An occasional email to friends, March 2007. # 25
Margaret Thatcher transformed Britain in the Eighties by overturning the old-fashioned trade unions and selling off the nationalized industries. She promoted the middle classes and encouraged people to buy their council houses and become property owners. She put Britain back on the map by hand bagging the leaders of the world and earning her title “iron lady.” She went to war with Argentina over the Falklands and defeated General Leopoldo Galtieri and his army. All this and more she did but all she is remembered for is the Poll Tax; a deeply unpopular tax that people simply couldn’t pay. It destroyed her as surely as the ERM crash of 1992 eventually destroyed John Major.
Tony Blair became prime minister in 1997. A bright-eyed, youthful man full of reformist ideas and spouting the mantra “education, education, education.” He set out to modernize the Health Service, cut waiting times and make more treatments available. He put extra millions into education and built new schools throughout the country. He did all this and more but all he will be remembered for is the war in Iraq; a disastrous blunder that has labeled him Britain’s worst ever prime minister. Worse than Chamberlain, who at least tried to make peace; worse than Eden whose war was quickly over; worse than Major who was only carrying out his predecessor’s policy; and worse than Thatcher who was simply mad.
Ordinary people admit their mistakes but politicians are generally delusional and see themselves as changers of history. They think that world history was made by a few great men. In fact it depended on geography, climate and demographics much more than the ideas of great thinkers and great actors. But those that convince themselves of their own importance often succeed in convincing others. They see themselves as belonging to posterity and long to read glowing biographies in their own lifetime. They think that they will achieve immortality with a few paragraphs of praise.
Tony Blair has already been judged by history. It has recorded that he was a vain and arrogant man who would not listen to advice or take heed of public opinion; a liar and a fantasist who killed thousands and wasted billions of pounds in a hopeless quest for glory. He will be remembered, not as a great reformer but as a warmonger and a butcher. He will also be remembered as the war leader who failed to respect his dead soldiers by being at the airport when they were brought home.
Playing the patriot game
UKIP the anti-Euro party has been ordered by the Electoral Commission to repay donations of over a third of a million pounds from non-UK sources. It appears that they have been illegally funded from abroad. It would be interesting to know where their supporters are based; it would be bitterly ironic if it turned out to be anywhere in Europe.
Nigel Farage their perpetual parliamentary poll-losing leader says that repaying the money could bankrupt the party. But UKIP is well supported and they enjoy the backing of most of the newspapers. That’s apart from the salaries of their Euro MPs that are supposed to be put into the coffers.
A national party with wealthy backers and well salaried members ought not to be pleading poverty. Almost certainly their latest appeal for funds will succeed and they will survive to vote against the genuine patriots of the ITS bloc who are fighting to stop Third World immigration into Europe.
If they do fold they will join their distinguished predecessors in a political graveyard that already contains the Anti-Common Market League and the Referendum Party. The anti-Euro movements have been campaigning for over thirty years, through seven general elections and six prime minister without success.
And while they have been agonizing over British independence we have been invaded by millions of immigrants from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. While they have wasted millions of pounds on pointless propaganda we have bought a defence system from America that costs billions and will never be used.
While those playing the patriot game have gone into paranoid raptures over what to call the metal tokens in our pockets we have sent our soldiers to die in American wars and lent our support to the rape of Palestine and Lebanon.
If people want to support a political party that is their choice. But no tears should be shed for the demise of so-called patriots who care nothing for their country’s reputation. Our part in the bombing of Serbia and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq are shameful; and our complicity in Israeli aggression is indefensible.
We heard little from UKIP about immigration, except for the suggestion that we balance exported Brits with imported blacks. We heard nothing from them about Trident or the “special relationship” that keeps dragging us into war. All we have heard from this party of bankrupt jingoists is a tirade of negative propaganda.
Their passing would go unnoticed.
Conrad Black's Alternative
In 1985 media mogul and biographer Conrad Black added “The Daily Telegraph” to his international portfolio. In 2001 he renounced his Canadian citizenship in order to accept Tony Blair’s generous offer of a peerage. He was nominated by his old friend and fellow conservative Margaret Thatcher and duly created Lord Black of Crossharbour.
Black was the world’s second biggest newspaper owner after Rupert Murdoch. He was an associate of Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and closely connected to the “New American Century” group surrounding President George Bush.
But at the height of his power in 2003 he was ousted from the board of his company Hollinger International under allegations of financial irregularities and faces fraud charges in the United States involving $2 billion. A tentative trial date has been set for March 5, 2007.
Black used his hundreds of newspapers in Canada, the United States, Britain and Israel to push the neo-conservative, pro Zionist views that he shares with his journalist wife Barbara Amiel. She is beginning to have doubts about America:
“American justice? It’s only a TV show. At best, unlike television, look for justice in the jury box, not in the prosecutor’s office.” (Macleans).
His newspaper “The Jerusalem Post” called for the assassination of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. An incitement to murder that clearly violated Israeli criminal law but no charge was ever brought.
He wrote an article in “The Daily Telegraph” urging Britain to quit the EU and join NAFTA. It was entitled “Britain’s final choice: Europe or America?” He wrote: “If the United States received a signal from a British government that it wished to avail itself of a North American option, they would respond immediately … If America were jubilant, Canada would be ecstatic.”
Lord Black has long since relinquished control of his British newspapers to the Barclay brothers but “The Daily Telegraph” is still haunted by his presence and remains a strong supporter of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a fierce critic of the EU.
Those of us who read the paper before Conrad Black’s era remember it as a conservative but independent voice. It supported the Tory Party but covered the full spectrum of views within the party from Ted Heath to Enoch Powell. What remains is a pale shadow of the old newspaper; it’s now just a posh version of “The Sun” but without the page three girls.
Views on the news
All political parties are founded with particular objectives, but in order to be electable they have to appeal to the masses and they inevitably trim their policies to suit a wider audience. The Labour Party dropped nationalization, their core principle, in order to win the 1997 general election. The Tories have ditched immigration control and the privatization of health and education. The Liberal Democrats have sacked their popular leader in response to a malicious press campaign; and the formerly fascist BNP has rebranded itself as an anti-Muslim populist party. Now UKIP are working on their new image. Dave Cameron described them as: “a bunch of fruitcakes and loonies and closet racists,” and another Tory described John Redwood’s Euro-sceptic supporters as: “a swivel-eyed barmy army from ward eight of Broadmoor.”
Only days after Tony Blair announced that 1,600 British troops would be withdrawn from Iraq it was announced that we are sending 1,000 more soldiers to Afghanistan. The cynical way that Blair broke the news shows that he has abandoned any pretence of pandering to the masses. He is seeing out his last days like an Oriental potentate issuing decrees from the royal palace and surrounded by a bodyguard of sycophantic eunuchs. If he suddenly ordered the firstborn of every generation to be slaughtered Gordon Brown would nod in prudent agreement and the Tories would support it in the national interest.
Tony Blair has volunteered Britain for America’s latest anti-missile system, the second generation Patriot or Star Wars system. During the first Gulf War in 1991 America sold the Patriot system to Israel and Saudi Arabia to defend them against Iraq’s ageing Scud missiles. They failed to stop an Iraqi Scud attack on the American base at Dhahram, Saudi Arabia that killed 28 soldiers. President George Bush Snr defended the system and claimed that it was 97% accurate.
But a year later Professor Reuben Pedatzur of Tel Aviv University testified to a US Senate Committee that the Patriot system was less than 10% effective.
Tony Blair is about to spend several billion pounds on another military mistake that probably doesn’t work and will never be used.
The Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and England at Croke Park marked a new chapter in Anglo Irish relations. The stadium is the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association and the scene of the 1920 atrocity in which fourteen were gunned down by British forces during Ireland’s war of independence. All armies both national and revolutionary have committed war crimes. They can never be excused and they should not have happened. We must accept the past and look to the future. It’s time for us to forget ancient quarrels and stand together as our continent is overwhelmed by the teeming masses of the Third World. There’s more at stake than flags and anthems.
The political roots of drug crime
The recent spate of drug-related killings in the UK can be traced to the political violence in Jamaica. In the Seventies the left wing People’s National Party government of Michael Manley imposed a levy on bauxite that angered the Americans. When he vowed to realign Jamaica with neighbouring Cuba they reacted by backing the rival Jamaica Labour Party of Edward Seaga.
The CIA armed Seaga’s supporters and pumped millions of dollars into his 1980 election campaign. This resulted in political violence that still simmers and occasionally breaks out, as it did in the riots of 2001. Michael Seaga won the 1980 election amidst a hail of bullets and accusations of vote rigging.
The Americans completed their anti-communist sweep of the West Indies with Operation Urgent Fury in 1983 when they invaded Grenada and assassinated Maurice Bishop the leader of the People’s Revolutionary Government that had been installed by the coup d’etat of 1979.
When young men are armed to the teeth and beyond the law they inevitably turn to drug running. This happened in Northern Ireland, in Colombia, in Afghanistan, in the West Indies and now in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester.
Trinidad and Tobago is currently torn by political violence between the ruling African dominated People’s National Movement and the East Indian supported United National Congress. Just as in Jamaica the armed gangs of both parties are heavily into drugs – in this case the trans-shipment of Cocaine from South America.
It is the sons and grandsons of the politically motivated drug gangs of the West Indies who are shooting each other in the UK. Once again American foreign policy has solved one problem and created another. By flooding Jamaica with guns in the Seventies they have created the armed gangs that now rule our streets.
Of course not all the drug dealers are black; there are plenty of Asian and white kids who prefer to make hundreds of pounds a day rather than stacking shelves for a minimum wage. But the gun culture of our cities can be directly traced to the CIA.
This problem will not be solved by well-meaning social workers or by well-armed cops. Its time to face reality and start talking to the Jamaican government about retraining and resettling disaffected youngsters.