UK election: the fox and henhouse

28 Jun

Two days ago I wrote of …

…. mealymouthed and regally ignorant pomposity from a man of whom, within narrow limits and paired with caveats and disclaimers, I often write approvingly …

… while further unflattering descriptions were added by self and others below the line. 1  The target of our ire was the accountant, tax specialist and modern monetary pundit, Professor Richard Murphy. And the mealy-mouthed pomposity? That would be his stupefyingly smug ignorance – there’s a lot of it about, you know – in respect of Julian Assange.

On his Funding the Future blog yesterday, apropos an item in the weekly e-bulletin of that dire but useful mouthpiece, The Economist, 2 I wouldn’t go so far as to say he redeemed himself. Too big an ask. He did remind me though why, despite crippling limits to his worldview – one such, shared by Owen Jones and George Monbiot, being a dismaying blindness to the reality of US Empire – I refuse to throw baby out with bathwater.

That Economist  news item I’d read myself, and for two seconds considered penning my own response, only to conclude I had other fish to fry, like Israel’s economic meltdown and (out soon) the failed Bolivian coup the day before.

Well now. Richard has not only done the job for me, but made a good fist of it. I’m damned if he hasn’t gone and took the words yours truly would have uttered right out of yours truly’s fat gob!

The foxes … have taken over the chicken run

June 28 2024

The Economist magazine has declared itself for Labour in this election. In an email sent this morning by its editor, it declared the reason for its support:

Since 2020 Sir Keir Starmer has transformed Labour, expelling his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, rooting out many of his fellow travellers and dragging the party away from radical socialism.

It added:

Sir Keir has also correctly identified Britain’s single biggest problem: its stagnant productivity.

Then it expressed its hesitation:

The question is whether he will be a sufficiently bold reformer to overcome it.

So, Starmer is a good Labour leader for having destroyed the Labour Party its membership wanted.

Then the UK’s biggest problem is not the NHS, social care, education, inequality, climate change or the myriad other things destroying the quality of life in the UK. No, the big problem is that the return to capital on labour employed is not big enough.

And The Economist’s only doubt is whether Starmer can deliver the required increase in the return to capital, at cost to working people, the environment, and so much else.

The foxes really do look like they have taken over the chicken run. And millions of people are going to vote for the slaughter that will ensue. I despair.

All good. But Richard’s alternative is to vote Green. 3 In this he betrays a second defect in his worldview, the notion that ours is a democracy as opposed to a creditor oligarchy. A third, less immediately germane – but painfully apparent from his hook, line and sinker absorption of fact-defiant narratives on Ukraine no less than on Julian Assange – is a touching faith in the ability of corporate media to speak truth to power when it really matters.

All the more depressing given how tantalisingly close he gets, here and in other incisive posts, to the nature of class war when only one side, like in the Leonard Cohen song, is aware of the fact.

* * *

  1. If you think my talk of “mealy-mouthed pomposity” a tad strong, wait till you read Dave (“the Merciless”) Hansell’s likening of the professor to John McEnroe!
  2. Dire but useful? As I put it on June 3 in a take-down of a particularly offensive piece:

    For years I’ve kept a careful eye on The Economist. Not because I take it seriously. Its decade of doomsaying on the “imminent” economic collapse of China, reflecting a childish inability to sift how it wants things to be from how they truly are, makes that a literal impossibility. But rather like The Guardian, The Economist  can at times feature useful and interesting pieces on matters not fundamentally threatening to power. More importantly, I like to know what the Devil is up to.

  3. I’m of the view that German Green Party warmonger Annalena Baerbock is the wholly predictable product of at least two of the three ideological flaws I lay at Richard Murphy’s door. One is failure to locate environmental trashing – like the vilifying of Vladimir Putin, flirting with nuclear Armageddon and a very, very long list of other evils – in the logic of capital in the age of imperialism. (That last now on the cusp of a tectonic shift both to be welcomed and posing great danger.) The other is the delusional belief – I’m being kind here to Ms Baerbock – in parliamentary processes.

16 Replies to “UK election: the fox and henhouse

  1. I’m not sure the fox metaphor works well with the oligarch’s current front man in the UK.

    Unless something really bizarre occurs I suspect we are all going to have to get used to Starmer’s permanently fixed frightened rabbit in a headline expression in the coming period.

    Though, to be frank, I’m not sure what the Country has done to deserve such a fate.

    Perhaps someone like this character is pulling the strings?

    • I didn’t read RM’s the fox (in the chicken run) as a reference to Starmer but to the ruling class in whose name he took over the Labour Party. I don’t sufficiently recall the Jamaican Patois tales as encountered in my (white working class) infancy. I dare say they were bowdlerised anyway, so I can’t say how Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit got on …

    • “Starmer’s permanently fixed frightened rabbit in a headline expression”

      Exactly how Starmer always struck me. But credit where it’s due: I never thought anyne could have less charisma than Tony Blair. But there you go.

  2. Well Dave the millions of fools who are going to vote him in next week deserve what’s coming to them, but you’re right in that the rest of us don’t.

      • I disagree Phil. If their eyes are wide open, then it’s beyond folly and there’s no excuse for voting for this willing accomplice in the crimes of empire.
        Some people say – oh but there are some good labour MPs – I think that’s bollocks. No person of conscience should want to be anywhere near this rancid shower. I can’t help thinking for some it’s not a bad little earner, quite a comfy life being an MP, perks and all.
        It’s not only a terrible betrayal of the Palestinians and all the other victims of empire across the globe, it’s also the equivalent of punching yourself in the face every morning when you wake up.
        My own view is that “democracy” is a busted flush, the rich will stay rich and the poor will always struggle and suffer under a parliamentary system. I’ll probably never vote again.
        Anyway goodnight all.

    • Margaret,

      The lack of realistic choices is likely to result in a record low turn out (spoiled papers and not bothering to turn up to vote) which exceedibg the approx. 17 million from the Blair years.

      And we could see some surprises.

      For example: Farage’s chances in Clacton may well be improved if pissed off Labour voters in that Constituency react badly to their effective disenfranchisement by the Starmer led Labour Party who pulled the LP candidate out of the Constituency to campaign elsewhere and denied local constituency members access to the Contact Creator (something I received training to use back in 2018) and other campaigning data they rely on for effective canvassing:

      An act which is not limited to Clacton but which has been repeated in dozens of other Constituencies:

      Much is being made about how much money is being raised by the LP during the campaign compared to other party’s. However, this ignores two key factors. Firstly, the admitted (in Party emails to members) £17 million gap with the Blue Tory’s from 2023.

      And secondly, as the civilian court jester pretending to be a president in Kiev is finding out, money is no good when you don;t have the campaigning boots on the ground.

      This is where Starmer and the LP are struggling. It is why they are having to pull depleted personnel campaigning resources, including candidates, out of their own Constituencies to campaign in more winnable seats leaving Labour voters effectively disenfranchised in many areas.

      This in a context where the Government Party vote has collapsed.

      The war against the political left in the LP has been so “successful” that the vast majority of those who always did ALL the campaigning donkey work are either no longer available or have downed tools.

      I suspect this is part of the reason, to cite just one example, why at last Wednesday’s public hustings meeting organised by the Community Forum in the Constituency I reside the only candidate not to turn up was the LP candidate. And this is a former Red Wall target seat with a sitting Tory MP.

      I strongly suspect the LP candidate was instructed to help campaign in another nearby target seat, The LP is that thin on the ground in terms of being able to muster sufficient campaigners to canvass.

      A level of ineptness which does not bode well. If they cannot organise and run their own Party effectively they are certainly going to be no better when it comes to running the Country.

      Meanwhile, I spotted this from the Telegraph this morning:

      That is not 75% of biological women voters in the LP it is 75% of ALL LP voters who effectively disagree with Party policy on an issue of material reality.

      How is that issue going to affect votes? I’ve seen articles this week about ‘shy Tory’ women voters angst in strong Tory held seats about voting for their own Party – along with their partners – such is their disillusion with the Blue Tory’s, and we seem to have an issue which could well have the same effect on Labour voters.

      We could see the biggest winners from the Tory vote collapse being a limited revival of the Lib-Dems. Particularly in the leafy shires. With a number of seats – possibly places much like Clacton and one of the two Barnsley Constituencies going to Reform.

      However, I’ll stick my neck out and predict that regardless of who forms the next puppet cabinet the number not voting/spoiled paper is likely to be not far short of 20 million.

      • Hi Dave.
        I just typed a long response to you but somehow lost the rext! Anyway I’m aware of most of what you say, think there will be a low turnout, and maybe a few surprises not to labour’s advantage. The problem with labour lacking foot soldiers following the mass exodus from the party has been obvious since shortly after Starmer took over. I did a lot a canvassing for labour in 2015 and was treated like shit by the party for my efforts.
        I won’t stay up for the results. Too depressing and better things to do next Friday than sleep all morning.

      • It’s even more amazing that 25% of ‘Labour’ voters must believe that women CAN have a penis. Although in extenuation, I suppose if you can vote ‘Labour’ with a straight face, then you can believe almost anything.

        • Labour voters don’t believe that women can have a penis. That would be crazy. They believe that men can have a cervix.

    • Hi Bryan. There’s nothing deep or original here. Simply that many will go to the polling booths with little hope of Labour making a difference on the things that – as Richard Murphy makes clear – most matter to them. They don’t see an alternative is all. Like Margaret, I won’t vote but that doesn’t make them less than me.

      • Just found out there’s a Workers’ Party candidate standing in my constitch. She’s young enough to be my grand daughter but I’ll vote after all. Caitlin Hardy’s my man, not only because a tick to her name will be less effort than writing NONE OF THE ABOVE. A decent showing for George’s outfit would bring me cheer.

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