Sunday, 26 August 2012

Issue 87, January 2012

Nation Revisited
# 87, January 2012
Get Ready for War
Baghdad was rocked by terrorist bombs that killed 70 people and injured 183 as soon the last American troops left Iraq. Shadowy Special Forces have started a civil war in Syria and attacked military facilities deep inside Iran. President Barack Obama is backing Israel and has sent them the latest “bunker buster” bombs.  And the Republican hopefuls are trying to outdo each other with their enthusiasm for Zionism. We are heading for war in support of Israel’s domination of the Middle East. Not all Israelis support this criminal folly but Zionists around the world are agitating for war.

Israel depends on American foreign aid that will only keep coming so long as they make war on the Arabs. They spend most of their $3 billion allocation on American arms. This benefits the arms industry at the expense of the American taxpayer. There have been mass demonstrations in Israel against rising prices and the government is threatening to deport 50,000 African immigrants brought in to replace Palestinian workers. Israel has never been a viable state despite receiving massive handouts from America and Germany. The Israeli economy was boosted by Russian immigration and remittances from abroad. But she is running out of Russians and the worldwide recession has severely reduced the flow of dollars. Like many oppressive regimes before her Israel is committed to war just to keep going.

Of course we can depend on Dave Cameron and the Tory Party to support Israel. Ed Miliband has bravely criticized the occupation of Gaza but his party is as pro-Zionist as the Tories. We will send our soldiers to fight in Iran and hundreds, maybe thousands, of them will come home in body bags. There will be marches and demonstrations just as there were for Iraq and Afghanistan. But it will make no difference because the government knows that most people believe their lying propaganda. The majority of the British people accept whatever they are told by the mass media. Our contemptible politicians can rob us of our pensions and entitlements and send our children to be slaughtered in the desert and we will still put our illiterate crosses against their names on polling day.

Those of us still capable of thinking must do what we can. Simply refusing to go along with the anti-Iranian propaganda is a start. We should also reject outdated notions of “left” and “right.” There is no difference between the old gang parties and no justification for war against a country that has never done us any harm.

When Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher decided to ease restrictions on the banks they had a point. Exchange control regulations and unnecessary bureaucracy slowed down business and most people welcomed the changes. But they went too far and allowed the banks to go on a lending spree that eventually led to the subprime mortgage fiasco, the credit crunch and the sovereign debt crisis. 

People who believe in “isms” never know when to stop. Social-ism was supposed to free us from exploitation but it created police states that snuffed out liberty. Fasc-ism put the good of the country over personal freedom but it went too far and set Europe ablaze. Thatcher-ism was just another revolutionary movement that got out of control and finally destroyed itself with an unenforceable poll tax.

Now the debt crisis has produced another batch of extremists with draconian solutions. The far right and the loony left both want to hang bankers and go back to Year Zero. They talk about abolishing world trade and scrapping money in favour of a barter system. But we have developed the banking system over centuries of trial and error. The banks certainly need regulating but we need them to manage our savings, pay our bills, and issue loans at sensible rates of interest. There is nothing immoral about banking and there is nothing inherently wicked about bankers – they are simply shopkeepers that deal in money. We mustn’t throw the baby away with the bathwater.

It’s not only the banks that concern the extremists. Immigration is out of control in the UK. In 2011 we gained an incredible quarter of a million people. This is an unsustainable burden on our services. We do not have jobs, houses or facilities for all these people. The obvious answer is to stop immigration and start repatriation. But instead of presenting that proposition the opponents of immigration get involved in controversial racial theories that have nothing to do with the economic reality of mass migration. Not to be outdone inverted racists like Tony Blair and Gordon Brown want to abolish border controls and encourage unlimited immigration into the UK. There may be a need for skilled immigrants who will contribute to our economy but we don’t need millions of unskilled immigrants that we can neither accommodate nor assimilate.

And of course there is Europe. Many people want to renegotiate our membership of the EU in line with Switzerland and Norway. But the extremists do not want to reform the EU; they want to wreck the whole European project. The press is using racist language about the “hard-working north” and the “fat and lazy south.” They ignore the recent figures that show that the UK has the fattest women in Europe, closely followed by the Baltic States, with Greece and Italy way down the list. In fact they do not want a sensible discussion about the EU; their arguments about sovereignty are nothing but a smokescreen concealing their ingrained xenophobia.

The half-starved citizens of North Korea mourned the death of the “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-il because they were told to by their regime-supporting media. The British people are in the same position. They’re told that the euro is about to crash and they believe it implicitly. They don’t know that Britain is virtually bankrupt because their attention is focused on the euro crisis. And if they realise the seriousness of our position they blame it on our membership of the EU. Every UK newspaper, except the Guardian and the Independent, is anti-EU. This is not a conspiracy but a political consensus shared by the billionaire press barons; Rupert Murdoch, the Barclay Brothers, Lord Rothermere and Richard Desmond.  

The eurozone will not collapse because it’s sitting on 10,000 tonnes of gold. Italy alone has the fourth largest gold deposits in the world. The UK only holds 300 tonnes of gold and the pound has lost 30% of its value in the last three years. The government is trying to cut spending but we still owe £1.2 trillion. The old dodge of dropping interest rates doesn’t work when they are already near rock bottom. The euro is currently under attack but the speculators could turn on the pound at any moment; just as they did in 1992. Michael Heseltine thinks that we will join the euro when everything settles down, and Vince Cable thinks that might be within 10 years.

The great currencies of the world took time to develop. Canada adopted a unified dollar in 1867 but Prince Edward Island didn’t join the monetary union until 1871, and Newfoundland only gave up her own currency in 1949. The Treaty of Rome established the European Economic Community in 1957 but the UK did not join until 1973. At that rate we will probably adopt the euro in about six years time. By then the European countries should be solvent and the euro will rival the dollar and the Chinese renminbi as a reserve currency.

Despite the hysterical propaganda of the mass media most people are not extremists. They might want to stop immigration but they are not racists. They want to regulate the banks but few of them want to hang their bank managers. And they want to keep their own culture and traditions but they are not anti-European. At the last general election the anti-EU parties did very badly; UKIP got 3.1% and the BNP only managed 1.9%. At the recent Feltham & Heston by election UKIP got 5.5%, the BNP 2.3 and the English Democrats 1.4%; less than 10% between them.

The British people would support a viable patriotic party with sensible policies. They want to stop immigration and start repatriation; regulate the banks, and see Britain leading in Europe instead of forever throwing spanners in the works. Low turnouts at UK elections show how disenchanted the public are with the existing parties. The old gang has run out of ideas and the far-right doesn’t even understand the issues. We need a new movement to capture the public’s imagination. But it must be free from the paranoid nonsense of conspiracy theory.  

Understanding Nationalism
Iceland is an island nation with a small and homogeneous population. The Icelanders therefore have no crisis of identity. Unfortunately few other nations in Europe are so easy to define. Ireland is divided between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. A legacy of British imperialism that persisted long after the UK lost interest in Ireland. The Protestants of Northern Ireland generally regard themselves as British. Some of the Scots and Welsh are having doubts about the United Kingdom and the English seem to be ambivalent. But the majority of Ulster people are determined to be British.

In response to Scottish and Welsh separatism a distinctly English nationalism has started to appear. The older generation were brought up in the British Empire and steeped in British achievement. It was the British Army that won the war, together with the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. The Glorious Glosters fought the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to a standstill in Korea. And although Edmund Hilary was a Kiwi and Tenzing Norgay was Nepalese it was the Union Jack they planted on the summit of Mount Everest in 1953. The first sign of English nationalism was the 1966 World Cup when we beat Germany 4-2. But since then “football nationalism” has caught on and the survival of the UK is threatened. 

Similar patterns have emerged throughout Europe. France is a monolithic state despite nationalistic rumblings from Brittany and Corsica. Spain is divided into self-governing regions and 5 of Italy’s 20 regions are autonomous. Germany has long been a federal union and the Russian Federation caters for scores of nationalities. Belgium is divided by language but Switzerland continues to function as a unitary state speaking three languages. It is the Swiss model that we should emulate.  

People’s fears about losing their nationality in a united Europe are unfounded. It has not happened in the last fifty years and there’s no reason why it should happen in the future. The Lisbon Treaty embraces European solidarity whilst protecting our ancient customs and traditions.  

Political differences make the headlines but Europe continues to progress. The European Space Agency now participates on an equal basis with Russia and America. The Large Hadron Collider is revealing the secrets of the Universe and European aircraft have broken the American monopoly and now dominate the skies. Europe has survived thousands of years of war and famine; she will survive Dave Cameron.

Postscript: Conspiracy fans think that the Large Hadron Collider is controlled by “sinister forces” in touch with extra-terrestrials. A man with one trouser leg rolled up and wearing an apron and a gold medallion was recently seen in the Geneva area talking to a rabbi wearing a long black coat and a wide-brimmed hat. Both were carrying Muslamic ray guns cunningly disguised as mobile phones. You have been warned.

Watching Paint dry
Waiting for something to happen to the BNP is like watching paint dry. First we had to wait for elections to be held, then for court cases to be heard, now for appeals and judgments to be enforced. But according to the Internet things are about to happen.

The various factions of the BNP compete with old-established movements like the National Front and British Movement to maintain websites and produce journals. They sacked John Tyndall when he was alive but they still cling to his old-fashioned protectionist policies and general dislike of foreigners. Britain First and the British Freedom Party are slick operations with glossy websites and pro-Zionist policies. The rump of the BNP is led by Nick Griffin MEP and their other MEP, Andrew Brons, leads the BNP Ideas faction. Competing with them is the English Defence League. They attract younger supporters but they have no policies apart from hatred of Muslims and they have alienated public opinion by attacking the police.
We face continuing unemployment and falling house prices because people cannot get mortgages. These problems are aggravated by immigration and should be exploited by those campaigning against it. But most of them can only shout slogans and demand referendums that achieve absolutely nothing. What does “repatriating powers from Brussels” really mean? 

It doesn’t mean that we will be in charge of our armed forces because they are under the orders of NATO’s American general John Allen. It doesn’t mean free trade because that is decided by the American-dominated World Trade Organization. And it doesn’t mean that we are in control of immigration because Prime Minister Dave Cameron defers to President Barack Obama who is half black and more than happy with multiracialism.

It is possible to build a mass movement in the UK. It was done by the BUF before the war and it took the suspension of habeas corpus and detention without trial to silence it. It was done again in 1979 until the National Front was sunk by Margaret Thatcher’s pretence that she understood people’s fear of “being swamped.” The BNP returned two MEPs in 2009 Euro election and won fifty council seats as well as a seat on the Greater London Assembly. But it has fallen apart since the Question Time debacle. To succeed a political party needs intelligent speakers, coherent policies, a charismatic leader and capable officers. At present there is no such a team on the horizon. 

Heavy Fog in Channel – Continent Cut Off (The Times 22nd October 1957)
That famous headline sums up Britain’s traditional attitude to Europe. We are Europeans by race, religion, culture and geography. Our language is a mixture of German and French and our history is closely tied to our neighbours. We are descended from Iberians, Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Danes and Normans who all came from the mainland.  And for over forty years we have been in an economic alliance with the rest of Europe. But the English Channel is much more than a twenty mile wide anti-tank ditch; it’s a political as well as a geographical divide; as George V said: “abroad is a nasty place.”

Dave Cameron went to the European summit meeting in December determined to prove his “bulldog spirit” to the rightwing of the Tory Party. He expected to lead a dissident group of peripheral nations but he found himself isolated and his so-called veto of the euro rescue plan was an act of spiteful stupidity. One commentator compared it to obstructing the fire brigade when your neighbour’s house is on fire. An apt metaphor when we are surrounded by eurozone countries.

He returned to the UK beaming with smiles. He was cheered by the Tory right but he has lost all credibility with the rest of the world. He used his veto to protect his friends in the Square Mile from a financial services tax. But his gesture proved futile when the rest of the EU simply ignored him. For the sake of a gang of greedy moneylenders he picked a quarrel with Europe but he will still get stabbed in the back by the Tory right just like Margaret Thatcher, John Major, and William Hague. Very few Tory prime ministers have resigned of their own accord.

When questioned on his return from Brussels Dave Cameron said that we are not in the eurozone because we don’t want to be and we did not join the Schengen border agreement because we want to control drugs, guns and immigration. It has obviously escaped his notice that last year we had a net gain of over 250,000 immigrants and imported unknown quantities of guns and drugs. Our border guards were actually told to look the other way to speed up customs and immigration ahead of the Olympics. This we were told by Therese May was a pilot scheme that went wrong. 

But his concerns about immigration and banking are only excuses; the real reasons why the Tories hate Europe are psychological rather than economic. They are to do with lingering delusions of empire, sectarianism, tribalism and a misunderstanding of history. They are living in the past and unable to grasp the reality of Britain’s sovereign debt. They can barely control their anger and tend to shout all the time. Anger is a perfectly normal condition but if it gets out of control it can impair judgment and lead to mental health problems. When Edward Heath was asked why Margaret Thatcher hated him he replied: “I don’t know; I am not a doctor.”

Wake up and smell the coffee
As Dave Cameron does his impression of the Duke of Wellington unemployment is rising, our economy is shrinking and our debts are undiminished. His attempts to save the City of London from regulation have distanced us from Europe and brought criticism from America and around the world. But the hard-liners of the Tory right are not worried about unemployment or inflation, they are dreaming of an isolated Britain defiantly facing a hostile Europe. They want a return to the 1940s together with rationing, trilby hats, cigarettes, steam trains and respectful servants. They are stuck in a black & white time warp and have false memories of “the good old days.” They remember when you could get drunk for a fiver and everyone knew their place. In their dreams of yesterday there is no sign of the endemic poverty, poor housing, social deprivation and undernourishment that typified the era. But we don’t need to go back so far. When we joined the EEC in 1973 the UK was plagued with industrial unrest made worst by the Arab oil boycott. Production was at a standstill and inflation was rising. Our long history of economic chaos predates our membership of the EU. But the dreamers cannot turn the clock back. We can no-longer make a living by selling Morris Minors to grateful Australians; or by trying to grow groundnuts in East Africa. It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee.

Merkel’s Journey from Communist Propagandist to Democratic Haus Frau
John Bean posting on the BNP Ideas website reveals the leftwing past of Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, Katherine Ashton, EU Foreign Minister and Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany. He also points out the partly Jewish origins of UK Prime Minister Dave Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. He dismisses the EU Commission as an unelected Soviet-style bureaucracy and accused it of being self-appointed and self-perpetuating. 

JB must know that the 27 member EU Commission – one for each state – is appointed by the heads of government. He could ignore the ancestry of Dave Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy; forgive Jose Barroso for being a communist in the revolutionary atmosphere of post-fascist Portugal, understand why Angel Merkel joined the Freie Deutsche Jugend and excuse Katherine Ashton for working for CND. But he obviously doesn’t like the EU and questions its very existence:

“In the last three months we have seen the rise of a caucus of the leaders of France and Germany, plus the European Commission and various functionaries such as the French head of the International Monetary Fund. Their power is such that they removed the elected heads of Greece and Italy and replaced them with EU’s own unelected technocrats. Yet another reason for the whole sorry shambles of the EU to be replaced by a Confederation of sovereign states elected solely by the people of those states. Not least that instead of a one-size-fits-all universal currency, exchange rates would be allowed to float to each nation’s best interest in line with its GDP.”

But if the “sovereign states” have their own armed forces, foreign policies and currencies they would be independent powers pursuing their own interests and seeking commercial advantages over each other. Exactly the same patchwork of competing nations that led to two world wars and the deaths of millions of Europeans.

JB’s devotion to democracy is reassuring but self-appointed and self perpetuating authority has served us very well over the centuries. It gave us Charlemagne, Elizabeth 1st and Peter the Great. Democracy, on the other hand, gave us Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. The EU is hardly a pillar of democracy but committees are better suited to parish councils than continental empires; it takes choreography to get 27 states to march together.  But it’s refreshing to see an open debate about Europe on a BNP website. It would never have happened in the past and shows that minds are not closed.

The Pound in your Pocket.
Apart from the damaging effects of inflation the pound has suffered regular devaluations.  In 1931 we came off the gold standard and devalued by 24%, in 1949 we negotiated a massive loan from America and devalued by 30%. In 1967 we were bailed out by the IMF and devalued by 14%, but Harold Wilson said: “This will not affect the pound in your pocket.” In 1992 we crashed out of the ERM and devalued by 16%. Since 2008 the pound has lost 30% of its value.

Since the First World War the pound has been backed by gold, tied to the dollar, pegged to the deutschmark and eventually left to its own devices. The gold sovereign was introduced in 1817 but few working people ever saw one until the wages boom of 1914. The government then introduced pound notes. In 1962 a pint of beer in London cost less than 10p, today the same pint would cost you £3.00. That means that you could have bought 30 pints for the same money. Inflation cripples pension schemes and wipes out savings and destroys the social fabric of the nation.

Britain and Denmark have opted out of the euro but the Danish kroner is pegged to it. The rest of the EU states have adopted the euro or intend to. Apart from the eurozone states the single currency is used by Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican, Montenegro and Kosovo. 

Slovenia and Croatia have joined the EU and the rest of the former Yugoslav republics have applied for membership. Russia and the former Soviet states have not applied but increasing trade links are bringing us closer together. The euro has overtaken the pound and the yen to become the second reserve currency and now accounts for 27% of the world’s reserves.

Whatever we call our unit of account we must protect it from the debilitating effects of inflation and the damaging quick-fix of devaluation. We should aim to return to a gently expanding economy where savings and pensions can survive. Until the subprime mortgage crisis crossed the Atlantic we had enjoyed 35 years of prosperity. But 15 years of uncontrolled borrowing has saddled us with £1.2 trillion of debt. The US, Japan and most of the EU states are in the same boat. We must accept the fact that global deficits require global solutions; we will not solve this problem on our own.

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