fear and condemn it.

See: https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2020/06/lawless-reckless-nige-is-your-man.html

https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2020/06/nigel-farage-sacked-by-lbc.html

Friday’s edition of the I, for 12th June 2020, also carried an article about the affair. Titled ‘Farage ‘dropped’ from radio show after BLM row’, the article by Benjamin Butterworth, ran

Nigel Farage has been dropped from his nightly radio show at LBC amid anger among some staff over his opposition to Black Lives Matter.

Sections of production and presenting staff were “furious” that the station was publicly claiming to honour the questions raised by the movement while still employing Mr Farage as a host.

One insider said disquiet intensified after Mr Farage compared the anti-racism campaign to the Taliban during an appearance on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday.

LBC has denied any complaints among staff and says the decision not renew his contract had long been in discussion.

Yesterday black members of the staff at Global Media, which owns LBC, spoke to the website Huffpost to air concerns about Mr Farage’s ongoing employment. Shortly after the concerns were put to Global, the company announced that Mr Farage had been axed “with immediate effect”.

LBC said this claim is “wholly untrue” and told I: “Mr Farage had been in discussion with LBC about the natural end to his contract.” Last week, two of the company’s high-profile presenters, Capital Xtra breakfast hosts Yinka Bokkini and Shayna Maria Birch-Campbell, accused Global Media of failing when it comes to responding to the anti-racism movement.

Editors spoke with staff during recent days about the complaints about Mr Farage. One employee said management was told “they either stand with him [Farage] or against him.”

A source told I: “everyone across the board was furious. The mood was not great. Both production and presenters made our feelings know to the bosses.

“Lot of chats have been going on this week. It’s not like we haven’t said this before but this time it was finally taken seriously as people were not happy the minute silence was being honoured while he was on air spouting hate.”

The Brexit Party leader has hosted a phone-in programme five days a week since 2017, with his show being heavily promoted on billboards and adverts. In an official statement the station said: “Following discussions with him, Nigel is stepping down from LBC.”

All things considered, it looks very much like staff dissatisfaction with Farage and his racism was responsible for him getting the heave-ho. Good! It’s about time. Farage isn’t a friend of this country’s working people, whether they’re Black, White, Brown or whatever. He’s a far-right Conservative who wants more privatisation, more welfare cuts and the NHS to be sold off. He’s extremely pro-American, which means that any deal with America he supports will be to their advantage, not ours. He won’t be missed.

It’s just too bad that other extreme right-wing hacks and Tory shills like Nick Ferrari and Julia Harley-Brewer still have jobs. 

 

 

 

 

Afua Hirsh Is Wrong: Racists Are of All Colours and Have Told Whites to Leave

As I’ve mentioned before, a few days ago Tory hack Nick Ferrari showed how racist he was in a spat with Afua Hirsh on Sky News’ The Pledge. They’d been talking about the anti-racist iconoclasm which began with the pulling down of Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol. Hirsh had made a point about the need to reevaluate British history. Ferrari then asked the inevitable question ‘If you don’t like this country, why don’t you leave?’ Hirsh was naturally angry, and told him that it was a racist question that was only ever asked of Blacks. No-one, she said, had ever asked it of a White person.

I’ve very little sympathy with Ferrari. He’s a right-wing loudmouth whose been spouting Thatcherite bilge for years. He was a regular guest on Alan Titchmarsh’s afternoon chat show all those years ago, which is one of the reasons I stopped watching it. The other was the Tory bias of Titchmarsh himself. Other celebrity gardeners and programmes on gardening are available, like Monty Don, Gaye Search and Carol Klein on Gardener’s World on Fridays. Ferrari did a phone interview with Mike on his programme on LBC a couple of years ago about Mike’s suspension from the Labour party and the allegations in the press of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. Mike is very definitely neither, and was very well able to show that he wasn’t. I think this may have disappointed Ferrari, who may well have decided to do the interview into the hopes that he could catch this leftie out and show that Mike was one of those goose-stepping with Adolf. If that was the case, he was sorely disappointed.

And the taunt ‘Go back to your own country!’ is one that has been used again and again to Black and Asian Britons, many of whom have been in this country for generations at least. The Vikings imported ‘Blamenn’ – Black men into Cumbria c. the 10th century. There were Black troopers amongst the Roman legionaries stationed on Hadrian’s Wall, and Blacks are known to have been resident in London in the 12th century. The insult hurts and has left many Blacks psychologically wounded.

For some people, though, the question’s a fair one. A few years ago one of the islamophobic channels on YouTube showed a Beeb interview with a British-Eritrean playwright and activist, Aiwati. I apologise if I’ve got that wrong, as the clip didn’t show how it was spelt. Aiwati stated very clearly that he only celebrated and promoted Eritrean culture and identity. He hated Britain, and said that it actually hurt him to be called British. And so the producer asked him why he didn’t leave. He replied with something about having a family and a life here, and there not being the same opportunities in Eritrea. He also blamed Britain for the state of that country. When the interviewer politely said that it was independent and Britain had done much for the country, he simply said that it all could have been better. Which is no doubt true – other Black activists have made the same argument for their nations. But the fact remains that Aiwati’s hatred of Britain is in conflict with his desire to remain here.

Hirsh is also wrong in that Whites have been told to leave by racists. Recent migrants from eastern Europe have also been told to go back to their own countries. This has mostly common from the gammonati, who all voted for Brexit and hail Johnson and Rees-Mogg as true British heroes. But not all. Several years ago I was told by a London friend that there was a report in one of the papers there about a group of youths, who were convicted of racially abusing a White eastern European lad on a bus. The gang included Blacks as well as Whites. And White Brits have also been assaulted and abused with the same taunt. I can’t remember where I saw it, but one of the right-wing blogs or YouTube channels had a photograph of graffiti on a wall in one of the northern or midland towns. It read ‘Whites go home’. And round about the turn of the century Whites exceeded Blacks and Asians as the victims of racist assaults. Reading the articles about it now, it seems that Blacks and Asians considered together still constituted the majority of victims, but Whites were the single largest group. There was also a racist assault on a White man in Bristol, which was reported on Points West. SARI, the organisation that helps the victims of racism, responded by stating that they were open to everyone. Many of the posts on the real islamophobic blogs – I’m not going to mention them – are stories about Muslims being bad neighbours. I remember reading one about a man, who was forced to leave his home because of deliberate noise and nuisance from someone who wanted his house for an elderly relative.

Back here in Bristol, I also overheard  a snippet from a conversation between a young couple on the bus a few years ago. The young man was Black, and the woman White, and were talking about someone they knew in one of inner city districts. The lad said ‘He’s the only White boy in _, and the shit he gets. I don’t know why he doesn’t move.’

There is also racist friction and violence between ethnic minorities. Boy George mentioned this years ago in an interview with everyone’s favourite computer-generated video jockey, Max Headroom. For which Headroom called him ‘brave’. But it’s true. There were riots in Birmingham, I believe, a few years ago between Blacks and Asians. And I’ve heard it from people, who worked in one of Bristol’s inner city school that there were more and worse gang fights between two groups of Asians than between Blacks and Whites.

Racism is not simply about Whites using their power against Blacks. But very often it is simplified as such for political reasons. I’ve known Black activist groups decry the reportage of Black violence as ‘racist’. I’ve no doubt this comes from the way such reports have been used by the racist Tory press to work up hatred and hostility against them. A year or so ago an Asian activist tried to raise the issue of violence and racism between ethnic minorities with Diane Abbott. She refused to take up the issue, arguing that it would be exploited by the White establishment to continue discrimination against all ethnic minorities. She has a point. I don’t doubt that’s how it would be used. But it also means she’s dodged an uncomfortable issue.

Racism in Britain really is more complex than simply Whites hating and keeping Blacks and Asians down. But that is really the impression gained, and it means that the other forms of racism aren’t discussed and tackled.

But if we want to make Britain and genuinely anti-racist society, that is precisely what must happen.

 

Private Eye on the People behind Darren Grimes’ Reasoned UK

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 07/06/2020 - 6:56pm in

The week before last, Zelo Street published a piece about the launch of Reasoned UK, a right-wing propaganda outfit headed by a former member of Guido Fawkes, Darren Grimes. This fortnight’s issue of Private Eye, for 5th to 18th June 2020, also covers the launch. And it comes to much the same conclusions Zelo Street has. Far from being an original, grassroots organisation, this is just another piece of astroturf. While Grimes claims its YouTube channel is going to post original content, Private Eye shows that it has strong links to a number of similar American Conservative organisations and their British subsidiaries. The Eye’s article, on page 16, runs

Grimes Spree

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to BeLeave!

No sooner had Inspector Knacker announced the end of his investigation into Darren Grimes and Vote Leave last month, than the irrepressible ex-BeLeaver Grimes quit his day job at the Institute of Economic Affairs and launched a new “online grassroots organisation and video channel”, Reasoned UK. It aims to “challenge the pervasive left-wing bias in online content” by putting up a “mix of entertaining and informative content to help viewers reach their own informed opinions”.

Although Grimes boasts of its “NEW ORIGINAL CONTENT”, the Reasoned YouTube channel has in fact been rebranded from an earlier one called, er, Reason. Among those starring in Reason videos were Guido Fawkes hack Tom Harwood, recently seen defending Dominic Cummings round-the-clock on all TV channels; Chloe Westley, then of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, now a special advisor in No. 10; and Steven Edginton, former head of Digital at the Brexit Party, now at the Sun.

It’s unclear who was behind Reason, but the small print of Reasoned’s privacy policy reveals that Grimes’s “online grassroots organisation” is run by a Borehamwood-based company called Media and Activism. This turns out to be the same company behind conservative “youth” group Turning Point UK, in which Grimes, Harwood, Westley and Eginton have all been involved. The sole director, Oliver Anisfeld, is the son of the smoked-salmon tycoon and former Brexit Party MEP Lance Forman.

Not so much grassroots as Astroturf, perhaps. Bit Reasoned isn’t all that NEW, is its content at least ORIGINAL? Not exactly. Just as TPUK is a pale imitation of Turning Point USA, so the snazzy video in which Grimes makes his call to arms is mostly a word-for-word repeat of one produced by Prager University (PragerU) – which, confusingly, isn’t a university but an American outfit that makes right-wing videos and works closely with TPUSA.

The original from which Darren takes his script features American libertarian and TPUSA supporter Dave Rubin talking about the “Bravery Deficit”, the suggestion that conservatives are afraid to stand up for what they believe. Lo and behold, the Reasoned website also features a page headed “Bravery Deficit” – and a 45-minute video promoting Rubin’s new book.

Zelo Street’s article doesn’t go into quite so much detail, but it did quote a Tweet from ‘Loki’, who claimed that Reasoned UK was the youth wing of the IEA. Which prompted Zelo Street to ask whether Grimes really had left the organisation or not. As for the scintillating opinion-formers that are to appear on the channel, so far their Twitter feed has included mad islamophobe Melanie Phillips, and the noxious Brendan O’Neil of Spiked. Just the kind of people to galvanise Conservative British youth!

Grimes himself has something of a chip on his shoulder. He believes that he is snubbed and sidelined by the mainstream media because he is not university educated. There’s nothing wrong with not having been to uni. A university education doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is more intelligent or better morally, as shown by the all the Oxbridge and Eton-educated fools, thieves and mass murderers in Bozo’s government. What is more significant is that Grimes at best gets his facts wrong, and at wrong lies shamelessly and frequently. So he’s a typical Tory then.

He also looks very young in the picture Zelo Street has of him in its articles. He looks little older than Harry Potter! He doesn’t look old enough to vote, let alone be telling everyone else how to.

The fact that Reasoned UK is just a warmed-up, rebranded version of Reasoned doesn’t bode well for its future. Let’s hope that it’s no long before this worthless, mendacious organisation bites the dust.

 

 

Dispatches: Boris’ Lockdown Delay Killed 13,000

Despite the Tory party and its lapdog media’s attempts to portray Johnson as some kind of Churchillian heroic leader, successfully battling the Coronavirus just as Winston did the Nazis, Channel 4’s documentary series, Dispatches, was much less than impressed. The programme was unfortunately overshadowed by the news that the German police had a suspect for the abduction of Madeleine McCann. That’s a pity, as the programme’s exposure of the sheer indifference and arrogant incompetence of Johnson and his team of eugenicist murderers and looters was devastating.

Earlier this week, Zelo Street posted some of the revelations it made. Senior health experts and medical professionals appeared on camera to say how horrified they were that Johnson was shaking hands with people and criticized Bozo’s announcement on March 12th that the containment phase of the disease was over as ‘leaving an open playing field for the virus’. The Italian health minister, Pierpaolo Sileri stated that he had been told by President Conte that Boris had told him that he – Boris – wanted herd immunity. The Tories have since denied that. But perhaps the most devastating of the various statements made by the politicos, scientists and medical people was that of health analyst George Batchelor. He stated that had the lockdown been imposed earlier, 13,000 may not have died.

13,000 people killed by Boris.

They were killed because the Tories were fixated on running down the health service and implementing austerity. They died because May and Johnson scrapped the plans and the various measures in place for dealing with a pandemic. They died because Boris wanted to ‘get Brexit done’. They died because, unlike every other prime minister, Boris couldn’t be bothered to get of his ample, Eton-abused backside and attend the first five COBRA meetings. They died because he preferred to go home at weekends rather than work.  They died because Tory efficiency measures created an organisation that couldn’t procure the PPE medical workers need to stop themselves dying instead of allowing hospital trusts to get them themselves.

They died because Dominic Cummings was on the SAGE committee and actively interfering in scientific assessment and the framing of an effective policy, regardless of the lies told about this by the Tories.

They died because Cummings and the Tories are eugenicist monsters, who see the poor and disabled as biologically inferior. They are, as the Nazis put it, ‘lebensunwertigen Leben’ – ‘life unworthy of life’. The Nazis murdered the disabled in Aktion T4, murdered in clinics with poison gas, the same technique and ideology that led to obscenity of Auschwitz, Bergen-Belson and the other murder factories. The Tories aren’t doing that – they just simply consider that the state has no business helping the poor at the expense of the rich, and they should be left to die. Cummings said it at one of the Tory meetings. He wanted herd immunity, and if a few old people died, too bad.

13,000 people have been killed by Johnson, Cummings, May and the rest.

If this country actually had real politicians, instead of the politely-bred gangsters now occupying power, this would have caused a scandal and they would have had to resign.

But instead Boris and his chum Cummings hang on like limpets.

Get them out! They have killed too many already.

See: https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2020/06/maddie-is-new-squirrel.html

 

Book Review: The State of the European Union: Fault Lines in European Integration edited by Stefanie Wöhl, Elisabeth Springler, Martin Pachel and Bernhard Zeilinger

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 04/06/2020 - 9:27pm in

In The State of the European Union: Fault Lines in European Integration, Stefanie Wöhl, Elisabeth Springler, Martin Pachel and Bernhard Zeilinger offer a new collection analysing European integration after the 2008 financial crisis, providing a critique of European economic reforms and insight for progressive European policies. The volume adds new voices and viewpoints to European Studies, enriching and pluralising the debate, writes Vanessa Bilancetti.

The State of the European Union: Fault Lines in European Integration.Stefanie Wöhl, Elisabeth Springler, Martin Pachel and Bernhard Zeilinger (eds.). Springer VS. 2020.

The State of the European Union is an edited collection analysing European integration after the economic breakdown of 2008 from a critical point of view. With similar aims to Johannes Jäger and Elisabeth Springler’s 2015 collection Asymmetric Crisis in Europe and Possible Futures, this is a valuable book that brings together ‘heterodox economic and political science approaches focusing on the analysis of neo-Gramscian and post-Keynesian scholars’ (9), providing a critique of the European economic reforms and insight for progressive European policies.

Since the entering into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, the President of the European Commission’s annual September speech in front of the plenary session of the European Parliament has been titled ‘The State of the European Union’. This speech resumes the challenges and risks of the political year to come, and since the first speech in 2010, given by then President José Manuel Durão Barroso, it has become a moment to reflect upon European integration. Following the Lisbon Treaty rationale, this speech was supposed to represent a stronger institutional connection between the European Commission and the European Parliament, embodying a more accountable and democratic EU. Yet, in the years since, this speech has become the expression of the emerging divisions between European institutions and EU member states. Indeed, many speeches have been centred on proposed reforms – such as the Eurobond or refugee quotas – that have never been realised.

Hence, this book reasons around the ‘state of the European Union’, but by following its Fault Lines, as we read in its subtitle. In geological terms, a fault line is the place where fractures in the rocks of the Earth can be traced and mapped. Movements originated by tensional forces occurring along these faults are the first cause of earthquakes. This is a common metaphor in political language, and in this case could also be seen as a methodological metaphor: these scholars are mapping fractures in European integration to analyse the different crises experienced by the EU. Following the fault lines of European integration can give us a lens through which to read the management of the financial crises, and the correlated migration and democratic crises which have unfolding in the last ten years. For the same reason, this book could be interesting reading as a new health emergency is unravelling, also triggering new economic, political, institutional and democratic crises.

In the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, a debate about heterodox economics ‘attempted to reclaim momentum in economic educational institutions and the economic political agenda’ (5). But this window of opportunity closed up quickly when the crisis arrived in Europe. Here, the narration on the financial crisis changed from it being viewed as a crisis caused by the irresponsible use of derivatives by the private financial sector to a public debt crisis caused by some irresponsible governments that had falsified their budgets. This has turned the public debate towards the necessity of cutting public debt and disciplining irresponsible governments. In European Studies, this has meant the marginalisation of critical voices, returning to the traditional division between political science and economics on which European integration theories have been founded. Hence, dissenting voices in European Studies are scarce, underfunded and tend to remain in their national space, being rarely translated into other languages. This is another reason why this collection is valuable reading, because it translates a German-speaking debate that rarely reaches English-speaking academia.

In the first part of the collection, which concerns economic and democratic governance, Lukas Oberndorfer’s chapter introduces the category, inspired by Nicos Poulantzas, of ‘authoritarian competitive statism’. This idea can help us to deconstruct the binary division between supranationalism and nationalism on which the mainstream debate is based. For Oberndorfer, the EU can be read as an ensemble of state apparatuses in constant competition between themselves, where governments are part of the European game and not opposed to it. Under pressure, this ensemble is reconfiguring its rules towards a more authoritarian mode of governance. This means: a constant devaluation of representative democracy on any level of government; massive empowerment of the European executive; the flexibilisation of the relations between different scales of government, legitimising the empowerment of the apparatuses of the dominant state; and the erosion of the rule of law. Therefore, the fault line here is not between European and national governments, but between the ‘European ensemble of state apparatuses vs (representative) democracy’ (36).

This shift of power towards European and national executives is highly gendered, as is well explained by Elizabeth Klatzer and Christa Schalager, because the new economic governance and austerity measures ‘privilege masculinized economic knowledge with its norm of competitiveness for growth […] The point is not solely that most decision makers in these institutions are male, but that these actors, structures, and proceedings share a conservative image of masculinity and values’ (52-53).

Each part of this collection is able to shed a new light on the public debate about the EU. In the second part of the book on ‘Right-Wing Populism and the Extreme Right’, Samuel Salzborn is able to uncover how right-wing populist parties in Europe share the same historical political background as extreme-right parties, even though they are ‘pursuing different strategic options to reach their goals’ (125). These different strategic options are sometimes classified as ‘populist’, drawing a distinction in the extreme-right party family, but the populist option is ‘extremely dependent on the political structure in place’ (124). On the contrary, the differences between right-wing parties lie in their position towards the EU and their historical references to Nazism and fascism. Based on these two issues, Salzborn classifies sixteen right-wing parties of twelve European countries to come to the conclusion that there is an ‘heteregenous but nevertheless integrated family of right-wing extreme parties’ (124).

In the third part on ‘Financialization and Militarization’, Hans-Jürgen Bieler deconstructs any idea of the supposed ‘re-regulation’ of the financial market, explaining how some European regulations are actually re-opening the space for a new financialisation of the economy. In fact, all the measures promulgated in the first phase of the crisis, such as the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) or the European Banking Union (EBU), were not transforming economic or financial regulation, but rather had the aim to stabilise the system. The resulting austerity measures had ambiguous effects: on the one hand, they depressed the cycle; on the other hand, the reduction of public spending has fostered privatisation, accelerating financialisation. In any case, after the crisis and the related political and social unrest, most political parties are more hesitant about fostering the deregulation of infrastructure and social security, therefore financialisation is becoming increasingly related to the housing market and privatisation outside the EU, enhancing the ‘crisis vulnerability of European financial market capitalism’ (149).

Finally, the fourth section of the book on ‘Social Exclusion, Welfare and Migration Policies’ dismantles the idea of the EU as a human rights defender inside and outside its borders. In their chapter, Zeilinger and Christian Reiner try to answer the question of why and how governments pursue controversial welfare reforms in the face of institutional and social resistance. They answer this question through an in-depth econometric analysis, discovering that ‘political orientations variables are almost irrelevant’ (249) in explaining cuts to social expenditure. Hence, for the two authors, it seems that ‘the austerity policy is more or less independent of political ideology’ (249): a result and a cause of its persistent dominance.

Unfortunately, the collection misses a conclusion, where it would have been possible to draw some new research lines for critical European Studies. In summary, this is a collection that adds new voices and viewpoints to European Studies, enriching and pluralising the debate, and would be recommended for postgraduate syllabuses on European integration and International Relations.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics.

Image Credit: (Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash).

 


Pages