What's the political climate like in the UK right now?

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Biscuitman
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20 Jun 2019, 2:10 am

The_Walrus wrote:
Either way, if Johnson fails then that is final proof that Brexit is both very difficult and a very bad idea.


The only way I can see Brexit ever getting through is by the MP's approving the WA. It's been made clear on the 3 votes so far that not enough MP's (both leave voting and remain voting) will approve the WA as it is. So it's down to whether the EU will amend it, though they say they won't. I do wonder if having an ERG member as Prime Minister will appease the rest of the ERG to vote for the WA knowing that they can rip up the PD and re write that again later. There would need to be some amendments to the WA from the EU for that to happen as the ERG would not just vote for what they have said is terrible, pride alone doesn't allow for that, so any kind of tiny technical changes to wording could open the door for them to claim it's enough of a change to get them onside.

right now it just feels like Johnson will take this to October and then get screamed at as being a 'traitor' by the usual lot and we are right back to square 1.

Who knows though tbh......



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20 Jun 2019, 7:08 am

Javid goes out

Hunt, Gove & Johnson go to the next round later today

Gove overtakes Hunt for the first time. If Javid supports either Hunt or Gove then the other is out this evening.



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20 Jun 2019, 12:19 pm

Hunt Vs Johnson in the final



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20 Jun 2019, 1:49 pm

Johnson is a joke fraud. The only hope is that he gets better people around him


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22 Jun 2019, 10:12 am

With Boris's clown act and Jeremy's strings you could make for a very convincing Christmas Carol.
The emphasis should not be on the why but how? I am all for a good leader, but we have better chance of organising a state funeral whilst Brussels have their cake. Whilst they're busy blowing out the candles, our government are frogmarching someone else into the top job.
Reaction is forever changing, due to hate campaigns and slanderous behaviour being fed into the mainstream media via status poll and former misdeeds. I mean, we all know about 'the lie' on the big red London bus, which was initiated by Farage's party presumably, and we've seen the actions of all his example replacements creating a wave of hysteria across many constituencies, but by far, the worst ring side political failures I've seen in a generation. What planet of self injustices have these people got, from the ordinary working class state individual? Not many.
Whoever gets it, has to set in reforms to the current system, and I cant see a mandate anytime soon on that.



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28 Jun 2019, 12:19 pm

Further to earlier posts in this thread:

The Communist infiltration of Britain:

How foolish we are about the deep penetration of Communism in our country.

We believe thin, unproven stories about the KGB paying the Labour leader Michael Foot. Yet we do not notice the systematic infiltration of our upper echelons by wave after wave of anti-British Marxists.

On a long-ago evening soon before the end of the Second World War, the leader of the Communist Party of Great Britain, Harry Pollitt, travelled to Cambridge to speak to Left-wing students. He had a brusque, unexpected message for them. He didn’t want them wasting their time selling the Daily Worker on street corners and going on rallies and marches. He didn’t want them to become open Communists. He wanted them to work their way into every corner of the British establishment and pursue the revolutionary cause.

At that time, British Communism was astonishingly popular. In 1945 it had 60,000 members and won two seats in Parliament (and very nearly won a third). Thanks to public gratitude for the role of the Red Army in beating Hitler, the Soviet Union was actually popular, and so was its political front organisation in Britain. So Pollitt would have spoken to a large, keen audience. The astonishing Cambridge gathering is briefly recorded in Peter Hennessy’s fascinating book The Secret State.

There is no doubt it took place, and the advice fits with a standard Communist technique, of urging key assets to keep their party membership secret. What we do not know is how many of Pollitt’s eager audience took his advice. Nor is there any record of a similar meeting at the other elite university, Oxford, though it seems very likely that one took place. We can only wonder what became of those who did what Pollitt urged them to do.

I have often thought that many of the stupid actions taken by British governments over the past few decades, from joining the Common Market and abolishing police foot patrols to the destruction of the grammar schools, are so mad that they can only be rationally explained as deliberate sabotage. The same goes for the fervent dedication of the BBC and much of the press to any cause that would undermine tradition, morality, marriage and manners.

Did such Communist infiltration happen? Could it have happened?

Well, yes. It is no good dismissing suggestions that they work secretly to gain their ends as some sort of wild ‘conspiracy theory’. Communists conspired. I have direct personal knowledge of secret Communist activity in this country.

The first involved Evelyn Jones, wife of the Trade Union leader (and Communist sympathiser) Jack Jones. By the 1970s she had felt it safe to confide to her close friends (some of whom I came to know) that in the 1930s she had been a courier for Joseph Stalin’s Communist International (Comintern), taking secret dispatches to Moscow and bringing money out to help pay for their activities. The Comintern paid for her to have expensive clothes and luggage, and to travel first-class and stay in good hotels, because they rightly believed that rich travellers attracted less attention.

Evelyn (who died, aged 85, in 1999) went on to become a much-respected activist in Dulwich Labour Party in South London, living quietly with her astonishing memories. But her life story casts an interesting light on the true sympathies of her husband, who has also been accused of taking money from the KGB as a Kremlin ‘agent of influence’. In my opinion, Jack (whom I met several times) would have scorned payment for a cause he had been committed to since childhood. He was not interested in money, lived in a council flat and took his holidays in a caravan on the Devon coast. But he was committed, body and soul, to the Marxist cause for which he fought bravely in Spain in the 1930s, and never forgot it.

The Trade Unionist Johnny Torode, father of the distinguished journalist John Torode, had a similar background. His old passports from 1933 to 1936 were crammed with stamps from Scandinavia and the Baltic region, the ‘soft route’ to and from Moscow. Much later, Johnny explained to his son that he was travelling on ‘Party business’, once again involving money and messages. Sometimes he even went to Nazi-run Berlin where he would go through a complicated rigmarole to exchange messages, in the back of a tobacconists’ shop on the Alexanderplatz.

This, I should stress, was not spying. We are obsessed with spies so much that we fail to notice that the real aim of the Communists was to extend their power and their cause. Spying was a side-issue.

Later, Johnny Torode sickened, at least for a time, of the cause. His son has told me of the time when, disgusted by Stalinist show-trials in Prague in 1953, his father threatened to reveal what he knew to MI5. Harry Pollitt, still leader of Britain’s Communists at the time, jeered at him: ‘Don’t be silly, Johnny. You know we run British intelligence’. This jibe, truer than anyone then knew, backfired. Johnny gathered together his files and gave them to the CIA’s London station instead.

These instances, known to me personally, are in my belief just a tiny part of a much bigger unknown story of Communist penetration into our society, including its military and intelligence services. The Second World War greatly extended it.

Evelyn Waugh’s autobiographical trilogy Sword Of Honour makes several mentions of brother officers and influential high officials with Communist sympathies, flourishing in the atmosphere of Stalin-worship which became common in British official circles after Hitler invaded the USSR. ‘Moscow Gold’ was never a myth. Well into modern times, Soviet Embassy officials would leave bags of used banknotes at Barons Court underground station in London, to be collected by the Communist official Reuben Falber, who stored them in the loft of his bungalow in Golders Green, North London. At times this rather shameful secret subsidy, direct from a police state, reached £100,000 a year – in an era when that was a lot of money.

Who knows what it was used for? But the Communist Party spent a great deal on its industrial organisation, which fomented trouble in British workplaces and strove to get Communists and their sympathisers installed in important positions in British trade unions. This enabled Moscow to wield huge, indirect influence over the Labour Party, especially on Foreign and Defence policies.

Labour’s embrace of unilateral nuclear disarmament in the middle of the Cold War, for instance, was greatly helped by the covert Communist machine in the unions. That machine could be incredibly unscrupulous and hard to fight. Hardly anyone, alas, now remembers the way the tough ex-Communist Frank Chapple took on, exposed and defeated blatant Communist ballot-rigging in the crucial Electrical Trades Union (ETU) between 1959 and 1961. Much more was at stake than who ran the ETU. How deeply we were penetrated at that time we shall probably never know, and it is certain that many of those caught up in the pro-Stalin wave of the 1940s quietly peeled away after the Soviet invasions of Hungary in 1956 and of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

But 1968 did not kill off Communism.

It began a new movement – Eurocommunism, which renounced Soviet methods but kept the key aims of transforming our society.

And this is where the truth is so shocking that almost nobody in this country can cope with it.

But because I was part of the great student revolutionary wave in the late 1960s and early 1970s, because I broke completely with that past and because I have always been open about it, I have a unique vantage point. I remember my own branch of the International Socialists at York, growing hugely in the early 1970s, during the first great combat between the Heath government and the miners. I remember also that we acquired some very enthusiastic new members, perhaps a little older than the rest of us, always willing to get up before dawn to leaflet the docks in Goole or the pithead at Grimethorpe. We assumed they were working for the Security Service, not that we could have proved it, or minded much. They were in general charming, hard-working and fun to be with. Frankly, given the way that IRA types (whom I hated then as much as I do now) and other worrying sorts hung around the edges of our movement, I wouldn’t have blamed MI5 one bit for keeping an eye on us, even then.

But as we shall see, all their hard work has now been conveniently chucked into the incinerator, an inexcusable destruction of a vital key to our history. In those days – the tail end of the Vietnam disaster and the squalid Nixon years, with the Labour Party worn out and discredited after the Harold Wilson era, and Ted Heath at war with postmen, miners, dockers and anyone else he could find – the far Left attained a popularity in the universities which was way beyond anything it had had since the 1940s. We were not Stalinists. We mostly despised the Soviet Union. The invasion of Prague in 1968 was fresh in our memories.

What happened to us all?

I know what happened to me, but I tend to think the others held on to a lot of the radical ideas they picked up, especially when it came to the sex, drugs and rock and roll issues such as marriage, divorce and homosexuality, and immigration, which we all favoured because we could see that it would change the country irreversibly into a much less conservative, much less British place. This was also the era when easy divorce was first legalised, so our parents were splitting up at an amazing rate, and adulthood was bestowed on us, with the right to vote, at 18.

We were something quite new.

Tens of thousands of us, from the newly-expanded universities, went off into teaching, journalism, the BBC, the big charities, the law and, of course, politics. And 25-odd years later we began to pop up in positions of importance. Crucially, my generation was deep inside what became New Labour – not old-fashioned Stalinist Communists like Johnny Torode, Evelyn Jones and that lot. We were modern, post-1968 funky Marxists who believed in cultural and sexual revolution, in open borders and in the European Community (one of whose founders, Altiero Spinelli, was a veteran Italian Communist). Several members of Blair’s Cabinet were active Marxists in the 1968-1990 period.

I must stress, these are just the names we know. I am sure there are many, many more whose backgrounds will never be revealed.

John (now Lord) Reid, among other things Defence Secretary, was beyond doubt a Communist Party member.

Bob Ainsworth, another Defence Secretary, was a ‘candidate member’ of the International Marxist Group (IMG) in the 1980s.

The veteran Left-winger George Galloway remembers former Chancellor Alistair Darling as an active sympathiser of the IMG in Edinburgh in the 1970s.

Alan Milburn, Health Secretary and later David Cameron’s fervent equalities tsar, more or less confirmed that he had been ‘mixed up’ in the IMG in the 1980s, in an interview with The Independent in June 2000.

Another fervent Blairite Cabinet Minister, Stephen Byers, was outed by the Guardian in January 1999 as a one-time supporter of the Trotskyist Militant tendency.

Blair himself recently revealed in a BBC interview that he had been a Trotskyist at Oxford in the 1970s, an earth-shaking revelation that attracted almost no attention because it fits so badly with the (mistaken) public idea of what and who he is. He did not say which group he had belonged to, but one of his closest friends was in the IMG. The IMG at the time was notorious for shouting ‘Victory to the IRA’ on demonstrations, and its members often went on to join the Labour Party as entryist infiltrators, aiming to take it over from the inside for the Left.

And then, of course, there is Peter Mandelson, who beyond doubt joined the Young Communist League. The question of whether he belonged to the adult Communist Party is unanswered. Donald Macintyre’s biography of Mr Mandelson says that, in the early 1970s, the future Cabinet Minister asked his mother Mary to tear up ‘a membership card’, as she drove him to the airport to start a gap year in Africa, and then telephone him to confirm she had done this. But we are not told what exactly the card was.

Fascinatingly, the Guardian, of September 22, 1997, reports that Mandelson, by now a Minister, had called on MI5 to ‘weed out and destroy’ all files held on Cold War-era subversives, which he said were now ‘entirely redundant’.

His demand followed the leaking of alleged details from his own file by a renegade MI5 agent.

A few months later, in January 1998, newspapers, obviously acting on official briefings, reported that MI5 was indeed destroying its files on political subversives. So the only comprehensive, reliable record of who all my revolutionary comrades were has been erased forever. I would guess that many very interesting names were there. There is much more. The theorists of New Labour actually gathered round a magazine called Marxism Today, officially published by the Communist Party, really the forum for Eurocommunists and cultural revolutionaries. Their ideas were incredibly ambitious.

One of Blair’s closest aides and best speechwriters, Peter Hyman, recently confessed that New Labour was devised ‘to take and hold the levers of power... winning power and locking out the Tories to ensure that the 21st Century was a Labour century with Labour values’. The scale of that ambition, he said, was ‘breathtaking’, and far more radical than Jeremy Corbyn.

He explained: ‘If Labour could be in power for a serious amount of time, then the country would, we believed, change for good; not a burst of socialism for one time (if that), but changed institutions and values that could shape the country for all time...’ This chimes with the equally fascinating revelation made by Steve Richards, a journalist who got very close to the inside of New Labour. He wrote of the 2002 Election, that the Blair entourage ‘...were often in an exasperated fury. “You don’t get it,” they would occasionally scream. “The Election is a historic referendum on a Right-wing Conservative Party. If we win a second landslide, we would kill off Right-wing Conservatism for good.”’

It had been a Labour ambition since the 1930s, to find a way of preventing any future Tory government from reversing their most radical actions. In 2002, they discovered how to do it – by seizing control of the political debate so as to make Toryism seem ridiculous and finished, and so to browbeat the Tories into becoming what they are now, a cheap copy of New Labour, completely signed up to political correctness, open borders, comprehensive schools and the rest. And that was done mainly by the revolutionary veterans of the 1960s, finally climbing into the seats of power in politics, culture, broadcasting, education and law.

I am always told, when I point this out, that people change, as I have done. Well, yes and no.

Of course the veterans of the 1960s no longer look the way they did then, and have learned subtlety. They might go to Rolling Stones concerts but they don‘t go on many demonstrations. Even so they retain their strong dislike for conservative morals, religion and ideas, often also despising the monarchy and patriotism. When they die, a surprising number of them have the Communist anthem ‘The Internationale’ played at their funerals.

They have revolutionised the country, especially in sexual and moral matters, and in education, as well as vastly increasing public spending, weakening the armed forces, abolishing our borders, and reducing the Tory party to a twittering egalitarian rump with no real ideas of its own.

It is said the Devil’s cleverest achievement has been to persuade us that he does not exist. Nothing like as clever, in my view, as the Blairites’ success in persuading us that they are harmless moderates.

While Jeremy Corbyn and his comrades appear honestly before us as what they are, Marxists and ultra-Leftists who sympathise with the IRA and the PLO, the Blairites falsely represented themselves as patriotic semi-Thatcherites, waving Union Jacks (instead of the red flags many of them would secretly have preferred) as they invaded Downing Street in 1997. In fact, Jeremy Corbyn’s obvious, clumsy, doomed steam-powered revolution is as nothing compared to the irreversible damage already done to this country by the 1968 generation of Blairites.


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The_Walrus
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29 Jun 2019, 4:54 am

Two points:

1) Firstly, it's pretty typical of Hitchens to accuse people of still holding the views they held 30 years ago no matter how clearly they have moved beyond them. I remember him calling Liz Truss a Lib Dem on Question Time. It's rather hypocritical of him. By his own logic, he is a Marxist.

2) If we accept Hitchens' definition of Marxism, then it makes Marxism seem rather inoffensive and indeed appealing. If Blairism is a form of Marxism, then Marxism is a good thing. If any embrace of civil liberties and human rights are Marxism, then Marxism is a good thing. Hitchens' article doesn't make a case for rejecting Blair and Cameron by associating them with Marx, it makes a case for embracing Marx by associating him with Blair and Cameron. I suspect that is unintentional, but equally if Peter Hitchens read that article he'd probably be convinced the author was still a Marxist...



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29 Jun 2019, 5:17 am

The_Walrus wrote:
Firstly, it's pretty typical of Hitchens to accuse people of still holding the views they held 30 years


Well, when they are busy doing Marxist things 30 years later and having the Internationale played at their funerals ... it's a fair accusation in my opinion. (lets not begin another semantic argument about Marxism again, you never properly responded to what I posted earlier)

The_Walrus wrote:
If we accept Hitchens' definition of Marxism, then it makes Marxism seem rather inoffensive and indeed appealing.


Yes, no other opinion on these things could possibly be held other than "inoffensive and appealing".


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29 Jun 2019, 7:02 am

Mikah wrote:
The_Walrus wrote:
To me, Marxism is the ideology of Karl Marx.


You are compartmentalising. The failures of the Soviet system and the fact that it would never be accepted in the Western world as it was, was obvious to some Marxists as early as the 1920s, but that didn't mean they gave up on the dream. All the various ideologies, including Trotskyism, Eurocommunism, Blairism, neoconservatism are direct offshoots of the Marxist dream. Gramsci's writings are of particular interest and relevance to modern Marxism and the modern world as it is. Vanilla Marxism itself was a fairly bland offshoot of the French Revolution. It's a branched continuum of ideologies all with approximately the same vision and endgame.

By this logic, humans are descended from single-celled organisms, so humans are single-celled organisms. Never mind that the vast majority of humans have more than one cell.

By this logic, if Marxism is a product of the French revolution, Blairism is a product of a post-Marxist world, and products are parts of their predecessors, then Blair is a French revolutionary. How many royals did he guillotine again?

These aren't mere semantic arguments, you're saying that up is left on the grounds that they're both directions, and expecting everyone to just accept your definition. Your entire argument is based on poor semantics. You can't make a ridiculous semantic argument based on false premises and then ask people who disagree with you to kindly refrain from commenting on the semantics. Beyond that you're left with the songs that people play at their funerals.

I don't buy for a second that Blairites and neoconservatives are interested in obscure branches of Christian eschatology. (I have seen that line of argument used to say we shouldn't take action on climate change, but Blairites and neocons do not remotely resemble those people)

As for whether Blair or Corbyn was more radical: it's true that Blairites often value radicalism and often like to try to one-up Corbynites on that front. However, they're radical in a very different ways. Corbyn is an 80s-style leftist, a figure of the regressive left who wants to massively increase public ownership, transfer wealth from the middle classes to the poor, cap wages, and make it very difficult to do business, while also withdrawing Britain from the global stage and supporting terrorists and dictators. These are radical ideas, in the sense that they would change our society dramatically, but they're fundamentally regressive Marxist ones. To his credit he is genuinely quite liberal on social issues. Blair, on the other hand, supported the free market, was "intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich", was a globalist, including militarily, supported devolution, supported the peace process in Northern Ireland, and pushed equal opportunities. Some of these ideas were radical and he left Britain in a very different state to when he became Prime Minister, but his ideas are clearly directly at odds with Marxist ideas. Why do self-identified Marxists hate him so much? Why did he go to such great lengths to make it impossible

There is more than one radical ideology. There's more than one ideology opposed to conservativism. Conflating them is intellectually lazy, and only serves to downplay the horrors of Marxism.

Mikah wrote:
The_Walrus wrote:
If we accept Hitchens' definition of Marxism, then it makes Marxism seem rather inoffensive and indeed appealing.


Yes, no other opinion on these things could possibly be held other than "inoffensive and appealing".

Well, put it this way. Imagine you had to explain to someone with no background in political theory why you are opposed to Marxism. If you say "Marxism gives us human rights, political correctness, civil liberties, and comprehensive schools", wouldn't you imagine that they'd come away thinking Marxism was just fine?

What if you say "Marx's economic theories are not just wrong, but so harmful to the economy that they cause immense suffering - and furthermore, his entire way of looking at the world is pseudoscientific and prone to contradiction"? That might not resonate hugely but people are going to come away thinking "Marxism bad".

If you say "Marxism gave us Stalin and Mao" then regardless of how fair you consider that to be, you're going to convince nearly everyone that they'd be worse off under Marxism. If you say "Marxism gave us Blair and Cameron" then some people are going to go misty-eyed while most people go "grr they're all the same!" and await the imminent coming of Corbyn or Farage.



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29 Jun 2019, 7:13 am

Mikah wrote:
Further to earlier posts in this thread:

The Communist infiltration of Britain:

How foolish we are about the deep penetration of Communism in our country.

We believe thin, unproven stories about the KGB paying the Labour leader Michael Foot. Yet we do not notice the systematic infiltration of our upper echelons by wave after wave of anti-British Marxists.

On a long-ago evening soon before the end of the Second World War, the leader of the Communist Party of Great Britain, Harry Pollitt, travelled to Cambridge to speak to Left-wing students. He had a brusque, unexpected message for them. He didn’t want them wasting their time selling the Daily Worker on street corners and going on rallies and marches. He didn’t want them to become open Communists. He wanted them to work their way into every corner of the British establishment and pursue the revolutionary cause.

At that time, British Communism was astonishingly popular. In 1945 it had 60,000 members and won two seats in Parliament (and very nearly won a third). Thanks to public gratitude for the role of the Red Army in beating Hitler, the Soviet Union was actually popular, and so was its political front organisation in Britain. So Pollitt would have spoken to a large, keen audience. The astonishing Cambridge gathering is briefly recorded in Peter Hennessy’s fascinating book The Secret State.

There is no doubt it took place, and the advice fits with a standard Communist technique, of urging key assets to keep their party membership secret. What we do not know is how many of Pollitt’s eager audience took his advice. Nor is there any record of a similar meeting at the other elite university, Oxford, though it seems very likely that one took place. We can only wonder what became of those who did what Pollitt urged them to do.

I have often thought that many of the stupid actions taken by British governments over the past few decades, from joining the Common Market and abolishing police foot patrols to the destruction of the grammar schools, are so mad that they can only be rationally explained as deliberate sabotage. The same goes for the fervent dedication of the BBC and much of the press to any cause that would undermine tradition, morality, marriage and manners.

Did such Communist infiltration happen? Could it have happened?

Well, yes. It is no good dismissing suggestions that they work secretly to gain their ends as some sort of wild ‘conspiracy theory’. Communists conspired. I have direct personal knowledge of secret Communist activity in this country.

The first involved Evelyn Jones, wife of the Trade Union leader (and Communist sympathiser) Jack Jones. By the 1970s she had felt it safe to confide to her close friends (some of whom I came to know) that in the 1930s she had been a courier for Joseph Stalin’s Communist International (Comintern), taking secret dispatches to Moscow and bringing money out to help pay for their activities. The Comintern paid for her to have expensive clothes and luggage, and to travel first-class and stay in good hotels, because they rightly believed that rich travellers attracted less attention.

Evelyn (who died, aged 85, in 1999) went on to become a much-respected activist in Dulwich Labour Party in South London, living quietly with her astonishing memories. But her life story casts an interesting light on the true sympathies of her husband, who has also been accused of taking money from the KGB as a Kremlin ‘agent of influence’. In my opinion, Jack (whom I met several times) would have scorned payment for a cause he had been committed to since childhood. He was not interested in money, lived in a council flat and took his holidays in a caravan on the Devon coast. But he was committed, body and soul, to the Marxist cause for which he fought bravely in Spain in the 1930s, and never forgot it.

The Trade Unionist Johnny Torode, father of the distinguished journalist John Torode, had a similar background. His old passports from 1933 to 1936 were crammed with stamps from Scandinavia and the Baltic region, the ‘soft route’ to and from Moscow. Much later, Johnny explained to his son that he was travelling on ‘Party business’, once again involving money and messages. Sometimes he even went to Nazi-run Berlin where he would go through a complicated rigmarole to exchange messages, in the back of a tobacconists’ shop on the Alexanderplatz.

This, I should stress, was not spying. We are obsessed with spies so much that we fail to notice that the real aim of the Communists was to extend their power and their cause. Spying was a side-issue.

Later, Johnny Torode sickened, at least for a time, of the cause. His son has told me of the time when, disgusted by Stalinist show-trials in Prague in 1953, his father threatened to reveal what he knew to MI5. Harry Pollitt, still leader of Britain’s Communists at the time, jeered at him: ‘Don’t be silly, Johnny. You know we run British intelligence’. This jibe, truer than anyone then knew, backfired. Johnny gathered together his files and gave them to the CIA’s London station instead.

These instances, known to me personally, are in my belief just a tiny part of a much bigger unknown story of Communist penetration into our society, including its military and intelligence services. The Second World War greatly extended it.

Evelyn Waugh’s autobiographical trilogy Sword Of Honour makes several mentions of brother officers and influential high officials with Communist sympathies, flourishing in the atmosphere of Stalin-worship which became common in British official circles after Hitler invaded the USSR. ‘Moscow Gold’ was never a myth. Well into modern times, Soviet Embassy officials would leave bags of used banknotes at Barons Court underground station in London, to be collected by the Communist official Reuben Falber, who stored them in the loft of his bungalow in Golders Green, North London. At times this rather shameful secret subsidy, direct from a police state, reached £100,000 a year – in an era when that was a lot of money.

Who knows what it was used for? But the Communist Party spent a great deal on its industrial organisation, which fomented trouble in British workplaces and strove to get Communists and their sympathisers installed in important positions in British trade unions. This enabled Moscow to wield huge, indirect influence over the Labour Party, especially on Foreign and Defence policies.

Labour’s embrace of unilateral nuclear disarmament in the middle of the Cold War, for instance, was greatly helped by the covert Communist machine in the unions. That machine could be incredibly unscrupulous and hard to fight. Hardly anyone, alas, now remembers the way the tough ex-Communist Frank Chapple took on, exposed and defeated blatant Communist ballot-rigging in the crucial Electrical Trades Union (ETU) between 1959 and 1961. Much more was at stake than who ran the ETU. How deeply we were penetrated at that time we shall probably never know, and it is certain that many of those caught up in the pro-Stalin wave of the 1940s quietly peeled away after the Soviet invasions of Hungary in 1956 and of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

But 1968 did not kill off Communism.

It began a new movement – Eurocommunism, which renounced Soviet methods but kept the key aims of transforming our society.

And this is where the truth is so shocking that almost nobody in this country can cope with it.

But because I was part of the great student revolutionary wave in the late 1960s and early 1970s, because I broke completely with that past and because I have always been open about it, I have a unique vantage point. I remember my own branch of the International Socialists at York, growing hugely in the early 1970s, during the first great combat between the Heath government and the miners. I remember also that we acquired some very enthusiastic new members, perhaps a little older than the rest of us, always willing to get up before dawn to leaflet the docks in Goole or the pithead at Grimethorpe. We assumed they were working for the Security Service, not that we could have proved it, or minded much. They were in general charming, hard-working and fun to be with. Frankly, given the way that IRA types (whom I hated then as much as I do now) and other worrying sorts hung around the edges of our movement, I wouldn’t have blamed MI5 one bit for keeping an eye on us, even then.

But as we shall see, all their hard work has now been conveniently chucked into the incinerator, an inexcusable destruction of a vital key to our history. In those days – the tail end of the Vietnam disaster and the squalid Nixon years, with the Labour Party worn out and discredited after the Harold Wilson era, and Ted Heath at war with postmen, miners, dockers and anyone else he could find – the far Left attained a popularity in the universities which was way beyond anything it had had since the 1940s. We were not Stalinists. We mostly despised the Soviet Union. The invasion of Prague in 1968 was fresh in our memories.

What happened to us all?

I know what happened to me, but I tend to think the others held on to a lot of the radical ideas they picked up, especially when it came to the sex, drugs and rock and roll issues such as marriage, divorce and homosexuality, and immigration, which we all favoured because we could see that it would change the country irreversibly into a much less conservative, much less British place. This was also the era when easy divorce was first legalised, so our parents were splitting up at an amazing rate, and adulthood was bestowed on us, with the right to vote, at 18.

We were something quite new.

Tens of thousands of us, from the newly-expanded universities, went off into teaching, journalism, the BBC, the big charities, the law and, of course, politics. And 25-odd years later we began to pop up in positions of importance. Crucially, my generation was deep inside what became New Labour – not old-fashioned Stalinist Communists like Johnny Torode, Evelyn Jones and that lot. We were modern, post-1968 funky Marxists who believed in cultural and sexual revolution, in open borders and in the European Community (one of whose founders, Altiero Spinelli, was a veteran Italian Communist). Several members of Blair’s Cabinet were active Marxists in the 1968-1990 period.

I must stress, these are just the names we know. I am sure there are many, many more whose backgrounds will never be revealed.

John (now Lord) Reid, among other things Defence Secretary, was beyond doubt a Communist Party member.

Bob Ainsworth, another Defence Secretary, was a ‘candidate member’ of the International Marxist Group (IMG) in the 1980s.

The veteran Left-winger George Galloway remembers former Chancellor Alistair Darling as an active sympathiser of the IMG in Edinburgh in the 1970s.

Alan Milburn, Health Secretary and later David Cameron’s fervent equalities tsar, more or less confirmed that he had been ‘mixed up’ in the IMG in the 1980s, in an interview with The Independent in June 2000.

Another fervent Blairite Cabinet Minister, Stephen Byers, was outed by the Guardian in January 1999 as a one-time supporter of the Trotskyist Militant tendency.

Blair himself recently revealed in a BBC interview that he had been a Trotskyist at Oxford in the 1970s, an earth-shaking revelation that attracted almost no attention because it fits so badly with the (mistaken) public idea of what and who he is. He did not say which group he had belonged to, but one of his closest friends was in the IMG. The IMG at the time was notorious for shouting ‘Victory to the IRA’ on demonstrations, and its members often went on to join the Labour Party as entryist infiltrators, aiming to take it over from the inside for the Left.

And then, of course, there is Peter Mandelson, who beyond doubt joined the Young Communist League. The question of whether he belonged to the adult Communist Party is unanswered. Donald Macintyre’s biography of Mr Mandelson says that, in the early 1970s, the future Cabinet Minister asked his mother Mary to tear up ‘a membership card’, as she drove him to the airport to start a gap year in Africa, and then telephone him to confirm she had done this. But we are not told what exactly the card was.

Fascinatingly, the Guardian, of September 22, 1997, reports that Mandelson, by now a Minister, had called on MI5 to ‘weed out and destroy’ all files held on Cold War-era subversives, which he said were now ‘entirely redundant’.

His demand followed the leaking of alleged details from his own file by a renegade MI5 agent.

A few months later, in January 1998, newspapers, obviously acting on official briefings, reported that MI5 was indeed destroying its files on political subversives. So the only comprehensive, reliable record of who all my revolutionary comrades were has been erased forever. I would guess that many very interesting names were there. There is much more. The theorists of New Labour actually gathered round a magazine called Marxism Today, officially published by the Communist Party, really the forum for Eurocommunists and cultural revolutionaries. Their ideas were incredibly ambitious.

One of Blair’s closest aides and best speechwriters, Peter Hyman, recently confessed that New Labour was devised ‘to take and hold the levers of power... winning power and locking out the Tories to ensure that the 21st Century was a Labour century with Labour values’. The scale of that ambition, he said, was ‘breathtaking’, and far more radical than Jeremy Corbyn.

He explained: ‘If Labour could be in power for a serious amount of time, then the country would, we believed, change for good; not a burst of socialism for one time (if that), but changed institutions and values that could shape the country for all time...’ This chimes with the equally fascinating revelation made by Steve Richards, a journalist who got very close to the inside of New Labour. He wrote of the 2002 Election, that the Blair entourage ‘...were often in an exasperated fury. “You don’t get it,” they would occasionally scream. “The Election is a historic referendum on a Right-wing Conservative Party. If we win a second landslide, we would kill off Right-wing Conservatism for good.”’

It had been a Labour ambition since the 1930s, to find a way of preventing any future Tory government from reversing their most radical actions. In 2002, they discovered how to do it – by seizing control of the political debate so as to make Toryism seem ridiculous and finished, and so to browbeat the Tories into becoming what they are now, a cheap copy of New Labour, completely signed up to political correctness, open borders, comprehensive schools and the rest. And that was done mainly by the revolutionary veterans of the 1960s, finally climbing into the seats of power in politics, culture, broadcasting, education and law.

I am always told, when I point this out, that people change, as I have done. Well, yes and no.

Of course the veterans of the 1960s no longer look the way they did then, and have learned subtlety. They might go to Rolling Stones concerts but they don‘t go on many demonstrations. Even so they retain their strong dislike for conservative morals, religion and ideas, often also despising the monarchy and patriotism. When they die, a surprising number of them have the Communist anthem ‘The Internationale’ played at their funerals.

They have revolutionised the country, especially in sexual and moral matters, and in education, as well as vastly increasing public spending, weakening the armed forces, abolishing our borders, and reducing the Tory party to a twittering egalitarian rump with no real ideas of its own.

It is said the Devil’s cleverest achievement has been to persuade us that he does not exist. Nothing like as clever, in my view, as the Blairites’ success in persuading us that they are harmless moderates.

While Jeremy Corbyn and his comrades appear honestly before us as what they are, Marxists and ultra-Leftists who sympathise with the IRA and the PLO, the Blairites falsely represented themselves as patriotic semi-Thatcherites, waving Union Jacks (instead of the red flags many of them would secretly have preferred) as they invaded Downing Street in 1997. In fact, Jeremy Corbyn’s obvious, clumsy, doomed steam-powered revolution is as nothing compared to the irreversible damage already done to this country by the 1968 generation of Blairites.


That's from the Daily Mail :lol:



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29 Jun 2019, 10:02 am

The_Walrus wrote:
By this logic, humans are descended from single-celled organisms, so humans are single-celled organisms. Never mind that the vast majority of humans have more than one cell.

By this logic, if Marxism is a product of the French revolution, Blairism is a product of a post-Marxist world, and products are parts of their predecessors, then Blair is a French revolutionary. How many royals did he guillotine again?


That's just silly, Walrus. I think you are trying to convince yourself here, not me. I find it fascinating that you fight this so hard, it's not particularly controversial in many circles these days, now that the Blair project was faded somewhat. Are you worried that many of the ideas you hold so dear originated with the same people that turned Russia into a backwards hellhole? Are you smelling the smoke of fires they set under Britain perhaps?

The_Walrus wrote:
You can't make a ridiculous semantic argument based on false premises and then ask people who disagree with you to kindly refrain from commenting on the semantics.


I wanted you to respond to that March post, instead of saying "Dey arnt Marxists" again. To your credit, you did.

The_Walrus wrote:
I don't buy for a second that Blairites and neoconservatives are interested in obscure branches of Christian eschatology. (I have seen that line of argument used to say we shouldn't take action on climate change, but Blairites and neocons do not remotely resemble those people)


"Immanentize the eschaton" was co-opted by the Left some decades ago, not sure how popular it is these days. The Eschaton became their vision of the perfect equalist utopia. A perfect human society, the end result of "progress" - the end of history - a very important idea for this mileu.

The_Walrus wrote:
As for whether Blair or Corbyn was more radical: it's true that Blairites often value radicalism and often like to try to one-up Corbynites on that front. However, they're radical in a very different ways. Corbyn is an 80s-style leftist, a figure of the regressive left who wants to massively increase public ownership, transfer wealth from the middle classes to the poor, cap wages, and make it very difficult to do business, while also withdrawing Britain from the global stage and supporting terrorists and dictators. These are radical ideas, in the sense that they would change our society dramatically, but they're fundamentally regressive Marxist ones. To his credit he is genuinely quite liberal on social issues. Blair, on the other hand, supported the free market, was "intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich", was a globalist, including militarily, supported devolution, supported the peace process in Northern Ireland, and pushed equal opportunities. Some of these ideas were radical and he left Britain in a very different state to when he became Prime Minister, but his ideas are clearly directly at odds with Marxist ideas.


As I and others have tried to explain repeatedly (did you read the links?), economics is not the be all and end all of Marxism, it is a means to an end. Changing tack and embracing capitalism, at least temporarily, rather than trying to stomp it out, is not a betrayal of Marxism. None of the things you listed there about Blair are contrary to the Marxist dream of hunting in the morning, fishing in the afternoon, rearing cattle in the evening, criticising after dinner. There is so much utopian guff in Marx's writings about redesigning society, justice for the oppressed and classless societies it could have been written by a Labour MP.

As for who is more radical, I think Blair wins that one, though I suppose there is room for disagreement. Where Corbyn at his most basic level wants to help the poor at the expense of the rich, the Blairite wrecking crew wanted to completely erase British culture, mainly through immigration, and upend time worn institutions. He got Britain much deeper into the EU, lying naturally, calling a treaty a "tidying up exercise". He attempted to abolish Britain's currency and all the power that goes with it, stopped at the last minute by Gordon Brown. For all the talk about Corbyn and his unsavoury terrosit buddies, Blair surrendered to the IRA... totally unnecessarily, pardoned all those grisly murderers. Though I suppose if Corbyn got in he might do something more crazy than all that.

I did laugh at your association of Blair with civil liberties below. New Labour launched an all out assault on civil liberties:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/p ... 96842.html

Blair's campaign against rights contained in the Rule of Law - that is, that ancient amalgam of common law, convention, and the opinion of experts, which makes up one half of the British constitution - is often well concealed. Many of the measures have been slipped through under legislation that appears to address problems the public is concerned about. For instance, the law banning people from demonstrating within one kilometre of Parliament is contained in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act of 2005. The right to protest freely has been affected by the Terrorism Act of 2000, which allows police to stop and search people in a designated area - which can be anywhere - and by antisocial behaviour laws, which allow police to issue an order banning someone from a particular activity, waving a banner, for instance. If a person breaks that order, he or she risks a prison sentence of up to five years. Likewise, the Protection from Harassment Act of 1997 - designed to combat stalkers and campaigns of intimidation - is being used to control protest. A woman who sent two e-mails to a pharmaceutical company politely asking a member of the staff not to work with a company that did testing on animals was prosecuted for "repeated conduct" in sending an e-mail twice, which the Act defines as harassment.

There is a demonic versatility to Blair's laws. Kenneth Clarke, a former Conservative chancellor of the exchequer and home secretary, despairs at the way they are being used. "What is assured as being harmless when it is introduced gets used more and more in a way which is sometimes alarming," he says. His colleague David Davis, the shadow Home Secretary, is astonished by Blair's Labour Party: "If I had gone on the radio 15 years ago and said that a Labour government would limit your right to trial by jury, would limit - in some cases eradicate - habeas corpus, constrain your right of freedom of speech, they would have locked me up."

Indeed they would. But there's more, so much in fact that it is difficult to grasp the scope of the campaign against British freedoms. But here goes. The right to a jury trial is removed in complicated fraud cases and where there is a fear of jury tampering. The right not to be tried twice for the same offence - the law of double jeopardy - no longer exists. The presumption of innocence is compromised, especially in antisocial behaviour legislation, which also makes hearsay admissible as evidence. The right not to be punished unless a court decides that the law has been broken is removed in the system of control orders by which a terrorist suspect is prevented from moving about freely and using the phone and internet, without at any stage being allowed to hear the evidence against him - house arrest in all but name.

Freedom of speech is attacked by Section Five of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, which preceded Blair's Government, but which is now being used to patrol opinion. In Oxford last year a 21-year-old graduate of Balliol College named Sam Brown drunkenly shouted in the direction of two mounted police officers, "Mate, you know your horse is gay. I hope you don't have a problem with that." He was given one of the new, on-the-spot fines - £80 - which he refused to pay, with the result that he was taken to court. Some 10 months later the Crown Prosecution Service dropped its case that he had made homophobic remarks likely to cause disorder.

...

There can be few duller documents than the Civil Contingencies Act of 2004 or the Inquiries Act of 2005, which is perhaps just as well for the Government, for both vastly extend the arbitrary powers of ministers while making them less answerable to Parliament. The Civil Contingencies Act, for instance, allows a minister to declare a state of emergency in which assets can be seized without compensation, courts may be set up, assemblies may be banned, and people may be moved from, or held in, particular areas, all on the belief that an emergency might be about to occur. Only after seven days does Parliament get the chance to assess the situation. If the minister is wrong, or has acted in bad faith, he cannot be punished.

...

I realise that it would be testing your patience to go too deeply into the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, which the Government has been trying to smuggle through Parliament this year, but let me just say that its original draft would have allowed ministers to make laws without reference to elected representatives.

Imagine the President of the United States trying to neuter the Congress in this manner, so flagrantly robbing it of its power. Yet until recently all this has occurred in Britain with barely a whisper of coverage in the British media.


The_Walrus wrote:
Why do self-identified Marxists hate him so much?


Trotskyist communists hated the Stalin and the tankies. What can you discern about Stalin from that? Certainly can't say that he was not of the Left, or not a communist.

The_Walrus wrote:
There is more than one radical ideology. There's more than one ideology opposed to conservativism. Conflating them is intellectually lazy, and only serves to downplay the horrors of Marxism.


It's not lazy at all. If you don't understand this interconnected web of ideologies, how they connect with each other; how they evolved and regrouped after every defeat; what they want and what they did; then you know nothing of the politics and history of the last 200 years.

The_Walrus wrote:
Well, put it this way. Imagine you had to explain to someone with no background in political theory why you are opposed to Marxism. If you say "Marxism gives us human rights, political correctness, civil liberties, and comprehensive schools", wouldn't you imagine that they'd come away thinking Marxism was just fine?


I'm not entirely sure what you are getting at here. To someone with no political background, those are just words, they have no meaning. To someone with real political background these things vary from terrifying to amusing.


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29 Jun 2019, 10:03 am

Biscuitman wrote:
That's from the Daily Mail :lol:


As the author loves to remind people, he works for the Mail on Sunday, not the Daily Mail.


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29 Jun 2019, 4:34 pm

Mikah wrote:
The_Walrus wrote:
By this logic, humans are descended from single-celled organisms, so humans are single-celled organisms. Never mind that the vast majority of humans have more than one cell.

By this logic, if Marxism is a product of the French revolution, Blairism is a product of a post-Marxist world, and products are parts of their predecessors, then Blair is a French revolutionary. How many royals did he guillotine again?


That's just silly, Walrus.

Glad we agree!

Quote:
Are you worried that many of the ideas you hold so dear originated with the same people that turned Russia into a backwards hellhole?

No, because I'm not particularly concerned about who comes up with ideas, only the worthiness of the idea itself. If Hitler had invented vegetarianism then that wouldn't undermine vegetarianism. I'm also pretty sure most of the ideas I hold so dear pre-date 1917, and very few of the things I hold dear come from Blair.

Quote:
The_Walrus wrote:
I don't buy for a second that Blairites and neoconservatives are interested in obscure branches of Christian eschatology. (I have seen that line of argument used to say we shouldn't take action on climate change, but Blairites and neocons do not remotely resemble those people)


"Immanentize the eschaton" was co-opted by the Left some decades ago, not sure how popular it is these days. The Eschaton became their vision of the perfect equalist utopia. A perfect human society, the end result of "progress" - the end of history - a very important idea for this mileu.

Was it co-opted by the Left, or was it used by the Right as a way of attacking all progressivism?

Mikah wrote:
the Blairite wrecking crew wanted to completely erase British culture, mainly through immigration, and upend time worn institutions. He got Britain much deeper into the EU, lying naturally, calling a treaty a "tidying up exercise". He attempted to abolish Britain's currency and all the power that goes with it, stopped at the last minute by Gordon Brown. For all the talk about Corbyn and his unsavoury terrosit buddies, Blair surrendered to the IRA... totally unnecessarily, pardoned all those grisly murderers. Though I suppose if Corbyn got in he might do something more crazy than all that.

A bit of an exaggeration - British culture was something clearly very dear to Tony Blair (Newcastle United fan). He didn't want to destroy it, he just didn't have a fixed idea of what it consisted of and was happy for it to get better.

Marx was a critic of immigration - he claimed that it was a tool capitalists used to set the poor natives against the poor immigrants in order to make the poor natives feel more loyal to the government, and by extension the rich and powerful. While the argument today would usually be that it makes the working class more sceptical of the "elites", his views were remarkably similar to modern conservative views.

Are Marxists known for their support for the EU?
Quote:
I did laugh at your association of Blair with civil liberties below. New Labour launched an all out assault on civil liberties:

Yes, one of Blairism's weakest points concerns civil liberties and it's one of the reasons I'm not a Blairite. I thought Hitchens had used the term but he hadn't; I guess I gleaned that from his opposition to divorce and LGBT+ rights.
Mikah wrote:
The_Walrus wrote:
Why do self-identified Marxists hate him so much?


Trotskyist communists hated the Stalin and the tankies. What can you discern about Stalin from that? Certainly can't say that he was not of the Left, or not a communist.

Fair point!
Mikah wrote:
The_Walrus wrote:
There is more than one radical ideology. There's more than one ideology opposed to conservativism. Conflating them is intellectually lazy, and only serves to downplay the horrors of Marxism.


It's not lazy at all. If you don't understand this interconnected web of ideologies, how they connect with each other; how they evolved and regrouped after every defeat; what they want and what they did; then you know nothing of the politics and history of the last 200 years.

See, that's the thing - to say "some of Blair's ideas were influenced by Marxism" is a very different proposition to "Blair was a Marxist".

Go on - define "Marxist". Because right now it seems like you're using it to refer to anyone who wants to solve a social problem, or anyone who thinks there are classes of people in conflict with each other. That's surely everyone.

Mikah wrote:
The_Walrus wrote:
Well, put it this way. Imagine you had to explain to someone with no background in political theory why you are opposed to Marxism. If you say "Marxism gives us human rights, political correctness, civil liberties, and comprehensive schools", wouldn't you imagine that they'd come away thinking Marxism was just fine?


I'm not entirely sure what you are getting at here. To someone with no political background, those are just words, they have no meaning. To someone with real political background these things vary from terrifying to amusing.

My point is this: the phrase "Tony Blair is a Marxist" can be use to denigrate Blair, to praise Blair, to denigrate Marxism, or to praise Marxism. I think Mr Hitchens is trying to use it to denigrate Blair - that's certainly how most instances of the phrase "x is a Marxist" are intended to be understood, and it seems supported by Mr Hitchens' article. If I have no knowledge of someone except that they are a Marxist, then I'm going to have a negative opinion of them.

Now, let's assume I know nothing about Marxism, but do know about Tony Blair. If someone tells me that Tony Blair is a Marxist, this could impact my perception of Marxism in a variety of ways, but in almost every case I am going to think much more highly of Marxism than I am if I am told that Lenin or Stalin or Mao were Marxists. To associate Blair with Marxism is to praise Marxism. If Marxism is the philosophy of Blair, Brown, and Cameron, then I'm basically fine with their being Marxists in government.

I guess I'm accusing you and Mr Hitchens of crying wolf much like the people who accuse Trump of links to the KKK and similar. You can be a fascist without being a Nazi or a racist, you can be a progressive without being a Marxist. Yes, ideologies are connected and influence each other, and it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between a social democrat and a social liberal, but that doesn't mean that the differences aren't there and aren't meaningful. And when you're taking two hugely different ideologies and lumping them together, you miss all of that. It's not so much like calling Trump a Nazi, as it is like calling Cameron a Nazi.



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29 Jun 2019, 5:07 pm

Blair should be rotting. He intentionally flooded the country with the third world and sent our soldiers to war on a pack of lies that has killed over a million people.


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30 Jun 2019, 7:41 am

JohnPowell wrote:
He intentionally flooded the country with the third world

When was that?