Category Archives: Boris Johnson

Which Would You Prefer: Nuclear War or Climate Catastrophe?

To: The people of the world
From: The Joint Public Relations Department of the Great Powers

The world owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi, Boris Johnson, and other heroic rulers of our glorious nations. Not only are they hard at work making their respective countries great again, but they are providing you, the people of the world, with a choice between two opportunities for mass death and destruction.

Throughout the broad sweep of history, leaders of competing territories and eventually nations labored at fostering human annihilation, but, given the rudimentary state of their technology, were only partially successful. Yes, they did manage to slaughter vast numbers of people through repeated massacres and constant wars. The Thirty Years War of 1618-1648, for example, resulted in more than 8 million casualties, a substantial portion of Europe’s population. And, of course, World Wars I and II, supplemented by a hearty dose of genocide along the way, did a remarkably good job of ravaging populations, crippling tens of millions of survivors, and blasting much of world civilization to rubble. Even so, despite the best efforts of national rulers and the never-ending glory they derived from these events, large numbers of people somehow survived.

Therefore, in August 1945, the rulers of the great powers took a great leap forward with their development―and immediate use―of a new, advanced implement for mass destruction: nuclear weapons. Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin were all eager to employ atomic bombs against the people of Japan. Upon receiving the news that the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima had successfully obliterated the population of that city, Truman rejoiced and called the action “the greatest thing in history.

Efforts to enhance national grandeur followed during subsequent decades, as the rulers of the great powers (and some pathetic imitators) engaged in an enormous nuclear arms race. Determined to achieve military supremacy, they spared no expense, employed Nazi scientists and slave labor, and set off vast nuclear explosions on the lands of colonized people and in their own countries. By the 1980s, about 70,000 nuclear weapons were under their command―more than enough to destroy the world many times over. Heartened by their national strength, our rulers threw down the gauntlet to their enemies and predicted that their nations would emerge victorious in a nuclear war.

But, alas, the public, failing to appreciate these valiant efforts, grew restive―indeed, disturbingly unpatriotic. Accordingly, they began to sabotage these advances by demanding that their governments step back from the brink of nuclear war, forgo nuclear buildups, and adopt nuclear arms control and disarmament treaties. The popular clamor became so great that even Ronald Reagan―a longtime supporter of nuclear supremacy and “winnable” nuclear wars―crumpled. Championing nuclear disarmament, he began declaring that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” National glory had been sacrificed on the altar of a cowardly quest for human survival.

Fortunately, those days are long past. In the United States, President Trump is determined to restore America’s greatness by scrapping nuclear arms control and disarmament agreements, spending $1.7 trillion on refurbishing the entire U.S. nuclear weapons complex, and threatening to eradicate other nations through nuclear war. Meanwhile, the president’s good friends in Moscow, Beijing, London, Paris, New Delhi, and elsewhere are busy spurring on their own national nuclear weapons buildups. As they rightly insist: The only way to stop a bad nation with the Bomb is with a good nation with the Bomb.

Nor is that all! Recently, our rulers have opened up a second opportunity for a planetary destruction: climate catastrophe. Some scientists, never satisfied with leaving the running of public affairs to their wise rulers, have claimed that, thanks to the burning of fossil fuels, rising temperatures are melting the polar icecaps, heightening sea levels, and causing massive hurricanes and floods, desertification, agricultural collapse, and enormous wildfires. As a result, they say, human and other life forms are on their way to extinction.

These scientists―and the deluded people who give them any credence―are much like the critics of nuclear weapons: skeptics, nay-sayers, and traitorously indifferent to national grandeur. By contrast, our rulers understand that any curbing of the use of fossil fuels—or, for that matter, any cutbacks in the sale of the products that make our countries great―would interfere with corporate profits, undermine business growth and expansion, and represent a retreat from the national glory that is their due. Consequently, even if by some remote chance we are entering a period of climate disruption, our rulers will refuse to give way before these unpatriotic attacks. As courageous leaders, they will never retreat before the prospect of your mass death and destruction.

We are sure that you, as loyal citizens, are as enthusiastic as we are about this staunch defense of national glory. So, if you notice anyone challenging this approach, please notify your local Homeland Security office. Meanwhile, rest assured, our governments will also be closely monitoring these malcontents and subversives!

Naturally, your rulers would love to have your feedback. Therefore, we are submitting to you this question: Which would you prefer―destruction by nuclear war or destruction by climate catastrophe? Nuclear war will end your existence fairly quickly through blast or fire, although your death would be slower and more agonizing if you survived long enough to die of radiation sickness or starvation. On the other hand, climate catastrophe has appealing variety, for you could die by fire, water, or hunger. Or you might simply roast slowly thanks to unbearable temperatures.

We’d appreciate receiving your opinion on this matter. After all, providing you with this kind of choice is a vital part of making our nations great again!

Unfree Media: State Stenography And Shameful Silence

A recent viral clip of Jeremy Corbyn featured vital truths about the corporate media that ought to be at the forefront of public consciousness in the approach to the UK General Election on December 12. The clip began:

A free press is essential to our democracy. But much of our press isn’t very free at all.

Corbyn continued:

Just three companies control 71 per cent of national newspaper circulation and five companies control 81 per cent of local newspaper circulation.

This unhealthy sway of a few corporations and billionaires shapes and skews the priorities and worldview of powerful sections of the media.

And it doesn’t stop with the newspapers, on and offline. Print too often sets the broadcast agenda, even though it is wedded so firmly to the Tories politically and to corporate interests more generally.

Corbyn’s words were not from a recent speech. They were actually delivered as part of his Alternative Mactaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival in August 2018. But they remain as relevant as ever; hence being picked up anew by ‘Tory Fibs‘, a grassroots socialist Twitter account.

Corbyn shone a spotlight on the BBC:

The BBC should be freed of government control, democratised and made representative of the country it serves to help it do that.

The BBC is meant to be independent, but its charter grants governments the power to appoint the chair and four directors of the board and set the level of the licence fee.

As regular readers will be well aware, Media Lens has long highlighted the BBC’s lack of independence and, more particularly, the insidious role of BBC News in protecting the establishment, promoting deference to the royal family and class system, as well as deflecting scrutiny of state and corporate crimes.

Corbyn concluded on the state of the media today:

We need to set journalists and citizens free to hold power to account, by breaking the grip of tech giants and billionaires on our media.

All this is arguably never more evident than when a General Election is looming. Right now, established power is fighting tooth and nail to maintain its control on society. Corporate media, including gatekeepers like the BBC and the Guardian – ‘thus far and no farther’, in the words of Noam Chomsky – play a central role in maintaining the destructive status quo.

Filtering Facts

The state-corporate management and manipulation of ‘the news’ relies on a subtle filtering process whereby leading journalists select – consciously or otherwise – which facts are ‘fit’ to be reported, and which can or should be ignored.

Consider an item on BBC News at Ten last Thursday when political editor Laura Kuenssberg reported Boris Johnson’s visit to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. She presented the Prime Minister in a favourable light, having amiable encounters with people in Addenbrooke’s. What the BBC did not show were the jeers of staff and patients ringing in Johnson’s ears as he left the hospital. Nor did Kuenssberg report on the young medical student who was ‘pushed aside by [a] Boris Johnson aide’ while attempting to challenge Johnson on the NHS and the climate crisis. Julia Simons, who is training at the hospital to become a doctor, called his visit a ‘PR stunt’.

We challenged the BBC political editor via Twitter:

Hello @bbclaurak,

Why did your @BBCNews at Ten piece on Boris Johnson’s visit to a Cambridge hospital omit the part where he left with jeers from staff and patients ringing in his ears?

Our tweet was ‘liked’ and retweeted hundreds of times, but there was no reply from Kuenssberg. Her Twitter bio states:

I know it’s fashionable, but even in 2019 there is nothing big or clever about shooting the messenger – tweets or retweets here aren’t necessarily my view

But, by heavily filtering the facts that Kuenssberg selects to tweet or retweet, ‘the messenger’ has transformed into an echo chamber and amplifier of government propaganda. This phenomenon of state stenography – which, of course, is far from new – was highlighted in an excellent article recently by Peter Oborne, former chief political commentator of the Daily Telegraph. Under the title, ‘British journalists have become part of Johnson’s fake news machine’, Oborne argued that:

From the Mail, The Times to the BBC and ITN, everyone is peddling Downing Street’s lies and smears. They’re turning their readers into dupes.

As Oborne noted, ‘mainstream’ political journalism too often relies upon whatever ‘a senior No 10 source’ says:

This modus operandi, which allow pro-government narratives to enter the public domain unmediated by proper interrogation, has become routine among political reporters since Johnson and his Vote Leave media team entered Downing Street.

Oborne observed:

There is an implicit deal. In return for access and information (much of it false) the political media spins a pro-government narrative.

As a recent example, Oborne pointed to the government’s deceitful response to the leaked ‘Yellowhammer dossier‘ setting out the damaging consequences of a no-deal Brexit on the UK – a news story that ‘deeply embarrassed’ Boris Johnson and senior ministers. Downing Street responded by feeding a false claim to compliant journalists that the leak happened on Theresa May’s watch; and that Remain-supporting ex-ministers led by Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer in May’s Cabinet, were responsible. Newspapers were full of convenient headlines and stories about the alleged leakers, distracting attention from the damaging analysis of the leaked dossier itself. As Oborne noted, it turned out that the leaked document was dated nine days after Johnson came to power: the leak had occurred under his watch, not May’s.

This issue of journalist access in return for maintaining a power-friendly narrative has long been known. The media’s heavy reliance on state and corporate sources is one of the five ‘news filters’ – along with corporate ownership, advertising, flak and ‘anti-Communism’ – in the propaganda model of the media introduced by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in ‘Manufacturing Consent’ (1988).

Focusing on the country’s two main political editors – the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg and Robert Peston of ITV News – Oborne added:

Political editors are so pleased to be given “insider” or “exclusive” information that they report it without challenge or question.

Oborne, as a senior journalist with experience and clout, was afforded follow-up media interviews to make his case. Perhaps the most noteworthy example was his fiery appearance on Radio 2 where he was interviewed by Amol Rajan, a former editor of the oligarch-owned Independent and now the BBC’s media editor. You do not get to such exalted positions in the corporate media, as Rajan has done, by being a thorn in the side of the establishment. In a remarkable exchange, not only did Oborne name and shame major political editors for cosying up to power, he directly, and correctly, accused Rajan of the same. (Click here, starting at around 1:09:20; or, once the BBC link has expired, listen to the relevant segment here)

Oborne commented:

You, yourself, when you were Independent editor, notoriously sucked up to power. You are a client journalist yourself…you were a crony journalist yourself. It’s time this system was exploded.

Rajan blustered:

It’s unbecoming of you, Peter, it’s unbecoming.

When Oborne added that Rajan had also ‘failed to notice’ stories as BBC media editor, there was a brief stunned silence.

In 2014, when Rajan was the Independent’s editor, he boasted of ‘our proud record on coverage of Iraq’. We responded at the time:

Sorry, we have analysed the Independent’s performance closely. Your record was and is shameful. Where to start?

Rajan did not reply. It was around this time that he blocked us on Twitter.

OPCW Whistleblowers Question The Douma Narrative

A further, grave example of present-day propaganda filtering involves the corporate media blanking of further proof that western powers, notably the US, have been manipulating the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Last month, WikiLeaks published evidence from an OPCW whistleblower showing that the international chemical watchdog had suppressed evidence suggesting that the Syrian government had not, in fact, mounted a chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria, on April 7, 2018. In other words, there is clear authoritative testimony from an OPCW insider contradicting the endlessly repeated narrative that ‘Assad used weapons against his own civilians’ in Douma. This state-approved script, propagated throughout the major western news media, served as the ‘justification’ for the US, UK and France to launch missile strikes on Syria seven days later.

Shockingly, as reported by WikiLeaks, a panel of experts convened by the Courage Foundation, an independent British civil society organisation, reported that:

Not only did the panel find that OPCW tampered with the evidence to produce an outcome desired by the geopolitical actors involved in this instance, it tried to silence its own senior civil servants.

One member of the panel, Richard Falk – an international law and international relations scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years – noted that the credibility of the panel’s conclusions were strengthened by having José Bustani, a former Director-General of the OPCW, among its members.

Falk added:

Not only is there a lack of transparency and accountability with respect to the undertakings of major national governments, but there is a deliberate manipulation of evidence and obstruction of procedures designed to protect the citizenry against abuses of state, and in the case of major states, especially the United States, to protect the public interest.

This new testimony added to the earlier revelations in May that Ian Henderson, a senior OPCW scientist, had written a detailed report, suppressed by OPCW, calling into question the official version of events in Douma. As our media alert at the time noted, very little media coverage was devoted to this expert evidence questioning the Washington-stamped ‘consensus’ view.

Robert Fisk’s article in the Independent ten days after the Douma incident was a vanishingly rare exception. He interviewed a Syrian doctor who told him that the victims of the alleged chemical attack had actually suffered from hypoxia – oxygen starvation in the dusty tunnels where they had taken refuge from bombing– and not gas poisoning. As we also observed in our media alert, BBC Syria producer Riam Dalati stated on Twitter that after almost six months of investigation he had concluded that:

I can prove without a doubt that the Douma Hospital scene was staged.

Two days after the Douma attack, he had tweeted:

Sick and tired of activists and rebels using corpses of dead children to stage emotive scenes for Western consumption. Then they wonder why some serious journos are questioning part of the narrative.

Dalati later deleted his tweet and set his Twitter account to ‘private’ status (it has since become accessible to the public again).

Typically, the BBC sought to minimise any public doubts about the official narrative on Douma by including only Syrian and Russian claims of ‘fabrication’. There was little, or no, coverage of sceptical Western voices. In similar fashion, in the run-up to the Iraq war of 2003, BBC News and other ‘mainstream’ outlets had relegated credible allegations that the ‘threat’ of ‘Iraqi WMD’ was fake news to the ‘evil dictator’ Saddam Hussein.

Readers may recall that award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh had difficulty publishing his in-depth, sceptical reporting about an earlier alleged Syrian government chemical weapons attack at Ghouta in 2013. In the end, he had to publish in the London Review of Books, of all places (here and here).

This is so often the fate of the best journalism: pushed to the margins where it can be safely ignored.

Corporate Eyes Averted And Tongues Bitten

The fact that a second OPCW whistleblower has now revealed extremely serious manipulation of evidence surrounding what happened at Douma has been greeted by a wall of corporate media silence. However, it was mentioned briefly by Jonathan Steele, a former senior Middle East correspondent for the Guardian, in a radio interview with Paul Henley on the BBC World Service on October 27, 2019 (listen here; from around 11:00; if no longer available from the BBC, listen to the extract archived here by Caitlin Johnstone and read her article):

Jonathan Steele: I was in Brussels last week … I attended a briefing by a whistleblower from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. He was one of the inspectors who was sent out to Douma in Syria in April last year to check into the allegations by the rebels that Syrian aeroplanes had dropped two canisters of chlorine gas, killing up to 43 people. He claims he was in charge of picking up the samples in the affected areas, and in neutral areas, to check whether there were chlorine derivatives there …

Paul Henley: And?

JS: … and he found that there was no difference. So it rather suggested there was no chemical gas attack, because in the buildings where the people allegedly died there was no extra chlorinated organic chemicals than in the normal streets elsewhere. And I put this to the OPCW for comment, and they haven’t yet replied. But it rather suggests that a lot of this was propaganda…

PH: Propaganda led by?

JS: … led by the rebel side to try and bring in American planes, which in fact did happen. American, British and French planes bombed Damascus a few days after these reports. And actually this is the second whistleblower to come forward. A few months ago there was a leaked report by the person [senior OPCW scientist Ian Henderson – mentioned earlier in this alert] who looked into the ballistics, as to whether these cylinders had been dropped by planes, looking at the damage of the building and the damage on the side of the cylinders. And he decided, concluded, that the higher probability was that these cylinders were placed on the ground, rather than from planes.

PH: This would be a major revelation…

JS: … it would be a major revelation …

PH: … given the number of people rubbishing the idea that these could have been fake videos at the time.

JS: Well, these two scientists, I think they’re non-political – they wouldn’t have been sent to Douma, if they’d had strong political views, by the OPCW. They want to speak to the Conference of the Member States in November, next month, and give their views, and be allowed to come forward publicly with their concerns. Because they’ve tried to raise them internally and been – they say they’ve been – suppressed, their views have been suppressed.

PH: Very interesting.

(Transcript courtesy of Tim Hayward of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media.)

In May, when the suppressed engineering assessment report on Douma by the OPCW’s Ian Henderson was leaked, Lyse Doucet, the BBC’s chief international correspondent, agreed that this was ‘an important story’. Despite polite nudges from Media Lens, and others, she said no more on the matter. Did BBC colleagues have a quiet word in her ear?

Following revelations of a second whistleblower last week, we challenged her once more. She again ignored us, but she did reply to one of our Twitter followers:

Thanks Philip. I’ve been in Canada this month reporting on elections & in Afghanistan for most of Sept. I did forward the earlier information to programmes but was away during more recent news so other teams /programmes would have looked at it.

While it is heartening to see any reply – perhaps a measure of Doucet’s desire to give at least the impression of being accountable to the public – it is a very evasive reply. It is remarkable that for five months she had not been around to report vital testimony from OPCW insiders blowing a hole in the official, US-friendly narrative used to ‘justify’ missile attacks on Syria. Clearly, she had decided it was not that important after all.

And what does ‘so other teams /programmes would have looked at it’ actually mean? What evidence did they examine? And how closely? Where are the BBC headlines and major coverage these revelations deserve? As far as we can tell, there has been no mention of the OPCW whistleblowers on the BBC News website; nor has there been any coverage on the main BBC News programmes. Our challenges to Paul Royall, editor of the BBC News flagship News at Six and Ten programmes, and Nick Sutton, editor of the BBC News website, have gone unanswered.

Meanwhile, the General Election on December 12 may well be, as Jeremy Corbyn says:

a once-in-a-generation chance to transform our country and take on the vested interests holding people back.

But time is rapidly running out for real change – whether that be on foreign policy, such as Syria, or the largest crisis now facing all of us. A global group of 11,000 scientists declared this week that the evidence is ‘clear and unequivocal’ that humanity is in a climate emergency. The stakes, then, are even higher than ‘once-in-a-generation’. As Extinction Rebellion have repeatedly warned, there may not be more than one new generation of humanity that will survive, given the severity of climate breakdown.

Open Letter to PM Boris Johnson, Priti Patel, Sajid Javid, and Kevin Hollinrake

Dear Boris Johnson, Priti Patel, Sajid Javid and Kevin Hollinrake,

I feel compelled to write to you over my extreme concern regarding the health and well-being of Julian Assange.

Please see the link below regarding the psychological torture that Julian Assange has been subjected to, both before leaving the Ecuadorean Embassy and since during his illegal detainment in Her Majesty’s Prison; Belmarsh. To witness a man of such high intellect, integrity and courage brought to this state of confusion where he could barely confirm his own name, should send a shudder through anyone who believes that democracy, free speech, and writing/publishing the truth relating to serious war crimes has any value.

I had naively believed that if someone wasn’t competent to stand trial they would not be forced to do so. I had also believed that the UK would not consider extradition under circumstances where it was clearly known that the defendant was wanted for his political action (i.e. publishing truthful information about a war crime plus other confirmed truths). Do we now also extradite people to countries where we have good reason to believe that they will not receive a fair trial and that they are likely to be subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment? (Well, maybe we do if it’s a country that we regard as being of strategic and economic importance.)

The only ‘crime’ so far as I can see that Julian Assange committed was skipping bail when he sought asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy. For that he has already been punished. Although, seriously, what sane person wouldn’t ‘skip bail’ in those circumstances when it was so evident that all of these offences related to the US powers having been exposed in wrong doing and wanting to extract revenge.

This travesty of justice and subjugation to US power brings such a deep shame on the UK that I barely recognise it as the country that I grew up in. Is there any sovereignty left within the UK., I seriously wonder?

I ask you to immediately release Julian Assange. I ask you to look to your humanity, and to look into yourself to find the strength and integrity to challenge the US powers in order to protect a man who has shone a light for all of us to follow in upholding truth, justice and courage. I ask this not only for Julian Assange, but for all writers, publishers, truth tellers, for all of us within the UK and for the many good people within the US and beyond.

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/10/assange-in-court/

Your sincerely,

Heather Stroud
Email: moc.loanull@rehtaehduorts

BREXIT:  Yes or No? 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson came back from Brussels with a deal better than any Theresa May ever achieved, so he says. His talks with the departing European Commissioner, Jean-Claude Juncker, were very fruitful. But precise details are never known. Juncker, emotional about his leaving and handing over the office of EU Commissioner on 1 November to Madame Ursula von der Leyen, from Germany, may have made some special concessions to Johnson some rumors go. But unlikely. He is not the only one to decide. Besides, deal or no deal, or BREXIT or no BREXIT, had already been decided shortly after the surprise pro-BREXIT public vote on 23 June 2016. And it is clear not the EU and not the British elite want BREXIT.

In any case, in a first vote on Mr. Johnson’s new and ‘better’ deal, the British Parliament voted 322 to 306 to postpone the vote on whether or not to accept the “new deal”, until the new “ratification law” is voted on.  What ratification law?  A precise date for the vote is not known. All that would point to the need to ask again Brussels for a postponement of the British decision, “deal or no deal”, beyond the current target of 31 October 2019. But, THE Boris says, he will do everything to avoid such a step. How?

The mess and confusion are overwhelming. People go crazy, especially in Britain. They don’t know what will happen when; whether their jobs are at stake, their pensions in question, in case some of them at one point in the past, or now, have been or are working in another EU country. Will ”The Market” ruin their savings? Will sudden border closings – pure speculation – cause enormous shortages of necessary goods, food, medicine and cause hyper-inflation?

Depression rates run high in Britain, as well as among those Brits who have made themselves a living in an associated EU country. Will they have to leave? Granted, it is not easy to live peacefully and without stress and anxiety under these circumstances.

Why is it so difficult to accept and respect the democratic vote to exit the European Union, never mind the narrow result of a 51.89% ‘yes’ ballot for leaving the EU?  Because this vote, of which we now know was helped by Cambridge Analytica came a as total surprise to the British elite, who never thought that a majority, even a small one, would be so sick and tired of being managed and told what to do by a cumbersome, bureaucratic EU Commission in Brussels.

Now, these behind-the-curtain elites are doing everything to appear keeping ‘democracy’ alive, respecting the vote, but finding any means to circumvent the action linked to the vote, namely, BREXIT. The circus has lasted for over three years and still no definitive decision is made. My hunch is – and I am not alone – that this has all been plotted shortly after the surprise ballot by a small elite that keeps a firm handle on the British Parliament and, of course, on the PM.

Besides, Washington is not keen on seeing the UK leave the EU. In more cases than one, the UK has acted as a US mole in the EU. For example, on the decision to accept 13 Eastern European countries in the EU, countries that were economically and socially far from at par with the 15 EU members in 2004 when they were integrated into the EU between 2004 and 2013. No questions asked, no member country’s population was asked for their opinion. It was done like by dictatorship. Most of the population of the 15 members would have said NO.

It was clear that these new, economically weak countries would also weaken the whole of the EU, as they would require special financial aid in the billions of euros, funds that the EU would miss to solidify for eventually forming a solid federal European Union. That’s exactly what Washington wanted, preventing a federal European Union with a common Constitution – an equal or superior to the federal United States of America.

A federal United States of Europe was, of course, squarely against the idea of the US which was the mastermind behind the European Union in the first place; an idea that was borne during or right after WWII, and then implanted by the CIA in willing European politicians, those heading the Club of Rome, for instance.

What if the succession Cameron, May, Johnson was also planned? It helps confusing the public. What if the assertiveness of Johnson to pull BREXIT through come hell or high water is mere make-believe? – He knows it will not happen, not on 31 October, and most likely not in January 2020. Then he “failed” and will resign? The new PM, whoever he / she may be, will call for a new referendum – as the public outcry in this direction becomes ever louder – democracy will finally be reinstated to bring order to the mess. Or, will a new referendum do that, reinstate “democracy” in the minds of those who have voted for BREXIT in June 2016? – Maybe not. Probably not. The possible consequences are unimaginable at this point.

The new referendum would be very carefully “accompanied” and supervised, so as not to allow any mishaps, or missteps by the voters. This time the votes must be SOLID pro-EU, if possible, by a landslide, so as not to evoke questions and recounts, and foremost to avoid protests in the streets of London, the financial capital, the city of money, the home turf of capitalism. “Remain” must be achieved with a very comfortable margin. And bingo, democracy has been preserved. And nothing changes. By then, some 4 years will be down the drain, four years of anger, frustration, insecurity, fear, depression, anxiety – and who knows how many suicides?

What would really happen if BREXIT were to take place as the voters decided?  Doomsday-sayers are, of course, paid to spread fear, fear of uncertainty, fear of no-longer belonging, fear of being evicted from wherever in Europe one might live. And we know, fear is the best means to keep people in check, while none of the nefarious Armageddon predictions would occur.

The UK, after the obligatory, speculative, profit-taking fall and rise of the stock and currency markets, would fully recover and within a couple of years would very likely be far better off than under the watchful eye of Brussels. The EU bureaucracy of Brussels is worse than useless, especially the EU Parliament which is completely toothless, and the European Commission that decides over all major issues without consultation of the member countries’ people. It brings only frustration and hardship to most members, as in having to adapt their laws to EU standards, losing their sovereignty. Germany, the tacit EU leader, may be an exception, though a majority of Germans would also like to turn their back to the EU.

So, what good is it to stay in this useless non-Union, that has no sense of solidarity, that allows weak members, like Greece, to be literally slaughtered by their own brothers, the IMF, the EC and the European Central Bank? Spain, Ireland and Portugal are not much better off and Italy’s EU fate hovers dreadfully over the Italian public, so much so, that the Italian Government decided on its own on a Plan B, namely association with the east, signing up to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

What is doomed after BREXIT, is most probably not the UK, but the European (non-) Union itself. This construct, with a fiat currency like the dollar, is not sustainable. A single currency for a group of countries that have no declared common goals, like a Constitution, is not sustainable. It is just a question, what will fall first, the EU or the Euro; but fall they will. It’s a matter of time.

BREXIT or no-BREXIT is actually anecdotal. But, hey, let’s not jump the gun. It’s pure speculation. After all chaos is dynamic and unpredictable. Anything can happen.

• First published by the New Eastern Outlook – NEO

Stop Press: The Queen’s Screech: Britain, Spain and other illnesses

Anti monarchist Soviet poster: “Once and for all”

There are some people — whereby I do not know how many — who recall the key elements of British colonial rule. I was fortunate enough not to live under it. My grandfather had no great admiration for the country where he was born, despite the almost rabid Anglophilia to be found in the most surprising places.

I still find it bizarre that in a country whose monarchy was ended in 1918, many people still say “the Queen” as if they were still subjects of Hanover under Britain’s George III. That at least was the last point at which some of my compatriots could legitimately claim that the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is their Queen.

Perhaps as an hypothetical exercise or a thought game, it would be amusing to imagine that Elizabeth II by the grace of God, Queen (by virtue of an ancient papal dispensation) Defender of the Faith, of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and her Commonwealth Realms, were also “our Queen”. That would leave the question why “our queen” is not Margarethe of Denmark or was not the Queen of the Netherlands?  Strangely enough my compatriots do not call the occupant of the slave-built mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC, USA “our president” — although that person has more direct control over our country than Her Britannic Majesty.

If we assume that the Federal Republic of Germany is nothing of the sort but a covert member of the Commonwealth, a secret vassal of the House of Battenberg (aka Windsor), then perhaps we should ask what the statements delivered to the Lords and members of the House of Commons in London actually mean for those passionate, deluded, or perhaps just mistaken subjects of British imperial rule?

Let us imagine something else, just for fun. Some Catalonians have just been sentenced to gaol for six or more years on account of their actions in support of independence of Catalonia from Spain. Never mind the problems that such an independence would present (EU membership, financial obligations, currency and other aspects of national rule), the verdicts and sentences have provoked considerable discontent in Barcelona, the virtual nation’s capital. One official has pointed out that this is a political problem and judges are appointed to resolve issues in the criminal code not political questions. This implies that the only recourse to those condemned for their political actions is to appeal beyond the scope of Spanish criminal law. But to whom? The Spanish monarchy was ended in 1931 with the establishment of the Second Spanish Republic. That republic was overthrown by the fascist Francisco Franco with the active assistance of Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy as well as the passive and partially active support of His Britannic Majesty, the Roman Catholic Church, the clerico-fascist president of the Irish Free State, the president of the Portuguese Council of Ministers, and internationally active corporate interests.

The dictator (El Caudillo, also by the grace of God if the coins minted during his rule are to be believed) Francisco Franco declared the defunct Spanish monarchy restored and imposed it upon Spain and its non-Castillian provinces. Regardless of the objective merits — seen in practical international power context — of Catalonian independence, it was certainly no less credible than the various “independence” movements supported by NATO to destroy Yugoslavia. So to whom should Catalonians submit for justice in their struggle — executive clemency from the pretenders who occupy a defunct throne “Franco gratia”?

Returning for a moment to the Battenbergs and the New Yorker Etonian who serves as their First Lord of the Treasury. The Queen’s Speech — the formal proclamation of HM Government at the State Opening of Parliament — focusses on two elements, for obvious reasons. The first is the effort by a segment of the British imperial elite to remove itself from the perceived strictures of the European Commission — the so-called “Brexit”. The second is the extension of British police powers under the pretext that the great prudish kingdom is threatened by foreign (non-white) criminal invaders and sexual offenders (are people like the deceased Jeffrey Epstein and his meanwhile invisible partner, the daughter of Robert Maxwell, suicide and notorious defrauder of a major British media group, also included?)

In the briefing document, issued by No. 10 as commentary to the Queen’s Speech, the First Lord of HM Treasury, stresses the end of “free movement” and a return to the Stormont regime in Belfast.

This interesting choice of words betrays the real attitude of the Churchill fanatic from New York. Those who recall Stormont could be forgiven for thinking more of Bloody Sunday than Good Friday.

With Mr Johnson’s adoration of one of Britain’s most repugnant 20th century imperialists, it requires little imagination to ask if Mr Johnson does not dream of Ireland as it was under his idol — of Para- occupied Catholic neighbourhoods, of Orangeman death squads and maybe even the Black and Tans.

Whether in Madrid or London (don’t look too close at Brussels or The Hague) monarchy holds its ugly, condescending head with a paper-thin democratic mask made by its corporate marketing legions. The contempt in which true democrats and socialists are held by these imperialists has never been very well concealed. It has taken the willing and constant servility of those who adopt foreign dynasties and stuff themselves on pomp and pageantry to maintain the illusions that nonetheless break in the slightest breeze of spontaneous self-respect.

Internal Dissolution: Brexit and the Disunited Kingdom

While the European family seems to be having its internal spats – populist sparks within threatening to light the powder keg – the marshals and deputies, for the most part, are attempting to contain the British contagion.  Britain is still scheduled to leave on October 31 without a deal with the European Union.  The divorce papers remain unimplemented, and the lawyers and mediators are chafing.  Governments across the European Union are planning for the hardest of hard departures, and Yellowhammer, the emergency government document contemplating the worst – queues, depleted supplies of necessaries, possible riots, transport shortages – has become, in a short time, part of the canon of apocalypse.

As that date looms, the internal prospects for British dissolution cannot be discounted.  What the Brexit to-and-fro has shown since 2016 is a certain version of boisterous and blind Englishness, rather than composed Britishness,  per se.  In announcing a Brexit war cabinet, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was really declaring war on Britain, with the EU enemy more spectral than ever.

The Britannic entity remains a political compact; England is a nation, albeit the dominant member.  Scotland and Wales are also nations, but have been somewhat eclipsed by what Neal Ascherson describes as “the nation which still thinks it’s more than just a nation, which has been paranoid about ‘foreigners telling us what to do’ since Henry VIII told the pope where he could stick it.”

It was that Englishness, more than any coherent concept of Britishness, that Johnson has pursued, both as Brexit campaigner and scribe, penning pieces as Brussels correspondent for the Daily Telegraph from 1989 to 1994 that have now come to be described as true right-wing satire.  Those observations about Brussels-styled lunacy in regulation, much of it painfully emptied of fact, furnished the stirrings of English revolt.

The UK compact is under siege from several angles.  The prime minister’s attempt to prorogue parliament went to the highest courts in both Scotland and England, and perished in what can only be described as a cool, legal death.  The suspension of parliament had been obtained for improper purposes, a measure designed to prevent Parliament from exercising its scrutinising, and accountability functions.  The response from the Brexit platoons was one of horror and outrage: the people’s wishes had been repudiated by unelected judges.  Those wishing for Britain to remain, and those wishing for a clear Brexit deal, cheered the judges as discharging a relevant democratic function.  Parliament, in turn, has returned to type: a state of doomed paralysis seemingly awaiting some external catalyst.

The nations within the union are also unsettled.  Scotland is perhaps the most likely candidate to exit the Britannic family first.  While 51.9 percent of Britons voted to leave, 62 percent of Scots voted to remain.  Its attempts at independence have thus far failed, but the last three years have seen more kindling for the effort.  This has also been assisted by the refusal on the part of the UK government to offer Scotland a specially tailored variant of Brexit, a sort of Greenland-Denmark model.  This has been a feature marked by Westminster’s blanket exclusion of devolved governments in any part of the negotiations.

As law academic Sionaidh Douglas-Scott pointedly reminds us, the UK EU Withdrawal Act 2018 covering post-Brexit domestic law was enacted without Scottish consent, a clear “breach of the Sewel Convention.”  While Sewel is not a legally enforceable understanding, this very fact suggested the breach of mutual trust, an institutional sneer.  Westminster, in short, had shown its true colours.

The All Under One Banner (AUBO) procession on Saturday in Edinburgh attracted thousands, though it was unclear whether the hundred thousand number sought by the organisation was reached.  Irrespective of that point, background work is being done to stage the next independence referendum.  Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has re-busied herself with the project, hoping to re-run another vote in 2020.  This would require dispensation from the UK government. Her advertising plea?  We are doing more for infrastructure and the environment (better busses, a decarbonised Scottish rail network by 2035, a new green deal) and combating health inequality that Westminster has evidently loss interest in. “We will seek agreement to the transfer of power that will put the referendum beyond legal challenge.  We have a clear democratic mandate to offer the choice of independence within this term of parliament and we intend to do so.”

Ironically, Wales, having propped the leave vote in 2016, is now muttering about a possible exit from the UK while flirting with the idea of European re-engagement.  In July this year the BBC wondered whether it was becoming “indy-curious”. The network’s Welsh affairs editor Vaughan Roderick had this assessment: “there is not much evidence of growing support for independence itself, but there is evidence that it’s being talked about a lot more.”  Welsh Labour, for instance, suggests more than a smattering of interest for the idea.

This month, Plaid Cymru’s leader Adam Price told BBC Radio Wales’ Breakfast program that a referendum on the subject would take place by 2030.  He suggested the probable dissolution of the UK.  “The UK as we know it could cease to exist in a few short years.”  The message of the EU being the big bad wolf against British sovereignty does not feature in Price’s vision.  As an independent state – independent, that is, from the UK, yet a member of the EU – Wales would be able to obtain up to £2bn in extra funds.

To the Plaid Cymru party conference, Price reiterated the vision of “independence” as an “imperative”.  It was because of his party that “the argument for independence has moved from the periphery to the centre”. He also issued a stern warning to the governing English centre in Westminster: £20bn was needed, not as charity “but reparation for a century of neglect that has left a country, rich in its resources, a bitter legacy of poverty, sickness, blighted lives and broken dreams.”

Like a misguided effort at summoning demons, Brexit conjured up creatures that are proving impossible to contain.  The forces of history are finding their unruly way; the disaffected are starting to tear and itch.  The EU bogeyman is becoming less real than the kingdom’s internal conflict.  Hail, the Disunited Kingdom!

Railroaded by the Judges: Boris Johnson fails in the UK Supreme Court

It delighted Labour supporters and party apparatchiks who had been falling over each other in murderous ceremony at the party conference in Brighton: Prime Minister Boris Johnson would come to the unwitting rescue with his own version of a grand cock-up.  This involved a now defeated attempt to circumvent parliamentary scrutiny and interference ahead of the Brexit date of October 31 through a prorogation of parliament.

Johnson still felt he was in with a chance, and with good reason.  The UK Constitution is a nebulous muddle of conventions, documents and interpretations, a body of constitutional law without a constitution.  It is a 350-year old absurdity that relies on good behaviour, toe-tipping judges and sensible MPs.  But as Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion argues, Britain faces “a Prime Minister with no respect for the rules and a downright contempt for the law.”

Some decisions had favoured the government.  On September 6, London’s Divisional Court held that the advice to the monarch to suspend parliament was distinctly a no-go area for judges, purely a matter for rowdy political assertion.  As Lord Bingham noted in 2005, “The more purely political (in a broad or narrow sense) a question is, the more appropriate it will be for political resolution and the less likely it is to be an appropriate matter for judicial decision.”  It was, however, accepted “that decisions of the Executive are not immune from judicial review merely because they were carried out pursuant to an exercise of the Royal Prerogative”.

In the case of Johnson’s prorogation, it was “impossible for the court to make a legal assessment of whether the duration of the prorogation was excessive by reference to any measure”.  The same decision was also reached in the Belfast High Court, which proved similarly hesitant to step on the toes of the Executive.

The Scottish Court of Session expressed no such reserve, with Lords Carloway, Brodie and Drummond Young unimpressed by a process seemingly designed to stymie parliamentary scrutiny of the Executive.  Tactics deployed in achieving such prorogation might well be considered by a court to be improper.  This, the judges claimed to be the case.

The UK Supreme Court seemed well irritated by the presumptuousness of the Prime Minister’s position.  Courts do not always take kindly to suggestions of incompetence, even in such a fields as political manoeuvring and skulduggery.  In a unanimous judgment, the eleven judges ruled that it was “impossible to conclude, on the evidence which has been put before us, that there had been any reason – let alone good reason – to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament for five weeks”.

The judgment is littered with well-directed grenades of disapproval, starting with the poke that it arose “in circumstances which have never risen before and are unlikely ever to arise again.”  (Judicial optimists, evidently.)  The Prime Minister had a constitutional responsibility “to have regard to all relevant interests, including the interests of Parliament” in advising the monarch.  Nor could the mix between law and politics necessarily render judges incapable of intervening for, going back to 1611, “the King hath no prerogative, but that which the law of the land allows him”.

More juicily, the Supreme Court justices were clear on the point that prorogation, in its effect, prevented the application of ministerial responsibility during that period.  This had the effect of making the PM “unaccountable by Parliament until after a new session of Parliament had commenced”.  This could lead to the case of Parliament “closing the stable door after the horse had bolted.”  (A true equine beast is Brexit proving to be.)

What, then, of the standards in assessing such a prerogative power?  Other courts had been reluctant, claiming vagueness and impossibility.  It was not, in the classic idiosyncrasies of this sceptred isle, scripted.  No matter: “every prerogative power has its limits” to be determined by the court; and such a power had to be exercised in accordance with common law principles and the operation of Parliament itself.  Each branch of government, accordingly, had limits that required curial assessment; it was not for the courts to “shirk that responsibility merely on the ground that the question raised is political in tone or context.”

This led to an almost stirring defence of the court’s role in defending Parliamentary sovereignty, which has been threatened since the 17th century “time and time again” by undue exercises of prerogative powers.  In this case, Parliament’s exercise of legislative authority for the duration it pleased would be subverted by the Executive’s use of the prerogative.  “An unlimited power of prorogation would therefore be incompatible with the legal principles of Parliamentary sovereignty.”  Not could the Executive avoid its own responsibilities to parliament in being scrutinised.

At times, the judgment moves into a tone of discomfort and concern.  One point stands out: the prospects of long prorogation periods.  The longer the duration, the greater the likelihood of tyranny, “that responsible government may be replaced by unaccountable government”.

To the government’s argument that the prorogation was “a proceeding of Parliament” that could never be impugned or challenged by a court, the judges retorted that it was for them to decide, not parliament, how far such privileges extended.  Nor could the prorogation be sensibly termed a parliamentary proceeding, not being a decision of either House of Parliament.

All in all, it followed that Johnson’s advice to the Queen had been unlawful, having “the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of parliament to carry out its functions without reasonable justification”, thereby rendering the entire process behind prorogation void.

As is in keeping with such matters, disgruntled Tories felt that the irritations of law had intervened with the populist measures of Johnson’s agenda.  The “people” were being muzzled and mocked by the court’s aggrandized constitutional functions.  Jacob Rees-Mogg expressed a distinctly unconservative view in a cabinet call with the prime minister calling the decision a “constitutional coup”.  (He obviously had not read the part of the judgment that the court was performing its functions without offending the separation of powers.)  The Spectator fumed at this “constitutional outrage”.

Brexit Party MEP Belinda de Lucy was similarly snooty on the court’s power on the matter. “We believe the sovereignty lies with people” judicial swerving into matters political suggests a move into “dangerous territory”. (The point missed here is the court’s understanding that Parliament remains, in its form, the arbiter of that sovereignty and should, therefore, not be improperly restricted from its oversight.)

The result of the ruling means that Parliament will return to Westminster for a Wednesday reconvening.  While that institution has not impressed with its vacillations, confusions and periods of paralysis, it remains one worth defending before the demagogues and the shifty, something President Lady Hale and the rest of the judges were more than willing to do.  Should Brexit ever be realised, Parliament might well consider a little bit of constitutional codification.

Stop Press: Imperial Observations

Today I was walking toward the restaurant where I always take luncheon on Tuesdays. I passed the Cafe Imperio in the same street. Since I was thinking about a talk I am to give in Macau the term “empire” crossed my mind more than once. The sign of the Cafe Imperio also said it was founded in 1973. Well, I thought, did the owners imagine that a year later there would be nothing left of the Portuguese empire?  In 1974 the Salazar/Caetano regime was overthrown after more than 40 years. The last pretense that the empire was, in the French sense, Portugal overseas was abandoned. Only Macau remained under Portuguese administration until 1999.

In London the recently minted British “Supreme Court” — the replacement for the judicial committee of the House of Lords — declared Mr Boris Johnson’s Cromwellian intervention unlawful, null and void and ordered that Parliament be reconvened. Now that is a rather peculiar change in the British Constitution that Bagehot certainly never imagined. In Britain, a monarchy dressed as a representative democracy, the guiding principal — at least since 1688 — has been parliamentary supremacy. That meant that Parliament and hence the government (the Crown and Parliament) were subject to no higher authority than itself. The settlement of the royal succession by the Parliament — establishing William and Mary and assuring a continuous Protestant lineage — was ostensibly the end of British monarchy as a governmental system. In fact, it was the absorption of the monarch into the bourgeois ruling class — something the French were unable to do.

Now if I may risk a prediction, Mr Johnson will be forced to expose himself to a confidence vote in the Commons which he is now even more likely to lose unless his backers can whip the votes he needs together. The loss of a confidence vote after the defeat before the Supreme Court means that the fraud surrounding BREXIT could well be defeated if not exposed.

Throughout the BREXIT debate the proponents and opponents have disregarded a point of British constitutional law that Bagehot made quite clear in describing the lack of a constitution (in the US or French sense); namely, that Parliament is only bound by its own laws and every Parliament is free to change the laws of a previous one. Of course, the class structure and the bourgeois monarchy prevent Parliament from becoming revolutionary (except in the sense of revolving). But the so-called Glorious Revolution never completely extinguished the dictatorial strain embodied in the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. It was the Puritan Cromwell and his mercantile, colonial supporters who plunged the deepest wound into Ireland and created the troubles which, in fact, have only subsided by virtue of the EU.

Mr Boris Johnson, despite Eton and renunciation of his US citizenship, is a Cromwellian. That is what confuses his opponents. Unlike his predecessor David Cameron, Mr Johnson is today’s equivalent of the “West Indian strain” — the drug (sugar and slave) barons of the Caribbean who bought their way into Parliament. Today those drug barons are operating legally (as opposed to legitimate) financial institutions — but that is another topic. The BREXIT fraud consists primarily in the fact that there is no constitutional principle which binds Parliament to such a foreign institution as the referendum or plebiscite (its continental version). Even if we disregard the British voting system with all its gerrymandering and manipulative potential, no British Parliament was ever de jure bound by the results of the so-called BREXIT vote. This is the real significance of May’s defeat. Thrice Ms May failed to obtain parliamentary approval for a BREXIT. That meant that it would become a dead letter by the end of her legislative term.

Mr Johnson’s attempt to adjourn Parliament and govern without it — also very Cromwellian — was a recognition of the fact that absent an Act of Parliament, the BREXIT would be imposed when the EU treaty negotiated by Ms May entered into force. The United Kingdom would not have withdrawn from the EU. It would have been de facto expelled.

What has turned a major faction of the British establishment against Mr Johnson? That is the only way that the Supreme Court could have understood its unanimous decision. Permit me to suggest some interpretations.

As much as Britain’s Cromwellians hate Ireland and therefore fight to the death of Catholic Irish, if not for religious reasons today, they cannot make a disruption of the trade and financial benefits of peace between Ulster and Dublin attractive. Moreover, Britain — meaning its elite, including not least of which the Battenberg/Windsors — benefit enormously from EU largesse. Never mind that if strictly enforced the exit would cause a serious reduction in the living standard of average Britons — people who already have a disproportionately low standard of living in the EU (and historically have always had a lower standard of living than most people on the Continent). Then there is the embarrassment of that other country in the North — the far more European realm of Scotland. North Sea oil was Scottish and Norwegian. A future rump England would be reduced to what its owners really have — a quasi-third world country. That would be fine for the simians in the City but if votes still count for anything, it would make Britain singularly unattractive.

Now if we shift to a completely different part of the world, we can begin to imagine the contradictions and parallels. Hong Kong has been subjected to terrorism quite obviously sponsored by the main instigators of such foreign disruption — the CIA (NED) and most certainly other agencies of HM Government. In the scheme of things — as opposed to the ludicrous “internet of things” — it is impossible to say who is agitating in Hong Kong against the local government and the authority in Beijing. However, if we take the long view; e.g., back to the Opium Wars, the patterns are recognisable. Since, as I have argued elsewhere, one of the products of a “public school/prep school” education is that one is indoctrinated with the same historical nonsense of those who founded the schools in centuries past, then it should be no surprise that the terrorists in Hong Kong — presented as “democracy activists” — are behaving in the same way as the representatives of the British East India Company did when they sought the conditions for creating Hong Kong in the first place.

Imagine what would happen if the Irish republicans again insisted (given the prospect of BREXIT) that we in Ulster are Irish and not British! In Hong Kong some of these gangs are beating Chinese for not accepting that they are “Hongkongers”. Well, we know what happened to Irish republicans until the Good Friday Accords. We also know that it was the British Special Branch, MI5 and Phoenix-style units operating with covert support by the British military that “disciplined” those republicans. If the Chinese government were as “democratic” as the British in Ulster there would not only be dead in the street but assassinations galore. To date there have been no tanks or APCs deployed in Hong Kong. If we compare the conduct of the Hong Kong police with that of the NYPD or the St Louis police in Ferguson, Missouri, we will also locate the democracy deficit — not in China.

There are lots of demonstrations these days. The ones that count are quasi-religious like the Swedish “Joan of Arc”/Fatima peasant who is currently paraded through every conceivable forum, like those weeping statues the Catholic Church maintained so profitably for centuries.

When children join their parents to say that Black lives matter, the police have exercised their license to beat or kill non-whites at will. We have not really progressed since Lester Petersen was murdered by the South African Police in Soweto. The venues of white supremacy have merely changed their window dressing. The Anglo-American Empire will keep Hong Kong down to the last Chinese, if allowed. They will keep everything they have stolen over the centuries. And that is why there will be no BREXIT– not for the benefit of the British or Irish but because there is still more money to be made through Brussels than without it. (And meanwhile the arbitrage gangsters bet on both sides and keep raking in their winnings.)

It is all related but the relationships are not easy to see and they shift with the digestive conditions of our elite rulers. So all predictions here are subject to the reservation of how well they ate and drank on the eve of their next rapine excursion through our planet.

The Rise and Rise of Green Politics

Alongside the flag-waving surge of right wing and extreme right wing groups, political parties concerned with environmental issues are on the rise.

Public awareness of climate change and associated issues is growing; a recent poll in Britain found that 85% of people are concerned about climate change, 52% ‘very concerned’. As a result of this increased concern we are witnessing a major turning point for green parties, particularly in Europe, and it’s young people that are driving it.

In the May EU elections green parties achieved unprecedented levels of success in northwest Europe, a third of under 30 year olds voting Green, and in Germany (where The Green Party has historically been strongest), a national poll ranked the Greens first in a federal election. Green centered parties, the Financial Times reports, now, and for the first time, have “a strong hand at the European level and in the national politics of more than half the EU’s population.”

At the heart of the Greens’ campaign is a “Green New Deal”, (something that is also animating some on the US left), which requires huge public investment in green infrastructure, and the idea of a ‘Carbon Tax and Dividend’ scheme. The model proposes a levy to be applied on, for example, fuel, airfares, education etc., creating a dividend or rebate to be universally distributed to offset the costs involved in moving to a low carbon economy. The German Green Party has endorsed the scheme, as has Ska Keller, the European Green party leader.

Differences in approach, values, policies and attitudes between Green Politics and the Divisive Ways of the Right could not be starker: Contrary ways of approaching the issues of the day representing broader divisions within the world; divisions that, as we transition from one civilization to another, are becoming increasingly stark.

The present modes of living, values and structures are crystallizing. Based on ideals that promote the individual over the collective, life is defined in a somewhat narrow materialistic way. Ideologies, religious, political and social, exert a powerful influence, creating separation and intolerance, entrapping all who adopt them in dogma. In contrast the Movement of the New, tends towards synthesis, cooperation and understanding.

As the differences become more apparent, the choices clearer, the methods of the right and far right become more extreme, lines of polarization increase, the demands for change intensify.

The principle obstacles to change are the reactionary, conservative forces in the world. They are powerful groups, many of which are actually in power: Trump’s Presidency, the Republican Party in the US more broadly, the Conservatives in Britain, which, under the leadership of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have formed what may constitute the most far right cabinet ever assembled in the country.

Russia, Turkey, Israel, Hungary and Poland all have right wing governments, Japan, under Shinzo Abe has moved the Liberal Democratic party to the right, and, eager to take their share of the populist vote, governments in Australia and Canada are drifting. India has recently re-elected the Hindu nationalist BJP party with Narendra Modi as Prime Minister, and in 2018 Brazil voted in a former army captain and rabid right wing politician Jair Bolsonaro. He has been much in the news of late over the deliberate, government-sanctioned burning of the Amazon rain forest – an act of Environmental Terrorism.

All such governments are inward looking, promote tribal nationalism in varying degrees and seek not only to maintain the unjust status quo, but to intensify it. They represent the past, their methodology and ideals are completely out of sync with the rhythm of the times, and, as The New Narrative becomes increasingly defined, and forms are set in place through which the purifying waters of justice and unity can flow, they will fall into ruin.

The demographics of the divide are complex, of course, but are broadly founded not so much on class and occupation as age and education. In 2017 a YouGov survey in the UK found that the Labour Party were 19% ahead (in the polls) when it came to 18-24 year-olds “and the Conservatives [led] by 49% among the over 65s.” Research from the Pew Institute shows that younger people (18-29) in every country cited ‘favor greater [cultural and ethnic] diversity in their country’, and that education levels play a major part in forming attitudes ­– progressive or otherwise; in America, e.g., 71% of people with ‘more education’ favored diversity compared to 51% with less education. In Germany it’s 65% – 44%, Brazil, 67% – 38%.

Despite outward signs to the contrary, and the bullying tactics of those that would obstruct change, an unstoppable momentum is being established that will sweep away the old worn out structures. The Green Wave is a sign and expression of this global movement. All that divides and destroys must be laid aside; unity, sharing and tolerance are the values of the time, and, these will increasingly be the principles upon which a new world order will be built.

Improper Purposes: Boris Johnson’s Suspension of Parliament

There was something richly amusing in the move: three judges, sitting in Scotland’s highest court of appeal, had little time for the notion that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension, or proroguing, of parliament till October 14, had been lawful.  Some 78 parliamentarians had taken issue with the Conservative leader’s limitation on Parliamentary activity, designed to prevent any hiccups prior to October 31, the day Britain is slated to leave the European Union.

It did take two efforts.  The initial action in Edinburgh’s Outer House of the Court of Session was unsuccessful for the petitioners.  Conventional wisdom then was that such issues were, as a matter of high policy, political and therefore non-justiciable.  Legal standards, in other words, could not be applied to the decision.  (British judges tend to be rather reserved when it comes to treading on matters that might be seen as the staple of political judgment.)

All three First Division judges thought otherwise, taking the high road that this was exceptional.  Lord Carloway, the Lord President, accepted in principle that advice by the Prime Minister to the Queen would not normally be reviewable by courts.  Such a realm was customarily one above and beyond the judicial wigs.  That said, as a summary of the judgement records, “it would nevertheless be unlawful if its purpose was to stymie parliamentary scrutiny of the executive, which was a central pillar of the good governance principle enshrined in the constitution”.  That principle was drawn, by implication, from the “principles of democracy and the rule of law.”  Feeling emboldened, Lord Carloway, on examining the documents supplied by Johnson and his team, felt that improper reasons could be discerned.

Lord Brodie similarly noted the singular nature of the circumstances. Under normal circumstances prorogation advice would not be reviewable, but if it constituted a tactic designed to frustrate Parliament, it could well be deemed unlawful.  In this case, Johnson’s move was “an egregious case of a clear failure to comply with generally accepted standards of behaviour of public authorities.”  It could be inferred on the evidence that “the principal reasons for the prorogation were to prevent or impede Parliament holding the executive to account and legislating with regard to Brexit, and to allow the executive to pursue a policy of a no deal Brexit without further Parliamentary inference.”  Bold stuff, indeed, and hard to fault.

The third judge, Lord Drummond Young, was bolder still.  No need to be nimble footed here: the entire scope of such powers, relevant to prorogation or otherwise, could be legally tested.  The onus was on the UK government to show a valid reason for the prorogation “having regard to the fundamental constitutional importance of parliamentary scrutiny or executive action.”  The clues of evident impropriety in Johnson’s action lay in the length of the suspension and the general circumstances suggesting a prevention of scrutiny.  There could be no other inference that the move showed a wish “to restrict Parliament.”

The full bench, accordingly, made an order “declaring that the prime minister’s advice to HM the Queen and the prorogation which followed thereon was unlawful and thus null and of no effect.”  Few more damning statements have ever issued against a prime minister of the realm.

In an effort to remove some egg on the faces of government officials, a spokesman for Number 10 claimed to be disappointed by the decision, insisting that Johnson needed “to bring forward a strong domestic legislative agenda.  Proroguing Parliament is the legal and necessary way of delivering this.”  This was a somewhat milder version from those offered by other sources close to the Prime Minister, claiming political bias on the Scottish bench.  “We note that last week the High Court in London did not rule that prorogation was unlawful.  The legal activists choose the Scottish courts for a reason.”  The cheek of it all!

As for certain conservative outlets, accepting the judgment of the Court of Session was, well, unacceptable.  The Supreme Court, it was hoped by the likes of Richard Ekins, would clean up the mess made by their northern brethren with clear heads.  The Scottish decision had been “a startling – and misconceived – judgment.”

Which brings us to the second front opened up by petitioners in England, itself.  A High Court challenge, with an appeal now expected to be heard in the Supreme Court next week, initially failed to yield any movement.  But Johnson had little reason, or time, to gloat.  The government is now reverting to a stalling game, refusing to act on the Scottish decision till the English equivalent is handed down.  Not all business, however, will be suspended: the work of select committees, for instance, will continue.  The government also finds itself in the trenches, facing a Parliament intent on extending the Brexit date in order to achieve a deal.

The publication of the full, previously leaked doomsday document, the Yellowhammer contingency plan, anticipating measures if a no deal Brexit takes place, has also done its bit to pockmark Johnson’s efforts to maintain a steady ship.  The prime minister, said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accusingly, “is prepared to punish those who can least afford it.”

The government’s hope is that the Supreme Court case will move at its usual snail’s pace, thereby making any point ventured by Johnson’s detractors a moot point.  Richard Dickman of Pinsent Masons has observed that such appeals “take months sometimes years, but the court can move quickly in urgent cases like this one.”  The occasion promises to be quite a judicial party: 11 of the 12 law lords will be sitting.

Testing the judicial weather, Dickman suggested that there might “be a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision from the court with a more detailed judgment to follow.”  Another chapter in the annals of British law and parliamentary farce is being written.  In the meantime, the sentiment of the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, reverberates through Europe. “We do not have reasons to be optimistic.”