Sunday, 26 August 2012

Issue 82, August 2011

Nation Revisited
# 82, August 2011.

The Power of the Press
The News of the World affair has revealed the close connections between politicians, policemen and the mass media. Alliances were forged, jobs were arranged, backs were scratched and money changed hands. Investigations are under way, arrests and resignations have resulted and at least one death has been reported.

Some journalists have pointed out that The Sun subsidises The Times and The Sunday Times. But all the Murdoch titles are as bad as each other. They screamed for war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and are pushing for war in Iran and Syria. If they are losing money they should close, and the sooner the better.  

Rupert Murdoch was born in Australia but is now an American citizen. He operates across national borders but opposes the European Union because he claims that it diminishes our sovereignty. He is also anxious to protect our systems of government and justice from “foreign” interference.

He is not the first media mogul to promote populist policies. Conrad Black was a great friend of Margaret Thatcher who is serving a prison sentence in the United States for fraud. His empire included the Daily Telegraph, the Chicago Sun Times, the Jerusalem Post and the National Post of Canada. It’s ironic that the Americans have locked him up because as owner of the Daily Telegraph he tried to get the editor Max Hastings to support his idea of Britain quitting the EU to join the North American Free Trade Agreement. Conrad Black dumped his Canadian citizenship to sit in the House of Lords. He tried to revert to being Canadian when he was brought before a US court in 2007 but without success.

But not all of our press barons are foreign-born. Richard Desmond was born in North London. He made a fortune out of pornography and now owns Channel 5 TV, the “adult” channels Television X and Red Hot TV and Express Newspapers. He is a fierce opponent of the EU and a dedicated friend of Israel.

Britain’s press billionaires influence elections and manipulate politicians into making war on innocent civilians. They support the “special relationship” with America and they share the views of the late Sir James Goldsmith who spent millions of pounds trying to detach Britain from the European Union.

They are rootless cosmopolitans trading on hysteria and misinformation. They pretend to be motivated by patriotism while serving global capitalism. We will not get the truth from newspapers and TV channels that are controlled by criminals. Fraudsters, phone-hackers and pornographers should not be allowed to operate in Britain. They should be prosecuted and so should the corrupt politicians and policemen that consort with them.

Blood and Soil
Nations are political divisions of mankind based on race and culture and reinforced by language, religion and tradition. They are made by people and shaped by geography and climate; a combination sometimes called “blood and soil.” Under this system the mountains and rivers are constant but borders, flags and regimes are changeable.  

Former citizens of Czechoslovakia are now Czechs and Slovaks, and former Yugoslavs are now Slovenes, Croats, Bosniaks, Serbs, Montenegrins and Macedonians. Of course they are the same people that they always were; only their ID cards have changed.

Catholic Flanders seceded from the Protestant Netherlands in 1830 to unite with Wallonia in the new kingdom of Belgium. Now they object to being united with the French-speaking Walloons and seek independence. It seems that they dislike the French language as much as the Protestant religion.

The Scots have been united with England for 300 years but some of them want to reinstate the border. They can then issue their own stamps and coins and pretend to be an independent sovereign state. Scotland will still be the same country, with the lowest life expectancy and the highest rate of alcoholism in the EU, but the Scottish Nationalists will be bursting with pride and the Welsh separatists will be jealous.

Queen Boudica still drives her war chariot at Westminster Bridge but her Welsh-speaking people, who once dominated the British Isles, have been absorbed by the Anglo-Saxons.  She ruled over the Iceni as a vassal of the Roman Empire until she fell out with the mad Emperor Nero, burned down Colchester, St Albans and London and lost 80,000 warriors fighting the formidable Legio Germanica under Gaius Suetonius Paulinus. She led her people to disaster but became a national heroine who is often confused with Margaret Thatcher.
When confined to football nationalism is fairly harmless but when it gets out of control it results in bloodbaths like Culloden, Drogheda, the Somme and Stalingrad. Europe has twice attempted suicide in the last hundred years. Something like a hundred million Europeans, from home and abroad, were slaughtered in both world wars in the bloody name of nationalism.

The mighty empires of Britain and France have given way to lesser principalities. Otto von Bismarck no longer holds court in Berlin but Alex Salmond rules in Edinburgh and Hashim Thaci in Pristina. Eventually Europe will unite as a superpower but in the meantime the petty statists can fly their flags and sing their songs. Perhaps Alex Salmond will also be remembered by a statue at Westminster Bridge.

Some people talk about scrapping the European Union but we must work with what we’ve got. The EU is far from perfect; it lacks unity and direction and has failed to counter the relentless propaganda of its enemies.  But it remains the world’s biggest and most successful trading bloc, with a population of half a billion, a dynamic economy, a thriving agriculture and a resilient common currency. 

Despite the wishful thinking of the popular press the EU has not collapsed. It’s not the federalists who are deceiving themselves but the Euro-sceptics with their unrealistic to go-it-alone policies. After nearly forty years we are still in the EU and not about to declare UDI.
The Greek, Irish and Portuguese economies are being underwritten by the European Central Bank and the current crisis is forcing Europe to integrate. Even Angela Merkel has been reluctantly converted to fiscal union. Europe is moving towards a continental economy but Britain is keeping her distance. We will stay on the sidelines with Norway and Switzerland. Our small-minded politicians are resistant to change.

Their ingrained conservatism was personified by AK Chesterton who founded the League of Empire Loyalists in 1954. That was the fateful year of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. Graham Green wrote in Ways of Escape:

“Dien Bien Phu, however, was a defeat for more than the French army. The battle marked virtually the end of any hope the Western Powers might have entertained that they could dominate the East. The French with Cartesian clarity accepted the verdict. So, too, to a lesser extent, did the British; the independence of Malaya, whether the Malays like to think it or not, was won for them when the Communist forces of General Giap, an ex-geography professor of Hanoi University, defeated the forces of General Navarre, ex-cavalry officer, ex-Deuxieme Bureau chief, at Diem Bien Phu. That young Americans were still to die in Vietnam only shows that it takes time for the echoes even of total defeat to encircle the globe.”

But the end of Western imperialism did not seem inevitable to AK Chesterton. He was a man of great courage who won the Military Cross on the Western Front in 1917; an emotional man who was guided by his heart rather than his head. In 1935 he wrote an embarrassing hagiography of Mosley called Portrait of a Leader:

“Through his own example he has restored the heroic thing which is the spirit of Britain. If the hearts of his followers prove one-tenth as great as his courage, they will not relinquish the struggle until the heights of Fascist power be won; until Britain’s great revolutionary leader sprung from one thousand year’s contact with British soil, achieves power to act for and with the British people, in the name of their ancient sanity and splendour, that there may be built up in their peerless land a corporate life, which shall ensure that her million hero-sons did not die to make a mock for history. Their battle shout sounds above the discords and semi-tones of a fading age: Hail, Mosley, a patriot, revolutionary, and leader of men!”

Two years later he changed his mind and denounced Mosley. Twenty years later he founded the League of Empire Loyalists and the British patriotic movement began its long and determined march down the cul-de-sac of petty nationalism. 

Of course, Oswald Mosley was not a God but a brave and visionary politician who was all too human. And the European Union is not a diabolical plot to destroy Britain but the logical result of 2,000 years of European history. But rather than accept reality the Empire Loyalists retreated into fantasy. They believe that the world is controlled by secret forces bent on destroying the white nations. To them the decline of the British Empire was not due to the rise of America and Japan and changing patterns of world trade but by left-wing politicians on orders from Moscow. A paranoid view of history that is simply not true.

They say that the banking firm of Kuhn Loeb & Co funded the Russian Revolution; thus proving that it was a Jewish initiative. But they forget that the Bolshevik seizure of power damaged Rothschild’s investments in Russia. They also neglect to mention that Kuhn Loeb’s cousins MM Warburg & Co backed the Nazi regime in Germany. The Warburgs have since justified their business dealings with the Nazis by pointing out that Adolf Hitler was the democratically elected leader of a legitimate state.

They are quick to identify the many Jewish Bolsheviks but they forget about Leon Trotsky and the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Jews who were liquidated by Joseph Stalin. Like the police, they make the evidence fit the crime.

This is particularly true regarding the European Union. They are determined to separate Britain from the rest of Europe. But even if they succeeded they couldn’t change the fact that we are Europeans by every definition. We are descended from the Beaker Folk who followed the retreating icecap to build Stonehenge. And from the Celts who dominated Europe before the Roman Empire. We are sprung from the Romans and their Frankish legions. We are Angles, Saxons, Danes, Normans and Angevins. We are undeniably European.

History has made Britain into a nation but our nationalism must be tempered by commonsense and our patriotism by practicality. There is no point in having a sovereign state bristling with weapons that cannot feed itself. “Blood and soil” must be sustainable. 

We can preserve our identity by cooperating with neighbouring states and devising economic systems for the 21st century. The influx of Afro-Asian immigrants can be stopped. We could even organise a great programme of resettlement if there is the will to do it. We can develop clean energy and use the surpluses of modern agriculture to feed the world. European man has conquered space and harnessed the power of the atom. We can do anything that we set our mind to do. The Large Hadron Collider, built by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, is the world’s largest and highest energy particle accelerator. And Ariane 5 developed by the European Space Agency is the world’s most advanced expendable launch system. British scientists and technicians have contributed to both ventures and BAE Systems leads the world in aerospace technology.

We can save mankind and lead the way to the stars but first we must dump the debilitating baggage of insularity and learn to think and act as Europeans. The green fields of England will still look the same and the real and imagined differences between the nations will still be there when Europe is united.

Those who are frightened of losing their nationality should look to Poland. She has been a mighty empire occupying vast tracts of neighbouring states. And she in turn has been invaded and occupied. The Poles have been both masters and slaves but they have emerged as a modern European state with a thriving language and culture. Poland’s borders have moved west but being occupied by Austrians, Prussians and Russians has not diminished her unique heritage.  And having large numbers of Polish workers earning their living in Britain and other European countries has been mutually rewarding.

The rightwing parties have different views on what constitutes the British nation. UKIP accept anyone born in the UK and they would admit one immigrant for every Briton that emigrated.
Lee Barnes and the British Freedom Party stress the importance of culture and accept immigrants of all races who are prepared to integrate and contribute. 

The National Front still wants a total ban on immigration and a “phased and humane repatriation.” But they don’t explain how they are going to achieve it.

The BNP’s reason d’être is hatred of the EU. Their mercurial chairman for life Nick Griffin is against Muslims and Poles but he welcomes Sikhs. He defends the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine but denies the Holocaust. And he once advocated the distribution of assault rifles to the general public and urged the Marina Militare to fire on refugee ships from North Africa.  

He might not know what constitutes a nation but the general consensus is that Britain is the product of DNA and history. Our motorways follow ancient Roman roads; our fields and hedgerows were set out by the Anglo-Saxons, our beautiful composite language unites us to France and Germany, and our traditions and genes are imprinted with the genius of Europe. We are the sum total of all these things both physical and metaphysical; that is the real meaning of “blood and soil.”

Getting back to work
There are 2.4 million unemployed in the UK but this figure is deceptive. Maybe a third of them are looking for work. A third cannot work because they are addicted to drink or drugs and the rest have no employment skills. The unemployed are reluctant to take minimum wage jobs but even a catering worker must learn the basics of hygiene, health and safety, food preparation, cooking, public relations, stocktaking and accountancy. The fast food chains offer certificated training and promotion and even if workers move on they benefit from the experience.

The dole should be the last resort, not an alternative to working for a living. We can break the cycle of dependency by only paying benefits to genuine cases. Those who chose unemployment must be denied handouts that they have long taken for granted. But the government must ensure that there are jobs to go to. They can’t create work but they can help employers with tax breaks.  And they should consider scrapping National Insurance contributions and funding the scheme from general taxation. This would encourage employment and be cheaper in the long run. 

School leavers should be offered further education or apprenticeships. If universities or employers can’t afford to take them on the government must make money available. This will be hard on the taxpayers but without an educated and trained labour force we will slip down the industrial league table. Instead of wasting billions of pounds killing Afghans and Libyans we should spend the money training our youngsters.

Work gives people self-respect and the chance to contribute to society. Those who are gainfully employed are less likely to get involved in crime and antisocial behaviour. And they are fitter and healthier than the unemployed. Whatever it costs to train workers would be offset by savings on the police, social services, health care, courts and prisons.

Until we reduce unemployment we should stop immigration. The “free movement of labour” clause governing EU workers can be suspended by member states. Most EU countries restricted the entry of Polish workers in 2004 but the UK and Ireland chose not to. Non EU immigration must be stopped altogether and illegal immigrants must be sent home. It’s insane to admit immigrants during a recession.

Getting people back to work would save billions of pounds of dole money and revitalise British industry. Cultures can be changed by education; 30 years ago drinking and driving was widespread but now it’s totally unacceptable. Voluntary idleness should be treated the same way. If jobs are available they must be taken and able-bodied people who refuse to work must be ostracised. All we need is a government with the courage and determination to make it happen. We must invest in the future and learn to pick our own crops and nurse our own patients.

The Boys in Blue
The popular image of the bumbling policeman owes much to literature. Arthur Conan Doyle created Inspector G Lestrade in his Sherlock Holmes adventures. Holmes saw him as: “quick and energetic but wholly conventional, lacking imagination and normally out of his depth.” Agatha Christie carried on the tradition with her loud and ineffectual Inspector James Harold Jappe in the Hercule Poirot stories.

Unfortunately some of our senior policemen are no better than their fictional counterparts. Max Hastings is a newspaper man and historian with an extensive knowledge of the British army. In his 2002 memoire Editor he gives his opinion:

“I often talk to service audiences, and seldom go home without being impressed anew by the quality of senior army people. It is dismaying to notice the contrast with police leadership, much of which is conspicuously inadequate. Most chief constables would not rise above the rank of sergeant major in the British army, and they display the warrant officer’s limited perspective.”

But why are our top cops so unimpressive? It’s certainly not their pay. A Commissioner in London’s Metropolitan Police is paid £253,620 and a Chief Constable £188,736. A policeman’s lot might not be a happy one but it’s certainly a lucrative one. For that sort of money we should get officers that lead from the front and tackle crime with intelligence and determination. Instead we have senior officers who are always on television wearing immaculate bespoke uniforms dripping with gold braid. While criminals run riot they flash their beautiful teeth at the cameras and pontificate about the state of the nation. They are more like politicians than policemen except that they don’t have to stand for election.

Like almost everything else in modern society the police need shaking up. They have got too comfortable for their own good and need to be reminded that they are there to do a job; not just to accumulate a pension. Now is the ideal time for a clear out. The government needs to cut expenditure and what better way than by sacking a few senior officers.  If we can manage with fewer train drivers and nurses we can certainly get along with fewer chief inspectors.

The police were traditionally Tories before they took to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. They supported the Tories because they were the party of law and order; advocates of stronger sentences and harsher punishments. But the Dave Cameron government has upset them by cutting their budgets and criticising their lacklustre performance. Dave Cameron has embarrassed his justice minister Ken Clarke by doing a ‘u’ turn on shorter sentences. The popular press reacted predictably to his reforms and the government caved in under the pressure. In fact it doesn’t matter a damn if criminals are given six months or six years because 80% of them come back for more. Ken Clarke was right but Dave Cameron is only worried about his popularity ratings. Never mind Dave, if you get fired we can always make you a top cop. The money is about the same but the hours are a lot better.

Supply and demand
The sovereign debt crisis affects the entire world. The United States has the biggest deficit at $14 trillion, Japan owes $10.5 trillion, Italy $2.2 trillion and the UK $1.6 trillion. The ratings agencies have downgraded several European countries because of high levels of debt and they are now threatening the USA. Readers of the British press should note that the USA, Japan and the UK do not use the euro; they have accumulated massive deficits in good old-fashioned national currencies. 

Borrowing money was an easy and relatively cheap option during the boom years. Property prices were expected to rise and salaries and bonuses were more than adequate to make repayments. Everything was going great until Lehman Brothers ran out of money and the borrowing had to stop. The so-called “experts” did not see it coming. Financial advisors were still selling get-rich-quick schemes right up to the crash. The very same pundits who pontificate daily in the newspapers uttered not a word of warning. And our clueless politicians were more interested in fiddling their expenses than trying to understand economics.

Borrowing drove international prosperity. Small countries like Ireland, Greece and Portugal were able to raise their standards of living and tiny Iceland became a banking giant. Japan invested in the latest plant and machinery and states with pretentions to glory like Britain, France and the USA built up huge armed forces and subsidised millions of immigrants. 

It took us fifty years to repay our loans to America after the last war. Now we have to do it all over again but this time we will be paying the Chinese. The amazing productive power of modern technology coupled with the constant erosion of inflation will help us to settle our debts but we must learn to live within our means and stop running up deficits that read like telephone numbers. 

It’s ridiculous that practically self-sufficient economies like the EU and the USA are threatened with bankruptcy.  Nations should not be impoverished by debt when their fields are bursting with crops and their factories are producing word class goods. After the Falklands war Argentina was declared bankrupt but she survived because she has a relatively small population of 40 millions living in a country the size of India that’s self-sufficient in food and oil. The international banks lost heavily on the Argentine default and they have been punishing her ever since.  

At present booming nations like China are happy to lend to countries like the UK and the USA because we are still good credit risks. But if we carry on borrowing we will lose our credit rating. The Chinese economy is growing at 10% a year but Chinese workers will eventually demand higher pay, better housing, health care and education. This will increase production costs and their customers will turn to cheaper suppliers in India and Bangladesh.

The laws of supply and demand apply to communists and capitalists alike. The USA has the natural resources and industrial capacity to be self-sufficient. She has chosen to be a maritime empire but will eventually realise, like Britain and France before her, that the costs of empire outweigh the benefits.

In the UK we import £30 billion more than we export. We need to close the trade gap by increasing exports. Our specialist manufacturing industry is growing but we need to do more. Our future depends on our continued ability to make high value goods that the world needs.

The Norwegian Massacre
Our thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends of the victims of Anders Behring Breivik the assassin who played out his sick fantasies on a beautiful summer’s day. The 32-year-old agricultural dealer is a Protestant and a conservative but we should not blame the Lutheran Church or the Norwegian Progress Party for the actions of a madman. His criminal insanity was driven by the fanatical pro-Zionist propaganda that unites the contemporary far-right from the Tea Party movement in the USA to the Alliance of European National Movements. It’s a short step from “Operation Cast Lead” (the invasion of Gaza) to the slaughter of Utoya.

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