Sir Keir Starmer (left) and his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn
British newspaper, The Independent, May 3:
Starmer warned expelling Nato-sceptic MPs could spark Labour civil war
The Labour leader hinted he could take action against MPs questioning the party’s ‘unshakeable support’ for the alliance.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been warned he could ignite a civil war in his party if he follows through with threats to expel Nato-sceptic MPs.
He told Times Radio on Tuesday he will be “very clear and firm” with MPs questioning the party’s “unshakeable support” for the military alliance.
“We’ve been very clear about the expectations of our Members of Parliament when it comes to issues like antisemitism, when it comes to the false equivalence that some argue between Russian aggression and the acts of Nato,” he said.
Well he gets one thing right. Those who argue that “Russian aggression” and “the acts of Nato” – which is to say, the will of Washington – are as bad as one another are indeed trading a false equivalence. As I argued in Ukraine in La La Land:
Russia and China … have a record of invasion which pales into insignificance – whether reckoned by frequency, scale, duration or distance from their borders – at side of Britain’s, France’s and above all America’s.
On his blogsite yesterday – Biden Wanted $33B More For Ukraine. Congress Quickly Raised it to $40B. Who Benefits? – Glenn Greenwald says:
“the U.S. spends more than ten times on its military what Russia spends on its military each year; indeed, the U.S. spends three times more than the second-highest military spender, China, and more than the next twelve countries combined.”
Given that America faces zero threat, by any foreign power, to its people – not to be confused with a challenge to its exceptionalist ‘right’ to plunder the planet on behalf of the big investors who truly rule the USA – this is a telling statistic. 1
As head of the Crown Prosecution Service, Sir Keir oversaw the hounding for Washington of the most important of this century’s many whistle-blowers. This truth PM Boris Johnson blurted out – without naming Julian Assange – in a rowdy exchange during that weekly sitcom, Prime Minister’s Questions. It was ignored by a media establishment which found it less implicating, given its own feeble defence of independent journalism, to focus on the second part of Bojo’s gibe: that as CPS Chief, Starmer had protected paedophiles. The PM meant Jimmy Savile.
And as contender for the Labour leadership – the previous incumbent having been ousted by a media onslaught unprecedented in scale and unrelenting baseness – Starmer promised party unity and an end to factionalism. Hence the Independent’s quoting Mish Rahman of Momentum (an allegedly Left faction within the party):
Keir ran on a platform to end factionalism, unite the Labour Party and defeat the Tories. But after months of attacks on the Left, this anti-democratic move would spell the end of the Labour Party as we know it … There is absolutely no mandate within Labour for such divisive, authoritarian action in the party, and we would fight it all the way.
I’ll believe that last claim when I see it. The piece goes on to speak of eleven Labour MPs:
… including left-wingers Diane Abbott and John McDonnell – who signed a Stop The War Coalition statement critical of Nato at the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The statement said Nato “should call a halt to its eastward expansion”.
The Independent closes with a factual observation, shameful but accurate, on the Labour Left:
After being threatened with the removal of the whip, all the names were withdrawn, with a party spokesperson saying the move showed Labour was “under new management” with Sir Keir.
Something tells me, therefore, that my reasons for rejecting a false equivalence between Russia and Nato are not what Starmer has in mind.
Hold that thought, will you?
Just yesterday Caitlin Johnstone wrote:
The US doesn’t have political parties, it has narrative control ops disguised as political parties. One of them overtly promotes capitalism and imperialism by appealing to Americans’ worst impulses, the other covertly diverts healthy impulses back into capitalism and imperialism.
An elephant and a donkey fight in a puppet show and the crowd cheers for one or the other while thieves pick their pockets. And when people start to notice their wallets are missing, they’re told they can stop the pickpocketing by cheering louder for their favorite puppet.
People ask why the Democrats never codified Roe vs Wade into law, and the answer is, because that’s not their job. Their job is not to enact the policies you elected them to enact. Their job is not even to win elections. Their job is to keep you staring at the puppet show while the empire has its way with the world.
America’s is an extreme case since, last I heard, the cost of a US election is north of $2 billion. Which means, to be pedantically clear, that it is impossible to be a serious contender without the backing of a huge segment of the US ruling class.
Britain is slightly less obviously ruled by an oligarchy, but assuredly has its own checks and balances to keep ‘democracy’ from getting carried away with itself. For my money the biggest of those checks – as set out in Britain decides! – is provided by corporate media:
I can think of no more cogent argument for insisting that Western democracy is ninety-five percent bogus than that (a) democracy implies consent, (b) consent is meaningless if not informed, and (c) informed consent implies truly independent media. That last we do not have when they are [as Chomsky says] “large corporations selling privileged audiences to other corporations”.
But in extremis, should media controls fail, the UK government is Her Majesty the Queen’s. She may dismiss it by royal fiat, backed by armed forces whose oath of loyalty is not to the British people – their status that of Crown subjects, not citizens – but again to HM the Q.
What’s that you say: mere pageantry, dear boy; good old English quirkery? In business-as-usual times, yes. But should things get edgy on the class war front, do you suppose such cards would not be played? More fool you!
But let me finish where I began, on that proposal to silence criticism of Nato. Do you suppose having evidence to back claims of its culpability over Ukraine would halt a member’s expulsion? If the post Corbyn record on weaponising both the “antisemitism” and “transphobia” charges are anything to go on, all the evidence in the world damning Nato will count for sweet FA.
As I’ve observed before, postmodernism has found its logical resting place in a post truth era.
* * *
- I further recommend the Greenwald piece for its insights into the fast revolving door between Capitol and military industrial complex. Before Biden made him Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin had sat on the Board of Raytheon – up there with Lockheed-Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman as one of the top four US arms makers. Now we learn that:
“by transferring so much military equipment to Ukraine, the U.S. has depleted its own stockpiles, necessitating their replenishment with mass government purchases. One need not be a conspiracy theorist to marvel at the great fortune of this industry, having lost their primary weapons market just eight months ago when the U.S. war in Afghanistan finally ended, only to now be gifted with an even greater and more lucrative opportunity to sell their weapons by virtue of the protracted and always-escalating U.S. role in Ukraine. Raytheon, the primary manufacturer of Javelins along with Lockheed, has been particularly fortunate that its large stockpile, no longer needed for Afghanistan, is now being ordered in larger-than-ever quantities by its former Board member, now running the Pentagon, for shipment to Ukraine. Their stock prices have bulged nicely since the start of the war.”