Jeremy Corbyn: A Man Too Long After His Time?

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They all thought he was a goner, those arrogant, middle-class, Labour MPs who worship the ghost of Tony Blair, supported the Iraq War, and sold their souls to corporate, neoliberal, idealism. Angela Eagle was the first to challenge him, but she was forced aside in favour of Owen Smith because he was ‘more electable’, or so thought the snob-nosed parliamentarians who still dare to call themselves members of the British Labour Party.

They were wrong. Despite all their efforts to oust him, Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected as leader of the Labour Party by a massive 61.8% of the rank-and-file members. The snob-noses were so sure they could oust him. Now they’ve retired to lick their pride and plan their next moves.

If there’s one glaringly obvious fact to be gleaned from this leadership election it’s how far politicians have removed themselves from the public they’re supposed to serve. It was the public who re-elected Corbyn, not some committee of parliamentarians over Armagnac brandies in the plush leather of the Commons Bar. Few so-called Labour MPs back Corbyn’s leadership, and the vast majority wanted him ditched with all possible speed.

It begs the question: why?

The Labour Party began life as exactly that – the party of those who laboured for a living, as opposed to those who by inheritance were ‘landed gentry’, or well-heeled business types. The Tory, or Conservative Party, would look after their interests. As Wikipedia rightly informs, after a landslide victory over the Tory Churchill government in 1945, the Labour Party under Prime Minister Clement Atlee introduced massive reforms:

The Bank of England was nationalised along with railroads (see Transport Act 1947), coal mining, public utilities and heavy industry. During this time British Railways was created. A comprehensive welfare state was created with the creation of a National Health Service, entitling all British citizens to healthcare, which, funded by taxation, was free at the point of delivery. Among the most important pieces of legislation was the National Insurance Act 1946, in which people in work paid a flat rate of national insurance. In return, they (and the wives of male contributors) were eligible for flat-rate pensions, sickness benefit, unemployment benefit, and funeral benefit. Various other pieces of legislation provided for child benefit and support for people with no other source of income. Legislation was also passed to provide free education at all levels.

Jeremy Corbyn still believes in these basic rights. His ‘New Labour’ critics, and the Conservative Party, are hellbent on demolishing what’s left of them and turning them over to corporate control. Tory and ‘New Labour’ governments have sold off the railways and all the utility companies. Coal-mining is virtually non-existent thanks to Thatcher, most heavy industry has been sold off to ‘private enterprise’ and moved abroad, unemployment and other benefits are continually eroded, and the National Health Service is under dire threat of privatization if the present Tory government eventually gets its way.

The snob-noses bemoan Labour’s lack of electability with Jeremy Corbyn as the leader. They may have a point, but it’s not Corbyn’s fault. The problem lies with those members of the British electorate who have quite good standards of living, a well-paid job, nice car, 50-inch TV – you know the sort of thing – there are a lot like that in Britain today. Sadly, there’s also a few million with next to nothing. Through no fault of their own they’re caught up in the poverty-trap of high-price rental housing, minimum wage jobs (if at all), heavy tax burdens, and credit sharks that raise their cost of living with grotesquely high interest rates, virtually unregulated by a succession of Conservative governments.

It’s the former quite-well-to-do lot that are the problem. Yes, they’d probably vote Labour in a general election if another suave, Cheshire-cat grinning, Tony Blair-type rose to prominence again. But it would only be as a change from the Tories for a while, because the policies of Blair’s “New Labour” were almost identical with the Tories: in a nutshell – neoliberalism.[1]

One very sad fact is that those who are doing quite nicely in Britain today have totally forgotten the reason why. If it hadn’t been for the Labour Party they’d still be toiling for tuppence an hour, working eighteen hours a day, dying by the age of thirty, and spending any spare time they have scrabbling through the waste bins of the wealthy searching for a morsel of stale bread to stave off starvation.

The other very sad fact is that if the Tories, or the ‘New Labour’ parliamentarians, have their way the ‘doing-quite-nicely’ brigade will eventually find themselves not doing quite so well because the politicians they voted into power believe in the neoliberal ideal of ‘trickle-down’ economics, and a ‘trickle’, by definition, means a ‘ very small flow’, a ‘dribble’, or a ‘drip’.

Anyone wishing to view the effects of ‘trickle-down economics’ has only to visit a city like Detroit in Michigan, U.S.A., to see the boarded up properties, derelict factories that once produced automobiles by the thousand, the violence that moves in when prosperity goes out the window. No free health service here, and precious little in the way of welfare. But the wealthy of Detroit are doing very nicely, thank you. Of course, they don’t actually live in Detroit anymore.

Already, with the threat of ‘Brexit’ on the horizon, there’s political chatter in the U.K. parliament of possible ‘welfare benefit cuts’, re-financing (read: cutting back) of the few remaining ‘government services’ (a somewhat inaccurate phrase given that they’re funded by taxation), a possible slowdown of the economy (who’s next for the dole-queue?)…etc..

Probably the only person in Britain today who could send the neoliberals packing is Jeremy Corbyn. He believes in ‘Old Labour’, government that serves the people rather than big business, and a fair deal for all. He’s a Socialist, and proud of it.

Unfortunately, the snob-noses are probably right: he’ll never be elected Prime Minister. The British suffer from serious memory loss. Despite TV dramas like Poldark, or Garrow’s Law, they’ve forgotten what life was like before the Labour Party.

The real Labour Party, that is – not the fake one created by the snob-noses of Parliament over their Armagnac brandies in the Commons Bar.

[1] “Neoliberalism – A Definition In Under 2,000 Words” Sparrow Chat, July 19th 2016

Who Sabotaged The Syrian Ceasefire?

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It’s been five years since the start of the civil war in Syria, so Western media informs us. In fact, there’s been unrest in Syria for generations, and many wars both civil, and against the French occupiers after WW1. In the 1970s, the Muslim Brotherhood, a powerful Sunni faction, organized a series of armed revolts against the secular government – notably after 1973 when the then President Hafez al-Assad rewrote the Constitution to state that henceforth the President of Syria was no longer required to be a Muslim.

The country had suffered countless murders and violence between Sunni and Shia elements throughout Assad’s reign, and nothing changed when his son, Bashar, succeeded him in 2000, despite attempts by the new president to introduce political reforms. Sunni elements, resenting Assad’s Alawite connections, constantly disrupted his reform policies, resulting in the imprisonment of many leading activists for fomenting revolution.

It’s likely the undercurrent of discontent would have continued in this manner for many years were it not for intervention by the U.S. administration of George W. Bush. After the attacks of 9/11 powerful elements within the Bush administration set out to destabilize the Syrian government via a prolonged media campaign, increasing sectarian tensions, and financing of political dissidents. Both the Bush administration, and later the Obama administration were, and still are, guilty of providing arms and finance to rebel jihadist groups bent on overthrowing the Assad government.

The U.S. has fostered a policy in Syria similar to that carried out in Libya and Iraq – the overthrow of the leadership to achieve a further foothold in the Middle East as part of its determined domination and subjugation of the region. In both latter cases, Libya and Iraq, the result has been an influx of Islamic extremist militants and the rise of ISIS.

Blinkered vision, or perhaps simply the arrogant attitude that American military dominance must win out in the end, has caused the Obama regime to continue support of anti-Assad rebels. This, despite a secret (leaked) report in 2013 by a joint U.S. army and intelligence group, which stated that the overthrow of Assad would result in catastrophic consequences, due to the U.S. government supported rebel groups being composed of jihadists intent on imposing Sharia law, and amalgamating with ISIS, to claim the country as part of the new caliphate. This report has been totally ignored by the Obama administration:

Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. The jihadists, he said, were in control of the opposition. Turkey wasn’t doing enough to stop the smuggling of foreign fighters and weapons across the border. ‘If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic,’ Flynn told me. ‘We understood Isis’s long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.’ The DIA’s reporting, he said, ‘got enormous pushback’ from the Obama administration. ‘I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.’ [1]

In contrast, the Russian leadership has recognised the chaos that would ensue throughout Syria if Assad were deposed, and has chosen to support the Assad regime. U.S. interests have made much propaganda from this fact, painting the Russian attitude as anti-West and accusing Vladimir Putin of fomenting another cold war. Putin is demonized as public enemy number one, when in fact the true enemies of freedom and democracy reside much closer to home – within Washington, D.C. and the U.S. government.

So-called “hawks” both inside and outside government have been pushing for U.S. control of the Middle East for many years. 9/11 was a dream come true for them as it provided the excuse to invade both Iraq and Afghanistan. The resulting rise in Islamic extremism, as both countries collapsed into anarchy, provided further excuses for attacking Libya, and now, Syria.

All these military interventions were carried out under the guise of “spreading American values of freedom and democracy.” It’s a sad fact that many Americans believe this propaganda, but the evidence belies it. America is hellbent on empire building. There are two reasons: to further strengthen its position in the world and open up new markets to its corporate interests, and to severely weaken Russia’s standing, and that of China and the upcoming superpower, India.

Russia has been in America’s sights since the end of WW2 and the U.S. was instrumental in the collapse of the Soviet Union by providing weaponry, including ‘Stinger’ missiles, to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan during the ten year Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s – a deliberate policy by the Reagan administration to manufacture a “Vietnam-style” bog-down of the Russians that would severely limit their capabilities elsewhere.

The recent diplomatic effort by John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, to produce a ceasefire in Syria is to be applauded. Without cooperation between the two nations this war is no more than a lethal chess game with the Syrian people as the pawns. Unfortunately, there are those who have no wish for a ceasefire to succeed. America’s recent bombing of Syrian army forces, ostensibly by mistake, may well have been a deliberate attempt by the Pentagon to thwart the ceasefire agreement.

Equally, the destruction of the aid convoy last week was a deliberate act purposed to thwart peace moves. America and Russia accused each other of being the perpetrator. One must ask who had most to gain? America is arming Syrian rebels in an attempt to bring about the overthrow of president Assad. Its media, and that of its allies, constantly demand, “Assad must go!”

Russia, on the other hand, has much to gain from ending the war with Assad still in power. It has a naval base at Tartus on the Mediterranean, leased to it by the Assad regime and has been an ally of the Syrian government since 1944. There would appear to be no logical reason for Russia to wreck the ceasefire, but powerful factions in Washington would be happy to see it sabotaged:

The Obama administration has proposed a new agreement on Syria to the Russian government that would deepen military cooperation between the two countries against some terrorists, in exchange for Russia getting the Assad regime to stop bombing US-supported rebels…Under the proposal, which was personally approved by President Obama and supported by Secretary of State John F. Kerry, the American and Russian militaries would cooperate at an unprecedented level, something the Russians have sought for a long time…

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter was opposed to this plan, officials said, but was ultimately compelled to go along with the president’s decision.

For many inside and outside the administration who are frustrated with the White House’s decision-making on Syria, the new plan is fatally flawed for several reasons. One administration official complained that the plan contains no consequences for the Russians or the Assad regime if they don’t hold up their end of the bargain. Fifty-one US diplomats signed a dissent letter this month calling on the White House to use targeted military force against the Assad regime as a means of increasing the pressure on Assad and giving the US real leverage. [2]

Certainly, in public Ashton Carter is ‘compelled to go along with the president’s decision’, but he’s a ‘hawk’ and an advocate of preventive war. There are known rifts between the Pentagon and Obama and in the chaos that is Syria ‘mistakes’ can be made, as evidenced by that convenient aerial attack on Assad’s forces – an act specifically called for by fifty-one (so-called) U.S. diplomats only two months ago.

The last thing America’s ‘hawks’ want is an alliance with Russia. They would utilise any measures they could get away with to prevent it happening.

While the U.S. media has already conveniently judged Russia to be the instigator of the attack on the aid convoy, thus persuading most Americans and much of the Western world it’s a foregone conclusion, the facts tend to point a finger in the opposite direction. Of course, the U.S. media has never dealt in facts. Opinion-givers (often erroneously referred to as ‘experts’) are the mainstay of its news organisations and an ideal format for the spread of propaganda.

The fate of Syria and its people hangs suspended between two powerful adversaries. In between is the jihadist nightmare of ISIS. If, as America’s hawks demand, Bashar-al-Assad is defeated, the result would be an escalation of civil war and the probable establishment of an ISIS-controlled government, with its accompaniment of torture, execution, and sexual enslavement. The only way to prevent it would be a huge U.S. force invading the country and taking control. That would initiate a serious conflict with Russia. Perhaps that’s what the ‘hawks’ have in mind, but it’s unlikely the American people would agree.

Whatever the eventual outcome in Syria, it’s the pawns that will lose out in the end.

[1] “Military to Military Seymour M. Hersh on US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war” London Review of Books, pages 11-14, January 7th 2016

[2] “Barack Obama plans new military alliance with Russia in Syria” Independent, June 30th 2016

Zeynab Alshelh Blames The French For Finding The Burkini Unwelcome

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Zeynab Alshelh is an Australian Muslim. She’s twenty-three years old and a medical student, who recently travelled over 9,000 miles to “show solidarity with local Muslim women” in the South of France. Clad in a ‘burkini’, she sauntered onto a beach near Nice and was apparently upset by the reaction of French people there.

According to a report by the BBC:

Ms Alshelh said she and her family travelled to France to learn more about the situation and see if there was “anything that we can do to help these girls just live a normal life”.
The video footage aired on the Channel 7 show Sunday Night [in Australia] showed a man threatening to call the police if they did not leave the beach in Villeneuve-Loubet.
Other beachgoers gesture at her or make disapproving comments.

“They weren’t happy with us being there, even though it was on the beach that the burkini ban was overturned,” Ms Alshelh said.
“It starts off at the beach and God knows where it ends.”
Ms Alshelh said the view that Muslim women who choose to cover their hair or face are oppressed was false.
“I just find it ridiculous,” she told Channel 7.
“It is a symbol of my faith, it is a symbol of my religion, it is a symbol of Islam and to go out there and wear the hijab, it helps people focus on what’s inside rather than what’s on the outside.” [1]

It seems that Ms Alshelh is perplexed by the reaction of the French beachgoers. Surely she might have expected it? Or, maybe the truth is that she fully knew what the reaction would be and deliberately provoked it?

France is a secular country and does not countenance blatant ‘symbols of religion’. Perhaps if she had been at the promenade in Nice on July 14th 2016 and witnessed the carnage of over eighty innocent people being slaughtered by a professed member of her ‘religion’, or in Paris on November 13th last year when one hundred and thirty were butchered in cold blood, she might not find the reaction she received so perplexing.

There are very few Muslims in the world who’ve publicly condemned the bloodthirsty antics of those who find the twisted ideology of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appealing, and her religion has been mostly silent when non-Muslim lives have been lost at the hands of these maniacal butchers.

When we who are not of your faith, Ms Alshelh, see you and your fellow Muslims marching united in the condemnation of ISIS; when we hear your voices echoing from the rooftops of your mosques defying the evil that has spawned from your Koran, and standing in solidarity with the victims of that evil; when you are prepared to throw aside your hijabs in comprehension of the dark atrocities they have come to represent to the non-Muslim world, then you will find yourself welcome on the beaches of France, and elsewhere.

Ms Alshelh says the hijab “helps people focus on what’s inside rather than what’s on the outside”. She’s wrong. The hijab has become a symbol of hate, terror, and evil injustice. Don’t blame the French people for that, Ms Alshelh, turn your anger instead on the perpetrators – those who’ve turned your holy garment into a vile, blood-stained, symbol.

Perhaps you should have given France a miss and travelled instead to the home of ISIS, to throw your burkini in the face of al-Baghdadi. But no, to do that would mean a tortuous death, or sexual enslavement.

At least in France you were only asked to leave the beach.

[1] “France burkini ban: Australian woman forced off Riviera beach” BBC, September 19th 2016

Libya: “David Cameron Ultimately Responsible For Failures,” Says U.K. Govt Report

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On Tuesday September 13th 2016, the British ex-Prime Minister, David Cameron, resigned his position as a member of the British Parliament and left politics completely. He cited his reason as not wishing to be “a distraction” to the government’s forthcoming agenda.

On Wednesday September 14th 2016, another much more far-reaching reason became apparent when a parliamentary foreign affairs committee report was published on the intervention in Libya by Britain and France in 2011. It’s conclusions were damning:

In March 2011, the United Kingdom and France, with the support of the United States, led the international community to support an intervention in Libya to protect civilians from attacks by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.

This policy was not informed by accurate intelligence. In particular, the Government failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element.

By the summer of 2011, the limited intervention to protect civilians had drifted into an opportunist policy of regime change. That policy was not underpinned by a strategy to support and shape post-Gaddafi Libya. The result was political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Gaddafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of ISIL in North Africa.

Through his decision making in the National Security Council, former Prime Minister David Cameron was ultimately responsible for the failure to develop a coherent Libya strategy. [1]

That was merely the opening summary of the report, which goes to on to lay much of the blame for the present situation in Libya on Cameron, and the French president of the time, Nicolas Sarkozy:

On 2 April 2011, Sidney Blumenthal, adviser and unofficial intelligence analyst to the then United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, reported this conversation with French intelligence officers to the Secretary of State:

According to these individuals Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following
issues:

a. A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,
b. Increase French influence in North Africa,
c. Improve his internal political situation in France,
d. Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,
e. Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi’s long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa.

The sum of four of the five factors identified by Sidney Blumenthal equated to the French national interest. The fifth factor was President Sarkozy’s political self-interest.

The story of intervention in Libya is a repeat of the intervention in Iraq in 2002-2003.

Intelligence on the extent to which extremist militant Islamist elements were involved in the anti-Gaddafi rebellion was inadequate. Former Chief of the Defence Staff Lord Richards of Herstmonceux confirmed that intelligence on the composition of the rebel militias was not “as good as one would wish.” He observed that “We found it quite difficult to get the sort of information you would expect us to get.” We asked Lord Richards whether he knew that Abdelhakim Belhadj and other members of the al-Qaeda affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group were participating in the rebellion in March 2011. He replied that that “was a grey area”. He added that “a quorum of respectable Libyans were assuring the Foreign Office” that militant Islamist militias would not benefit from the rebellion. He acknowledged that “with the benefit of hindsight, that was wishful thinking at best.”

The possibility that militant extremist groups would attempt to benefit from the rebellion should not have been the preserve of hindsight. Libyan connections with transnational militant extremist groups were known before 2011, because many Libyans had participated in the Iraq insurgency and in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda.

Bad intelligence, lies perpetrated by “a quorum of respectable Libyans” for their own ends (remember Chalabi & Co of Iraq?), no taking account of religious extremism, are all too reminiscent of the Iraq debacle. Only this time Britain and France were the instigators, although the U.S. fully supported the actions and, indeed, were instrumental in expanding the terms of U.N. Resolution 1973 from just a ‘no-fly zone’ to “all necessary measures” to prevent attacks on civilians.

In fact, the supposed attacks on civilians were never going to materialize. Although Gaddafi made terrible threats against those civilians in rebel-held areas, all the evidence suggests it was no more than Gaddafi-bluster:

Despite his rhetoric, the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence…Muammar Gaddafi’s 40-year record of appalling human rights abuses did not include large-scale attacks on Libyan civilians.

On 17 March 2011, Muammar Gaddafi announced to the rebels in Benghazi, “Throw away your weapons, exactly like your brothers in Ajdabiya and other places did. They laid down their arms and they are safe. We never pursued them at all.” Subsequent investigation revealed that when Gaddafi regime forces retook Ajdabiya in February 2011, they did not attack civilians. Muammar Gaddafi also attempted to appease protesters in Benghazi with an offer of development aid before finally deploying troops.

As in Syria, the so-called ‘rebels’ in Libya were composed of many factions, including large numbers of Islamic extremists with their own agenda. Rebel factions fed western media lies and fabrications that governments appeared only too happy to believe. This is almost certainly true of the civil war in Syria, also.

An Amnesty International investigation in June 2011 could not corroborate allegations of mass human rights violations by Gaddafi regime troops. However, it uncovered evidence that rebels in Benghazi made false claims and manufactured evidence. The investigation concluded that “…much Western media coverage has from the outset presented a very one-sided view of the logic of events, portraying the protest movement as entirely peaceful and repeatedly suggesting that the regime’s security forces were unaccountably massacring unarmed demonstrators who presented no security challenge.”

Regime change was definitely not part of U.N. Resolution 1973, but “one thing morphed almost ineluctably into the other” as the campaign developed its own momentum, said one of the committee’s expert witnesses, Chief of the Defence Staff Lord Richards:

He expressed his concern about the strategic direction of the campaign in March 2011:
During Benghazi, an increasingly influential set of people started saying, “If we’re really going to protect civilians, you’ve got to get rid of Gaddafi.” That is when I said, “Well, is that really sensible? What are we going to do if he goes?” and all the things that I had learned through bitter experience. That was rather ignored in the majority view, which was, “We need to get rid of him, simply to make sure we meet the political aim of preventing large-scale civilian loss of life.

When the then Prime Minister David Cameron sought and received parliamentary approval for military intervention in Libya on 21 March 2011, he assured the House of Commons that the object of the intervention was not regime change. In April 2011, however, he signed a joint letter with United States President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy setting out their collective pursuit of “a future without Gaddafi”.

All told, this report is a damning indictment of former Prime Minister David Cameron. In many ways he was as much at fault in his decision making over Libya as was ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair over Iraq.

Interventionism in the Middle East and Africa has been western (U.S.) policy for the last five decades. It has produced nothing but suffering and death for innocent people, numerous failed states, and the rise of Islamic extremism determined to hit back at Western nations it sees as invading infidels.

If Western leaders feel it necessary to intervene in civil wars within other countries they should, as a matter of necessity, formulate strict guidelines for rebuilding and restructuring as per the culture of the country and not, in their own cultural image. In Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and now Libya, neither of these factors was even considered.

Colin Powell once quoted a saying known as the Pottery Rule: “If you break it – you own it.” It was a reference to the Iraq War. Powell was wrong. You can’t own a country that wasn’t yours to start with, you can only subjugate it. The rule should be: “If you break it – you MEND it.”

David Cameron and other Western leaders have proved themselves expert at nation breaking, then walking away and leaving a mess behind in the vain hope that someone else might come along and fix it.

Invariably, those who do come along afterwards are only intent on rape, pillage, enslavement, and slaughter.

NOTE: All quotes in this article are from the recent U.K. House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee report: “Libya: Examination of intervention and collapse and the UK’s future policy options.” The report runs to forty-nine pages and should be read in full for a complete understanding of the factors (including deceptions) that led up to the intervention in Libya in 2011 and its resulting failures. A link to the report is provided below.

[1] “Libya: Examination of intervention and collapse and the UK’s future policy options” House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, September 2016.

Atlantic Bridge – Dead Or Merely Undercover?

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According to Liam Fox, Britain’s Minister for International Trade, “Britain is too lazy and too fat with businessmen preferring golf on a Friday afternoon to trying to boost the country’s prosperity…”

Judging from the belly hanging over that trouser belt, I guess it takes one to know one – as they say. Except, according to Innocent Drinks co-founder Richard Reed, Fox has never done a day’s business in his life:

“”He is a representative of us, of this country, and he turns round and slags us off, calling us fat and lazy,” he said on BBC Radio 4’s Today. “He’s never done a day’s business in his life.”
“He’s talking about business people here who were absolutely clear in saying that we want, and do export, and that’s why we do want to remain in the EU… I just think: ‘how dare he talk down the country that he damaged, how dare he’.
“He’s a terrible, terrible voice for British business.”
Mr Reed added that he’d “never played golf in [his] life”. [1]

It would seem that Theresa May’s government is in some disarray following her appointments of Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, and David Davies (all ardent supporters of the Brexit campaign) to government departments: the Foreign Office (Johnson), and two that never existed before – ‘International Trade’ (Fox) and ‘Exiting the European Union’ (Davies).

Fox and Johnson are already at each other’s throats over a letter sent by Fox to Johnson demanding the Foreign Office hand over some of its responsibilities (economic diplomacy) to Fox’s International Trade Department. Prime Minister May’s had to step in and separate them.

Liam Fox has been hand-in-glove with corporate interests in the United States for many years. His involvement with the now (ostensibly) defunct ‘Atlantic Bridge’ “charity” caused his forced resignation from David Cameron’s government in 2011:

In a speech to Atlantic Bridge members in New York in November 2002, Fox warned “the natural desire to avoid conflict has been reinforced by an innate pacificism in many sections of western society, especially in continental Europe”. He told his audience: “For too many, peace has come to mean simply the absence of war. We cannot allow that corrosive view to go unchallenged.”

Fox also used the speech to criticise the NHS, which he said had “responded to a funding increase of almost 11% with only a 2% increase in activity”.

He was preaching to the converted. The Atlantic Bridge’s addresses and conferences were all about promoting market liberalisation. A typical theme of one conference, held in both Los Angeles and Pittsburgh in July 2006, was entitled “Killing the Golden Goose – How Regulation and Legislation are Damaging Wealth Creation”. An earlier address in 2003 asked: “How Much Health Care Can We Afford?”

Members of the Galen Institute, a thinktank which promotes “freemarket ideas in health”, attended its conferences while the failed bank Lehman Brothers, sponsored at least one event, as did the powerful neocon thinktank the Heritage Foundation.

But in 2007 the Atlantic Bridge’s relationship with big business entered a new realm, one that threatens to pose uncomfortable questions for Cameron and his party. The organisation signed a special partnership with the American Legislative Council (Alec), whose motto is “Limited government, free markets, federalism”. [2]

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Liam Fox addressing members of Atlantic Bridge – 2011

Many other Tory powermongers were embroiled with ‘Atlantic Bridge’ (Margaret Thatcher was once its patron). As the Guardian article from 2011 continues:

Admittedly, senior Tory cabinet ministers had been scrambling to distance themselves from the Atlantic Bridge long before the scandal brought Fox down. The organisation’s website – and that of its sister charity across the Atlantic – has been dismantled. But old caches of the site reveal that, while [they were] shadow ministers, George Osborne [Brexit], Michael Gove [Brexit], Chris Grayling [Brexit] and William Hague [Eurosceptic, but U-turned in the home straight] were all on its advisory council alongside Fox, its UK chairman. All four stood down as awkward questions over its political activities, which contravened charity laws, resulted in the organisation being wound up. [my bold] [2]

One can only wonder why, given his past record, Theresa May allowed Liam Fox back into government. Unless, of course, she agrees with his views and is following a Thatcherite agenda.

It isn’t difficult to understand why Fox was so supportive of Brexit. He no doubt stands to be rewarded handsomely if he opens the door to American corporate interests in the U.K.. The National Health Service is a prime example. Its government man-in-charge, Jeremy Hunt, is just as keen on American privatization of the service as the U.S. insurance and medical services wolves slavering at the gate in anticipation of future financial killings within the U.K..

The British people might care to remember that in 1948 the Tory Party, then in opposition to a Labour government led by Clement Atlee, voted en masse against the establishment of the National Health Service. It’s taken nearly seventy years, but now they finally seem to be getting their way.

While ‘Atlantic Bridge’ is officially dead, ex-members are still busily working to fulfill its aims, both in Britain and the United States. U.K. and U.S. politics are tumbling headlong into the chasm of corporate power.

At this stage one can only wonder just how much worse it can all get.

[1] “Britain ‘too lazy and fat’, says Trade Secretary Liam Fox” BBC, September 10th 2016

[2] “Liam Fox’s Atlantic Bridge linked top Tories and Tea Party activists” Guardian, October 15th 2011