Archive for the ‘British politics’ Category

Below is an article submitted to Redline by Alec Abbott written 18 April 2017

1. A quintessentially liberal cycle: from smugness to despair, from despair to hope and from hope to smugness

The initial blow

Trump’s election victory left the liberals reeling with shock and incomprehension. Detached from the poverty and discontent around them, and supremely confident in the Democratic Party’s electoral machine, they saw Hillary Clinton as unassailable. Her defeat did little to diminish their disdain for ordinary working people, or to improve their grasp of US realities.download

Rather than consider the socio-economic forces that brought Trump into office, the liberals focused almost exclusively on his personality, his egocentric greed for power, money and fame. Some went so far as to detect the sinister hand of Moscow at work. When asked how he viewed Trump’s relationship with Russia, Bernie Sanders, always hovering between radical liberalism and mild social-democracy, replied:

‘The American people are astounded that when you have an authoritarian like Putin who is moving Russia more and more towards an authoritarian society, President Trump has only positive things to say about this authoritarian figure. What hold does Russia have over the President? We know that Russian oligarchs lent Trump and his associates money. Does that have anything to do with Trump’s relationship with Russia?’ (CNN News, 30/3/2017)

From the start of the election campaign, liberals viewed Trump as an impulsive maverick, a right-wing bigot who has little regard for civilized norms of behaviour. Only by pandering to the worst prejudices of disaffected Americans, they maintained, would he succeed in capturing the presidency. The great unknown was how this relative new-comer to politics would behave once in office. Would he adapt his election pledges to political reality or would he pursue his outlandish agenda to the bitter end? That was the question on the minds of liberal commentators as Trump assumed the position of the 45th president of the US.

In no time at all the liberals gave vent to their despair. Maggie Lake, CNN commentator and political analyst, bewailed: ‘He hasn’t changed. There was the expectation that the office changes the man but we have not seen this with Donald Trump.’ (CNN News, 23/3/2017) Not long after, The Los Angeles Times, a prominent liberal organ, delivered the following lamentation:

‘Like millions of other Americans, we clung to a slim hope that the new president would turn out to be all noise and bluster, or that the people around him in the White House would act as a check on his worst instincts, or that he would be sobered and transformed by the awesome responsibilities of office. Instead … it is increasingly clear that those hopes were misplaced.’ (4/4/2017) (more…)

by Don Franks

“I would like to pay tribute to Prince Philip following his decision to retire from public service. He has dedicated his life to supporting the Queen and our country with a clear sense of public duty. His Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme has inspired young people for more than 60 years in over 140 nations. We thank Prince Philip for his service to the country and wish him all the best in his well-earned retirement.”

Not, I think, how most Redline followers would sign off the “working” life of the racist old parasite.

Still, British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s entitled to his opinion. All he has to do now is wear the consequences of his press statement. Already, right wing commentators are saying Corbyn’s words should be taken with a grain of salt. Its not what the guy really thinks. And I reckon its a very safe bet die hard Labour supporters, for different reasons, will be saying exactly the same. That, or Labour supporters will argue that it doesn’t really matter, alongside health care and education issues, matters of the royal family are unimportant.

I believe the contrary; it’s probably close to (more…)

by Phil Duncan

Last week local government elections were held in many parts of Britain.

As expected Labour did very badly and the Conservatives did pretty well.  In addition, the Welsh nationalists advanced and the Scottish nationalists stalled.  And UKIP was annihilated.  The Liberal Democrats’ ‘resurgence’ failed to emerge.

The Conservatives gained 563 council seats and Labour lost 382.  Plaid Cymru gained 33.

The Conservatives made progress in some traditional Labour heartlands, including the poorest council area in the whole of Britain, which went Tory.  Labour also lost control of Glasgow for the first time in decades.

The Tories displaced Labour as the largest party in terms of council seats in (more…)

Here we repost an article on May Day by Colin Clarke, 2013

The celebration of the 1st of May as workers day has a strong and proud tradition all around the world since the nineteenth century. It was the one day of the year when workers could stand up and say ‘we are many, they are few’. Alexander Shliapnikov, in On the Eve of 1917, tells how, when he lived and worked in London before the Russian revolution, he would always take May Day off and the next day be asked by his fellow workers if he was ill. He would then explain the significance of workers’ day to them.

The best May Day march I have been on was the first May Day during the 1984-1985 British miners’ strike. You could feel the power of the working class as it marched in solidarity with them. At the time, there was every chance they could win the strike and there was a real mood of optimism amongst the marchers. The event encapsulated the true meaning of the day as a celebration of the power of the working class, especially as there were other marches around the country, equally strong.

(more…)

Official British Labour Party anti-immigrant merchandise from the last election.

In a recent longer article on two by-elections in Britain and their meaning for politics there, Kenan Malik made the following point/s about the Labour Party in Britain:

“At the heart of its crisis lies the question: What is the Labour Party for?

“Labour lost its status as the party of the working class long ago. A recent opinion poll on party popularity found that among working-class voters, Labour had fallen far below the Conservatives and even into third place behind UKIP. Over the past 30 years, Labour, like many social-democratic parties, has transformed itself into a party appealing primarily to the metropolitan middle class, a large proportion of which voted to remain in the European Union. In the wake of the referendum, many such supporters are switching allegiance to the Liberal Democrats, the most pro-European of British political parties. One poll suggested that the Liberal Democrats could overtake Labour at the next general election.

“The trouble with Labour is that the party simply no longer (more…)

McGuinness’ coffin being carried through Derry city on Tuesday. His funeral is today (Thursday).  At front is his successor, Michelle O’Neill, with Gerry Adams at rear.

For people interested in Irish politics, check out material on Martin McGuinness and his political trajectory from revolutionary republican and socialist to bourgeois nationalist over on The Irish Revolution site.

The changing faces of Martin McGuinness

Martin McGuiness: a political obituary (written when he announced his resignation from Stormont, due to ill-health)

 

In recent decades there has been a rise in the West in opposition to the state of Israel and its dispossession, and continuing repression, of the Palestinian people.  Most recently, the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, modeled on similar campaigns against apartheid in South Africa, has won wide support and put the Zionist state, and the various Israeli parties and governments which uphold it, on the back foot.  The response of the Zionists to opposition is usually to go on the offensive.  Central to their political offensive against the growing support movement for the Palestinian cause has been to equate hostility to Zionism with anti-Semitism and try to make out that if you are politically opposed to Zionism (a political movement) than you must be some kind of anti-Jewish bigot.

The article below is not immediately relevant to New Zealand, but it provides a useful illustration of this new Zionist offensive against Palestinian rights and free speech in Britain.  Plus, we can be pretty sure that as the pro-Palestinian movement becomes more active in this country, a similar campaign will be launched here by supporters of the Israeli state and its racism and repression against the Palestinians.  So forewarned is forearmed.  The author of the article is a veteran anti-imperialist and independent Marxist activist in Britain.

by Tony Greenstein

In the past two weeks Palestine societies on university campuses in Britain have been organising activities around the annual Israel Apartheid Week. This year, however, the right to organise such events has come under systematic attack from university authorities.

Two weeks ago Jo Johnson, the universities minister, wrote to Universities UK demanding the suppression of Israel Apartheid Week as a way of combating “anti-Semitism”.1 Apparently holocaust denial leaflets had been distributed at Cambridge University and swastikas found at Exeter University. Ipso factothis meant that the responsibility lay with supporters of the Palestinians! A classic example of the McCarthyite guilt-by-association technique, combined with the big lie.

At least three universities have reacted by either proscribing Israel Apartheid Week or severely limiting its (more…)