Right-wing bloviators need an audience and they need verbal catalysts from opponents to spur them but what they cannot resist successfully are logical, peremptory and detailed destructions of their flimsy mendacious arguments. In a politically broad exchange with well-informed and skillful adversories, a right-wing voice is easily and swiftly undressed and discarded. A bloviator’s reaction to being dismissed so completely is to emit a cry of anguish at being “cancelled.”
cancelledadj.Subjected to sustained and erudite criticism that obliterates a political view, normally applied to far-right screaming heads after their vacuous arguments were destroyed
The characteristics of typical right-wing screaming heads’ contributions to debate are necessarily dishonest and evasive, due to the hollowness of their arguments, and are aggressive, rude and offensive. However, their predominant characteristic is cowardice: They abhor being made to look ignorant, petulant and inept; that is, they are in constant fear of being exposed as frauds.
Parler is a twitter-style social media platform created as a safe space for sensitive right-wing activists, journalists and politicians whereat they are, initially, less likely to endure deserved dismissal from superior intellects and humane morality. Within the Parler jerk bubble professional trolls and politicians can happily spout alternative facts and espouse prejudice, bigotry and xenophobia with reduced condemnation. They are cancelled less readily. It is safer and less stressful.
Their hope is that their ejaculations on Parler will receive the same exposure on TV and in newspapers that their similar verbal stains on twitter receive, and they are justifiably hopeful. But, their opponents should not worry about that. The cowardly retreat to Parler is an admittance of failure. It is an acceptance by the right-wing that they lost the battle of free speech. Good riddance.
Relentless insipidity, exhaustive in its reach, is the single maxim of the worthless result of a flaccid copulation between two dire right-wing pressure groups aligned with the Labour Party.
Labour To Win (LTW) was created by Luke Akehurst of Labour First and Nathan Youwell of Progress. Its intent is to ensure Keir Starmer and his colleagues stay firmly right-of-centre and do not allow any socialist tendency to infiltrate policies and acts and words while in opposition.
“Working together to make Keir Starmer’s leadership a success.”
“Building diverse networks of new and existing Labour activists.”
“Training and educating the next generation of Labour candidates, activists and campaigners.”
“Campaigning for Labour candidates across England, Scotland and Wales.”
“Ensuring the strongest voice at all levels of government.”
1) Neither Akehurst nor Youwell possesses any concept of what “social democratic values” are, or what “values” are. Their intent is to eradicate socialist values. 2) Surely, they would want to “work together” to make Labour a success. Why only Keir Starmer’s “leadership?” Did they mean his possible “success” as opposition leader or did they mean his “success” in remaining leader of Labour should there be a leadership challenge? I suspect the latter. 3) Such networks exist. But, many such networks are not compatible with Akehurst’s and Youwell’s philosophy. Their intent is to remove and replace. 4) The key aim. “Training and educating” meant indoctrinating with right-of-centre politics and making sure socialist thoughts are erased. 5) Why would they not campaign for all Labour candidates? (Progress, Labour First and like-minded activists campaigned against strong Labour candidates in December 2109 general election.) 6) The voice of Labour First and the voice of Progress have always been purposefully weak voices.
LTW “aims to bring members together who share the belief that the party must change radically if we are to return to being election winners. We are committed to building the broadest possible coalition with everyone of goodwill who believes a better future is possible for Labour and the country.”
Labour “changed radically” after the horrendous 2015 election defeat and did significantly better in 2017 election. The failure in 2019 election was partly due to Brexit and partly due to Labour being undermined by its own MPs and by characters like Akehurst and Youwell.
LTW has no interest in the “broadest possible coalition” in Labour; that claim is a reversal of truth. Who are “everyone of goodwill?” What will be the recipient of the “goodwill?” Who decides whether someone has sufficient “goodwill?”
Akehurst and Youwell published astatementon LTW’s launch. It was a concoction of misrepresentation, lies and abuse and began by comically describing Starmer’s election as an “historic turning point.”
A paragraph on Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure as leader was particularly estranged from facts and truth:
“The past four and a half years have been a miserable experience for many of us who have committed their lives to the advance of democratic socialism and social democracy. Many long-standing members and supporters fell away as they could no longer stomach the factionalism brought by the hard-left, the abusive – sometimes vicious – behaviour, antisemitism, and denigration of Labour’s past achievements that have poisoned the party and made it unelectable in the country.”
The “many of us” who “committed their lives to the advance of democratic socialism” did not include anyone at Labour First or at Progress, two organisations whose existence is driven by hatred of socialism. “Many long-standing members and supporters” did not fall away. A few right-wing bloviates left but membership increased hugely. By “denigration of Labour’s past achievements” did the two amigos mean the Iraq war?
Akehurst and Youwell said Labour should “work with government” to fight Covid-19. The Tory government’s policies on Covid-19 are extremely reckless, stupid and uncaring, and are leading to thousands more deaths but LTW are unperturbed by that. They pretended to claim that Starmer’s reluctance to criticise the Tories re. Covid-19 pandemic will instill statesmanship on him in the public’s eyes.
Despite wanting to”create a forum for the debate and dissemination of new ideas and policies” LTW also plans to “provide a space in which old members, new members, rejoiners and those let down by Jeremy Corbyn can find support and encouragement.” Poor centrist lemons must be in need of consolement.
LTW is a void. Hatred of socialism is its single aim. It reeks of desperation. Akehurst and Youwell are two decrepids trying to start a fire by farting on a wet stick.
The Free Speech Union (FSU) is another right-wing concoction of the usual screaming heads, created to grab airtime and column inches from complicit news media but its main objective is much more sinister: To channel funds for legal action to impose yes-platforming of bigotry, to stop action being taken against perpetrators of such bigotry and to shut down oppositional voices.
FSU said it believes “free speech is currently under assault across the Anglosphere, particularly in those areas where it matters most, such as schools, universities, the arts, the entertainment industry and the media. The aim of the Free Speech Union is to restore it and protect it.” FSU meant there are restrictions in public arenas on far-right speech that is designed to cause division, encourage prejudice, misrepresent and deceive, including restrictions on speakers who promote racism.
To counter the restrictions FSU is “in discussions with lawyers and insurance experts about setting up a fully-underwritten insurance scheme that will provide members with access to specialist lawyers and will completely cover any costs associated with legal action. Our ambition is to raise enough money from donors to create a war chest so we’re in a position to offer assistance with costs ourselves.”
FSU’s protection of bigotry in the workplace includes, or will do so, the following services.
“If you’ve lost work because you breached a company speech code and/or because your political/philosophical beliefs are at odds with your employer’s we may be able to provide you with legal assistance, including crowdfunding to help pay your legal costs.”
“If you’re involved in a disciplinary process at work for breaching a company speech code” then FSU suggested joining the Workers of England Union, a fake Trades Union, that “has won tens of thousands of pounds for its members whose philosophical beliefs have resulted in them being discriminated against in the workplace.”
“We may be able to help if someone has started a petition/open letter trying to get you fired from your job for exercising your lawful right to free speech.”
Legal assistance will be available for any bigot, xenophobe or racist who was called a bigot, xenophobe or racist on a social media platform.
“If it [social media comment] goes beyond criticism – such as attributing extremist views to you that you don’t hold – then we might be able to help.”
FSU is keen to coerce universities into hosting far-right speakers.
“If you’re no-platformed by a university we’ll encourage you to fight back and members of our advisory councils may be able to tell you what remedies are available to you.”
The Tory government created the falsely-named Office For Students (OfS) in 2017 to assist the imposition of far-right views in universities. The then universities minister Jo Johnson, brother of Boris Johnson, said OfS would have power to fine or suspend universities who refused to be a platform for such views. Johnson appointed Toby Young to the board of OfS but he left two weeks later following objections from universities and others regarding Young’s lack of competence for the role and his views on genetics. Toby Young is founder and director at FSU.
Other company officers at FSU include (among others) the standard motley crew: Douglas Murray (director), formerly of new colonialist think-tank Henry Jackson Society; Radomir Tylecote (co-founder and director), a fellow of hard-right think-tank Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA); Nigel Biggar (director) whose attempt to impose a false depiction of the history of British colonialism on students at Oxford University was opposed by many of the university’s academics and their opposition was used as part of the justification for the creation of OfS –opposition to Biggar; Sigrun Olafsdottir (chief operating officer), formerly in a similar role at Toby Young’s New Schools Network; Paul Staines (media/PR advisory council), editor-in-chief of extremist racist Guido Fawkes news site; Allison Pearson (media/PR advisory council), a bankrupt and journalist; Andrew Doyle (advisory council), creator of purposefully offensive online troll character Titania McGrath; former Brexit party MEP Claire Fox (advisory council); MatthewGoodwin(advisory council), fellow at Chatham House think-tank; David Green (advisory council), founder and director of right-wing think-tank Civitas; Mark Littlewood (advisory council), director-general of IEA and former adviser to David Cameron; Lionel Shriver (advisory council), author and expectorator of extreme bigotry in The Spectator; David Starkey (advisory council), historian and broadcasters’ favourite right-wingscreaming head.
It is useful to note the names of FSU’s ‘Legal Advisory Council.’
Rebecca Butler – Kings Bench Chambers
Andrew Deakin – Essex Chambers
Paul Diamond – Christian Legal Centre
Patrick Garland – former High Court judge
John Jolliffe – FTB Chambers
Spencer Keen – Spencer Keen
Graham Lodge – retired barrister
James Montgomery – No5 Chambers
Wanjiru Njoya – University of Exeter
Peter Smith – Al Tamimi
Andrew Tettenborn – Heterodox Academy
David Travers – Six Pump Court
Raymond Wacks – retired professor
FSU’s focus on legal action as a tool to impose far-right views on an audience is an admittance of defeat. Its people and those it represents are unable to argue their points of view coherently because their opinions are driven by warped prejudices, directed by anti-social politics and incompatible with reason, logic and didactic narrative. A screaming head or a Git possesses only powers of repetition and interruption.
“Regardless of your profession, or whether you’re a student or a retiree, we may come to your defence if you find yourself under attack for exercising your legal right to free speech, whether by the courts or the police, by your employer, by colleagues or activists, or by outrage mobs on social media and elsewhere.”
cancelledadj. Subjected to sustained and erudite criticism that obliterates a political view, normally applied to far-right screaming heads after their vacuous arguments were destroyed
Links to brief descriptions of other right-wing think-tanks
Extreme conservatism feigns compartmentalism of invented discrete facets of its philosophy as a ruse to promote its monolithic ideology. The deception’s objective is to acquire more airtime on TV and column inches in newspapers alongside creation of a false multi-faceted perception of conservatism.
Orthodox Conservatives (OCs) want to “influence Conservative party policy and improve the spiritual, social and cultural wellbeing for the citizens of our great country” and “represent the interests of those who identify as social conservatives and moderates.”
OCs’ “social conservatism” is conformity to a single rigid mode of conduct.
“Socially conservative attitudes to culture, gender, community and law are far more commonly held among the voting public than are held within inner political circles. Orthodox Conservatives seek to make repair on this disparity. We aim to build consensus around what we find to be noble, unchanging principles that are largely held among the public. Many citizens continue to live with an instilled sense of culturally-Christian or Anglo system of morality.”
It is unambiguous from the above which characteristics OCs would like to be dominant in society.
In Christendom Has Only Itself as an AllyOCs’ Head of Outreach Sam Hall, an “aspiring Catholic [who] enjoys clay pigeon shooting in his spare time,” was distraught that the acting leader of the Liberal Democrats had chosen to respect Islam.
“Ed Davey said the following.
‘I want to send my best wishes to Muslims across Britain and the world in this holy month of Ramadan. With mosques remaining closed and with people unable to come together to worship, this holy month will be particularly difficult. Liberal Democrats are determined to stand in solidarity with Britain’s Muslim communities and believe that together we can defeat this awful virus.’
The Liberal Democrats are exactly why persecuted Christians should not rely on neoliberals to help them out. They are so concerned with not being perceived as racist or Islamophobic that they will fall over their own feet in the name of diversity and multiculturalism. So, the woke brigade can’t help us.”
In the same article Hall claimed “politically correct culture is literally killing Christians” and in the preamble to OCs’ explanation of its “philosophy” – Ten Principles – the author(s) said “any religion that sees no distinction between religious identity and the law – as shari’ah Islam does, for instance – will struggle to accommodate itself to the West.”
OCs’ exposition of its Ten Principles pretended to present a philosophy that stood between socialist “utopia” and libertarianism. In common with most faux intellectual analyses from conservatives, (for example, Tory MP Lee Rowley’s Next Generation Capitalism), the Principles’ respective details were contorted verbose attempts to create a cohesive foundation for OC’s politics, speckled with eclectically inserted quotes from undergraduates’ favourite nineteenth century political philosophers.
The Principles described the OCs as neither supportive of standoffish libertarian government nor of directive socialist government and supportive of gradual change in how a country is governed with the change guided by the majority of its citizens. However, that confected philosophy is a confidence trick to justify the denial of civilised development of society and to persist with inherited prejudices, bigotry and xenophobia.
“The things we have, and have inherited, are precious and fragile, capable of being lost. They are not the products of design and artificial creation, but the slow, gradual and communal discoveries of the safest and most stables manners of ensuring good social continuity.”
OCs believe West is best and they believe it is the best ever – “The West is the civilisation that has contributed most to the history and development of Mankind” – and nations are the best division of the world – “the nation is the finest form of loyalty and stability that the West has ever experienced.” They barely hide their xenophobia: “It is time, again, to speak of loyalty, of Britishness, of cultural – not just political – identity.”
Despite their claim of distance between them and libertarian conservatives, including their self-ascribed “moderate” tag, OCs’ political policy proposals are indistinguishable from any conservative policies and include
“A social-market economy.”
“National Service, both of the military & community-based.”
“Regimented, but innovative and psychologically-backed methods of education.”
“School variety, including support for grammar, independent & free schools.”
“Reduced focus on university education.”
“Significant tax incentives for family formation & bearing children as seen in Hungary.”
“Promotion of state-funded marriage counselling as broken homes can lead to parties becoming a burden on the taxpayer anyway, not to mention psychological damage on children.”
“Migration levels should return to reasonable and manageable pre-Blair levels of no more than 50,000 a year.”
“Faith leads people to less nihilistic views. Research [no link supplied] has found that religious & spiritually-curious individuals lead life with higher ability to learn & greater mental health. We believe its promotion is a worthwhile affair.”
The OCs are predominantly students, undergraduate and post-graduate, and most are active Christians. Their president, Dominique Samuels, was formerly of Turning Point UK that had similar aims, objectives and methodology to the OCs; (at present Turning Point UK appears to be dormant.)
As the examples below show, self-neutered intelligence is popular among OCs as assistance to promotion of their bizarre and vague policy ideas but all such policies are inculcated with Tea Party-style ultra-conservative control and mono-cultural prejudice.
Education In British Education: Requiring Old Solutions And Missing MoralityAlex Brown’s proposed solution to a shortage of good apprenticeships for school-leavers was the reintroduction of “the lost option of military national service in order to bolster individual confidence, purposefulness and duty, all of which are lacking in the moral abattoir which is the British education system.” He added that university graduates “could also be compelled to participate in national service post-university. This will help to combat extended unemployment that befalls many university students, whilst also helping to instil a sense of discipline and groundedness that will aid them in whatever sector they then decide to work in.”
In the same article Brown demanded that changes he’d like to see in education “must be based on Christian religious morality which is the base for all legal and political morality in the modern world as well as being conducive to social cohesion and individual wellbeing. This will not only ensure that the new systems are fair, but hopefully the promotion of Christianity to the wider youth.”
He concluded with “education must be modified to reaffirm its moral duties.”
He explained that he prefers some immigrants to others. “Christian migration [to Britain is] the most sustainable and smoothest progress, because those who understand their faith and more inclined to connect quicker with those who share that faith. Those countries with shared religious or cultural core values tend to exhibit the best responses to acclimatisation.”
Abortion InAbortion In The UK: Scientific And Moral ShortcomingsNelly Huszcza spat out fundamentalist anti-science drivel about abortion and was appalled that “it is considered the pinnacle of women’s rights to deny the humanity of pre-born babies.” There is no such thing as a “pre-born baby.” She was equally aghast that, correctly, “abortions today are branded as healthcare.”
Overseas aid InCutting Foreign Aid Would Save Domestic LivesDan Mikhaylov used the same religious text as other contributors to state that “charity begins at home” in the context of opposition to foreign aid. He tried to claim there are special circumstances for the removal of foreign aid due to the loss of tax revenue in Britain as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. “It is in this regard [loss of tax revenue] that we urge the UK government to abnegate its existing foreign aid commitments.”
Mikhaylov is not too dim to be aware that Tory government spending and its tax collecting are never for the greater good of the majority of the public but he chose to pretend that he was unaware. “A government, elected by and for our people, would not score points by neglecting the privation in its own backyard. Doing so would be tantamount to betraying the voters. As a result, the most logical conclusion is to decrease our contribution to optimise our expenditure and channel funds where they are most demanded. It befits us to fathom the variety of situations, in which individuals may find themselves, and correspondingly curb our foreign aid expenditure to reconcile the needs and wants of the British people with those of the international community.”
His opposition to overseas aid was much more than skewed economics or deceptive arithmetic. He claimed “stories of money being squandered or embezzled, projects remaining unfinished, children enduring poverty and hunger largely account for our experience of distributing foreign aid even in the 21st century” and he observed that “even the most unequal societies may narrate plentiful examples of how hardworking, ambitious individuals successfully ascend the rungs of social hierarchy.”
The second quote above depicted a particularly nasty and inhumane outlook on life wherein Mikhaylov praised the survival of the fittest and death for others.
His haughty xenophobic disdain for people was expressed in his view that recipients of aid failed to be clever enough to use the aid. “The practice of bed [mosquito] nets itself is good, but simply donating them to uneducated subsistence farmers did little to ameliorate suffering. Some did not fully comprehend the benefits of bed nets and threw them out as soon as state officials had left. Others, meanwhile, took advantage of them, but either struggled, or did not recognise the need, to repair holes in them.”
There is nothing new or useful about the OCs. They have the same old worship of the free-market, the same wilful misrepresentation of their aims and politics, the same mis-use and abuse of language, including the obligatory “grassroots” claim in the first sentence of their introduction, the same unsubtle bigotry, the same cons, the same misdirection and the same tedious fake victimhood of all new right-wing think-tanks. Another floater in the bowl.
Links to brief descriptions of other right-wing think-tanks
Black Lives Matter’s rapid increase in size and popularity and its positive effects around the world, coupled with associated tendency toward socialism, unnerved the protectors of status quo. Soft conservatives, liberals and centrists, in governments, media and elsewhere, fear Black Lives Matter’s success as much as their far right peers do. But, the former cannot align openly with racists nor can they discredit anti-racists other than banal comments about protests escalating into violence and complaints about vandalism of statues.
The common strategy of the centre and soft-right when faced with effective radical challenge to their power is to set themselves apart as an elevated perspective that humours and “understands” protest while restricting it to a specific political location as a “concern” to be commented upon, analysed and controlled. One tactic of this strategy is to claim falsely that the challenge to power is a challenge against people who are not key actors in power.
The phrase “culture war” popped up in media commentaries of Black Lives Matter protests and extreme-right riots this weekend. The intent of the phrase is to depict the battle between anti-racism and its target as a battle between thinly-focused groups while self-appointed arbiters sit apart casting peremptory eyes down on the protagonists. The ultimate aim is to reduce Black Lives Matter’s capacity to be leaders of the public in a challenge against real power.
There is no “culture war.” The fight is between anti-racists and racism and the main targets of anti-racism are in power: They are in government, in the judiciary, in education, in police forces and in the media. The fight is between the public and those who exploit them.
On Sunday (June 7th) Black Lives Matter protesters in Bristol tore down a statue of seventeenth century slave trader Edward Colston and chucked it in the Avon.
The people of Bristol had tried to have the statue removed for many years via legal and political routes without success.
Protection of the statue’s status was expressed always via false arguments about not erasing history or not backdating modern morality. Both arguments are wilfully deceptive. Knowledge of history is not affected by whether or not a statue of a protagonist exists and slavery was immoral when Colston made his wealth from it and when the statue was erected two centuries later. It is also important that when Colston was alive there was not universal suffrage in Britain; most people did not have the right to vote. Significantly, the statue was erected at the end of the nineteenth century. It was built deliberately as a celebration of Britain’s slave trade.
The toppling of Colston’s statue and dumping in the water was a wonderful act of humanity. Politically, it was a superb demonstration of global action against racism without the need to wait for governments to act. The fall from the plinth, the rolling down the street and the splash in the water were enjoyed, applauded and cheered around the world.
The tone and content of negative reaction was predictable. Home Secretary Priti Patel espoused a common conservative con-trick wherein she claimed that the direct action destruction of the statue would put people off from supporting Black Lives Matter when she knew that it had the opposite effect.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson took a similar line when commenting on graffiti on a statue of Winston Churchill on the same day: “These demonstrations have been subverted by thuggery – and they are a betrayal of the cause they purport to serve.”
It is very offensive for right-wing politicians to declare that they know if acts by protesters are likely to increase or decrease popular support for their cause. Certainly, it is almost always true in such scenarios that whatever declaration is made by conservative politicians, the opposite will be the truth.
Former Home Secretary Sajid Javid said “this is not OK. If Bristolians want to remove a monument it should be done democratically – not by criminal damage.” Bristolians had tried to remove the statue “democratically” and been scuppered by right-wing politicians.
Blairite Labour MP Barry Sherman echoed Javid’s false point. “I don’t like mobs tearing down statutes in our country. We have elections & local people should democratically make these decisions!”
Current Labour leader Keir Starmer wanted the statue to be removed “properly with consent” and he said its disposal was “completely wrong.” He did not say who should supply the “consent.” He added that nobody “should condone lawlessness.” The last remark is in the context that, in Colston’s era, slavery was not unlawful.
Sherman, Starmer and Javid knew that attempts had been made to remove the statue. Historian Kate Willimas explained how and why attempts to address the issue of the statue’s existence had failed: Williams on Colston.
Tory MP Ben Bradley pretended he thought opposition to racism and to slavery had appeared only recently while he choose simultaneouslyto forget that there are governments in power now whose acts are as bad as those of the likes of Colston. “If we start to judge historical figures by 21st century standards, we’ll find that quite a few folks weren’t that nice… Almost as if they didn’t know any better.”
Sunday’s event was inspiring and uplifting; it was a positive day. Some politicians tried to convince themselves otherwise but their lack of conviction was obvious. They are fearful and that is something to celebrate.
Police cavalry charges against pedestrians cannot ever be justified as sensible policing or as reasonable force.
Horses do not disperse people except for a few seconds
People can be seriously hurt by a horse or by any panic in a crowd that ensues from a cavalry charge
Horses can bolt putting people, themselves and their riders in danger
Police riders are insufficiently trained to handle an unruly horse
During a Black Lives Matter protest in London yesterday, all of the above happened. One horse panicked and struck a traffic light pole injuring itself and its rider who fell to the ground and then it knocked over and injured a pedestrian. The scene was mayhem and achieved no policing objective.
Metropolitan Police’s operational decision to use cavalry to attempt to move people yesterday was a decision informed by crass stupidity and professional sadism both of which are dominant qualities in the mindsets of senior officers in the Met and its commissioner Dame Cressida Dick. The sadistic intent, toward people exercising the human right to protest politically, comes from the same philosophy shared by police, national guard and others who are tear-gassing, shooting (rubber-coated bullets directly at people’s eyes) and beating Black Lives Matter protesters in USA. Horses are merely a different weapon.
Thousands of people around the world protesting passionately against state racism is a wonderfully positive demonstration of humanity but it also frightens some governments that want use bigotry, xenophobia and racism as tools to divide and distract the public. The fact that the target of the protests is specifically state racism enhances these governments’ fears.
When scared, when fearful of losing control, governments that rely on the public’s subservience know only one method of response to popular political challenges: Violence. If the challenge is to the state’s racism then violent police tactics occur sooner and are executed more widely and viciously.
The Met’s use of cavalry was very stupid. If they could use tear-gas, water-cannons or rubber bullets – none of which are currently options available to them – then they would use them.
Libperialism is a growing phenomenon among hard-right economic colonialists who choose to present their support for corporate control of nations via the semantics of “Western values.”
British Foreign Policy Group (BFPG) is “dedicated to advancing the UK’s global influence” but doesn’t say how other countries would benefit from being influenced by Britain.
“We support Britain as a strong, engaged and influential global actor, and we recognise Britain’s critical international responsibility to uphold [democratic values, liberal societies] and extend these throughout the world.”
It’s support for imposition of “values” stated above is complimented by support for combating “autocratic states that challenge our interests.”
BFPG is proud to be part of the “foreign policy community in Britain” wherein it “works between the corridors of power to promote the connectivity and understanding needed to reshape and underpin Britain’s strategic advantage.” It provides no clarity of in what aspect of people’s lives such a strategic advantage exists, no clarity on over whom the advantage exists and no clarity on why the advantage is desired.
As a consequence of the departure from the EU BFPG is researching into how “Britain should approach and prioritise its existing and new international relationships, including [how to]achieve our strategic interests and uphold liberal values” amidst concern about “the rise of China, and new forms of cooperation amongst autocratic states, challenging the established Western hegemonic power.” It is noteworthy that “Western” was emphasised by BFPG as a political description in opposition to “autocratic states” rather than, say, “liberal,” “democratic” or “capitalist.”
A recurring theme in BFPG’s analysis is its observation that alliances between governments are changing including break-ups of alliances that it supports and formation of alliances it opposes. Thus, it focuses on “reimagining our [Britain’s] global role.” BFPG is confident that such a role can be coerced upon other countries due to “Britain’s inherent capabilities in governance, administration, regulation, technological innovation and research, [that] can be applied to addressing complex international challenges, and asserting our liberal democratic values on new global systems and forms of power” alongside, of course, surety of “Britain’s approach to safeguarding itself against emerging global threats, including our relations with hostile states, and how we can equip our foreign service and military to harness world-leading systems and intelligence.”
The declaration of intent quoted above is a clear exposition of BFPG’s imperialist philosophy and methodology: Use financial persuasion of soft power to interfere in governance of other countries; if that fails, then use military force. It is exactly the same dual technique used throughout history by colonialist power.
InA UK-China Engagement StrategyBFPG director Sophia Gaston expressed her worries about the success of China as a leader in international trade. She warned of the dangers in acquiring a balance for Britain between its need for good business and trade relationships with China and an apparent fear of “industries vulnerable to malign penetration.”
On Australia’s trade deals with China Gaston said “the lesson here is of the narrowness of the tightrope a nation can walk in its engagement with an authoritarian state” because Australia had succumbed to “a degree of economic dependence, which inevitably encouraged politicians to turn a blind eye to some of the more pernicious infringements China was making towards the nation’s [Australia’s] security and sovereignty.”
Nowhere in her article did Gaston attempt to elucidate why she was certain that China’s non-democratic system of government inexorably led to “malign penetration” via business and trade agreements. Nor did she admit awareness of her hypocrisy of an objection to China using trade to persuade political decisions when a similar strategy is precisely the ethos of BFPG’s philosophy toward “non-Western” countries.
In Britain, Freedom and Democracy Communications & Events Manager at BFPG Matt Gillow – also Founder & Head of Outreach at lobby group 1828 – noted the decline in accountability of elected governments in some democratic countries, most notably in India and USA, but he omitted to admit awareness of the intrinsic and inevitable trend of capitalist democracies toward fewer freedoms as the system’s operational success stalls; he blamed populism for the decline.
Gillow said “the evidence is that the UK is bucking global trends [on populism].” Had he not noticed that an Etonian rabble-rouser is Prime Minister and had the Brexit referendum result been erased from his memory?
Regarding Britain’s ability to persuade other countries to admire its democracy and liberal values he noted that “Windrush scandal and the government’s ‘hostile environment’ policy are issues which, prevent the UK from getting a perfect score.” The extreme racism of the Windrush catastrophe was designed deliberately by the Tory government and it continues to destroy people’s lives and has led to several deaths but Dillow described it as causing an imperfect PR score.
He claimed it is “key” that Britain must “continue to be a strong voice in the room – in multilateral institutions such as NATO or the WTO – where International Trade Secretary Liz Truss recently set out Britain’s stool as a global leader in free trade.” By “free trade” Gillow meant freedom to exploit globally.
Hypocrisy BFPG uses populist opinion in Britain as encouragement for its suggestions on how the Tory government should proceed but decries what it perceives as populist governments in other countries, it objects to supposed interference by governments (of which it doesn’t approve) in other countries via international business deals while simultaneously proposing business ties between Britain and other countries as tools to enact changes of systems of government in the latter, and, for BFPG, freedom always means freedom for the capitalist to exploit and to do so across borders.
Soft power BFPG supports “soft power” as the main weapon of imperialism. The only differences between it and the blatantly imperialist Henry Jackson Society are tone and style of presentation.
libperialismn. Imperialism promoted by liberals (c. @JonTheEgg)
Links to brief descriptions of right-wing think-tanks and lobby groups
Former Vice President, Marketing and Franchise for PepsiCo Europe, privately educated (Whitgift School) Tim Davie is the new Director-General (DG) of the BBC.
His first role at the BBC was Director of Marketing, Communications and Audiences – appointed in 2005. That department’s and its director’s role should never be more than advisory within the BBC and there should not be a promotion route from being its director to DG. However, in the last two decades, the status of Marketing, Communications and Audiences was elevated beyond an advisory role and pushed the BBC toward a business chasing ratings.
Davie’s commitment to audience numbers’ priority over historic BBC principles was demonstrated by his decision to attempt to shut down 6 music when he was Director of Audio & Music. He failed abjectly to understand the importance of such a radio station and saw only listener numbers. His decision was overturned by the BBC Trust following pressure from music fans and artists.
His focus on ratings will exacerbate the decline of the BBC. Coupled with fear of Tory cuts – funding will reviewed by the government in 2022 – Davie’s market-oriented philosophy will erase innovation and lower the standard of information and education.
Reduction in quality will be most visible in news programming. Driven by the combination of ignorance and fear of Tory cuts, BBC’s interpretation of balance and impartiality in news broadcasting, concepts that were woefully misunderstood by Davie’s predecessor Tony Hall, will become more warped. Investigative reporting and intelligent analysis will be further reduced in favour of news-as-entertainment with ill-informed charlatans espousing offensive nonsense as guests on newsnight or politics live.
Davie understands customer numbers and he understands acquiescence to the Tory government. He has no understanding of quality in broadcasting of which he is ignorant and ignorant of his ignorance.
In 2018 Davie received a CBE from the Tories “for services to international trade.”
Davie was chair of Hammersmith and Fulham Conservative Association.
Dominic Cummings’s advice and instructions to the Tory government could be delivered by him without the need to be classified as an adviser to the Prime Minister; there are several other determined proponents of extreme market-oriented economic theories who could replace him were he to be removed; his reputation in the world of hard-right philosophy and think-tanking is neither more nor less impressive or problematic than many others; his communication skills with the government, other advisers and Tory MPs lack finesse and he does not have personal or business information on Johnson that would embarrass the latter because nothing embarasses Johnson.
Cummings’ retention and the unequivocal backing he received from Johnson and from the cabinet – support that necessitated a deluge of excruciating contradictory lies from all protagonists – was not a consequence of what Cummings offers to the government. As a connected person Cummings does have his uses but they are not so peculiar to him that an entire cabinet and lots of other Tory MPs had to prostitute themselves with absurd logic-defying, translucent cries of camaraderie in the face of near-total condemnation of Cummings from outside the government including from ardent Tory supporters in the media.
So, why does it appear that Johnson cannot remove him?
To sack him, or to accept a convenient resignation, would require Johnson to make a decision directed by opinions outside of the government. His refusal to agree to that was not borne of ego or stubbornness – despite his Eton machine education Johnson is not so erroneously confident that he always thinks he is right and everyone else wrong.
The reason Johnson could not allow outside persuasion to be a factor in decision-making on Cummings’ employment was that if Johnson acquiesced once then there would be pressure and coercion to do so again and again whenever the government did something that was clearly wrong, and there will be a stream of awful decisions, acts and laws from the Tories in the foreseeable future that will have catastrophic consequences for millions of people due to either Covid-19 or Brexit.
Johnson and his cabinet colleagues know their plans for Britain will be more than unpopular. The purpose of the current government is, via Brexit, to restructure society to favour a few wealthy exploiters. The majority of people will lose. The government cannot allow any compromises no matter how obviously defective its behaviour might be because all its plans are entirely defective from the perspective of most people and, so, acceptance of any change or challenge to a very poor decision by the government would mean every decision made would be similarly challenged because all will be similarly wrong. Any compliance with unambiguous logical criticism for anything unjust, unethical, undemocratic or stupid done (or not done) by the Tories – meaning everything that they plan to do (or not do) – would lead to compliance by them on all their plans.
Johnson’s erroneous imperturbability regarding Cummings was not protection of his adviser nor of himself; it was protection of the project, protection of coming decisions and acts and trade deals. The wilful intransigence was not intended to be a display of strength and had nothing to do with Cummings’ skills or his standing in the think-tank community. It was purely pragmatic. The Tory government’s aim is destruction. All criticism must be eschewed.