“We must not make a scarecrow of the law, setting it up to fear the birds of prey, and let it keep one shape till custom make it their perch and not their terror.
— “William Shakespeare” Measure for Measure
“Secrecy, being an instrument of conspiracy, ought never to be the system of a regular government.”
— Jeremy Bentham
It’s not as if a different type of government wouldn’t have produced the same slow motion catastrophe but the ugly truth is the United Kingdom is a kind of political Frankenstein’s monster.
First, the constitution is 8 words and a relic from an era when the king, if no longer god’s press agent, was pretty close to it and Parliament was a reflection of not only a system of rotten boroughs but a mirror that reflected a culture torn between inbred, sadomasochistic half wit aristocrats and a growing middle class as often as not, no different than the dukes and duchesses, lords and lunatics.
From time to time the roll of the dice or if you prefer, fate, tossed up someone of authentic talent and even, genius but, to paraphrase Swift, the dunces were always ready to form ranks and bring them down to the gutter.
All along the watch tower everyone could see it was a mess – a kind of Rube Goldberg contraption that was constantly shooting sparks and dropping bolts as it sputtered along from spasms of genius to imperial binges of gross stupidity.
On the one hand you get Jenner and Hume, and on the other some git decides it’s a great idea to put Mussolini on the company payroll. It’s a staggering display of contradictions – Enoch Powel and the four apostles from Liverpool.
In a sense not so different from a lot of other places – after all, you could make the case that the same cauldron in America is responsible for My Lai and Dylan.
History is funny like that.
But in the case of the UK, among the lengthy list of contradictions the monarchy and the sometimes sovereign Parliament represent a contradiction that along with the now ancient issue of Ireland, has reached a point of no return.
A former advisor to Tony Blair recently made the case that the UK is fast becoming a kind of Belgium – a nation in name more than fact, essentially ungovernable because it is a set of incompatible divergent entities cobbled together in an era where cobbled together cultural and political entities were more royal than not and as such, while there were nascent forms of representative government, the fact was, the ruling classes were in charge.
Northern Ireland has no reason to be run as any part of the UK.
It should be wholly independent and it cannot be amputated from the Republic of Ireland and together they cannot be amputated from the European Union.
England’s occupation and colonization of Ireland must end and the brutal ugly truth of these past nearly five hundred years has to be acknowledged. To that end, the Good Friday Accord cannot be undermined let alone ruined.
But instead we have retrograde imperial fantasies wrapped in more fantasies about “Blitz Culture” and “sunlit uplands” and the whole steaming pile of Tory wet dreams that fly in the face of the truth – England is forever a part of Europe and as flawed and problematic as the EU is, it is less bad than anything that runs the risk of again setting the continent on fire.
It’s easy enough to blame mass immigration for the rise of neo fascist trolls like Nigel Farage who, as a Mini Me version of old school fascists like Oswald Mosley, acts as the textbook demagogue spaffing empty rhetorical calories like “we must take back control.”
Pressed to actually explain loss of control and to then explain the nuts and bolts of what control restored would look like he retreats into huffing and puffing, cliché, threat, and the usual bag of tricks any reasonable person recognizes as the old school fascism for which Europe is famous.
From blame the foreigners to blame the elites, Farage is a toxic toad, one bad day away from slipping into a brownshirt costume and organizing a march on London.
And it is also true that the immigration policies of the EU are poorly designed and subject to the abuses inherent in colonizing exploitation capitalism.
Want fewer refuges from Africa?
Stop using Africa as a whore and trash bin and save the environment and give people a reason to stay instead of risking their lives to cross the ocean.
But that means confronting the establishment Tories.
And of course Labour’s not do secret dirty secret is that they are not exactly in favor of the EU because it means more willing to work for less workers coming into the UK and fewer people voting for Labour.
But that means being in bed with Farage.
Funny thing about that of course because the left fascists and the right fascists have been holding hands around the bonfire in Europe sine the end of the 19th century.
That they part company on other issues doesn’t mean they don’t both spring from the legitimate discontent of the increasingly diminished and exploited working class – even as the working class becomes defined as borderless and more likely to be a Chinese slave than a bloke from Blackpool or Manchester.
Beyond all of that of course you have a small cadre of aristocratic Tories exemplified by the Dickensian villain, Jacob Rees-Moog who generally seems to have fallen out of Evelyn Waugh’s back pocket – if one may be allowed to mix literary analogies.
Odious, smug, contemptuous, spiteful, delusional, sadistic, and with the air of a man who can’t forget what the upper-class boys did to him when at school, JRM represents history as Trickster – a clear throwback genetically, culturally, politically to a museum curio of an England that cannot exist in the present, cannot imagine the future and has nothing except the dust of a long dead imperial past to which it clings.
Of course that’s part of the appeal of the original trio on Top Gear – a return to when the lads were off to make fun of the savages because, the savages were there to be made fun of. An imperial tautology at its finest. And popular for the past twenty years because it represented – spoke to and for – an increasingly reactionary, nostalgia soaked, populist anger seated next door to the latent fascists.
But of course that does not mean JRM doesn’t stand to profit from a no deal Brexit.
The urgent demands by Parliament to force BoJo to release the details of Operation Yellowhammer are crucial.
The plan no doubt is full of what ifs both awful and less awful but that a government has plans for even the possibility of declaring a state of emergency precisely because of its own willful disregard for avoiding a catastrophe speaks to everything wrong with the UK as currently constituted.
The monarchy must go, and the House of Lords, and the entrenched aristocracy, and Ireland, and England must recognize its place as a middle range power within the wider European community because it is essential to the stability of the planet.
And there must be a written constitution as a backbone for a republic.
But none of that will happen soon and certainly not without a fight.
Johnson is not an ideologue but he is a beast committed to the cause of his own power and narcissism He is the antithesis of a statesmen and a leader. He is a consummate jackass and a sadist.
He is also smart enough to know that Farage is both a cudgel with which he can scare the more reasonable Tories and Labour but also a death trap for his own ambitions.
He also knows he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.
But don’t rule out his setting himself up as a de facto dictator via a no deal Brexit state of emergency.
A coalition of Brexit Ultras, and Farage with his street thug Freikorps of football club lads is an all too real scenario. There have already been small clashes between these goons and Remainers with the police on hand to stop the fires from spreading but add tens of thousands of suddenly out of work people post no deal, and the picture changes.
And in that, while whole sections of the economy will crash, JRM and his small but significant band of City Stock Exchange aristocrats and fascists will profit by buying and selling debt.
Debt increases as the rest of the economy tumbles and backed by Yellowhammer powers they would have little to fear from either the useless Corbyn or the more radical people behind him.
The crisis is in a sense standard. The old system refuses to adapt and become the new system. Right and left, aristocrat and non-aligned all overlap, diverge and yet, exist within the same eco system.
Today Parliament will be shut but not before firing an order to demand the Yellowhammer documents and the Prorogation discussions be made public.
The consensus is that Johnson will not risk jail and defy Parliament but with the neo fascist zealot, Dominic Cummings running the circus, who the fuck knows.
Johnson, defiant, a Brexit martyr in his version of Reading Gaol, is a way to both embrace Farage and keep him at arm’s length.
Resigning and forcing an election does the same thing but then he will have to campaign with or to the right of Farage.
And of course as with Trump, the Tories and the Blairite New Labour are to blame for Farage as the dog whistle conservatives and the neo liberals are the godparents to Trump’s nativist, white nationalist, miserable, angry disenfranchised former working class.
The bigots were always there but were at the back of the tent.
Drop an economic collapse into the mix, add social media, both in its unregulated and high end corporate fascism form, and you have the current combustible add-mixture and assorted accelerants.
The fact that there are no good solutions should not dissuade anyone from believing that Johnson Inc wont do something stupid and catastrophic.
After all, these are the people who helped bring you trench warfare and The Troubles, the Middle East, India and Pakistan, and a who’s who of spectacular morons.
Capitalism of course is not just a political zombie but a cannibal.
It produces, or to paraphrase BoJo, spaffs up the wall, its own death warrant.
But though a symbiont, it is perfectly willing to kill its host and itself.
The United Kingdom cannot survive.
A less than awful resolution to the current crisis undoubtedly includes an independent Scotland and if the Good Friday Accord is maintained, Ireland becomes, in effect, a colony of the EU.
A more awful resolution includes the American Irish community forcing the Democratic leadership to block a trade deal which leaves England as a rump state and a kind of Portugal or Greece with high unemployment, staggering levels of debt, social discord teetering on or spilling into outright violence and the EU and IMF bringing the heat.
In either case, transformations in technology, and corresponding changes in culture and political structures mean, the United Kingdom is done.
The best they can hope for is for Brexit to be forgotten and a return to the previous EU status quo.
The problem with that is of course the Farage fascists.
Created by the Tories and aided by the Blairites and the EU bureaucrats they are no more going to vanish then the tens of millions who voted for Trump or who want Le Pen, or support Orban, and Bolsonaro.
The antidote of course requires a liberalism that knows capitalism is the bacillus from which fascism springs. But by definition, liberalism cannot know itself.
Nancy were capitalists get used to Pelosi is as antiquated and dangerous as the Tory lizard kings.
Finally, historically – that is, using the past as a guide – no one should rule out a serious coup in England. And by serious we mean to distinguish between the semi comical coup of Johnson shutting Parliament and the blunt we have the army coup of people more in the shadows then not.
Last week the former head of the British Civil Service publicly stated that the members of the Civil Service are fast approaching the point where they may have to, as a matter of conscience, refuse orders from the government.
Johnson and his Hand, Cummings, no doubt took notice and told each other they would fire the lot of them and if they refused to leave their offices, the cops would haul them away.
Except, who’s to say the cops wont be split like the Civil Service.
And who’s to say there aren’t members of the military who won’t also refuse orders to remove civilians from Whitehall or Parliament.
Among the more powerful fictions is that blunt coups don’t occur in Western Democracies – except for all the times they have.
As always feel free to make your own list but aside from the obvious examples from the mid 20th century, it’s worth remembering that there are reasonable people who believe there was very nearly a military coup in the UK in the mid 1970s, and no one really believes de Gaulle wasn’t installed in a military coup in 1958 – except for Gaullists and weak kneed liberals.
It is not hard to imagine an ad hoc group of current and former high ranking military and intelligence agency goons and career mandarins whispering in key ears that the risk of a no deal Brexit to the economy, the social infrastructure and, the national security machinery of the state are so extreme that…
Well, you can finish that scenario on your own.
A few months ago the BBC ran what was, for them, a fairly popular series called, The Bodyguard.
Despite some plot holes big enough to drive Big Ben through, the series ticked off all the usual intrigue and conspiracy boxes and could be dismissed as so much silly not realistic entertainment.
Except of course, for all the times the spooks and the wealthy, and the pols, acted like a cross between Medici Popes and John Gotti or, the Kray Brothers, as the case may be.
Consider this from the Scottish National Party MP, Joanna Cherry, addressing Parliament, via The Guardian:
“Cherry speculates that people in government may have discussed the real reason for prorogation not in official emails, which would be subject to disclosure rules, but in private messages, or using burner phones.
She says that is why the motion asks for the release of private messages relating to the prorogation of parliament.
If they have done nothing wrong, they have nothing to fear, she says.
She says she knows enough about English history to know that two kings, Edward II and Richard II, were brought down by “unaccountable whispers of poison”. This motion could reveal other “unaccountable whispers of poison”, she suggests.”
Do you want to bet that she’s wrong?
Not quite Weimar circa 1932 but not that far off either.
The UK’s not fit, or no longer fit for purpose non constitution and its cobbled together dispirit parts, cannot be governed but they can be ruined.
Farage, essentially a gangster, and a fascist, has in the manner of both, told the country, let me in or I will destroy you.
The ideas, suggested by the article linked below that Bojo’s Hand, Cummings, hates Farage for being a gangster is too kind.
Yes, he hates him but only because talent knows talent and in this case, Cumming’s knows a fascist when he sees one.
Johnson of course and his gang of Tory Brexit Ultras, know it’s too early to publicly embrace the fascist wing of their gang.
For now they must repudiate them while co-opting the dog whistle rhetoric that allows for both courting them and rejecting them as “unfit” for government.
At the same time, the Scottish High Court has declared the prorogation of Parliament void but has deferred to the British High Court on ordering Parliament reconvened.
It would be difficult to overestimate the significance of this ruling.
First, it asserts the power of Scotland as essentially, independent of the UK.
Secondly it puts in motion a counter assault on Johnson’s coup by declaring the prorogation was so unethical that even if it was not technically illegal, it is a distinction without a difference.
Third it further boxes Johnson into a corner.
To defy the courts is to set himself on a path towards Cromwellian dictatorship.
To defy Farage is to set himself on the path to being hostage to fortune.
As we said before do not rule out backroom threats from establishment forces.
Do not rule out violence both accidental but purposely ginned up by Farage, or by others looking to create an atmosphere in which “adults” in the form of a coalition government prevail to “restore order.”
But do not rule out a catastrophic crack up of the UK.
Srebinicia is not in the cards for the UK (though a return to IRA sponsored violence is likely) though a future in which we speak of “the former United Kingdom” is.
And then consider this other article which has only two defects: First for some reason, it timidly refrains from calling Farage a fascist, and secondly it hints, or feints at the fact that Farage and the entire cauldron reek of the 1930s and earlier episodes in Italy in which another chancer and thug, played the same game.
Government releases Yellowhammer details:
Three crucial developments:
First the direct unambiguous threat from the Speaker John Bercow, to block Johnson and a no deal Brexit.
Second, Bercow’s call for a written constitution, with at least a Royal Commission established to consider it.
Third, taken together Bercow’s statements amount to a threat (promise) to fight a civil war by legislative means.
Couching his views in terms of the absurdity that is inherent in any hint of government officials not obeying the law, Bercow is saying he will in effect place himself as a political sabot in the gears of the machine.
The magnitude of this cannot be overestimated.
It is easy to imagine the United Kingdom being effectively split between two competing cadres claiming to be the voice of the government.
Given Johnson’s pathological mendacity and narsacisim, the Rasputin-esque stylings of his Hand, Dominic Cummings, the Mussolini-esque, Oswald Mosely Mini Me attitude of Farage, and the possibility of his Freikorp Football Lads gangs to engage in violence as he claims, “Brexit is being stolen” England has taken another step on the already narrow ledge.
Bercow apropos of Jo Cox, must be mindful of his safety.
It is fast approaching a moment where one may be reminded of, being eyeball to eyeball and the other fellow just blinked but, a miscalculation or an outright provocation or a combination of both could result in violence.
See details here:
Nowhere Man, Jeremy Corbyn, got behind himself and announced he is in favor of another referendum on Brexit and will do whatever the voters want – except leave the EU without a deal.
The deal he is claiming to back amounts to a distinction without a difference as in has the UK in a Customs Union, and essentially offers only a tweaking of current immigration issues.
That of course means the Brexit Ultras (the Farage fascists, the BoJo whatever so long as we’re in charge gang, and aristocratic gangsters like Jacob R-M) will revolt and hope to pry off enough votes in Parliament by scaring “Tory Rebels” by saying a vote for Corbyn is a vote for V.I. Lenin.
Corbyn’s Brexit-lite has two advantages: First, it’s not the suicide mission of a no deal Brexit. And secondly, it avoids a confrontation between his hard left cadre and the Farage fascist wing of the Right.
But it’s essentially dead all the same. As one of his left of center Labour critics has it:
“Michael Chessum, from AEP, said: “Labour has already crossed the Rubicon in promising a public vote with an option to remain. It would be utterly absurd, in those circumstances, for Labour not to campaign for remain when 90% of its members want to stay in the EU. Trying to prevent Labour from backing remain is a dead end for Corbyn – it will inevitably fail and it risks the morale of our base at a crucial moment.””
Of course as a sock puppet Corbyn has no sense for what people (or certainly the majority of Labour) want.
Obviously the strategy is to replay the first referendum and hope that three years of hysteria and fatigue lead to a majority voting to remain without Corbyn having to actually take a meaningful stand one way or another.
But one can imagine Corbyn “winning” and going to negotiate a Brexit-lite only to lose a confidence vote in Parliament when the “Rebel scum” return to the tory mother ship not because they want a no deal Brexit but because they despise Corbyn and by voting against him, they can box him in and prevent Labour taking a hammer to the Stock Exchange/Austerity is good for you gang.
See some of the details here: