Sunday, 31 December 2017

Nation Revisited # 135 January 2018

All articles are by Bill Baillie unless otherwise stated. The opinions of guest writers are entirely their own. This blog is protected by the UN Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19:
"We all have the right to make up our own minds, to think what we like, to say what we think, and to share ideas with other people."

The State of the Nation

Theresa May has agreed our divorce terms with the EU. We will leave the single market and the customs union but maintain 'close alignment'. We have adopted the rules and regulations of the EU, and we will pay our dues, but we will bring back the blue British passport, with genuine cardboard covers, to prove our 'independence'. Chancellor Philip Hammond explained our position on a visit to China: "We won't technically or legally be in the customs union or the single market, but we're committed, as a result of the agreement we made this week, to creating an environment which will effectively replicate the current status quo so that businesses can carry on trading with their commercial partners across the EU as they do now, borders will operate as they do now, and financial service businesses will be ablle to carry on conducting their business as they do now." 

Time will tell if he is right, but whatever happens, we will still have our problems. Theresa keeps telling us how lucky we are to have full employment but many jobs are low-paid and insecure. European immigration is down but non-European immigration is constant. We are starting to take training and education seriously but there are skills shortages in most areas. It costs over half a million pounds to train a doctor but we can bring one from India for the price of an airline ticket. And ten years after the financial crisis consumer debt is at an unacceptable level. 

We need a Government of National Unity as never before. The Tories cannot command a majority and Labour cannot be trusted. Austerity was unsustainable and tax increases are unpopular, so we will go on borrowing money for public services and hand the debt to the next generation. We need a sensible discussion about priorities. We must ask ourselves if we can afford to renew the Trident missile system or buy the planes for our new aircraft carriers. This discussion must be beyond party politics, and the politicians should think of the country instead of their own ambitions.

The question of Europe
has dominated politics for years. The Leavers believe their own propaganda about the EU being a dictatorship when it's really a customs union of 28 sovereign states. We were only half-hearted members of the EU; we were not in the eurozone or the Schengen area, so we probably won't notice much difference when we leave. Our endemic problems are nothing to do with the EU, they are the fault of under-investment and short-term policies.

The Brexiteers want to trade with the United States but Donald Trump has demonstrated his protectionist policy by imposing a 300% tariff on Bombardier aircraft sales. This will cause massive job losses in Northern Ireland. So much for our 'Special Relationship'.

President Donald Trump has outlined his 'fake news' foreign policy which cast Russia and China as enemies in order to justify his defence budget. He is reviving the Cold War and Boris Johnson is slavishly following him. 

Our adversarial political system is out-of-date and so is our foreign policy, our industrial and military strategy, and our forward planning. We need to face up to reality.

Race and Culture

Race and culture were analysed by Francis Parker Yockey in 'Imperium'. He described the biological view of race as 'vertical' and the cultural view as 'horizontal'. Benito Mussolini said: "Race is a feeling; ninety-five percent, at least, is a feeling. Nothing will ever make me believe that biologically pure races can be shown to exist today. Amusingly enough, not one of those who have proclaimed the 'nobility' of the Teutonic race was himself a Teuton. Gobineau was a Frenchman, Chamberlain an Englishman; Woltmann a Jew; Lapouge another Frenchman."

Andrew Brons contends that distinctive races make distinctive cultures. He is right up to a point but most civilisations did not arise in isolation but by borrowing from each other. We got gunpowder from China, our language from India and mathematics from Arabia. 

Europeans dominated technology but the Asians were never far behind. This was due to the inventiveness of the people but other factors must be considered. To develop industry you need coal and iron and to be sailors you need access to the sea. Cultures, therefore, are the product of races, geography, contacts, and resources.

Since the Second World War millions of non-Europeans have settled in the UK. We could control further immigration and deport criminals and undesirables but wholesale repatriation is practically impossible. There are simply too many of them. 

              Prince Harry and Meghan Markle - photo AP

Whether we like it or not they are part of our population. Some of them are terrorists, criminals or parasites but many of them make a positive contribution to our society. Black and brown faces dominate our television screens and the American actress Meghan Markle will bring a touch of colour to the Royal Family when she marries Prince Harry.

The Third World population explosion is out of control and threatens to flood Europe with economic refugees. We have a right to defend ourselves against this invasion but we must also keep a sense of proportion. Race is important but it's not everything. People who work hard and obey British laws and customs should be respected.

Easy Money

Government borrowing has actually fallen this quarter but consumer borrowing is getting out of control and a credit squeeze looks likely. The government are proud of their employment record but far too many people are living on credit, and a rise in the interest rate has hit them hard.

People have got short memories and burst bubbles are soon forgotten. Optimistic bankers imagine that it will be different this time. But it will be the same. We will go from boom to bust just as we did before. A proactive government would take steps to avoid it but we haven't got one. We have got a reactionary government that only shuts the stable door after the horse has bolted.

The Tories have promised to build more houses but many of them are landlords who benefit from a tight housing market. They will not limit credit because they have invested in banks and finance companies. They are speculators who see the parliamentary system as an extension of the stock exchange.

We survived the financial crisis of 2008 but we might not be so lucky next time. The banks have been bailed out and new regulations should ensure that they don't overtrade in the future. But personal loans have reached epidemic proportions and the sheer volume of defaulters could break the banks once again.

The Tories try not to interfere in commercial matters. When the train drivers go on strike they say that its a matter for the unions and the train companies. But the banks are too important to be left alone. We need a National Investment Bank, as proposed by the Labour Party, to provide legitimate services, such as mortgages, car loans, deposits, and current accounts. There is very little competition between the banks because interest rates are set by the Bank of England. 

Housing should be run by the Government and not left to local authorities. Social housing should be available and the National Investment Bank should provide low-interest loans to builders and house buyers. This would not be as expensive as it sounds. It costs a fortune to keep families in bed and breakfast accommodation, and thousands of construction workers would be employed. 

The old nationalised industries were inefficient but some of our giant corporations are just as bad. The banks pay millions of pounds in salaries and bonuses to their directors, but they are closing branches to save money. It's time for the state to get involved.


More students are going to university and getting degrees than ever before. This must be a good thing but many people claim that education has been 'dumbed down' and that many degrees are worthless. They may have a point but this country is desperately short of doctors, scientists and engineers. The Philippines turns out more engineers than we do. If we are to compete in the modern world we must have educated people who have been to university or served an apprenticeship.

The UK is seventh in the educational league table of nations which is dominated by East Asia. There is room for improvement but some of those criticising the system are simply reactionaries who preferred it when only a privileged minority of students went to university and most people were blissfully ignorant. That's why they support tuition fees and oppose free education. 

If educational standards were as bad as they say we would not attract students from all over the world who pay handsomely for a place at a British university. And our leading universities would not have earned their reputation as centres of excellence.

We have traditionally relied on imported workers. Instead of training our own people we have opted for qualified people from abroad. It costs over half a million pounds to train a doctor but we can get one from India for the price of an airline ticket. Fortunately, we are beginning to realise that money isn't everything. There is nothing wrong with employing people from abroad but a self-respecting nation should train its own bricklayers and brain surgeons.


When the Soviet leader Nikita Kruschev visited Britain in 1956 he was taken to the state opening of Parliament to witness Black Rod knocking on the door of the Commons to demand entry. It's reported that he had such a fit of laughter that his minders were concerned for his health. There are worthwhile traditions but many of them are bizarre.

The Coronation of 1953 was a tableau of tradition. The Archbishop of Canterbury anointed the Queen with oil and recited prayers in Latin. Some of these ceremonies dated back to the Middle Ages but most of them were invented for Queen Victoria's coronation. 

There was a boom in the education industry in the Twenties that resulted in hundreds of private schools being founded. These are confusingly known in the UK as 'public schools'.
These schools were brand new but hey adopted 'ancient' traditions that were designed to convey a sense of antiquity. 

People like theatrical displays and the organisers of rallies and coronations are good at providing them. Once a year a procession of lawyers appears at the Law Courts dressed in wigs and gowns and carrying posies of flowers as a defence against the plague. Bemused tourists take pictures of them and we are supposed to trust in British Justice because its guardians are stuck in the past.

Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg is a stickler for tradition. He wears double-breasted suits, speaks in measured tones, and boasts that he has never changed a baby's nappie despite having six children. He is living in the past but he is not the only one.

In Melvyn Peake's brilliant Gormenghast trilogy we discover a world ruled by traditions that are so ancient and obscure that nobody understands them. Unfortunately, the way we run the UK is not so different from Gormenghast.

Parliament's rules were laid down in the eighteenth century. MPs get six weeks off in the summer to get the harvest in, and they rent flats in London because it used to take days to travel by stagecoach.

When MPs vote in the House of Commons they shuffle into lobbies. In almost every other parliament they use an electronic voting system which gives an immediate result, but our representatives are herded like sheep to be counted.

Outdated rituals should be reviewed but there are plenty of traditions that are worth defending; the rights of free speech, free assembly, freedom of religion, and trial by jury. Unfortunately, these hard-won freedoms are under threat from anti-terrorist legislation, and dogmatic nationalism. Our freedom is protected by The European Court of Human Rights which was founded in 1950 and is entirely separate from the European Union. The ECHR reports to The Council of Europe which comprises 47 states, only 28 of which are in the EU.


We have got used to terrorist attacks in the UK. It used to be the IRA planting bombs but now it's so-called 'Islamic State' that are killing and maiming innocent people. The government has reacted by arming the police and bringing in anti-terrorist legislation. They have also turned their attention to far-right terrorism.

This type of terrorism is rare in the UK but there have been several bombings in the United States, notably the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 in which Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people and injured 688 when he bombed the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building. 

In 2011 Anders Breveik (pictured) killed 77 young socialists and injured 319 in Norway. This massacre was carried out to publicise his manifesto. He has since tried to sue the Norwegian government for infringing his civil rights.

We have suffered several atrocities in the UK. In 1999 David Copeland, a former member of the BNP, killed 3 people and injured more than 100 in a bombing campaign that culminated in the destruction of the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho. Copeland targeted Asians in East London, Blacks in Brixton, and gays in Soho.

This was followed by two incidents in 2008. Martyn Gilleard of the British People's Party was jailed for possession of bombs, weapons and ammunition. In the same year, Nathan Worrall was found guilty of possessing materials for terrorism.

In 2016 Thomas Mair shot dead Labour MP Jo Cox. He was not known to any of the far-right parties but he subscribed to several political publications.

In 2016 Home Secretary Amber Rudd designated National Action as a terrorist organisation. She is a dedicated 'anti-Fascist' and a 'close friend' of Tory MP Kwasi Kwarteng.

Far-right websites accuse the government of going too far but we cannot allow people to make bombs and carry guns. There is little difference between a far-right bomber and an 'Islamic State' bomber. They both kill and terrorize innocent people. The global capitalist system is unjust and unsustainable. It can be reformed but nothing will be achieved by acts of violence or the promotion of hatred.

The British government has got a record of using anti-terrorist legislation against patriots. Defence Regulation 18B was designed to control the IRA but it was used to close down Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists in 1940. Over a thousand Blackshirts were detained without charge or trial, some of them until the end of the war. Recent anti-terrorist laws will be just as flexible.

Frank Walsh

I recently visited Frank Walsh the veteran ninety-two-year-old political campaigner who used to be known as the King of Speakers Corner. His apartment contains all the equipment necessary for a dedicated blogger; computers, printers, stocks of paper and artists materials on which he produces his distinctive blog "Our Voice", a unique mixture of prose, poetry and artwork.

Frank was born in Preston, Lancashire in 1925, a year before the General Strike. His father was badly wounded during the First World War and Frank was raised in a children's home. He joined the Merchant Navy in 1939 and volunteered for the army in 1943. He has travelled the world, studied the classics, and immersed himself in history.The following extract from his blog is typical:

"This may be my last 100th issue, due to age, so when I snuff it, bye bye and fight to the death to free and keep our folk alive. In loyalty to our dead and offspring via the world's folk family's voices in which your aims can be heard. For folk forum laws by and for each folk and to show Zion's elitist racism is against Patriots' preservatism. As our species to be or not to be is our question."

Over cups of coffee, we discussed history and current affairs and lamented the lack of a charismatic leader of the patriotic movement. Frank takes the view that contentious issues should be set aside while we concentrate on fighting finance capitalism. He has seen many parties come and go over the years and he reckons that millions of pounds have been wasted on pointless elections. Money donated by genuine supporters, many of whom could not afford it.

He fights on because he is convinced that the system can be reformed. His perseverance is an example to younger men who feel that the task is too hard, or that they are too old to make a difference. He has health and mobility problems but he is still fighting for Britain.

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