IDS and sleaze: the view from Hong Kong

15 Nov

Though of the left, I often find it useful to read and at times promote centrist media outside the North America-Western Europe axis where almost all our opinions, on places we couldn’t locate on a map to save our lives, are manufactured.

One example is al-Monitor, another Russia Today. This week I came across Hong Kong based FridayEveryday.com, which describes itself as:

a group of friends from Hong Kong who want to present our beloved city and country through the eyes of people who live here. We celebrate cultural diversity, promote peace, and share evidence-driven, factual insights … We like math! Just two places, the United States (4.7% of the world’s population) and Western Europe (2.52%), are overwhelmingly dominant news sources for the planet, containing all three major news agencies, plus all the major newspapers and news TV channels. The rest of us, more than 90% of humanity, feel our points of view should not be excluded.

I’ve just this morning read two of its pieces. The first, on Iain Duncan Smith, is short enough to replicate in full.

Hong Kong’s biggest critic named in UK sleaze probe

Hong Kong’s biggest critic is under pressure after being caught up in the “Tory sleaze” crackdown in the UK. Iain Duncan Smith is facing questions about taking £25,000 a year for a “second job” advising a huge sanitizer company—while making decisions that benefited it.

He chaired a UK government taskforce which recommended use of alcohol-free hand sanitisers but his report failed to mention his relationship with the company that provides the UK National Health Service with 92 per cent of that product.

He’ll get little sympathy from Hong Kong. Sir Iain, who likes to be known as IDS, has been a relentless source of often wildly inaccurate allegations about Hong Kong. While a significant number of the people charged with rioting or throwing petrol bombs have been given lenient sentences or even found not guilty, Sir Iain paints Hong Kong as a lawless place where guilt is pre-determined for every arrested person.

“They are going to find them guilty anyway,” he told the UK parliament. “Imprisonment for 10 years to life is now the norm.” Sir Iain also told parliament, without evidence, that “Uyghur massacres” were taking place, going further even than the extreme US allegations about the Chinese minority.

While few people doubt that China, following a series of terrorist attacks, keeps a heavy hand on Uyghur extremists in Xinjiang, few countries have backed US claims which require a re-defining of the word “genocide”.

Duncan Smith is a friend of Benedict Rogers of Hong Kong Watch.

And the other piece? That’s longer and far more momentous. I’m reserving it for a dedicated post.

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4 Replies to “IDS and sleaze: the view from Hong Kong

  1. The vineyard of the Saker can also be a useful source of analysis and insight, and, as with many such sources, it’s possible to occasionally find the odd further useful link supplied in a below the line contribution.

    I read this morning reports of what comes across in the narrative sub text as a Biden-Xi mini summit instigated by the US. Which a cynic might well interpret as an attempt to keep matters calm on one front as a prelude to, let’s say, more actively dealing with another front? An easy jump to make given the current tensions in Ukraine (with US naval exercises taking place in the Black Sea) and the Polish-Belarus border. Not forgetting the bellicose recent headlines in the Western dead sea scroll media pushing for war with Russia* over the recent so called ‘Rememberance’ weekend.

    Headlines which seem more attuned towards public consumption aimed at winding up hysteria levels rather than anything grounded in practical reality.

    As noted in this BTL link from a recent Saker article:

    https://whiskeyandgunpowder.com/posts/it-failed-miserably-what-if-the-us-lost-a-war-and-nobody-noticed

    Which provides the kind of rare insight which barely registers in what passes for the fourth estate in the West. Detailing the severe limitations of US capabilities, military, culturally, socially, economicall and technologically:

    “And look at it this way. It’s not as if the U.S. ever had a series of national referenda on 30 years of continuous warfare. In fact, the past three decades of war overseas were based on the geopolitical ideas of a relatively small, self-perpetuating cabal of elite elected players and policy wonks, in Washington and various brain-tanks.”

    Conclusions which were evident even forty years ago when exercising amongst that military.

    * Two examples will suffice. The Sun, who else, ran a front page colour graphic of how a redeployment of some NATO unit would in the near future deploy a yet to be developed and successfully tested hypersonic missile travelling at Mach17 which would ‘nuke Moscow’ in X number of minutes. Given the Russians already have such capabilities with no adequate Western defence, so we are told, one wonders why half the cities across Europe and the US are not already either smouldering wastelands or, alternatively, occupied by victorious Russian troops. What are they waiting for?

    And, of course, yesterday’s Daily Mail which on page two ran with the headline that the current equivalent of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick should prepare for, presumably imminent, ‘war with Russia.’

    Taking ‘creating your own reality’ to bubble bursting levels.

    If it weren’t for the supply chain problems I’d be getting the popcorn in.

    • It’s not as if the U.S. ever had a series of national referenda on 30 years of continuous warfare.

      In a nutshell, the chimera – made cherished ‘truth’ by frequency of repetition – of Western democracy.

  2. I think we should stop referring to “Western Democracy” and start calling it what it is – ‘Western Oligarchy’.

    It seems very clear that the US Senate and HoR are filled mainly by people who are funded by, and in hock to, the large Arms, Oil, Pharma, Insurance and etc. firms. It’s perhaps not so clear cut in the rest of the ‘west’, but they are not too far away from the US example either.

    The proof of the pudding is of course the adage that “if voting really changed anything, it would be abolished”. We still have the same elitist power structure, based on land and share ownership that we had 100 years (the autocorrect said ‘tears’ and I was tempted to let it stand) ago – see the likes of the ‘Duke of Westminster’ and J. Rees-Mogg etc.

    Time we called this fiction out and addressed the reality.

    • No quarrel from me over that, Jams. I tend to use the d-word wrapped in quote marks because I try to reach a wider audience than that ready to accept the truth of oligarchy.

      (Though this too has its problems. Overuse of inverted commas can, like overuse of sarcasm and heavy irony, make one look a tad unhinged – sarcasm being the classic discourse of paranoia.)

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