15 December 2019 — theplanningmotivedotcom
[I think this is an important piece of analysis, as far as it goes. WB]
In times of great disappointment and crisis, it is important to keep a level head, to analyse the situation coolly and calmly, and most importantly to extend one’s intellectual vision beyond the immediate. Johnson, the Tories and the media are all rejoicing in what they consider to be a resounding victory. Clearly, the capitalist class and their media united, that is as far as the façade of democracy would allow, around the narrative, that it would be better to have a hard Brexit than a Corbyn led government. Faced with the choice between a Brexit that would damage the economy, and an aroused and inspired working class, they obviously chose the former.
However, as we shall see, Johnson’s resounding victory is in fact a pyrrhic victory that will rebound on the Tories. There are three main reasons for this. Firstly, because many working-class Leave voters only “lent” the Tories their vote. Secondly, 52.5% of voters voted to stay or at least to hold another referendum. Three, the decaying world and British economy will crush Johnson’s oven baked pretensions.
Lending their votes to the Tories
Ask any canvasser in marginal constituencies and they share the same encounter, Labour voters who would be voting Tory this time round because of Brexit, but not in the future. Though Corbyn plays a role here, as does respect for the referendum result, the main factor was the argument that parliament was paralysed by Brexit and therefore unable to deal with issues like the NHS. In other words they wanted to clear the political logjam.
This poses particular problems for Johnson, because when voters lend a party their vote, the threshold for disappointment is very low. Boris Johnson boasts about having renegotiated the exit deal in under a 100-days. It’s easy and quick to negotiate a worser deal. Anyone even Pepper the personal robot could have done so. The art lies in negotiating a better deal. Johnson’s deal is merely a tweaked May deal, but one which has shattered the Conservative and Unionist Party because it erects a customs border between England and Ireland. It was always going to be the case, that should Britain leave, it would be on the basis of the original May Deal which Johnson has now edited and claims as his own.
Should the future negotiations turn out to be more complicated and damaging than Mr Johnson’s “oven ready” deal implies, this will rebound on him. Should they fall below the lofty expectations he has raised, this will rebound on him. Should the gas needed to heat the oven fail, this will rebound on him. Like all populists, Mr Johnson is playing a dangerous game, one which can easily turn supporters into opponents when they realise they have been hoodwinked.
This is why I have always said that populists are like sparklers. They burn bright, furiously and then go out. Johnson is such a person. He has made promises he will break as quickly and as easily as they were made. Mr Johnson’s honeymoon period is likely to be measured in months.
The Remainers have it
The archaic and vindictive “first past the post” electoral system, so beloved by the bourgeoisie because it simplifies their dictatorship, is fundamentally undemocratic. It gives a voice to the largest party at the expense of the smaller parties and it obscures voting patterns. The reality is that 52.5% of those who voted, either voted for a party advocating another referendum or to remain. Only 47.5% of those who voted, voted for an immediate exit. All voting figures below are in millions.
The polls since Brexit were correct, the tide has turned against Brexit, though this is obscured by the first past the post system. 1.6 million voters separate the Remainers from the Leavers, and if we translate that into the Referendum turnout, this represents a shift of 9% from +4% voting to Leave then to +5% voting to Remain now. It is thus politically legitimate to stand against Brexit by all and every means. Boris Johnson may have a legal mandate, but he does not have the popular mandate to get Brexit done, and for that reason he must be considered an illegitimate Prime Minister. Seems he shares more than just blond hair with Trump.
In practical terms once again, his position is precarious. His big majority means he cannot shift blame. As Johnson hits the inevitable barriers and delays, as his timetable and projections are exposed as childishly foolish even riddled with duplicity, this lack of a popular mandate will undermine his authority. The shift of 9% between 2016 and 2019 will grow and the political lava flowing from this expanding chasm will no doubt lead to a PM hardly seen in public and offering even less leadership. Johnson has ignited a low grade civil war. As the Remainers become angered by the loss of their jobs and homes because of Brexit, and as the Leavers become demoralised by the lack of improvements to their lives, Johnson will be skewered. He may wish he never became Prime Minister.
Global economic conditions.
“Fifty-six percent of U.S. companies indicate they are taking steps to prepare for a recession. Among these firms, 59% are strengthening their balance sheets, 58% are reducing costs, 49% are increasing liquidity, and 31% are scaling back or delaying investment.” (Duke University Survey of Chief Financial Officers 11th December 2019) https://www.fuqua.duke.edu/duke-fuqua-insights/cfo-survey-half-us- cfos-expect-recession-2020-election-looms These Directors are clearly less optimistic than Johnson with his verbal confetti describing the fantastic future that awaits a newly liberated Britain. Nowhere is this more ridiculous than with his priceless claim, that there was £150 billion of new investment patiently sailing in the Thames Estuary waiting for Brexit to be completed. Yes, you folks in the North East and the Midlands, private investors are waiting to inject as much investment into the economy as Labour’s Manifesto promised. The only difference was, while the media ridiculed Labour’s pledges as pie in the sky, they allowed Boris to get away with his lie.
It was worth beginning with the USA because it is the heart of the global financial bubble. 40% of global fictitious capital is found there. I previously quoted the Hussman Report which projected a future bleaker than after 1929. https://wordpress.com/post/theplanningmotive.com/1094 I am glad to announce that more and more Wall Street analysists, forced to reveal their perspectives for the next decade, now concur.
Yesterday the New York FED pledged to pump half a trillion dollars into the money markets during the second half of December to keep the bubble inflated. Currently the FED is pumping more money into the markets in a given period then it did after the 2008 crash. (F.T. 14th December Fed Gears Up to Double Its Repo Interventions.) The FED’s behaviour is reminiscent of the pharmaceutical industry’s approach to cancer. Substitute the bubble for a tumour and what the FED is doing, is treating capitalism as though it has a chronic illness because it has no cure. The result is a system that is slowly dying, and whose death can only be delayed by larger and larger infusions of liquidity.
And if that is true for God’s Own Country, then how much truer is it for Born Again Britain. Britain’s prospects and finances are in a poorer shape than the US. In a previous article linked here there is an analysis of UK profitability, government finances and the balance of trade, so this analysis need not be repeated here. https://theplanningmotivedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/for-the-many- and-the-few-pdf.pdf Suffice to say, the £24 billion “money tree” projected to smooth the Brexit transition will have been eaten away by the end of this financial year as the UK budget deficit grows.
The Labour Manifesto promised much and would have delivered little. The Tory Manifesto promised little and will deliver much. It will deliver much more of the plague rolling across the country leaving death and misery in its wake – austerity. Far from the period of austerity being at and end it will continue as government finances deteriorate. Johnson will throw some high profile money at the NHS even as it is privatised, but for everything else, there will be further cuts. Those who lent him their votes, mainly the elderly and those in deprived regions, will be rewarded with a kick in the teeth, that is if they live long enough or are well enough to notice it. It seems that workers have to always learn the most bitter of lessons when they engage with the Toffs. Behind the façade of “getting it done”, it will be the working class that is done over.
Yes there was foreign interference in the British Election
No, it was not Russian, it was Israeli. The weaponization or politicisation of anti-Semitism is going to backfire and hurt the Jewish community. Those Zionist Labour MPs, Rabbis, the Jewish Bored of Deputies, the Jewish Labour Movement and others have opened Pandora’s Box. When Boris’s project goes sour, and we will not have to wait years for this, those duped by it will need to find a scapegoat. This is particularly true of the marginalised sections of the working class who will be demoralised by deepening poverty and small business-people driven bankrupt. That scapegoat will once again be the Jews.
These real anti-Semites will turn around and say we told you so, it is the Jews who control politics. (A note on language. Here I am using the phraseology of anti-Semitism which does not include Zionists only the Jews.) Day in and day out we saw the Jews filling our screens with the spectre of anti- Semitism. And they will add, were it not for the Jews rubbishing Jeremy Corbyn making him and the Labour Party unelectable, I may have voted Labour and thus been in a better place. It was the Jews who robbed me of my future.
Will the Israeli Embassy own up to its role in fostering this anti-Semitism, which would have been contained had Labour led by an anti-racist won? Of course not. Its prime directive is to create the conditions which drive Jews to seek sanctuary in Israel. The price paid by the Jewish Community for being used as politic pawns in this election will be their potential exile in a foreign country – Israel.
Of course it is one of the most shameful moments in British political history, that a veteran anti-racist fighter has been successfully cast as an anti-Semite by the racists themselves. According to the Israeli Democratic Institute two-thirds of Jews consider themselves to be “god’s chosen people” who has gifted them the “holy land”, first inhabited by the Canaanites and latterly by the Palestinians. This represents a thoroughly racist world outlook.
No other event better describes the toxic cultural environment that exists in Britain today than this Dreyfuss event, literally the stink released by the decay of capitalism. But Corbyn has only himself to blame. Corbyn was an accidental leader, one who admittedly inspired a movement, but who never earned his colours in the boxing ring. At the outset he shouldn’t have tried to appease the Zionists, simply because they could not be appeased. The charges of anti-Semitism was merely a deflection from the real concern, a change in Britain’s foreign policy towards the Middle East. This could not be allowed. Support for the West’s “hammer” in the Middle East, Israel, had to remain unconditional and robust. Corbyn could not be trusted to do this.
Had Corbyn stood up to the Zionists and framed it as protecting the Jewish community against the politicisation of anti-Semitism, he would have earned the respect of millions and silenced the media and his opponents. Instead he capitulated, tolerating the expulsion of tens of the best activists in the party who had been smeared and targeted by the Zionists, when all they were guilty of, was supporting the Palestinians in their just struggle against Zionist oppression. In the end Corbyn himself paid the price for his misleadership and political cowardice.
Two tragedies befell the Jews in the 20th Century. The first was the holocaust, and the second the State of Israel. The state of Israel, a stolen land, has turned many if not most Jews into Oppressors. We have now seen the result of the defence of the indefensible, Zionist smears which disabled a good and decent man, and, which has added another stain on British politics, sitting alongside the many produced by Britain’s cruel imperial past.
The power of propaganda
The ideological struggle is paramount. Against it, the physical struggle pales into less significance. A minority who rule a majority, knows this is best done through consent, through the fight for hearts and minds. That is why Marx called the ruling ideas in society, the ideas of the ruling class. The minority knows that when the majority no longer trusts nor respects them, when they have formed their own independent class view of the world, and, have started to resent the world made for them by the minority, then unless the minority can break the majority through terror, their days are numbered. And this must be seen on a world scale. Only if class peace rules in the imperialist world, can they lend assistance to repressing struggles in other parts of the world.
Through propaganda the minority seeks to turn workers against their own interest and against each other. And they have succeeded admirably in this election. After ten years of bitter and brutal austerity, they have convinced enough workers to vote and keep their tormentors in power. Many gullible workers have not only volunteered their necks to the guillotine, they have pulled the rope themselves.
Some are calling this the most crooked election since the second world war, no doubt provoked by the most radical left-wing manifesto since the war. It was crooked. The media is owned by tax dodging billionaires, while the state broadcaster, the BBC, was restructured in 1926 as the Bosses Broadcasting Corporation dedicated to duping and doping the masses. This is nothing new. During the Great Miners’ Strike in the 1980s, the BBC was accused by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as being North Korean in their coverage of the strike.
The bias was obvious. The media lapped up the staged appearances by Boris Johnson while seldom showing Corbyn being swamped by supporters around the country. The same lies were repeated over and over again intended to make the clown electable and the man of the people unelectable. And they got away with it. Especially with the elderly, the grey vote who in large numbers suffer from the Stockholm syndrome, that is they identify with their kidnappers, in this case their television sets which are their main window to the world. Without them there would never be a Tory government nor would Brexit have happened.
The art of politics is propaganda. This is the lesson the leadership of the Labour Party did not heed. Not because they were incapable, but because their project of protecting capitalism from itself hobbles them. And also because they consider the LP to be a broad church which necessitates placating the right in order to keep them in the tent. So they fight with decorum or better still, with their hands tied behind their backs, less they offend. And they always lose. The right, which has invariably been a minority in the party, but who as careerists infiltrate and then occupy the upper ranks of the party, has always been the rudder which has corrected the course of the Labour Party. No doubt that will be the case now when the PLP retakes the party and archives the Manifesto.
The Lexiteers, Aaron Banks “useful idiots” get their come-uppance
The above quote and its reference can be found by following this link https://wordpress.com/post/theplanningmotive.com/983 There are no accurate statistics about how big the Lexit vote was and whether it would have altered the result were the Lexiteers to have become Lemainers in 2016. The more important observation is that after 2008 the terms of reference for leaving Europe changed for ever. Here an analogy will suffice. Two people meet in the street and money changes hands. But in the first case it is offered voluntarily, in the second it is extorted by a mugger. Two different realities. The same applies to 2008.
The referendum was the product of 2008. It was part of the centrifugal and destructive forces unleashed by a capitalism in crisis that always ends in reaction. It was a narrow nationalistic (chauvinistic) response to the financial crisis which fractured the international solidarity of the working class. It was always going to be toxic and those who claim to be leaders of the workers movement such as Dennis Skinner and the SWP should have had nothing to do with it. Lexit was an abomination after 2008 and Banks was quite right to brand the Lexiteers “useful idiots”. I think Lenin would have endorsed that. Instead of sinking the Tories as the SWP predicted it has strengthened the Tories.
Has the SWP learnt the correct lesson? Of course not. This organisation is always right. “The Lexit position of fighting for a workers’ Brexit was derided by many in Labour, but it was right.”(https://socialistworker.co.uk/art/4937/After+the+election%2C+keep+up+the+fight+against+Tory+rule) What damns the SWP position is the 9% shift in the vote from Leave to Remain which the SWP cannot acknowledge and which underscores the shift in the Labour’s position towards supporting a second referendum.
What would have happened had Labour not called for a second confirmatory referendum? Let us see. Hmmm, they would have still lost the 6% of voters in Leave areas and not gained the 3% in Remain areas because the Tories were the better Brexiteers. The Lib Dems would have filled the vacuum and the Tories would have still won by a landslide. But this kind of reasoning is beyond the political-simpletons who lead the SWP.
But there is more. This election has intensified nationalism in Ireland, Scotland and even Wales. There is the prospect of a real disintegration of the United Kingdom. It cannot even be ruled out that the most radical Scottish nationalists will not take up arms against Westminster. Where does it end Mr and Mrs Lexiteer? Will the North of England cede from London? Once you get on that nationalistic ship, it will steer from reactionary port to reactionary port leaving a trail of shit behind it.
The SWP can continue to ally itself with the most reactionary elements of the working class. We need to focus on the most progressive elements, those who believe in European solidarity and have not been degraded culturally and politically by austerity. Unless we do all will be lost.
The way forward.
Corbyn and Macdonald will or have resigned. The Manifesto will be archived. The PLP will reassert itself. The media will help in reshaping the Labour Party and it will ensure that all the wrong lessons are learnt, specifically that a radical Labour Party always loses elections. Tens of thousands of members will leave the Party. Organisations like Socialist Appeal will be squeezed.
What we are dealing with is a failure of leadership. When the LP membership surge occurred a few years ago, Corbyn and Macdonald should have engaged with the new members by mobilising them against the Blairite rump suffocating the party. There is a saying, that when trying to walk from point A to point B with your shoelaces tied together, it is best to take the time to untangle your shoelaces.
The new leadership should have asserted itself immediately. They should have introduced the mandatory reselection of all MPs. Made all officials subject to re-election. All party officers’ appointments to be political not commercial. Momentum should have been democratised not controlled by that hack Lansman. From this internal civil war the Labour party would have emerged stronger and more unified. Instead the broad church ethos prevailed again, because in the end, Labour is an electoral party, not a party based on mass struggle. It is incapable of fundamental reform.
Macdonald should not have projected the Manifesto as the most radical ever when it was not that radical, merely returning Britain to the European fold. Had it been presented that way originally, rather than latterly, it would have been more accepted. But that is water under the bridge.
In the end the bourgeoisie may rue the day it settled for that political clown Johnson. The Labour Party was and always is the handbrake holding back the class struggle. In the coming financial and economic storms their media may seek to rehabilitate the Labour Party, all the better to control a working class fighting for its survival. The period ahead, despite Johnson’s massive victory remains one of left reformism. Were it not for Brexit, we would have a Labour Government in office today.
The question is what the left should do now. It is quite clearly in disarray. It has lost its hold on the Labour Party for the time being. Groups like Socialist Appeal will find the Labour Party inhospitable though they will elect to stay. The SWP will continue to meander in its silly sectarian way. Will a new organisation or left grouping come in to being, comprising the refugees from the Labour Party? It is too early to say.
Political time will speed up. Convulsions lie ahead. Can the central banks continue to breathe life into the ailing capitalist system? Unlikely. Johnson will have the briefest of honeymoons and has already confused a freezer for a bunker. To those who argued we need to put all our political eggs in the Labour Party in the hope they hatched, this election debacle shows there is no substitute for building a revolutionary party armed with a revolutionary programme, but one which is always prepared to engage in United Fronts with the Labour Party when events demand and allow for them.
Brian Green, 15th December 2019.