Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Posts Tagged ‘National Populism

Brexit: Autumn of Anguish as Shortages Grow.

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As Autumn Comes Brexit Backers Squirm.

London, Burning by Anthony Quinn (2021) is a novel about the final years of the 1970s, the end of an era. The principal threads are about Vicky Tress a young policewoman who gets involved with the Bent Coppers scandal, . Hannah Strode a youthful reporter, Callum Conlan is an Irish academic and writer who gets accused of involvement with the IRA, and Freddie Selves a theatre producer putting on a musical based on the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. Thatcher’s (fictional) shadow home secretary, ‘Anthony Middleton’, gives the book an even serious political player edge. Quinn lays on period atmosphere with a trowel, the Bomb Squad, Punk, and (this is a distant memory…) Silk Cut from cigarette machines in pubs. As Margaret Thatcher’s fortunes rise, the fin-de-régime, Labour government of James Callaghan is shaken by an endless series of strikes, the Winter of Discontent.

Following strikes by refuse workers Callum “was becoming so used to the ight of uncollected rubbish in the street” that he barely notice it. He couldn’t remember when the bin men had gone on strike. London had always seemed to him untidy and litter-strewn; but this something else, a towering rubbish dump that choked the pavements and stank to high heaven.”

The Winter of Discontent (1978 -9) was also marked by a Lorry Drivers’ Strike,

In Kingston upon Hull, striking hauliers were able to blockade the city’s two main roads effectively enough to control what goods were allowed into and out of the city, and companies made their case to their own nominal employees to get past the barricades. Newspaper headlines likened the situation to a siege, and the Battle of Stalingrad; fears that food supplies would also be impacted fuelled panic buying. Such coverage often exaggerated the reach of the strikers, which served both their interest and their employers’.[33] It also helped the Conservatives disseminate “Stepping Stones”‘ arguments about unionism out of control to the public; letters to the editor across the country reflected a growing public anger with the unions

Lorry drivers are again at the centre of the news…..

Bin collection within 24 local councils has been disrupted due to self-isolation rules and a lack of workers to drive the lorries.

Local government leaders have called on the home secretary Priti Patel to relax immigration rules for heavy goods vehicle drivers to ease the disruption.


Will this Autumn of Anguish be followed by a new Winter of Discontent?

UK faces two year ‘perfect storm’ of Brexit and Covi and…

d staff shortages

LBC.  EJ Ward.

A “perfect storm” of Brexit and Covid staff shortages which could last for two more years, a leading business group warned last night.

A “perfect storm” caused by Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic has left businesses battling shortages of lorry drivers, waiters, chefs and construction workers, according to the Confederation of British Industry, which represents 190,000 companies.

Director general Tony Danker warned that the “acute” skills shortages will extend into yet more industries and may not resolve themselves until 2023.

Hundreds of thousands of overseas workers, who left Britain during the pandemic, have stayed abroad while others left in the wake of stricter immigration rules following Brexit

Arch-Confusionniste Paul Embery is not shaken:

Brexit-bashing tweet ruthlessly mocked after ‘middle-class’ food shortages claim ‘Bonkers’

Brexit Denialists out today:

Written by Andrew Coates

September 6, 2021 at 2:00 pm

Populism. Before and After the Pandemic. Michael Burleigh. Review.

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Populism: Before and After the Pandemic: Amazon.co.uk: Burleigh, Michael:  9781787384682: Books

It is traditional to begin any writing on populism by noting that it is a protean, slippery. word. The historian Michael Burleigh starts Populism by saying something a lot clearer, “By Populism I mean the identification of the people as an organic and uniquely virtuous whole, ignored or malignly divided by corrupt and oligarchic elites”. Reminding us of the difference between today and era of mass totalitarian movement these illuminating talks, taken from the Engelsberg Lectures, also speaks of the Majoritarian Right which has appropriated minority “grevance culture” – of as we would call it, right wing identity politics, the political project of GB News.

.At one time it was on some sections of the left it was the fashion to approach populism in the terms laid down by Chantal Mouffe. “We are currently witnessing in Western Europe a “populist moment” that signals the crisis of neoliberal hegemony. The central axis of the political conflict will be between right- and left-wing populism. By establishing a frontier between “the people” and “the oligarchy,” a left–populist strategy could bring together the manifold struggles against subordination, oppression and discrimination.” (For a Left Populism. 2019)

Burleigh makes little reference, although poor old Yanis Varoufakis gets a mention, to any form of left wing populist politics. That horizon has already receded into the far distance. ‘Left’ populisms have made no headway. In Spain Podemos is in alliance with the Socialist PSOE, in France La France insoumise of Jean-Luc Mélenchon remains far from the handles of power, in Britain Corbynism no longer dominates the Labour Party and is a crisis of disillusion. Post-Brexit, after the rise and fall of Donald Trump, and the enduring influence of right-wing governments that appeal to the ‘real’ national peoples in Poland and Hungary, many now speak of national populism. That influence, extending to participation in a variety of European coalition governments, Burleigh calls the “springtime of the nationalists”.

Does this make populism itself an “organic whole”? British populist ideologues, he observes, are divided between those who demand more spending, A “Wagnerian “magic spear which heals all wounds” and those animated by “the happy vision of “Singapore on Thames” which excites some hedge-fund bosses” (Page 7) Brexit was propelled by the well-heeled southern shires, Wiltshire posh persons” more than by the ‘left-behind’. The ‘left’ supporters of leaving the European Union have reaped little benefit from this alignment with the backers of national neo-liberalism and an ‘anglosphere’, but no doubt they too contributed to the diversity of the ‘people’ standing up the EU ‘elite’.

These multiple forms occur across the nations. Appeals to the ‘real’ people, sovereigntist economics and cultural preference to the nation, are only one side of the populist mixture. Conspiracy theories, now tricking down from ‘Soros’ to vaccination, have surfaced from in the depths to emerge in large, if shallow, anti-lockdown movements. The straight-forward racist-populists in France, like Renaud Camus and Eric Zemmour, can be countered by the multiple views and ressentiments of the Gilets Jaunes, at present back with protests against Health Passes and Vaccination. How far this mean for political support for the far-right, like  Florian Philippot (the ‘Patriotes’) deeply involved in the marches, is hard to tell. The ‘confusionnisme’ of sections of the left towards populist ‘anti-elite’ calls has opened the way in France, in Britain, and in many other countries to ‘red-brown’ populisms, like George Galloway’s Workers Party of Britain, or the former Revolutionary Marxists of Spiked who backed the Brexit Party. There is a recent French book onto such phenomena La grande confusionComment l’extrêmedroite gagne la bataille des idées. Philippe Corcuff. (2021).*

Populism Before and After the Pandemic is full of insights into such issues. A striking chapter compares the difficult aftermaths of empire in Britain and Russia. Burleigh speculates that today an angry and resentful post-imperial “Engerland” might act like “Rossiya” and become a perpetual nuisance for the European Union.

Burleigh observes that the populist political style has been ill-adapted to the pandemic, “something one cannot attach a sinister face to”. Fringe anti-vaxxers apart that seems a fair judgement. How will the populists fare after the pandemic? Optimists believe this is the moment for ‘liberals’ to fight back, one would hope that it’s the democratic left that could lead the charge, on economic and social justice to begin with. He is pessimistic in the sense that some forms of populist demagogy work well in channelling people’s fears but claims that libertarian anti-lockdown protesters will never rub well with Q Anon and the satanic conspirationnistes .Hedging his bets the author suggests that If recession kicks in populism may be back. For the moment the “experts and technocrats” have proved their worth in making sense of the pandemic threat.

It is good to be reminded of that, and encouraging to see a work of such clarity and observation on tangled issues – all in 98 pages



Dans « La Grande Confusion », Philippe Corcuff dresse le panorama de l’extrême confusion idéologique actuelle

Le sociologue et politiste signe un méticuleux travail d’analyse dans lequel il dissèque les manquements, les incohérences et les errements de la gauche, dont la droite et plus encore l’extrême droite font leur miel.

The book is long..670 pages..

Written by Andrew Coates

August 4, 2021 at 2:29 pm

Nigel Farage to have Prime-Time Show on GB News, Anti-Rootless Cosmopolitan Campaigner Paul Embery to become Pundit on same station.

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Farage to put the final mockers on Far-Right GB News.

He will be joined on the alt-right station by anti-rootless cosmopolitan campaigner, Brexiter and, during the Referendum a close ally of the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC – the Socialist Party, ex-Militant), Paul Embery:

Union official told to ‘cease’ social media after ‘rootless cosmopolitans’ tweet

Paul Embery refused to apologise despite criticism over an ‘antisemitic’ comment about Brexit referring to ‘rootless cosmopolitans’

A trade union official has been instructed to cease all social media activity for the moment, after he referred to “rootless cosmopolitans” in a tweet. 

Fire Brigades Union official Paul Embery will be meeting with the union’s executive council to discuss his social media activity, but a date has not been confirmed yet.

The wits of the Internet are onto his case:

Written by Andrew Coates

July 17, 2021 at 5:38 pm