Monday, 26 December 2011

The Greater Europe ... or Little England

by Robert Edwards

European Socialist Action No 37

Oswald Mosley speaks in Shoreditch, East London, 1960s
European Action stands for the complete integration of Europe as an economic and political unitary power. This is clearly a continuation of the policy of Oswald Mosley’s Union Movement, two of which former members are writing in this current issue of EA’s European Socialist Action. Yet another former member is further mentioned in a report detailing recent interviews with an American university’s history department. There is no other group, with or without a regular publication, that can claim to stand firm and square for this policy and we therefore claim to be unique and original in that regard.

Not for us the compromise or flirtation with right wing nationalism, that reactionary throw-back to the days of Empire, that refuses to acknowledge the world has changed since the sun set on it long ago. Not for us the semantic juggling with terms that pretend to be ‘European’ but are, in fact, a cop-out through the fogginess and confusion of garbled talk of ‘confederations’ and loose alliances that mean, in reality, no unity at all.

Right wing nationalists, which includes all Eurosceptics and enemies of European unity (‘nationalism’ being an essentially generic term) presuppose we each possess, as separate countries, something called sovereignty and that the waving of a flag and the face of a monarch or a president on a bank note mean, through such symbolism alone, these things become a reality. Wishful thinking or deluded dreaming? A bit of both, I suspect.

Right wing fringe parties hold onto their only version of an economic idea which is expressed through that tired and worn-out demand, “We want to go it alone and choose who we trade with in the world and not be told by Europe”.

All very good if you have the vast resources of something the size of the British Empire at its height ... but all rather pathetic when you are left high and dry as a set of weather-beaten little isles in the North Sea with nearly all your major industry gone in the click of Margaret Thatcher’s finger and thumb. What on earth are these silly little ‘patriots’ going on about? Trade with whom we choose? How is little Albion going to compete successfully on world markets against the likes of China or India ... or do they have “a cunning plan”, as the unfortunate Baldrick would occasionally inform his master in the Blackadder TV series?

The British far right does not like economics ... or, as one of them informed me some time ago, “Economics is Marxist commie rubbish”. Anything is “rubbish” if you do not understand it. This is probably the reason why parties like the BNP have no economic policy to speak of, apart from a childish fantasy called ‘national autarky’, getting everyone to dig for victory ... as they are so fond of wartime metaphor. The idea of the allotment gets a revival in the BNP’s book of economic self-sufficiency ... grow your own!

You have to ask yourselves, why do they persist with this “rule Britannia” nationalism in the face of all the evidence that ‘little Britain’ would never work as a so-called sovereign power? First of all, no sovereignty in the big, bad wide world and, second, no power with your industry spent and the East taking over your former glory in industrial terms.

Why do they hate Europe so much? Let us have a look.

With our history of Britain in the last few hundred years it was inevitable that myths and legends would be created on the strengths of the many achievements of exceptional individuals. We were the ‘work shop of the world’ during that period called the Industrial Revolution when British capitalism could exploit the vast resources of overseas empire ... but the social cost was enormous when the ordinary people were often treated worse than animals down mines, in factories and up chimneys. The ‘subjects’ in our overseas territories were regarded as less than human. All of this, in order that Britain could be ‘great’. The few became exceedingly wealthy and the many were to become the downtrodden industrial working class.

The ordinary British people who nearly broke their backs under horrendous conditions were kept in such dire poverty that none had the purchasing power to consume all that they produced here in Britain. Instead, overseas markets were created which created conflict with other European powers equally keen on exploiting the foreigner. Competition on such a scale ultimately led to war because, let us face it, all wars are economic (that dirty Marxist word).

In the 20th Century, we had two catastrophic world wars with European brother against European brother or, if you like, the workers fighting other workers. After the First World War there was an attempt to right the wrongs that had led to the massive slaughter in places like Flanders with both communism and fascism offering answers to the crises of capitalism in the 1930s. Indeed, the ideas of national self-sufficiency, tied to vast imperial resources, as proposed by ‘the Modern Movement’ in various countries, was the nearest to a real threat to an international system of finance that manipulated the money supply within international competition. With a toss of the coin, fascism lost and had to go ... with another war in 1939.

The problem of fascism in the 1930s was that it was ultra-nationalistic, which was another factor that could lead to war. Oswald Mosley came to that conclusion shortly after the Second World War. An alternative had to be found.

In terms of economic practice, fascism became totally redundant with the loss of Empire, as a direct consequence of the Second World War. Without the vast resources of an overseas empire, self-sufficiency was impossible and we were back to competing against other countries, keeping wages down in order to keep costs down. Mosley wanted to organise the economy in a way that an insulated economy could create a home market for all that it produced but this could only be achieved on a large scale. Small, isolated countries could never achieve this.

The alternative was Europe, along with areas of the world known then as the ‘white dominions’ ... Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. They were to be brought into Mosley’s idea of Europe a Nation on the basis of European kinship alone. That kinship, as it was, no longer exists as each ‘dominion’ gene-pool became infused with extra-European peoples and they traded with areas nearer to them. Australia with the Pacific Rim, for example.

The principal aim of Europe a Nation is the elimination of crises and depressions by striking a balance between production and consumption, putting the money into the pockets of the workers to buy back the goods they make as fast as science can increase the means to produce. Mosley called it the wage/price mechanism. This could only operate within a large insulated economy free of the vagaries of international competition ... which would mean an end to ‘free trade’ that has so long ruined this country of ours.

Then, industry should be under workers’ ownership with all having a stake and a share in the running of each industry. This would correct the previous injustices of capitalist exploitation. No more workers versus the bosses.

Europe a Nation would mean the elimination of racial and national hatreds, the product of many centuries of competitive warfare and religious strife. No single nation-state would ever again attempt hegemony over the rest ...  Europeans must be equal.

We must have an ever-expanding European economy creating a demand for skilled and trained people such as scientists, technicians, engineers, teachers, physicians, architects and so on. Science shall serve the workers’ state.

There will be the abolition of unemployment with the right of every European to work, leisure and education.

For all this, we will need a system of planning, the main purpose of which will be the ordered development of Europe’s resources, ensuring no waste.

We call this European Socialism where strong, democratic government leads the economy, intervening where it matters but giving power and responsibility to the workers in their places of work. Who do we mean by ‘workers’? It must be those who toil by both hand and with brain, the operative or worker working alongside elected managers and supervisors. It also includes people like buyers and statisticians. In other words, the entire team in a going concern, working together. It can not be otherwise.

How do we arrive at this when we have to contend with the greatest political obstacle to Europe a Nation nationalistic thinking. Right wing nationalist thinking being its worst expression. This does not belong exclusively to the fringes of British politics. Oh, no. It exists within the Establishment and in the Tory Party, in particular. Again, these people are the great exponents of free trade, the doctrine on which international competition is based. It is a free for all whereby those who keep costs down by keeping wages low have a fighting chance of winning. Those who want to give workers a fair deal do not stand a chance. Well, that is the Tories for you ... minimum wage, a horror of horrors to them. They will use all the claptrap of jingoistic nationalism, “we’re all in it together” and “do it for Britain” ... when, in fact, they are doing it purely for themselves while loafing about in their gentlemen’s clubs.

As I said, those who want to give the workers a fair deal do not stand a chance ... under this system. It will always be like this so long as we are part of the international free for all now known as globalism. They call it the “world economy”, rather blowing the gaff on the idea that each country’s economy is its own. It also makes a mockery of the policy these nationalistic people peddle concerning “trading with whom we choose”, as if it is all a nice, friendly game with fair rules. It is not. Co-operation not competition.

Then you have the worst of all, this conspiracy by private banking to create a national debt in each country, building a monopoly on the control of money so that governments are helpless in the grip of usury.

When all of government policy is reduced to a single objective ... not the improvement and betterment of the lives of ordinary people, the people who elected the government, but this over-riding push to reduce a phantom borrowing deficit, then something is gravely wrong in the world.

Ask your ordinary man or woman in the street to whom do we owe this incredibly vast amount of money and they can not tell you. Even though they do not know, they go along with it. Never question it.

At the core of it is private banking or, more precisely, the system of private banking which aim is to control the world’s money supply. Sometimes called the Rothschild model of banking, it seeks to take away from governments the means for creating and distributing money. It is created through borrowing from private banks and must be paid back at interest.

As such, all central banks must surrender their national purpose to an international purpose, hence the wars with Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and a few more lined up. Why? ...  because all these countries had central banks completely independent of the Rothschild usury model. This is developed further in the article on the back page from an American writer.

This is perhaps one of the strongest arguments for a fully united Europe with its own government and its own banking system whereby the European people’s government  controls the money supply through a European credit bank not based on usury but on a regulated need to maintain that balance between production and consumption. Private banking would end and so would the external National Debt.

You need the strength and power of a super state like Europe a Nation, big enough to defend itself from the New World Order’s dirty tricks, which acts as the military wing of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, pushing countries into debt slavery and then dictating how those countries regulate fiscal policy with threats if they default. Meanwhile, public services are sacrificed first as an ‘austerity measure’ while those that are responsible for economic crises, the private banks, accept public bail outs and then continue to award themselves massive bonuses. If you have two luxury yachts why do you need a third? Why all this greed?

Why do we allow ourselves to be treated this way and why is it allowed to go on? The answer, my friends, is that all governments in the West are in thrall to these financial institutions and are there to serve them and not us.

Europe arise and break the chains that bind us!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Reflections on the Somme

Henry Williamson

by John Roberts

It is heartening and encouraging to see the English writer Henry Williamson’s name crop up and it was good to see reader Michael Woodbridge mention him in a letter a few years ago.
I, too, am a member of  The Henry Williamson Society and for the benefit of readers of European Socialist Action the following is an article, albeit slightly revised, which I submitted to the society’s newsletter some time ago. It was written after a fascinating journey to The Somme and places associated with Henry, organised by the society.
Mr Woodbridge’s comment in his letter is, I feel, worthy of repeat here. “..... (The Henry Williamson Society) ..... although it purports to be non-political nevertheless can not deny that Williamson represented the spirit of England which Mosley sought to champion”.

Battlefield Tour

“The English Channel is free of U-Boats and the Kaiser’s navy is sunk. The coast is clear”. Thus to paraphrase our intrepid astonishingly well-informed guide Paul Reed (you may well have seen him of late on various television programmes on the Great War including Michael Palin’s documentary on the last hours of the war, shown in November 2008), setting the scene on a bright day in Dover for a riveting and extraordinary moving tour of The Somme battlefields in Northern France.
Memories of this tour are already indelibly inscribed in the mind. Placing a wreath on a lonely, windswept cemetery in the middle of a field. “May he rest in ancient sunlight” (an allusion to HW’s Chronicles of Ancient Sunlight series of books); the rusty remains of a shell unearthed by farmers after 90 years. There was a palpable sense of occasion here.
Other abiding memories are the soft Spring showers, wind driven, gently spattering the Portland stone. “A New Zealand soldier of the Great War”. Sgt J. Montgomery, Royal Irish Rifles. 1st July 1916, age 24”. The oak leaf crest of the Cheshire Regiment. Atop the hill beyond Serre Road Number 2 Cemetery, a steely threatening grey sky; in the foreground, bright Spring sunshine illuminating the Portland stone and daffodils. A poem is read by Gilbert Waterhouse; it alludes to nightingales in one verse. As we listen, we can hear skylarks.
Afterwards, we gaze at the lone cross in the corner of a field; an officer, Valentine Braithwaite: Somerset Light Infantry. “A corner of a foreign field that is forever England”. Those well-worn words sprung into the mind unbidden and acquire a stark relief this Spring afternoon.
For me, what makes Henry Williamson’s work so fascinating is how we can be drawn into a visionary, almost mystical sense of the English countryside, yet there is a keenness, an edge given by Henry’s experiences of the Great War. War and nature in close proximity; the blasted trees, the skylarks above the guns. At Lochnager crater (‘Le Grande Mine’ on the road signs with the poppy symbol by a row of typically French trees) we observe the poppies cast down into the crater’s base; a hare makes a brief appearance. In nearby fields where the Tynesiders moved forward, we can see the yellowhammers and skylarks.
We view ‘The Golden Virgin’ of Albert town across the fields, whilst Richard (Henry’s eldest son) reads in the midday breeze. The Angelus bell has just rung from a nearby church. In the distance, those so typical copses of trees.
A poignant address at the Arras memorial; the tragic circumstances of Private Frith’s death were recorded by HW along with his trusty mule. This I found an extraordinarily moving passage. The combination of man and beast. Those dignified, graceful and innocent creatures who obediently assist, even in the horrific midst of war. How often we are inclined to let their contribution slip from our memory. The Dickin Medal, initiated by the PDSA founder, Maria Dickin, has rightly been awarded to horses, dogs, cats, even pigeons.
I rediscovered Henry Williamson only a few years ago. My wife, Geraldine, was having treatment for cancer (happily she is now in remission) and I came across an article on HW whilst attending the infirmary in Leeds where she was receiving chemotherapy.
In the booklet given out to accompany the tour, Richard Williamson wrote an introduction and one of the things he wrote made a marked impression.

To quote: “A soldier sees things that others never see”.

This line ignited my imagination. Perhaps a soldier, in having to face certain truths about himself and the world around him, is in a similar condition to that of the artist. Maybe not the same immediate danger but there are connections in terms of discipline. Henry Williamson was, of course, an artist and a soldier.
To the artist or writer, a constant, acute and tireless observation of his or her surroundings is in their very nature. The activities of a soldier and artist also involve that acute presence of mind.
These musings brought to mind the poet Henry Reed who wrote Naming of Parts. On one level this is a description, with a sardonic edge, of a soldier’s training routine; in this case, rifle training. Yet Reed displays an awareness of his surroundings: it is obviously Spring. “The Japonica glistens like coral in the neighbouring garden”.
There are fascinating metaphors and juxtapositions made between the rifle instructions, so mechanical and matter of fact and equally precise observations of the beauty and fragility of nature. “Almond blossoms silent in the garden”.
When he refers to “Easing the Spring” on a rifle, there is a marvellous interplay of the meaning. The early bees “are assaulting and fumbling the flowers”. “Easing the Spring” is transfigured from a technical instruction to an acute observation on the emergence of the season of Spring.
There is also the further idea that everything has a name, whether it be the breech of a rifle or a genus of blossom tree, though their ‘natures’ and purposes are entirely different.
A soldier will also see things in the sight of a rifle. Perhaps an animal, the shadow of foliage on the bark of a tree in bright sunshine; the particular hue of brickwork on a barn or wall; a cobweb on a windowpane; the murmur of breeze; a bird darting across the vision.
Henry had the same acuteness of vision. To me, this ‘colliding of worlds’ is what makes Henry Williamson’s so compelling. He saw how war affects the natural world and how the natural world subsists even during war. How animals and insects react to man’s destructive potency.
I am sure that Henry’s acute, almost mystical awareness of the natural world, yet also his experience of the waste and barbarity (and dignity and heroism it can reveal) are what gives his work such energy, vitality and potency.
Another poem which came to mind unbidden is “All day it has remained” by Alun Lewis. Damp training tents; the tedium of the day: the discomfort. Rain pours on mankind whether he is at peace or war. The skylarks still sing, despite the guns.
Readers might be interested to know, if you are ever in Yorkshire, about Sledmere House near Driffield (East Riding).
Sledmere, on the Yorkshire Wolds, is the home of the ‘Wagoners Special Reserve’; these were agricultural workers skilled in the working of horses and wagons: they were amongst the first to join the British Expeditionary Force in August-September 1914. There is a small museum which documents the unique contribution which these men made, some of whom had never left the village in which they were born, amongst the first to serve their country abroad. These men of the Yorkshire Molds, of which there were a fair few, are celebrated here through memorabilia and medals. There is also an excellent (and very reasonably priced) cafe serving teas and lunches.
There is an interesting pair of memorials in Sledmere village itself, one in particular displaying a bas-relief of the Wagoners’ experience of the Great War (although somewhat controversial due to its somewhat lurid and savage depiction of the German army).
Sledmere is something of a well-kept secret. With its Arboretum of ancient trees (the likes of which I have only seen at Mourne Park House, Kilkeel, County Down in Northern Ireland), I am sure it is a place Henry would have appreciated.

For further details of Sledmere House phone 01377 236637

The Battlefields tour organised by the Henry Williamson Society occurred at Eastertide 2006.

copyright © John Roberts 2011
ESA No 37  November/December 2011

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Signal For Things to Come

The Height of the August riots in London, 2011

by Robert Edwards - ESA No 36

No one was prepared for the riots over an August weekend that spread from city to city, burning and looting on a scale not seen for decades. Parliament was in recess and the police seemed paralysed, like rabbits in a car’s headlamps, as they came out onto the streets to act as mere observers, standing by as looters emptied shops in full view. In one area, looting went on for over an hour in full view of police in riot gear.
The great British public also sat and watched, albeit in the comfort of their own sitting rooms on plasma screens that actually belong to them.
We watch famine and drought in Africa and NATO bombings in Libya; we watch rioting on the streets of Syria and severe storms and tsunamis in America and around the Indian Ocean ... but events on the scale of the August riots are now regarded in much the same way. News as morbid entertainment, so long as it is not in my backyard.
How many still remained secure in their homes while feral youth went on the rampage over several nights, burning out ordinary people who were as innocent and blameless as they could be? We were left wondering if we had a police force fit for purpose and it was becoming increasingly clear that we do not. Let us face it, they were completely ineffectual on the streets, seemingly incapable of knowing what to do under the circumstances.
The shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham by armed police officers is said to have been the spark that ignited the social powder keg. The local police chief seemed to ignore the requests from a peaceful group of demonstrators who waited for hours for answers outside the police station that evening. It was a prime example of the complete detachment of the police from the local community and more or less confirmed the feeling that the police treat young blacks unfairly. The peaceful demonstrators were snubbed by the local police chief ... then, later,  all hell broke loose.
Serious crimes were committed on that first night, and subsequently, the more serious being arson. The rioting was ferocious and a powerful force seemed to dominate the events. For moments it seemed parts of cities were to be razed to the ground as the mob pushed on with its criminal purpose.
The Prime Minister eventually got round to returning from his holiday, along with the rest of the Commons windbags. There was then some semblance of governing, along with the usual homilies before media cameras.
Cameron donned the persona of a hard line right wing Tory, dispensing with his customary ‘ethical conservatism’. They would be hunted down and punished, he swore. CCTV footage did the rest and the round-ups began. 
Fast-track court hearings were put in place after the arrests, based on CCTV mug shots. Entire families were evicted from their social housing as an added punishment.
To reinforce his new hard man image, Cameron decided to call in the expertise of US ‘super cop’, Bill Bratton, who is to meet our Prime Minister sometime in September. What does this say for our own senior police officers, some of whom clashed with the politicians, rudely interrupted on their holidays? They were informed they had gone about it the wrong way and so the politicians stepped in and sorted it out for them.
Those who advised Cameron on this option of bringing in an American cop may yet discover they have placed the Prime Minister in a somewhat awkward political dilemma since the introduction of his new ‘bang ‘em up and throw away the key’ doctrine, beloved of his old ‘hang ‘em and flog ‘em’ blue-rinsed brigade of old. Tories used to be hard on crime but not the causes of crime. They were not interested in what were deemed mere excuses. Social problems were of no concern to them other than to punish the poor for being poor. “It was their own fault” because they had not been thrifty and as hard working as their social superiors ... as most Tories saw it. Social deprivation was largely ignored and treated as an embarrassment.
Bill Bratton seems to look at these issues quite differently and, perhaps, with far more insight. Success claims by this tough American cop do not appear to be entirely truthful as this passage from an American report indicate:
“By now, almost everyone has seen one of the semi-amusing videos of black teen mobs rampaging through a store. Maybe we've even seen the non-amusing pictures of the victims, or heard their stories.
Most Americans have heard of recent violent ‘flash mobs’, which are the bands of black teens that attack mostly white victims and white businesses, as even the New York Times once noted. But the flash mobs, which are more accurately called ‘race riots’ or ‘racial mob violence’, are not the only interesting topic to cover in our national conversation about race.
There is also the ‘knock out game’, which is stunning in its brutal simplicity and stark racial significance. The knock out game involves ‘unprovoked attacks on innocent bystanders’, according to police who have had to deal with it. A retired officer explained, "Normally it was a group of black males, one of which would strike him as hard as he could in the face, attempting to knock him out with one punch", says retired Sergeant Don Pizzo.
The victims are typically not robbed, but simply punched with no provocation. Such attacks have been reported in Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, and New Jersey ... local media outlets have failed to report on the racial aspect of the attacks. At best, the media will allow the race of attackers to be revealed by mug shots or quotations from police or victims. This follows a conscious policy of self-censorship that has been openly admitted by major newspapers”.
Do we need these American imports and should we rely on advice from countries that have the highest crime rates in the world and the largest prison populations? Do we really need Dirty Harry?
“You can not arrest yourself out of the problem”, Bratton told ABC television, “Arrest is certainly appropriate for the most violent, the incorrigible, but so much of it can be addressed in other ways and it's not just a police issue, it is in fact a societal issue”.
He recommended, “... a co-ordination of very assertive tough police tactics but also a lot of community outreach, a lot of creative, innovative programmes such as a significant use of gang interventionists”. Sounds like typical American socio-babble but he does touch on a point that Cameron is currently ignoring ... the origins of violence in social deprivation. There are no excuses for crime but their are causes and reasons for it.
Before you all think I am turning into a bleeding heart liberal, as they were once called, we must consider solutions while not constantly ranting on about punishment. It is clear there is a massive problem regarding social cohesion and that problem is largely economic ... the haves and the have-nots ... the massive gulf between the rich and the poor.
While not dismissing the criminality of the rioters, there is evidently a strong case for recognising a process of alienation that has been going on for some decades now, effecting more than one generation. British society has been disintegrating ever since our industrial base was eroded and the working class betrayed and thrown onto the scrapheap of English social history. Once-valued manual skills became as redundant as the massed ranks of industrial workers. Youths today, both black and white, will never have known the old pride in labour and to have belonged to the brotherhood of the working class. My father, a miner for most of his life, was an example of that esprit de corps felt by all who toiled and laboured together. Youths today, and I am talking of the disenfranchised and alienated, often do not have that essential feeling of ‘belonging’ that even a proper family gives of right and so they become feral, that adjective now recurring whenever this section of youth is given media attention.
The sense of ‘belonging’ is as natural and essential as anything in the animal world. In the Qur’an it says, “Even the animals have their community”, which emphasises the universal occurrence of it, overriding all other instincts and needs. Governments do not do anything to remedy this situation because, first of all, Margaret Thatcher said there was no such thing as society, that we are all individuals urged on by selfish greed. Global capitalism is driven by it and the bankers positively worship greed as a god. Mammon rules Britain!
Four masked youths, all black, were interviewed after the riots by a Sky News reporter on the banks of the Thames near Greenwich. They were asked why they engaged in the riots and one said clearly, “We did it for the money because we haven’t got any”. One stole nappies and Johnson baby products for his tiny son. Standing there, he pointed over at the City with its tall office blocks and then to the nearby block of council flats. He clearly understood this world whereby the super-rich get hold of large amounts of money easily through speculation (gambling) while the occupants of those council flats sometimes had no idea where the next meal is coming from. This feral youth understands, alright. They understand that bigger criminals lurk across the Thames in Canary Wharf and further down the river in the House of Commons. They do not need lectures from hypocrites.
As Britain lurches from one economic crisis to the next, the Government tells us we must learn to do with less because a phantom debt needs to be paid to the faceless bankers who lend it out of nothing and than want it back at interest. It is amazing how many people are duped into believing all this is aboveboard and perfectly legitimate. We owe nothing because money is phantom currency which exists in the form of figures on a database only. It is nothing more than that. Then there is the bond market where debts are traded ... buy cheap and sell when they go up in value. Roulette capitalism at its worst and most unethical.
An economist once wrote: “Money is the NOTHING you get for SOMETHING before you can get ANYTHING. To acquire money, its legitimate owner must give up something in the here and now - property, personal services, etc - for the nothing of money. The money serves as a claim to an equivalent share of real wealth to be produced and consumed sometime in the future. It represents society’s debt for wealth surrendered for the inherently worthless forms of modern money, hence the nothing of money”.
What do we get out of this system? Only war and growing poverty with periodic bouts of speculation-induced prosperity followed by economic collapse, as Frederick Soddy, the Nobel Prize winner, put it. He believed the explanation was in the way society distributed wealth and not in its ability to produce it.
It is very clear that science and technology can provide all that we need in abundance. Oswald Mosley always said that. With government leading, we can raise our standard of living and purchasing power as science increases the means to produce.
But we are not in control and there is the rub. The crux of all our problems. It is the reason for poverty, for a lack of social cohesion, for social deprivation and for the fact that large swathes of alienated youth do not ‘belong’ ... other than to gangs and other peer groups. The connection has gone ... with society, the police and the politicians. It is time for anti-politics and anti-money. After all, the power that the high and mighty wield is all relative. They are powerful because we believe they are powerful. Money exists because we believe it exists. Our national debt exists because we believe it exists. Take that belief away and the whole show could collapse like a house of cards.
Ask yourselves why the police simply stood by and watched the looting and burning going on. The answer is, they did not believe they could do anything about it. It is all about confidence ... as the bankers often claim.
So let us all have confidence, my friends. Confidence in overthrowing this system and replacing it with something better so there will never be the need for burning and looting because there will be an abundance for all.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Quintessentially English

European Socialist Action No 33, March/April 2011
Scott Ullah
by Scott Ullah

It was my intention to write on the threat to our forests and woodlands but the people have triumphed on this one, I am overjoyed to learn. Land and people is a good phrase to apply here because the two should be indivisible. Long may they remain so.
What on earth made them think they could just sell it all off to the highest bidder? Can you imagine these sacred places, our very English soil and all the beautiful wildlife, in the possession of a Russian oligarch or an American oil executive, lost forever and resigned to being plundered, spoiled and defiled. You know what some of these ‘businessmen’ are like. They buy up our football clubs as yet another possession to add to their business portfolios without any thought or feeling for local passions built up over generations of supporters. Our forests and woodlands would have been treated in the same fashion.
I am one of those who is keen on the word ‘socialist’ being added to this publication because we need to show that we believe the people of this country should always have a say in the affairs of our England. The best way to implement it properly would be to make sure the people actually own their own country. This includes what they call the utilities or what my old mum would call the essentials gas, electricity and water. Why is there this urgency to make a profit out of anything and everything? It is pure greed.
Of course, globalism is the curse in all this and we need a government that can resist this plundering of all our resources and assets.
This is not America even though they try to Americanise us through the media. The idea of theme parks is purely American and like much from that hell of a place it is plastic and phoney. It was with this thought in mind that I dreaded this proposed sell-off, thinking the Government must have either gone mad or is quite without morals. It is most definitely the latter.
So why did they back down on this in the end?
My theory is, this Tory-led Coalition government has no idea how ordinary people think and feel, despite this patronising claptrap about ‘we are all in it together’. You see, multi-millionaires live in a different world and that is a fact from which you can not escape. It was only when the depth of feeling regarding our forests and woodlands included the great and the good in the protest that the cracks in the Coalition’s sell-off plans began to appear. They attracted over half a million signatories for this purpose which I am told is unprecedented in this day and age. They were up against more than the hoi polloi. Then and only then did Cameron state over the Despatch Box that he was not happy with it all and tried to win back all the brownie points he was losing on this one.
He knows now that he and his cronies are more unpopular than Ed Miliband’s Labour Party and Ed Miliband has not really made his mark yet. Time will tell.

I believe in freedom. That freedom must entail public ownership of many aspects of our nation that would benefit us all in the common good. The countryside, for example, offers all of us so much joy and pleasure but it also entails responsibilities on the part of all of us. Awareness of certain rules of the countryside only comes with education and this should most definitely begin early on in the schools.  It is our heritage, after all.
I am told that a line in an old Mosley song went, “Sprung from that soil for whose dear sake they bled”. It carries a certain reverence which certainly inspires my deep respect. I immediately think of war memorials.
People died for the land, for their land. That is how they viewed it, even though the wealthy landowners really owned it lock, stock and barrel. Whether it was for King and Country or just to defend a little village, the ordinary people felt it was theirs because they were born there and that is why the English rose up recently and demanded their forests and woodlands must not be sold to some foreign mogul.
You could see that there is still that almost spiritual attachment to the soil and everything that springs from it. With that there is hope, which springs eternal.
The preservation of England’s green and pleasant land was worth dying for over the centuries and it is still worth the effort because without it we lose that sense of continuity of identity that some old-fashioned people call ‘patriotism’.

I have walked through woodland on a quiet Sunday morning with that most uplifting of music called birdsong and the smell of fern and moss all around me. I know immediately that I am on hallowed ground so that I am not sure whether my presence there is a right or a privilege. I know one thing. We have a duty to protect it for the generations to come and, of course, for that other precious life that lives there, the wildlife. There is something essentially mystical about it all and it is there that you fully understand the phrase ‘Mother Nature’.   

© Scott Ullah 2011

Friday, 18 March 2011

Nation Revisited

Interview For Bill Baillie's Online Bulletin
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Nation Revisited Interview
I asked people who support the concept of European unity the following questions. Here is Robert Edwards, a former member of Sir Oswald Mosley’s Union Movement.
Who are you?
Robert Edwards. I am the co-ordinator of European Action and the editor of its paper, European Socialist Action.
What do you believe in?
I believe in social justice and the liberation of all peoples from the grip of international (globalist) finance. I believe in cultural integrity and the right of people to preserve those cultures free from interference from outside. I oppose all ideas based on racial supremacy. I also oppose the persecution of peoples based on religion. All have a right to worship anywhere and anyway they chose, whether in church, synagogue or mosque. There is no such thing as a ‘British’ religion. Right-wing reactionaries who exploit ‘Islamophobia’ do so because they are bereft of any constructive ideas. Besides, it is largely dishonest because their true motive is essentially racial but they are too gutless to admit this.
This liberation of all peoples, I believe, can only come about through the entire world being organised along the lines of continental systems, with their own governments and with their own self-sufficient and independent economies, free from the current international trading system. Mosley’s concept of Europe a Nation should be adopted as a blue-print and the model for other areas of the world. Only systems large enough can be truly independent and self-sufficient. Smaller nations, as currently constituted, will always remain dependent on a larger power. Better to be part of a greater union in equal partnership. Union is strength.
I believe in European Socialism, a system based on syndicalism or workers’ ownership. I also believe the people should own the means of production, distribution and exchange. I oppose free market economics and the idea of international competition. The living standards of our own people must always come first and that is why we should have our own European trading area for a thriving home market. Bring an end to the import of cheap goods from low-wage Eastern economies which undercuts the European worker and keeps our wages low as a consequence. European manufacturing for European consumption only. Organise and lead within our own area! It can be done. All that is needed is the will.
I believe in the complete union of Europe as a single system with its own government, its own military defence force and a single currency and economy. The regions of Europe should retain regional customs and local laws best suited to them. However, I reject this watered-down nonsense of ‘confederation’ which is not union at all but a set of loose alliances for the purpose of limited co-operation. Some bourgeois petty nationalists are trying to push this confederation idea while retaining their nationalistic narrow world view, hanging on to out-dated illusionary ideas of sovereignty. Ten pygmies do not make a giant and ten separate nation-states would always remain essentially divided. Nationalism should be consigned to the dustbin of history as an anachronism with nothing to offer the people. The age of the nation-state is over ... now comes the age of great continental systems.
What are you proud of and what do you regret?
I am proud of having been a member of Oswald Mosley’s Union Movement and of being, at one time, UM’s West London Area Organiser. I regret nothing. To regret is pointless. To learn from one’s mistakes is far more important.
How would you like to be remembered?
As a notorious cartoonist. What else?

Roulette Capitalism is the Problem

Editorial, European Socialist Action No 32

The international bankers have a history of taking irrational risks out of which they make huge profits for themselves. When reality eventually hits them, however, they make us taxpayers pay for their losses. The bankers keep the profits but expect us to pay for their mistakes, which we do without question.
In all this, governments must always prop up the banking system because, as they view it, there is no system but global capitalism. They will always do the bidding of international banking over which they have little or no control.
This Coalition government is nothing but a joke ... a government that can not be taken seriously in anything it does. We are told the Coalition is tackling our public borrowing deficit by the only way they know how ... austerity cuts, which mean reducing our deficit by hitting the poor and disadvantaged in society. The public sector is to be ravaged with all hopes placed on a revived private sector. Hundreds of thousands of jobs must go in the public sector to miraculously emerge in a revived private sector.
It is all based on a false optimism with a banking system still reluctant to lend to business through a lack of confidence in debt repayment.
The fact is, capitalism is in crisis with no easy way out ... if any at all. The world remains teetering on the brink of economic disaster and the prognostication still remains gloomy.
But borrowing in the UK continues with increased spending on health and defence. Indeed, it is an increase on twelve months ago ... which seems to throw doubt on the government’s ability to reduce the public deficit.
Both the CBI and the British Chambers of Commerce have now lowered their forecasts for economic growth believing higher inflation will impede economic recovery. A VAT increase to 20 per cent from 17.5 per cent on January 4 will not help, either.
Forecasts and calculations hold for one day and can be torn up the next. The problem concerns more than the cyclic ups and downs of a free market system over which government has no real control. Anything can happen now.
We have always said it is the system itself which is the problem and needs to be replaced. Patching it up here and there will never offer a long term solution. At each crisis we lurch further and further towards complete and irretrievable breakdown.
Banking relies on confidence in order to function but irresponsible banking with its ‘get rich quick’ gambling binges and the ensuing disasters have finally revealed a racket operating in what is nothing more than a giant global casino. How can anyone have confidence in such a state of affairs?  
The result can only be an increasing loss of faith in the markets as the gambling continues and more banks suffer meltdowns and collapse with companies facing liquidity and investors losing their savings.
On Wall Street and in the City of London, they will continue to take big risks because they know governments will bale them out when things go belly up. It is said they will play until they crash because it is at the heart of the very nature of banking.
This is the one central issue upon which any solution to our national problems must be addressed. It is this issue and nothing else.
Not one single party, whether mainstream or of the fringe, has addressed this great problem upon which the future livelihoods of millions of people must eventually rest.
UKIP blames the European Union, the British National Party blames the Muslims, the Tories and Liberal Democrats blame previous Labour governments, the Scottish Nationalists blame England, Sinn Fein blames the Ulster Unionists, the DUP blames the Pope, the Green Party blames global warming ... and so on but not one of them can see what is, in fact, the elephant in the sitting room, the real glaringly obvious menace to the future of our country and to the rest of Europe, the banking racket as practiced within global capitalism.
We need to get out of this system of dominance by financial forces that makes a mockery of government and democracy ... and the only way out is that proposed by Sir Oswald Mosley and Union Movement the concept of Europe a Nation.
It is the creation of large-scale economic units big enough to be self-sufficient and independent which will then be free of the vagaries of international competition and the financial institutions that make profits out of supplying the finances for this competitive trading where one country gains a temporary advantage at the expense of another. No one wins but Finance.
Within Europe a Nation, banking will serve the people and only the people. Banking would function only within the area of Europe and it would be under the direction and leadership of an elected European government.
Banking should then become responsible and answerable to the European people. No more roulette capitalism.
Once you have achieved this, you can then organise the economy on the lines of an upward progression because keeping wages down in order to compete would no longer apply. We all know that success in international competition is based on keeping wages down in order to keep costs down in order to undercut your competition. We will no longer engage in this.
Mosley proposed that heads of European governments should  unite and agree on a strategy to free us from the International Monetary Fund and our national debts to a conglomeration of what are private banks controlling our money supplies.
They should agree to do this together at an agreed hour and there would be nothing the international bankers could do about it. As separate, isolated countries there is nothing we can do ... but a united Europe would be a force with which to be reckoned.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

We are European Action - For Europe a Nation

The Letters Page, 
European Socialist Action No 33

Robert, I presume you are aware of the German website Europäische Aktion. Is that why you have changed to European Socialist Action?
At least it will keep the Tories away.
Best wishes,
Bill Baillie, Kennington
South London
[The Editor replies: That is very astute of you, Bill, and worthy of a full explanation in response.
It is desirable that we incorporate the term ‘Socialist’ into our title for a very clear reason and that is to emphasise the core political philosophy that was the post-war movement ‘beyond fascism’ and, indeed, beyond the morass of nationalisms perceived as being the defence of immutable, separately constituted entities.
We do not adopt ‘Socialism’ for expediency nor for any opportunistic purposes but, rather, to re-state our position based on long-standing conviction and resolve. European Socialism was the post-war creed, superseding the pre-war creed of Fascism. As such, those who foolishly attempt to revive any form of Fascism are our enemies because they ignore the greatest contribution to the post-war thinking on international affairs ... the idea of the union of peoples transcending the old nation-states for the purposes of creating true economic independence from global capitalism.
Our new title is being endorsed already which reveals a healthy sense of reality among our supporters. Our European Socialism stands opposed to capitalist exploitation with our first regard for the working man and woman, the essential backbone of a productive economy. The wealth of a nation is in the products of labour and nothing else.
Our European Socialism stands full square against the international trading system and the exploitation within low wage economies used to undercut other nations, thereby attacking the living conditions of all workers throughout the world.
Our European Socialism promotes the idea of Workers’ Control or Syndicalism as industrial policy. Equal partnership in industry and commerce within the framework of full democratic practices. None shall prosper while others go without. When we say “we are all in it together” we mean it. It follows that the people should own the means of production, distribution and exchange.
Our European Socialism rejects all ‘right-wing’ notions based on racial and religious intolerance dressed as ‘patriotism’. We know that the ‘patriotism’ of these right-wing reactionaries actually prevents many from seeing the bigger picture of international exploitation and oppression, that all the oppressed peoples throughout the world share one important thing in common ... a basic humanitarian regard for others. In that sense, we extend our true patriotism in the spirit of mutual assistance and not in the spirit of nationalistic antagonism.
Returning to your point regarding the ‘German website’, their adoption of the phrase European Action (Europäische Aktion) is not something complementary as first perceived. When you further study the platform of this group, based in Switzerland, you find something completely at odds with everything we stand for.
First of all it is focused entirely on the German-speaking countries of central Europe with echoes of a Grossdeutschland (a Greater Germany) promoting an out-dated revanchism, the policy of seeking to recover lost territories. This can only antagonise European neighbours and is entirely against the spirit of our European position on these matters.
A Europe based on German hegemony is a discredited thing of the past which led to a world war and the deaths of millions. As such, Europäische Aktion is nothing more than a form of German neo-Nazism, attempting to reawaken ghosts from Germany’s not so distant past ... which we further reject without question.
Another aspect to this group is its rampant position promoting Holocaust denial. It is our position that the ‘debate’ concerning whether or not gas chambers existed at Auschwitz is entirely sterile and can only serve one purpose: the supply of the oxygen of publicity to  Zionist propaganda which has always sought to use the issue as ‘evidence’ of a universal anti-Semitism and, thus, a permanent threat to the existence of Israel and of the Jewish people. It also provides an alibi for the monstrous and criminal treatment of the Palestinian people who had nothing to do with the events in central Europe during the Second World War.
We would further insist that the Holocaust has nothing to do with the British people and therefore we should neither question it nor commemorate it as a special day. The only people to whom it has any relevance, apart from the Jewish people, are those Germans who took part in those ‘special operations’ and they grow fewer by the day. The rest of the world is ‘not guilty’.
Our policy on the issue is therefore simple: ignore it. It is not an issue for Europeans today nor should it ever be.
There is also the issue of Muslims in Europe. Again, we differ from this German-speaking group in that we reject the disreputable idea there is a ‘clash of civilisations’ and that Muslims are here to slit our throats while we sleep soundly at night or that Christianity is itself threatened by a Muslim presence. ‘Islamisation’, they call it.
The values of Islam are identical to those of Christianity. That is the first consideration. The second is that there is a Qur’anic injunction for Muslims to respect the laws of a host country. All the rest is ill-informed hysteria and barely veiled racism.
This German-speaking group talks of a ‘confederation’ of European states. Not unity, mind you, but what is in reality a loose agreement or alliances in a vague common interest. Perhaps we should move away from the phrase ‘Europe a Nation’ and state quite categorically that we mean nothing less than the United States of Europe as a single power and entity in the world. We do not mean the sum total of little nationalisms, which is a ‘confederation’, but the end of nationalism and the beginning of a true European awareness, calling ourselves Europeans and thinking as Europeans and not as separate nationalisms barely tolerating each other because we continue to harbour and nurse old territorial jealousies and prejudices. The revanchist obsessions of these German-speaking ‘confederalists’ being a prime example.
Europe will not be made by latching onto the past and remembering old wars and old battles that have for so long divided us and on more than one occasion almost brought about Europe’s destruction. I am not talking about the Muslim conquest of Spain which was highly beneficial to all of Europe in the long run nor the repelling of a Muslim army by Charles Martel. No, I am talking about the worst threat of all ... the internecine rivalries down the ages between Europeans themselves. You could say Europeans have been their own worst enemies.
The threat of an external enemy is an old trick that imperialists and nationalists have employed for their own ends many times in the past. The American imperialists used the alleged military threat from the Soviet Union in the Cold War as an alibi to invade small countries, ostensibly to ‘defeat communism’, but whatever political system these people chose should have been their own business. You now have it today in the form of the ‘war against terrorism’, the external threat being something called Al-Qa'eda, with many people now realising this is a CIA-invented ‘Islamist’ bogeyman, the bogus image of which is further promoted by a manipulated Western media. Iraq and Afghanistan have since fallen victim to this fake scenario engineered and operated by American-led Western imperialism.
Our real enemy is within. It is ourselves as separate and divided parts of Europe, huddled together in our separate enclaves we call ‘our country’, afraid to stand up to the predatory financial forces that determine whether a country goes up or goes down on the economic scale. Whether it prospers temporarily or whether it is torn apart by imposed ‘austerity measures’.
Our enemy is nationalism, the misbegotten belief that we can defend something called ‘sovereignty’ because they actually believe small, dependent countries can run their own affairs and we only need place the word ‘Great’ before Britain in order that we become important again.
Look how we cling to our past ... the corrupt honours list with all the allusions to the British Empire. Perhaps someone should just show enough moral courage and stand up and shout, “There is no British Empire!” and end all this archaic nonsense. Get into the 21st Century.]

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Where are the Great Personalities in Politics?

by Robert Edwards

Published in European Socialist Action No 31   November/December 2010

An electorate gets the politicians it deserves or, at least, those on offer to them. What is it about our party political system that favours the bland, the uninspiring and, let us be honest, the downright mediocre? Bear in mind the process whereby these lack-lustre career politicians are chosen for office, which is of the ‘democratic’ way, and thus we are led to the conclusion that it must be a question of a far wider responsibility. Do the British people as a whole nurture this preference for the ‘more safe’ politician, meaning the politician who will not frighten away any straggling voters by rocking the boat and who will always tread very carefully along the opportunist’s road to power, obeying the party whips in the hope of attaining office? Is it a reflection of the nation as a whole in which politics is less of a passion and more of a clever career move? Whatever happened to moral conviction politics of a more visceral nature?
What was it about the Miliband brothers that got us all excited in September? Or not, as the case may be. Sibling rivalry rather took over serious politics for a while and we were treated to something more reminiscent of the Mike and Bernie Winters Show (under forties should ask someone much older).
Has the Labour Party ended up with ‘Bernie and Schnorbitz’, following Ed’s snatching away his brother David’s dream of high office, to further top his previously nationalising David’s train set? Like Mike and Bernie, Ed and David could no longer work together ... and, like Mike and Bernie, only one of them will now fulfil his ambition.
But enough of show business. Real politics concerns leadership and something called charisma, which seems to be seriously of the discount these days. I suspect the Labour Party now thinks it picked the wrong brother after the unions had come to Ed’s rescue, in the way that the Prussian Marshal Blücher came charging out of a forest at the eleventh hour when everything seemed to be to Napoleon Bonaparte’s advantage at Waterloo. David Miliband was to meet his Waterloo with much the same element of surprise.
Although Ed Miliband is not an impressive leader at the moment, he will survive because there is no one with whom he can be compared in terms of the old charismatic oomph. It just does not exist anywhere in British politics today except, perhaps, and now only on the fringe, with George Galloway, that rare political animal, a man of passionate principle with the gift of spell-binding oratory.
Ed Miliband was compared to Ian Duncan Smith as a party leader for the obvious reasons ... totally unremarkable and relatively unknown, with the implication that he will not be around to even contest the next General Election. A stop gap choice, some might think ... or hope, as they may well do.
The new leader of the Labour Party is described as a geek. They say he looks like a geek and he talks like a geek. But hang on, Blairites, geeks can sometimes be unpredictable and, on closer inspection, Ed Miliband is not all that he appears to be on the surface.
The incurable anti-Semite will be anticipating a reference from me to his Jewish background but even that is not so straightforward. Forget Jewish plots for one moment, Ed is not for sucking up to Israel.
In the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, Anschel Pfeffer wrote, “It’s difficult to find any kind of comment about Israel in the past statements of the British Labour Party’s new leader, Ed Miliband. If it’s up to him, he’d prefer to keep it that way ... a new Labour leader who aspires to return to power will not waste his time on foreign policy”. Former Foreign Secretary and Zionist, Brother David, please take careful note.
Pfeffer concludes, “Ed Miliband was elected with the help of the unions, most of whose members support a boycott of Israel ... all in all, the Blair-Brown era is definitely over”.
He is an atheist, a non-practicing Jew with a Gentile partner and a mother, Marion Kozak,  who is a member of a pro-Palestinian organisation, Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JJP). He also opposed the invasion of Iraq. So he is no neo-con Zionist and he is certainly not one of those Labour Friends of Israel apologists. The highly principled Gerald Kaufman also being note-worthy in this respect. To paraphrase, you don’t have to be Gentile.
Immediately after winning the Labour Party leadership contest, Ed Miliband attended the annual reception of the Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East group (LFPME) which was sponsored by the Friends of Al-Aqsa at the Labour Party’s annual conference in Manchester. This was, perhaps, one of the first occasions during which he has elucidated on any foreign policy ideas, after making references to the Middle East in his maiden speech. As the new leader, you could say it was incumbent upon him to do so.
To a sizeable audience of Labour MPs, MEPs and councillors, he expressed his wish to visit Palestine, which struck a chord with Haneen Zoubi, an Israeli Knesset member and Palestinian Arab, who attended the LFPME reception. She was onboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in May of this year.
In the run-up to the Labour Party leadership contest, Ed Miliband had this to say to the Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East, published on their website, “The Palestinian people have the right to a state with internationally recognised borders. They have a right to a functioning economy. They have the right to be free and to pursue a better life for themselves and for their children.
The sad truth is that today, with the blockade still in place on Gaza and in the aftermath of the appalling events on board the SS Mavi Marmara, we are a long way from securing that outcome. There should be an international investigation into what happened aboard that ship, but that alone will not undo the damage – to Israel’s reputation and the peace process – done by those tragic events.
The lack of a credible peace process is helping no-one. It sets back the date at which a viable state of Palestine comes into existence, it leaves Israel with few friends in the region and it poses an ongoing risk of instability for the international community. It is vital that we find ways to breathe new life into that process.
I believe that Israel must make an important step by lifting the blockade of Gaza as soon as possible. Israel has security concerns, but the blockade is the wrong way to address them. Instead, we need to find a way to lift the blockade that respects legitimate security needs, guarantees humanitarian access to help Gazans who are suffering from the blockade, and helps deliver justice for Palestinians. 
The EU can play an important role here by providing a naval monitoring capability to ensure that arms are not being smuggled into the area by sea, and it can use its relationship with Egypt to help ensure the smuggling tunnels are shut down.  If elected leader of the Labour Party I would visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority and take a first-hand look at what is happening on the ground in Gaza”.
Given that his predecessor, Gordon Brown, surrounded himself with Zionists, it is tempting to view Ed Miliband in terms of a complete break from the past in relation to the Blair and Brown years but we do not know, as yet, what kind of people he will choose as his foreign policy advisers. This is crucial.
Most of all, does Ed Miliband possess the necessary leadership qualities to carry the bulk of the parliamentary and constituency Labour Party along with him? Those sections that previously favoured his brother, for example.
Foreign policy will again be on the agenda, there is no escaping it in a ‘globalised’ world, while the Coalition Government busies itself with its swingeing austerity cuts at home. David Cameron has already proven himself to be totally inadequate and inept at putting his government’s position across to ‘Johnnie foreigner’, due mainly to that old Etonian manner that displays disdain towards all others without exception. Could you imagine Cameron with a deputy Prime Minister who was not an ex-public schoolboy? Someone not acquainted with fagging? It just would not work.
Labour may have its first Jewish party leader but it may also have its first true friend of the Muslim world if Ed Miliband can inspire others to follow his path towards achieving justice for the Palestinian people.
Mediocrity, as I said, has plagued British political life for too long and is the most single element, apart from personal corruption, that has prevented anything being done in the country since the war, to paraphrase a political figure from another era.
What they are now suggesting is a leftward lurch in British politics is, in fact, a great sea-change in terms of moral and practical issues.  Left or right have nothing to do with it. As Dermont Clark pointed out in the last issue, it has more to do with right or wrong.
The Labour Friends of Palestine was set up in 2008 as a counter to the Labour Friends of Israel. We all know how corrupting the latter lobby has been and how the Palestinian cause was so tragically neglected. Years gone by, we had only Christopher Mayhew and his friend Michael Adams founding the Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU) and the Labour Middle East Council in 1962 to oppose the power of the Zionist lobby in the face of the absence of an Arab one.
Ismail Patel, the chairman of the Friends of Al-Aqsa, said, “It was refreshing to have a leader of a political party appreciate the fact that the general public hold a lot of sympathy for the Palestinian people and that Britain should be pursuing a fair and just policy in the region”.
He went on, “It is interesting that there is no similar group [Friends of Palestine] within the Conservative Party where the Conservative Friends of Israel are well documented as wielding a great deal of power. A ‘Conservative Friends of Palestine’ group is well overdue”.
Don’t hold your breath on that one, Mr Patel.
After Nick Clegg’s cold-shouldering of the Friends of Palestine at the Liberal Democratic Conference, while he attended the Friends of Israel event, it would be safe to conclude that the Deputy Prime Minister is now well and truly in the pockets of the ever so Israeli-friendly Conservative Party and is following the Zionist (party) line to the letter. Cameron’s fag must not be permitted to step out of line. That is what coalitions are for, after all.
So what are we to make of Ed Miliband, the choice of the unions and, without doubt, a man of considerably unorthodox political views for a British Member of Parliament, almost singing from the same hymn sheet as Gorgeous George? It is true he kept his head down for a long time in regard to his views on foreign affairs but then his brother was Foreign Secretary for a while and so he chose, correctly, not to step on his brother’s toes while getting on with his own job at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
He has chosen Yvette Cooper as Shadow Foreign Secretary, wife of Ed Balls. Although she has spent a few years in Cabinet, she has absolutely no experience of foreign affairs and so will need to learn some new skills from scratch. For this, she will need to take her cue from her new party leader. She may, at first, appear out of her depth but she will learn fast.
Foreign affairs, they say, is not Ed Miliband’s top priority, as with the Coalition, but it is one of those areas that all must eventually enter simply because the world today is so interconnected both politically and economically. The ‘geek’, Ed Miliband, could turn out to be the catalyst that is so needed ... despite the current mediocrities pervading British politics.

Europe a Nation blog by Robert Edwards

Posting on here for Europe a Nation