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Is it Possible to Live Without a Computer of Any Kind?

This article was originally published on 19th May 2021.

I am absolutely sick to death of computers. The blue light of a screen wakes me up in the morning, I stare at another computer on my desk for hours every day, I keep one in my pocket all the time and that familiar too-bright glow is the last thing I see before I close my eyes at night. Lockdown undoubtedly made the problem much, much worse. Last year, a nasty thought occurred to me: it might be the case that the majority of my memories for several months were synthetic. Most of the sights and sounds I’d experienced for a long time had been simulated – audio resonating out of a tinny phone speaker or video beamed into my eyes by a screen. Obviously I knew that my conscious brain could tell the difference between media and real life, but I began to wonder whether I could be so sure about my subconscious. In short, I began to suspect that I was going insane.

So, I asked myself if it was possible to live in the modern world without a computer of any kind – no smartphone, no laptop, and no TV (which I’m sure has a computer in it somewhere). Of course, it’s possible to survive without a computer, provided that you have an income independent of one, but that wasn’t really the question. The question was whether it’s possible to live a full life in a developed country without one.

Right away, upon getting rid of my computers, my social life ground to a halt. Unable to go to the pub or a club, my phone allowed me to feel like I was still at least on the periphery of my friends lives while they were all miles away. This was hellish, but I realised that it was the real state of my life – my phone acted as a pacifier and my friendships were holograms. No longer built on the foundation of experiences shared on a regular basis, social media was a way for me to freeze-dry my friendships – preserve them so that they could be revived at a later date. With lockdown over though, this becomes less necessary. They can be reheated and my social life can be taken off digital life support. I would lose contact with some people but, as I said, these would only be those friendships kept perpetually in suspended animation.

These days large parts of education, too, take place online. It’s not uncommon now in universities, colleges and secondary schools for work and timetables to be found online or for information to be sent to pupils via internal email networks. Remote education during lockdown was no doubt made easier by the considerable infrastructure already in place. 

Then there’s the question of music. No computers would mean a life lived in serene quiet; travelling and working without background sound to hum or tap one’s foot to. An inconvenience, maybe, but perhaps not altogether a negative one. Sir Roger Scruton spoke about the intrusion of mass-produced music into everyday life. Computer-produced tunes are played at a low level in shopping centres and restaurants, replacing the ambient hum and chatter of human life with banal pop music. Scruton believed that the proper role of music was to exalt life – to enhance and make clear our most heartfelt emotions. Music today, though, is designed to distract from the dullness of everyday life or paper over awkward silences at social events. He went so far as to say that pop consumption had an effect on the musical ear comparable to that of pornography on sex.

The largest barrier, however, is the use of the internet for work. Many companies use online services to organise things like shift rotas, pay and holidays and the entire professional world made the switch to email decades ago. How feasible is it to opt out of this? Short of becoming extremely skilled at something for which there is both very little supply and very high demand, and then working for a band of eccentrics willing to accommodate my niche lifestyle, I think it would be more or less impossible. Losing the computer would mean kissing the possibility of a career goodbye. 

Lockdown has also sped up the erosion of physical infrastructure required to live life offline as well as accelerated our transformation into a ‘cashless society’. On average, 50 bank branches have closed every month since January 2015, with over 1000 branch closures across the country in the last year alone. It also seems to have wiped away the last remaining businesses that didn’t accept card payments. The high street, already kicking against the current for years, is presently being kept alive by Rishi Sunak’s magic money tree while Amazon records its best quarter for profits ever. It’s no mystery to anyone which way history will go. 

I’m lucky that my parents were always instinctively suspicious of ‘screens’. I didn’t get a smartphone until a good way into secondary school and I got my first – and only – games console at the age of 16. I keenly remember getting a laptop for my birthday. I think my parents gave it to me in the hopes that I would become some kind of computing or coding genius – instead, I just played a lot of Sid Meiers Civilisation III. My dad would remind me that nothing on my computer was real, but that didn’t stop me getting addicted to games. If it wasn’t for my parents’ strong interventions I would likely have developed a serious problem – sucked into the matrix and doomed to spend my youth in my bedroom with the blinds down.

All year this year I have wrestled with my media addiction but been unable to throw it off. I told my friends that I was taking a break from social media, I deactivated my Twitter account, I physically hid my phone from myself under my bed, and yet here I am, writing this on my laptop for an online publication. When I got rid of my phone I turned to my computer to fill the time. When I realised that the computer was no better I tore myself from it too… and spent more time watching TV. I tried reading – and made some progress – but the allure of instant reward always pulled me back.

I’m not a completely helpless creature, though. On several occasions I cast my digital shackles into the pit, only to find that I needed internet access for business that was more important than my luddite hissy-fit. Once I opened the computer up for business, it was only a matter of time before I would be guiltily watching Netflix and checking my phone again. It’s too easy – I know all the shortcuts. I can be on my favourite time-absorbing website at any time in three or four keystrokes. Besides, getting rid of my devices meant losing contact with my friends (with whom contact was thin on the ground already). Unplugging meant really facing the horrific isolation of lockdown without dummy entertainment devices to distract me. I lasted a month, once. So determined was I to live in the 17th century that I went a good few weeks navigating my house and reading late at night by candlelight rather than turning on those hated LEDs.

And yet, the digital world is tightening around us all the time. Year on year, relics of our past are replaced with internet-enabled gadgets connected to a worldwide spider web of content that has us wrapped up like flies. Whenever I’ve mentioned this I’ve been met with derision and scorn and told to live my life in the woods. I don’t want to live alone in the woods – I want to live a happy and full life; the kind of life that everyone lived just fine until about the ’90s. I’m sick of the whirr and whine of my laptop, of my nerves being raw from overuse, of always keeping one ear open for a ‘ping ’or a ‘pop’ from my phone, and of the days lost mindlessly flicking from one app to the other. Computers have drastically changed the rhythm of life itself. Things used to take certain amounts of time and so they used to take place at certain hours of the day. They were impacted by things like distance and the weather. Now, so much can occur instantaneously irrespective of time or distance and independent from the physical world entirely. Put simply, less and less of life today takes place in real life. 

The world of computers is all I’ve ever known and yet I find myself desperately clawing at the walls for a way out. It’s crazy to think that something so complex and expensive – a marvel of human engineering – can become so necessary in just a few decades. If I can’t get rid of my computers I’ll have to learn to diminish their roles in my life as best I can. This is easier said than done, though; as the digital revolution marches on and more and more of life is moved online, the digital demons I am struggling to keep at arm’s length grow bigger and hungrier.

I’m under no illusions that it’s possible to turn back the tide. Unfortunately the digital revolution, like the industrial and agricultural revolutions before it, will trade individual quality of life for collective power. As agricultural societies swallowed up hunter gatherers one by one before themselves being crushed by industrial societies, so those who would cling to an analogue way of life will find themselves overmatched, outcompeted and overwhelmed. Regardless, I will continue with my desperate, rearguard fight against history the same way the English romantics struggled against industrialisation. Hopeless my cause is, yes, but it’s beautiful all the same.


Photo Credit.

What I’ve Learnt as a Revolutionary Communist

This article was originally published in November 2021.

I have a confession to make. 

A few months ago I was made an official member of the Revolutionary Communist Group after being involved as a participating supporter for about a month and a half. The RCG are, in their own words, Marxist-Leninist, pro-Cuba, pro-Palestine, internationalist, anti-imperialist, anti-racist and anti-capitalist. They believe that capitalism is causing climate change, which they refer to as the ‘climate crisis’, and that socialism/communism is the only way to avert catastrophe.

They believe that the twin forces of imperialism and capitalism work today, and have been working for hundreds of years, to enrich the Western capitalist class by exploiting the labour of the proletariat and plundering the resources of the ‘Global South’. They publish a bi-monthly newspaper entitled ‘Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!’ which acts as an ideological core around which centre most of the groups discussions.

After two months of twice-weekly zoom calls, leafleting in front of busy train stations and protesting in front of embassies, I was finally invited to become an official member. I rendezvous-ed with two comrades before being taken to a door which was hidden down a dark alleyway and protected by a large iron gate – certainly a fitting location for a revolutionary HQ. Inside was an office and a small library stocked with all manners of communist, socialist and anti-imperialist literature including everything from Chavs by Owen Jones to The Labour Party – A Party Fit For Imperialism by Robert Clough, the group’s leader. 

I was presented with a copy of their constitution, a document about security and a third document about sexual harassment (the RCG has had issues with members’ behaviour in the past). It was here, discussing these documents for almost three hours, that I learnt most of what I know now about the RCG as an organisation and the ecosystem it inhabits. 

The RCG is about 150-200 members strong with branches across the country – three in London, one in Liverpool, Manchester, Norwich, Glasgow and Edinburgh and possibly more. In terms of organisation and decision-making they use what they call ‘democratic centralism’ – a sprawling mess of committees made up of delegates that appoint other committees that all meet anywhere between once every two weeks and once every two years. They’re also remarkably well funded, despite the fact that their newspaper sells for just 50p. They employ staff full time and rent ‘offices’ up and down the country. They draw income from fundraising events, members dues, newspaper and book sales and donations (both large and small).

Officially, the RCG is against the sectarianism that famously ails the Left. However, one zoom call I was in was dedicated to lambasting the Socialist Workers Party who, I soon learnt, were dirty, menshevik, reactionary Trots. We referred to them as part of the ‘opportunist Left’ who routinely side with the imperialists. 

The RCG doesn’t generally maintain good relations with many other major leftist groups. Central to RCG politics is the idea of a ‘labour [small L] aristocracy’ – a core of the working class who have managed to improve their material conditions just slightly and so work against the interests of the wider working class, suppressing real revolutionary activity in order to maintain their cushy positions. The RCG sees the Trade Union movement as the bastion of the labour aristocracy. They see the Labour party also as their greatest enemy – ‘the single greatest barrier to socialism in Britain’.

The RCG takes issue with the SWP specifically over their attitude to Cuba. They believe that most Trotskyists are too critical of socialist revolutions that have occurred in the past and so are not real communists – after all, no revolution will be perfect. The RCG’s issue with the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) is that they resent how the CPGB claims to be the main organisation for communism in this country and uses its coziness with the trade unions as a signifier of legitimacy. However, the RCG believes that this makes the CPGB not much more than an extension of the Labour party, which it despises. 

The CPGB-ML (Communist Party of Great Britain – Marxist-Leninist), on the other hand, are much closer politically to the RCG. They also share the same view on the Labour party. However, the CPGB-ML has recently taken a loud anti-trans position and so the RCG wants nothing to do with them.

Socialist Appeal are a group that has organised with the RCG in London before but the two do not get along due to, once again, the former’s (until recent) support for the Labour party every election. The RCG also shares views with Extinction Rebellion but XR now no longer wants anything to do with the RCG because of the RCG’s insistence on selling its communist newspaper at every event its members attend. The RCG insisting on trying to recruit members at every event it attends, including events co-organised with other groups, is a major source of friction and one of the reasons nobody wants to organise with them. It’s also one of the reasons why the RCG has stopped organising with LAFA – the London AntiFascist Assembly. 

LAFA, I was told, are a chaotic bunch. They staunchly oppose all forms of hierarchy and make decisions on a ‘horizontalist’ basis. In true anarchist fashion, there are no official leaders or ranks at all in LAFA and decisions are made sort of by whoever takes the initiative. Unfortunately this means that those who become unofficial leaders in the group are accountable to absolutely no-one because they are not technically responsible for anything, and naturally issues arise from this quasi-primitivist state of affairs. Ironically, this makes the London AntiFascist Assembly kind of based.

Interestingly, one organisation with which the RCG has never had any problems is Black Lives Matter. The RCG and Socialist Appeal were (apparently) the only two groups out on the streets in solidarity with BLM last summer – BLM even allowed RCG members to speak at their events. The RCG enjoyed quite a close and amicable relationship with BLM right up until BLM decided at the end of last summer to effectively cease all activity, with the reason given to the RCG being just that ‘the summer has ended’. Presumably, the bulk of BLM’s activist base either had to go back to school or just got bored. 

Although the RCG strictly prohibits any illegal activity at any of its protests, one clause of the constitution is ‘a revolution clause’ requiring members to leave their jobs and move house at the discretion of the RCG. I was told this clause has never been invoked and isn’t expected to be invoked for decades at least but is there in case a genuine communist uprising were to take place somewhere in the country and RCG leadership decided that it needed members to move into the area to help. The RCG is intent on staying firmly on the right side of the law for the foreseeable future – supposedly until class consciousness is raised to such a level that the time for revolution arrives. Whether or not history will pan out the way they think it will, only time will tell.  

Perhaps most curious was the group’s confused stance on lockdowns. They are fiercely pro-lockdown and pro-mask, but also highly critical of the government’s approach for reasons that are quite vague. Why a communist organisation would want to place unprecedented power in the hands of a government – a Tory government no less – that it thinks operates as the right arm of global capital is beyond me. When I brought this up, a lone voice of dissent in my branch, I was told I had made a ‘valid point’ and that the group needed to discuss the matter further, but that was it. The only explanation I could arrive at was that unfortunately the RCG, and I think the Left generally, are deep in denial about being anti-establishment.

The RCG’s modus operandi is the weekly stall: three or four communists will take a table and a megaphone to a busy location and try to hand out leaflets and sell copies of the FRFI newspaper. The idea was that people whose values loosely align with those of the groups could be contacted and organised by way of these stalls. The law of large numbers means that these stalls are curiously successful – one two-hour stall at the weekend can sell a dozen newspapers and enlist a handful of people to be contacted by the group at a later date. The process of collecting people and funnelling them down the contact-member pipeline is a slow one with a low success rate, but they’re relentless.

Interestingly though, I believe their decades-old activist tradition is actually one of their biggest weaknesses. Ironically, so-called progressives are stuck in the past. The RCG has a very minimal online footprint – it uses its profiles on twitter and Instagram only to post dates for upcoming events. The RCG have so much faith in their traditional method of raising ‘class consciousness’ (translation: spreading communism) that they’re losing the internet arms race and thus their grip on young people – their traditional base. The fact that the group has a large proportion of older members might have something to do with it.

However, Leftists are good at street activism – they’ve been doing it for decades. Leftist activist groups have ingrained in their traditions social technology – sets of practices, behaviours and attitudes – that have developed over time and that their opponents would do well to familiarise themselves with, like looking at the homework of a friend (or in this case, an adversary).

The RCG believes that it is one of very few, maybe even the only, Leftist group in Britain today committed to maintaining a substantial street presence. One of the conditions for membership, after all, is promising to attend at least one street protest a week. The RCG no doubt take their activism seriously, with a comrade even describing the group to me as being made up of ‘professional revolutionaries’. They believe that they are growing and will continue to grow in strength, propelled by financial and then ecological crises. They are very excited for the collapse of the Labour party, which they believe is all-but imminent, because they think it will cause swathes of the Left to lose faith in a parliamentary means of achieving socialism and take to the streets, where the RCG will be waiting for them.

My time as a revolutionary communist has been challenging but what I’ve learned is no doubt valuable. I strongly encourage others to do as I have, if only just for a few weeks or so. Join your local leftist organisation – pick a sect, any sect! Expand your knowledge, see a different perspective and gain skills you might not gain anywhere else. Speak to people with a completely different viewpoint from yours and learn how they think, you’ll be a slightly better and more knowledgeable person for it.

Quote: Leftists are good at street activism. They have ingrained in their traditions social technology that have developed over time and that their opponents should familiarise themselves with.


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The UK’s Place in the World: Strategic Industries, China, and Sovereignty

This article was originally published on 17th November 2021.

The Brexit-leading Conservative government wants to back up the talk of the referendum campaign. Now that the UK has Brexited there’s a practical need to set a plan of action and follow it. A lot of intellectual work was taken care of by just following whatever the EU position was.

Global Britain, sovereignty, trade deals, etc., OK. What’s the plan? Some of that’s answered implicitly. Elizabeth Truss as Secretary of State for International Trade was busy doing trade deals. AUKUS speaks to diplomatic, defence, and geographical focus. COP26 – the UK is supposed to make its name on climate stuff. OK.

This is what the Prime Minister says the plan is. Some key points: greater engagement in the world, securing the UK’s status as a “Science and Tech Superpower by 2030,” and a “tilt to the Indo-Pacific.” This is still getting ahead of itself.

A recent announcement about an old deal, about an investigation into the Nvidia takeover of Arm (originally a British microchip design company, taken over by the Japanese SoftBank) is a good enough starting point for something to think about.

The Cameron and May governments were very permissive of a lot of foreign investments and takeovers e.g. Chinese nuclear power projects, Huawei and 5G, invitation into the Northern Powerhouse. A lot of people are still angry at the sale of state assets under Right to Buy to British people. Why does the sale of much, much larger British companies/assets to foreign interests provoke almost nothing? What about foreign ownership in the housing market, for that matter?

At least the Johnson government has revisited some of these blunders. It also hasn’t put a complete stop to a lot else which contradicts its strategic review. For example, the Chinese takeover of British Steel, the Chinese takeover of the UK’s largest microchip producer, and the Chinese takeover of a major UK graphene producer. Sort yourselves out!

Strategic Industries and China

Start with making a proper assessment of the UK’s assets. What are you working with?

The Johnson government is promising to do a lot of things differently to the Cameron and May governments. When William the Conqueror took over as CEO, he did an inventory check, right down to the kinds of cheese in England.

Napoleon was notoriously obsessed with information.

In the autumn of 1811, the peak of Napoleon’s empire (has France been as well-governed since?) the emperor visited 40 cities in 22 days. This is despite losing three and a half days of travel to gales and floods. He would prevent mayors from giving great speeches and instead ask them questions. Population, death, revenues, forestry, tolls, municipal rates, conscription, civil and criminal lawsuits. Even about how many sentences passed by mayors were annulled by the Court of Cassation, and whether mayors had found means to provide suitable lodgings for rectors.

Would Mayor Johnson have fared well under Napoleon’s questioning? Prime Minister Johnson? Sure, why not? The information Napoleon was looking for gave him clues about the state of the empire, its operational effectiveness, happiness of its citizens, its direction, its capabilities, and what he could draw on. What are the revealing questions you could ask today?

A country’s strategic industries are certainly different from the 1800s.

The pandemic alone should’ve taught the UK that the entire west relies heavily on China for production of a lot of basic medicines. That’s concerning. It certainly relies on China for a lot of manufacturing of basic but important medical equipment too. Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta virtual/augmented reality news is also something to think about.

How comfortable is the UK with the idea of China controlling a lot of technology manufacturing, and easy access to intellectual secrets/innovations?

China is very good at controlling actual reality let alone a virtual one. The China-Taiwan tensions keep brewing. China’s been threatening Taiwan that its military won’t stand a chance if it invades. China is threatening that any outside interference will mean paying a price. Meanwhile, the world relies on Taiwan for semiconductors which go in everything. Xi promises that China and Taiwan will be reunited.

How is Hong Kong doing?

Strategic industries are no longer just about simpler things like coal and steel production for tanks and munitions. They’re also about the materials and methods of fourth and fifth generation warfare, like rare earth metals and this sort of thing.

It seems the Johnson government is at least a little but wiser to China.It’s hard to believe how cosy Cameron was prepared to get with Xi Jinping. They wanted to make Macclesfield (of all places!) the end point of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Have a look at this selfie. Cameron, soy-faced, submissively leaning in. Sergio Aguero’s having a great time, that’s fine. Xi looks like he’s holding his tongue. It’s not a meeting of peers. One has real power and the other doesn’t. This is a picture of the Emperor of China wondering how much longer he has to humour the Gap Yah guy. Is Cameron oblivious? If he is, he’s like that guy who thought he made friends with a wild Alaskan grizzly and got eaten. Does he understand what kind of animal he’s dealing with? Of course, Xi is a silly willy nilly old bear.

If Cameron wasn’t oblivious, was he just resigned to the idea of securing British comfort as a supplicant to China?

When did the west start calling Xi “President” and stop calling him “Chairman”? “Zhuxi” means “Chairman”. Xi is still “General Secretary” of the Chinese Communist Party, a title which originates with Stalin’s own role as General Secretary. That title has its own interesting history. Does “President” hide his shame? Why is the UK still sucking up to a communist by using a less embarrassing and false translation of his title?

Anyway, never mind China, what about everyone else?

Sovereignty

The UK doesn’t need to pursue absolute autarky, but it will have to think about what its strategic industries are and how much control it wants over them for how much independence.

Alignment with the US-led order has been convenient for the UK’s comfort. Countries which don’t submit to the US (e.g., Russia, Iran, North Korea, Iraq, Syria, Venezuela), find themselves poorer and squeezed. They haven’t helped themselves either. The obvious exception is China. Is it too big? Did Nixon miscalculate? The US was supposed to be a military power, China an economic one. That unspoken deal doesn’t seem to be holding. That calculation is probably changing too for everyone else as the US becomes relatively weaker and China relatively stronger.

For now, easy prosperity clearly hasn’t been everything to every country. Not everyone follows the first rule of the Satanic bible. All hail GDP, the one true measure of successful government! Sovereignty means answering to nobody else, and that’s valuable too. It has also meant that these countries develop and control a lot of their own technology. Russia and China in particular. Though it’s also a US protectorate, Israel is notable too for its self-reliance and the level of independence that affords it, regionally, at least.

Can the UK become a “Science and Tech Superpower” by 2030? 

For everything it would need to achieve that, how much does it need to learn? How much of the basics does it need to relearn? Outsourced manufacturing and international, mobile academia are not a stable starting point. Knowledge fades with the people who have it, who today can move and work from anywhere.

What ties these people to the UK? What stops them from working for someone else?

The UK’s place in the world will be affected by how much it can bring under its own control.

What’s the plan?

Does anyone have any confidence that there’s any one person in the government who properly understands 1) the UK’s own state of affairs, 2) how that sits internationally, 3) what the reasonable goals are, 4) how to work toward them, and 5) has the power to make it happen?

Until the UK has that it is getting ahead of itself in any discussion about what its place in the world should be.


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With Friends Like These…

“We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.”

Lord Palmerston’s famous adage is typically divorced from its context, especially when used in discussions regarding Britain’s foreign policy, or lack thereof. Delivered as part of a speech in the House of Commons in 1848, the then Foreign Secretary was responding to an argument put forward by one of his most consistent and outspoken opponents, Thomas Anstey, Irish Confederate MP for Youghal.

Over a decade after Poland’s incorporation into the Russian Empire, Anstey maintained intervention in support of the rebels, seeking to establish an independent Polish state, was both a feasible operation and a moral imperative which the government of the day – especially Palmerston, who was still foreign secretary during this period – absconded in favour of non-interference, despite previous suggestions to the contrary. According to Anstey, this amounted to, among other things, a betrayal of Poland and, by extension, their sympathetic ideals.

Accounting for the particular circumstances in which Palmerston was operating, primarily seeking a basic balance of power across the continent, maintaining a preference for less-absolutist models of government without a frothing desire to see them imposed at the drop of a hat, the essence of his shrewd foreign policy stems from the realisation there is no equivalence between interpersonal and international relations, due to the second-order consequences which come with maintaining such agreements:

“…When we are asked why the British Government have not enforced treaty rights in every case, my answer is, that the only method of enforcing them would have been by methods of hostility; and that I do not think those questions were questions of sufficient magnitude in their bearing on the interests of England, to justify any Government in calling on the people of this country to encounter the burdens and hazards of war for the purpose of maintaining those opinions.”

“It does not follow, when a Minister announces in Parliament an intention to perform a public act, that it is to be considered like a promise made to an individual, or by one private man to another, and that it is to be made a reproach to him if the intention be not carried out.”

Indeed, the maintenance of certain opinions under specific circumstances simply isn’t worth it. The opinions we value, whether written in parchment or spoken over the airwaves, and what we are prepared to do to maintain them, form the essence of our political loyalty. Unfortunately for many in Britain’s political class, even its nominally right-wing constituents, their political loyalty seems to lie with Israel. Berating any criticism or lack of enthusiasm as an act of betrayal, the British people are expected to view their interests as secondary to the interests of the Israeli government, all else being unthinkable.

However, much to their aggravation, Britain’s cooling support for Israel has only accelerated these past few days after a convoy of three vehicles, each displaying the World Central Kitchen (WCK) logo, was attacked whilst returning from a humanitarian mission to Gaza through a deconflicted zone; a route agreed with the knowledge and consent of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). The affected British nationals were working as private military contractors tasked with protecting the convoy and providing medical support. By all estimations, not exactly frothing Hamas-adjacent anti-semites motivated by Islamism or Palestinian nationalism. Worse still, the convoy contacted the IDF after the first vehicle was hit, but to no self-preserving avail.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Israelis has taken liberty with the lives of British nationals, although it’s perhaps the first instance in which the disregard of the Israeli government and its supporters has been made so blatant. The IDF’s chief of staff released a less-than-sincere-sounding apology, claiming the attack was an accident, which chef José Andrés, WCK’s director and co-founder, evidently didn’t find convincing, noting the attack took place over considerable distance, never mind in an area tightly controlled by the IDF.

Benjamin Netanyahu responded in a similar vein, stating occasional civilian casualties were part-and-parcel of war and the overarching mission to keep Israel safe. Whilst not technically untrue, it’s also part-and-parcel – even if not an iron law of reality – for states to alter their relations in accordance with their interests, often in unexpected ways; those who are allies one day are rivals the next. As such, I’m sure Netanyahu would be very understanding if Britain ceased all arms exports to Israel, especially if we had a few security concerns, so to speak.

The Israeli government’s sense of entitlement when it comes to Western support is hard to ignore. David Mencer, Israeli government spokesman and former director of Labour Friends of Israel, affectively stated Britain was obliged to continue supporting Israel as doing otherwise would constitute a betrayal of liberal democratic values. In Mencer’s own words: “You’ve got to take our side.”

Indeed, Britain had great sympathy for the Israelis following the attack on October 7th and a military response from Israel was thought to be expected and justified. It is essentially different to claim Britain has a moral and political responsibility to secure the existence of the Israeli state from its enemies, whatever that entails. In any case, this whole debacle suggests two things about Israel, both of which should inform the UK’s future relationship. Either Israel is too incompetent to be considered a reliable ally or too malicious to be considered an ally at all.

However, despite growing suspicion, mainstream criticism of the Israeli government and its agencies has yet to attach itself to the national interest or any loosely-related concept. Sir Alan Duncan’s comments on “pro-Israel extremism” at the highest echelons of government, citing the conduct of various ministers and politicians, resulted in accusations of anti-semitism and a near-immediate disciplinary inquiry from the Conservative Party. At first glance, this looks like one of several increasingly confident pockets of dissent at the heart of the establishment. In reality, it’s the more puritanical believers in the liberal rules-based international order pointing out the internal contradictions of the status quo.

The likes of Lord Dave and Sir Alan aren’t posturing against Israel out of ‘realpolitik’; they aren’t aligning against the Israeli government for nationalist reasons, but for internationalist ones. In their mind, Britain should distance itself from Israel for the sake of conforming to international law to a greater extent than it already does; it has very little to do with a state being so entwined with a foreign government that it can barely condemn attacks on its own citizens, undermining the most basic interest of any modern state: the protection of its people.

At bottom-level, their understanding is an extension of their bizarre idea of domestic affairs. Parliament amending and breaking the law are one in the same; as an entity, law is stagnant and cannot be ‘constitutionally’ changed, at least not to any political degree. Likewise, the breaking of treaties, for whatever reason, is a violation of international law and therefore necessarily bad. Alas, just as men must tear muscle to build more to gain bodily strength, states must tear laws and treaties to create new ones to gain political strength, at home and abroad.

This line of thought is straightforward and popular enough. In fact, it may explain some of the strongest support for Israel among certain sections of the public; older, Conservative and Reform-voting types with the Union Jack and the Star of David in their Twitter bio.

Accounting for the obvious fact many use support for Israel as proxy for domestic concerns pertaining to the rapid growth of Britain’s Muslim population, doubling as an implicit anti-racist credential by aligning with a historically-persecuted minority group, I suspect a considerable amount of Israelophilia among Britain’s old can be attributed to Mossad’s response to the 1972 Munich Massacre; a 20-year global hunt for Black September soberly titled Operation Wrath of God. Their first impression of Israel, as portrayed by a sensationalist mass-media machine at the height of an international event, is that of a rabidly nationalist state which spares no expense when it comes to pursuing its goal and eradicating its enemies.

The fact Israel didn’t catch the main culprit of the massacre is of secondary importance, what matters is the will and perception of the Israelis was evidently more attractive than whatever the British state was doing. At this time, Britain was enduring some of the worst years of its post-war history, encumbered with economic stagnation, social unrest, and an impotent political class with no perceivable willpower or solution. Sound familiar? As many will recall, similar flickers of admiration were visible following the early response of Israel to the October 7th attack, reigniting a love for a certain determination which our own foreign policy lacks.

Of course, this only accounts for the inclinations of a broadly defined, misguided but well-intentioned demographic of everymen. The political fetishism of Israel among Britain’s centre-right commentariat and policymakers (literal fetishism in some cases) defies any comparable justification. Outside of building the largest possible electoral coalition against Islamism, it seems to be a bizarre fixation.

In short, condemning the actions of Israel committed against our country may feel like a condemnation of the type of politics many of us desire, but it isn’t. As a matter of fact, the opposite is true: it is one of many steps required towards the realisation of a sovereign, self-interested foreign policy.

Palmerston was right, there is no fundamental equivalence between interpersonal and international relations, but there is one similarity worth remembering: trust is the basis of all relations. We trust based on our perceptions of others, our experiences with them and others like them; we make informed guesses, leaps in the dark, as to whether or not we should make ourselves open and vulnerable for the purposes of co-operation and friendship. If our knowledge of another changes, it impacts our ability to trust them. Sometimes this strengthens trust, sometimes it weakens it, and if trust is weakened to such an extent, whether chipped away by routine transgressions or destroyed outright by a single, deeply callous act, one is forced to reconsider their relations.

This is true of both people and states, and following the most severe form of disregard from our so-called ally, after all we felt and done for them, without expectation of reimbursement or lavish praise, it is time we reconsider our relationship with Israel; not towards Palestine, but to our own, independent national interest. They haven’t allowed our co-operation and friendship to disrupt the pursuit of their perpetual interests, it’s about time we do the same.


Photo Credit.

Far-liberal Extremists and The Radicalisation of The Sensible Class

I tend to subscribe to the view that if you resort to personal insults then you have lost the argument, but every rule has its exceptions. When U.S. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene recently told Emily Maitlis to “fuck off”, I couldn’t help but feel some sympathy.

Maitlis, who spent many years at the BBC feigning traditional broadcast impartiality, has had no trouble morphing into her new role as a far-liberal talisman at The News Agents podcast (which has itself become something of a cult among the old gatekeepers of British media).

If I was being uncharitable, I would say that following the viral clip of Ms. Greene telling David Cameron to “kiss my ass” (after a Sky News reporter relayed the Foreign Secretary’s comparison of U.S. lawmakers to Hitler appeasers), Maitlis set out to get her own viral clip.

This wouldn’t be the first example of lazy journalism by The News Agents. The other week, they revealed an exclusive investigation into the GB News investor Sir Paul Marshall. The hard-working investigative journalists presumably worked day-in, day-out to present the public with these devastating findings. Sir Paul has a Twitter account and, as explained by arch-sensible Lewis Goodall amid a backdrop of otherworldly electronic music, has liked some tweets concerning mass migration to Europe. Shocking stuff, I know, but it gets worse.

Goodall presents some examples which he characterises as “quite extreme, especially on Isslaam, immigration and integration”. They include criticism of the Islamic call to prayer being recited inside a Parisian church and a clip of the Prime Minister of Hungary saying his country cannot be blackmailed into “putting children in the hands of LGBTQ activists”. The rest of the ‘investigation’ then finds other ‘extreme’ tweets, posted by some of the accounts which Marshall had ‘interacted’ with. It appears he is guilty of thought crime by association.

Against better judgement, I replied to the bombshell report saying I liked Mr Marshall more now. I did not expect this to provoke Mr. Goodall into asking me if I “approve of the political content of these tweets” and tagging my employer to ask if they were “comfortable with that”.

Maybe I’m a snowflake, but in my mind, that’s not intellectual sparring between journalists, but a measly attempt to instigate my firing from the company for which I work, also known as cancelling. I tried to respond, as Gavin McInnes often describes, by “talking to liberals in their own stupid language”, and stated I was the grandchild of Muslim immigrants (therefore, not ‘Islamophobic’) but I still thought we should be able to discuss our rapid demographic transformation. I was told that ‘no one is stopping’ me from discussing it and asked again to say whether I ‘agree’ with the content of the liked tweets.

As a reasonable person, I said I agree with some and disagree with others, and asked why he was tagging my employer into this conversation. Goodall then revealed his true colours, saying that as I agree with the migration-sceptic sentiments of some tweets liked by Paul Marshall, I should not “be working as a journalist for a reputable news organisation”, adding that the fact I “feel able to come and say that shows how normalised extremism has become”.

You see, we are allowed to say what we like and we have a free media, but if you dare agree with the sentiment of some people’s tweets that others do not agree with, then a public figure with considerable clout will alert your employer and call for your sacking as they accuse you of having extremist views. This censorious and frankly Soviet attitude of our sensible, friendly News Agent is sadly pervasive in our media and even has a strong grip over those working at organisations that explicitly position themselves as working to break this mould.

Many definitions of extremist are tautological, like the Oxford entry “a person who holds extreme views, especially one who resorts to or advocates extreme action.” Collins has gone with “a person who goes to extremes in political matters, a supporter of extreme doctrines.” Merriam-Webster’s entry for extremism is “the quality or state of being extreme, advocacy of extreme measures of views.” Great stuff, but the most interesting definition is given by Cambridge: “someone who has beliefs that most people think are unreasonable and unacceptable.” This is at least definitive. I don’t doubt this is the definition far-liberals subscribe to (consciously or not) but a problem lies within those key words: most people.

Following up their exclusive investigation into Paul Marshall’s Twitter likes, The News Agents have interviewed the other media mogul vying for The Telegraph, Jeff Zucker, who is leading the bid funded mostly by a high-ranking UAE royal and politician. Zucker declared to Jon Sopel, another sensible BBC-man, that The News Agents had “exposed finally that Paul Marshall is unfit to own a newspaper… that was clear from what your reporting last week exposed. We are clearly the best option for The Telegraph and The Spectator”.

Zucker’s decade-long stint as President of CNN saw that channel descend from a liberal-leaning and generally respected outlet to a collapsing parody of itself, irreparably damaged by thousands of hours of hysteria over the now disproven ‘Russia-gate’ allegations.

His reign also saw the network adopt a number of radical agendas including Covid-authoritarianism, accelerating uncontrolled immigration and carbon fanaticism. I’m not an expert on American social attitudes, but I’d expect ‘most people’ to find these beliefs ‘unreasonable and unacceptable’.

Most people wouldn’t agree with many Emirati customs either. Goodall’s view that engaging with critical views of mass migration to Europe from radically different cultures is racist extremism, would not be deemed reasonable by most people. The insistence of Maitlis that the many millions who have thrown their lot in with Trump are “conspiracy theorists” rather than concerned ordinary voters, would not be acceptable to most people.

I’m not trying to say ‘the other side are the real extremists’ (even though it’s an arguable case with this definition). I don’t find this word meaningful or useful – we already have words for those who advocate violence, and demonising people for not sharing an (alleged) majority view is not only unreasonable and unacceptable but the basis of all totalitarian societies.

In any case, watching The News Agents’ current tour of America is fascinating stuff. There’s a palpable sense they view themselves as political versions of Louis Theroux visiting rural Klan members or an Amish village. As a viewer though, the glaring perception gap between interviewers and interviewees cannot be missed. When Maitlis speaks to Congressman Byron Donalds, a black Trump-supporting Floridian, she asks him in incredulous tones whether he finds it “deeply offensive” when he hears Orange Man being racist and bad. Her questioning also includes some interesting remarks: “Donald Trump is trying to target the young black African-American: the masculinity vote”, asserts Maitlis. Her racial characterisations of the visibly bemused Congressman Donalds continue: “[Trump’s] lost a lot of women over the whole issue of abortion, so he’s going after young black men because they like his machismo”. The lack of self-awareness is truly astounding.

What happened to these people? As is often the case, they suffer from many of the afflictions that they ascribe to others. When the gammon awakening first took root at the advent of Brexit and Trump, we often heard about ‘the left-behind’, those people who, unable to deal with the changing world around them, had retreated to echo-chambers from which they sniped and lashed out. Look how the tables have turned!

In 2024, the far-liberals don’t even bother to hide their disdain for the masses with faux-empathy and anthropological labels. They don’t even engage with those they view as ideologically inferior anymore – they are simply to be mocked and then ignored. This is seen in the increasingly preferred format of propaganda, where mid-wit sensibles like James O’Brien angrily shout at and put down their listeners for being thick plebs.

What we are seeing is a radicalisation of those who view themselves as the sensible people in society. They are the dinner-party class and they have reacted to the deplorables breaking into the mainstream and creating thriving new media spaces by embracing their dismissive labels with a new vigour. While in the near-past there was some desire not to alienate the hoi polloi too much by calling them all whatever-ist or something-phobic, now the far-liberals don’t even try to restrain the scope of what they consider to be radical and extremist (as the inclusion of The Conservative Party, GB News, Reform UK, The Telegraph and even this esteemed publication in Hope Not Hate’s recent ‘State of Hate’ report shows).

As such, ‘conspiracy theorists’ and ‘extremists’ (and privately, ‘nutters’ and ‘cranks’) have become magic words for far-liberals to signal their virtue to each other, and to shut down anyone else who they deem politically incorrect. ‘The public are idiots’ and ‘voters are incredibly stupid’ are sentiments heard all too regularly from journalists off-camera. This fully closed mind has given up on intellectual curiosity and severed its connection with facts.

The conspiracies that they deride are often based on genuine intersections of vested interests and power structures, yet they have started to engage in their own conspiracy theories, alleging with little evidence that Boris Johnson is a FSB spy, that Russian interference decided Brexit and that dark shadowy forces are behind groups against lockdown and the endless restrictions on motoring. In their world, conspiracies are not engaged in by the elites against the people, but by the people against the elites – how about that!

These arguments can easily evolve into semantics so allow me to bring us back down to earth for a second – let’s picture in our head a hypothetical ‘normal, ordinary person’, and put to them a few differing positions and imagine what they’d say is the ‘extreme’ position:

  1. Increasing our population by many millions with spiralling numbers coming from the poorest and most backward parts of the world VS taking in a very small and manageable number who have genuine ties and come from compatible countries.
  2. Allowing endless thousands of unknown fighting-age illegal migrants from warzones to be escorted on dinghies into our country and to be put up indefinitely in hotels at the taxpayers’ expense VS using our armed forces to protect our borders from illegals.
  3. Encouraging and subsidising children to mutilate their genitals and take copious amounts of hormones and hard chemicals as part of a legally recognised ‘identity’ and proposing outlawing therapists from talking children out of that VS recognising transgenderism for what it is: a mental illness, often mixed up with autogynephilia and fetishes, made into an identity and promoted by the state.
  4. Sending billions of our taxes to military contractors via corrupt Ukrainian politicians so that a brutal war of attrition, that could have been ended a month after it started, continues to rage on even at the risk of nuclear armageddon VS telling Kiev that it has to become an explicitly neutral state and normalise relations with Russia so Europe can develop a new and lasting security architecture.
  5. Systematically discriminating against white people on a political, corporate and cultural level to rectify the microscopic racism that other people face while ignoring heinous crimes like rape-gangs and stabbing epidemics in order to not be racist VS judging people by the content of their character and not by the colour of their skin.

I’ll let you decide which set of views you think Joe Bloggs would find most extreme, but to my mind, there’s no question that the positions of the far-liberals represent the real extremism plaguing our country. They have no sense of proportion or measurement. Despite the negative effects of their Swiss-cheese worldview being all around, ideological sunglasses convince them that they are not only correct but are morally superior. This is insane.

Batya Ungar-Sargon, an American left-wing journalist and big news star has been disowned by elite Democrats for pointing out that the party has lost the working class to the MAGA movement. She recently gave an interesting analysis on Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast:

“Working class Americans, whether they vote for Democrats or Republicans, whether they are ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’, they all have the same views. Neither party is really speaking to them, they all agree by and large about the most important issues – polarisation is a totally elite phenomenon.”

We see this here in Britain too. The major parties attack each other in the media while rabble-rousing in Parliament over their cosmetic differences but they agree with each other on all the major issues of the day, and the public by-and-large disagrees with them.

There is nothing sensible or tempered about the policies enacted, both at home and abroad, over the past few decades. There is nothing democratic about the messages sent by voters being disregarded and ignored time and time again. When they try to gaslight you into thinking they are on your side, like Sunak’s recently discovered concern about Islamist extremism, do not forget that it is he who is presiding over the current record levels of both legal and illegal migration, and his party that has enforced failing multiculturalism and indirectly supported radical Islamic terror in the Middle East. All the toys will come out of the box for our Punch and Judy elections, but be in no doubt: all the far-liberal elites are equally responsible for our woes and operate as a uniparty (which neither you nor I am in).

Commentator and author Mark Dice advocates using liberal jargon in reverse, coining phrases like ‘anti-whiteism’ and ‘black fragility’. I think we need to start giving back what we get and incessantly label these dogmatists as far-liberal extremists. Instead of being on the back foot, constantly defending ourselves against smears and allegations, it’s high time to tell these lunatics that we, ordinary normal people, are the real sensibles of this country and that those destroying society with dangerous ideologies are those better described as extremist.

Yet if they still laugh gormlessly in your face, you could always just tell them to “fuck off”.


Photo Credit.

Watch Out for The New Labour Playbook

Yes, Labour is still the party of identity fetishists, true-believer yet Dad’s Army-esque revolutionaries, end of times Gaia environmentalists, and public transport strike supporters, groomers, and much else, but so was New Labour. They just knew how to keep the lunacy contained, repackaged, and were desperate enough to try Blair.

Fortunately, Blair did a lot of damage to his own side, not just the country. Blair’s incrementalism didn’t manifest their objectives  quickly enough. They were willing to grumble and tolerate it until the Iraq War. From that point on, it became impossible to contain the lunacy; spiralling down through more and more left-wing figures, from Brown to Miliband and then to Corbyn. Consequently, they have tuckered themselves out.

The loss of monolithic public news and broadcasting will also make it much harder, New Labour’s ilk will try to come back. You can still see them. They haven’t gone anyway. They won’t just come from the party, they’ll come from all the people and organisations on their side. Blair himself is still knocking around. The advice comes regularly to ditch the overt progressive evangelism e.g. November last year, May this year.

There’s been a slow trickle of pieces which say things like “Labour need a big personality to take on the Tories”. They’re trying their best to manufacture this. Have you seen the attempts to make Wes Streeting out as if he’s interesting and not just another factory pipeline student union politician, in career background and mindset? Good grief. Progressives used to rob banks, fight guerrilla wars, and write their defiance in their own blood. Sure, threats should be taken seriously, and it’s unpleasant, but Wes, what are you doing sending limp tweets to old ladies?

Anyway, it’s good news! As it stands, the two go-getting types of the progressives are (at least, temporarily) inhibited: the energised, violent, “true believers”, are somewhat withered, and the “professional” sorts have a monumental amount of work to do. They are rebuilding, though, so keep an eye out.

If they can become credible on the following, they’ll be doing well: 1) Tough on Crime, 2) Pro Business, 3) Strong on Foreign Policy, 4) Strong on Defence, and 5) Solid on Our Public Services. It’s going to be difficult. A lot of Labour supporters don’t want to engage on those policy areas at all in the first place, let alone have workable answers to them.

The thing to watch out for is Blair’s two main tricks, which are closely related 1) talking out of both sides of their mouths and 2) presenting progressive solutions in their opponents’ terms.

Regarding the first trick, let’s use immigration as an example: one of the big progressive no-nos, a big right-wing concern, but which they really need to answer.

Just look at the headlines, which tell their own story. Blair admits he didn’t realise how many migrants would come to the UK after EU expansion. OK, but then he also says that immigration is good for the UK economy. Finally, he said that if you want to stay in the EU you have to curb immigration.

None of this is about lowering immigration based on principle or reflects right-wing concerns, or even the general popular reasons why people want it lowered. It’s about tactical necessity, in service of bigger picture goals – staying in the EU and reinforcing hegemony at home. Blair doesn’t admit he was wrong or that mass immigration has been damaging – he is talking out of both sides of his mouth! This helps him to try to flank his political opponents with positions which superficially appear to speak to right-wing concerns.

The reason he does this is very simple and not at all an original observation. In democratic politics it’s (sometimes) a viable strategy to go for (what you think is) the “centre ground”. Labour leaders who won – Ramsay MacDonald, Clement Atlee, Harold Wilson, and Tony Blair, all toned down the crazy in pursuit of the “sensible” and “moderate” centre ground.

Not that it seems to matter – progressives run all the main institutions and the nominal Conservative Party acquiesces and even adopts their agenda and aesthetic – but the key realisation of Blairism is that you must have power to do anything. Public support certainly helps reinforce the perception of complete hegemonic power and the justification for it.

Until Labour gets this by winning an election, the Conservative Party might just safely trundle along. God have mercy on you, Conservative Party. Govern! Or if you must insist on such dull imbecility, get out of the way. Go, all of you, retire to the House of Lords or wherever else you think gives you a veil of dignity, and whatever place can use the content, unaware, and immobile.

Anyway, if Labour doesn’t learn the lessons of Blairism, it risks being confined to 1) old style tax and spend and state power economics, 2) foreign policy which is anti-UK in one way or another, 3) marginal identity fetishism, and 4) screeching denunciation of anyone that dissents. This is because 1) misreads the lessons of the financial crisis, 2) misreads the proper responses to 9/11 and the Iraq War, 3) sees the progressives stuck in the tar-baby of the Culture War (which I am certain it will lose), and 4) just shows them to be unstable, and therefore as unfit to rule.

All of this would be a bit clapped out, but it would be safe and familiar for them, and do they even have the vision to see beyond? Reality and the general zeitgeist have moved on. Conservatives would do well to keep them stuck here.

There are ways out, and Labour seems to be doing a few of these things, though it’s hard to know if they really get it, half get it at someone else’s instruction, or if it’s accidental or coincidental. It’s also unclear how much any of the following will help them.

First, they seem to be hinting at a new progressive coalition i.e. Lib Dems, Greens, etc. tactical voting, selective standing of candidates, to avoid splitting the progressive vote. Will this work? Many use these parties as protest votes and you’d be surprised how many Conservative voters, for example, vote Green or Lib Dem at different elections, for all sorts of reasons, but who would never do it at a general election.

Second, watch out for Labour updating its policy agenda. Safe on this one so far. If they’re sensible it would stop being economically illiterate and suspicious of technology. It would also mean the progressives fully realising that corporations can be used and are willing to side with them if the conditions are right, no matter how temporary. The capitalists really will sell you the rope with which they’ll be hanged. It’s quite something!

Third, watch out for Labour re-discovering the mentality of government. The right needs to do this too, it must be said. The task is to amass power and to assume that (of course) it should be you governing. To do this the left will need some more self-discipline and less self-indulgence. The Labour Party’s sins are pride (how fitting!), envy, wrath, and gluttony. The Conservative Party’s sins are pride and sloth. This tactical swallowing of (some of) their pride doesn’t burden them to pursue policies people actually want. They’ll continue to insist that what voters want aligns with what the Labour Party wants, albeit overlaid with a veneer of sincerity and concern made possible with a more “moderate” leadership. New Labour was subtler still.

New Labour worked because people knew that Blair was prepared to discipline and channel the more insane parts of the Labour Party. Superficially, denial and discipline look very similar. It gave Labour the appearance of normality, reassured enough extra voters, and afforded them the cover of public acceptance to proceed with full-on nation-mutilating progressivism.

Watch out for the New Labour playbook. It will start with Labour controlling its incontinence. It’d be great if the Conservative Party got ahead of the problem by governing. Keep them busy responding to you, keep them too busy to get out of where they’re stuck.


Photo Credit.

Kino

For My Ex-Libertarians

The United Kingdom, and especially the Isle of Great Britain, has a very particular legal quirk that sets it apart from Western Civilisation, and possibly most of the uncivilised world as well. There is no legal right to self-defence. Everyone knows that to some extent, “guns are banned” in the UK, and we’re nothing like those silly Americans who can carry so-called assault weapons in Wall-Mart. Yet most Britons will be surprised to learn that non-lethal options such as pepper spray are only available to law enforcement personnel, and that possessing any product “made or adapted to cause a person injury” (aka the most effective way to reasonably defend yourself or those around you) in a public or private space is against the law. Instead the ladies and gentlemen of the UK may purchase a rape whistle, as politely suggested by the West Yorkshire Police on their “Ask The Police” webpage. The UK is so averse to the concept of self-defence that in 2012, American Self Defence instructor, Tim Larkin was barred from entering the country by Theresa May during her stint as Home Secretary.

This is a stark contrast to the continent, where countries like Austria, Germany, and Hungary have strong, codified legal definitions of self-defence with “stand your ground” laws, as well as the option to carry things such as bear spray, and with an easily obtainable permit you can even carry pistols capable of firing rubber bullets or CS gas pellets. In France, similar laws apply, pepper spray, gas pistols capable of firing CN or CS Gas are available to any law-abiding citizen above the age of 18. Whilst carrying them in public for self-defence is not a valid reason, French law stipulates you may use them lawfully to defend your house and person. Of course, there are still problems here. Stéphane Charbonnier, the director of the famous Charlie Hebdo magazine and sports shooting enthusiast applied for a permit to carry a firearm for self-defence, this permit was denied, and he was told he could rely upon his police protection. We all know what happened next.  

Following the various terror attacks across France in 2015, the French government permitted all police officers to carry their service firearms whilst off duty. Compare this to the UK, where outside of Northern Ireland, only specialist police are allowed to even think about firearms and have very little support from the government or the courts when they do shoot, despite their enshrined right to kill in service of the state and his Majesty. Imagine if Westminster had decided to arm all British city police services after the Murder of Lee Rigby, or in 2017 after multiple violent terrorist attacks across Britain.  Imagine a Britain that allowed off duty police or even current or ex-servicemen the ability to carry a firearm in public for the purposes of self-defence. I digress, the arming of the British Police is another debate for another time.

This all seems rather reasonable and modern, two European democracies with modern, democratic attitudes towards personal self-defence, but that’s not all. Countries like Italy and Spain allow high risk individuals and business owners such as jewellers or cash transit guards to carry firearms on their person, or to be kept in a secure location at their place of work. There are similar laws like this across the less developed nations of Europe, particularly in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. But what’s extremely interesting, is that right in the heartland of Europe, there are two countries that stand alone when it comes to modern European firearms and self-defence law, Austria, and Czechia (formally known as the Czech Republic). Both of these countries permit civilians to own firearms for the express purpose of self-defence, and even allow civilians to carry them (Czechia) or very conditionally (Austria). The majority of all firearms held in Czechia are held for protection, and more than half of all Czech firearm owning citizens have a permit to carry a firearm for self-defence. Austria has some more specific use cases, but the general legal position is that if you own any sort of firearm, or any other kind of legal weapon for that matter, it can be used to lawfully defend yourself or your property. Austrian business owners or employees of said businesses (with express legal permission from the owner of the premises) can carry their firearms within their private premises but carrying prohibited weapons in public is illegal without a lawful reason. I don’t need to attack your brain with graphs, stats, and differential equations to prove to you that modern European nations with clear self-defence laws that empower victims with the ability to neutralise threats quickly and effectively to their person, their personal liberty, and their property are better places to live in than any major British city. 

If you cannot effectively defend yourself or your property, how can you be expected to defend your country? In 2013, after Lee Rigby was brutally executed on a busy street in broad daylight, there was a lot of discussion about how people in the background are just carrying on with their own lives, walking past the two-blood-soaked Islamic militants as if public beheadings were just a normal part of life in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. A similar discussion has opened up regarding the recent rape case on the tube, about how other passengers just sat there and let it happen. The general public is aghast and shocked at such cruel indifference. But all official documentation from government and law enforcement officials in the UK recommend non-intervention, that your best choice of action is to merely alert the authorities and wait. And even then, there’s a possibility that even a police officer acting in the course of their duty to protect the general public, can be charged with murder. The current UK legal system requires all violent action towards others to be “proportional force” to be considered lawful self-defence, but how do you calculate what is proportional to a man raping an unconscious woman right in front of you? Surely in this instance you apply the most efficient and effective method you have at hand, regardless of how much damage is done to the assailant? 

With the official legal advice of the government and all Law Enforcement in the UK advocating a form of learned helplessness, it’s no wonder that when confronted with difficult and violent situations, many can only watch in horror as they wait for the equally ineffective authorities to arrive and diffuse the situation. Now what happens if you are a young woman, and after calling for assistance you are greeted by Metropolitan Police constable Wayne Couzens? After that incident, the complete indifference to the “Near-Eastern Ceasefire of the week” public disturbances, and the overall lack of an effective police presence across any British Urban centres, what’s the point in calling the police? They won’t arrive on time, and it’s more than likely they’ll have you sleeping in a cell when they finally get there. 

My own personal experience of the ineffectiveness and apathy from the British Police Services, was last year, when my mother’s car was stolen from her drive in the early hours of the morning. Already prepared for the Brazilification of the UK, the car was equipped with a tracking device. Being model citizens who know better than to engage in vigilantism, we scoped out the location on google maps and informed our police service that the car had been stolen, but we could also provide the police with the approximate location, aiding with the investigation and bringing about swift justice to car thieves! After all this isn’t South Africa, where you have to bring your own pen to the police station to report a crime. Amidst the excitement, our local police service informed us that since the car was now located in Outer London, the case would have to go through a lengthy transfer process to the Metropolitan Police Service before anything could happen. This process could take hours or days depending on how busy things were, and things are always busy for the Met. This immediately put a damper on the celebrations. Who knew how long it would be before the tracker was found, and the car relocated to a secure location beyond the reach of google street-view… 

The deskbound officer heard our dismay and informed us that car theft in the UK currently follows a rather specific modus operandi. Cars are stolen to order by professionals, who then take the cars to out of the way locations, blocking the car from view with vans or other large vehicles, then they leave the cars alone until multiple stolen cars can be transported in bulk to the coast and then shipped off into the unknown. Then the officer told us that we could, as private citizens, retrieve our own property, as long as we believed that it was safe to do so. Yes, you read that correctly, the policeman who took our call, told us to go get our car back by ourselves, and to bring proof of ownership and identification because we would most likely be stopped by the police on our way home as we would be in the possession of an “un-stolen vehicle”. When I heard this I actually belly laughed, it was like being back in South Africa again. Nevertheless, we decided to sally forth.

As South Africans, our natural instinct was to reach for the 9mm for some insurance. Sorry, this is a civilised western nation, you can’t have that anymore. And even if we could, British laws would criminalise us for bringing anything with us for self-defence, and we would potentially receive greater punishment than any of the car thieves if we had anything on us which could be used to harm another person. To cut a long story short, despite assurances from police that someone would be dispatched to make sure we weren’t bleeding out on a dodgy council estate, we retrieved the vehicle with zero assistance from the police. It was located on an estate covered in bits and pieces of various luxury SUVs and Saloons, with masked youths cutting up cars on driveways in broad daylight. If anyone came at us with a knife or blunt instrument, my only effective means of self-defence would’ve been to hit them with my car, certainly a gross violation of “proportional force”.

This is what made me realise that the British Police and the legal system have completely failed the ordinary person. We were explicitly told by the police that if we ever wanted to see the car again, our best course of action would’ve been to retrieve it ourselves, providing that “it was safe to do so.” How is retrieving a stolen vehicle from a council estate safe in any capacity? Is “safe vigilantism” the future of law and order in Britain? The British police outsourcing law and order to the general public is not a recent phenomenon, and there have been many other cases where the police have been dependent upon law-bending civilians to enforce the peace.

Now if we were Sikhs, rather than dreaded White South Africans, we would be well within our rights to carry a blade during this endeavour because the legal system makes an exception for a weapon that has to be carried at all times “for religious purposes”. That religious purpose is explicitly self-defence mind you. Despite the fact that carrying any kind of blade explicitly for self-defence is a gross violation of UK law. Quite famously during the 2011 riots, Sikhs took to the streets with swords, bats, and all manner of weapons to defend their communities, and instead of the police disarming the sword-wielding paramilitary forces and dispersing, the Sikhs were praised by the Prime Minister! If I took even a rounders bat with me to rescue my mother’s stolen car I would’ve gone to jail.

The interesting thing about this Sikh tangent, is that the Seax, the famous historical general-purpose knife of the Anglo-Saxons, was considered to be a status symbol of a freeman, and that anyone without one was possibly a serf or a slave. Could an Anglo-Saxon freeman lawfully carry a culturally and religiously significant object like the Seax in modern Britain?

The 2011 August Riots revealed a long-held apathy within the police and the law enforcement caste of the United Kingdom. Across the country, militias appeared outside of Turkish barber shops and kebab bars. This mass mobilisation was welcomed across the political landscape, with no minister brave enough to question why these businesses and community centres had a surplus of edged weapons and baseball bats conveniently ready for an occasion like this. The EDL came out in force in Enfield and North London, and were reprimanded by the police and political establishment merely for being present. None of them were armed with more than an England football shirt, yet received none of the praise the middle eastern baseball enthusiasts got from the then Prime Minister, David Cameron. 

I was going to conclude the article there, but since writing began, three more events have come to attention. On the 30th of December, 2023, roughly 50 men from the London Eritrean community gathered in Camberwell, armed with bats and wooden planks, injuring four officers and disturbing the public good. Apparently only eight individuals were arrested during this act, when you can clearly see countless men violating every British weapon law, as well as assaulting police officers and vehicles with weapons whilst the police seem only capable of timidly backing away. 50 or more Eritreans with cudgels fighting a pitched battle with the police, barely any news coverage, less than a quarter of the perpetrators arrested… Why? What’s the point in even showing up? Let the Eritreans bash up their own embassy if you’re not going to arrest them, it’s probably better they harass their own government rather than vent their frustrations on ordinary Londoners. 

The second event was the reveal that Lawrence Morgan, the Jamaican Gangster whose deportation flight was prevented by a jumped-up Cambridge grad who now resides in Norway, was scheduled to be physically removed after a string of violent firearm related incidents. In 2016 Lawrence Morgan was imprisoned for only five years and ten months after being charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm, ammunition, and controlled substances. Another two-year sentence in 2017 for drugs charges, and then in 2020 he is caught on CCTV footage participating in a lethal Birmingham gang shootout whilst riding a small bicycle. No murder or attempted murder charges, despite the battle causing the violent execution of his associate, and Morgan himself caught on CCTV firing a pistol with intent. Jailed again in 2021 for only five years. The authorities attempted to deport Lawrence Morgan in 2023, if they fail to do so again (Border authorities have reportedly hired a hanger to stage deportations since they have become completely incapable of doing their job) Lawrence Morgan will most likely be back on the streets of England in a few years’ time. Ideally Lawrence Morgan would’ve been deported after his first firearms offence, but the only reason the authorities have attempted to deport him now was because in October last year, UK prison governors announced that British prisons were rapidly approaching full capacity. How many failed deportations do they let you have before they grant you citizenship? 

And thirdly, a horrific chemical attack was carried out by an Afghan Asylum seeker, one let into the country despite a history of violent and sexual offences. The police now seem incapable of finding him and have publicly lamented that it’s “sooo difficult” to find someone who doesn’t use their bank card or a mobile phone. The forces of the state have no issue when it comes to keeping track of every football fan who has ever gotten a little rowdy at an away match, but a violent sexual predator can disappear into thin air as long as they stay away from their smartphone. As an ordinary citizen, no rape whistle or panic button can defeat a lunatic armed with even a small quantity of a corrosive substance. What can you possibly do when threatened with life changing injuries and or death? The legal precedent of proportional force would suggest that ordinary civilians should disfigure or maim an acid attacker, instead of putting the threat down with a human and instantaneous response. 

Idris Elba and other lionised television gangsters such as the Labour party have begun a call for the complete ban of items such as machetes and “zombie knives” aka any large single bladed knife or sword, like the various kebab knives and industrial cutting tools that many people use for work, daily life, and the odd riot prevention. Nevermind the fact you’re more likely to be stabbed to death by a supermarket steak knife or B&Q screwdriver than meet your end facing an authentic katana or antique sabre wielding urban youth. There has been nothing from these public figures about controlling the usage of drain cleaner or any other household substances that can permanently disfigure or kill someone, but tools and items used by ordinary citizens, historians, law abiding collectors, and specialist craftsmen must be taken away because their mere existence corrupts the urban children and encourages them to embrace gang culture. As usual, our politicians would rather punish law abiding citizens instead of actually attempting to tackle why the urban populations of Britain prefer smoking weed and carving each other up instead of going to youth clubs and boxing gyms. 

I expect Lawrence Morgan and other violent Jamaican gangsters will be back on our streets on “good behaviour”, in no time, and other local roadmen will be offered shorter and shorter sentences. Violent schizophrenic, with a history of incidents, Valdo Calocane, who stabbed three people to Death in Nottingham is not being charged with murder, but manslaughter. Following this trend, after a few years of medication and observation in a secure hospital he will undoubtedly be released back into the general public, to make room for more aggressive mentally unwell individuals. 

We can no longer rely upon nautical building accessories like Narwhal Tusks, and have a sensible European approach to the legal right to defend one’s self, one’s property, those around you, and that which you hold dear. If you look at prior days of infamy, such as the Siege of Sidney Street or the Tottenham Outrage, when doing battle with violent aliens, the forces of law and order were joined by armed civilians giving chase themselves, or equipped and supported by civilians. Conveniently enough, the fact that the police during the Siege of Sidney Street were armed with firearms provided by a local gunsmith is left out by almost all official sources such as the BBC and London Police museum exhibitions.

With the appropriate equipment, perhaps it would be possible to galvanise the British public and restore even a semblance of law and order to Urban Britain. If at least one person had ready access to an incapacitating weapon like pepper spray or even a concealable firearm on London Bridge that day, five people would not have been stabbed. Across all of England’s terror attacks and similarly violent incidents, there are multiple references to bystanders resorting to desperate and weird items to defend themselves with like skateboards, tusks, or ornamental spears from historical displays. Granted pepper spray won’t do very much against a Christmas terror-lorry barrelling towards you but merely knowing in a violent situation you would be capable of doing more than cowering in fear and waiting for the royally appointed death squads might encourage the British population to have more of a spine.


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Why we need a Hitchens-Navalny strategy for GE 2024

A few days before the 2010 general election, Peter Hitchens wrote an article in the Daily Mail titled ‘This is the most important article I’ve ever written – and loyal Conservative voters will hate me for it’.

In it he argued that, despite being counterintuitive, voters must eschew the Tories if there was to be any chance of implementing a genuine, conservative agenda for Britain.

Much of its analysis of Britain’s woes are completely applicable today. He ends it by writing: ‘Five years’ from now we could throw the liberal elite into the sea, if we tried. But the first stage in that rebellion must be the failure of David Cameron to rescue the wretched anti-British Blair project and wrap it in a blue dress’.

Fourteen years later, not only is the anti-British Blair project wrapped in a blue dress still ruling the country, but David Cameron is again one of its leading figures, rubbing more shoulders at Davos and advocating military actions more brutal and destabilising than even Blair could dream of.

In 2019, Brexit allowed the Conservatives to completely refresh their image and successfully brand themselves as a populist national-conservative party. I myself, for the first (and last) time, voted for them in that election. For this I am ashamed.

What has transpired since is that, what we once identified as Blairism, is in fact part of a wider and even more sinister agenda. If what Hitchens realistically desired was an internal struggle within the Conservatives after a 2010 loss, what we can achieve today is that party’s shattering into a million tiny pieces.

‘But Labour will be even worse’, you will undoubtedly hear the Tory Boys cry. If this was convincing and arguable back in 2010, today it is wrong on its face.

If grassroots supporters and ordinary voters could hear how Tory journalists, politicians and advisors speak amongst themselves, they would be taken aback over how deeply their views are reviled and how deep the liberal rot is.

It is a party run almost entirely by childless, rootless metropolitans, whose view of conservatism is a Randian wet dream of identikit glass skyscrapers and GDPmaxxing.

When it comes to social values, foreign policy, education, health and every other significant policy area, there is no difference between them and the people who run Labour.

In fact, I would go as far to say that Labour is actually run by more ‘normal’ people. So why is it so important to destroy the Tories? Because of what comes after.

Starmer’s Labour is at this stage a well-oiled machine raring to go. Unlike the Tories, it does not pretend to be something it is not. It is an out-and-proud party of the Davos agenda.

Its current popularity is based on it not being the party to preside over the last decade and a half of chaos and decline.

If we are going to have a globalist government, let’s have the exhibitionists instead of those in the closet, as this will help the public correctly identify their enemies.

Right now, there is no appetite on the left to disrupt Labour from its course, but once they are in power it will not take long for the Corbynista wing to start making movements.

This could remove from Labour the contingent that actually can make some common cause with the dissident right (Euroscepticism, averseness to dangerous foreign entanglements, distrust of corporate and financial elites, and a belief in the nationalisation of strategic industries come to mind).

More important is what happens to the Conservatives. Hitchens correctly identifies the Westminster consensus as being ‘only propped up by state funding and dodgy millionaires’.

The funding is allocated based on the number of seats a party holds, and the donations on its prospects of power. A Tory wipe-out would kill both birds with one stone.

If the rump of it is allowed to remain as a significantly large party, it is likely to limp on and even capitalise on its new ability to talk the talk from the opposition benches without having to walk at all.

A vacuum, which we know nature abhors, must be created in its place.

Current polling shows that support for Reform UK could cost the Tories many seats in favour of Labour, despite Reform not winning any themselves.

Reform platform is a damn sight better than anything else out there, but Richard Tice’s neocon Tory-lite outfit will not bring about the reform we actually need. It could, however, be the catalyst for it.

Destroying the Conservative Party once and for all would be a noble and worthwhile aim, and would open the door for major, long-needed shakeup of our politics.

This is a strong argument that Tice would be well advised to use, but predictably he will say that the Brexit Party stood aside for the Tories in 2019 and they failed on Brexit and immigration, so this time they won’t stand aside.

He will, equally predictably, be countered with the argument that he will still let Labour in without winning seats himself.

Openly declaring war on the Tories as a necessary first-step in building a viable and genuine conservative political movement is something that is hard to argue against. Such a battle cry could also attract non-Tory voters.

The only Reform UK politician I have heard express this intent openly is its Co-Deputy Leader, Ben Habib. So it is not an impossibility that they take this line.

Habib is the real deal, but would need someone with the profile of Farage to meaningfully spread this message.

If the straightjacket of the two-party system can be broken, a genuine political realignment can take place, making the ‘Red Wall’ shift pale in comparison.

You might now be wondering where Alexei Navalny comes into all of this.

We have all heard of ‘tactical voting’, but have you ever heard of ‘smart voting’?

Umnoye golosovaniye was a website set up by Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation that had a single goal: letting people know who to vote for to have the best chance of ousting incumbent United Russia politicians.

Unlike British tactical voting, this was an integrated, mathematical system that had no limits or any other goals, and would advise you to vote for communist, ultranationalist and liberal candidates alike; whoever had the best chance.

Many in the ‘non-systemic opposition’ said it would be impossible to vote out the ruling regime in any case, and that engaging with it by participating in elections would only legitimise it. Yet Navalny argued convincingly that shouting from the side lines alone ultimately changes nothing.

For obvious reasons, success of smart voting was limited in the Russian system, but it is a strategy much better suited to our own system of illusory free elections, which are based on brainwashing and narrative control, as opposed to the more primitive techniques used by the Kremlin.

There, the process of voting itself has to be manipulated to maintain the status quo, with there being a limit to the amount achieved by propaganda alone.

Here in the UK, propaganda is the overriding method of keeping out the non-systemic opposition.

What this means is that our actual electoral system is, compared to the American one at least, largely free from rigging and ballot manipulation.

This provides opportunity to collapse, or at least fracture, what is an all-encompassing regime by using its own structures against it.

The Conservative Party is the weak link in the chain – and it can be broken.

The success of a British smart voting system would depend on how convincingly the argument is made.

If it is made well enough, we could indeed throw the liberal elite into the sea five years from now.


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The Post-Polar Moment

Introduction

Abstract: Nations and intergovernmental organisations must consider the real possibility of moving into a world without a global hegemon. The core assumptions that underpin realist thought can directly be challenged by presenting an alternative approach to non-polarity. This could be through questioning what might occur if nations moved from a world in which polarity remains a major tool for understanding interstate relations and security matters. Further work is necessary to explore the full implications of what entering a non-polar world could mean and possible outcomes for such events.

Problem statement: What would global security look like without competition between key global players such as the People’s Republic of China and the United States?

So what?: Nations and intergovernmental organisations should prepare for the real possibility that the international community could be moving into a world without a global hegemon or world order. As such, they should recognise the potential for a rapidly changing geopolitical landscape and are urged to strategically acknowledge the importance of what this would mean. More research is still needed to explore the implications for and of this moving forward.

Geopolitical Fluidity

Humankind has moved rapidly from a period of relatively controlled geopolitical dominance towards a more fluid and unpredictable situation. This has posed a question to global leadership: what would it mean to be leaderless, and what role could anarchy play in such matters? Examining the assumptions that make up most of the academic discourse within International Relations and Security Studies remains important in trying to tackle said dilemma.

From this geopolitical fluidity, the transition from U.S.-led geopolitical dominance, shown in the ‘unipolar moment’, to that of either bipolarity or multipolarity has come about. This re-emergence, however, has not directly focused on an unexplored possibility that could explain the evolving trends that might occur. Humankind is entering a post-polar world out of the emergence of a leaderless world structure. There is the possibility, too, that neither the U.S. nor the the People’s Republic of China become the sole global superpower which then dominates the world and its structures”. The likelihood of this occurring remains relatively high, as explored further on. Put differently, “it is entirely possibly that within the next two decades, international relations could be entering a period of no singular global superpower at all”.

Humankind is entering a post-polar world out of the emergence of a leaderless world structure.

The Non-Polar Moment

The most traditional forms of realism propose three forms of polar systems. These are unipolar, bipolar, or multipolar (The Big Three). There is a strong possibility that we as a global community are transitioning into a fourth and separate world system. This fourth and relatively unexplored world system could mean that anything that enables the opportunity for either a superpower or regional power to establish itself will not be able to occur in the foreseeable future.

It can also historically be explained by the end of the Cold War and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union, which led to the emergence of the U.S. as the leading superpower within global politics. For lack of better words, it was a generational image of a defining dominant nation within both international relations and security circles. From this, it was widely acknowledged and regarded that Krauthammer coined the’ unipolar moment’ in the aftermath of the Cold War. This meant that there was a period when the U.S. was the sole dominant centre of global power/polarity. This unipolar moment is more accurately considered part of a much larger ‘global power moment’.

This global power moment is in reference to the time period mentioned above, which entailed the ability for nations to directly and accurately project their power abroad or outside their region. This ability to project power will presumably but steadily decline in the following decades due to the subsequent decrease in the three core vectors of human development (Demography, Technology and Ideology). When combined, one could argue that the three polar systems allowed for the creation of the global power moment itself. Specifically, that would be from the start of the 19th until the end of the 20th century. Following that line of thought, the future was affected by the three aforementioned pillars somewhat like this:

  1. Demography: this means having a strongly structured and or growing population, one that allows a nation to act expansively towards other states and use those human resources to achieve its political goals.
  2. Technology: the rise of scientific innovations, allowing stronger military actions to happen against other nations. To date, it has granted nations the ability to directly project power abroad, which, before this, would have only been able to occur locally or at a regional level.
  3. Ideology: the third core vector of human development. That means the development of philosophies that justify the creation of a distinct mindset or “zeitgeist” that culturally explains a nation’s actions.

These three core vectors of development are built into a general human trend and assumption of ‘more’, within this great power moment. Existing systems are built into the understanding of more people, more technology development, and more growth, along with possessing generated ideologies that rationalise such actions. What this does, in turn, is help define a linear progression of human history and help develop an understanding of interstate relations.

Existing systems are built into the understanding of more people, more technology development, and more growth, along with possessing generated ideologies that rationalise such actions.

Nevertheless, this understanding is currently considered insufficient; the justification for this is based on developing a fourth vector to help comprehend power distribution. This vector is that of non-polarity, meaning a non-power-centred world structure. From this, the idea or concept of non-polarity is not original. Previously, it was deconstructed by Haass, Manning and Stuenkel, and, in their context, refers to a direct absence of global polarity within any of the Big Three polar systems.

Prior academics have shown that non-polarity is the absence of absolute power being asserted within a place and time but continues to exist within other big three polar systems. The current world diverges from the idea of multipolar in one core way. There are several centres of power, many of which are non-state actors. As a result, power and polarity can be found in many different areas and within many different actors. This argument expands on Strange’s (1996) contributions, who disputed that polarity was transferring from nations to global marketplaces and non-state actors.

A notable example is non-state players who act against more established powers, these can include terrorist and insurgent groups/organisations. Non-polarity itself being “a world dominated not by one or two or even several states but rather by dozens of actors possessing and exercising various kinds of power”. From this, a more adequate understanding of non-polarity is required. Additionally, it should be argued that non-polarity is rather a direct lack of centres of power that can exist and arise from nations. Because of this, this feature of non-polarity infers the minimisation of a nation’s ability to meaningfully engage in structural competition, which in turn describes a state of post-polarity realism presenting itself.

Humans are presented with the idea of a ‘non-polar moment’, which comes out of the above-stated direct lack of polarity. The non-polar moment inverts the meaning of the unipolar moment found with the U.S. in the aftermath of the Cold War, which was part of the wider period of Pax Americana (after WWII). This contrasts with the traditional idea: instead of having a singular hegemonic power that dominates power distribution across global politics, there is no direct power source to assert itself within the system. Conceptually, this non-polar moment could be viewed as a system where states are placed into a situation in which they are limited to being able to act outwardly. A reason why they could be limited is the demographic constraints being placed on a nation from being able to strategically influence another nation, alongside maintaining an ideology that allows nations to justify such actions.

The non-polar moment inverts the meaning of the unipolar moment found with the U.S. in the aftermath of the Cold War, which was part of the wider period of Pax Americana.

The outcomes of such a world have not been fully studied, with the global community moving from a system to one without any distributors of power or ability to influence other nations. In fact, assuming these structural conditions, -that nations need to acquire hegemony and are themselves perpetually stunted-, the scenario is similar to having a ladder that is missing its first few steps. From this, one can also see this structural condition as the contrast to a ‘rising tide lifts all boats’ situation, with the great power reduction. Because of this, the non-polar moment could symbolise the next, fourth stage for nations to transition to part of a much wider post-polarity form of realism that could develop.

The implications for this highlight a relevant gap within the current literature, the need to examine both the key structural and unit-level conditions that currently are present. This is what it might mean to be part of a wider ‘a global tribe without a leader’, something which a form of post-polarity realism might suggest.

A Global Tribe Without a Leader

To examine the circumstances for which post-polarity realism can occur, one must examine the conditions that define realism itself. Traditionally, for realism, the behaviours of states are as follows:

  1. States act according to their self-interests;
  2. States are rational in nature; and
  3. States pursue power to help ensure their own survival.

What this shows is that there are several structures from within the Big Three polar systems. Kopalyan argues that the world structure transitions between the different stages. This can be shown by moving between interstate relations as bipolar towards multipolar, done by both nations and governments, which allows nations to re-establish themselves in accordance with their structural conditions within the world system. Kopalyan then continues to identify the absence of a consistent conceptualisation of non-polarity. This absence demonstrates a direct need for clarity and structured responses to the question of non-polarity.

As such, the transition between systems to non-polarity, to and from post-polarity will probably occur. The reason for this is the general decline in three core vectors of human development, which are part of complex unit-level structural factors occurring within states. The structural factors themselves are not helpful towards creating or maintaining any of the Big Three world systems. Ultimately, what this represents is a general decline in global stability itself which is occurring. An example of this is the reduction of international intergovernmental organisations across the globe and their inability to adequately manage or solve major structural issues like Climate Change, which affects all nations across the international community.

Firstly, this can be explained demographically because most nations currently live with below-replacement (and sub-replacement) fertility rates. In some cases, they have even entered a state of terminal demographic decline. This is best symbolised in nations like Japan, Russia, and the PRC, which have terminal demographics alongside most of the European continent. The continuation of such outcomes also affects other nations outside of this traditional image, with nations like Thailand and Türkiye suffering similar issues. Contrasted globally, one can compare it to the dramatic inverse fertility rates found within Sub-Saharan Africa.

Secondly, with technology, one can observe a high level of development which has produced a widespread benefit for nations. Nevertheless, it has also contributed to a decline in the preservation of being able to transition between the Big Three systems. Technological developments have produced obstacles to generating coherence between governments and their citizenry. For example, social media allows for the generation of mass misinformation that can be used to create issues within nations from other countries and non-state actors. Additionally, it has meant that nations are placed permanently into a state of insecurity because of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). The results mean there can never be any true sense or permanence in the idea of security due to the effects of WMDs and their spillover effects. Subsequently, technological development has placed economic hurdles for nations within the current world order through record levels of debt, which has placed further strain on the validity of the current global economic system in being able to maintain itself.

Technological developments have produced obstacles to generating coherence between governments and their citizenry.

The final core vector of human development is ideology and its decline. This has been shown with a reduction in the growth of new ideologies and philosophies used to understand and address world issues. This is an extension of scholars like Toynbee and Spengler, whose literature has also claimed that ideologically, the world has witnessed a general reduction in abstract thought and problem-solving. This ideological decline has most substantially occurred in the Western World.

The outcomes of the reduction in these human development vectors demonstrate a potential next stage in global restructuring. Unfortunately, only little data can be sourced to explain what a global world order could look like without a proverbial ‘king on the throne’ exists. Nearly all acquired data is built into a ‘traditional’ understanding of a realist world order. This understanding is largely correct. Nevertheless, the core assumption built into our post-WWII consensus is out of date.

This is the concept that we as nations will continue falling back into and transitioning between the traditional Big Three polar systems. This indeed contrasts with moving into a fourth non-polar world structure. Traditionally, states have transitioned between the Big Three world systems. This can only occur when all three vectors of human development are positive, when now, in reality, all three are in decline.

This is not to take away from realism as a cornerstone theoretical approach to understanding and explaining state behaviour. Realism and its core tenets are still correct on a conceptual and theoretical level and will remain so. Indeed, what unites all branches of realism is this core assumption of civilisation from within the system and that it will directly affect polarity. These structures are assumed to remain in place, presenting one major question. This question is shown upon investigating the current bipolar connection between both major superpowers, in this case, between the U.S. and the PRC. Kissinger argues that “almost as if according to some natural law, in every century, there seems to emerge a country with the power, the will, and the intellectual and moral impetus to shape the entire international system per its own values.” It can be seen in the direct aftermath of the declining U.S., which is moving away from the unipolar moment it found itself in during the 1990s, into a more insecure and complex multipolar present. This present currently defines Sino-U.S. relations and has set the tone for most conversations about the future of global politics. Such a worldview encapsulates how academics have traditionally viewed bipolar strategic competition, with one side winning and the other losing. This bipolarity between these superpowers has often left the question of which will eventually dominate the other. Will the U.S. curtail and contain a rising PRC, or will the PRC come out as the global hegemon overstepping U.S. supremacy?

Realism and its core tenets are still correct on a conceptual and theoretical level and will remain so. Indeed, what unites all branches of realism is this core assumption of civilisation from within the system and that it will directly affect polarity.

Consequently and presently, there remains a distinct possibility that both superpowers could collapse together or separately within a short period of each other. This collapse is regardless of their nation’s relative power or economic interdependence. It could rather be:

  1. The PRC could easily decline because of several core factors. Demographically, the nation’s one-child policy has dramatically reduced the population. The results could place great strain on the nation’s viability. Politically, there is a very real chance that there could be major internal strife due to competing factional elements within the central government. Economically, housing debt could cause an economic crash to occur.
  2. For the U.S., this same could occur. The nation has its own economic issues and internal political problems. This, in turn, might also place great pressure on the future viability of the country moving forward.

Still, the implications for both nations remain deeply complex and fluid as to what will ultimately occur. From this, any definite outcomes currently remain unclear and speculative.

Within most traditional Western circles, the conclusion for the bipolar competition will only result in a transition towards either of the two remaining world systems. Either one power becomes hegemonic, resulting in unipolarity, or, in contrast, as nations move into a multipolar system, where several powers vie for security. Nevertheless, this transition cannot currently occur if both superpowers within the bipolar system collapse at the same time. This is regardless of whether their respective collapses are connected or not. As both superpowers are in a relative decline, they themselves contribute to a total decline of power across the world system. From this, with the rise of global interdependence between states, when a superpower collapses, it has long-term implications for the other superpower and those caught in between. If both superpowers collapse, it would give us a world system with no definitive power centre and a global tribe without a leader.

This decline would go beyond being in a state of ‘posthegemony’, where there is a singular or bipolar superpower, the core source of polarity amongst nations, towards that of a non-polar world. This means a transition into a world without the ability to develop an organised world system from a full hegemonic collapse. With the collapse of bipolarity and the inability to transition towards either of the traditional remaining world systems, as previously mentioned, this would be like all nations being perpetually stunted in their ability to develop, like a ladder with the first ten steps missing. All nations would collectively struggle to get up the first few steps back into some form of structural normalcy. It could, for decades, prevent any attempt to transition back into the traditional realm of the Big Three world systems.

With the collapse of bipolarity and the inability to transition towards either of the traditional remaining world systems, as previously mentioned, this would be like all nations being perpetually stunted in their ability to develop, like a ladder with the first ten steps missing.

The result/consequence of any collapse directly caused by a link between economic, demographic and political failings would become a global death spiral, potentially dragging nearly all other nations down with its collapse. That considered another question would arise: if we as an international community structurally face a non-polar moment on a theoretical level, what might the aftermath look like for states and interstate relations?

Rising and Falling Powers

This aspect of how the international community and academia view the international sphere could yield a vital understanding of what may happen within the next few years and likely decades, will need to constantly reassess the core assumptions behind our pre-existing thoughts. One core assumption is that nations are either rising or falling. However, it may be worth remembering that it is entirely possible that both bipolar powers could easily decline significantly at any point, for multiple different reasons and factors. The outcomes would have substantial implications for the world as a whole.

It may be worth remembering that it is entirely possible that both bipolar powers could easily decline significantly at any point, for multiple different reasons and factors.

Ultimately, it implies that the international community will need to reevaluate how issues like polarity are viewed, and continue to explore the possibility of entering a fourth polar world – non-polar – and address the possibility that some form of post-polarity realism might begin to conceptualise. Nations and intergovernmental organisations should, at the least, attempt to consider or acclimatise to the real possibility of transforming into a world without a global hegemon or world order.

This article was originally published in The Defence Horizon Journal, an academic and professional-led journal dedicated to the study of defence and security-related topics. The original post can be read here.


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Beware The British Dream

‘Dying societies accumulate laws like dying men accumulate remedies.

– Nicolás Gómez Dávila

On an economic, cultural, and political level, Britain has visibly become more American over the past few decades. Partially due to globalising processes which have occurred throughout the USA’s 30-to-40-year hegemony, the Americanisation of Britain is largely downstream from domestic decisions to ‘modernise’ the country. Possibly the most famous incident of Americanisation in recent British history was the creation of The Supreme Court, an artificial instalment of the Blair-Brown governments with precisely zero political or legal precedent, lacking any institution before it which can accurately or honestly be described as an official or spiritual predecessor.

Despite its arbitrary and fabricated existence, The Supreme Court has been reimagined as an ancient institution of Britain, and has visibly impacted the structure, practice, and direction of contemporary politics, from overriding the prorogation of Parliament to striking down the policy of an elected government as ‘unlawful’. Even basic political education has been contorted with irrelevant concepts and downright myths to assimilate this alien institution. Britain’s current and future leaders and representatives understand and articulate their nation’s political system through an American framework, believing Britain is founded on a Montesquieu-esque ‘separation of powers’ and has an ‘uncodified constitution’.

However, it’s abundantly clear the Americanisation process intends to contaminate much more than just the laws of Britain, but the spirit which said laws are meant to be derived and understood. Up until the early 2010s, the concept of ‘The British Dream’ simply did not exist. If one enters ‘The British Dream’ into Google’s Ngram Viewer, usage of the term is few and far between with static growth up until the early 2010s, throughout which the term skyrockets.

Loosely related ideas of social mobility and aspiration were well-established throughout preceding decades, but the specific notion of ‘The British Dream’ – as an explicit reference and/or equivalent to the American Dream, functioning as an integral, binding aspect of our national identity – really had no cultural, political, or academic significance. Before the 2010s, the small handful of instances in which The British Dream was mentioned usually referred to the non-existence of such a concept. In 2005, Boris Johnson said the UK had failed to articulate a British Dream comparable to the Americans, suggesting a key step towards realising such an ideal involves ensuring everyone in the UK speaks English.

Following the 7/7 Bombings, then-Conservative leader Michael Howard described The British Dream in aspirational terms, linking it to ideas of fairness, equality of opportunity, and the ‘need to break down the barriers that exist in too many people’s lives – and minds – that prevent or deter them from making a success of life.’ From what I’ve observed, a good chunk of the pre-2010 references to ‘The British Dream’ are directly referring to Michael Howard’s usage and understanding of the concept.

In 2007, the concept was described in similar terms by academic Professor George Rodosthenous, a specialist in musical theatre writing on the story of Billy Elliot. A story about a young boy escaping his Northern background, initially prevented by his uneducated, toxically masculine, Blue Labour trade unionist father, to become a London-based ballet-dancer and proud LGBTQI+ ally. Rodosthenous identified The British Dream as ‘a term which needs urgently a definition’, defining it as ‘the desire to do better than one’s own parents.’

Announcing his bid to lead UKIP in 2016, then-MEP Stephen Woolfe defined ‘The British Dream’ as ‘the chance to succeed in your life, no matter your postcode, your gender or the colour of your skin’, using his mixed heritage (Jewish mother, African-American father) and council estate upbringing as proof.

The concept is even used by high-ranking politicians. In her 2017 Conservative Party Conference speech, then-Prime Minister Theresa May promised to bring back ‘The British Dream’, defining it as the idea ‘each generation should do better than the one before it.’ Similar to Woolfe, she referenced her family background (specifically, her grandmother’s role as a domestic servant) to support the notion that upward mobility is central to Britain’s identity.

In a BBC interview discussing ‘The British Dream’ in 2017, Professor Pamela Cox, social historian at the University of Essex, reaffirmed this interpretation, stating: ‘The British Dream has come to stand for home ownership, having a secure job and a living standard higher than your parents.’

In an interview with The Telegraph in 2022, Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi declared: ‘I am living the British dream’, having gone from an Iraqi child refugee to Chancellor of the Exchequer (albeit very briefly) and becoming one of several contenders (again, albeit very briefly) for Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader.

So where does the term come from? For the most part, present usage of The British Dream can be owed to David Goodhart’s book of the same name. Published in 2013, it documents the success and failures of post-war immigration to the UK. However, for the most part, the book is an extension of the ideas produced in previous works by Goodhart, so much so that prising them apart feels like splitting hairs.These works include ‘Too Diverse?’, a widely read essay for Prospect Magazine published in 2004, and ‘Progressive Nationalism’, a follow-up pamphlet published in 2006, the latter of which is particularly important, given that it constructs a ‘solution’ to present problems whilst the former is entirely analytical.

‘Politicians of the centre-left in Britain, and elsewhere in Europe, are trying to raise the visibility of national citizenship in response to growing anxieties about identity and migration in our more fluid societies – but they often do so defensively and uncertainly. Britain does need a clearer idea of citizenship and a robust protection of the privileges and entitlements associated with it. Indeed, an inclusive, progressive, civic British nationalism – comfortable with Britain’s multiethnic and multiracial character and its place in the European Union (EU) – is the best hope for preserving the social democratic virtues embodied in a generous welfare state and a thriving public domain.

Initially directed at the British centre-left, support for Goodhart’s proposal mostly stemmed from the Tory and Tory-adjacent right. Since 2017, Goodhart has been Head of the Demography, Immigration, and Integration Unit at Policy Exchange, one of several free market, centre-right think tanks. However, this shouldn’t be surprising. Despite hailing the ‘social democratic virtues’ of Britain, the thrust of Goodhart’s proposal is considerably (albeit, not entirely) Thatcherite in nature, making Trevor Phillips’ ‘liberal Powellite’ accusation correct in at least one regard.

Goodhart identifies himself as part of the broader post-liberal movement, of which Progressive Nationalism is but one of several ideological tendencies. I shall elaborate on post-liberalism (and my own personal issues with it) in a longer piece. The important point here is that post-liberalism is not anti-liberalism (as post-liberals will eagerly remind you) and aspires to make alterations – in their words, a ‘rebalancing’ of a lop-sided political order – within the prevailing paradigm of liberal-democratic capitalism; an arrangement perceived to have triumphed over all alternatives, thereby forming the basis of any supposedly legitimate arrangement.

As such, the compatibility of a post-liberal doctrine and Thatcherism (despite their widely publicised disagreements) shouldn’t come as a shock. Thatcher herself consistently defended the free-market for its ability to generate prosperity which could be taxed as revenue to fund and improve public services – the type of institutions Goodhart encourages us to unite around in an increasingly diverse society. Thatcher’s influence on the development of The Blob also goes hand-in-hand with this point, as does the ease by which Blair built upon her legacy, but I digress.

Intuitively, Progressive Nationalism seeks to shape a ‘progressive national story… about openness and opportunity’ – that’s the progressive element, enabled largely (albeit far from exclusively) by bringing immigration ‘down to more moderate and sustainable levels’ – that’s the nationalist element. Similar to other post-liberal projects, it pulls from both the centre-left and the centre-right, aspiring to reconfigure the content of the political centre within its pre-established ideological parameters.

In specific terms, Progressive Nationalism posits a strong state can and should provide cultural and economic security for the exclusive benefit and enjoyment of its citizens, ensuring a basic degree of monoculturalism in an otherwise liberal political order and a relatively generous welfare state in a broadly globalised free-market. Indeed, this doesn’t sound too bad, but a few details should be noted before going further.

Firstly, Progressive Nationalism (like many post-liberal tendencies) was explicitly designed to act as a containment strategy or ‘moderating’ ideology for the political centre; a comparatively liberal, inclusive, and civic alternative to potentially more conservative, tribalistic, and ethnocultural manifestations of nationalism:

‘The alternative to a mild, progressive nationalism is not internationalism, which will always be a minority creed, but either chauvinistic nationalism or the absence of any broader solidarities at all.

Secondly, unlike the more reactionary versions of nationalism that Goodhart dissuades against, Progressive Nationalism proclaims Britain’s transformation into a multi-ethnic society is both morally neutral and a foregone conclusion. For all the differences which exist across Goodhart’s work, such as his pivot away from describing an America-style national myth as ‘probably not possible to emulate… may no longer be possible either’ to the development of The British Dream, his belief that diversity is destiny remains a reliable constant. Marking the 20-year anniversary of ‘Too Diverse?’ in The Times, Goodhart maintains the necessity of creating a post-ethnic nation state with conclusive conviction:

‘I look at what is coming our way and I think we need the galvanising and unifying power of the post-ethnic nation state more than ever. We need it to lean against fragmentation as we head towards a 40 per cent minority population by 2050.

As such, the state must be willing and able to responsibly manage this transition, which Goodhart argues can and should be assimilated to the native populous by maintaining a high degree of economic development and conformance to fundamental liberal values, even among self-described non-liberals. In anti-political fashion, this would reduce the potential for non-liberal practices and convictions to develop into actual political or cultural challenges. thereby creating Division:

‘Diversity in itself is neither good nor bad, it is fairness that matters. Clearly, a developed, liberal society such as Britain can and does sustain a huge variety of beliefs and lifestyles, all of which are compatible with an adequate sense of Britishness. We do not all have to like each other or agree with each other or live like each other for the glue to work. As the philosopher David Miller has written:

‘Liberal states do not require their citizens to believe liberal principles, since they tolerate communists, anarchists, fascists and so forth. What they require is that citizens should conform to liberal principles in practice and accept as legitimate policies that are pursued in the name of such principles, while they are left free to advocate alternative arrangements. The same must apply to immigrant groups, who can legitimately be required to abandon practices that liberalism condemns, such as the oppression of women, intolerance of other faiths and so on.

Thirdly, finally, and unsurprisingly, Progressive Nationalism (despite its name) fundamentally does not regard Britain as a nation – a particular ethnocultural group – but as a state. That is, ‘Britain is (technically) not a nation at all but a state.’

Despite this, Goodhart is perfectly aware of the demographic implications of mass immigration, accepting the existence of homophily – ‘To put it bluntly, most of us prefer our own kind’ – even when concerned with a diverse in-group – ‘those we include in our in-group could be a pretty diverse crowd, especially in a city like London’ and that demographic change has been responsible for various forms of division (ghettoization, mutual resentment, political extremism, etc.). Moreover, far from being a defender of Britain’s policy of multiculturalism, Goodhart describes it as ‘overzealous’, dismissing the establishment’s previous attempts at promoting unity in a diverse society as insufficient at best: ‘The multi-ethnic success of Team GB at the 2012 Olympics and a taste for chicken tikka are not sufficient to forge common bonds.’

In fact, it is recognition, not ignorance, of immigration’s shortcomings that has given rise to a ‘Progressive Dilemma’ – the incongruence between social solidarity, diversity, and their respective benefits, as co-existing political priorities (i.e. immigration undermining the social trust necessary for a basic welfare state). Goodhart tries to resolve this dilemma by shifting the boundary of the political community from the nation to the citizenry, as recognised by the state. In this respect, Progressive Nationalism is distinctly anti-populist, especially anti-national populism, as a matter of political strategy and in its ideological details.

Whilst Populism attempts to recreate sense of peoplehood from the bottom-up, defining its boundaries in opposition to the elite – with National Populism doing so along the lines of a national group against an international elite – Progressive Nationalism attempts to recreate a sense of peoplehood from the top-down by adjusting pre-existing bureaucratic structures; that is, mechanisms which only exist as an expression of the primordial nation, something the Progressive Nationalist framework deliberately obfuscates by ‘blurring the lines between the civic and the ethnic.’

Conceding that a degree of exclusion being necessary for the existence of a state, Progressive Nationalism centres around the exclusivity of the state’s resources and benefits to those with bureaucratically sanctioned access, rather than the survival and self-determination of a particular ethnocultural group.

Having established this, Goodhart outlines several exclusionary measures to form the basis of a Progressive Nationalist state; benefits afforded exclusively to the citizenry, underscored by rituals which foster solidarity along post-national lines. For starters, A points-based immigration system to reduce illegal and lower-skill immigration, electronic embarkation controls, and an annual migration report created by an independent migration panel, are all fairly universal proposals amongst immigration restrictionists.

Additionally, Goodhart proposes tiered citizenship, comprised of those with ‘a more formal, full’ citizenship and those with ‘British resident status with fewer rights and duties’ for temporary immigrant workers without dependants. Immigrants would not be entitled to British citizenship, only to those who ‘worked their passage’. This so-called ‘passage’ includes a probationary period for citizenship, in which new arrivals would not qualify for full political and welfare rights but would be granted on completion, assuming one hasn’t committed a crime above ‘a certain degree of seriousness’. Such a process would be accompanied by citizenship ceremonies, rigorous citizenship and language tests, and oaths of allegiance, thereby ‘belatedly bringing Britain into line with much of the rest of the developed world, including the United States.’

By definition, residents (non-citizens) would not have the benefits of citizenship, especially ‘long-term benefits’ – pensions, social housing, etc. By contrast, not only would the citizenry have access to ‘generous welfare and thriving public services’, the identity and solidarity of the citizenry would arise from their shared access (and shared investment in the success of) these public services.

‘As society becomes more diverse and more affluent, our sharing of common spaces and institutions dwindles. Those public institutions that we do still share, such as education and health services, become more important.

However, access to public institutions rests on the proviso that citizens demonstrate ‘appropriate behaviour, such as the commitment to genuinely seek a job in return for unemployment benefit’ and seek social insurance over welfare payments wherever possible. Goodhart justifies this restrictiveness on the basis that open access to such resources is no longer feasible in a globalised and mobile society. It is also on this basis that Goodhart proposes the introduction of ID cards, both to track who is and isn’t in the country and to identify who is and isn’t entitled to state welfare.

Goodhart is very fond of ID cards, seeing them almost as a silver bullet to Britain’s problems. According to Goodhart, they can be a solution to Britain’s Progressive Dilemma, something which can be ‘a badge of Britishness which transcend our more particular regional, ethnic or racial identities’, and form of economic reassurance, claiming ‘identity cards… will demonstrate a commitment to using taxpayers’ money fairly’ and ‘ensure citizens that access to public services… is based on a protected entitlement.’

Moreover, by making the line between citizen and non-citizen more visible, which supposedly enables a fairer distribution of state resources, Goodhart suggests ID cards can mitigate any mutual resentment felt between minorities, who might otherwise ask for special treatment, and those of the majority group, especially those who felt ‘left behind’ in an age of globalisation. That said, Goodhart realises ‘much integration takes place spontaneously in private life’ especially in the ‘middle-class suburbs and professional and business life.’  As such, rather than directly intervening in people’s livelihoods, public authorities should provide positive incentives to mix and disincentives to separate to ‘ensure a high degree of trust-building contact’.

Such trust-building initiatives would include a ‘British Liberty Day’ (or simply Britain Day, in later references) to celebrate ‘the post-1689 Whiggish Liberal culture’ of ‘constitutionalism, rights and commerce’ and ‘a Whiggish story… from the Magna Carta to the race discrimination laws’ being taught at every level of education; one which would contextualise the ‘gradual extension of citizenship rights’ and establish Britain’s national myth as a nation of ‘brave islanders defending freedom against domestic tyrants and continental conquerors’, building a liberal fraternity between citizens of different backgrounds.

For the same reason, Goodhart argues ‘there should be a policy bias against faith schools’ and ‘a single national religious education curriculum which applies to faith schools’. Additionally, veils should be discouraged in public spaces and strong incentives directed at the south Asian community to find spouses in Britain, rather than returning to the subcontinent, as such a practice can ‘short-circuit the process of integration by bringing in spouses who are often completely new to Britain’s norms and language.’ Goodhart concedes ‘it is not appropriate for a liberal society to interfere directly in the marriage choices of its citizens, but it is appropriate for a liberal society to control who becomes a citizen.’

If it isn’t obvious by now, Goodhart defines British culture in explicitly liberal terms. True to post-liberal form, Progressive Nationalism is an attempt (albeit grounded in often astute observation; again, like many post-liberal tendencies) to insulate and maintain what is otherwise a vacuous political structure that risks being filled by forces which are perceived to be less-than-liberal overall.

What does any of this have to do with The British Dream? Simply put, The British Dream holds the Progressive Nationalist state together. Pulling on Bhikhu Parekh, a leading proponent of multiculturalism and arguably the most influential political theorist in Modern Britain, Goodhart argues ‘a primary emotional commitment to this place andits people’ is required to hold society together:

‘Societies are not held together by common interest and justice alone. If they were, the sacrifices that their members make for each other including sharing resources and giving up their lives in wars and national emergencies would be inexplicable. They need emotional bonding . . . that in turn springs from a common sense of belonging, from the recognition of each other as members of a single community. And that requires a broadly shared sense of national identity – a sense of who they are, what binds them together and makes them members of this community rather than some other.

Surprisingly, this emotional commitment isn’t the personalistic institution of the monarchy. Whilst it is viewed as a valuable resource, it is ultimately a secondary characteristic of the state. Instead of using it as a common institution to act as a lynchpin for a diverse citizenry, Goodhart attributes the value of the monarchy to its present popularity and little else, predicting the emergence of a ‘national republicanism with British characteristics’ which will hollow it out to a greater extent.

Rather, this emotional commitment is to the meritocratic power myth of The British Dream. Having failed to handle post-war immigration effectively, Goodhart argues we require ‘a national identity that feels meaningful, that is open to settled minorities and to newcomers and is completely ordinary – The British Dream in practice.’ In summary, it is a retroactive measure to an unwanted policy of mass immigration; an opportunity for the political class to save face and make the indigenous nation comfortable with an inherently uncomfortable arrangement by appealing to a universal desire for intergenerational progress; paradoxically, a specific place defined by its universalism.

In the small handful of references to ‘The British Dream’ throughout The British Dream in, Goodhart explicitly refers to the ability of Chinese and Indian individuals to enter high-status professional roles from low-status family backgrounds as the essence of the concept.

‘One test of who has been upwardly mobile and who hasn’t can be found on the British high street – in the corner shops and restaurants run by people of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Chinese background. All four of those groups were overrepresented in self-employment on the high street in the first generation. Today, rates of self-employment have fallen quite sharply for those of Chinese and Indian background, as the next generation have gone on to become lawyers accounts and teachers – living The British Dream – whilst many Pakistanis and Bangladeshis remain in low status self-employment.’

That’s right, the height of Britishness is not being actually British, but being non-British and succeeding in Britain… something every British person famously does and wants. The British Dream is about being born to uneducated and paranoid provincialists – uppity Brexiteers who need to be assured (civilised) that the ongoing changes (destruction) to their country will be conducted slowly and prudently – and joining the educated, mobile, cosmopolitans in The City; shedding one’s heritage to the extent it becomes a hollow ornament to liven-up the corporate rat-race. In Goodhartian terms, going from a lowly Somewhere to a respectable Anywhere… just like Billy Elliot! Indeed, by these metrics, a person of non-British descent becomes more (spiritually?) British than a person of British background should the former be successfully dissolved into the laptop classes of London.

Counteracting liberalism’s crusade to the lowest common denominator of communal belonging, The British Dream reorients the political focus upwards, emphasising the shared desire for social mobility, without actively reversing the foundations on which this new orientation is constructed. In fact, besides a general concession to reduce immigration, Goodhart openly concedes to the direction of travel which has been occurring for the aforementioned 30-40 years: ‘Diversity can increasingly look after itself – the underlying drift of social and economic development favours it.’

Instead, it opts to bureaucratically insulate this new, lowly base of subsistence through moderate degrees of welfare chauvinism and social engineering. In no uncertain terms, it tries to bandage against the disintegration of the people without directly addressing the causes for such a process, wording the solution as a necessary measure, rather than a political choice:

‘It might seem odd to call a book that is in places about what a mess we have made of post-war immigration, The British Dream. But when a country is changing very fast, as Britain currently is, it needs stories to reassure and guide it. Unlike the American Dream, the British Dream is a phrase that does not trip off the tongue, the British tradition is more pragmatic than visionary. But it is time we started getting our tongue round the phrase.’

Is it? Must we change who we are to accommodate liberalism and its consequences? Bureaucratising the identity of an entire ethnocultural group to act as a barrier against social division and disorder that has been reversed countless times in other places on Earth? Is Britain’s claim to exceptionalism that it is the only country without a political class to prevent the collapse of a White British supermajority within these isles? If not for the entirely reasonable pursuit of national self-determination, then to reasonably attain any integrationist model that doesn’t run the risk of turning Britain into a larger version of London, where particularising diversity obviously hasn’t worked, despite the snobbish parochialism of self-described cosmopolitans. Indeed, this project places a lot of optimism in the state’s ability to manufacture solidarity through artificial forms of belonging which are supposedly more attractive than organic ones.

Much like the Windrush Myth, The British Dream shamelessly attempts to retroactively legitimise the growing migrant population in the minds of the masses, this much is obvious. However, even if this wasn’t the case, how do would such a myth help us understand ourselves when much of British history was absolutely not meritocratic or fluid? Needless to say, very few were living The British Dream in our own land when we built the Empire, or prior to the creation of the Union. The British Dream did not defeat the French at Trafalgar, the enemy did not cry ‘Sacre bleu! Fairness and openness have destroyed our frigates!’ – they feared men with names unlike their own, a language they did not understand, belonging to a different bloodline, flying a flag they did not recognise.

Overall, The British Dream, its related tendencies, and its consequences sound like a nightmare. Even on its own terms, what good is this ‘dream’ or any of its adjacent ideas, if it’s not something We desire, but a cackhanded imposition by sheer and supposed necessity? It is solution by comparison to malicious negligence, but a solution constructed on the concession of the British nation to its marginalisation, in the physical and the abstract, and its presumably ’inevitable’ demise. An easy, smooth, therapeutic demise, but its demise, nonetheless.


Photo Credit.

On the Alabama IVF Ruling

On the 19th February 2024, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that embryos created through IVF are “children”, and should be legally recognised as such. This issue was brought by three couples suing their IVF providers due to the destruction of their children while being cryogenically stored under an existing Death of a Minor statue in the state. This statute explicitly covered foetuses (presumably to allow for compensation to be sought by women who has suffered miscarriages or stillbirths which could have been prevented), but there was some ambiguity over whether IVF embryos were covered prior to the ruling that it applies to “all unborn children, regardless of their location”. It has since been revealed that the person responsible was a patient at the clinic in question, so while mainstream outlets have stated that the damage was ‘accidental’, I find this rather implausible given the security in place for accessing cryogenic freezers. It is the author’s own suspicion that the person responsible was in fact an activist foreseeing the consequences of successful Wrongful Death of a Minor lawsuit against the clinic for the desecration of unborn children outside the womb.

The ruling does not explicitly ban or even restrict IVF treatments; it merely states that the products thereof must be legally recognised as human beings. However, this view is incompatible with multiple stages of the IVF process, and this is what makes this step in the right direction a potentially significant victory. For those who may be (blissfully) unaware, the IVF process goes something like this. A woman is hormonally stimulated to release multiple eggs in a cycle rather than the usual one or two. These are then exacted and then fertilised with sperm in a lab. There is nothing explicitly contrary to the view that life begins at conception in these first two steps. However, as Elisabeth Smith (Director of State Policy at the Centre for Reproductive Rights) explains, not all of the embryos created can be used. Some are tossed due to genetic abnormalities, and even of those that remain usually no more than three are implanted into the womb at any given time, but they can be cryogenically stored for up to a decade and implanted at a later date or into someone else.

In this knowledge, three major problems for the IVF industry in Alabama become apparent. The first is that they will not be able to toss those which they deem to be unsuitable for implantation due to genetic abnormalities. This would massively increase the cost to IVF patients as they would have to store all the children created for an unspecified length of time. This is assuming that storing children in freezers is deemed to be acceptable at all, which is not a given as any reasonable person would say that freezing children at later stages of development was incredibly abusive. The second problem is that even if it is permitted to continue creating children outside of the womb and storing them for future implantation (perhaps by only permitting storage for a week or less), it would only be possible to create the number of children that the woman is willing to have implanted. This would further increase costs as if the first attempt at implantation fails, the patient would have to go back to the drawing board and have more eggs extracted, rather than trying again from a larger supply already in the freezer. The third problem is that, particularly if the number of stored children increases dramatically, liability insurance would have to cover any loss, destruction, or damage to said children, which would make it a totally unviable business for all but the wealthiest.

The connection between this ruling and the abortion debate has been made explicitly by both sides. Given that it already has a total ban on abortion, Alabama seems a likely state to take further steps to protect the unborn, which may spread to other Republican states if they are deemed successful. The states that currently also impose a total ban on abortion either at any time after conception or after 6 weeks gestation (where it is only possible to know of a pregnancy for 2 weeks) are Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, North Carolina, Arizona, and Utah. There are other states with an exception only for rape and incest, with some requiring that this be reported to law enforcement.

However, despite the fact that the ruling was made by Republicans appointed to their posts at the time of Donald Trump’s presidency, he has publicly criticised this decision saying that “we should be making it easier for people to have strong families, not harder”. Nikki Haley appeared initially to support the ban, but later backtracked on this commitment. In a surprisingly intellectually honest move, The Guardian made an explicit link between the medical hysteria on this topic and the prevalence of female doctors among IVF patients. Glenza (2024) wrote:

“Fertility is of special concern to female physicians. Residents typically finish training at 31.6 years of age, which are prime reproductive years. Female physicians suffer infertility at twice the rate of the general population, because demanding careers push many to delay starting a family.”

While dry and factual, this statement admits consciously that ‘infertility’ is (or at least can be) caused by lifestyle choices and priorities (i.e. prioritising one’s career over using ideal reproductive years in the 20’s and early 30’s to marry and have children), rather than genes or bad luck, and is therefore largely preventable by women making different choices.

I sincerely hope that, despite criticism of the ruling by (disproportionately female) doctors which a vested interest, the rule of law stands firm and that an honest interpretation of this ruling is manifested in reality. This would mean that for reasons stated above it will become unviable to run a profitable IVF business, and that while wealthy couples may travel out of state, a majority of those currently seeking IVF will instead adopt children, and/or face the consequences of their life decisions. Furthermore, I hope that young women on the fence about accepting a likely future proposal, pulling the goalie, or aborting a current pregnancy to focus on her career consider the long-term consequences of waiting too long to have children.


Photo Credit.

Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth: An Examination and Review

A new film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Scottish tragedy, Joel Coen’s 2021 The Tragedy of Macbeth is the director’s first production without his brother Ethan’s involvement. Released in select theaters on December 25, 2021, and then on Apple TV on January 14, 2022, the production has received positive critical reviews as well as awards for screen adaptation and cinematography, with many others still pending.

As with any movie review, I encourage readers who plan to see the film to do so before reading my take. While spoilers probably aren’t an issue here, I would not want to unduly influence one’s experience of Coen’s take on the play. Overall, though much of the text is omitted, some scenes are rearranged, and some roles are reduced, and others expanded, I found the adaptation to be a generally faithful one that only improved with subsequent views. Of course, the substance of the play is in the performances of Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, but their presentation of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is enhanced by both the production and supporting performances.

Production: “where nothing, | But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile” —IV.3

The Tragedy of Macbeth’s best element is its focus on the psychology of the main characters, explored below. This focus succeeds in no small part due to its minimalist aesthetic. Filmed in black and white, the play utilizes light and shadow to downplay the external historical conflicts and emphasize the characters’ inner ones.

Though primarily shown by the performances, the psychological value conflicts of the characters are concretized by the adaptation’s intended aesthetic. In a 2020 Indiewire interview, composer and long-time-Coen collaborator Carter Burwell said that Joel Coen filmed The Tragedy of Macbeth on sound stages, rather than on location, to focus more on the abstract elements of the play. “It’s more like a psychological reality,” said Burwell. “That said, it doesn’t seem stage-like either. Joel has compared it to German Expressionist film. You’re in a psychological world, and it’s pretty clear right from the beginning the way he’s shot it.”

This is made clear from the first shots’ disorienting the sense of up and down through the use of clouds and fog, which continue as a key part of the staging throughout the adaptation. Furthermore, the bareness of Inverness Castle channels the focus to the key characters’ faces, while the use of odd camera angles, unreal shadows, and distorted distances reinforce how unnatural is the play’s central tragic action, if not to the downplayed world of Scotland, then certainly to the titular couple. Even when the scene leaves Inverness to show Ross and MacDuff discussing events near a ruined building at a crossroads (Act II.4), there is a sense that, besides the Old Man in the scene, Scotland is barren and empty.

The later shift to England, where Malcolm, MacDuff, and Ross plan to retake their homeland from now King Macbeth, further emphasizes this by being shot in an enclosed but bright and fertile wood. Although many of the historical elements of the scene are cut, including the contrast between Macbeth and Edward the Confessor and the mutual testing of mettle between Malcolm and MacDuff, the contrast in setting conveys the contrast between a country with a mad Macbeth at its head and the one that presumably would be under Malcolm. The effect was calming in a way I did not expect—an experience prepared by the consistency of the previous acts’ barren aesthetic.

Yet, even in the forested England, the narrow path wherein the scene takes place foreshadows the final scenes’ being shot in a narrow walkway between the parapets of Dunsinane, which gives the sense that, whether because of fate or choice rooted in character, the end of Macbeth’s tragic deed is inevitable. The explicit geographical distance between England and Scotland is obscured as the same wood becomes Birnam, and as, in the final scenes, the stone pillars of Dunsinane open into a background of forest. This, as well as the spectacular scene where the windows of the castle are blown inward by a storm of leaves, conveys the fact that Macbeth cannot remain isolated against the tragic justice brought by Malcom and MacDuff forever, and Washington’s performance, which I’ll explore presently, consistently shows that the usurper has known it all along.

This is a brilliant, if subtle, triumph of Coen’s adaptation: it presents Duncan’s murder and the subsequent fallout as a result less of deterministic fate and prophecy and more of Macbeth’s own actions and thoughts in response to it—which, themselves, become more determined (“predestined” because “wilfull”) as Macbeth further convinces himself that “Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill” (III.2).

Performances:  “To find the mind’s construction in the face” —I.4

Film adaptations of Shakespeare can run the risk of focusing too closely on the actors’ faces, which can make keeping up with the language a chore even for experienced readers (I’m still scarred from the “How all occasions” speech from Branagh’s 1996 Hamlet); however, this is rarely, if ever, the case here, where the actors’ and actresses’ pacing and facial expressions combine with the cinematography to carry the audience along. Yet, before I give Washington and McDormand their well-deserved praise, I would like to explore the supporting roles.

In Coen’s adaptation, King Duncan is a king at war, and Brendan Gleeson plays the role well with subsequent dourness. Unfortunately, this aspect of the interpretation was, in my opinion, one of its weakest. While the film generally aligns with the Shakespearean idea that a country under a usurper is disordered, the before-and-after of Duncan’s murder—which Coen chooses to show onscreen—is not clearly delineated enough to signal it as the tragic conflict that it is. Furthermore, though many of his lines are adulatory to Macbeth and his wife, Gleeson gives them with so somber a tone that one is left emotionally uninvested in Duncan by the time he is murdered.

Though this is consistent with the production’s overall austerity, it does not lend much to the unnaturalness of the king’s death. One feels Macbeth ought not kill him simply because he is called king (a fully right reason, in itself) rather than because of any real affection between Macbeth and his wife for the man, himself. However, though I have my qualms, this may have been the right choice for a production focused on the psychological elements of the plot; by downplaying the emotional connection between the Macbeths and Duncan (albeit itself profoundly psychological), Coen focuses on the effects of murder as an abstraction.

The scene after the murder and subsequent framing of the guards—the drunken porter scene—was the one I most looked forward to in the adaptation, as it is in every performance of Macbeth I see. The scene is the most apparent comic relief in the play, and it is placed in the moment where comic relief is paradoxically least appropriate and most needed (the subject of a planned future article). When I realized, between the first (ever) “Knock, knock! Who’s there?” and the second, that the drunk porter was none other than comic actor Stephen Root (Office Space, King of the Hill, Dodgeball), I knew the part was safe.

I was not disappointed. The drunken obliviousness of Root’s porter, coming from Inverness’s basement to let in MacDuff and Lennox, pontificating along the way on souls lately gone to perdition (unaware that his king has done the same just that night) before elaborating to the new guests upon the merits and pitfalls of drink, is outstanding. With the adaptation’s other removal of arguably inessential parts and lines, I’m relieved Coen kept as much of the role as he did.

One role that Coen expanded in ways I did not expect was that of Ross, played by Alex Hassell. By subsuming other minor roles into the character, Coen makes Ross into the unexpected thread that ties much of the plot together. He is still primarily a messenger, but, as with the Weird Sisters whose crow-like costuming his resembles, he becomes an ambiguous figure by the expansion, embodying his line to Lady MacDuff that “cruel are the times, when we are traitors | And do not know ourselves” (IV.2). In Hassell’s excellent performance, Ross seems to know himself quite well; it is we, the audience, who do not know him, despite his expanded screentime. By the end, Ross was one of my favorite aspects of Coen’s adaptation.

The best part of The Tragedy of Macbeth is, of course, the joint performance by Washington and McDormand of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The beginning of the film finds the pair later in life, with presumably few mountains left to climb. Washington plays Macbeth as a man tired and introverted, which he communicates by often pausing before reacting to dialogue, as if doing so is an afterthought. By the time McDormand comes onscreen in the first of the film’s many corridor scenes mentioned above, her reading and responding to the letter sent by Macbeth has been primed well enough for us to understand her mixed ambition yet exasperation—as if the greatest obstacle is not the actual regicide but her husband’s hesitancy.

Throughout The Tragedy of Macbeth their respective introspection and ambition reverse, with Washington eventually playing the confirmed tyrant and McDormand the woman internalized by madness. If anyone needed a reminder of Washington and McDormand’s respective abilities as actor and actress, one need only watch them portray the range of emotion and psychological depth contained in Shakespeare’s most infamous couple.

Conclusion: “With wit enough for thee”—IV.2

One way to judge a Shakespeare production is whether someone with little previous knowledge of the play and a moderate grasp of Shakespeare’s language would understand and become invested in the characters and story; I hazard one could do so with Coen’s adaptation. It does take liberties with scene placement, and the historical and religious elements are generally removed or reduced. However, although much of the psychology that Shakespeare includes in the other characters is cut, the minimalist production serves to highlight Washington and McDormand’s respective performances. The psychology of the two main characters—the backbone of the tragedy that so directly explores the nature of how thought and choice interact—is portrayed clearly and dynamically, and it is this that makes Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth an excellent and, in my opinion, ultimately true-to-the-text adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.


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The Reality of Degree Regret 

It is now graduation season, when approximately 800,000 (mostly) young people up and down the country decide for once in their lives that it is worth dressing smartly and donning a cap and gown so that they can walk across a stage at their university, have their hands clasped by a ceremonial ‘academic’, and take photos with their parents. Graduation looked a little different for me as a married woman who still lives in my university city, but the concept remains the same. Graduates are encouraged to celebrate the start of their working lives by continuing in the exact same way that they have lived for the prior 21 years: by drinking, partying, and ‘doing what you love’ rather than taking responsibility for continuing your family and country’s legacy. 

However, something I have noticed this year which contrasts from previous years is that graduates are starting to be a lot more honest about the reality of degree regret. For now, this sentiment is largely contained in semi-sarcastic social media posts and anonymous surveys, but I consider it a victory that the cult of education is slowly but surely starting to be criticised. CNBC found that in the US (where just over 50% of working age people have a degree), a shocking 44% of job-seekers regret their degrees. Unsurprisingly, journalism, sociology, and liberal arts are the most regretted degrees (and lead to the lowest-paying jobs). A majority of jobseekers with degrees in these subjects said that if they could go back, they would study a different subject such as computer science or business. Even in the least regretted majors (computer science and engineering), only around 70% said that they would do the same degree if they could start again. Given that CNBC is hardly a network known to challenge prevailing narratives, we can assume that in reality the numbers are probably slightly higher.

A 2020 article detailed how Sixth Form and College students feel pressured to go to university, and 65% of graduates regret it. 47% said that they were not aware of the option of pursuing a degree apprenticeship, which demonstrates a staggering lack of information. Given how seriously educational institutions supposedly take their duty to prepare young people for their future, this appears to be a significant failure. Parental pressure is also a significant factor, as 20% said that they did not believe their parents would have been supportive had they chosen an alternative such as a degree apprenticeship, apprenticeship, or work. This is understandable given the fact that for our parent’s generation, a degree truly was a mark of prestige and a ticket to the middle class, but due to credential inflation this is no longer the case. They were wrong, but only on the matter of scale, as a survey of parents found that as many as 40% had a negative attitude towards alternative paths. 

Reading this, you may think that I am totally against the idea of a university being a place to learn gloriously useless subjects for the sake of advancing knowledge that may in some very unlikely situations become useful to mankind. Universities should be a place to conceptualise new ways the world could be, and a place where the best minds from around the world gather to genuinely push the frontiers of knowledge forward. What I object to is the idea that universities be a 3-year holiday from the real world and responsibilities towards family and community, a place to ‘find oneself’ rather than finding meaning in the outer world, a dating club, or a tool for social mobility. I do not object to taxpayer funding for research if it passes a meaningful evaluation of value for money and is not automatically covered under the cultish idea that any investment in education is inherently good.

In order to avoid the epidemic of degree regret that we are currently facing, we need to hugely reduce the numbers of students admitted for courses which are oft regretted. This is not with the aim of killing off said subjects, but enhancing the education available to those remaining as they will be surrounded by peers who genuinely share their interest and able to derive more benefit from more advanced teaching and smaller classes. Additionally, we need to stop filling the gaps in our technical workforce with immigration and increase the number of academic and vocational training placements in fields such as computer science and engineering. With regards to the negative attitudes, I described above, these will largely be fixed as the millennial generation filled with degree regret comes to occupy senior positions and reduces the stigma of not being a graduate within the workplace. By being honest about the nature of tomorrow’s job market, we can stop children from growing up thinking that walking across the stage in a gown guarantees you a lifetime of prosperity.

On a rare personal note, having my hands clasped in congratulations for having wasted three years of my life did not feel like an achievement. It felt like an embarrassment to have to admit that 4 years ago when I filled out UCAS applications to study politics; I was taken for a fool. I have not had my pre-existing biases challenged and my understanding of the world around me transformed by my degree as promised. As an 18-year-old going into university, I knew that my criticisms of the world around me were ‘wrong’, and I was hoping that and education/indoctrination would ‘fix’ me. Obviously given the fact that 3 years later I am writing for the Mallard this is not the case, and all I have realised from my time here is that there are others out there, and my thoughts never needed to be fixed.


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The Migratory Ratchet

To say Britain has just entered a recession is slightly disingenuous, notwithstanding the jargon and semantics of economists and journalists. Whilst GDP has dipped for a second consecutive quarter, GDP per capita has been contracting for seven quarters straight. Having dropped throughout every quarter of 2023, and most quarters of 2022, Britain is enduring the longest uninterrupted decline in GDP per capita since records began in 1955.

Compounded by the fact that Britain’s GDP would’ve declined further without the unprecedented amount of immigration experienced throughout 2022 and 2023, it’s abundantly apparent that the UK economy is a ponzi scheme; an artifice sustained through short-term economic benefits to the long-term detriment of the nation, offset by additional short-term benefits and so on. Even when Britain’s economy grows, having experienced anaemic growth throughout most quarters of the same period, it renders no discernible or substantive benefit to the average Englishman.

The benefits of this arrangement are exclusively experienced by politicians and corporations. The former is given a straightforward and politically convenient means of construing the impression of prosperity, of making Line Go Up, while the latter has access to an ever-replenishing pool of cheap and flexible labour; one which suppresses wage growth, burdens national infrastructure, and induces demographic problems across British society. Truly, the Potemkin School of Economics.

However, courtesy of the unprecedented and largely non-EU-driven spike in immigration following Covid, a lot of anti-immigration positioning has been reconstructed around this new normal. This isn’t entirely bad. After all, people deserve to know why immigration is increasing, despite longstanding public demand for it to significantly decrease, especially while its contemporaneous.

However, the problem I foresee, one which I see flickers of in right-leaning political commentary of all kinds, is the acquiescence to previous levels of mass immigration. You know? The days when net migration was running at a sensible 200,000, when a greater proportion of arrivals were high-earners from the EU in possession of illustrious Skillsets; the days when immigration coincided with increases in GDP and GDP per capita, putting White British people on-track to becoming a minority by 2066, rather than 2040.

As everyone should know by now, the immigration debate is fundamentally a concern about displacement, one which is forced to disguise itself through Legitimate Concerns, such as Parliamentary Sovereignty, Small Boats, Control, and so on. As such, given immigration salience is making a post-Brexit return, there will be attempts to force those concerned about demographic displacement to re-disguise their concerns in a way the system is prepared to officially tolerate.

I refer to this as The Migratory Ratchet, the process by which previous waves of migration are accepted to justify opposition to present waves of migration, and previous instances of ethnic displacement are accepted to justify opposition to present instances of ethnic displacement. The Migratory Ratchet operates on the basis that the quantity and quality of present migration is different to previous migration, and that recognising these differences must be the basis for immigration control.

This is not to say there aren’t quantitative and qualitative differences between forms of immigration. Nor is to say that it is always wrong to make such distinctions. Rather, it refers to the use of these distinctions as a political manoeuvre to re-politicise mass immigration under a system which seeks to depoliticise it as much as possible, and how this coincides with the system’s desire to perpetuate mass immigration in the long-term by making short-term concessions to immigration restrictionists.

The most prominent distinctions separate migrants between those on big boats (legal) and those on small boats (illegal), those with skills and those without, those coming in their tens of thousands and those coming in their hundreds of thousands, those who give and those who take, those who bring dependants and those who are dependants themselves, those who are white and those who aren’t, those who are (supposedly) Christian and those who aren’t.

By using these distinctions as proxy for nationalist politics, under prevailing ideological pressures which oppose nationalist politics altogether, one crafts a wedge which can be assimilated into the operations of the ratchet, allowing the system to adapt to present dissatisfaction. These so-called Legitimate Concerns, transform fundamental political questions of mass replacement into managerial caveats, summarised by the aforementioned distinctions, which merely refine the process as to make it less irritable to the common Englishman.

I’m doubtful Starmer’s inevitable premiership will change much, although I can envision a scenario in which he makes concessions to the Legitimate Concerns of immigration restrictionists; maintaining recently introduced regulations on bringing dependants, reducing illegal channel crossings (presumably by providing Safe and Legal routes), even placing more stringent barriers on foreign students, whilst increasing work permits at a similar or greater rate to the outgoing Conservative government and instating economic policies which reduce the intake of the cheapest of cheap foreign labour.

In summary, The Migratory Ratchet will keep turning. The least defensible externalities will be suppressed in a superficial show of strength, briefly demobilising the right, who will then express their outrage that net migration is pushing a million, instead of being controlled to a select few hundred thousand.

This wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. It is widely and incorrectly presumed that mass immigration began with Tony Blair, de facto chief advisor to the incoming Prime Minister, whose Institute for Global Change is pressuring the incoming Labour government to increase immigration for the sake of “Growth, Growth, Growth”.

Mass immigration as we understand it began with Blair, but mass immigration itself precedes New Labour. Britain has incurred large movements of people, even instances of replacement migration, before and after 1945 – that is, official Year Zero for Modern Britain – which now look small compared to recent intakes. Keep in mind: Britain effectively having net zero migration from the end of WW2 up until the early 1980s. Even with net negative migration, Britain experienced large influxes of people, the likes of which altered the country for generations.

On paper, 19th century Irish immigration is dwarfed by 21st century immigration, but it remains fact that the consequences of such immigration were vast and remain with us, such as turning Liverpool and Glasgow into hotbeds of anti-English sentiment, having largely displaced their native populations, and altering the face of trade union politics; from a tendency dominated by Englishmen trying to shield against the import of cheap Irish labour to one dominated by Irish surnames, infused and aligned with ethnic “anti-imperialist” politics.

On paper, the influx of Russian Jews at the cusp of the 20th century is dwarfed by the post-Covid spike in immigration, but this still led to ghettoization and the displacement of the native population in various urban areas; a trend that has continued well-into the 21st century as other foreign diasporas have set-up shop, bringing their grievances with them – infamously, something the centre-right can only identify as bad when it affects more settled diasporic communities in Britain – while Englishmen are pushed further and further into the surrounding shires.

The UK’s Somali-born population, by far the most financially and legally burdensome subdivision of Britain’s foreign-born occupants, making them something of a lowest common-denominator in discussions about immigration, mostly arrived in the 1980s following the outbreak of civil war. This was merely one of several movements into the UK which occurred throughout the same period. Indeed, many rightists seem to forget (deliberately or not) that the first sustained increase in migration after WW2 took place throughout the premierships of Thatcher and Major.

Boston, the most Eurosceptic place in the UK, is also the most Polish, having endured a major influx of Polish migrants throughout the early noughties; a transformation which was encouraged by the UK government following the accession of ex-Soviet countries to the EU. Needless to say, honouring the spirit of Brexit and rehabilitating mass movement from Poland as an acceptable mode of migration are mutually exclusive political convictions.

Nobody with any sense, or sincere nationalist principles for that matter, would look to such times and instances as the contextual basis for a “sensible” immigration policy. Alas, the centre-right believes one must implicitly concede to these instances of replacement to make incremental progress in resisting larger and renewed waves of migration and the various knock-on effects.

On the surface, it appears to be a pragmatic application of our principles, but nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, it is an implicit but unequivocal surrender of the nationalist framework for a moderated globalist framework; a substitution enacted under the bizarre assumption that as things get worse, our stated aspirations need to become less radical. Like our current leaders, whose short-termism is well-documented, it constitutes sacrificing long-term struggle for short-term gains to be offset by developments in the near future. Sound familiar?

It is one thing to find newer, more effective ways to express old aspirations, but this cannot be mistaken for substituting our aspirations altogether. Indeed, if the migratory ratchet was to make another full rotation, it follows that we should find ourselves in a new alliance with non-Anglo whites and “Model Minorities” (high-earners, high-achievers, more Westernised, etc.) marching in lockstep against “Third Worlders” – that is, exclusively the MENA/PT countries and sub-Saharan Africa.

As some have already noticed, talk of England as an Anglo-Saxon country has practically ceased on the British right, a large chunk of whom have started to nail their colours in defence of England’s “Anglo-Celtic” identity in view of “recent” attempts to make it Diverse and Inclusive – that is, not merely less English, but less European and less Christian. Erstwhile, colourblind meritocracy continues to be touted as a palatable wedge of political resistance, embracing entrepreneurial Indians and studious Chinamen to siphon off violent Albanians and lazy Somalians.

Such coalitions will not emerge out of shared political interests between societies, but within British society itself; an arrangement which befit the diversitarian politics of Modern Britain, but unbefitting the pursuit an undiluted nationalist agenda. There can be no two-stage solution. We cannot smoothly refine The Migratory Ratchet into obsolescence. Rather, it must be permanently reversed and absolutely destroyed; it must be rejected from first principles or not at all. This starts and ends with the reconstitution of the British people as a living, breathing, and historic reality.


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Not With a Bang, But a Whimper

This past week, Tucker Carlson travelled to Moscow, Russia to have a sit-down interview with President Vladimir Putin. Before the almost two hour interview was conducted, Tucker Carlson explained his motives for being in Russia – a now pariah state in the Western mind – as trying to get the “other side” of the story.

After all, it has been almost two years since the greater war in Ukraine began, with the invasion of Russian forces in February of 2021. Yet no media outlet in the West has either sought, or been bothered to get a deeper understanding of the Russian motivation, instead painting the conflict with broad strokes as a Marvel-esque “good guys against bad guys” situation.

Credit where credit is due, Carlson is doing the job that most journalists these days refuse to do – report, and let the audience make up their mind. But what became very apparent from the offset of the interview conducted on the evening of 7th of February was just how unexpectedly out of his element Tucker Carlson appeared to be.

After the now infamous 45-minute long history lesson of Russian-Ukrainian relations going back to the eighth century, Tucker Carlson found himself getting overwhelmed with the offload of  (possibly far-too-detailed) background context of the war and its causes.

This, for many, seemed to be shocking revelations.

“We didn’t know a world leader could be so detailed with historical knowledge!”

“He didn’t even need notes, meanwhile our leaders can barely read off of a teleprompter! Shameful!”

But Putin’s narrative and historical tangent shouldn’t come as a surprise, as it is the same reasons he gave in a published essay On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians which justified his reasons for the invasion and interest in bringing Ukraine (or at the very least, parts of Eastern and Southern Ukraine) into the Russian Federation.

Hardly new, shocking, or insightful – it’s the same point he has been making, very publicly, for the last two years – of course always ignored, filtered, or taken out of context by the Western news media.

When pressed to talk about NATO expansion being a possible provocation of Russia’s actions, Putin, once again, stuck to the same story he has been telling the world for the better part of a decade.

Russia is willing to cooperate with the West, and is even willing to allow an independent Ukrainian state partner with the EU and become more friendly with Western Europe and America, as long as Russia’s strategic and security interests are respected and cooperated with.

This was why for decades prior to the Maidan, Russia had not escalated provocations – beyond a few strongly worded statements – with NATO despite NATO expansion beyond Germany into the Baltics and Balkans.

Our leadership – more specifically – the warhawks and ideologues who make up the body of the US State Department and inner-mechanisms of Washington D.C. body-politic who are heavily benefiting from, and invested in the superfluous military contacts and deals, have had no interest in playing ball – even after the Cold War and the fall of the Communism in the Eastern Bloc.

Putin suggested that it wasn’t that he had poor relations with elected leaders, but rather that any time he had approached NATO, American or European leaders with opportunities for cooperation, it was always received enthusiastically, but then quickly shut-down by the “expert” teams that inform Western elected officials.

Perhaps this is just posturing and expert narrative-building that Putin tells himself to sleep better at night, and wants to manipulate the narrative to better suit his own image as a victim of the Western machine.

But speaking as a Westerner, and as someone who has seen the actions of elected governments of both left and right-leaning factions, has anything our governments done in the last thirty years, especially in the realm of foreign policy, actually benefited the world or made it better?

The Iraq War? We manufactured a false narrative about weapons of mass destruction, and Saddam Hussein working with Al-Qaeda in order to invade. We left millions dead, radicalised millions more to become vehemently anti-West, and left the vacuum for ISIS to grow in the wake of our “victory”.

The deposing of Gaddafi in Libya? We left a nation in ruins, which has now become a hotbed for open-air slave-trading, terrorism – and we now have no buffer state between Africa and the Mediterranean Sea, feeding the immigration problems of the last two decades.

The War in Afghanistan? Not only did we have no real long-term objective being there, we helped fuel the opioid crisis by encouraging, and protecting the cultivation of poppy – which would wind its way into the US through the illegal drug trade, leading millions of Americans to be hooked on literal poison. Not only this, once we left, the government we installed collapsed like a warm Easter egg and the Taliban became a regional power by seizing the weapons the U.S. military had left behind.

The Syrian Civil War? We armed “rebel” groups to topple the Assad regime, leaving a country devastated, millions of people displaced, and causing the refugee crisis in the 2010s.

I could go on and on, these are just a few of the glaring examples – but how has any of our “democracy building” fared? Did we build democracy, or did we just ruin perfectly stable countries because Washington policymakers were so convinced of their own excellence and patting themselves on the back for “safeguarding democracy” that they couldn’t see the looming disasters that would result from their insane actions?

When our reasons for going to war and causing untold levels of devastation have been as vague as “protecting/promoting/building democracy” for every single one of these conflicts, I’m not surprised that when a world leader outlines very different, very detailed reasons as to why he wants to conduct military action – analysts and intellectuals are hardly able to pick up their jaws from the floor.

Despite the fact that this has always been the way the world has always worked, it just goes to show how removed Western governments and foreign policy decision makers have become from reality.

Within a century and a half, we went from the brilliance of Bismark to the nonsensical politicking of Nuland. A truly astounding fall from grace.

Coming back to Ukraine, we had peace-talks and negotiations ready to go in Istanbul, which most likely would have resulted in an end to the bloodshed, and perhaps a North Korea type DMZ along the Dnieper that may not have made either country happy but would’ve at least established a firm red-line that neither party could justifiably cross.

But that was stifled by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who I assume was working at the behest of Washington and seeking his own Churchill moment, who instead encouraged Zelensky and the Ukrainian government to “fight on!”.

Almost an entire generation of young Ukrainian men have been wiped out, millions have fled the country as refugees, and it has become a meat-grinding war of attrition – one that the Ukrainians cannot possibly win by their sheer lack of numbers, but instead they will be slowly grinded down into submission, regardless of how many arms and funds are sent by the West.

All of this, because we have been refusing to sit-down, have a little sense of humility in the changing world we live in, and compromise at any level.

We have been force-fed this phoney narrative that Vladimir Putin is this seething maniac, frothing at the mouth rabidly because he needs this war, and he needs to win it otherwise his entire rule is delegitimised, and his iron fist over Russia be brought down – that all we need to do is keep fighting and we will win! The good guys always win, right?

But Putin’s conduct and body-language in the Tucker Carlson interview spoke very differently to the narrative we have been fed.

This is not someone who is on edge about this conflict, nor feeling as if his administration and rule over Russia is under serious threat. His body-language was as if this whole conflict was simply just another day at the office – that he is willing to negotiate to end these hostilities, but if not all he has to do is wait.

And who can blame him for this certain calm confidence that he carries?

At the same time the Carlson interview was being broadcast on X, President Biden held a press conference in the White House to assure the press and general public that his brain hasn’t turned into mashed potatoes – in the same speech he said that President Assisi of Mexico would allow humanitarian aid into Palestine. Reassuring, of course.

While the United States, Great Britain, and the broader Western world are all on-track for domestic disaster – with severe economic inflation, political and social rifts that have turned people against each other and their governments, and self-imposed demographic suicide – why would Putin need to worry at all about what the West does?

All he has to do is wait – and he has the growing world of the East, namely India and China, that will continue to trade and maintain relations with Russia, and not seek to harass or get involved in Russian domestic affairs.

Ukraine is not the “last stand” of the West as it has been made out to be. I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone in the Western world who is actually enthusiastic about the idea of dying in the mud and snow-ridden trenches of Donetsk and Luhansk to defend… foreign democracy? If that even is what we are defending, after all, rival parties have been banned in the Rada.

No. Frankly, the United States is on the path to isolation one way or another. It will likely be because the domestic situation would become so bad that it has no other choice but to focus its efforts inwardly to prevent complete national fracture.

If push really comes to shove, even the warhawks in Washington would rather pull out from escalating into larger hostilities with a nation that can match the United States in terms of nuclear firepower. Having already made their billions of dollars in weapons contracts, what is the benefit of further plunging the world into a war which will surely lead to mass devastation, leaving no possible markets to sell their goods.

And when the United States withdraws much of its interest from Europe, where will that leave the EU?

Without American energy, and without American guarantees of protection, Europe will have to find its own ways of maintaining itself – which will be made all the more difficult since the position of the EU in regard to Russia, and the Russian supply of energy has been to sanction it and stop it, with no real viable alternative.

This will only exacerbate the pre-existing issues in Europe – when quality of life is severely lessened, and basic needs like warm homes in cold winters and steady food supplies are no longer guaranteed, the masses will lash out, first at each other, and eventually at the politicians and governments who led to this disastrous eventuality.

This is what the war has become. An international game of chicken, with one side holding a significant home-turf advantage. Sanctions have not worked, but instead pushed Russia to internally change to become less dependent on trading in US dollars and looking for foreign alternatives.

Funding and arming the Ukrainians has meant that a war that could’ve been over in a matter of weeks and months has now grinded into a war that will last for years, until the front lines simply cannot be maintained by lack of numbers. The humanitarian disaster that could’ve been averted almost a decade ago has left one of the largest countries in Europe devastated, decimated, and tens of millions dead and displaced – not just soldiers, but civilians.

Russia has been pushed further to work with other foreign global competitors like China and India, rather than European neighbours – both nations having some of the largest population centres on Earth. Pax Americana is dead and buried, never to return in our lifetimes – it was killed violently by the very people who were put in charge to maintain it. A sort of twisted ironic suicide.

One of the most important points brought up in the Tucker Carlson interview was Putin’s outlook on the changing world. He has seen the winds of influence and importance change from the West to the East, and he has adapted accordingly.

When discussing the opportunity to bring the conflict to an end via negotiating a peace deal with Ukraine (i.e. the United States) he stated that there were avenues to do so with dignity, that will allow the United States to have the PR victory it so desperately craves to save face from ultimately wasted efforts.

The avenue is there, and if I was one of the embedded decision-makers in Washington I would take a mutually beneficial deal as soon as possible – as the alternative will not be escalation into a hot war, but enduring diminishment of both hard and soft power in the continent, as European states begin to understand that they cannot rely on the United States to have their best interests at heart, or make sound policy decisions on their behalf – which is the ultimate function of NATO.

As T.S. Eliot once wrote:

This is the way the world ends – not with a bang, but a whimper”.

The world we once knew is coming to an end, this much is overwhelmingly clear.

It is not our current flock of leaders or decision-makers – but rather it is up to us, the next generation of individuals and standard-bearers whether we will adapt to the changing world and rekindle the fire into something that endures, or whether we will let our civilization fade into obscurity and extinguish, never to return.

While we may not have learned anything all that new or groundbreaking from the Tucker Carlson interview with Vladimir Putin, I think it serves a greater purpose than a simple “gotcha” to Western journalism or the current political class.

It is an insight into how the “other side” thinks of us, of our future, and our decline. We ought to wise up, prepare for the long, difficult road ahead, and ensure that the only thing that actually “declines” is the stupidity of our leadership and the influence of the unelected gaggle of fools that believe they can put a halt to the motions of the changing world we find ourselves in.


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