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Posts Tagged ‘Europe

News from the Red-Brown Front: “Brexitphobia” Brendan O’Neill and Spiked’s Last Trumps on Eve of Election.

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Image result for anti brexit party poster

“Brexitphobia” and “shrill conspiratorial wild fantastical accusations”.

Last week red-brown strategist and National Populist was in a tizz.

Comparing criticism of Claire Fox (notably by Nick Cohen) to the homophobic campaign against Peter Tatchell during the 1983 Bermondsey elections his rage new few bounds (The desperate bid to slur the Brexit Party )

Fox, and his other mates from the Revolutionary Communist Party/Spiked were targets of a “smear” about paedophilia, an oligarchical McCarthyism witch-hunt against pro-Brexit democrats

They stood, along with the Three Yorkshiremen – cruelly mocked by class prejudiced ‘comics’  – the Chevalier de la Barre, executed for not saluting a religious procession in 1766, and Galileo, as martyrs the centuries old fight for independent thought.

Now Brendan has a new target, “Brexitphobia”, the “the Brexitphobic sections of the political and chattering classes.”

These latest smears against the Brexit Party are disgraceful” the pugnacious plebe adds, “actually.”

The truth about the Brexit Party’s ‘dark money’

Think about it: just days before the Euro elections, a former PM and his army of cheerleaders are throwing dirt and allegations at the party that looks set to win those elections.

The columnist concludes, “millions of people will be watching these dirty tricks by the morally knackered political elite.”

Claire Fox has been – as the Central Committee has commanded – speaking in the same vein.

As the far-right Express reports yesterday,

Brexiteer Claire Fox broke into an outraged rant at the “vile and horrible” behaviour towards Brexiteers at a Brexit Party rally in Bolton on Monday. The Brexit Party MEP candidate added that it is tempting to “lash out” but insisted Brexiteers should “rise above” the “wild conspiracy theories”. She said: “There is a sense of desperation in the air from the opponents of Brexit.

While they are dolling out insults and abuse coming out fast and furious with a kind of shrill conspiratorial wild fantastical accusations and vile muckraking.

“They are in danger of debasing public life.

“One Guardian journalist described the atmosphere of a rally, much like this, in Yorkshire last week said it was the Blitz spirit whipped up into a lynch mob.

With admirable restraint Feisty Fox continued,

It is tempting to lash out, it is tempting but we will not resort to their tactics.

“It is fantastic to see here throughout the country and even on social media, Brexit party candidates and supporters are rising above this muckraking.

“As they go even lower, we must go even higher”

Spiked latest post includes a defence of the forgotten people, who had no voice in politics, happy to have found the Brexit Party, Trump and the Australian hard right PM Scott Morrison.

The rise of the blue-collar patriots

Their socially conservative nature – patriotic, family-oriented, community-spirited – must be better appreciated, and certainly not subject to the level of abuse and ridicule that has been displayed in recent times.

Post-materialist over-indulgence and an unhealthy obsession with identity politics is costing the political left dear across the West. Blue-collar patriots, who have demonstrated astonishing party loyalty over the generations, have had enough.

Dr Rakib Ehsan is a Spiked columnist and a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society.

How true, how very true.

Claire Fox had it tough. She used to have to get up out of the shoebox at twelve o’clock at night. She had half a handful of freezing cold gravel, worked twenty-four hours a day at the mill for fourpence every six years, and when she got home, her Dad would slice her in two with a bread knife.

In a further plus for the Red-Brown Front another self-identifying ‘socialist’ joins,

Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen an NHS dentist, senior trade union official and a socialist, who lives in London and is standing in the North West of England as a candidate.

And can anybody understand why the Labour Party is in favour of this? This is the Labour Party which was founded for the purpose of defending working-class communities against the elite. Now we find the Labour Party siding with the establishment and turning its back on those very communities. Five million Labour Leave voters have been left politically homeless and I say to those people: the Brexit Party will speak up for you.

I’m standing for the Brexit Party to stop the EU overturning democracy as they did in my native Denmark.Europe,

More on Spiked’s parent body:

 

 

 

Here.

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Ireland, Irexit and the Manipulations of the British National Populist Right.

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National Populists Try to Enter Irish Politics.

(Thanks to Jim for this latest)

For anybody wishing to understand Brexit  Ireland is at the forefront.

Irish commentators, starting with Fintan O’Toole,  whose Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain has marked the whole debate, have written some of the finest articles and books on the issues involved.

Sharper than a serpent’s tooth O’Tool bit the National Populist right of Spiked,

“His sneering at Leave voters smacks of aristocratic elitism.” writes the hybrid Norman surnamed Michael Fitzpatrick.

Anybody who knows Irish people, and left-wing activists in or from Ireland, will realise that a great deal is at stake.

For those who have been asleep for the last few years this is the sticking point,

Brexit: What is the Irish border backstop? BBC.

A key part of the Brexit negotiations was about the border that separates Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Last month, EU leaders approved a withdrawal deal with the UK that includes an agreement on the Irish border.

Both sides committed to avoiding the return of a “hard border” – physical checks or infrastructure – after Brexit.

This is where the controversial “backstop” comes in.

The backstop is a position of last resort, to maintain an open border on the island of Ireland in the event that the UK leaves the EU without securing an all-encompassing deal.

At present, goods and services are traded between the two jurisdictions on the island of Ireland with few restrictions.

The UK and Ireland are currently part of the EU single market and customs union, so products do not need to be inspected for customs and standards.

..

And that had been a problem in the UK?

That is an understatement.

If a backstop only applied to Northern Ireland, then the customs and regulatory border would essentially be drawn down the middle of the Irish Sea.

Goods coming into Northern Ireland from elsewhere in the UK would have to be checked to make sure they met EU standards.

Any separate status for Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK is seen as potentially damaging to the union as a whole.

As such, Prime Minister Theresa May continually rejected the EU’s proposal saying it would threaten the constitutional integrity of the UK.

She suggested a backstop that would see the UK, as a whole, remaining aligned with the EU customs union for a limited time after 2020.

Her proposal, published in June, contained nothing about single market regulatory issues, which are probably more important than customs in terms of maintaining a soft border.

The highly recommended Sráid Marx An Irish Marxist Blog discusses the left’s response in depth.

He analyses this aspect of the thorny subject with all the seriousness it needs, in a 3 part series,

Should socialists support a border poll? 1

One consequence of Brexit has been louder demands for a border poll and the legitimacy of a test of support for a united Ireland, on the basis that Brexit breaches the Good Friday Agreement (GFA).

I have argued before that Brexit does not breach the GFA although it does exacerbate its failures and does involve increased tension between the British and Irish Governments, who are the custodians of the agreement.  It does catalyse increased instability and it does give rise to expectations that support for a united Ireland will have increased as a result. I have also argued that while this may be the case it is unlikely that a poll would result in a vote within the North for a united Ireland.

Those following the issue have not failed to notice that after its creation earlier this year a party in Ireland advocating Irexit, Irish withdrawal from the EU has got publicity. The Irish Freedom Party, also known as Irexit Freedom to Prosper (IrishÉire Amach: Cumann na Saoirse).

It began with this in February.

 Last weekend, a group of 600 people, drawn to an appearance by leading Brexit flame-fanner Nigel Farage in Dublin, showed that there is some public appetite for an exit from the EU like the British, or at least that more questions be asked about the direction the EU is heading in.

Irexit: Could it be Ireland’s next big political movement?

But it was this, in March, which grabbed wider attention:

British Far Right Extremism Manipulating Ireland

Irexit Parody. Medium.

This story covers the evidence of ongoing British far right groups trying to influence Irish people towards an Irish exit from the EU. These people do not have Irish people’s interests at heart. It is about pushing their own personal Anti-EU, right-wing messaging, while pretending the genesis of that project originated within Ireland.

The excellent article should be read in full but this should whet people’s appetite.

About a month back, after seeing endless UK based social media accounts pushing Irexit, I was drawn into trying to figure out where these accounts originated. The Irexit party seemed to have an official party website created by a fake web development company. (I did get to the bottom of who runs that but I don’t believe they are relevant to this story). However, I also noticed the unofficial social marketing campaign around Irexit, was being run under the Muintir na héireann website and social media accounts. This is where in the terms and conditions of the Muintir na héireann website, I found the first link to infamous British far right individuals. Muintir na héireann’s terms and conditions pointed to the same address as the European Knights Project and Liberty Defenders..

Jack Sen, real name Dilip Sengupta, is a self-styled spin doctor for nationalist movements. He manages websites and social media campaigns to promote his own beliefs and those of prominent figures in far right extremism. In between his regular Skype’s with David Duke (former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan), Jack Sen took time to run for election with his associates within UKIP, only to be thrown out at the last minute for public anti-Semitism comments about labour candidate Luciana Berger’s Jewish ethnicity.

This is the conclusion:

Some serious questions do need to be asked.

  1. Why would, after throwing him out of UKIP, Nigel Farage and/or his associates again use or aid a known neo nazi, to support the Irexit campaign?
  2. How would Hermann Kelly, who lives in brussels working in PR for Nigel Farage’s EU party EFDD, be allowed the freedom to return to Ireland to form a new anti-EU party, without that being the express wishes of Nigel Farage himself?
  3. Where did the Irexit campaign get all its funding from?
  4. Where did the Irexit campaign get all its funding from?
  5. Where did the Irexit campaign get all its funding from?
  6. After Hermann Kelly’s involvement in libertas and that funding fiasco, why would our media choose to give this even a second worth of airtime to platform the next move? https://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/politics/ganley-confirms-libertas-got-cash-from-hedge-fund-group-102147.html
  7. Finally it is clear that the Irexit Party do not stand alone but have the backing and support of a cabal of other “independent” candidates and parties. Why do irish people have to go to some random twitter account to see this? Why is our established media not better at explaining these interconnections to our voters? More on the interconnections here — https://twitter.com/IrexitP/status/1126986431065415681/photo/1

Parts of the Irish left, such as the Communist Party of Ireland and the Socialist Party also oppose EU membership, though the latter is not clear if this means just Brexit or Irexit as well.

The Socialist Party, which has 3 TDs in the Dail, makes this observation,

It is essential that the workers’ movement also considers the potential impact of the withdrawal agreement on sectarian divisions in the North. The draft agreement outlines a scenario in which there will be a developing East-West border. This will increase sectarian tension and weaken workers’ unity, and we are opposed to the agreement on this basis. The trade union movement should reverse its current position and come out against the draft agreement.

We have been warned that if the agreement is not voted through the UK will crash out of the EU, and a hardening of the North-South border will then be “inevitable”. If this were to happen it will increase sectarian tension and weaken workers’ unity. We are resolutely opposed to this scenario too. We do not accept that border checks or controls on the North-South border are in fact inevitable. The trade union movement must oppose, and refuse to implement when possible, such measures.

The Brexit Calamity & the Role of the Workers Movement

How this can be reconciled with their backing Brexit, and how such a result could happen, is, apparently a matter for the workers’ movement, in some misty land where everything turns out right if the correct line is followed.

Since the Socialist Party has yet to support Irexit we are left even deeper in the dark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enoch Powell, Europe, Farage, the Working Class and the Brexit Party.

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Image result for paul foot enoch powell

Founder of British National Populism.

Enoch Powell was the first post-war politician in Britain to take an openly racist political position.

He, above all amongst Conservatives, is still recognised as a key political figure of the late 20th century.

What is is his legacy?

This is a helpful summary:

The ‘ultimate impact’ of Powell on the discourse on immigration and ‘race relations’ in Britain was ‘to shift it further to the right’.[7] Also taken up by Margaret Thatcher in her 1978 statements on immigration on Granada TV’s World in Action, Powell’s remarks have provided a rudimentary framework for attacks on immigration and multiculturalism ever since.

The Legacy of Enoch Powell. Hatful of History.

Paul Foot wrote his obituary in 1998.

Everyone who wrote about him was certain of one thing: Enoch Powell was not a racist. He ‘said things we didn’t agree with’ (Tony Blair). He was ‘an extreme nationalist, but not a racialist’ (Denis Healey). He inspired racialists ‘but was not a racialist himself’ (Tony Benn). The Tory papers which revered him and called for parliament to be prorogued in his memory would not contemplate the possibility that he was a racialist. The unanimity was complete. Which is all very odd because the most important thing by far about Enoch Powell was that he was a racist pig of the most despicable variety.

The point is easily proved. In a private speech to lobby correspondents some years before he started speaking in public on immigration, he said, ‘Often when I am kneeling down in church I think to myself how much we should thank god, the holy ghost, for the gift of capitalism.’ Powell believed in capitalism just as a religious nut believes in the holy ghost. When fighting elections in Wolverhampton he would spell out the ‘simple choice’ between ‘free enterprise and a planned society’. He gloried in what he called the symmetry of capitalism. Ponderously, with a deliberate form of speech which many mistook for careful thought, he explained how the market drove and inspired the capitalist economy to ever higher summits of perfection. There was only one condition: that capital should be left to find its own place and its own direction.

Beyond the Powell

Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech, in 1968,  issued dire warnings about the impact of immigration, was followed by these working class actions,

After the “Rivers of Blood” speech, Powell was transformed into a national public figure and won huge support across the UK. Three days after the speech, on 23 April, as the Race Relations Bill was being debated in the House of Commons 1,000 dockers marched on Westminster protesting against the “victimisation” of Powell, with slogans such as “we want Enoch Powell!” and “Enoch here, Enoch there, we want Enoch everywhere”. The next day, 400 meat porters from Smithfield market handed in a 92-page petition in support of Powell, amidst other mass demonstrations of working-class support, much of it from trade unionists, in London and Wolverhampton.

This was only the tip of the iceberg. At the end of April showed that 74% of those asked agreed with his speech and only 15% disagreed, with 11% unsure. The controversy divided the country, with many working class people backing Powell. One of my father’s brothers, a shop-steward in a car-plant in the Midlands, agreed with the Tory Toff. For over a decade my Dad refused to speak to him. In my North London secondary school some of the cockneys (often skinheads) and my friends had fights over ‘Good ol’ Enoch’.

Powell was also an ardent opponent of British membership of the European Union, or Common Market/European Economic Community, was it was known in the 1970s.

This was his view. on what was at stake over British membership of this alliance of states based on pooled sovereignty.

The House of Commons is at this moment being asked to agree to the renunciation of its own independence and supreme authority—but not the House of Commons by itself. The House of Commons is the personification of the people of Britain: its independence is synonymous with their independence; its supremacy is synonymous with their self-government and freedom. Through the centuries Britain has created the House of Commons and the House of Commons has moulded Britain, until the history of the one and the life of the one cannot be separated from the history and life of the other.

 Do not be deceived. With other weapons and in other ways the contention is as surely about the future of Britain’s nationhood as were the combats which raged in the skies over southern England in the autumn of 1940. The gladiators are few; their weapons are but words; and yet the fight is everyman’s.

Speech at Newton, Montgomeryshire (4 March 1972), from The Common Market: Renegotiate or Come Out

It does not take much to see these views echoed in the present Brexit debate, from the European Research Group to Spiked and the Full Brexit.

Powell as a National Populist, with race, nation, People., Sovereignty, all welded together by a demagogue.

In 1974  Powell took this line:

Powell described British membership of the European Economic Community (EEC) as “if there be a conflict between the call of country and that of party, the call of country must come first” and went on to say: Curiously, it so happens that the question ‘Who governs Britain?’ which at the moment is being frivolously posed, might be taken, in real earnest, as the title of what I have to say. This is the first and last election at which the British people will be given the opportunity to decide whether their country is to remain a democratic nation, governed by the will of its own electorate expressed in its own Parliament, or whether it will become one province in a new European superstate under institutions which know nothing of the political rights and liberties that we have so long taken for granted.

Speech to an audience of around 1,500 people on 23 February 1974 about British membership of the EEC. 

If the electoral system had been different, if ‘start up’ virtual parties, funded by right-wing millionaires and far right US allies had existed, who knows if Powell would have done. He could have led a political force, like the Brexit Party., As it was Powell’s only direct political intervention of any electoral significance was perhaps his call in 1974 to vote Labour, in the belief that they would oppose British membership of the EU.In the 1975 Referendum over EEC membership.

During the 1975 contest  Michel Foot and other left figures of the Labour Party, such as Peter Shore, Barbara Castle, and the right-winger Eric Varley  opposed to EEC membership notoriously appeared on platforms with Powell. Tony Benn would also campaign against the Common Market. The Communist Party of Great Britain clung onto the ‘No’s shirt tails.

Powell ended his political career as an Ulster Unionist, a group whose presence is a key to present Tory turmoil over Brexit

For reasons rooted in their own support for a Sovereign Britain free to make deals with the un-elected WTO, the remains of this patriotic left are keen to underline working class support for Brexit.

The Brexit Bolsheviks even have a direct line to  how the working class thinks.

During the week the daily of the Labour boycotting Communist Party of Britain, the Morning Star had this editorial during the week.

Labour must recapture the anger of working-class Leave voters

The rising index of voters signifying their intention to vote for Farage’s Brexit business entity is the direct consequence of the failure of our deeply unrepresentative parliamentary system to give effect to the Brexit vote and, more directly, it is the product of a deepening reservoir of contempt for mainstream politicians.

The Labour Party’s big losses are among people where the Leave vote signified working-class anger.

This is not a healthy situation. Labour needs to recapture its insurgent spirit and find a shared language with the millions of people it needs if it is to form a government.

These are among the millions who seem unprepared to vote for its candidates in next week’s election.

Yet what exactly is the electoral basis of this ‘anger’?

Yesterday Peter Kellner demolished some myths about the working class anti-Brexit vote.

The polls are clear – Labour’s Brexit tactics are failing spectacularly. Peter Kellner

The party is haemorrhaging votes in the mistaken belief that the leave tendency is driven by its working-class base

“A YouGov analysis of more than 25,000 voters suggests the following division of leave voters in the referendum, linked to the 2017 election result.

• Middle-class leave voters: Conservative 5.6 million; Labour 1.6 million.

• Working-class leave voters: Conservative 4.4 million; Labour 2.2 million. (A few of the remaining 3.6 million leave voters supported smaller parties; most did not vote in 2017.)”

“So the largest block of leave voters were middle-class Conservatives, followed by working-class Conservatives. Just one in eight leave voters was a working-class Labour supporter. To be sure, had even half of these 2.2 million voters backed remain, the result of the referendum would be different. But to suggest that the referendum’s 17.4 million leave voters were dominated by working-class Labour supporters is simply wrong.”

Kellner concludes,

None of this addresses the wisdom of Labour’s policy towards Brexit and a new referendum. All it does is indicate that its policy is specifically haemorrhaging remain votes without enhancing its appeal to leave voters. If the party’s aim was to maximise support next week by appealing to both remain and leave Britain, it is failing spectacularly.

This is obviously far from the last word on the electoral sociology of this election.

As this indicates.

But the issue of those working class Brexit backers is above all a political one.

There are still Lexiters (left supporters of Brexit) who believe that the anger of what Kellner indicates is in a majority the rage of  conservative (both small and Big ‘C’) sections of the working class  and their counterparts in the Middle Class Tory voters,  contains within it the seeds of a genuine People’s Brexit, a fight against EU ‘neo-liberalism’.

The kind of “insurgent spirit” of the Smithfield Porters…

They are unlikely to be convinced by Kellner since they have a hotline to what the ‘real’ workers think.

In case others, fed up with the whole show, think this is a battle between two nationalisms, this should concentrate their minds.

The Brexit Party combines exactly the same extreme nationalism, hard line free-market policies as Powell.

Enoch Powell would not doubt have been happy to get this kind of support:

 

The Resistible Rise of the National Populist Brexit Party.

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Nigel Farage, the Brexit Party and National Populism.

Last week Lewis Goodhall published a widely read piece,  Brexit: The conditions are ripe for the biggest backlash imaginable. The “referendum itself might be considered as mere prologue to the main populist act” the Sky political correspondent observed, “ultimately, the referendum will be best understood as the apotheosis of a eurosceptic battle, not as the populist war itself.” Attending a public meeting of the Brexit Party he observed, “I’ve never been to a Trump rally – but I imagine, from everything I’ve seen and heard – that what I experienced on the Fylde wasn’t a million miles away.”

Today opinion polls put the party that is standing in the European elections on the ‘simple’ programme of leaving the European Union with no withdrawal agreement is outperforming Labour and Conservatives combined.

The Observer reports today,

The Opinium survey for the Observer places the Brexit party on 34%, when people were asked how they intended to vote on 23 May, with Labour slipping to 21% and the Conservatives collapsing to just 11%. Ominously for Theresa May, support for the Tories at the European elections is now less than a third of that for Farage’s party, and below that for the Liberal Democrats, who are on 12%.

The Brexit Party was formally launched on the 12th of April. It is now standing candidates across the country for the 23rd of May contest and intends to run in the next General Election. Apart from the support from former Conservative Minister Anne Widdecombe and Annunziata Rees-Mogg the sister of leading Tory Brexiteer, Jacob Rees Mogg, the party attracted attention for the candidacies of former Revolutionary Communist Party members, Claire Fox, Alka Sehgal Cuthbert, James Heartfield and Stuart Waiton now contributors to the Trump admiring libertarian Spiked. George Galloway, former leader of the ‘socialist’ Respect, endorsed the list. A microscopic group the Communist Party of Great Britain-Marxist Leninist, has joined in, calling for support and the hardest Brexit possible.

Matthew Goodwin, the author with Roger Eatwell of National Populism (2018) considers that the Brexit Party indicates that Farage’s party shows that in Britain  “political de-alignment’ is underway. With some echoes of Trump’s support, the Brexit Party is part of the rise in Europe national populist parties. There are conflicts over “values”, “Brexit is certainly one of them but there are many others such as immigration, terrorism, refugees, climate change, minority rights and the steady advance of social liberalism.” Goodwin concludes that this “is also coinciding with a breakdown of tribal loyalty to the main parties, which is making it easier for new populists and other challengers to break through.” (1)

In 2014 Christophe Gilley (Le Crépuscule de la France d’en haut) developed a similar theme. The tribune of la France “périphérique”, the ‘left behind” zones away from the globalised metropolises, asserted that political disaffection led to the “marronage” (on the model of the runaway slaves called ‘maroons’ who established their own free communities in the Caribbean) of the “popular” classes from traditional political parties. For the author voting for (what was then) the Front National indicated defiance of the “modèle mondialisé” (2)

National Populism.

National Populism is a sketch of these populist parties, largely centred on Europe. From UKIP, the French Front National (now Rassemblement National) – never in government – to President Trump, Orban’s Hungary, Matteo Slavini’s  Lega in Italy, the Freedom parties in the Netherlands and Austria.

To explain their growth the book begins with some reasonable sounding phrases, concern at  “rapid ethnic change” a fear of relative deprivation, under the effects of  “neoliberal globalisation” (whose economics are not explored). It continues with the perceived threat of  “ethnic destruction” as the springboard for the National Populist demand for “national independence and identity”. The book ends with this claim, “We do not think the term “racism” should be applied solely because people seek to retain the broad parameters of the ethnic base of country and its national identity, even though this can involve discriminating against outside groups.” (3)

Goodwin’s earlier study of UKIP (with Robert Ford) described Farage’s old party as appealing to “the ageing, shrinking and left behind white working class” which Labour had ignored in its “modernising” years under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. This continues to another sweeping generalisation, “White working class voters no longer saw Labour as a party sensitive to their concerns but as part of the problem.” (4)

It is too early to map the sociology of the Brexit Party. Or to indicate to what degree ‘ethnic’ issues motivate its supporters. But perhaps Goodhall offers a clue. In an outline of the pro-Brexit forces from an after the Referendums, he states, “It was not so much people versus elites but a clear coalition of wealthy and poor, connected and isolated, northern and southern. Far from an outsider clique, its campaign leaders were senior cabinet minister The Brexit Party’s message is simple and familiar: they took your country from you, now they’ve taken your democracy too. And “they” are the elites, those who hate the culture of the people, the values of the people, the democracy of the people.”

A central feature of the Brexit Party itself has yet to be examined. It is, in the mould of a number of new European populist parties, not just Leader dominated but entirely the property of one Nigel Farage. It is, he says, “a company not a political party“. This is in many senses a trait not just of right wing populists. Farage’s rival French President Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche, was created like a business ‘start up’ and has only a gestural internal life. La France insoumise of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, is a “movement” a “un lieu de Rassemblement” that is a rallying point, with no competing internal platforms. Policies are decided on-high and then approved by E-Mail. As quickly as anybody who displeases the owner of the Brexit Party critics of Mélenchon discover that they are out on a limb. (5)

Farage’s outfit is everything but the creation of the ‘left behind’ the peripheral regions, the downtrodden working class. It has nothing in common with the British labour movement, created by workers themselves. It is the spin of ponces working in offices on the model of Trump and his alt-right communication specialists – a milieu Farage, along with finance capital, is intimately linked with. It is, and in this we agree with Goodwin, if nothing else, it is national populist, putting their idea of the nation above everything else, against the “non-people”, the rootless cosmopolitan internationalists. That is, it is against the left, the labour movement, and democratic politics.

Betrayal

The Brexit Party has one main story, that of ‘Betrayal”. Apart from the hard-right media, such as the Express, this is promoted by the former leftists of Spiked,  “This betrayal narrative” states Chris Gilligan “that Spiked share with Farage, George Batten (UKIP’s new leader) and Tommy Robinson (former figurehead of the far-right English Defence League (EDL), and currently an ‘adviser’ to UKIP), is a recurring theme in Spiked commentary on Brexit.” Spiked itself boils it down to demanding democracy against the willful manipulations of pro-EU politicians. (6)

This portrayal of the Brexit issue as a conflict between the “democracy of the people” and the treacherous ‘Oligarchy’ may be hard to shape by advocates of Left-wing populism. Chantal Mouffe has spoken of how all demands for democracy could be taken up by the left, may find hard to reshape in their own image. The Brexit Party has, if nothing else, a “strong libidinal investment” in its national “form of identification”. Jean-Luc Mélenchon declares in an interview with El pais this week, that he continues to consider himself not in terms of left and right but in relation to ” “El pueblo y la oligarquía” , the people (against) the oligarchy Jean-Luc Mélenchon ( “Los tratados de la UE niegan a Francia sus necesidades”). But only under 10% of French voters identify with his rally as part of the People. (7)

The difficulty becomes all the more acute in that a large part of the British left, inside or outside the Labour Party has not stood up for the democracy of the peoples, a project to work with the rest of the European left to transform the European Union. There have been feeble attempts to ignore the need to confront Farage, and describe the British divisions over Brexit as a conflict between “two” rival nationalisms. Rhetoric about ‘elites’ may not have reached the paranoiac delirium of Jaun Banco’s recent Crépuscule and its attack on the “imperium” of the “oligarchie parisienne”. But we have seen in the Full Brexit (which brings together Communist Party of Britain members and Spiked writers, including the Brexit Party candidate James Heartfield), and in the writing of New Left review contributor, Wolfgang Streeck, a willingness to indulge the fantasies of the hard-right about a European Empire.  (8)

Is it any wonder that the Weekly Worker prints this last Friday,

The second important motion debated concerned LAW’s attitude to the European elections – especially in view of George Galloway’s call to support the right wing Brexit Party on May 23. Perhaps surprisingly, this had been met with various degrees of approval from some Lexiteers, including comrades on LAW’s unofficial Facebook group.

Can the Labour Party’s European election campaign “unite” both sides of the Brexit debate? Given the issues discussed here, nothing is less probable. The Brexit Party is more than a virtual ballot box and Net operation: it has tapped into public opinion. Only a sustained effort to uproot them, to face them down with an internationalist pro-European stand, and work to expose their hard right, anti-popular politics, can build the electoral coalition to defeat them. If need be street action against the Brexit Bullies may be called for.

Today,

Nigel Farage has meltdown on Andrew Marr accusing him of ‘worst interview ever’.

Nigel Farage flew into a rage at Andrew Marr during a heated exchange, accusing the BBC presenter of ‘the most ridiculous interview ever’. Farage grew increasingly incensed throughout the interview after Marr repeatedly brought up a series of controversial comments the Brexit Party leader had said in the past. He was asked whether he still supported ‘replacing the NHS with a private insurance based system’ and also whether he still believed global warming was the ‘stupidest thing in human history’. The Brexit Party leader also appeared to forget he had advocated a second referendum on membership of the EU, after telling Marr that conducting one would be ‘the ultimate betrayal’. Marr proceeded to play a clip from January 2018, where Farage said ‘we should have a second referendum’. Growing increasingly frustrated, he told Marr: ‘Do you want to discuss these European elections or not?

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  1. Are these the last gasps of our old political order? Matthew Goodwin. Unherd. 5th of May.  See also his: The end of trust in our political class

  2. Page 174. Christophe Gilley Le Crépuscule de la France d‘en haut 2017 (2014)

  3. Page 75 National Populism. The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy. Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin. 2018.

  4. Page 133. Revolt on the Right. Explaining Support for the radical Right in Britain.  Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin. 2014.
  5. À propos du mouvement «La France insoumise». Mélenchon. “ les processus de « démocratie interne » sont également à l’œuvre. Mais dans le mouvement, on s’efforce de ne jamais en faire un sujet de conflictualité interne. Il n’y a donc pas de « majorité », de « minorités », pas de plateformes concurrentes, pas d’orientation générale opposée les unes aux autres. Autrement dit : le mouvement se soucie d’abord d’être inclusif et collectif davantage que formellement « démocratique », sachant à quelles violences et dérives conduisent les soi-disant pratiques « démocratiques » organisées par les règlements intérieur des partis traditionnels. Le mouvement n’a qu’une référence idéologique commune a tous ses membres : le programme.
  6. Brexit and ‘left’ cover for Farage and UKIP by Chris Gilligan
  7. Page 71. For a Left Populism. Chantal Mouffe. Verso. 2018.
  8. Wolfgang Streeck – The European Union is a liberal empire, and it is about to fall

Socialist Labour Party Wins Over Hartlepool Councillors.

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Proud and Patriotic Socialist Labour Party on ‘Brexit Day’.

The Socialist Labour Party, founder Arthur Scargill, still exists (thanks to Steve and for more information, John).

In the news today,

SLP Welcomes Hartlepool Councillors

We are delighted to announce that Hartlepool borough councillors, Allan Barclay and Sandra Belcher, have joined Socialist Labour. On behalf of the SLP they will contest the local elections on 2nd May

With many years of service to the people of the town, Councillor Belcher who represents Jesmond Ward and Councillor Barclay who represents Manor House ward will carry the flag for Socialist Labour in Hartlepool

All our members, supporters and voters we feel sure will join us in congratulating our councillors who have declared their support for our policies. We wish them every success on 2nd May

STOP PRESS Since the local elections FOUR more Hartlepool councillors have quit Labour and joined the SLP.

The Hartlepool Mail reported on Thursday.

The leader of Hartlepool Council Christopher Akers-Belcher has tonight resigned from the Labour Party, as have Marjorie James and Ann Marshall.

Councillor Akers-Belcher told the Mail his decision came on the back of what he says has been a lack of action by the party over complaints about “ongoing bullying, harassment, racism and anti-Semitism” which he submitted in August and then again in October.

He said he had told senior officers within the party he did not intend to lead for another term, but that conflict between them continued, and that his predicted fall in support for the party across the Tees Valley has been realised because of the issues.

The resignations by Coun Akers-Belcher and Coun Marshall, who both represent the Foggy Furze wards, and Coun James, who is a ward member for Manor House, follow in the footsteps of others, who have left to join the Socialist Labour Party.

They include Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher, who was initially suspended from Labour before he resigned and is Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher’s husband, Allan Barclay, who lost his seat in last week’s local election after standing for the Socialist Labour Party, and Coun Sandra Belcher, Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher’s mother.

On Brexit they  they have published this, (April).

The British people and Socialists voted to leave this bastion of Capitalism which is based on a Customs Union, a Single Market and Free Movement of Workers and Capital.

So far Britain’s membership of the EU has cost British workers jobs, an annual deficit in trade with the EU of over £85 billion, an annual membership fee of £25 billion plus being ruled be
unelected bureaucrats in Brussels.

In the name of all those who fought for freedom, I call for a ‘No Deal’ exit from the evil European Union.

Arthur Scargill Leader, Socialist Labour Party 3rd April 2019

Here is their call for a Boycott of the European Elections.

PRESS RELEASE
Boycott EU Elections Says Scargill

The Socialist Labour Party has repeatedly made clear it will not stand any candidates in the European elections or support any party, organisation or individual standing in these elections.

Participation in these elections is in breach of the democratic vote of the British people in 2016. The SLP’s position was clear long before that of the Communist Party of Britain and/or the Morning Star, or any other body or individual still confused.

The SLP also urges that as many Party members as possible should stand in local authority elections, thereby conveying our message on not only a local but national and international basis to voters within those boundaries.

We will never have a fair, democratic electoral system in the United Kingdom until we introduce a system based on proportional representation: a principle which was a cornerstone of the Labour Representation Committee in 1900. The French government has just conceded it will introduce democratic proportional representation for all elections, and the UK must be  pressured to do the same.

Arthur Scargill Leader, Socialist Labour Party 26th of April.

 

After Brexit Failures National Populists in Continental Europe Pull Back from ‘Frexit’ and ‘Italexit’.

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Image result for frexit

Frexit no longer popular even on Far-right.

For some months there have been reports in the French press that the far-right Rassemblement national (RN) of Marine Le Pen has been distancing itself from Frexit, the demand that France leave the European Union.

Some small French far-right parties continue with this policy, notably the L’Union populaire républicaine of François Asselineau and the Front National  (which is the now the RN) break-away,  Les Patriotes of Florian Philippott. The demand is sometimes echoed by a fringe of the Gilets Jaunes. (1)

But after speculation the RN itself formally announced this in April:

Européennes : Marine Le Pen renonce officiellement au Frexit dans son projet (France-Inter)

 Pour la première fois, noir sur blanc, Marine Le Pen n’évoque plus la sortie de l’Union européenne et de la zone euro.

For the first time, in black and white, Marine Le Pen does not mention leaving the European Union and the Euro zone.

Followed more recently by this speech, denouncing the European Union ‘prison’ without calling to escape from it.

Frexit had been a key RN policy right up to the party’s Presidential campaign in 2017.

Despite this turn the far-right party still has plenty of nationalist ‘reforms’ in mind starting with the abolition of the European Commission in favour of straight-forward intergovernmental negotiations, and continuing up to plans to impose harsh controls over all forms of migration inside or from outside the EU.

But this change indicates two things.

Firstly the disaster that is Brexit has deterred others following.

The second, is that if elected Farage’s Brexit Party will not find such willing allies in the European Parliament, out to join with them to do what they can to destroy the European Union.

There are also growing indications that European national populists face an obvious difficulty. How can nationalists, whose whole raison d’être is to promote ‘their’ nation’ work with those with the same basis in other nations in an international project.

A further point arises.

Former leftist, New Left Review author and Spiked contributor Wolfgang Streeck has staked his hopes on the Fall of the European Empire and such “anti-imperialist” (his description) forces as the German AfD on the far-right. (2)

It might seem that those, some claiming to be on the left, rubbing their hands in glee at the destruction of the European “liberal empire” with the help of the national populists may have been celebrating too soon. (2)

Today France 24 reports,

 France’s Marine Le Pen, Italy’s Salvini forge far-right alliance to ‘overhaul EU from within’

 

In a change of strategy, nationalist party leaders Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini are now promising voters a far-right bloc to overhaul the EU from within. But experts say it will be difficult for nationalists across Europe to co-operate.

At present, the European far-right is split across three umbrella groups. In addition to its linchpins the National Rally and the League, the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) bloc has expanded to encompass the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD), as well as an array of smaller Scandinavian and Eastern European far-right parties.

However, other nationalist outfits such as Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party and the Swedish Democrats sit in the European Conservatives and Reformists group, while the UK’s Brexit Party and Lithuania’s Order and Justice are part of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group.

..

In light of this fragmentation, “Salvini is trying to unite the far right populist groups ahead of the European elections”, in a new grouping that would further expand ENF, noted Vasiliki Tsagkroni, a lecturer in political science specialising in European populism at the University of Leiden, in an interview with FRANCE 24.

An integral part of this plan is Salvini’s and Le Pen’s gambit to woo a big beast of the European far-right, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose Fidesz party was suspended from the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) – currently largest group in the European Parliament – in March.

Amid the inextricable difficulties Brexit has created for the UK, Le Pen and Salvini have had to pivot towards proposing to upend the EU from within because they realised they had to ditch their previous vote-losing ‘Frexit’ and ‘Italexit’ agendas.

The National Rally 2019 European election manifesto contains no reference to leaving the euro or the EU – both key planks of Le Pen’s failed 2017 presidential campaign. “We didn’t have much choice: either we had to submit [to the EU] or we had to leave it. But now we have allies,” Le Pen glossed it. Likewise, Salvini’s League dropped its anti-euro stance in late 2018, with its economic spokesperson saying that leaving the single currency is “not possible”.

“Most of these far-right populist parties have understood that telling people they would leave the EU and the euro is scary,” explained Jean-Yves Camus, an expert on the extreme right at the Fondation Jean Jaurès think tank in Paris, in an interview with FRANCE 24. “And the example of Brexit adds to this: the British know what they want to get out of, but they have no idea where they’re going.”

..

***********

(1) Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s stepson is stepping into politics, and wants France to leave the European Union.

Aurélien Enthoven, 17, son of singer Carla Bruni and philosopher/broadcaster Raphaël Enthoven, has been campaigning for the Republican Popular Union (UPR), a nationalist party that supports leaving the EU, the newspaper Le Parisien reported Wednesday.

Enthoven was seen at the party’s pro-Frexit rally on May 1, wearing a Brexit “Leave means leave” T-shirt, and, according to Le Parisien, he contributed £25 to Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party.

Note:  Opinion Poll, ” L’UPR rassemble 1,5% d’intentions de vote.”

(2) “Note also that what since the refugee episode of 2015 has become the biggest opposition party, the AfD, while nationalist, is so only in the sense of isolationist and anti-imperialist – and is, strangely enough, for this reason, branded by German liberal imperialists as “anti-European”. With benevolent reading, leaving aside for a moment the party’s disgusting fits of historical revisionism, AfD nationalism amounts to unwillingness to pay for empire, with corresponding willingness to allow other countries to do their own thing; see the party’s strong belief in appeasement instead of confrontation in relation to Russia, a belief it shares with the left wing of the Linkspartei.”  Wolfgang Streeck – The European Union is a liberal empire, and it is about to fall.

This is not how people on the left normally analyse the  racist far-right Alternative für Deutschland (Afd).

News from the Red-Brown Front, Galloway Withdraws from Peterborough Contest,

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Image result for george galloway brexit

 He used to be George Galloway you know.

 

Mr Galloway this evening confirmed he was pulling out of the race after missing out on the Brexit Party nomination which has gone to Secret Millionaire Mike Greene.

Mr Galloway tweeted: “I tried to persuade @Nigel_Farage to support my candidacy in #Peterborough to emphasise the broad democratic alliance the campaign must be and balance the candidatures of Ms Widdecombe and Ms Rees-Mogg. Now that the #Brexit Party have named their candidate I have withdrawn my own.”

Mr Galloway had never confirmed if he was standing as an independent or with a party, although he had been rumoured to be seeking the Brexit Party nomination.

Annunziata Rees-Mogg, a former Conservative parliamentary candidate who is standing for the Brexit Party in the upcoming European elections, denied rumours earlier this week she wanted to be her new party’s candidate in Peterborough.

Ms Widdecombe, a former Tory MP who is also standing to be a Brexit Party MEP, had joined party leader Nigel Farage at a Brexit Party rally on Tuesday at the KingsGate Conference Centre in Peterborough.

Mr Greene’s candidacy was confirmed earlier this evening.

The Brexit Party is contesting its first ever parliamentary election but is currently the 10/11 odds on favourite to win according to Ladbrokes, just ahead of Labour which is evens.

There was a time, a happy time for Galloway, when he was the leader of the Respect Party, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, venerated by his close allies in the Stop the War Coalition, led by Counterfire’s Lindsey German, and his close friends, Seumas Milne and Andrew Murray, an alliance that brought together the Socialist Workers Party and (euphemistically named) ‘conservative’ Muslim Association of Britain.

Image result for george galloway with lindsey german [picture

Then there was a schism, yet Galloway still pulled ’em in, with his comrades in Respect Renewal,  Ken Loach (now a sponsor of Labour Against the Witch-hunt),  Victoria Brittain, Salma Yaqoob and Nick Wrack.

Then, the divine surprise of the ‘Bradford Spring” when he was elected as MP again in the 2012 Bradford West by-election.

More rows followed after Galloway showed an understanding of sexual etiquette and excused his old mucker Julian Assange.

One of the last faithful, Yvonne Ridley, who had sought to keep Respect “zionist free” (Respect is a Zionist free party … if there was any Zionism in the Respect Party they would be hunted down and kicked out. We have no time for Zionists,”, stood in Rotherham in 2012 and gained 8% of the vote.

Since those happy days – he was defeated in Bradford in 2015 by Labour’s Naz Shah) Galloway has made a living on RT and other media outlets.

He has become something of a poet,

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This year things seemed to be looking up as Galloway contemplated becoming a modern version of Jacques Doriot, who was expelled from the French Communist Party in 1934 and founded the far-right Parti Populaire Français. Doriot culminated this distinguished career by supporting the Vichey regime, and then fighting for Hitler on the Eastern Front.

Now in a pensive mood the great man reflects after this snub:

In the meantime, he might find this interesting reading.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 9, 2019 at 10:28 am