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Political carnage in England

Written By: - Date published: 6:12 am, June 27th, 2016 - 131 comments
Categories: Europe, uk politics - Tags: , , ,

The fallout from Brexit is tearing the English Labour Party apart with 9 members of the shadow cabinet resigning so far (and more expected). See also: Labour crisis: how the coup against Jeremy Corbyn gathered pace.

The Tories have nothing to smile about though. Cameron’s reign has ended in disaster. Deep divisions over Europe will continue to fracture the party. Many of them can’t stand the heir apparent:

The Anyone But Boris campaign is up and running

Meanwhile, the Anyone But Boris squad in the Tory party is up and running and made up of a curious mixture of Cameroons, social Conservatives who disapprove of Boris’s romantic entanglements and dry Conservatives who don’t think the former mayor is an authentic Tory or suspect that he didn’t really back Brexit because he believed it but because it would boost his leadership chances.

Already, anti-Boris WhatsApp groups are furiously buzzing away. The Cameroon ABB faction met on Friday morning shortly after the prime minister resigned and ran through a list of names of potential contenders. The group, which included Nick Boles, arch-Osborneite Matt Hancock and Thérèse Coffey, considered Nicky Morgan and Stephen Crabb before alighting on Theresa May as their preferred candidate.

May stayed studiously quiet for much of the campaign. She backed Remain, but in a more half-hearted way even than Jeremy Corbyn. She won’t be the only pro-Remain minister to have a go. Stephen Crabb is said to be weighing up his options. He has the support of the hugely popular Ruth Davidson, who seems keen to act as kingmaker in this campaign, but he – and Davidson – enthusiastically campaigned for staying in the EU. Similarly, pro-Remain Jeremy Hunt has a nascent leadership operation around him. …

Naturally The Sun takes it down market:

PROJECT SMEAR Boris Johnson hit by revenge plot as PM loyalists take aim at his turbulent private life

Allies of David Cameron coming at PM-in-waiting with simple message: You’ve killed off the PM, we’ll get you

A burst of bitter recriminations broke out as 52-year-old Mr Johnson emerged as hot favourite to snatch the keys to No10. … But ruthless Cameron loyalists are determined to block him at all costs — and are compiling a ­dossier on his private life. They believe the best way to stop the mop-haired MP becoming Prime Minister is to fight dirty.

An angry opponent admitted: “If you think the Referendum got a bit nasty, wait until the leadership campaign gets started. …

Beyond party politics the bigger picture isn’t so pretty either:

Brexit could lead to a larger crack-up of the United Kingdom

The UK’s departure from the European Union could trigger a series of unintended consequences across the UK itself, potentially setting the stage for Scotland’s secession from the country and a renewed round of clashes between nationalists and separatists in Northern Ireland. …

What’s that old quote about living in interesting times?


131 comments on “Political carnage in England ”

  1. Paul 1

    This is a complex issue.

    John Pilger explains his point of view in an article entitled ‘ Why the British Said No to Europe.’ Read the whole article. It will challenge your thinking.

    Some key points he makes include…….

    http://johnpilger.com/articles/why-the-british-said-no-to-europe

    The majority vote by Britons to leave the European Union was an act of raw democracy. Millions of ordinary people refused to be bullied, intimidated and dismissed with open contempt by their presumed betters in the major parties, the leaders of the business and banking oligarchy and the media.

    The most effective propagandists of the “European ideal” have not been the far right, but an insufferably patrician class for whom metropolitan London is the United Kingdom. Its leading members see themselves as liberal, enlightened, cultivated tribunes of the 21st century zeitgeist, even “cool”. What they really are is a bourgeoisie with insatiable consumerist tastes and ancient instincts of their own superiority. In their house paper, the Guardian, they have gloated, day after day, at those who would even consider the EU profoundly undemocratic, a source of social injustice and a virulent extremism known as “neoliberalism”.

    The aim of this extremism is to install a permanent, capitalist theocracy that ensures a two-thirds society, with the majority divided and indebted, managed by a corporate class, and a permanent working poor. In Britain today, 63 per cent of poor children grow up in families where one member is working. For them, the trap has closed. More than 600,000 residents of Britain’s second city, Greater Manchester, are, reports a study, “experiencing the effects of extreme poverty” and 1.6 million are slipping into penury.

    • Ad 1.1

      Pilger argues that Syria are just elites who brought it on themselves.

      He applies the same logic to every commentator: they’re just elites who were revolting.

      Immigration is dismissed as just a weapon used by another elite.

      Problem is for all those who complain it was just either “the elites were rebelled against” or conversely “the elites fooled us”, is that it works no matter who won!

      Try it out yourself on the counterfactual.

      Pilger as usual wants victory through arm waving.

      • Ad 1.1.1

        Sorry not Syria the Greek guys. Cellphone spell check.

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1

          Are you really taking the piss out of Pilger’s analysis as being simplistic and facile, and that somehow the influential establishment political class know better? That’s the Patricians’ attitude from Westminster to Wellington.

          Well, in the UK, the unwashed masses just pushed back.

          They’ve figured out that the establishment in Westminster don’t give a fuck about anything or anyone apart from their own petty careers.

          And it seems that events in London are demonstrating that very clearly.

          • Ad 1.1.1.1.1

            Well, speaking as part of the wash-regularly masses, I think the unwashed masses are wrong on this one.

            Pilger never met a member of the elite he didn’t loathe, and they return the compliment. Amongst the many troubles with that is, elites continue no matter what result. There ain’t no increase in populist agency out of this.

            There’s plenty out there telling us why it happened. Most of the lefties want to do a Hobbsbaum and presume it’s one in the eye from the small guy to the big guy. Revolution. Yawn.

            The perpetual demand for more and more democracy over smaller and smaller regions sees a quick Balkanisation of the United Kingdom. The Duchy of Toxteth. The Prince of Wales. The Kingdom of Little Dribbling. The Scottish Empire. The Principality of Northern isreland Except for the Catholics. It’s a logic of atomisation identical to capitalism.

            No one so far left or right provides a plan for what’s next. Which I think would have been sensible, and might even prove useful in the future. The Dog has finally caught the car, and perhaps Piliger can explain why he was barking all the way down the street.

            • RedLogix 1.1.1.1.1.1

              The Kingdom of Little Dribbling.

              Very droll. We’re more or less on the same page here Ad. We’ve rebelled against the economic empire called capitalism, run up to the bully and kicked him in the shins … but have absolutely no fucking clue what to do next. Except run away. Retreat to Little Dribbling and hope the bully doesn’t follow.

              • Colonial Viper

                Civilisations and Empires don’t disintegrate and collapse to a plan. And this global civilisation is not going to last the next 30 or 40 years. Complaining that no one has provided a cohesive blueprint of what to do next is sort of irrelevant because no such blueprint, if it existed would be followed anyway.

                • RedLogix

                  Then what are you doing in politics?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    There are some who think that politics should be the domain of optimistic pretend and extend motivational speaker types who consider sagely and seriously what we will need to do to afford NZ Super after 2060, whether or not global economic growth between now and then is going to make the Cullen Fund big enough to be helpful.

                    I’m not one of those guys.

                    TL/DR the current focus and priorities of politics and the political class is crap. And why would anyone want to add to that.

            • s y d 1.1.1.1.1.2

              I like the dog analogy. Perhaps the dog has managed to get into the car?
              One can only imagine the horror AD. All that biting and gnashing of teeth, flying fur, waving pashminas and upset quiffs…..causing it to veer off the road and crash. Whoever survives gets to eat the dead.

          • jcuknz 1.1.1.1.2

            It seems to me that this is the second time it has happened that the working groups have rebelled against the bosses … first time was 1945 at the end of WWII when Churchill was chucked out for Clement Atlee.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.2.1

              I think you’ll find that it has happened a few more times that twice or even thrice.

              Just look to all the revolutions throughout history because each one of them is a rebellion against the bosses.

              • Colonial Viper

                Dozens of union members and other workers were killed by police and National Guard during riots and protests in the USA, Great Depression era.

          • Richardrawshark 1.1.1.1.3

            +1000

    • Colonial Viper 1.2

      Pilger has got it right. He gets it because he has always got it. But this was the kind of thing he used to report on from third world and banana republic countries.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1

        +

        The West is Banana Republic territory just as the rich wanted.

        • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.1

          The western elite turned the rest of the world into their plantation, now they have done that to their home countries.

  2. Paul 2

    This is a complex issue.

    George Galloway explain his point of view.

  3. Jono 3

    Hey just off topic on the financial implications of the brexit. The markets are looking bad. Heard one commentator say that the Dow will drop to 5500 by July thats way over 50%. The 10 year bonds yield has dropped like a stone. Gold and silver price is rising fast. Get ready for the big crash it’s coming soon.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      We’re running the world as if its a $$$ numbers game, which its not. We’ve forgotten about how the real economy and the physics which apply to that is primary.

      But I agree with you, this could very well be the start of GFC2.

      • Pat 3.1.1

        GFC1 hasn’t finished yet

      • Richardrawshark 3.1.2

        I like what Galloway said, most people don’t give a shit, most ordinary people haven’t got a pile of cash they want to transfer or stocks they want to trade. Life will go on for most people.

        These MP and party neo libs, went to uni took democracy away and thought they were better than us, his comments on the media, bang on as well, mirroring here .

        IMHO fear the people. You can only take the piss so long.

        time for NZ politicians to take a BIG notice, your next.

        The biggest tragedy is NZ the most politically progressive nation this planet has seen, and we just came second to the UK. We should have been first.

    • Ad 3.2

      Maybe.

      I am personally 55% property, 25% cash, the rest Kiwisaver.

      I don’t see another Lehmann Brothers coming down. I don’t see the debt mechanisms failing. It’s still possible. I don’t see it as probable currently.

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.1

        The move to negative interest rates throughout the world – something that 10 years ago was considered inconceivable by central banks and economists – is a sign of how much distress the global credit system is in.

      • Richardrawshark 3.2.2

        and that is why I think life is currently unbalanced.

        lack of community, isolation, slaves to a monetary system.

        What do people Really want?

        safe communities
        friendly happy neighbours
        food
        housing
        security

        monetarily

        the ability to pay for that and have a little left over to do something special, eat out, have choices.

        the road to riches is not the only road there. IMHO.

        a more balanced society is required, I kind of like hot countries where they take the hottest part of the day off, Albania is like that, more relaxed, err little to relaxed there, but they have the best communities I ever saw.

        TV was a recent thing, so over there they have all just sing and have get togethers in the street, everyone visits everyone,. they have such a wonderful relationship of love towards everyone including neighbours it actually made me weep. They all made food, weddings lasted 6 days, food constant.

        We have lost so much of that, until you see a proper community spirit you have no idea what it should be like.

        They also work, balanced life.

    • Gosman 3.3

      I’m not sure you fully understood the reasons why the GFC was so bad. It wasn’t because asset prices fell. It was because the credit markets dried up. I don’t think that is at risk at the moment.

      • In Vino 3.3.1

        It was market failure. And it will happen again because the market is blind. Only people who profit-gouge it promote the market as a natural panacea.

  4. weka 4

    I guess this is what happens when there is no such thing as society.

  5. Fustercluck 5

    The effects of democracy manifesting everywhere.

    Scotland is considering a procedural “veto” of the Brexit, i.e., asserting its independence, and those opposed to the Brexit are demanding more democracy in the form of another vote.

    Europe is having to deal with its own anti-EU issues that have been suppressed for a generation or more.

    Having to renegotiate a bunch of trade deals and reconfigure bureaucrats office arrangements is unlikely to bring about the apocalypse.

    Anything that sees power devolve from the larger to the smaller is likely to end up with a net benefit on the long term so I think we should all stop waving our hands and predicting ruins in Europe and get on with supporting the resolution of the manifold conflicts, tensions and contradictions that this Brexit thing revealed (but did not itself cause).

    • RedLogix 5.1

      Anything that sees power devolve from the larger to the smaller is likely to end up with a net benefit on the long term

      And leaves a democratic power vacuum at the global scale. Who do you think will benefit? And whose interests will be served now this Brexit has utterly de-railed the growing EU consensus on cracking down on tax-havens and corporate tax theft?

      • mauī 5.1.1

        The EU consensus has done great things for Greece right? The sooner some of these countries can gain independent control the better really. Also large parts of the of the 3rd world will be better off without corporates hijacking their countries creating armed conflicts and slavery, while the UN watches on.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          And check out the youth unemployment, poverty and homelessness rates in Ireland, Spain, Portugal. The top 10% of those countries are still living very comfortable ans secure lives. Everyone else – not so much.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.2

        And leaves a democratic power vacuum at the global scale.

        What makes you think that it has been anything but capitalist/banking/corporate power driving things at a global scale over the last several decades.

        That’s not going to change.

        The first big climate summit Rio 1992. Global CO2 emissions have gone up 57% since then. Is this what you or I or the other people of the world wanted, democratically? Or – were we ever given any choice.

        • weka 5.1.2.1

          We’ve had voting choices since 1992, that would have prevented the worst of AGW, we just didn’t use them.

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.2.1.1

            You know of voting choices given to the industrial powers USA and China in 1992 which would have prevented the worst of AGW? What were they?

            Or are you just talking about little ol’ NZ and our Green Party?

            • weka 5.1.2.1.1.1

              the US and the UK, as well as other countries, have all had parties or political movements working proactively on climate change since before 1992. And as you know, there was a big flurry of activity in the 1970s from within and outside the mainstream in regards to the impending resource depletion future. So when you say

              “The first big climate summit Rio 1992. Global CO2 emissions have gone up 57% since then. Is this what you or I or the other people of the world wanted, democratically? Or – were we ever given any choice.”

              I would say that yes, we had a choice. The powers that be have massive influence, but it’s not total and in the democratic countries we have had ample opportunities to do the right things.

              • Sabine

                @ Weka
                I would say that yes, we had a choice. The powers that be have massive influence, but it’s not total and in the democratic countries we have had ample opportunities to do the right things.

                This, so much so This. WE like to blame politicians, businesses, corporations and the likes, but we the people of the planet have a big part to play in how we work, live, consume and vote. And yes, voting does have a consequence.
                It is time that we look at us as much as we look at them. And then remember that Thatcher was voted in more then once, as was Chancellor Kohl, or Francois Mitterant or John Key for that matter.
                We should think very hard what Protest Voting or Not Voting is getting us.

    • cogito 5.2

      Excellent article in The Scotsman:

      Brian Monteith: Scots Remain vote doesn’t justify indyref 2

      Read more: http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/brian-monteith-scots-remain-vote-doesn-t-justify-indyref-2-1-4163443#ixzz4CjXt6tn4

      Scots pro-Remain vote is no justification for another independence referendum, writes Brian Monteith

      Why has Scotland voted convincingly to remain in the European Union when the United Kingdom as a whole has voted to leave? What do the possible reasons tell us, and in the febrile mood being created by the First Minister, what do they suggest would happen were there to be a second independence referendum?

      Before discussing these questions there are a few facts that need to be affirmed, for they set the context that Scotland, the UK and the EU are operating under. The first is that the United Kingdom is the member state of the European Union, through treaty, and that Scotland is not a member.

      The second is that David Cameron promised a referendum on EU membership if he were to command a majority in the 2015 general election as far back as January 2013 – 18 months before the Scottish independence referendum. The Conservatives published a Referendum Bill in June 2013, as a private member’s bill, as they were in coalition at the time. It passed its first and second readings in the House of Commons but was stopped in the House of Lords.

      It was patently clear before the 2014 Scottish referendum that there could be an EU membership referendum and that this would be an issue for the UK to decide, as the member state, and that Scotland could have no separate position. When the Conservatives’ general election victory arrived it was duly announced that the promised referendum would take place and that it would be a UK-wide decision.

      While the new First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called for the UK’s individual nations to have a veto over any Brexit this was repudiated, based on the legal status of the UK’s membership and the UK-wide referendum organised by the UK parliament. The First Minister then had the opportunity to put a promise of a second independence referendum in her party manifesto, but the third fact is that she did not, her wording was she would seek in certain circumstances the right to hold a referendum.

      Seeking a right is not the same as possessing a legal right. Even with such equivocation and ambiguity Nicola Sturgeon then failed to retain the overall majority she had inherited, meaning that she had no mandate even for her watered-down commitment. The First Minister has no legal or moral claim to hold a second independence referendum, irrespective of the outcome last Thursday.

      The final facts that should be noted are that Scotland’s public finances have a deficit of £14.9bn and its current share of the EU membership fee is £1.6bn – a total of £16.5bn per annum would need to be found. Meanwhile 64 per cent (£48.5bn) of Scotland’s exports go to the UK while only 15.2 per cent (£11.6bn) go to the EU putting jobs at huge risk. A border would be needed with England, we would have to adopt the Euro despite our debt issues. That’s if the EU (and especially Spain) would accept an application.

      It is in this context that I return to providing answers to my questions. Why did Scotland vote to stay in both the UK and the EU while England and Wales chose to leave the EU, and what does it tell us?

      It is my contention that the majority of voters, when asked if Scotland should stay in the UK weighed up the pros and cons and took an essentially contractual decision that, on balance there was more to be gained from being in the UK than from leaving. In particular the economic arguments about jobs and prosperity through our trade with the rest of the UK, the risk of our public finances relying so heavily on oil tax revenues and the SNP confusion over what currency would be used made the economic case conclusive for Unionists.

      There were many like me who wanted to remain British, but had the economic case been weaker then I have no doubts that I would have been in the minority and Scotland would have become an independent sovereign state.

      In other words Scots were not prepared to endure financial hardship and pain just to be able to put on the blue woad and cry “Freedom!”

      When it came to the EU referendum I believe the Scottish electorate again made a similar contractual choice, believing the benefits of remaining in the EU to outweigh the benefits of controlling farming and fishing at Holyrood and being able to hire and fire the politicians that make our laws and regulations, rather than sub-contract 60 per cent of those to an unelected and unaccountable elite in Brussels. The result was more conclusive for the simple reasons there was no political leadership willing to put the case for Brexit and the campaign was shorter due to the earlier focus on the Holyrood elections.

      By comparison I believe the decisions in England and Wales were different because the contractual costs and benefits of Brexit were far less important to voters there. If it is true that the remain campaign won the economic argument – with all the warnings of jobs losses, recessions, catastrophic falls in household income, price rises, tax rises – then why did areas like Sunderland, Sheffield and Birmingham vote to leave the EU?

      The answer that immigration was a greater concern is not good enough. Many first second and third generation immigrants in these areas voiced support for Brexit – and it is also the case that immigration was a concern in Scotland as polling and public meetings both routinely showed.

      No, what I found had developed in the course of the debate was the growth in popular feeling that only be regaining full sovereignty to make the UK’s own laws again would we be able to hold our lawmakers to account and bring about the changes we might like to see.

      In other words, in a great irony of our times, the English and Welsh voters were willing to risk financial hardship and pain just to be able to cry “Freedom!”

      If our First Minister is able to find a way to deliver a second referendum legally, the Scottish electorate will be confronted with the stark choice: are the contractual benefits of remaining in the UK worth sacrificing to gain Scottish sovereignty? Will they endure the obvious pain to make that gain?

      Looking at their behavior in the last two referenda why would they?

      • Colonial Viper 5.2.1

        A confused piece of writing.

        The author says it was amply clear that the Tories were going to put forward an EU referendum, and because they were voted in, we should abide by the results of that process.

        Then he says that because Nicola Sturgeon/SNP was voted in, but not by as much as before, they shouldn’t have the power to put forward a referendum.

        Then he tries to reduce a political decision – independence (either from the UK or from the EU) – to being at its heart, a financial one. Do people believe that they will be better off. Or not.

        One other thing of note – why should Scotland joining the EU result in Scotland having to adopt the ship anchor that is the Euro.

        If Scotland wants to be a truly independent country, it needs to be sovereign over its own currency as well.

      • Chooky 5.2.2

        +100 cogito…interesting

  6. Sabine 6

    i came across this little editorial

    http://www.thecanary.co/2016/06/26/this-is-how-daily-mail-readers-reacted-when-they-found-out-they-were-lied-to-about-leaving-the-eu-images/

    Quote:”And now, we enter a period of chaos.

    The SNP have, rightly, moved to deliver a second referendum on Scottish Independence. In all likelihood, this vote will be successful. Membership of the EU is a deal breaker for most Scots – so the remainder of the UK can kiss goodbye to Scotland.

    Lawmakers in Northern Ireland are also now seeking independence, flung into an argument on the nation’s fate in the UK which may very well reignite the still simmering tensions that have blighted the nation for too long.

    There is even a speculative, at this stage at least, campaign to make London an independent city-state, which would remain within the European Union.

    In the bizarre (but no less bizarre than the position in which we now find ourselves) event that all these moves come off – Wales and the rest of England would be left behind wondering what on earth to do with ourselves. In effect, the premise of the Brexit vote would be turned on its head. Wales and England would not have voted to leave the EU, but instead, the UK – with the rest of the UK remaining together and in the EU.

    All this, for broken promises by opportunistic politicians who couldn’t care less about those who voted for their cynical campaigns. Let us hope we can come together in the wake of it all to build a better Britain together.” Quote End

    Die Geister die ich rief, werd ich nun nicht mehr los. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

    The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    That old sorcerer has vanished
    And for once has gone away!
    Spirits called by him, now banished,
    My commands shall soon obey.
    Every step and saying
    That he used, I know,
    And with sprites obeying
    My arts I will show.

    Flow, flow onward
    Stretches many
    Spare not any
    Water rushing,
    Ever streaming fully downward
    Toward the pool in current gushing.
    Come, old broomstick, you are needed,
    Take these rags and wrap them round you!
    Long my orders you have heeded,
    By my wishes now I’ve bound you.
    Have two legs and stand,
    And a head for you.
    Run, and in your hand
    Hold a bucket too.

    Flow, flow onward
    Stretches many,
    Spare not any
    Water rushing,
    Ever streaming fully downward
    Toward the pool in current gushing.
    See him, toward the shore he’s racing
    There, he’s at the stream already,
    Back like lightning he is chasing,
    Pouring water fast and steady.
    Once again he hastens!
    How the water spills,
    How the water basins
    Brimming full he fills!

    Stop now, hear me!
    Ample measure
    Of your treasure
    We have gotten!
    Ah, I see it, dear me, dear me.
    Master’s word I have forgotten!
    Ah, the word with which the master
    Makes the broom a broom once more!
    Ah, he runs and fetches faster!
    Be a broomstick as before!
    Ever new the torrents
    That by him are fed,
    Ah, a hundred currents
    Pour upon my head!

    No, no longer
    Can I please him,
    I will seize him!
    That is spiteful!
    My misgivings grow the stronger.
    What a mien, his eyes how frightful!
    Brood of hell, you’re not a mortal!
    Shall the entire house go under?
    Over threshold over portal
    Streams of water rush and thunder.
    Broom accurst and mean,
    Who will have his will,
    Stick that you have been,
    Once again stand still!

    Can I never, Broom, appease you?
    I will seize you,
    Hold and whack you,
    And your ancient wood
    I’ll sever,
    With a whetted axe I’ll crack you.
    He returns, more water dragging!
    Now I’ll throw myself upon you!
    Soon, 0 goblin, you’ll be sagging.
    Crash! The sharp axe has undone you.
    What a good blow, truly!
    There, he’s split, I see.
    Hope now rises newly,
    And my breathing’s free.

    Woe betide me!
    Both halves scurry
    In a hurry,
    Rise like towers
    There beside me.
    Help me, help, eternal powers!
    Off they run, till wet and wetter
    Hall and steps immersed are Iying.
    What a flood that naught can fetter!
    Lord and master, hear me crying! –
    Ah, he comes excited.
    Sir, my need is sore.
    Spirits that I’ve cited
    My commands ignore.

    “To the lonely
    Corner, broom!
    Hear your doom.
    As a spirit
    When he wills, your master only
    Calls you, then ’tis time to hear it.”

    • Ad 6.1

      Ah Goethe. Far better than the Disney version.

      And a great illustration of the logic of Balkanisation.

      So much democracy, and with every democratic irruption, every split of the axe, more chaos.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        Just remember that Balkanisation was a deliberate EU/NATO/US project to destroy Yugoslavia via economic sanctions and regime change.

        • Sabine 6.1.1.1

          yes dear.

        • McFlock 6.1.1.2

          lolz

          Yugoslavia needed no help from NATO or the EU. It was doomed as soon as Tito died.

          And the Russians stuck their beaks well in during the 1990s, too. I’m surprised James Blunt hasn’t written a song about it.

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.2.1

            Pffft, NATO “stuck their beaks in” by bombing Belgrade for weeks. And the west ensured that the society would fall apart through their usual method of economic, financial and banking sanctions.

            • McFlock 6.1.1.2.1.1

              Something about another genocide in europe got their knickers in a twist, I guess.

              But more to the point, Yugoslavia was fracturing and Milosovic was preaching fear and hate well before the fall of the Berlin wall. You can wank on about NATO and the EU, and ignore the Russian troops at Kosovo airport twenty years later, but the mistake the western powers made wasn’t bombing Serbia in 20/21C, it was arbitrarily creating a single state in the balkans in the first place. But then that was before NATO and the EU had been imagined.

              Now, dictating amalgamation of states without the informed consent of the citizenry is a mistake that sets the region up for instability. But then narrowly-popular devolution under misinformation can also be a mistake.

              Blaming immigration for school class sizes and GP waiting times was blatant misinformation – you underfund any system, it’s going to perform poorly. That was the fault of the tories, not the EU.

              • Colonial Viper

                Driving down wages with cheap immigrant labour from Bulgaria, Poland, Romania etc was always an integral part of the EU plan and why business supported it.

                And finally English voters outside London decided enough was enough.

                • McFlock

                  “always an integral part of the EU plan”

                  well, except when those countries were firmly Communist for the forseeable future.

                  You are so full of shit.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Shrug. Sucking those nations into the EU was perfectly consistent with the pro business anti labour foundation of the EU.

                    • McFlock

                      yes dear.

                      I loved the way your response to realising your comment was utter bullshit is simply to “shrug”. Reality means nothing when you can read the matrix, I guess. There is no brexit…

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    No, it was an integral part even then. Empires must expand. The leaders of empire know this even if they don’t tell the people why they’re expanding and even try to hide that they’re an expanding empire.

                    • McFlock

                      Well, no, empires don’t need to expand for a start.

                      Secondly, a regional federation doesn’t need to turn into an empire.

                      Thirdly, nation-states go to war. Nationalism breeds conflict.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Not sure why McFlock can’t see the obviousness of it. Wage arbitrage between countries and the weakening of labour’s bargaining position was a fundamental reason that big business supported the formation of the EU.

                      Expanding into lower and lower wage countries as they became accessible was a natural continuation of what the EU was set up for: big business interests against labour.

                      Of course, McFlock knows better.

                    • McFlock

                      There was also the teensy matter of WW2. WW1. Franco-Prussian war. That sort of thing.

                      It’s not always solely about big business or whatever you just read on RT.com, CV. Sometimes it also includes a reasonable and valid human attempt to avoid the massive mistakes of the past.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Thirdly, nation-states go to war. Nationalism breeds conflict.

                      I never guessed that you were part of the pro-globalisation/anti national sovereignty crowd.

                      I wonder all these European countries have decided to march NATO bases eastwards closer and closer towards Russia, until now there are NATO bases just ~600km from Moscow.

                      Funny how Moscow has objections to this.

                    • McFlock

                      In the case of europe, I think there are significant reasons to have an overarching federal structure.

                      Globally, that’s where we’re going to have to go in the next few hundred years. The balance between federal authority and regional trade controls I have more leeway in.

                      As for Russia having objections to [mostly NATO] military bases in its bordering nations, well you reap what you fucking sow. Those countries want the help because they’re scared shitless of Russia, after Chechnya, Georgia, the Ukraine…

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Well, no, empires don’t need to expand for a start.

                      Yes they do. The purpose of the empire is to take the resources from the outer and shift them into the inner so that the inner can be continuously getting richer. If that stops then the empire collapses thus empires must expand continuously.

                      Secondly, a regional federation doesn’t need to turn into an empire.

                      Yeah it is pretty much by definition. It’s existence is there to benefit the few and not the many the same way that empire works.

                      Thirdly, nation-states go to war. Nationalism breeds conflict.

                      No, capitalists go to war. It’s about those pesky, limited resources again and the shift of that wealth into the hands of the few. Capitalism cannot be sustainable as it requires unsustainable use of resources. As the resources close by run down the capitalists invade other countries to take those resources.

                      It’s just that the invasion now is via financial dealings rather than war.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      As for Russia having objections to [mostly NATO] military bases in its bordering nations, well you reap what you fucking sow. Those countries want the help because they’re scared shitless of Russia, after Chechnya, Georgia, the Ukraine…

                      Here’s a clue McFlock. NATO is a mutual security alliance. It is supposed to ensure the security of its members. It is not supposed to ensure the security of non members. It is not supposed to use new members as an excuse to destabilise the security of its original members in Western Europe.

                      NATO has no obligation to expand to non-NATO countries . NATO has no obligation to protect non-NATO countries. Chechnya, Georgia, Ukraine are not NATO countries.

                      Russia has not been moving bases closer to Germany, France, UK or USA. Germany, France UK and USA have been moving bases closer to Russia.

                      But Draco has already figured it out several comments ago: empires must expand, and NATO is the military arm of the EU/US empire.

                    • McFlock

                      The Chinese empire has had limited expansion and contraction over a couple of thousand years.

                      If any federation exists only to benefit the few, at what level does this end – should I have a customs post at my front door?

                      If capitalists not nations go to war, why did feudal states go to war?

                      If NATO doesn’t protect buffer states from russia’s expansion, won’t that mean that there is no protective buffer between NATO and Russia?

                      Bonus question: if the remain crowd were shills for the power elite, doesn’t that means Sturgeon and Corbyn are shills for the power elite? I thought they were supposed to be exemplars for left wing parties, including NZLabour?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The Chinese empire has had limited expansion and contraction over a couple of thousand years.

                      You answered your own question.

                      It’s had internal expansion and contraction over a couple of thousand years. But now it seems just as bent on global expansion as the US/EU/UK block.

                      If capitalists not nations go to war, why did feudal states go to war?

                      Feudalism is just another form of capitalism. The drive was the same – control of resources and people by the few.

                    • McFlock

                      But now it seems just as bent on global expansion as the US/EU/UK block.

                      But, and this is the important bit, it doesn’t have to be, because it hasn’t always done so.

                      If capitalists not nations go to war, why did feudal states go to war?

                      Feudalism is just another form of capitalism. The drive was the same – control of resources and people by the few.

                      OK, so until nobody is more powerful than anybody else, national borders and objectives will always be an excuse to go to war. The EU and UN are attempts to address this situation in the real world, rather than handwaving global equality all of a sudden.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      But, and this is the important bit, it doesn’t have to be, because it hasn’t always done so.

                      Wrong. It has always expanded but it has also collapsed – it’s just done so within it’s own borders. That’s an inevitable part of expansion – it’s simply unsustainable.

                      OK, so until nobody is more powerful than anybody else, national borders and objectives will always be an excuse to go to war.

                      It’s got nothing to do with power but with greed and the need that engenders to take from others. We will have peace when nations stop taking from other nations either through war or through trade.

                      The EU and UN are attempts to address this situation in the real world…

                      No they’re not. They’re an attempt to expand greed, which expands poverty and suffering which inevitably brings about feedback.

                    • McFlock

                      It has always expanded but it has also collapsed – it’s just done so within it’s own borders. That’s an inevitable part of expansion – it’s simply unsustainable.

                      That’s a logical absurdity: you can’t expand within your own borders; and any collapse has to occur from within its own borders; and you can’t really expand and collapse at the same time – that’s just static volume. You said nothing.

                      OK, so now wars are caused by greed.
                      Gotcha. No greed, no war. Until then, national boundaries will be an excuse for war, that’s why federalism lends stability to Europe. Because greed through trade, while still imperfect, is better than war. They are not equivalent.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      That’s a logical absurdity: you can’t expand within your own borders; and any collapse has to occur from within its own borders; and you can’t really expand and collapse at the same time – that’s just static volume. You said nothing.

                      No, you failed to understand what I said.

                      China hasn’t had the population density that they have today. Then there’s the fact that, prior to WWII, the average growth was around 0.1%. The 3% to 4% that we take as normal today is, as a matter of fact, an abnormality (Piketty).

                      So we have a small amount of expansion within a smallish population in a huge area. Then there would be a revolution or two (China had >400 revolutions in one year, Debt: First 5000 years, Graeber), natural disasters maybe and a few other things that easily happen to a far less technological civilisation all of which brings about collapse.

                      So, yes, you can have expansion and collapse within the same borders and at the same time and for it to be driven by the needed growth of empire. IIRC, China actually had two empires in it at one point same as the UK once had multiple kingdoms in it.

                      Until then, national boundaries will be an excuse for war, that’s why federalism lends stability to Europe. Because greed through trade, while still imperfect, is better than war. They are not equivalent.

                      That’s just it, it doesn’t lead to stability because of the increasing poverty that it brings about through the auspices of capitalism. Federalism under these circumstances just makes it easier for the rich to get richer while the poor get poorer. Brexit is a result of this instability.

                      And, yes, they are equivalent. The policies needed to support capitalism and the enrichment of the few bring about premature death of the masses and the destruction of societies and culture.

                    • McFlock

                      Frankly, I think you’re playing fast and loose with the conventional meanings of “imperialism”, “capitalism”, “expansion” and damned near everything else you write.

                      China has had periods of internal (systemic) and border stability at a time when european empires were expanding rapidly. It’s actually notable for that fact. So, for that matter, has Japan. Hence expansion is not the constant imperative of empire.

                      But then a federalised system like the EU is not necessarily anything close to what a normal person would call an empire (e.g. Napoleon on the same land mass), even if you argued that federal systems and trade necessarily increased poverty (which is doubtful).

                      But why are nations the smallest unit of equitable trade? How would we get rid of greed so that wars between nations don’t occur? Do you really support the idea of constant international conflict as being better than constant trade – should Europe become more like Africa? ME/Asia?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      But then a federalised system like the EU is not necessarily anything close to what a normal person would call an empire…

                      It’s a top down hierarchy designed to transfer the wealth of the commons into the hands of the few. This is the inherent nature of capitalism as it has always been in all continents throughout history. It hasn’t been made by war but it serves the same function.

                      But why are nations the smallest unit of equitable trade?

                      Simply because they tend to be a cohesive whole. The EU isn’t such an entity even though they tried to force it to become such. It may become so over time but that’s not something that you can really force.

                      How would we get rid of greed so that wars between nations don’t occur?

                      It’s not a question of getting rid of greed but legislating so that it’s not rewarded as it is now.

                      State ownership of natural monopolies.
                      High amounts of state housing keeping house prices and rents low.
                      Businesses become cooperatives rather than owned (no shareholders, no directors).
                      Ban offshore ownership.
                      Maximum incomes along with a minimum income.
                      Discourage excessive ownership through progressive capital taxes.
                      State banking system that provides loans at 0% interest for mortgages and business.
                      Stop private banks from creating money.
                      Progressive Demurrage

                      Basically, you have to make it so that at a certain level of ownership owning more becomes expensive.

                      Do you really support the idea of constant international conflict as being better than constant trade…?

                      Two points:

                      1. No I don’t
                      2. Under capitalism trade is conflict. That’s pretty much the meaning of competition.

                    • McFlock

                      if membership or withdrawal is based on national elections, how is anything forced?

                      Trade might be a form of conflict, but it sure as shit isn’t as bad as siege warfare.

                      edit: as for your legislative changes, they’re much less likely in the forseeable future than international federations that put peace more in the national interest than war.

        • Psycho Milt 6.1.1.3

          Just remember that Balkanisation was a deliberate EU/NATO/US project to destroy Yugoslavia via economic sanctions and regime change.

          The EU and NATO have mastered time travel now? Balkanisation’s been a thing since the 19th Century.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.2

        It’s interesting to see the authoritarians coming out of the woodwork and condemning democracy.

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.2.1

          Can’t trust the unwashed masses with the ballot box. They need guidance from their elders and betters.

  7. mosa 7

    GFC-2 !
    where is the money coming from to bail out the financial community this time ?
    Oh thats right the middle class and working poor who always get the benefit of bailing out this Neo Lib economy and making sure the wealthy come out unscathed.
    If democracy is manifesting itself worldwide and i have yet to be convinced, lets hope we dont get left out.
    it will take a lot more than a General Election or a referendum to begin serious change but the long journey always starts with the smallest step.

  8. locus 8

    Ont topic of the attempted Blairite coup:

    The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has released a statement insisting he will not resign amid a host of resignations from his shadow cabinet. He vows to appoint a new shadow cabinet and challenges those opposed to his leadership to stand against him in an election.

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2016/jun/26/brexit-live-jeremy-corbyn-sacks-hilary-benn-tory-leadership

    In the statement just released Corbyn says:

    “Neither wing of the Tory government has an exit plan. Labour will now ensure that our reform agenda is at the heart of the negotiations that lie ahead. That includes the freedom to shape our economy for the future and the necessity of protecting social and employment rights.

    One clear message from last Thursday’s vote is that millions of people feel shut out of a political and economic system that has let them down and scarred our country with grotesque levels of inequality.

    I was elected by hundreds of thousands of Labour party members and supporters with an overwhelming mandate for a different kind of politics.

    I regret there have been resignations today from my shadow cabinet. But I am not going to betray the trust of those who voted for me – or the millions of supporters across the country who need Labour to represent them.

    Those who want to change Labour’s leadership will have to stand in a democratic election, in which I will be a candidate.

    Over the next 24 hours, I will reshape my shadow cabinet and announce a new leadership team to take forward Labour’s campaign for a fairer Britain – and to get the best deal with Europe for our people.”

    • Greg 8.1

      ‘I was elected by hundreds of thousands of Labour party members and supporters with an overwhelming mandate for a different kind of politics.’

      different from what,
      Thats what I’m trying to understand,
      its nice TV sound bite,

      raising workers economy from subsistence wages, banning zero hour contracts,
      socializing cost of raising a family at the expense of single people, ie working for families rebates.

      is it just jigsaw politics, one side is up, one side is down,
      who is getting on the ride for what?

  9. Greg 9

    My points relate to how fractured is the Labour party ,
    =political carnage means it is, doesnt it…as per the headline
    which is the whole issue of their leadership challenge,
    old Leftists, verse the new what?
    Do they have an identity crises so that they cant work together on who,
    and what they represent.

    Helen Clark represented feminism as the Labour leader,
    and look at how the party fractured after she retired on election night.

  10. adam 10

    You mean we are waking up to the fact that white middle class Briton are a bunch of tossers?

    That the angst and arrogance that middle class Briton has thrown at working people for the last 100 odd years – is coming back and biting them on the bum….

    Who would have thought it…

    • Greg 10.1

      What middle class?

    • Richardrawshark 10.2

      Upper you mean, there’s the haves and have not’s there is no middle in the UK. IMHO

      more

      crims
      workers
      rich bastards

      actually on reflection, one class

      ciminals

      with varying degree’s of involvement
      worker crims
      handling crims
      rich crims

      /irony /sarc the last bit

  11. stunned mullet 11

    These words he speaks are true
    We’re all humanary stew
    Unless we pledge allegiance to
    The Black Widow !

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiTJU_AX-Ig

  12. Mrs Brillo 12

    A German working in England, Oliver Imhof, made a very shrewd point when he wrote:
    “Britons voted against their political establishment by saying no to the only thing that is protecting them from it.”

    I think he’s got it.

    • Richardrawshark 12.1

      No.

      reverse it.

      • Mrs Brillo 12.1.1

        Reverse it how?
        When the Tories cut back all the worker protection inherent in EU laws, Imhof’s meaning will become clear to even the least astute of journalists.

        • Richardrawshark 12.1.1.1

          Perhaps it was an slap to Brussels for telling them off and making stupid laws all the time.

          Perhaps it was a vote FOR sovereignty vs uncertainty?

  13. McFlock 13

    I’m not sure whether Brexit is a good idea for Britain or not. I think it’s a bad idea from the standpoint of European and global stability.

    But looking at the “leave” camp, I’m damned sure Brexit was largely voted for on the basis of bloody stupid reasons. “Independence day” my arse.

    • Pretty much. Although, to be fair, most of the ‘leave’ voters probably didn’t imagine that Farage et al would outright lie to them

    • marty mars 13.2

      Yep me too – a lot of people might feel like they need a wash now, a really long, hot scrub down.

      • Colonial Viper 13.2.1

        Those damnable poorer, less educated voters.

        Time to strip them off the electoral rolls.

        They clearly can’t be trusted to vote the right way.

        • ianmac 13.2.1.1

          That was Dr Smith’s line over the ECan problem CV.
          “Those damnable poorer, less educated voters.

          Time to strip them off the electoral rolls.

          They clearly can’t be trusted to vote the right way.”

        • marty mars 13.2.1.2

          Sure cv but why you believe that bullshit is anyone’s guess.

          • Colonial Viper 13.2.1.2.1

            Guess I should have added a /sarc tag

            • marty mars 13.2.1.2.1.1

              Why you would think different thinkers should be branded as childeaters and nosepickers i just don’t know. The binary is unhelpful when it’s this complicated.

    • mauī 13.3

      At least the remain camp had valid reasons like the I’m alright jack attitude and I don’t want to see my material wealth impacted…

      • Colonial Viper 13.3.2

        You another one denying the rationality and validity of BREXIT votes? People too poor and too uneducated to make decisions for themselves, right?

      • joe90 13.3.3

        Monbiot – better the devil you know.

        The European Union is a festering cesspool of undue influence and opaque lobbying. Prompted at first by the tobacco industry, the European Commission is slowly dismantling, through what it calls its “better regulation agenda”, many of the hard-won laws that protect our health, working conditions and wildlife. Once they are torn down, corporate power will be locked in place through the transatlantic trade and investment partnership it is negotiating with the United States.

        […]

        We do not release ourselves from the power of money by leaving the EU. We just exchange one version for another: another that is even worse. This is not an inspiring position from which to vote Remain. But it is a coherent one.

        http://www.monbiot.com/2016/06/15/moneys-reach/

  14. whispering kate 14

    I know this is simplistic but why do parliamentary parties consistently not represent the electorate they are there to represent. Labour in both NZ and UK have the same disfunction where the popular vote of the people elect people that do want to help the voters but the mainstream of the Labour politicians do not want to lead in the same direction that the voters want. David Cunliffe was the people’s choice but the existing MP’s did not want him and he got the axe, Jeremy Corban as I see it was the people’s overwhelming choice and now his own party are trying to axe him as well. What’s the use of the voting system if the people cannot get satisfaction from the party they vote in. Funny old world but I am glad Corban is sticking it to them and going down fighting, he had a mandate from the labour electorate and yet the pollies already in the system do not want him.

    • Chris 14.1

      Perhaps there’s more to be said for deciding who leads a political party being an area where’s there’s no room for democracy than we think?

      • whispering kate 14.1.1

        If what you are saying is what I think you are saying – no thanks.

        • Chris 14.1.1.1

          All I’m saying is that when the leader is someone the majority of the caucus doesn’t want as leader then things get difficult. Perhaps not impossible, but difficult.

          • whispering kate 14.1.1.1.1

            Surely, if you decide to go into a political career you have firstly the electorate in mind and a desire to help make society better, otherwise you would go into banking etc. What has happened to working together for the common good and going the extra mile to get on with someone who has been elected to lead. What a bloody selfish lot we have become. Troughers all of them – just there for the perks, back stabbing and sitting back and enjoying the ride. No wonder politicans are low on the desirable index.

      • Michael 14.1.2

        I don’t think I can quite hear the notes of your dog whistle.

    • Richardrawshark 14.2

      This one of the reasons I want the parliamentary system we use changed. but not on a whim. A well planned change.

    • leftie 14.3

      Hello Whispering Kate. I see all the resignations of the tory opportunists from the Labour Party as a plus, Labour is cleaning house, and I’m am pretty sure Corban would view it as that too. Corban has a chance to get real Labour people he wants into the party. I wouldnt be surprised if Corban, as you have aptly pointed out has overwhelming support of the membership, wins this one too !!!

      • Colonial Viper 14.3.1

        Hello Whispering Kate. I see all the resignations of the tory opportunists from the Labour Party as a plus

        They resigned from the Shadow Cabinet to damage Corbyn. They are still there in the Labour caucus.

        • whispering kate 14.3.1.1

          Well CV I hope he is bloody minded and hangs in there, places in people he can trust and accepts the mandate the people have gifted to him. What the hell do we go to the polling booth for, if all it means is the politicans then decide who is going to pull the strings and think they are above democracy and arrogantly think they know what is best for us. No wonder so many no longer bother to vote, it is becoming a waste of time.

          • Colonial Viper 14.3.1.1.1

            Had Labour been united at this point they could have dealt the confused and divided Tories a decisive blow.

            Instead, Labour has shown the electorate that they are more focussed on their own careerist power games then opposing the Conservatives.

            • leftie 14.3.1.1.1.1

              Good time to clean house, wouldn’t you say?

              • Colonial Viper

                Corbyn has the same problem that Little has. He can’t actually get rid of any malcontents. They will be there in the backbenches, fomenting rebellion.

                • leftie

                  Andrew Little has done a very good job of bringing Labour’s caucus together, and some “malcontents” as you put it, are leaving. Now, if only David Shearer would take the hint and go…

                  • Colonial Viper

                    well, let’s see how things go for Little after the next election.

                    • leftie

                      I’m very confident Andrew Little will do very well as our PM. He’ll have his hands full cleaning up John key’s shambolic mess.

          • leftie 14.3.1.1.2

            Hello Again Whispering Kate. I think Corbyn is bloody minded, and he will hang in there, and he will bring in people more suited to the Labour party he wants to lead. Corbyn is a fighter, he’s no quitter.

        • leftie 14.3.1.2

          Fingers crossed not for long. I still see it as a plus, a good opportunity to clean house, and I think Corbyn can do it.

  15. mikesh 15

    Right result for the wrong reasons perhaps.

  16. Michael 16

    I loved the cartoon. This is what happens when Labour leaders abandon the people they are supposed to lead, in favour of brown-nosing the commercial elite. Britain isn’t the only place where this happened.

  17. Observer Toke 17

    . Great Europe

    . Stop blaming Her. Consider just a few of the constructive majors she has faced…

    Do you not rather think that China growing by 9% year after year and manufacturing everything the West ever needed, from clothes to missiles, affected the opportunities and the wages within numerous nations?

    Is it not just rampant immigration that worries people, but also the absence of adequate manufacturing opportunities (Work) and uncontrolled floods of cheap imports.

    Is it not also the rise and rise of Robotics that heavily reduces employment opportunity ?

    But most of all. is it not the evasion of taxation and the sickening greed of the few, plus the ever menacing pressure of share holders, which tips people into tragically appalling poverty? Housing unaffordable; rental unaffordable; food unaffordable; health services hopelessly pared back.

    I congratulate Europe for trying to support its many Nations; for trying to share wealth; for trying to set good conditions for workers; for trying to care for 500 million human beings.

    While wealthy Conservative Tories and Corporates, and currency manipulators, just dwell in their gluttonous ” Counting Houses, counting out their money”.

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