Trident – A full in-depth considered analysis

Here I provide a complete analysis of Trident.

Military use

The British capitalist government has Trident missiles equipped with nuclear warheads that are launched from submarines.  They are utterly useless in armed conflict as all they do is invite a huge attack.

Economics

The sole purpose of these missiles is to provide a mechanism for taxes to be diverted into the grasping hands of arms manufacturers, particularly the infamous Lockheed Martin.  Claims by both the British government and the GMB trades’ union that retention (and upgrade) of Trident provides thousands of jobs are wholly vacuous arguments as the same workforce and costs could be used to build or operate something useful.

Conclusion

Militarily and economically, Trident is absolutely useless.

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Trident – A full in-depth considered analysis

Corbyn And The ‘Liberal’ Media

Jeremy Corbyn is not a socialist revolutionary and many of his ideas to tackle problems are closer to band-aids than radical solutions.  However, his emergence as a determined and principled Labour leader has encouraged the tactics that various tenets of the elite sections of society would use if faced with genuine revolutionary popular politics.  The absurdity of the Conservative Party’s declarations of overt concern for the safety of the country and the incoherent splatter-gun rhetoric from the right-wing media is simultaneously laughable and pathetic.  Mr. Corbyn’s reluctance to engage with Sky News has left that channel floundering around in its own spittle as a succession of screaming heads ham act their way through poorly scripted diatribes.  Somewhere, Chris Morris is yelling “The Day Today was satire, not a training video.”

Of course, no support for Corbyn is expected from the tax-avoider owned Times, Telegraph, Mail, Express, Sun, Sky, etc.  But, the reaction from the rest of the media is interesting because of what it reveals about the fear that the liberal, centrist or <insert another term for wishy-washy> media luvvies have if faced with what they perceive to be a real challenge to the structural status quo of British society.   Jeremy Corbyn is no more a revolutionary than Michael Foot or Tony Benn but he is widening the sphere of public discussion and presenting direct challenges on some political and social issues that have, for too long, been able to avoid inspection and dissection.  Even such a mild tendency toward revolutionary politics has put the willies up the chattering hoards at the Guardian, New Statesman, Independent, etc.

Arithmetic and intra-party plots

LiberalJournos

As soon as Corbyn’s expected victory in the Labour leadership contest was confirmed plaintiff cries of “un-electable” were exclaimed.  Oddly, although the non-Tory media screamed this cry as loud as anyone it could not back it up with numbers or facts.

Polly Toynbee, known most infamously for her devout atheism, stated that “the young, the poor and non-voters will not be enough” to win the 2020 general election.  Clearly, arithmetic is not in Toynbee’s skill set – less than a quarter of the electorate voted for the Tory Party in 2015 general election – and her condescending tone toward new young voters, voters who have not previously been inspired to vote and “the poor” is beyond parody.  

Tom Clark agrees with Toynbee that the 24% of the electorate who voted Tory should be wooed rather than the 76% who didn’t: “David Cameron notched up just over 11.25 million. Unless Corbyn can now turn some of his talk away from his own band of loyalists, to address the concerns of this much bigger group, then today’s victory will soon enough be followed by defenestration or defeat” Clark declares with no apparent awareness of his warped logic and arithmetic failure.

Asked by the Guardian to give his “verdict” on the Labour leadership election result, Matthew d’Ancona‘s self-choreographed dismissive attitude encapsulates many of the invented reactions to the result and to Jeremy Corbyn’s post-election actions.  (Toynbee’s, Clark’s and d’Ancona’s comments are here: Four Guardian Columnists).  According to d’Ancona, the leadership acceptance speech was an “angry, garbled bellow of a protester, an activist and a rebel” as if such characteristics were unquestionably unwelcome.  He contradicts himself by stating Corbyn needs the votes that “eluded” Ed Miliband in 2015 while simultaneously objecting that he is different to Miliband.  How does d’Ancona know that the votes that “eluded” Miliband are not potential votes for a Labour further left?  He doesn’t know, he chooses to assume.  D’Ancona insults the electorate by asserting that they will be easily led by media and Tory depictions of Corbyn and his policies, “they will form an impression extraordinarily fast and, in most cases, stick with it to the general election of 2020,” and berates him for not immediately playing the dumb media game.  The theme of Corbyn not spending a lot of time and energy jumping through media hoops recurs a lot in the liberal criticism; this bemusement stems from the liberal commentators’ lack of respect for the intelligence of the public combined with an absurd supercilious awe of their own importance.  “This was an almost comically bad start” is d’Ancona parting badly-aimed shot.

Stephen Bush echoes d’Ancona’s criticisms of Corbyn’s actions and non-actions in the days just after the election, and, like d’Ancona, he knows these criticisms to be without substance and he does not seek to justify any of them.  In Bush New Statesman, he randomly says that “Jeremy Corbyn’s closest aides are exhausted and error-prone” as part of a claim that the new Labour leader has no talent to work closely with him in his office as advisors and support staff.  What Bush doesn’t say is why he thinks Corbyn will not be able to replace anyone who has left or why he thinks the new leader’s choices of staff won’t be as talented and able as, if not better than, any staff who have departed.  The appointments to the shadow cabinet are described as “chaotic,” another pin-in-the-dictionary-whilst-blindfolded word, and Bush makes the common ignorant error of describing the creation of the cabinet as a “reshuffle” – it wasn’t; no shadow cabinet existed after the election until the winner of the election formed such a cabinet.  As an unspoken reference to Jeremy Corbyn’s age, a likely recurring theme of his critics, Bush states falsely that Corbyn didn’t do a lot of media work immediately due to “fatigue.”  The rest of Bush’s drivel is a short work of fiction wherein he depicts deputy leader Tom Watson as pretender to the leadership.

I enjoy a pint of bitter but Dan Hodges is several barrels.  He continues to claim that he assumes that a Corbyn-led Labour have no hope in any election without ever attempting to justify his chosen assumption and he is saddened that Corbyn appears to have support throughout the Labour Party members.  To amuse himself Hodges has invented a master plan he claims exists within the parliamentary Labour Party to remove Corbyn from the leadership, described here: Hodges bodges.  Like Stephen Bush’s story about Tom Watson as a plotter, Hodges’ article is the sort of hackneyed fiction that even the most desperate literary publisher would respond to with a terse two-sentence rejection.  I don’t think Hodges or Bush is a skilled enough candidate to be Katie Price’s new ghost writer.

In Cohen, Nick Cohen also invents a plot against Corbyn within the Labour Party and repeats the unproven assertion that the “far left is triumphant, [but they are] nowhere near as popular in the country as their deluded supporters imagine.”  Again, this is presented as fact with no attempt to prove its validity.  Cohen continues: “however much you deplore the Tories [] do you in your heart fear a Cameron or an Osborne government less than the Corbyn administration? You only have to raise the question to know the answer millions of voters will give.”  Is that the 76% of the electorate who didn’t vote Tory?  Perhaps Nick Cohen has been reading too much Lewis Carroll recently.  The remainder of Cohen’s article is a bizarre and ludicrous comparison of Corbyn’s willingness to engage with Iran with George Lansbury’s pacifism in response to Hitler in the 1930s.

Free advice

WhichWasNice

The liberal observers are happy to offer advice to Jeremy Corbyn, which is nice.  

Tom Clark’s concern is that a clear, consistent and non-contradictory political outlook will not be understood and, thus, it needs to be spun.  In Clark spinning he lists four reasons why a spin doctor is required by the new Labour leader.  On ‘Europe’, Clark claims “Labour’s stance towards the European referendum is in chaos.”  It isn’t, but why let facts interfere with a spurious point that you want to make.  His advice is inconsequential; his remark “so if [Corbyn]’s got an issue where he’s in line with the mood on the streets of Nuneaton, he ought to be pointing that out” is another gormless repetition that Tory swing voters are more important than the 76% who didn’t vote Tory in 2015.  On ‘Women’, Clark thinks Corbyn could have avoided accusations of sexism if the entire shadow cabinet had been announced at once.  As the said accusations were made only be people seeking any reason to criticise him, why should Corbyn pander to their demands?  John McDonnell’s appointment as chancellor should have been delayed, according to Clark, to prepare people, within Labour and without, because, apparently, his appointment is controversial.  Again, why the hell should there be any concern about the views of opponents?  McDonnell’s swift appointment was a strong statement of intent.  Clark adds that a spinner would have spun the parliamentary Labour Party’s reaction to Corbyn winning to lessen claims of division in the party.  

Clark has a low opinion of the intelligence and analytical ability of the British public and he thinks Jeremy Corbyn should worry always what the right-wing media thinks of him, his policies and his actions.  It should be clear that he couldn’t give a damn what the Mail, Express, Sun, Times and Telegraph think, and the British public do not need spun presentation to understand what is happening.  Clark’s final line reveals how out of touch he is: “But hired it [a spinner] must be, or else he will risk crashing and burning even faster than anyone imagines.”

Matt Dathan describes five things that he thinks Jeremy Corbyn got wrong in his first week as leader, Dathan five things; (he also mentions five things he thinks he got right).  Dathan includes the delay in appointing a spin doctor, with similar concerns as Tom Clark.  Not singing God Save The Queen and not confirming whether or not he will wear a red poppy on Remembrance Day are two other examples of wrongdoing according to Dathan; “alarmed moderates” and “widely condemned” expose the tone and imagination of Dathan.  He purposefully ignores the fact that wearing a white poppy and not singing that awful dirge are political decisions and reasons that people support Jeremy Corbyn.  Dathan repeats the lie that women are not sufficient numerically in the cabinet and he grasps wildly at ephemeral rumours that McDonnell is very unpopular in the parliamentary Labour Party.  His dismissive attitude to McDonnell is the only section of the list where Dathan reveals his true stance – he is opposed to McDonnell’s anti-capitalist tendencies.

Themes and motivation

All the examples above make the deliberate and insincere statement that a Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn will not win a general election.  The proof of this assertion is not sought.  With this assertion in place, as an axiom, the writers’ criticisms and observations follow set themes.  

  • Discord in the parliamentary Labour Party with consequential plots to usurp
  • Amateurish decision-making and presentation
  • It’s protest politics
  • Concern about Tory swing voters
  • John McDonnell
  • You must play the media game

It is clear that these observers cannot view politics as the majority of the people of Britain do.  They don’t understand that people are sick of slick robotic untrustworthy spivs who spin successfully via the media.  Coupled with their willful ignorance of arithmetic, the writers concoct lazy unconvincing arguments and conclusions that are, at best, embarrassing.  What they never do is state their motivation for this behaviour.

The behaviour of the liberal writers echoes the behaviour of the Labour elite during the leadership election.  I described that in the section ‘The horror of popular support’ in Election despair and Labour’s death.  The motivation for this behaviour is also the same as the motivation of the Labour elite: It is not that they fear a Corbyn-led Labour will not win an election, what they fear is that he could win an election.  A government that might offer a challenge to capitalist exploitation and gangsterism is not what the Labour elite want and it is not what the liberal media wants.  That is the motivation for the tone and the quantity of the non-Tory media attacks on Corbyn.

Discredit the reaction to the criticism

The supporters of the new Labour leader and others with similar or more revolutionary politics have responded with gusto to the nonsense that the liberal commentators have spouted.  The drivel emitted has been analysed, ripped apart and thrown back in their faces, with ease.  Such a response has upset their delicate souls and, as therapy, some have expressed their hurt in the only way they know how: Deliberate misrepresentation, misdirection and insults.

LiberalJournos2

Martin Robbins points at Corbyn and his supporters and coughs out “left-wing UKIP.”  That is it.  He isn’t suggesting similarity of political views.  Robbins’ complaint refers to how he wants to depict Corbyn’s (and Farage’s) relationship to parliament and government and how he wants to discredit the intelligence and political nous of the supporters.  In Robbins complaint he claims that “like many UKIP supporters, Corbyn occupies an anti-political ground.”  So Robbins thinks that UKIP, a offshore tax-dodger-funded political party that seeks, ultimately, to complete the transition to corporate fascism, is “anti-political.”  Obviously, his description of Corbyn as “anti-political” is wrong, and Robbins knows it is an false description, but he uses it as a cerebrally-simplistic method of discrediting one of the few members of parliament who has a clear political vision.  

Robbins equates UKIP’s encapsulation of immigrants as the main threat to British people with a “left-wing” view that bankers are the main threat.  That is, he is asserting that highlighting the mundane fact that the structure and methods of capitalist exploitation are the enemy of most people is no more useful than claiming immigrants are the cause of all the ills in Britain.  All Robbins does with this crass equation is reveal his own political outlook; he is, of course too cowardly and too ignorant to express his opposition to Corbyn’s politics with honest argument.

Like other ardent supporters of the exploitative status quo, Robbins enjoys throwing the word “paranoid” at anyone who recounts knowledge of the state of the political or economic world.  It is an old fraudulent argument used against anyone who isn’t politically blinded.  Robbins quotes extensively from conman Richard Hofstadter’s hamfisted 1964 essay ‘The Paranoid Style;’ the purpose of that drivel is to deny that mass capitalist exploitation exists by denigrating the intelligence and sanity of those who observe it, and Robbins is happy to continue that tradition.

Robbins adds racist US politician Donald Trump to his concoction of deceit.  Again, Trump is “a firmly anti-establishment candidate.”  Has Robbins forgotten that Trump is a very successful businessman who wants to perpetuate and enhance the exploiters’ piece of pie?  Robbins lists some of Trump’s off-the-scale stupid comments and follows this with “Trump is closer to Farage than Corbyn in policy, but they share a common style and attract people for similar reasons.”  The clear message that Robbins is defecating out is that considered, informed opposition to capitalist gangsterism, (Corbyn), is no more intelligent than uninformed wilfully-ignorant comments about Barack Obama’s heritage or the intentions of Muslim immigrants in the USA, (Trump).  Robbins takes a long time to say  he thinks that there exists a status quo, godlike and immutable that must not be questioned and, if you do question it, you are a paranoid weirdo.  He concludes with a general insult: “In many areas of public life, the front line has become simply too difficult and too professionalised for members of the public to have any real impact.”

Before he finishes Robbins joins in with the aforesaid misunderstanding of arithmetic. “Corbyn is popular because he refuses to compromise, and it’s precisely that trait that will ultimately cause him to fail, because persuading ten million people to vote for you involves compromise by definition.”  Again, 76% of the electorate didn’t vote Tory.

Marina Hyde is a competent football journalist but her foray into political analysis is misguided.  As a companion piece to Robbins’ comedic turn Hyde also equates the attitudes of UKIP supporters with those of Corbyn supporters, and adds SNP to the mix.  Hyde’s objective is to create a similarity between some supporters’ reactions to comments about Corbyn with those of UKIP, and she tries to explain her invented comparison by referencing an essay on the use of language by Nancy Mitford.  Hyde’s cumbersome analogy is here: Hyde.  She meanders on to attempt to justify her dislike of Corbyn supporters’ use of the word “smear” when they should say “difference of opinion.”  As explained above, a key facet of the cricisim of Corbyn is that it is not an expression of a difference of political opinion, because the critics are too cowardly and dishonest to a engage.  Smear is, often, the correct word.

The remainder of Hyde’s piece is an expression of fear.  The cosy chattering world is being ignored.  The acceptance of the status quo is diminishing.  And Hyde keeps equating support for socialism with support for dumb bigotry of the right, just so it is clear that any left-wing threat is positioned as unintelligent and uninformed.  She ends with “politics is becoming markedly less civilised, and increasingly driven by an irrational emotionalism that threatens – often literally – to spill over into mindless violence.”  Hyde doesn’t make clear which violence she thinks is mindless and which isn’t.  Perhaps non-state violence is mindless?

The fear that Hyde has is common to all the liberal observers of any revolutionary fervour.  That they feel that fear even for a traditional Labour leader like Jeremy Corbyn reveals how useless and pathetic they are.  In any revolution, these types are the first to be cast aside, and they know that.

 

 

 

Corbyn And The ‘Liberal’ Media

It’s Not A Bomb, It’s A Clock

josef-pallweber-clock

Schoolboy Ahmed Mohammed made an electronic clock (not the one pictured above) as part of a science project and took it to his school, MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas.  The principal of the school, Daniel Cummings, called the police and Ahmed was arrested, handcuffed and interrogated.  He was not charged.  It should be noted that no actions were taken at the school that would have been taken if the principal really had suspected a bomb was on the premises.  Therefore, it is clear that he did not think the clock was anything other than a clock and, thus, Cummings’ decision to call the police is not driven merely an abject lack of intelligence.

The motivation for the school principal’s actions is explained by the mayor of Irving’s relationship with an extreme anti-Islam think-tank called Secure Freedom.  This think-tank, that changes its name frequently to avoid having too long a history of bad press, exists to promote an anti-Muslim agenda in the USA.  If you have the stomach to read some EDL-style tripe then have a look at the website: Secure Freedom; it includes a deliberately garbled non-analysis of the incident at MacArthur High School.  A self-appointed VP of Secure Freedom, Jim Hanson – who claims to be ex-US Army “Special Forces” – is delighted with the exposure his grotty gang has acquired as a result of the arrest and harassment of a child.  His unoriginal presentation of and twisted justification for prejudice is given ample space within his contributions on twitter: Hanson tweets.  The mayor of Irving, Beth Van Duyne, received an “award” from Secure Freedom for her anti-Islam stance and activity.  Typically, she grossly exaggerates and invents problems related to Islam as an excuse to initiate campaigns to denigrate Muslims.  It is clear she is a worthy recipient of an award from Secure Freedom.  Her “acceptance” speech: Van Duyne speaks.

The connection between the mayor of Irving and Secure Freedom, and the actions of Daniel Cummings is not coincidental.  It is a product of a political agenda, both locally in Irving and nationally in the USA.  This agenda wafts around the room during the TV debates between the numerous candidates for the Republican Party nomination for presidential candidate, and screams from the screen on Fox News.  An intelligent schoolboy with an aptitude for science and invention was used by this agenda.

Positive reaction

MarsRover1

Beyond the deserved ridicule aimed at Cummings and Van Duyne there is a great response from scientists and inventors to what happened to Ahmed Mohammed.  He was wearing a NASA t-shirt when arrested and several NASA employees, including those working on the Mars Rover, have expressed support for Ahmed and invited him to NASA.  Mark Zuckerberg, inventor of facebook, said “having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed.”  He also invited Ahmed to facebook’s headquarters.

The key point that many talented people have made is the aptitude to invent is vital for humanity.  This assertion is at odds with the anti-intellect manifesto of the republicans in the USA.

It’s Not A Bomb, It’s A Clock

Opponents’ reaction to Corbyn

On 12th September 2015 veteran Labour backbencher Jeremy Corbyn was elected as the new leader of the Labour Party.  He received 60% of the votes.  The reaction to his election success and the immediate tactical response from opponents has been both predictable and limp.  Here are few examples.

Tory reaction

The Tories are stuck.  The intake of new Tory MPs in the last two general elections is peopled with unthinking robotic gofers who are unable to engage beyond regurgitating poorly written scripts and clumsy soundbites.  Their soullessness, charmlessness and immorality is matched quantitatively by inability to analyse, to critique and to prove.  They are yes men and women functionaries who are wholly unequipped to operate in a challenging political debating environment.  Thus, faced with Jeremy Corbyn, who not only has opposing political views but also has the experience, aptitude and consistency of thought to elucidate those views, the Tories sit rigidly, confused.  The rigidity of thought can produce just one visible reaction: Rabid outbursts.  The first such ejaculation was emitted by Conservative HQ and repeated by a few drones including MPs Michael Fallon and Priti Patel.

CorbynCCHQTweet

This nonsense encapsulates two themes of the Tories’ gormless strategy when attacking Corbyn: Defence and the economy.  The Tories are very keen to protect the flow of taxes to prop up the arms manufacturers, traditionally generous donors to the Tories, and to protect their annihilation of the fiscal economy for the benefit of bankers and offshore thieves.  It is clear that all the Tories have are old lies from the early 1980s, the enemy without, the enemy within.

Jeremy Corbyn need not worry about the strength of the Tory attacks against him.

Right-wing media

Another theme of the reaction to Corbyn is ridicule accompanied by forced laughter.  One of the Daily Mail’s clowns-in-residence, Matt Chorley, dribbled out this spittle, Chorley on Corbyn, wherein his imitation of a ten-year-old’s fansite-style literary skill tries to draw an analogy between Corbyn and singer Steve Brookstein that is as durable as a chocolate teapot.

Often, when the right-wing media thinks it is attacking Corbyn it is doing the opposite.  Another Daily Mail hack, Tom McTague, has taken nearly ten minutes out of his busy schedule to list some of the political views Corbyn holds on particular issues.  For many, this list, McTague on Corbyn, contains several reasons to support him.

If the right-wing media highlights Corbyn’s views and activism it is likely to encourage more people to support him but it does not seem to realise this error.  It has been allowed to promote gangster capitalism as godlike and immutable for so long with no restraint that the media has convinced itself that such criminality really is for the benefit of society and that any opposing view must be wrong.  The right-wing media is as stuck as the Tory party.

Labour elite reaction

Several Labour MPs have resigned from the shadow cabinet.  Such moves have no meaning because Corbyn has not yet appointed a shadow cabinet.  Indeed, he is not required to do so at all.  However, the MPs felt compelled to make a pointless gesture to try to persuade the public that they have political convictions.  Some of the departees reiterated the stance that they think a Corbyn-led Labour would fail to beat the Tories in a general election, a stance that is steadily losing its solidity.  What the Labour elite really fear is that a Corbyn-led Labour could win a general election and that, then, Britain would have a government that is much further away politically from the views of this elite than a Tory government is.

Centrist media

Four Guardian columnists’ views are here: Guardian Columnists.  All are reticent to offer support, are condescending and catatonic.  Toynbee states that “the young, the poor and non-voters will not be enough” to win the 2020 general election, forgetting that the Tories have just won an election where only 24% of the registered voters voted for them.  D’Ancona thinks that Corbyn attending a rally to support refugees and expressing support for unions was “an almost comically bad start.”  For d’Ancona, dancing to the right-wing media and Tory tune is what is needed rather than having consistent supportable political views.  Clark admits that “none of us saw this coming,” the “us” being the middle-class media bubble.  None of the four columnists sees Corbyn’s political views as a key to his success, now or in the future.  They just pat him and his supporters on the head and then climb back into the bubble.

Opponents’ reaction to Corbyn

National Borders and Immigration

Birthplace may have significance for the individual as part of her or his history, but its use beyond that should be merely administrative and statistical.  A dot on a map, a map defined by arbitrary lines that divide, should not determine anything of someone’s life other than what that person chooses it to mean.  Concepts such as ‘home’, ‘community’, ‘nationality’ and the history of them are often important, psychologically, throughout someone’s life, but a connection to such concepts is a personal decision.

Nation states exist to divide and control

Practical necessities for survival had required geographically-distinct and organised communities to protect themselves and, consequently, to subdue other communities; today, similar practical necessities do exist for many communities, but both these communities and their disputes have no connection to the division of the world into nation states.  However, the powerful have always recognised the usefulness of separation and ‘otherness’ and it is they who sought the creation of nation states and an exhaustive division of the world.

The different processes for creating nation states include a historical connection with violent feudal dictatorship (e.g. Britain, Russia, China), small states combining for greater power (e.g. Italy, U.S.A.) and, most numerously, imperialist demarcation of others’ land (e.g. states created in Africa, South and Central America, Asia, etc.).  Whatever process created a nation state its role is to divide and control people by describing other states’ people as enemies and competitors, military or economical threats, less civilised, less moral and generally too different.  Consequences of this false division of people residing in different places are an excuse for war, thereby intensifying control and also lubricating the lucrative arms manufacturing business, and an excuse to impose a fiscal economy that favours an elite by claiming it is needed in order to compete with other states.  The latter consequence can include a clawback of vital public services alongside criminally negligent tax-avoidance law for business.  The existence of the state is a tool to exercise power and control over the ‘citizens’ of the state.  The elephantine contradiction is that, in the capitalist world, business is international and stateless and yet it requires the spurious entities of states in order to help it to control.

immigrants

An immigrant is a person who has come to a country to live having previously lived in a different country.  

That is the entirety of the definition of an immigrant.  In other words, the majority of the people in the history of the world have, at some point in their lives, been an immigrant.  It is normal human behaviour.  People move for many reasons including finance, career, a sense of adventure, education, love or just for the hell of it.  Some people move for safety and security.  Whatever the reason is, people moving from one country to another is normal and uncontroversial.

Immigrants

Each of these six people pictured above – Bank of England governor Mark Carney, head of state’s husband Prince Philip, ex-mayor of London and foreign secretary Boris Johnson, singer Sir Cliff Richard, actress Emma Watson and tour de France and Olympic champion cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins – has a prominent role in British society and each is admired by many, although some are, admittedly, also disliked.  They came to live in Britain for different reasons.  Of course, a banker, the queen’s hubby, a multi-jobbed Eton-educated politician, a veteran pop singer, an actress in a hugely successful film franchise and Britain’s best ever long-distance cyclist  – all caucasian – are not the people who are the targets of the bile and anger emitted by opponents of immigration.

Nomenclature of classifying humans, socially and/or politically, is usually infused with ulterior motive; the word immigrant is overloaded purposefully with malignant meaning.  Politicians and agenda-infested think-tanks and media present the word as if it is defined wholly negatively.  For them, an immigrant is assumed to be problematic.  Any debate starts with that premise.  The immigrant is defined, impersonally, as a threat, economically and physically, and immigration is presented as an alien invasion.  The ulterior motivation for such a pre-determination of the terms of any discussion is to try to ensure that any focus of complaint for a country’s problems can be directed away from the culprits and onto an otherness: the immigrants.  It is a well-worn tactic.  No argument against immigration has any reason or validity attached to it.  Anti-immigration rhetoric is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing except a repeated pointing at one group of people – the immigrants – in order to distract and deceive another group of people – the current residents of a country.

Refugees and economic migrants

The UN chose to define refugee at its 1951 ‘Convention relating to the Status of Refugees’.  (A full description is here:  Convention for refugees).  Prince Philip would have been classified as a refugee if the convention had existed when he left Greece.

By describing what a refugee can be, the UN simultaneously (deliberately or otherwise) described what a refugee isn’t, or who isn’t a refugee.  That is, limitations were placed on whether a person can claim to be classified as a refugee, thus providing any country, which the person wishes to enter, an excuse to refuse entry.

The dichotomy of refugee and non-refugee is usually offered up, by those wishing to use immigration as a political scare-tactic, as a difference between refugee and economic migrant.  The absurdity of the phrase ‘economic migrant’ is not apparent to its users.  They fail to realise that most migrants throughout history could be described as economic migrants and that moving to financially better oneself is surely an intelligent and natural endeavour.  Instead, the phrase ‘economic migrant’ exists in a linguistic Carrollian rabbit-hole.

cross-border movement of people in 2015

To escape wars in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan there exists a mass exodus of people whose destination is Europe.  Via boat, lorry, train and on foot thousands of people have attempted the journey, many using the trafficking services of criminals.  Hundreds and hundreds have died as a result of the unsuitable transportation coupled with the completely exploitative attitude of the traffickers.  Most deaths have occurred at sea due to capsized overfull and unseaworthy boats; several dozen people died when travelling in a lorry whose container was a refrigeration unit and, thus, completely airtight.

Until recently the British government and media wanted only to spread fear about ‘migrants’ gathered in Calais who were trying to get to the UK.  The British prime minister was very comfortable using the word ‘swarm’ to describe the people in Calais, and the media dutifully joined in.  The plight of British lorries being delayed in ports and of British tourists in Greece finding tired, hungry migrants at their holiday resort seemed to be much more of a problem than the lives of the people who had made long arduous journeys.  A gormless twerp from immigrant-hating UKIP went to Calais to harass and provoke the people.

As the deaths have increased in number there has been a change in presented stance by governments, including the British government, and the media, a change that is partly a result of pressure from the public.  Photographs of the body of a young Syrian child washed up on a beach in Kos filled the front pages of many newspapers in Britain.  The publication of and focus upon such photographs and the use of the child’s death as a catalyst for a stated (but not necessarily sincere) change in attitude toward the people travelling to Europe are problematic.  Why do adults need to see a dead child in order to understand what is happening?  There has never been a lack of clarity about the reasons for and the quantity of people within the mass exodus from the countries named above, nor has there been doubt about the horrendous scenarios they encounter continuously on their journeys.  Brendan O’Neill’s concise comments on what he calls “moral pornography” relating to such photographs is here: Brendan O’Neill.  Chimene Suleyman highlights both the contrast between the media’s promotion of the photographs of a dead child alongside thousands of words attacking immigrants and the differences in media presentation of the deaths of people dependent on their respective race, Chimene Suleyman.

Public pressure has contributed to a change in the presentation of views of European governments and their media cheerleaders but the repositioning is informed by a continuing determination to restrict immigration and to describe immigrants as ‘others’.  All the utterances of compassion, sometimes through gritted Bullingdon teeth, are juxtaposed to an assertion to divide immigrants into two distinct categories: Refugees and economic migrants.  The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has published a proposal for how European governments could best act in response to people arriving in Europe.  Most of the proposal is positive but one point reveals the UN’s complicity in division of immigrants into categories:

5) Those who are found not to be in need of international protection and who cannot benefit from legal migration opportunities should be helped to return quickly to their home countries, in full respect of their human rights.

The full proposal can be read here: UNHCR Proposal.  If the UNHCR is comfortable excluding people from travelling because they are unable to classify themselves as victims of war and persecution then no European government will suggest otherwise.

It is not only right-of-centre capitalist governments and dog-whistling newspapers that are hurrying to assert the division between refugees and economic migrants.  People assumed to be more attuned to the plight of humanity, whether liberals sat reading Guardians in an ungentrified café-bar or left-of-centre activists and writers, have sought to stress that most of the people travelling to Europe are definitely refugees and not economic migrants.  This is partly a reaction to the frothing bug-eyed hatred being spewed by Nigel Farage and his mob wherein they demand no compassion and everyone kept out of Britain, Farage No Compassion.  The liberals may be sincere in their laudable support for refugees but their acceptance of the separation of refugees and economic migrants is helping governments to continue to adopt a general anti-immigrant posture.

European governments are praising themselves for allowing refugees into the respective countries and there are unedifying displays of one-upmanship between governments and between different political parties as various politicians put on a show to compete to be the least uncompassionate.  Aided by direction from the UNHCR, state agencies are deciding which immigrants are allowed and which are not.  However much this may assist the relatively small number of people who have escaped from wars, the selective nature of the classification of refugees perpetuates the spurious axiom that immigration is intrinsically negative.

To repeat what I said earlier, immigration is normal human behaviour.  Any restriction on it is wrong.

National Borders and Immigration