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‘One Party After Another: The Disruptive Life of Nigel Farage’. Michael Crick. Review.

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 ‘One Party After Another: The Disruptive Life of Nigel Farage’. Michael Crick. Simon and Schuster. 2022.

Nigel Farage appeared to have disappeared from the national political scene in December 2019. His Brexit Party had propelled candidates from the national populist right to 29 seats, including MEPs Claire Fox of the former Revolutionary Communist Party now, the Spiked Network, and one time Tory Minister of State and ultra Ann Widdicombe, a supporter of Golliwogs and Gay Conversion Therapy, in the European Parliament that May, had stood 635 constituencies in the December General Election. In contrast to the European poll topping score of 30,52% the Brexit Party had got 642,303 votes (2,0 %) and no MPs.

“‘The Victory for Boris was hugely helped by us, and is far better than the Marxist Corbyn and a second referendum” Michal Crick continues, “He claimed his decision to stand down in 317 Tory constituencies had stopped a hung Parliament.” That may not have been the case. It can be argued, as this book does, that in some Northern and Midlands seats standing against Labour divided the pro-Brexit vote between his Rally and the Conservatives. But one would say that if not the ‘Kingmaker’ the all too long reign (2019 – 2022) of a British Berlusconi, charlatan, crook and deeply right-wing clown, was ushered in with the help of Nigel Farage’s decades long Brexit campaigning. The confusion that led some sections of the left (and not just the one-time Marxist Spiked ‘anti-woke’ populists) to believe that a People’s Brexit from the ‘populist left’ could emerge from the Leave vote in the 2016 Referendum is another legacy of Farage.

Michael Crick’s One Party After Another, is a meticulous biography. That is to say, at 592 pages, excessively detailed. At Dulwich College “He had a thing about the National Front and would run into the classroom to chalk NF on the board, but obviously that was his initials as well.” “He was a deeply unembarrassed racist” David Edmonds recalls, “He used words like ‘wogs’ and ‘Pakis’.” After having got involved with the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and on its National Executive Committee he took some of his national comrades to a Mayfair Strip Club, “He was completely blotto. As I left, I saw Nigel’s head was wedged between one woman’s breasts. He confessed later he had no idea how he got home.”

The sparkling sherbets and the birds aside, it is surely the life-long racism that stands out. A controversial moment, when ‘King and Empire’ Farage is said to have suggested overturning a ban on running ex-National Front members as UKIP candidates, assuring his colleagues, “nig nogs will never vote for us”, is recounted at length.

Time at the London Metal Exchange pushed to the background and a serious illness Farage was “propelled into politics”. With “hatred of the European Union” bubbling up inside, that pushed him into the direction of the organised Euro-sceptic right. Crick covers the doings of UKIP. It starts from barely more than a hard right micro-party to rivalry with Germanophobe James Goldsmith’s deep-pocketed Referendum Party. We hear of the forgotten UKIP leader, Alan Sked who nurtured resentment against the biography’s subject, (Sked was last seen in alliance with George Galloway in the All for Unity alliance that stood in the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary election, getting nowhere). The volume covers their antics in the European Parliament, something perhaps Crick knows more about than anybody else alive.

The heart of the story is Farage’s election to the European Parliament in 1999 to the Dulwich scholar’s leadership of the party in 2006, and the decisive alliance with dodgy businessman Arron Banks in the 2016 poll, ‘The Bad Boys of Brexit’. It continues right up to the creation of the private business called the Brexit Party, passing by the enduring servile admiration and intimacy with the US loud-mouthed right, Trump upwards. The rest is history.

It is well to be reminded that by the 2015 General Election UKIP had become the third party in British politics, with 3,811,009 votes. Not one won a seat in the House of Commons. Nigel Farage failed in South Thanet: Tory Craig Mackinlay, 38,1% Nigel Farage UKIP 32,%, Will Scobie, Labour, 23,8%. An “old chum”, and former Kipper, Mackinlay crowed, “People here have shown there is no need for Nigel Farage and no need for UKIP”.

If you wish to plough through the exhaustive, fluently unravelling, chapters of One Party After Another, you will not discover much overt criticism of Farage – no doubt Michael Crick considers his weaving and dodging speaks for itself. Nor is there any new political insight into the rise of British national populism or hints on how its opponents might wage a successful counter-strategy. There are no proper comparisons with the leaders and development of such Euro-sceptic large (and domestically elected) hard right parties as the Rassemblement National, the Fratelli d’Italia or the Lega Nord, except in their capacity as part of the same alliances/groups of MEPs as UKIP or the Brexit Party in the Brussels and Strasbourg Parliament. But you will find the concluding response to this, hanging, stench full, in the air, “nobody can dispute that Nigel Farage achieved his goal of leaving the European Union. Without ever being a Westminster MP.” It is said that the leader of what is now Reform UK is a hit playing on the boards of GB TV.

Then there is this:

Written by Andrew Coates

August 6, 2022 at 5:57 pm

Jeremy Corbyn: “Pouring Arms into Ukraine” will “prolong and exaggerate this war.”

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Exclusive: Arms flow to Ukraine will not bring peace – Corbyn Al Mayadeen.

[“Al Mayadeen has its own critics who say the channel is backed by the regimes in Syria and Iran, making for its own set of biases. Not so, says Ghassan bin Jiddo, a well-known Tunisian journalist who heads Al Mayadeen.” (France 24. ‘Anti-Al Jazeera’ channel Al Mayadeen goes on air. 2012. “pro-Hezbollah Al Mayadeen TV” Times of Israel. 2022, Al-Mayadeen media, which is considered pro-Iran. Jerusalem Post. 2022. “In its coverage of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Al Mayadeen strictly follows the coverage guidelines published by the Russian State, with articles reflecting the general terms, storylines, and topics similar to those presented by Russian state media outlets to Russian audiences. For example, Al Mayadeen refers to the presence of Russian military within Ukraine as a “special military operation” rather than “invasion” or “war”.” Wikipedia.) The station has a studio in Tehran.].

“Pouring arms isn’t ‘gonna‘ bring back a solution”.

Jeremy Corbyn affirmed his opposition regarding the war in Ukraine, deeming Russia’s military operation in Ukraine “fundamentally wrong.” 

“Pouring arms in isn’t going to bring about a solution, It’s only going to prolong and exaggerate this war,” he asserted, expecting that this war will drag on for years.

The former Labour Party leader touched upon NATO’s expansion and the implications it has to the global economy and world peace: “Expanding NATO isn’t going to bring about a longer-term peace, [but it] will only bring about greater, greater strain and greater stress.”

Corbyn highlighted this,

…..the world woke up and suddenly realized that Russia and Ukraine are the world’s biggest grain exporters and something has to be done. So they came to an agreement , and I hope it holds, to export grain through Odessa and through the Bosphorus to the rest of the world. That is a good move, but at the same time, putting more and more arms into Ukraine isn’t going to bring about it [peace].”

It is noteworthy that last month, the British government announced that it will be providing $1.2 billion in military aid to Ukraine. 

Corbyn continued, “Ukrainians are dying. Ukrainians are going into exile here; Thousands and thousands. And Russian soldiers are dying, conscripted. Young Russian soldiers are dying. This war is disastrous for the people of Ukraine, for the people of Russia, and for the safety and security of the whole world. And therefore, there has to be more much more effort put into peace.”

Noting the European reception of Ukrainian refugees the former Labour leader took the opportunity to make a gratuitous swipe at Europe’s attitude towards those fleeing from the war in Yemen, a conflict in which Iran is a big player.

Corbyn spoke of the racist, double standards that Europe holds towards refugees: “Europe has been very welcoming of Ukrainian refugees, and that’s good, that’s right. Sadly, they’re not so welcoming and not so enabling of refugees coming from Yemen or anywhere else.”

The response to Corbyn is simple: if Ukraine is attacked by Russia what on earth is wrong with supplying it with arms to fight off the invasion?

Get a flavour of the politics of the Broadcaster Corbyn gives an interview to:

Written by Andrew Coates

August 2, 2022 at 12:00 pm

Frank Furedi (former leader, Revolutionary Communist Party/Spiked Guru) Backs Italian Far Right Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy).

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“Someone pledging to defend sovereignty and democracy” “called ‘fascist’ by technocrats who have done so much to trample over democracy” Frank Furedi.

Ni droite ni gauche : l’idéologie fasciste en France (1983), Neither Right nor Left: Fascist Ideology in France, by Zeev Sternhell is a book that deeply marked many people during the 1980s. The historian, who passed away in 2020, outlined what he saw as the cornerstones of French fascism, “the refusal of the Enlightenment, the criticism of democracy, the revolt against the Republic and against universalism.” Sternhell’s best known argument was that France was not immune from fascism and had seen, during the 1930s, strong, largely extra parliamentary, movements of the far-right. This view he, and other contributors, made in his last book,  L’Histoire refoulée : La Rocque, les Croix de feu, et la question du fascisme français, (2019) which is striking not just for its account of the violent street clashes of the ‘ligues’ but for the numbers of people who joined these “mass parties for Order”, 700,000 for the Croix de feu in 1935.

Neither Right nor Left was striking in outlining the fluid set of ideas and people circulating on the French far right, from the 1920s onwards. Sternhell had more controversially traced French fascism back to the Cercle Proudhon pre-Great War, which involved anti-parliamentarian syndicalists and the monarchist anti-Semites of Action française. Avowedly anti-democratic its target was the Third Republic, and in this respect academic linked it, through the participation of some of his disciples, to Georges Sorel, whose dislike of Parliamentarianism and, notably the manoeuvrings by local big-wigs of one of the largest forces in that period, the  le parti radical et radical-socialiste. For him, synthesising by great leaps from Sorel’s projecting of a future General Strike, and Maures’ integral nationalism’

“the Cercle Proudhon propounded a new ethic suited to the alliance of nationalism and syndicalism, those “two synthesizing and convergent movements, one at the extreme right and the other at the extreme left, that have begun the siege and assault on democracy.” Their solution was thus intended as a complete replacement of the liberal order. They wished to create a new world — virile, heroic, pessimistic, and puritanical — based on the sense of duty and sacrifice: a world where a morality of warriors and monks would prevail. They wanted a society dominated by a powerful avant-garde, a proletarian elite, an aristocracy of producers, joined in alliance against the decadent bourgeoisie with an intellectual youth avid for action. When the time came, it would not be difficult for a synthesis of this kind to take on the name of fascism. “

Many intellectual historians disagree with this lurid, broad brush, picture, notably Shlomo Sand,  in L’Illusion du politique. Georges Sorel et le débat 1900, (1984). in the years leading up to the Great War Sorel had some contacts with Action française, and readers of La Révolution dreyfusienne (1909) can detect a trace of anti-Semitism in the belief that the cause of Dreyfus had ended in “buffoonery” exploited by the “aristocratie républicaine” . But the revolutionary syndicalist ferociously opposed the Union sacrée behind the Nation in 1914 and stood against the First World War. His own apocalyptic bent found Sorel welcoming Lenin and the Bolshevik revolution before his death in 1922.

But the aspect of Neither Right nor Left that struck home, as have parallel studies by Michel Winock, was not as an historical explanation (there is a whole debate on demolishing its over-concertation and assertions on political ideology and literature). It was its description of what we would now call red-brown ideas. From neo-socialism, a socialism for the Nation (Marcel Déat), planning based on class co-operation and corporate bodies (the Belgium anti-Marxist social democrat, Henri de Mann), a national revival against “materialism” and the “dissolution of civilisation” by the forces of “capitalism, Marxism and liberalism”. Figures who moved from the left to these ideas include, most famously, the renegade leading Communist, Jacques Doriot, Mayor of Saint Denis, and his Parti populaire  Français (founded: 1934). The PPF’s ideology was of its time, calling for an “État populaire français”, corporatist and anticommunist. Globalising plutocrats figured amongst the enemies of these new “young” forces.

Democracy, a target in the 1930s, is not something populists attack, only its corruption by liberalism and corporate elites. The Will of the People, fighting the culture wars against “woke elites”, is, for today’s red-browners expressed through the rule of the Strongmen “looking for enemies abroad” as Gideon Rachman calls it. (The Age of the Strongman. 2022). If that is an echo of pre-war far-right so too are the transfers from left to right. There is one, perhaps better known than many. Erstwhile revolutionary communist and present-day Spiked Network eminence grise, Frank Furedi, like his national comrades on the web magazine, has gone from claiming to defend the Enlightenment, to standing up for Western Civilisation found an idol such in Victor Orbán, Hungary’s national populist PM (see previous Tendance posts).

Now he has discovered another figure. And she (in political terms a youthful 45) is Giorgia Meloni leader of the  Fratelli d’Italia, the Brothers of Italy. (Guardian: could Giorgia Meloni become Italy’s first far-right leader since Mussolini? Brothers of Italy leads far-right alliance in pole position for snap summer election.”)

The revenge of Italian democracy

The fall of Mario Draghi’s technocratic regime is a nightmare for the pro-EU elites.

Italians now have the opportunity to strike a blow for democracy and against the technocrats that have dominated Italian politics for too long. It won’t be easy. Italian elites, backed by Brussels and others, have so far managed to insulate the political system from democratic pressure, successfully neutralising supposedly populist parties, like the Five Star Movement. Whether they can continue to neutralise or buy off their political opponents remains to be seen.

“In response to this challenge, supporters of the technocratic status quo have been quick to describe the Brothers of Italy as fascist or crypto-fascist. This accusation rests on the Brothers of Italy’s history. It emerged in 2012 as the successor to the National Alliance, which itself emerged from the Italian Social Movement (1946-1995), formed by members of Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party. Meloni, for her part, has insisted that she ‘does not belong to the cult of fascism’.”

It is a sign of the times that someone pledging to defend sovereignty and democracy can be so easily called ‘fascist’ by technocrats who have done so much to trample over democracy.

“Either way, the Italian people will have a chance to reassert themselves this September. Democracy must return to Italy.”

We note this:

Frank Furedi’s The Road to Ukraine: How the West Lost its Way will be published by De Gruyter in September 2022.”

What will Furedi now say In Defence of the Occident?

Written by Andrew Coates

July 26, 2022 at 5:06 pm