British Politics

The British Government & the Waffen-SS Galitsia Division

Let’s not forget!

Written by Andrey Panevin / Edited by @GBabeuf

Obstruction of Justice: How the British Government Protected 8,000 Soldiers of the Waffen-SS Galitsia Division

Ukrainian volunteers of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division-SS Galitsia march past (L to R) Fritz Freitag, Heinrich Himmler and Otto Wachter

Amid the continued support given to the fascist politicians and military of Ukraine by western governments, many people are asking how such a betrayal of the sacrifices of the Allies in World War Two could take place. However, what most people are unaware of, in large part due to an ever-more corrupted media, is that these governments have a shocking history of protecting the perpetrators of some of the most terrible crimes of that war. One of the most egregious examples of this practice of shielding war-criminals from justice was confirmed in 2005 with the declassification of British Home Office papers showing that the British government…

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Turning a page, 24 June 2016 #Brexit #Escape

half truth

Today I am turning a page on the long decades of my life in the United Kingdom. I don’t know how long this kingdom will remain united, and, frankly, I don’t care. I don’t care to live under the farcical régime of the Farages and other Johnsons, those jerks, and suffer the obscenities of the Murdoch’s empire, under the constant barrage of blames and lies, that was, really, only bearable because Europe was there, very close. It ain’t anymore.

Evidently the “markets” have their own, very well expressed views. A devaluation of 10% or more is on the card. For someone, like me, who plans now to spend the rest of his life away from these shores, and much further East, this is, of course, very bad news. As many others I depend on a sterling income, years of savings and hard work, all the way paying our due to the “Exchequer”. But this, on the scale of this debacle, is small stuff.

The important thing is now to escape, to seek cultural solace under a different sky, and different voices. It was planned, it is now urgent. So we’ll keep working on it, as we have done, in all justice, since the first clouds started showing up on the horizon… We’ll leave happily, this little wet parcel of earth to the future generations to rebuild, as they see fit. And we wish them good luck.

About #Litvinenko and polonium poisening

As we all know Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned by polonium, a rare radioactive substance. The main narrative blamed it all on Vladimir Putin of Russia. The rationale rested on little other than because Litvinenko was a Putin critic. This was the quick line in mass media, and it was on all the typical war propaganda channels…

Read on


Close to the Wire

From Baltimore to Britain (and back again): we pray for the victims of tyranny and injustice, everywhere.

Close to the Wire.



How Corrupt is Britain?

Reality on the island…



How to Write About Tax Havens and the Super-Rich: An Interview with Nicholas Shaxson | Longreads

Property scam in neo-liberal London

via How to Write About Tax Havens and the Super-Rich: An Interview with Nicholas Shaxson | Longreads.


Peace to her soul ~ and Why I Loathe Mrs “T”

Poll Tax riotsI started working in the Midlands around 1978 for a small engineering firm that designed, manufactured and exported high-tech telecommunications equipment to the US.  Yes, that’s right to the US of A. The firm had been founded a few years back by ex-European Space Agency British engineers who were good at what they were doing, and not bad employers either.  There were then hundreds of similar companies around the Midlands and the North of England.  By the late 80’s they were all gone, sacrificed to the Hayekian non sense that underpinned “la Thatcher”’s philosophy in life.  Ignore the noises of sycophants and of her numerous inheritors – think about this:

The craddle of the industrial revolution destroyed, entire regions laid waste by a policy of deindustrialisation paid for by plundering the riches of the North Sea, the plunder of state, that is, people-owned organisations in telecommunications, transport, energy, water, the destruction of the Coal-Mining industry and of the communities that had lived for it through two centuries, and saved the country in two world-wars, the sell-off of most of the remaining industrial base to foreign interests, the beginning of the dismantlement of the welfare state…

Was Britain in decline in 1979? No more than any other European social democracy.  Capitalism had been in crisis then since the end of the Viet-Nam war in the mid 70‘s. Britain, obviously not immune, was however still a country of moderate inequalities, fair fiscality, good public services, and good prospects of making headway in the European concert of nations, thanks to the policy of Edward Heath, an enlightened conservative  by the standards of what followed, who a few years before had taken Britain to the Common Market, through the only referendum ever held on the subject in the UK.  A majority consensus had emerged to support Mr Heath’s policies.  “Mrs T” hated Edward Heath.  Her malevolent hatred would divide the conservative party before the full blast of her divisive and vindictive  personality poisened British politics for years to come.  Edward Heath was an informed, ethical and courageous politician.  She, the “grocer’s daughter”, was a crypto fascist of the basest kind: an admirer of Pinochet and of the Apharteid régime of South Africa.  Her class instincts were to fear and hate workers, their trade-unions, and the mass of their members.  Her ideal was the hayekian pseudo paradise of the worst reaction of the 20’s, laissez faire, anti universal suffrage, anti welfare state, a proto-fascist pre-industrial petty bourgeois lunacy.

Unemployment soared to levels unseen since since the 30’s and the great depression.  But Mrs T did not care: it did not matter since the future, fuelled by North Seal oil revenue, would be all about the hyper financialisation already underway in the US.

Yes, Britain and its inbattled labour government of 1979 was in the claws of the IMF and its neoliberal gurus.  Friedman and Hayek ruled OK.  In the US Ronald Reagan inaugurated his presidency by sacking the striking air-traffic controllers – the first of many, and a decision that may (or not) have haunted his ghost years later.  But who cared? Not Mrs T! The war against democratically elected local government started, armed with the new inquisition, the unaccountable “Audit Commission”, and the destruction of the fabric of local public services and unashamed “privatisation”…  Mrs T was, literally, on the war path, the class-war path.  Or indeeed pursuing a foreign war when things appeared not so rosy?  She ignored her friend Ronald’s offer of mediation, and went to war with Argentina!  Can one imagine a more absurd situation?  But it worked, for a short while. Forget the hundreds of casualties on both sides – worse would come in the Bliar’s years, evidently her spiritual son…

Enemies abound: the British working class, battered and humiliated but not forgetting, her personal foe, the emerging Union (“I want my money back!”), and of course the villains on her own side, intelligent people who dared see that disasters were looming.  So after riots, unprecedented and soaring levels of inequalities, the abject exit from the ERM, the loss of influence in Europe, and of course being overtaken on all fronts, bar speculation, by countries that did have a real industrial policy…  “they” finally kicked her out shouting and screaming.  She would not even spare her venom for her hapless successor, honest Mr Major…

But her legacy lives on.  Britain no longer exports anything much to the US, her influence in Europe is virtually nil, what remains of her car industry is in foreign hands, as far as India and China.  After many crises and collapses (1984, 1987, 1989, 2002 and finally the crash of 2008) the “financial sector” still holds on to its incredible privileges and unethical conduct… As for inequalities the country is now more divided than ever, North-South, the very rich and most of us, renewed assaults on public services, and, looming large, the exhaustion of the North-Sea bonanza and the dependence on foreign imports of gas and oil…  Indeed 11 years whose trail goes on forever…


The Shadowy Residents of One Hyde Park—And How the Super-Wealthy Are Hiding Their Money | Vanity Fair

The Shadowy Residents of One Hyde Park—And How the Super-Wealthy Are Hiding Their Money | Vanity Fair.

Here come the real masters of our world…


#fury: Contempt of Sanity and the Great British Justice System…

Victim of violence against women

In a sensitive article published in the Saturday Guardian (“Husbands and Hubris”, March 9, 2013) Margaret Cook, who, as Robin’s widow, knows a thing or two about ambitious politicians and the respect they hold their spouses in, points out that a good reason Ms Vicky Pryce may have accepted marital pressure to cheat the points system, may be simply to shield her children from another damaging row. We shall never know. The facts are, after all, ten years old.

In any European country – part from Britain, but is this Europe? – the couple would have been reprimanded, fined and possibly given a few weeks of community service. Here an intelligent and decent and much wronged woman, whose main offence was to behave like a very silly one, is being sent to jail. But here is the crunch: a ridiculous class-ridden out-of-touch pseudo judicial system, led by self-appointed unctuous goons, representing nothing other than their absurd propertied interests, in a country without written constitution, whose majority is currently crucified by an unelected coalition, sends villains who kill cyclists or pedestrians on the road, to jail – with bad luck – for a few months! The same kind of justice leaves child molesters – knights of the Empire!! – free to roam, strut their stuff for decades on national television… And of course there is worse. Margaret’s article reminded me of those war criminals walking our streets free… The ignoble Bliar – he who lied to the country and parliament, and deserves a fate that he will probability escape, but who knows? – parading his repulsive silhouette and masquerading as “envoy”! “Envoy” of what? A liar, hypocritical villain responsible for the martyr of thousands of young lives… Justice?

In the same week that saw Ms Pryce sentenced to six months in jail, after being branded in court , “a scheming and jealous female”, a report from the Centre for Social Justice denounced slave trafficking in the UK. Children and young women are brutalised, sacrificed to prostitution, forced labour and worse without the same judiciary raising an eyebrow. As for the politicians… All this happens in a country where a minority of fascistic, but yet influential, politicians – without any grasp of the modern world – barks for the UK to abandon the Convention on Human Rights…

Last week was also Women’s International Day. Evidently there is a long way to go, and not just in Africa…




Vladimir From Russia, with confusion

Confusion is Power” is David Runciman’s commentary (LRB, 7 June) on Ferdinand Mount’s book : “The New Few, Or A Very British Oligarchy, Power And Inequality In Britain Now”. “Power in Britain”, writes Runciman, “is becoming concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, and so is wealth”. “Could it be that, without knowing it, we have been hatching our own oligarchs?” However, observes Runciman, “The people who are running the show seem as confused as anyone about how we got here.”

This is in sharp contrast to the Russian variety (of oligarchs) who appear to know perfectly well how and why. “The Russians symbolise the kind of society we have become, not because of what they have been doing over there, but because of what they have been doing over here”. There is no shortage of what that is, from the buying of football clubs, “schmoozing” with “our politicians”,  and “fighting it out in our law courts”. Quoting Mount: we are not really “a full blown oligarchy”, but a “flabby, corroded type of liberal democracy in which the oligarchs have been enjoying a free run”. This makes “British democracy seem not so much as corrupt as incompetent and weak”.

So how did we get here? “We don’t have ex-oligarchs”, writes Runciman, and we don’t send anyone to Siberia”, referring to the fate of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. “Why bother?”

“British politics”, he explains, “has always been an haphazard affair, presided over by people who weren’t entirely sure what they were doing, plenty of them with a penchant for spending time on other people’s yachts. So what’s different now?” There is simply no alternative room to the top in Britain, whereas the Russians “came from next to nowhere”. One difference though, between, say, thirty years ago and now, is globalisation. “There are two stories that can be told about this”, writes Runciman, “one says that globalisation has simply exposed societies like ours to the hard winds of global competition. This has driven wages down at the bottom but driven rewards up at the top, because in the hyper-competitive global market for executive talent, success is at a premium.” The problem with this explanation is that “too many of the new rich seem to have had the money given to them regardless of what they do. Their reward is for being at the right place at the right time.”

This realisation is a sharp reminder of that other Russian truth, underscored in “Collapse is the Crucible”, Tom Wood’s survey of the consequences of marketisation’s advance through the ruins of the USSR (NLR 74). “The transition to capitalism offered the Soviet elite the opportunity to convert power into property –  and so become a bona fide possessing class.”

Runciman describes the subservience of the British political class towards international finance, threats of relocation (from the City of London) acting as excuse for “passivity in the face of rising inequality”. Unfortunately, “the finance executives don’t really know what they are doing” either, “as we have discovered  in the last few years. But they have created a world that no one understands either, which gives them all the freedom they need.” Perhaps there is, after all, a good reason for Siberia?

George Kennan

“For nearly six decades, the figure of George Kennan has loomed large over US foreign policy” writes Jackson Lears, commenting on George Kennan’s biography by John Lewis Gaddis (LRB, 24 May). Kennan is credited for the conception of policy of containment of the USSR pursued by the US during the Cold War, that was “set out in a 5000-word telegram he sent from Moscow to the US State Department early in 1946.”

According to Lears, Kennan himself was not convinced about containment, and saw its costs as disastrous for both the US and the USSR. “Kennan was appalled by the way his ideas were used, and became a major critic of the Cold War and the nuclear arms race”.

As a follow up, Mr Bruce Jennings, in a letter to the LRB on “what Kennan saw”, wrote: “Unaddressed in Jackson Lears’s review… is the view that Kennan formed about Russia as it emerged after 1991…” Quoting  a memo from Kennan:

“It will see the disappearance of the militant spirit, of the immediate, concrete objective, of the ready-made philosophy. Totally untrained to think for himself, unaccustomed to fighting his own mental battles and facing his own problems, guided neither by tradition, example, ideals, nor the personal responsibility which acts  as a steadying influence in other countries, the young Russian will probably be as helpless and miserable as a babe in the woods. Introspection and mental perplexity will make short work of his self-confidence, once his faith in the mystic qualities of communism is ruined. From the most morally unified country in the world, Russia can become overnight the worst moral chaos”. Kennan’s memo was written from Riga, in 1932, he was 28.

Back to Russia

Tony Wood is not perplex as to how Russia got where it is. In his analysis of the Reforging of Russian Society he summarises the process of mass pauperisation that unfolded under Yeltsin. “The context… was one of economic catastrophe and social crisis for the vast majority of the population: GDP contracted by 34% from 1991 to 1995 – a greater decline than in the US during the Great Depression – while over the same period real wages dropped by more than half… The crime and murder rates doubled in the early 90s, and public health deteriorated  with incredible speed: male life expectancy… shortened by five years between 1991 and 1994… An ILO study (in 1992) claimed that 85% of Russia’s population now found themselves below the poverty line.”

Indeed there are good reasons for being where we are, over here and over there.

The Observer

I can’t read any other Sunday paper. The Murdorchy press dominates the Sundays, and The Observer is the only decent alternative. One bonus is the New York Times selection of articles included in each issue. Today (Sunday 3 June) I noted one savoury piece on how “Monster Nabs Whale”, or how Mr Weinstein, “a wunderkind of the New York hedge fund world”, spotted the antics of a certain Bruno Iksil, ensconced in the office of the mighty JP Morgan Chase & Co in the City of London. The rest will soon be history – and what is two or three USD billions between friends anyway?

By the way, Mr Weinstein’s outfit is aptly named “Saba Capital Management”, Saba is Hebrew for “grandfatherly wisdom”.