Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

EU People’s Vote, Liberal Elite Versus “community, place, belonging ” (Paul Embery).

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Image result for far right unity demo 24nd June 2018

“For we are the people of England, that never have spoken yet“?

Those familiar with French politics will know all too well the gaggle of former left-wingers who have discovered patriotism, moral order, and nationalism barely disguised as “republicanism”.

Amongst many many others, Jean-Claude Michéa (admirer of George Orwell’s ‘common decency’) “«Les classes populaires ont presque entièrement disparu du champ de vision de l’élite et des classes moyennes… », Alain Finkielkraut “Alain Finkielkraut fustige ”une nouvelle élite barbare” et les ”collabos de la modernité” Michel Onfray, ( Michel Onfray contre les élites ) Michel Houellebecq (Les élites haïssent le peuplehave for a long time attacked the liberal ‘elite’, political ‘correctness’, the ” “nouveau progressisme”, unbridled free markets, fragmented identities, and  individualism.

The alternative?

France, the French People, perhaps the terroir, maybe the land and its memories – whatever takes their prejudiced fancy.

Many are, like the anti-Charlie Emmanuel Todd, advocates of “national solidarity,  leaving the Euro and economic protectionism (“il faut sortir de l’euro et pratiquer le protectionnisme.  la solidarité nationale et la fraternité.)

If like Todd they do not generally support Marine Le Pen it is because she does not include all the French people in this destiny.

It would not take long to find these currents  in the ideological soup across the whole continent.

So it no surprise that we are now seeing a similar stream of support for Family, Flag and Community against the” liberal pro-EU elite” as they call it)  in this country as the Carnival of Reaction following Brexit unfurls.

Disgracefully not unfrocked Priest, Giles Fraser, micturated recently with a stream of urine against ‘rootless cosmopolitans’.

Paul Embery, a public shit house for Family, Faith and Flag, is world class in this game of who can pee higher against ‘liberal elites”.

Brexit voters weren’t duped by propaganda.

PAUL EMBERY 26th of June. Unherd.

This is his comment on the Saturday People’s Vote march.

“Listening out for the hysterical outpourings of the grieving liberal intelligentsia can be an interesting pastime. It’s almost as if they are trying to outdo each other in their paroxysms of utter contempt for the mob.”

Indeed the stout working class types pictured above did not get as much publicity as the People’s Vote elite.

Embery has a word of advice for the limousine liberals (as the US original of this copied ‘patriotic’  diatribe had it in the past). The “explanation for why millions of working-class people voted for Trump and Brexit. But you’d need to rub shoulders with them every once in a while to know it.”

Thanks for the tip!

Here it is at greater length:

Left behind by globalisation, witnessing their communities rapidly changing from the effects of deindustrialisation and large-scale movements of people, suffering the effects of low wages and poor housing, they took the opportunity to hit back against a cloth-eared liberal establishment that had treated them with disdain for too long. Treat people like cattle, and you’ll get kicked.

You don’t have to be a cheerleader for Trump or Brexit to recognise this obvious truth.

Me old china, the Leave campaign was led by the wealthy (like his mate Arron Banks), and the public school educated and supported by the mass right-wing press.

And, we shall say to Scholar and a Gentleman Embery, that, well, let’s just just say that Disdain is Trump’s middle name….

That if they were ‘left behind’ – every tout for Brexit’s cheapest answer to everything – they are going to be stuck in the wilderness  after this bunch of chancers running EU withdrawal get their way.

Yet….

Apparently this is not the main issue.

Emberey’s new conspi theory it that the same ‘elite’ is now out to attack ‘free speech’.

For the new sinister agenda is not just to subvert the referendum result, but also to establish a compliant media where, in future, only the ‘facts’ as interpreted by these enlightened progressives and their chosen experts may be allowed to see the light of day.

Of course they know they can’t get away with crude bans on platforms giving air to alternative opinions, so their methods are more insidious. Thus we see increasingly restrictive laws designed to suppress freedom of speech, support for state-backed regulation of the press, boycotts of mainstream newspapers, and the sinister threat to reputations and livelihoods for the crime of saying the wrong thing.

He continues, outraged,

This mix of draconian legislation on the one hand and a repressive and intimidating public atmosphere on the other is toxic. The end goal is to batter us into submission so we think twice before expressing unfashionable opinions.

You can see it in the activities of outfits such as Stop Funding Hate – an authoritarian and menacing campaign dressed up as ethical and progressive. This group demands a boycott of any company which advertises in newspapers spreading “hate” (for which read ‘newspapers whose editorial line we dislike’). Several firms, fearful of damage to profits and reputations, have capitulated. They know the group is serious. It would happily see businesses, large and small, go to the wall and be forced to throw thousands of ordinary workers on to the scrapheap for the crime of advertising in the ‘wrong’ newspapers. So much for its high-minded ethics.

Its target isn’t really hate, of course; it is alternative opinions, particularly those traditional, some might say old-fashioned, opinions to which millions of Britons still hold true, but which are considered beyond the pale by the liberal elite.

Here is the wily plotters’ statement,

After what it called “decades of sustained and unrestrained anti-foreigner abuse, misinformation and distortion”, the United Nations has accused some British newspapers of “hate speech”. UK experts are now warning that hate crime is being “fuelled and legitimised” by the media. Relentlessly hostile and often inaccurate headlines have been described by charities as “dangerous”. But, indirectly, nearly all of us are funding them.

We’re taking on the divisive hate campaigns of the Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express by persuading advertisers to pull their support.

There is a version of Godwin’s law that rightward drifting left-wingers always cite George Orwell at some point.

So it is no surprise that Embery says, “Our radical tradition is that of the Levellers and Chartists, of Tom Paine and George Orwell…”

He ends with this,

I along with millions of other working-class people voted for Brexit for reasons of democracy, community, place, belonging and accountability. Don’t tell us we did so because of something we read in the Daily Mail or on the side of a bus. For if you believe that, you really understand nothing of your own country.

No I know nothing.

Though I would say that “community, place and belonging” sound to me very much like ideas that echo the ideas of the far-right French writer Maurice Barrès (1862 – 1923) of la Terre et les morts, the notion that we are above all else rooted in our national soil and carry on the memories of our ancestors, and the same author’s criticism of the  Déracinés – the cosmopolitan rootless.

I would add that my fights (sometimes physical) with those at school and in my North London homeland, including in a factory,  with those who used to say “good ‘ole Enoch” in the late sixties and ‘seventies,  did not take place with ‘left-wingers’ of the Embery stripe telling me that really Enoch Powell has a point….

 

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7 Responses

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  1. Excellent response to the vile outpourings of reactionaries like Embery (and Fraser, Goodhart, etc, etc): you sound angry, Andrew and I don’t blame you.

    As for Orwell, it’s simply impossible to know where he would have stood on Brexit, but what we can be certain of is that he’s have been disgusted by the lies, double-speak, hypocrisy and posturing of the Brexiteers – and especially the would-be “left” Brexiteers.

    Jim Denham

    June 26, 2018 at 4:25 pm

  2. Thinking more about Orwell. His Notes on Nationalism doesn’t answer the question as to where he would have stood on Brexit, but it gives us some useful pointers:

    “It would be an oversimplification to say that all forms of nationalism are the same, even in their mental atmosphere, but there are certain rules that hold good in all cases. The following are the principal characteristics of nationalist thought:

    “Obsession. As nearly as possible, no nationalist ever thinks, talks, or writes about anything except the superiority of his own power unit. It is difficult if not impossible for any nationalist to conceal his allegiance. The smallest slur upon his own unit, or any implied praise of a rival organization, fills him with uneasiness which he can relieve only by making some sharp retort. If the chosen unit is an actual country, such as Ireland or India, he will generally claim superiority for it not only in military power and political virtue, but in art, literature, sport, structure of the language, the physical beauty of the inhabitants, and perhaps even in climate, scenery and cooking. He will show great sensitiveness about such things as the correct display of flags, relative size of headlines and the order in which different countries are named(4). Nomenclature plays a very important part in nationalist thought. Countries which have won their independence or gone through a nationalist revolution usually change their names, and any country or other unit round which strong feelings revolve is likely to have several names, each of them carrying a different implication. The two sides of the Spanish Civil War had between them nine or ten names expressing different degrees of love and hatred. Some of these names (e. g. ‘Patriots’ for Franco-supporters, or ‘Loyalists’ for Government-supporters) were frankly question-begging, and there was no single one of the which the two rival factions could have agreed to use. All nationalists consider it a duty to spread their own language to the detriment of rival languages, and among English-speakers this struggle reappears in subtler forms as a struggle between dialects. Anglophobe-Americans will refuse to use a slang phrase if they know it to be of British origin, and the conflict between Latinizers and Germanizers often has nationalists motives behind it. Scottish nationalists insist on the superiority of Lowland Scots, and socialists whose nationalism takes the form of class hatred tirade against the B.B.C. accent and even the often gives the impression of being tinged by belief in symphatetic magic — a belief which probably comes out in the widespread custom of burning political enemies in effigy, or using pictures of them as targets in shooting galleries.

    “Instability. The intensity with which they are held does not prevent nationalist loyalties from being transferable. To begin with, as I have pointed out already, they can be and often are fastened up on some foreign country. One quite commonly finds that great national leaders, or the founders of nationalist movements, do not even belong to the country they have glorified. Sometimes they are outright foreigners, or more often they come from peripheral areas where nationality is doubtful. Examples are Stalin, Hitler, Napoleon, de Valera, Disraeli, Poincare, Beaverbrook. The Pan-German movement was in part the creation of an Englishman, Houston Chamberlain. For the past fifty or a hundred years, transferred nationalism has been a common phenomenon among literary intellectuals. With Lafcadio Hearne the transference was to Japan, with Carlyle and many others of his time to Germany, and in our own age it is usually to Russia. But the peculiarly interesting fact is that re-transference is also possible. A country or other unit which has been worshipped for years may suddenly become detestable, and some other object of affection may take its place with almost no interval. In the first version of H. G. Wells’s Outline of History, and others of his writings about that time, one finds the United States praised almost as extravagantly as Russia is praised by Communists today: yet within a few years this uncritical admiration had turned into hostility. The bigoted Communist who changes in a space of weeks, or even days, into an equally bigoted Trotskyist is a common spectacle. In continental Europe Fascist movements were largely recruited from among Communists, and the opposite process may well happen within the next few years. What remains constant in the nationalist is his state of mind: the object of his feelings is changeable, and may be imaginary.

    “But for an intellectual, transference has an important function which I have already mentioned shortly in connection with Chesterton. It makes it possible for him to be much more nationalistic — more vulgar, more silly, more malignant, more dishonest — that he could ever be on behalf of his native country, or any unit of which he had real knowledge. When one sees the slavish or boastful rubbish that is written about Stalin, the Red Army, etc. by fairly intelligent and sensitive people, one realises that this is only possible because some kind of dislocation has taken place. In societies such as ours, it is unusual for anyone describable as an intellectual to feel a very deep attachment to his own country. Public opinion — that is, the section of public opinion of which he as an intellectual is aware — will not allow him to do so. Most of the people surrounding him are sceptical and disaffected, and he may adopt the same attitude from imitativeness or sheer cowardice: in that case he will have abandoned the form of nationalism that lies nearest to hand without getting any closer to a genuinely internationalist outlook. He still feels the need for a Fatherland, and it is natural to look for one somewhere abroad. Having found it, he can wallow unrestrainedly in exactly those emotions from which he believes that he has emancipated himself. God, the King, the Empire, the Union Jack — all the overthrown idols can reappear under different names, and because they are not recognised for what they are they can be worshipped with a good conscience. Transferred nationalism, like the use of scapegoats, is a way of attaining salvation without altering one’s conduct.

    “Indifference to Reality. All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. The Liberal News Chronicle published, as an example of shocking barbarity, photographs of Russians hanged by the Germans, and then a year or two later published with warm approval almost exactly similar photographs of Germans hanged by the Russians(5). It is the same with historical events. History is thought of largely in nationalist terms, and such things as the Inquisition, the tortures of the Star Chamber, the exploits of the English buccaneers (Sir Francis Drake, for instance, who was given to sinking Spanish prisoners alive), the Reign of Terror, the heroes of the Mutiny blowing hundreds of Indians from the guns, or Cromwell’s soldiers slashing Irishwomen’s faces with razors, become morally neutral or even meritorious when it is felt that they were done in the ‘right’ cause. If one looks back over the past quarter of a century, one finds that there was hardly a single year when atrocity stories were not being reported from some part of the world; and yet in not one single case were these atrocities — in Spain, Russia, China, Hungary, Mexico, Amritsar, Smyrna — believed in and disapproved of by the English intelligentsia as a whole. Whether such deeds were reprehensible, or even whether they happened, was always decided according to political predilection.

    “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. For quite six years the English admirers of Hitler contrived not to learn of the existence of Dachau and Buchenwald. And those who are loudest in denouncing the German concentration camps are often quite unaware, or only very dimly aware, that there are also concentration camps in Russia. Huge events like the Ukraine famine of 1933, involving the deaths of millions of people, have actually escaped the attention of the majority of English russophiles. Many English people have heard almost nothing about the extermination of German and Polish Jews during the present war. Their own antisemitism has caused this vast crime to bounce off their consciousness. In nationalist thought there are facts which are both true and untrue, known and unknown. A known fact may be so unbearable that it is habitually pushed aside and not allowed to enter into logical processes, or on the other hand it may enter into every calculation and yet never be admitted as a fact, even in one’s own mind.

    “Every nationalist is haunted by the belief that the past can be altered. He spends part of his time in a fantasy world in which things happen as they should — in which, for example, the Spanish Armada was a success or the Russian Revolution was crushed in 1918 — and he will transfer fragments of this world to the history books whenever possible. Much of the propagandist writing of our time amounts to plain forgery. Material facts are suppressed, dates altered, quotations removed from their context and doctored so as to change their meaning. Events which it is felt ought not to have happened are left unmentioned and ultimately denied(6). In 1927 Chiang Kai Shek boiled hundreds of Communists alive, and yet within ten years he had become one of the heroes of the Left. The re-alignment of world politics had brought him into the anti-Fascist camp, and so it was felt that the boiling of the Communists ‘didn’t count’, or perhaps had not happened. The primary aim of propaganda is, of course, to influence contemporary opinion, but those who rewrite history do probably believe with part of their minds that they are actually thrusting facts into the past. When one considers the elaborate forgeries that have been committed in order to show that Trotsky did not play a valuable part in the Russian civil war, it is difficult to feel that the people responsible are merely lying. More probably they feel that their own version was what happened in the sight of God, and that one is justified in rearranging the records accordingly.

    “Indifference to objective truth is encouraged by the sealing-off of one part of the world from another, which makes it harder and harder to discover what is actually happening. There can often be a genuine doubt about the most enormous events. For example, it is impossible to calculate within millions, perhaps even tens of millions, the number of deaths caused by the present war. The calamities that are constantly being reported — battles, massacres, famines, revolutions — tend to inspire in the average person a feeling of unreality. One has no way of verifying the facts, one is not even fully certain that they have happened, and one is always presented with totally different interpretations from different sources. What were the rights and wrongs of the Warsaw rising of August 1944? Is it true about the German gas ovens in Poland? Who was really to blame for the Bengal famine? Probably the truth is discoverable, but the facts will be so dishonestly set forth in almost any newspaper that the ordinary reader can be forgiven either for swallowing lies or failing to form an opinion. The general uncertainty as to what is really happening makes it easier to cling to lunatic beliefs. Since nothing is ever quite proved or disproved, the most unmistakable fact can be impudently denied. Moreover, although endlessly brooding on power, victory, defeat, revenge, the nationalist is often somewhat uninterested in what happens in the real world. What he wants is to feel that his own unit is getting the better of some other unit, and he can more easily do this by scoring off an adversary than by examining the facts to see whether they support him. All nationalist controversy is at the debating-society level. It is always entirely inconclusive, since each contestant invariably believes himself to have won the victory. Some nationalists are not far from schizophrenia, living quite happily amid dreams of power and conquest which have no connection with the physical world.”

    Jim Denham

    June 26, 2018 at 4:36 pm

  3. The anger is a widespread feeling in reaction to this, as Simon Hannah says,

    “The other debate comes from that wing of the Labour left who — some with the passion of the newly converted — appear to have become militant Brexiteers, or at least have stopped raising critical points about what a disaster Brexit will be. For many it is because they have looked at the electoral landscape and concluded that Labour will lose voters in the northern heartlands if it comes out against Brexit (or even only comes out for a second referendum on the deal) and this will make a Corbyn led Labour government impossible.

    For those comrades there seems to be a touch of the old Party hack — they are fiercely defiant of, and even angry with, anyone on the left that is openly challenging Labour’s soft Brexit position. They accuse such comrades of ‘siding with Blairites’, ‘undermining the leadership’. There is an accusatory tone of ‘you’re ruining this for everyone!’

    Some of it begins to feel like a left version of the tabloids howls of TRAITORS to any politician or judge that appears to be interfering in the rush to erect a 20 foot wall around the coast.

    Those comrades no longer talk about the attacks on migrants, the rise of nationalism, the dangers of the populist right growing from Britain’s red, white and blue exit from the EU. For them it is an electoral calculation for a future Labour government. And some of them know that Brexit will be bad, they know the social and economy consequences will be damaging — but they have adopted a studious silence so as not to frighten away Labour leave voters or appear to be bolstering the right of the party.

    Then there is another group on the Labour left (inevitably there is some overlap) who are active proponents of Brexit. They see in a return to national sovereignty a chance for social democracy. For them the main barrier to socialism in one country is the international financial elites, the Eurocrats — they are the ones who have been holding us back for so long.

    They talk of rebuilding British finance away from the globalised economy in order to promote investment in the UK. They believe that a Labour government in a Brexit Britain is the route back to economic vitality and growth — as if our problems stemmed primarily from Brussels and not our own homegrown capitalist class.

    This is a return to the old Stalinist “British road to socialism” which so infected the Labour left in the 1970s (Tony Benn’s “siege economy” springs to mind). Now some of the advocates of that position are actual Stalinists from the Communist Party of Britain tradition so that should not be a surprise, but these barren utopian ideas will inevitably spread across the Labour left as people grasp for some kind of credible looking economic programme post Brexit.

    The future

    A Corbyn government elected after Brexit will have to pick up the pieces of an economy that is in decline — not just from Brexit but also there is a recession looming in the next couple of years that could be quite nasty.

    All of the spending pledges in the 2017 manifesto were based on the economy being in the state that it was in 2017 — in other words a worse economy will mean few social spending commitments and more aborted efforts to manage economic decline (think Harold Wilson’s efforts in 1964–70).

    Such a situation will either see a Labour government collapse into the perennial excuse of “we have no money, sorry” or it will be forced to take significant inroads into wealth, property and power to redistribute resources. Historically the first option is the one that Labour has gone for — a Corbyn government might be different, that depends on the balance of power in the PLP and among the party rank and file.

    Crucially it also depends on building up a well organised a vocal left that can challenge the leadership if they are not going far enough.

    But that is precisely what the soft left Corbyn fanclub are trying to prevent now — any signs of criticisms or ‘rocking the boat’ are being stamped on. Those people on the left engaged in that behaviour will form the material basis for shutting down critical voices and extra parliamentary activity under Corbyn government (“why are you striking against a Labour government, can’t you see you’ll let the Tories in?”). It was the same with the soft left in the 1980s when organisations like the Labour Co-ordinating Committee started off as Bennites and ended up as the core component of Progress, having spent the 1980s defending Kinnock from left opponents and shopping left wing councillors to the NEC.

    There is a petition doing the rounds to encourage Momentum to change its current policy of ‘just let it happen’ around Brexit — to instead call a second referendum on the deal and mobilise for a debate on it at Labour conference this September. There is still time to challenge this disasterous policy. if you’re a Momentum member — consider signing this https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stop-tory-brexit-momentum-petition.”

    View story at Medium.com

    Andrew Coates

    June 26, 2018 at 4:58 pm

  4. Good passages from Orwell.

    This kind of thing is hidden these days behind a lot of guarded language and fortresses of defences, such as proclaiming the right to an ‘identity’ (note the growth these days of overtly far-right ‘identitarians’) and the assertion that a People, a Community, just wants to be itself, not ruled by cosmopolitan liberal elites and ‘left behind’.

    But when it comes down to it the Brexit lot, right and left, are nationalists, claiming a unique contact with their ‘ain folk’ the “real people” the salt of the earth, whose interests (which they have a special insight into) trump all other nations.

    Andrew Coates

    June 26, 2018 at 5:49 pm

  5. […] See also Comrade Coatesy  on the same subject, here […]

  6. I saw this Embery twitter thread in a post below:
    https://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2018/06/19/paul-embery-national-organiser-of-trade-unionists-against-the-eu-hits-out-at-immigration-and-left-wing-zealots/#comment-79149

    In seeking to justify his ridiculous claim against “those on the Left who have spent years agitating against the idea of the nuclear family” his sole piece of evidence was:

    ‘Quickie’, ‘no-fault’ divorce, consistently championed by the ‘progressive’ Left.

    Now I have heard family law reformers – mainly non-aligned family lawyers – quite rightly argue for this entirely reasonable change, over a number of years. I cannot however recall this being raised by the “progressive left” once, though I could be wrong. To be clear this reform has solid cross-party support.

    This kind of comment has all the hallmarks of Fathers for Justice, a similar bunch of dangerous obsessives to those he makes common cause with over Brexit.

    Boleyn Ali

    June 27, 2018 at 3:43 pm

  7. Boleyn Ali, exactly.

    It reminded me very strongly of a rant I once heard from somebody involved with Fathers for Justice – in a pub – on that subject, peppered with comments about his ex and children.

    Perhaps there are some personal reasons for Embery’s obsession.

    Andrew Coates

    June 27, 2018 at 4:24 pm


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