What would Clement do?

A Labour blog that witters on about Clement Attlee. Hurrah for The Major!

Archive for the tag “Western values”

Strange Days Indeed…

It is a strange time for looking at the world. As we sit here in our comfortable western world, Libyan freedom fighters are dying by inches in public. A coalition of the unwilling – comprising “anti-imperialist” far leftists, reactionary Muslim clerics and Bismarckian conservatives across Europe are contending that to do nothing is the finest of all options.

I find myself in agreement with anyone who proposes a no-fly zone at the very least. I never thought I would end up agreeing with David Owen, and to a certain extent David Cameron.

Unlike Iraq, there is a clear mandate from the oppressed peoples of North Africa and the Middle East. In Bahrain today, the Saudi occupation gathers pace. In the U.N, those sterling advocates of tyranny China and Russia stymie any meaningful action through the Security Council. Again, the West and Western Values lose ground to the vigorous Capitalist Autocracy model of the East. If we do not act now, and with great conviction, we stand to lose all hopes of influence across the third world, and we condemn its peoples to the whims of any dictator that Bejing fancies.

Most peculiar mama…

Who Would Have Thought It..?

Interesting to see the difference in reporting about demonstrations against unpopular governments making the less well-off  pay for the economic crisis…

Sometimes I wonder how all these editors deal with the contradiction inherent in painting a bunch of students and ordinary people in Westminster as violent anarchists, whilst wishing the ordinary men and women of North Africa and the Middle East well…

…then I remember their big fat paychecks…


The problem with Leninism…

Hey ho, lets go…

After Laurie Penny’s recent article in the Grauniad, Alex Callico Knickers of the SWP, and his band of plucky Leninist parrots have resurfaced…

Laurie can of course defend herself and views much better than I can, but with the recent student demos giving a filip to the shrinking hard left,I think it germain to weigh in, as an ex-member of both Militant and of the SWP, and now as a proud Democratic Socialist.

The Leninist theory at the root of SWP/Socialist Party/CPGB/etc.etc. practice is one that has blighted the Left for a century, and is responsible for some of the worst crimes against humanity that took place during the Twentieth Century. Yet many good class fighters throughout the world proudly bore the name of Lenin aloft and in their hearts. They were at best mistaken. Millions died to prove the theories wrong, many were proud Bolsheviks of many years standing, undone by the logic of their beliefs. Many millions more were ordinary workers, peasants and soldiers.

The Vanguard Party substitutes itself for the class. The Party Organisation for the Party, The Central Committee for The Organisation, and The Leader for the Central Committee. Trotsky pointed this out as long ago as 1902.

How many examples do you need? Russia, Spain, the awful mess in interwar Germany, China, North Korea, Cuba, Prague 1968, Poland 1980, the list goes on. And then there are the parties, both orthodox and trotskyist in the west – their zig-zags and deviations, their abandonment of womens’ and gay rights in favour of currying favour with tiny Islamicist groups … not to mention the strangulation of free Trades Unions and all dissenting voices – both Socialist and otherwise.

The expulsions, bullying, both mental and physical, the outright lies perpetrated as fact whenever the “line” changes…

Alex Callinicos is apparently a respected academic Marxist Philosopher, with tenure, so we must pay heed to the comfortable gentleman of 1968. He is no more relevant than “Congratulations” by Cliff Richard, also of 1968.

There have been, and no doubt still are good socialists in the SWP and other factions, there are those who would describe themselves as Marxist-Leninists who I would be happy to march alongside, and I have no time for witch hunts, but  for sheer pointlessness it would be hard to match their party activity. Better they use their time fruitfully rather than staging “interventions”, or selling papers.

I will give one concrete example of Leninist practice from the early 1990s: A young student comrade of about 20 ends up at a party where he then sleeps with both a man and a woman. He is a little immature, and, as many are when young, sexually confused. Embarrassed, he hopes that the incident will be forgotten and pass, as he now feels he may know that he is straight. Sadly the couple were also party members. A week later, despite his evident misgivings, he is dragooned into a party “intervention” into the founding meeting of the citys OUTRAGE Group – it is his socialist duty, it is explained, because he has recently slept with a man, to inject some socialist politics into this “bourgeois” protest group.

A good time was had by none. No useful point was served.

Aah, but it was so romantic to be caught up in Revolutionary politics…

“Soviet Communism is the illegitimate child of Karl Marx and Catherine The Great.” – How true Clement, how true…

Comments and debate are welcome here…

… but not spam!!!

I really would enjoy it if people want to add whatever they think to this blog, as long as you stay on subject, and don’t get too abusive to each other, so go on, add to the discourse…

The Strategic Defence Review…

“Leaving aside the admitted expense of it, I can say that the Nation cannot choose between having an Army and not…”

– or something like that, the Duke of Wellington, circa 1842.

Hard times beckon at the MoD, where there will be even less tough,tough toys for tough, tough boys.

The Strategic Defence Review, part of the regular business of Government, kicks off amidst an atmosphere of panic and demoralisation in the higher echelons of both the MoD and amongst service chiefs. After years of overstretch caused by too many operational commitments abroad, and a continuing procurement policy that fleeces the state whilst delivering few bangs per buck compared to other western countries.

PROBLEMS,PROBLEMS…

And here is the problem, in an uncertain world, with new power blocks emerging, it is vital that our interests are safeguarded, and that international law is respected. We need forces that are well trained, well equipped and well led – not only for ourselves, but for the defence of Western Values in general. Those men and women need to believe that they will be looked after for putting their lives on the line. Already, front line helicopter numbers are set to be cut – at a time when such mobility is vital in Afghanistan.

In an increasingly unequal world, a GI-Bill style settlement for outgoing soldiers, airmen and sailors would be a vital step forwards. PFI has been a disgrace in MoD provision, and must be ended. We need to take a long hard look at priorities – we cannot uninvent the Nuclear bomb, but do we need Trident? Is it flexible enough? Can we defend these islands from threats? Or the Falklands? Are we kitted out for future threats most probable to occur?

NO, NOT THAT DR FOX…

Sadly Dr Fox(no, not that one), who may or may not still be at his desk today, is unlikely to look at cutting the long-term gordian knot of defence procurement. This review is most likely to leave all our conventional forces undermanned and under equipped for current operation, let alone any future entanglements. As the major Coalition partner is still profoundly Europhobic, we are unlikely to be furthering European Defence integration, whether via Nato or the EU – one policy that could very well reap definite dividends for not only the UK, but also France, Italy, Spain and Germany.

Once again, the Treasury will have its way, and we will be picking up the pieces for years to come. Not a solution that Major Attlee or Ernest Bevin would have welcomed…

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: