Back in 1975 I did not just oppose membership of the EU, I actively campaigned against it. In the 1990s I strongly opposed Britain’s membership of the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM). My opposition to the Labour leadership’s support for ERM helped ensure that I did not get chosen as Parliamentary candidate at the time. I won a modest 6 votes at a General Committee Meeting that in 1991 selected the next MP for Dulwich and West Norwood! (While I was to be vindicated by Britain’s eviction from the ERM in September 1992 that was no comfort as Labour, having backed the ERM, was unable to capitalize on the huge political damage caused to the Conservatives by the Black Wednesday fiasco.) Continue reading →
I remember a television programme about the death penalty many years ago in which the Governor of a US state (I can’t remember which) said that the death penalty was supported by the majority of voters and that therefore it required no further justification. That is one view of democratic power and voting: the rule of the people as a summation of popular prejudice. Continue reading →
As the EU referendum battle gets nasty and Tory tears lumps out of Tory, spare a thought for the chancellor and the London mayor. At times these last six months, both men have had reason to believe their careers are sloping upwards. Number 10 has conceivably been in reach, but their grip on political gravity has loosened and its possible their rise will be accompanied by a death plunge. And now, threatening to hasten their fall has appeared Theresa May, the one oft-overlooked as Osborne and Johnson tussle for the prize.
Her intervention on Tuesday in the EU debate was pretty disgusting. Far from lecturing her party on its nastiness, May scraped up the foul-smelling discards of her “celebrated” 2002 conference speech and tried transmuting them into political gold. And, unfortunately – talking about it with @catherinebuca last night – it could just work. She trotted out the basic argument that leaving the EU would weaken the British economy, which is Remain’s strongest suit. Sticking with the economic theme, she passed directly over into the crudest economism and said the European Convention on Human Rights “adds nothing to our prosperity.” Continue reading →
On global capitalism in Lenin’s day, the Bolshevik leader had this to say: “Imperialism is an immense accumulation of money capital in a few countries … hence the extraordinary growth of a class, or rather, of a stratum of rentiers, i.e., people who live by “clipping coupons”, who take no part in any enterprise whatever, whose profession is idleness …” If only the money men of 21st century Britain remained excrescences on the economy, of directing their stooges to invest capital and growing fat off the labour and talent of others. At the risk of being wistful, this ideal-typical view of your average capitalist is long buried and have gone beyond mere uselessness. Drunk on their parasitism, they are oblivious to how their appetites are not just imperiling the health of the enterprises they gorge upon, but threaten to kill them outright. Continue reading →
The Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) has published a new report, A Shameful Relationship: UK Complicity in Saudi State Violence by David Wearing. It exposes how the UK’s supply of weapons to Saudi Arabia for its devastating bombing of Yemen systematically violates international law.
UK-made aircraft, bombs and missiles have been used in the bombing and our Government continues to offer training and support to the Saudi regime. The report states
One year into the intervention in the civil conflict in Yemen by a Saudi-led military coalition, 6,400 people have been killed, half of them civilians, including 900 children, and more than 30,000 people have been injured…. The large majority of these casualties have been caused by Coalition air strikes in a campaign where combat aircraft supplied by the United Kingdom have played a significant role.”
Following the New York primary, Hillary Clinton is “cautious but confident” says yesterday’s New York Times, and is busy picking running mates. Bernie Sanders, who lost by 16%, picking up 106 delegates to Clinton’s 139 is ploughing on. And so he should. Even the New York Times in an editorial agrees:
Mr. Sanders has voiced the concerns and energized millions of young people, many of them voting for the first time. His candidacy has forced the party to go deeper on addressing issues like wealth inequality, college tuition costs and the toll of globalization — important points of distinction with Republicans. What’s more, Mr. Sanders’s commitment to small individual contributions has put the lie to Democrats’ excuses that they, too, must play the big money game to win. This is a message too seldom heard in the party that first championed campaign finance reform.”
Even the dogs on the streets know that David Cameron’s EU “reforms” are pitiful. Indeed, even he no longer mentions them. So why assume that reforming the EU into a “real Social Europe” is any more feasible? It’s when one examines the constitutional obstacles to reform that one realises that the whole idea just doesn’t stack up. Continue reading →