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14 October 2017

Floyd Codlin on Brendan O'Neill's piece in Spectator about the Football Lads Alliance #FLA

A Politics of Two Halves
A little more than ten years ago, Brendan O’Neill and the rest of the Spiked acolytes were affirming that the working class was over, done and finished with no hope of return. They reaffirmed this at a meeting with MHI (Marxist Humanist Initiative), in March of 2015, via Alan Harding and Dr Mike Fitzpatrick.
Their main thesis was that the working class had lost all agency and sense of itself as a distinct class. This was always a dubious prospect to begin with, but that was the Spiked story and they stuck with it.
So, many of us on the left, who’d watched the political degeneration of former comrades flourish, were astonished when BoNy announced, like a triumphant member of the confederacy, hearing that “the gallant south will rise again”, that a working class movement was back, in his article for working class struggle the Spectator that “The Football Lads Alliance is a working-class movement – and the political class wants to ignore it”

What occasioned his return to the barricades was a demonstration by the so-called “Football Lads Association” (FLA), to protest against what they called “extremism”. This keys into one of Brendan’s main concerns, that people, in light of the Jihadi attacks in both Manchester and London, are not “angry” enough. Certainly the racist who drove all the way from Wales to ram his van into Muslim worshippers (who had just come from lending help to the victims of the Grenfell fire) outside Finsbury Park mosque took him to heart.
Rather than looking through the whole of the article, it will be of more use, to dissect sections of it instead. “On Saturday, London hosted one of the largest working-class demonstrations of recent years and these weepers for the voiceless said nothing. Nada. Zilch. Ah, but these were the wrong kind of working-class people. They were the Football Lads Alliance (FLA), a fascinating grassroots movement founded earlier this year to protest against terrorism and the ideologies that fuel it.”
Perhaps the reason why Theresa May, said nothing about the demo, was because, apart from the inbuilt distaste Tories have for w/c people, plans for a more authoritarian stance on extremism is in the pipeline. One needs to remind the BoNy lad, that Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary plans on restricting the encryption of WhatsApp, and ramping up the Prevent program. Two other things to note here, is his newly discovered fascination with “grass roots movements” and the fact that he in turn ignores/has forgotten there have been several demonstrations organised by the left and trade unions, that has put the numbers of these, ‘Freikorps’ wannabes in the shade. One of them was, ironically in Manchester, shortly after the concert bombing where there were a number of peace demos and benefit concerts
He said, “An estimated 10,000 fans brought Park Lane to a standstill. Rival fans, from Spurs, West Ham, Leeds and other teams, rubbed shoulders, held wreaths in the colours of their clubs, and listened peacefully as speakers railed against hateful extremism and slammed the branding of people who criticise Islamism as ‘Islamophobic’”. In the pubs as the rally drew to a close, several fights broke out between the fans. It must also be noted that in peace rallies in Manchester and London, after the bombings and stab attacks, etc. wreathes were laid, a respectful silence was held and speakers called out against Jihadist violence, so what is BoNy’s issue here?
The FLA founder, who has a very shady history all of his own, stated to loud cheers that, “We want all suspected terrorists who are not British citizens to be permanently removed from the country,” and that “Why should they be allowed to come over here? They’re not British citizens – get them out.”
Yet BoN brings in the infamous Spiked sneer with this section; “Most marches these days are packed with public-sector types, plummy anti-fascists, and Guardian columnists who must maintain their rad cred by occasionally traipsing through the streets with people holding dusty trade-union banners”. First of all, there are large pockets of industrial workers still in play, but also the composition of the w/c has always been subject to change, as Mike Freeman himself acknowledged in the RCPs book, ‘Taking Control’. The w/c is no longer solely the industrial big battalions. It also now includes the ‘precariate’, the lower level public sector workers, as well as teachers, nurses, firemen and women, etc. Far from him being the slayer of sacred, shibboleths, he merely regurgitates the prejudice of Spectator readers who’d call the police if they saw a w/c person of any description in their neighborhood
Brendan, asks that we take Meighan at his word, but why? At the rally, last week, Meighan bellowed, “we want our country back”, and was echoed enthusiastically by the crowd. Tommy Robinson may have turned up to only film, but he was greeted with acclaim when he did so, he also headed the march. Lets also not forget that he was eager last week for the traffic accident outside the British Museum, to have been a terrorist incident. Also both the EDL, Pegida-UK, and UKIP have insisted that they are not racist, or anti-Muslim, but their every utterance and publication on this subject has shown this to be a lie. On Extremism: Both BoN, the FLA, the EDL, UKIP and the Tories, etc. claim to be against ‘extremism”, so do the proprietors of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Gharib, Bush and Obama. BoN wrote, “As speakers railed against hateful extremism and slammed the branding of people who criticise Islamism as ‘Islamophobic’. Except that those who are doing the critiquing, and on the whole it tends to come from middle-aged social conservatives, rarely, if ever make any distinction between Muslims and Islamists.
One of the FLA leaders a former soldier Phil Campion said, “As far as I’m concerned we’re at war.” He also said, “Politicians have surrendered in arrival halls and airports. They have housed, fed and clothed the enemy”, and that “It’s time to stand up to terror,” Campion went on. “The political correctness has gone too far. We’ve lost our freedom of speech. I’m not allowed to say anything anymore,” he said from the platform, with no sense of how eye rolling ironic that is.
But this has often been the rallying cry of the reactionary petite bourgeoisie as their complaint is that theirs is not the only voice and that they get challenged. Richard Seymour, while he’s writing about white supremacy, I think that this applies equally to the FLA, wrote “Shall we ever tire, I wonder, of dignifying racists and fascists with the mantle of oppression? They, the pitiable, neglected "white working class". They, the underdogs, oppressed in their own nation, by the politically correct, the educated, the middle classes and (sotto voce) the uppity minorities. No matter how many faces they kick in, no matter how many people they stab, no matter how many times they pose with guns as if in tribute to their co-ideologue Breivik, there will always be those who entertain a patronising sympathy for these primitive oiks and their native moxie. For example, here is the knuckle-dragging bore, Brendan O'Neill, late of the RCP, explaining to his rich, white audiences that opposition to the EDL is the behaviour of a rich, white clique motivated by class hatred”
As a counter to BoN’s pound shop class war, which is about as real as a female, porn stars tits. Seymour notes “There is a conception of class implicit in this argument that has nothing to do with class as a category of political economy. It is not even the old status-culture model of class that underpins official statistical classifications. It is a chimera, a purely sentimental, pseudo-ethnic model of class, in which a working class person is defined by certain sumptuary and sartorial habits, attributes, which make for convenient genre markers but which by themselves, can yield no sociological insight. It is an object of nostalgia and melancholia, the deus ex machina of reactionary polemic that strictly does not coincide with the working class as it actually lives and reproduces itself. That working class, the 'actually existing working class' for want of a better term, has anti-fascists and anti-racists in it.”
At the end of the article Brendan, states, “Where our supine political class seeks to shush concern about the ideology of terror, and to cultivate a passive response to violence, the FLA encourages us to be concerned. Where observers tell us it is ‘Islamophobic’ to criticise Islamist thinking, the FLA challenges such sly censoriousness and calls for open, robust and, yes, difficult debate”. Perhaps it’s best if someone tells him, that if you want to convince the wider world as to the class bona fides of the FLA, then you should not reproduce the same sorts of tropes you read on the DM/Express/Sun/CiF (Comment is Free), Spiked website and FB page, comments section. The sort that issue the most bellicose of threats, against feminists, PoC, Muslims, under the claim of being stifled under “PC gawn mad”
Andrew Kliman was writing about Trump, in “With Sober Senses” for MHI, but again it applies here when one sees the current flirtation being done by former revolutionaries, with the UK equivalent of white supremacy. He wrote on August 17th 2017, ‘Will We Allow Trump to Get Away with Fomenting White Supremacy and Racist Violence?’ “After intense outcry throughout the country, and pressure from many of his advisors (notably not including Steve Bannon), Trump read some mitigating words off the teleprompter on Monday.” Also that “one would have to be deliberately obtuse to think that Trump meant any of it. Leading neo-Nazi Richard Spencer correctly characterized the statement as “kumbaya nonsense” and said, “Only a dumb person would take those lines seriously.”” Andrew, also chillingly points out, that “Others, taking a cue from the Charlottesville event—which was nominally a protest over the planned removal of a Confederate-era statue—are organizing efforts to preserve “white heritage” symbols in their home regions.
Preston Wiginton, a Texas-based white nationalist, declared on Saturday that he planned to hold a “White Lives Matter” march on September 11, on the campus of Texas A&M University, with Richard Spencer as keynote speaker”
I am quoting Andrew Kliman because he correctly identifies the false sense of grievance and injustice that white supremacy fosters. It is also dresses it’s authoritarianism in the clothes of taking a stand against “the elites”, “special interests”, etc. The FLA is an attempted reformulation of the right, a right that could quickly become the far right.
What’s more, it is taking place in the context of a far right recovery in parts of Europe. In Europe, and we here in the UK have also seen this happen, is the normalization of the claim “it’s not racist to talk about immigration”. A spin off from that has been in turn the normalization of “it’s not racist to talk about Islam”. These have become code words and ciphers to make racism and bigotry more polite but no less deadly.
It is a sign of Spiked’s political degeneracy that while they may not be directly racist themselves, they have no intention of challenging those that are. Victor Grayson, a left-wing MP in the LP was thrown out because members of the House of Commons were discussing the Licensing Bill. Grayson moved an adjournment so that the house could discuss unemployment.
His departing words should ring in BoN’s ears “You are traitors! Traitors to your class.”But, alas Spiked people have booked their tickets on the carnival of reaction and they are determined to get their moneys worth.

14 February 2017

Michael Rosen on Paul Nuttall. #PaulNuttallFacts #Stoke #Ukip

Michael Rosen on Paul Nuttall

Paul Nuttall says that when he said he invented the famous chocolate spread, he meant that he likes it.
Paul Nuttall says that he loved working with Mary Berry on the Great British Bakeoff but will take the brand to Channel4
Paul Nuttall says that when he said that he lost friends at Hillsborough he meant that he lost his glasses
Paul Nuttall says he's very proud that people in Liverpool say, 'He's Nuttall there'.
Paul Nuttall says that the best central defence in the top flight English league was Alan Hansen and Paul Nuttall
Paul Nuttall says his great inspiration is Shakespeare's Henry V:
"No, Nuttall these thrice-gorgeous ceremony..."
Paul Nuttall says that his brother is Midsomer Murders star John Nuttall.
Paul Nuttall says that his favourite book as a child was Beatrix Potter's wonderful little book, 'Squirrel Nuttall'.
Paul Nuttall says that the legendary Everton manager Howard Nuttall was his father.
Paul Nuttall says that he remembers when the names on everyone's lips were: John, Paul Nuttall, George and Ringo.
Paul Nuttall says that Nelson's last words were 'Kiss me Nuttall'. Paul Nuttall says that little green men write the comments on his website.
Paul Nuttall says that he lost his hearing in the trenches.
Paul Nuttall says that he didn't lose a close friend, he lost his bottle. Paul Nuttall denies he lost his credibility over the Hillsborough matter, as he's not sure he had any in the first place
Paul Nuttall says he lost an eye at the Battle of Agincourt but found it in the bath where his mum was storing coal
Paul Nuttall says he didn't lose his rag. It's just that he prefers to use paper hankies now.
Paul Nuttall says re his website and who writes what, he's lost track. And cars. Scalectrix eh? Easily done.
Paul Nuttall says that he didn't lose his shirt on the 4.30 at Sundown but in a bare knuckle prize fight in Toxteth
Paul Nuttall didn't lose his bearings. They're still in the ball-race on the car that his father was too poor to buy
Paul Nuttall says he didn't lose his train of thought. It was on platform 4 at Liverpool Lime Street.
Paul Nuttall says that he did not lose his temper. It was in the parlour is his two-up two-down back-to-back terrace
Paul Nuttall lost an argument but found it in Nigel Farage's trousers
Paul Nuttall lost his thread because, he says, Jeremy Corbyn closed the cotton mills.
Paul Nuttall said that he did not lose his hair, it lost him.
Paul Nuttall lost his way on the way to Hillsborough but he found it again when he decided to stand for parliament
Paul Nuttall lost his leg on a midnight hike and found it in the Lost Property Office on Liverpool Station


Why UKIP and their divisive rhetoric should always be opposed. #Brexit

We stumbled across the following cut and paste post, and cut and paste to share. Original source unknown.

Sentiments are all ours.

"I went for a walk today. First, down to the Post Office where the owner helped me with my parcel, checking the post code which he was worried was not correct. He’s a Muslim, a first generation immigrant judging by his voice - not that that made any difference. When I left the Post Office I decided to go home by a roundabout route in order to get a bit of exercise. As I passed a gate I got a huge hello and grin from the chap standing there having a smoke. He was black and had spectacular dreadlocks almost down to his waist - not that that made any difference. I went on my way, passing a lollipop man who was greeting parents and children as they passed with a beaming smile. He was white - not that it made any difference. On I went on this chilly afternoon, up past the hospital and met a “walking bus”: two young women and about ten children holding hands with each other and chattering away nineteen to the dozen, making their way home from school. Some of those children had white skins and some of them had brown skins, not that it made any difference - it certainly didn’t to them. I carried on, past the bike shop with the white owner, circling through the park past the swarms of students from our highly successful 6th form college in their mixed ethnic groups gossiping with the energy that young people have in abundance. Not that it made any difference either.

When I walk around the town centre I hear voices in many accents and languages. I have heard most of them all my life. The Scots, Irish, Germans, Italians, Jews and Basques were already here before I was born. So too were the Eastern Europeans, fleeing first the Nazis and then the Communists. There are Latvian clubs, Ukrainian clubs , Polish clubs, Estonian clubs and so on all over the region. After the “Captive Nations” Europeans came people from the West Indies and then people from the Indian sub-continent and Africa. The new voices around my home town are Chinese; we have a thriving University which has a good number of Chinese students, and those of a new wave of Eastern European people. Not that any of THAT matters.

I taught for thirty eight years in the area, mostly at a comprehensive, and taught children from all these backgrounds, and also from Africa, from Palestine, from Sri Lanka, from Greece and from Russia. They were all, well, children. They were, of course, mostly lovely. My colleagues were white, brown, Christian, agnostic, Muslim, French, Spanish, Caribbean. Not that any of that made any difference. I spent my last five years of work at one of the highest achieving schools in the country where some of the pupils had doctors or surgeons as parents, some taxi-drivers, some accountants, some shop-keepers and some academics and so on. Nearly forty percent of the pupils were Muslim or of Asian descent - and none of that, none of it, made any difference.

When I was about twelve I had an experience that did make a difference. On a visit to my grandfather’s house one day, being left alone whilst everyone else went to walk the dogs I explored my grandfather’s library. Looking through his books I discovered a photographic record of what the Allies found in the extermination camps in 1945. There was a horrid fascination that kept me turning the pages looking at one nightmare after another. I felt sick and yet I couldn’t stop looking: gallows, ovens and shower-rooms that weren’t. One image stays with me: a giant yard full of what appeared, at first sight, to be neat stacks of firewood. Except it wasn’t wood that was so neatly piled. I couldn’t tell my parents why I was so upset when they returned from their walk, I felt that I had been looking at something obscene and shameful, and I had.

So here’s the thing: I was taught at junior school that white people were naturally better than every one else, that there were such things as human races and you could judge people by which religion they held to. It was all a lie. None of it, none of this nationalistic, xenophobic nonsense that engulfs us today is true. And it is why I am so angry about the results of the Referendum; that a project that was explicitly set up to ensure that the horrors of the past could never be repeated because we would be bound together at first economically and then through shared cultural experiences, a project that in those terms at least was an enormous success, that all this should be thrown away under the influences of those very forces it set out to destroy, is heart-breaking. I say shame, shame to all those unprincipled politicians and media men who encouraged this Pandora’s box to be opened. Let us hope that a butterfly of hope was released too."

3 February 2017

Rethinking Brexit - a letter to The Economist from BRIAN UNWIN, former president of the ECB #Brexit

'Rethinking Brexit

I welcome your general stance on the Brexit referendum, but you go too far in saying it was a clear result to leave the European Union and that MPs therefore should not vote against the government triggering Article 50 (“The way forward”, November 12th). There is no established constitutional doctrine on referendums in Britain. In this case, the outcome was very close; the referendum was advisory, not mandatory; the campaign was full of misinformation and downright lies; and no indication was given (we still do not have it) of what trading and other relationships would follow with the EU and the wider world.

Although the economy has in some respects survived the referendum shock better than some had predicted, nearly all the underlying economic indicators now suggest that there is a very difficult medium and longer-term period ahead, with disposable incomes falling as inflation rises. With the added horror of Donald Trump in the White House, surely it is more important than ever that Britain should remain working closely and constructively alongside its partners within the EU.

It would be perfectly reasonable and democratic, and consistent with the practice in several other European countries, to offer the public an opportunity to think and vote again when the consequences of a Brexit become clearer. Please do not throw in the towel so easily.


Former president of the European Investment Bank

Dorking, Surrey'

Nov 26th 2016

2 February 2017

A few words from @sturdyAlex on #Brexit

"I need to say a few words about this whole Parliament voting for Brexit, without any detail on what it means, being framed as "respecting the people's will" and any resistance conversely as "undemocratic". I CALL BULLSHIT.

It may be POLITICALLY difficult, but constitutionally? Easy, peasy. Every first year law student prays for a constitutional law exam question this clear-cut. It is at best a conflict between representative and direct democracy. And, since our system is explicitly the former, is a really easy conflict to resolve.

That is why the referendum was deemed to be advisory by the High Court (clearest in para.106 of the judgment) and the appeal on this issue rejected by the Supreme Court. Your views on the judiciary aside, this is now settled law:

"[The 2015 Referendum Act] falls to be interpreted in light of the basic constitutional principles of parliamentary sovereignty and representative parliamentary democracy which apply in the United Kingdom, which lead to the conclusion that a referendum on any topic can only be advisory for the lawmakers in Parliament unless very clear language to the contrary is used in the referendum legislation in question. No such language is used in the 2015 Referendum Act."

So any MP is constitutionally absolutely entitled to vote with their conscience on this issue. The referendum has political meaning, but no legal or constitutional standing. As I said, it may be really difficult to balance the needs of the self, the party and the country. Some truly honourable MPs on both sides have resigned, rather than make this terrible choice.

Whatever you think of the referendum result, when you hear MP after MP stand up and say they think this is going to be a disaster for the UK, but they're going to vote for it anyway, what you hear is political difficulties overriding the right thing.

Reaching a stage where politicians make choices they believe to be wrong, because they're terrified of voters is ochlocracy, not democracy. It is not to be celebrated, but a symptom of profound dysfunction and should worry anyone intelligent, Brexiter or Remainer.

But it doesn't, because we're still wrapped up in the adversarial language of the referendum and so we are giving our politicians a free pass.

Add on top, the insidious idea that worrying about such things, or raising objections of legality through proper channels, or wanting to participate in the debate on what shape things take after we have left the EU, is somehow a lack of respect for the result of the referendum and you have a toxic mix.

Very few people have seriously raised this and yet it is has become the paranoia-du-jour. "They're trying to steal your victory." "Trying to disrespect your democratic will."

I suggest quite the opposite. Let's respect the result of the referendum. IN ITS ENTIRETY. And that result is: on a highly emotive and inflamed issue, with AWFUL quality of information available, often on purpose, often outright lies, a country was divided pretty much down the middle, and decided by a narrow margin a thing.

Sorry if that doesn't fit in your victory narrative, but that WAS the result of the referendum. And you disrespect it by saying fuck the 48%, as much as the few who say fuck the 52%. The only respectful result, the only democratic result, is one that as close as possible to 100% of citizens can live with. And for that to happen, all voices must be heard.

Once formulated this way, of course, the idea that the end result should gratify exclusively every Hard Brexit wet dream of the most extreme Europhobe, that the rest of the country can just lump it because "it lost", is revealed for the utter nonsense it is.

What we get instead is an act of political opportunism by a Tory Party sensing an hopelessly impotent opposition and going hell-for-leather at its once-in-a-lifetime chance to exorcise its perennial demon.

And that, friends, is the most undemocratic result of all."