Does Farage see Brexit as his Reichstag Fire?

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I’ve long had a hunch that Brexit is essentially impossible. It would take years to disentangle the British State from its interdependences on the European Union, indeed probably longer than it took to join in the first place. It would involve very detailed preparation by experts in all sorts of fields in order to predict and mitigate the effects, such are the numbers of known unknowns and unknown unknowns involved.

It was already clear before the vote that neither of the Leave campaigns had done that preparation. They were so careless about the consequences as to try to quash serious debate entirely, up to the point of ridiculing experts and rejecting evidence and doubts out of hand. Since then, and very obviously of late, it’s become blindingly obvious to anyone not willfully myopic that pro-Brexit politicians are completely unprepared for what lies in store.

Now one of those myriad impossibilities involved has become clear: the Irish border. Regardless of any amount of vacuous rhetoric about Taking Back Control Of Our Borders, the UK has a back door which it is, pace the Good Friday Agreement, 100% politically, legally and morally obliged to keep open. (Not to mention that a fact that it can’t have a ‘soft border’ (what?) for trade and a ‘hard border’ for people.) This is an intractable problem, and one which, given that the Republic has, like all EU states, a veto over the final deal, will scupper the whole project. Not that the Brexiteers are short of solutions, you understand: Kate Hooey reckons that Ireland will just have to leave the EU and various Andrew Lilico types in the Daily Telegraph are proclaiming that ‘Eire’ will have to forget about being a sovereign and independent entity. James Connolly wrote of a ‘carnival of reaction’ after Irish partition: the UK’s partition from the EU is provoking a carnival of outright trollery.

Nigel Farage presumably knew about such impossible aspects, but I increasingly suspect that he sees it as grist to the mill. Farage is a trickster: a Pied Piper type, an agent of chaos for its own sake. Any simple Occam’s Razor join the dots analysis also confirms that he is, from his days of marching round his boarding school singing Nazi marching songs to goosestepping onto the stage at the AFD conference a few weeks ago, a lifelong fascist. Unlike Trump, who presumably kept a copy of ‘Mein Kampf’ by his bedside to show off what an edgelord he was, Farage will, like Steve Bannon, have read up on how the Nazis managed to get into power. It doesn’t take much insight to recognise the role of the Reichstag Fire in allowing Hitler to seize control.

This is a mere blog. I have no claims to be a journalist. Like most such sites, it is a collection of overgrown below-the-line comments. Unlike some, it doesn’t hold with or promote paranoid and simplistic conspiracy theories. My opinion of such theories is influenced by a book I read long ago: ‘In Dubious Battle’, J. Bowyer Bell’s analysis of the (probably) MI6-sponsored 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings. In it he points out that anyone expecting to be able to track down signed and sealed confessions from the participants in such plots is probably deluded. Underhand collusion between nefarious interests does obviously exist, but it tends to be in the form of tacit suggestions, nods and winks, not formalised agreements. No one is likely to find a payment in roubles into Farage’s Nationwide Flexaccount, to choose a not-entirely-random example.

This piece was thus inspired not by a top-secret document handed to me by a stranger in a public park, but by a post I came across from a random person in the gossip mill of social media. The tweet includes no sources, referring vaguely to ‘rumours’. This is what it says:

Rumours circulating that the only thing making the govt determined to continue with this ludicrous Brexit charade is the threat of civil unrest from the loony right. Police and HO advise that they might not be able to cope.Govts abhor civil unrest, and right threatens violence.

There’s no reason to give credence to such a source, but without wanting to sound like Sarah Sanders, it does have a smack of truth to it. While Farage may be the only full-on fascist among the key Brexit zealots, it’s worth bearing in mind firstly that First World War-enthusiast Michael Gove has long been publicly hostile to the Good Friday Agreement itself, and secondly that the gunboat-style free trade imperialism propounded by Hannan, Rees-Mogg, Carswell, Patel, Johnson et al is so extreme and anathema to modern democracy as to necessitate a Year Zero approach. I suspect that to various degrees none of the above were particularly serious about Britain’s leaving the EU per se. They instead saw it as a means to an end, and thus regard the chaos that will inevitably ensue as akin to sweeping all the pieces off the board to create a tabula rasa. In the case of Farage, the referendum result is an opportunity to turn the UK into an authoritarian state, with scapegoating as its organising principle. The Conservative Party, out of conceit and complacency, fell into the trap that he had, with very great patience and guile, set for it. His ubiquitous media presence, from the Question Time panel to the LBC studio, from Andrew Marr’s sofa to Good Morning Britain’s, from the LBC studio to Loose Women and back to Question Time again, is part of his ongoing attempts to force the country into line with the Nazi ideology he professed as a schoolboy and has kept largely concealed ever since.

The ghost of Ayn Rand is haunting the streets of my hometown, wearing a hi-vis vest and carrying a chainsaw

I grew up in Sheffield in the 70s and 80s. Its cheap bus fares, theatres, museums and art galleries, its network of well-stocked libraries and its abundant green spaces made me into the person I am and gave me an abiding sense of respect for the value of public provision. I went to primary school in an area of the city called Greenhill, where they taught me how trees, by absorbing carbon dioxide and thus ensuring we have enough oxygen, help us to breathe.

I don’t live in Sheffield now, but all my family do, including my nieces, who all go to school in Hillsborough which they walk to and from along tree-lined streets. Those trees have attracted national attention recently because the local council is bowing to the demands of a private company and allowing a huge number of them to be cut down on the flimsiest and most selfish of pretexts. Although the trees represent £11.4 million in purported value*, there’s no way for Ferrovial (the transnational corporation which has, via its subsidiary Amey, bought up large parts of Sheffield City Council) to monetise it, and it costs to maintain them so they might as well chop them all down**.

Although some legal systems insist on granting them the same status as human beings, corporations don’t actually live and breathe. They do think, after a fashion, but they have only one obsessive thought: how to accumulate more wealth. They achieve this in large part by externalising their costs. PFI, the secretive and essentially deeply corrupt system of which Sheffield’s deal with Amey is part, has had a devastating impact on the wages and conditions of public servants. The rationale for the whole scheme is not just that the private sector is more efficient, but also that it grants access to global financial markets. Thus it represents not only a transfer of wealth from the public to the private sector, but also the exposure of essential public services to the whims and storms of the global market. Not quite by chance, it’s also accompanied by a lack of democratic transparency. Whether it be in Sheffield in relation to trees, or (my former London borough) Haringey with regard to housing, voters are not allowed to know what exactly has been agreed in their name.

Modern corporations are by definition psychopathic, in that nothing else matters to them but short-term self-interest. The possessors of great wealth have not always been so single-minded in the attempt to turn everything of public utility into private wealth. Centuries ago, feudal landlords created country estates like Chatsworth by turning commonly farmed land into symbols and sites of their power and wealth, thus depriving peasants of access to food and forcing them to move into cities to get jobs in factories as wage labourers. They sculpted the landscapes of their estates to demonstrate their command over nature, but at least they kept most of the trees standing. In the case of Sheffield, some local nabobs donated their land to the city, making it into one of the greenest in Europe. Some notable figures also funded the construction museums and art galleries.

For previous generations of capitalists, acres of trees not only stood as signs of wealth. They could also be pulped and transformed into physical money. The American writer Thomas Pynchon’s ancestral family fortune was made and then lost in paper, described in ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ as ‘the wholesale slaughtering of trees’, ‘producing toilet paper, banknote stock, newsprint—a medium or ground for shit, money, and the Word’. Before that they were fur traders, ‘still for the living green against the dead white’.

Nowadays capitalism, if it can still be called that, has entered a new phase, not that of the dead white but rather the flat white of the service economy, serving principally the needs of corporations. About twenty years ago I spent a year working in a corporate environment, in the technical support area of a software giant in Dublin. At the time I thought that computers were somehow exciting – I hadn’t yet realised that I was essentially working with hyped-up stationery. One episode stands out as emblematic of such organisations and how they operate. The company in question had a new piece of utility software for a brand-new version of the Apple Mac tantalisingly close to readiness, but the end of quarter was closing in and the programmers weren’t going to make the deadline. That didn’t stop the company from selling thousands of packages of the new version at a software trade fair in France – the problem came when the purchasers arrived home and to their horreur – zut alors! – discovered that the box contained a note explaining that the actual software wasn’t quite ready yet, but do please accept this database accounting programme as a temporary replacement. I have rarely felt so relieved not to speak better French, because my francophone colleagues had to explain to several thousand really, really, really fucking angry customers that they would have to wait just zat leetle bit longer. The enraged Mac enthusiasts weren’t exactly mollified when, a couple of weeks later, the actual disc arrived and turned out to be full of bugs which (I forget the exact technical details) shat all over the insides of their beloved iMacs. In order to save time, the company had curtailed the testing stage. Fortunately, things ended well, as the share price of Symantec (which was the name of the company) rose at the end of the quarter, so everyone was happy, except the people who actually wanted the software. They’re probably still vert de rage two decades later.

Nowadays if you need some software – say, Microsoft Word – you can just download it, but while in the intervening years you could do so for free, Silicon Valley has found new ways to make its products pay. Such programmes are now available for a yearly rent. Tech firms are thus the cutting edge not just of technology but also of new forms of buying and owning and the legal architecture that underpins them. In the book ‘I Hate The Internet’ Jarett Kobek nails one major inspiration for the ideology that inspires such innovation:

Ayn Rand [is] probably the most influential writer of the last fifty years. She wrote books about how social welfare recipients were garbage who deserved to die in the gutter. She was well regarded by very rich people unwilling to accept that their fortunes were a combination of random chance and an innate ability to humiliate others. Ayn Rand’s books told very rich people that they were good, that their pursuit of wealth was moral and just. Many of these people ended up as CEOs or in high levels of American government. Ayn Rand was the billionnaire’s best friend.’

Jonathan Freedland calls this ‘the age of Ayn Rand***’. She is worshipped, and her adolescent take on neoliberalism advanced, by hugely influential figures including Alan Greenspan, Paul Ryan, Peter Thiel and Jimmy Wales in the US and Sajid Javid and Daniel Hannan in the UK. The Rand cult is not the only source of such ideas – Thatcher and Reagan were devotees of Friedrich Hayek, whose doctrine, with its antiregulatory zeal, has come to dominate global politics over the last forty years – but it is an emblematic one.

Although the Little Red Book of the technocultural revolution, TED Talks, provides the comforting sense that corporate interests can be persuaded to act in the interests of humanity and the planet, with the innovative shift to a digital, virtual paper-free economy a symbol of this potential for environmental responsiblity, there’s nothing sustainable about an economic system which is wholly subservient to the ideology of self-interest. Such a form of capitalism is much more corrupt and infinitely more destructive than any prior phase. It dictates that everything that does not serve private interests has no value and must be destroyed.

The concept of ‘seven generation stewardship’ urges humanity to weigh all its decisions with an eye to the needs of people in 150 or so years. Instead, here in the UK, we have continual bursts of shock doctrine austerity wrecking the life chances of our children, our children’s children and our children’s children’s children ad infinitum: no libraries, no galleries, no social or economic security, no public transport, no trees. Our Government barely seems to think more than a day or two ahead, or to the next Daily Mail front page. According to this ultra-short-term, grab-what-you-can ideology, trees resemble people, indeed entire populations: they’re too expensive to maintain. Permanent austerity is therefore a response to environmental collapse, one which represents the priorities of elites far more articulately than any number of photos of David Cameron with huskies. It is a war against not only the very notion of public provision, but human existence itself.

Sheffield owes its development to the industrial revolution,  and the industrial revolution owes a lot to Sheffield. Its confluence of rivers and hills created boundless energy. A visit to Shepherd’s Wheel, Forge Dam or the Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet convinces you that such forces can be sustainable on a small scale, but once the wheel started turning the momentum was unstoppable. We created forces of which we quickly lost control. The driving force of capital accumulation demands acceleration far beyond anything the planet, our bodies and our mind can contain. Trees fall for the same reason our children can’t keep their eyes off our iPads. It’s a vapid conceit to kid ourselves that this mode of interacting with the world is more sustainable: it is produced and promoted by the same dynamic as that turning the Arctic into an oil field. We can have ipads and smartphones like the one I’m using to write this (made of plastic derived from oil and hand-manufactured by slaves in China); but no trees. We can have the internet, but we must in return wave goodbye to a stable climate. This is the faustian pact of unrestrained capitalist development. Culture, from music to books to art galleries, survives only as a medium for advertising and other forms of corporate promotion. All that is solid melts into air, and we end up paying for oxygen. As Karl Marx wrote, ‘Accumulation: This is Moses and the Prophets!’ – ones worshipped by politicians such as Michael Gove, who called the felling of trees in Sheffield ‘bonkers’ but who will search in vain for ways to stop it. Successive governments, at the service of private interests to whom his ideological devotion is total, have sacrificed democracy to corporate power. Despite Gove’s sentimental pretences, that ‘bank holiday from cynicism’ in the words of Oscar Wilde, he has no more respect for trees than he does for experts. This is a man who tried to abolish the teaching of climate change in schools. For those of his persuasion nothing, not even the planet, can stand in the way of the market. The fact that it is fixed in favour of corporations is by-the-by. Roberto Saviano was right to call the UK the most corrupt country in the world. He, a veteran of exposing the mafia at very great personal risk, knows la materia: globalised, financialised corruption covered up by legal omertà. Unlike those who stand in the way of organised crime in Palermo or Acapulco, the heroic protectors/protestors of Sheffield’s trees are threatened not with death (although the forces they are combatting are not averse to using violence) but with jail and/or destitution.

This is not a conspiracy theory. No single human being or secret committee is in charge of the global market. Abstract forces are increasingly convinced that they can keep growing only if they can dispense with human beings. They believe that they can survive without the physical world. Their barely human servants, from Gove down to the austerity-bound councillors who voted for privatisation, are just doing their bidding. Increasingly computers have become self-aware, making decisions for us without our even knowing it, unerringly following the guidelines programmed into them. Capitalism is thus an out-of-control driverless juggernaut,crashing down the street at full pelt, uprooting and destroying everything in its path, from democracy itself to ancient oaks and elms. There is no utility software which can resolve its malfunctions.

*I understand why desperate campaigners come up with such figures; personally I think that framing the issue in such terms is a mistake. Doing so capitulates to the priorities of the other side.

**I am by no means an expert on the tree issue, these people are.

***Or, to give her her full name, Ayn ‘Medicare‘ Rand

Britain First is a terrorist organisation

Although definitions of terrorism vary and often conflict, you’d be hard-pressed to find any that didn’t contain the notion of political violence combined with the threat of further political violence. Just before the Brexit referendum, a member of the British parliament, Jo Cox MP,  was shot and stabbed to death by a political activist. We know he was a political activist because he had been photographed campaigning with the group Britain First, and it was the name of that organisation that he shouted as he murdered her. In court he shouted slogans calling her a traitor.

Of course, there are no documents proving that Thomas Mair was a formal member of Britain First. In much the same way, there doesn’t seem to be such as thing as an Isis membership card. Both organisations seem to recruit principally via the Internet, where affiliations are notoriously fickle and rarely formalised. Mair’s proximity to the leadership of Britain First is much more remarkable than that of any number of European-grown Islamic terrorists is to the leading figures in Isis. No media outlet automatically absolves Abu-Bakr Al Baghdadi when one of his distant disciples ploughs a truck into pedestrians in Catalonia or shoots up a Parisean theatre. Much like both Isis and the EDL, Britain First is an online operation spilling onto the streets. Those who create its violently hateful propaganda are responsible when someone responds to their exhortations to murder ‘traitors’.

Yet somehow, in the furore about Trump’s retweeting of three fake videos posted by one of the group’s leaders, the terrorist angle hasn’t been mentioned. This is odd, given the irony that in supposedly making a statement against terrorism, Trump was promoting it. He won’t face any action by Twitter, as he is their number one star player. Given that Twitter more or less did the decent thing by removing and decredentialing other far-right hate preachers a couple of weeks ago, a concerted campaign to get Britain First removed from the platform might succeed, and would cause huge embarrassment to Trump – or, given that he seems immune to such emotions, his cause.

It’s also important to expose Nigel Farage’s links with BF. Although he has now denounced them as neofascists, Golding et al were very open in the past about their connections, even boasting in this video of attacking anti-UKIP protestors on his behalf. Anyone who was unfamiliar with Britain First but who still finds Farage’s shtick amusing also needs to be reminded that in the wake of the referendum he boasted that it had been won ‘without a shot being fired’. We don’t need to delve into his apparent family history in the National Front to see that his disassociation from the explicitly nazi movement is disingenuous at best. If Trump hadn’t come across Britain First before, it’s no thanks to Nigel Farage, who surely has Golding and Fransen among his email contacts, along with Robert Mercer and Julian Assange. In any game of Six Degrees of Separation starting from any figure in the international fascist movement, Farage’s name won’t take too long to crop up. His comment about the referendum was an implicit statement of allegiance with a terrorist organisation which murdered an elected MP in order to stop her campaigning to help people fleeing war. The name of that terrorist organisation is Britain First.

‘#GOPedos!’: Republican Party to change name, campaign on pro-pedophile platform

The news that Roy Moore’s support in the run-up to the December senatorial election has actually risen since the pedophile allegations may have shocked and horrified some. The Republican Party, on the other hand, is trying to turn the situation to their advantage not just in Alabama, but also nationally.

‘Some of us feigned the usual concern about what he was alleged to have done’, said a party spokesman Wednesday. ‘As you will have noticed, the strategy adopted by all leading Republicans was to say that if he was found guilty, he should step down. It was obvious that there would be no criminal trials, especially before voting opens, so we knew we were pretty safe’.

However, subsequent events in Alabama have convinced party chiefs that even that approach may have underplayed their hand. ‘We had no idea how well pedophilia would go down with the evangelicals. Since it was revealed that he almost certainly sexually harassed underage teenagers, their support for him has gone through the roof. The data we’re receiving suggests that if the reports about him abusing children had come out a few weeks earlier to allow for more voting registrations from self-declared ‘christians’, he would have got over 90% of the ‘religious’ vote! It’s pretty clear that he should have campaigned as a pedophile candidate right from the start!’

Senior figures in the Republican Party are now planning to clean the slate of non-pedophile candidates for the 2018 elections. Any sitting congressman who does not currently have child abuse charges hanging over their head has received a memo requesting that they ‘pull out all the stops’ to get their name linked with pedophile activity ‘by the end of January at the latest’. The party is also buying up advertising space across all ‘Christian’ TV networks and investing massively in social media ads targeting ‘evangelicals’ as part of a concerted effort to rebrand itself with the slogan ‘#GOPedos’. Faces such as Steve Bannon and Steve Miller, who research has revealed to fit most people’s image of what pedophiles look like, are to be pushed to the fore, and looking forward to 2020 a number of videos are being prepared which will confirm what we’ve all long suspected about Donald Trump. The party is also ‘keeping a close eye’ on how Trump’s tweeted support for a British terrorist organisation plays with his base, and may adopt an explicitly pro-violence platform should the president’s explicit admission that yes, he is basically an actual nazi serve to firm up his support amongst the worst people who have ever lived.

No actual Christians were available to comment as we went to press.

Did you know that Bob Dylan once composed a new Italian national anthem?

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Bob Dylan with Dario Franceschini in Rome, July 2015

There’s an episode in the life in Bob Dylan which I’ve never seen mentioned in any of the books I’ve read about and by him and can’t find on any of the reams of websites dedicated to his work. Dylan’s work and life is the subject of all sorts of rumours, some generated by himself, and so it makes sense to be sceptical. Nonetheless, three people I’ve met independently of each other here in Italy have told me the same story, and the basic ‘facts’ are as follows.

A few years ago a youngish (for Italy…) culture minister by the name of Dario Franceschini decided that his country needed a more global and modern image. He was sick of hearing the same old cliches about pizza, opera and the mafia, and particularly resented what was for him one of Italy’s most embarrassing symbols: its national anthem (‘Il Canto degli Italiani‘ – the song of the Italians). For all that most such songs are bellicose hymns, this one really, as they say in Italy, è il colmo – it takes the biscuit. Not only had its unofficial title (‘Fratelli d’Italia’ – brothers and sisters of Italy) recently been stolen for the name of yet another new party of the euphemistically-named ‘centre-right’. It was also aggressive, hostile, and, in the age of Isis et al, outright terroristic: ‘We are ready to die’, it bellowed, before going on to belittle Italy’s EU neighbours the Austrians and finally claim Italy as an inherently Christian nation, revealing to the world the ‘ways of the lord’.

It’s ironic, then, that the person who he thought might be willing to take on a task on such a scale was himself someone who had voiced similarly evangelical sentiments in the past: Bob Dylan. It was a tiro lungo – a long shot. But Franceschini had, from way back in his university days, been a good friend of the singer Francesco de Gregori, who had recently been in New York recording his album of Dylan songs and who had actually met the man himself at a party. It turned out that Dylan was not only a fan of Italian music, but was also quite knowledgeable about the country’s history. He didn’t speak much of the language, but wasn’t it about time, thought Franceschini, that Italy fully embraced globalisation, becoming the first non-English-speaking country in the world to have a national anthem sung in the international language?

To his astonishment and delight, the feelers he put out to Dylan’s management team via his friend Francesco were well received. Dylan was interested in the idea, although he wasn’t sure whether he wanted his involvement to become public knowledge. As it happened he had a concert scheduled in Italy just a couple of months later, in Turin. How would it be, enquired Franceschini timorously, if the great man were to come to Rome for a few days following the concert, just to see how things went?

So it was that Dylan spent the first few days of July 2015 in the heat of the early Roman summer. The two men got on enormously well, and as Culture Minister Franceschini was able to show his guest some parts of the city and its immense cultural heritage that few get to see. They bonded over a shared love of Caravaggio and of 13th century Italian poetry. That part of the trip went enormously well.

However, not everything ran smoothly. Dylan’s well-known habit of getting to know cities undercover, at street level, away from the world of five-star hotels and luxury dining establishments, didn’t stand him in very good stead in the Italian capital. Within a few days of arriving he was starting to complain bitterly about the atrocious state of the public transport network, the staggering amount of litter in the streets, the constant problems with mobile connectivity, the manifold challenges presented by the deceptively tricky task of locating a working ATM machine, the endless queues and mind-numbing bureaucracy involved in something as simple as posting a package back home, and the general rundownness of the place. Thankfully, though, his negative experiences didn’t stop his creative juices from flowing – the degradation and daily frustrations seemed to stimulate his imagination. Sadly, however, the song he came up with after the five days were up was judged unsuitable by all concerned. Franceschini gave a solemn oath that he would never share details of the project with anyone, Dylan flew back to California, and the song that he wrote has never been played or heard in public. Until now.

Eccola.

(Incidentally, I’ve been surprised by the number of people who’ve suggested replacing the photo of Dylan with Pisapia with one of Dylan and Franceschini. As far as I know the two have never met, so it would involve getting in touch via representatives of both men and trying to engineer an encounter. I only wrote this for a cheap laugh and I don’t believe it’s worth all that work. I’m not Tony Hawks.)

SPECIAL OFFER ON T-SHIRTS HERE TODAY ONLY!!!

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Although this site has been going for over a year, I’ve never made a single penny, cent or centesimo out of it. It contains no advertising and never will. That doesn’t mean I haven’t tried to take advantage of the merchandising opportunities its partial success has afforded, but sadly no one went for the mugs.

No matter. Onwards and upwards. Undaunted by business failure, unwilling to accept defeat in the face of commercial indifference, I reckon I’ve spotted another massive gap in the market, and here it is: it’s undeniable that those of us on the left who opposed it have been proven wrong about the Brexit/Lexit project. The negative projections of the so-called experts were way off the mark, and the negotiations with the EU are going swimmingly, particularly around the question of the Irish border. The planning and preparation conducted by our elected representatives has been exemplary, and revelation after revelation has confirmed to those of us who were cynical and/or naive to suspect otherwise that the referendum itself was carried out under conditions of utmost reputability, free of manipulation by foreign powers or nefarious private interests. As for the issue of EU citizens in the UK, those who are still here are regularly reported to be delighted with the transparency and above-boardedness of the whole enterprise.

What’s more, we owe a profound apology to those comrades who predicted, much to our unwarranted frustration and scorn, that a vote to leave the EU would inevitably lead us up to the sunny uphills of socialism, rather like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, our lungs bursting with song and with pride as we looked down into the valleys and saw the pillars of neoliberalism tumble one after another, or something (I’m paraphrasing). The last seventeen months or so have been a joy to behold to anyone who remains true to egalitarian values, as our cause has stormed bastion after bastion of entrenched privilege, just like in the glorious soviet revolution of a century before. By March 2019 we will be living in a verdant utopia, enjoying a abundant common wealth of public provision, and all because the British people stood up and threw off the shackles of hidebound deference to our so-called betters (paraphrasing again). There is not a person alive now whose heart is not bursting with optimism at what lies ahead. Capitalism, autocracy and oligarchy are dead and buried, and fascism, racism and nationalism are confined for once and for all to the fetid dustbins of history. Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive.

Under such circumstances, then, I feel that the time is right to launch a garmet which millions will sport with pride, wearing their now-vindicated convictions on their chests rightly inflated with a renewed sense of self-respect. It will make an excellent Christmas gift for all the family, especially for those who, though they were at the time momentarily blinded to the promise of freedom, have now seen the light.

The t-shirt retails at $99, with a special bumper package including a framed commemorative ‘WE ARE FREE!!!’ edition of Socialist Worker available for only $250. We are not responsible for any ridicule, abuse and/or violence the wearer of the item may suffer. It is recommended that any of our clients finding him or herself subject to such unsavoury treatment defend him or herself by shouting out some utter fucking nonsense about ‘neoliberalism’ followed by some even more specious horseshit about the Irish border. FFFS.

EXCLUSIVE: Tommy Robinson signs up to write for Spiked Online

 

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In a surprise development, one guaranteed to take the world of attention-seeking intellectually dishonest websites by storm, the ‘contrarian’ news commentary site Spiked Online has announced a new star columnist: Tommy Robinson, formerly of the British National Party/English Defence League, the highly-regarded and not-at-all gullible Quilliam Foundation think tank, and a number of leading UK penitentiary institutions.

‘Many have seen us as basically a pseudo-intellectual version of 4chan, while others regard us as some sort of long-standing university clique whose main defining characteristic is a desire to get revenge on the sort of people who didn’t want to be friends with them at university’, said Brendan O’Neill of Spiked, who asked us to mention that the sunglasses he was wearing during the conversation ‘may or may not have been’ the same brand as those worn by ‘certain members of the alt-right’. ‘Acquiring the skills of a widely-respected thinker such as Tommy Robinson may challenge those perceptions’, he went on. ‘Whether in terms of having a go at the Irish over Brexit, splenetically feigning enthusiasm for what is basically a pre-GCSE notion of #freespeech, or just generally getting angry towards a deliberate mischaracterisation of Islamic belief and practice, Tommy will fit right into our stable of wannabe iconoclasts. Plus his involvement may lighten the burden of our having to churn out hundreds of articles a week of look-at-meeee-I’m-soooo-shocking speciously-argued op-eds, given that the sort of people he will be attracting to the RCP/Living Marxism/LM/Spiked Online/Red Front/Institute of Ideas/Sense About Science/Ferraris for All/Irish Freedom Movement/Audacity/Worldwrite/Maverick Club family of brands can’t actually read’.

Mr O’Neill then had to excuse himself, explaining that he had to meet some of his ‘mates’ to ‘drink beer, say lots of bad words’ and ‘some other really really naughty things, like probably a football hooliganism’. Asked whether his companions happened to include anyone by the name of Furedi, Fox, Hume or Malik, O’Neill demurred. Mr Robinson himself could not be contacted as he was busy continuing his ongoing undercover expose of online abuse of underage Muslim girls by leading members of the British far-right, and after having wiped himself down from that was due to pop in to his sunbed shop to see how much money he’d made that day from local people  desperate to have a darker skin tone (our emphasis). His first column for Spiked, to be entitled ‘Why true patriots abhor this so-called royal wedding’, is scheduled to be published next week.

Leading UK journalist Tommy Robinson tipped to win Pulitzer Prize

The noted British journalist Tommy Robinson is in line for the most prestigious prize in his field, it has been reported. It is unclear which of Robinson’s many scoops drew the attention of the prizegiving committee, but it is believed that his tweets blaming ‘you know who’ for a non-existent terrorist attack and telling his followers, very few of whom ever visit London because its diverse human population scares them, to ‘stay away from Oxford Circus, some muzzies is shooting dead hundreds of us whites, its the final confrontation’, has tipped the balance in his favour. The project in question was developed in collaboration with two of his BNP mates in a Wetherspoon’s in central Luton, where Sky News was on but with the sound off. Robinson was also able to piece together the non-events by reading what some fellow racists, none of whom were anywhere near what wasn’t taking place and pretty much all of whom spend their lives sitting around smoking weed and fantasising about shooting people, had posted on social media. The fact that Robinson subsequently deleted the tweets in question is not expected to harm his chances. His celebrated undercover investigation into the online abuse of underage Muslim girls by leading figures on the British far-right may also have played a part in his being nominated.

The judges said Robinson was, like any Pulitzer nominee, being shortlisted for the accolade due to his ‘steadfast and fearless dedication to the pursuit of truth. Or, in his case, its opposite’. A spokesperson stated that the prize would both reward and encourage the sort of in-depth reportage which Robinson has pursued on the maximum 140-character platform. A spokesperson for the prospective recipient said he was ‘made up’ at the news and said that ‘Mr Pulitzer and his mates’ would be more than welcome to avail of an hour or so’s free tanning if they ever happened to be in the Luton area.

Although Robinson is best-known for his Twitter account and for getting arrested regularly, he also presents a series for the non-British-based Youtube channel Rebel TV in which he turns up late at night with his BNP mates outside the actual houses of anyone who’s upset him on Twitter. Although very, very, very, very, very few people have ever seen the programme, it has been described by someone who was paid to watch it by a comedy website as ‘a bit like Ross Kemp, but much more racist and filmed on a smartphone by someone who appears to be very drunk’.

News of the prize caps a remarkable couple of weeks for Robinson, as just last week it was announced that he would become chairperson of an arts charity, with £100,000 in grants to disburse. The organisation in question subsequently turned out to be run by a fantasist and the£100,000 transpired to be a myth, but still.

There has been some speculation that Robinson’s string of criminal convictions and the fact that he himself appears unclear on what his actual name is may jeopardise his chances. In addition it is uncertain whether the relative anonymity of the site may count against him – high-profile journalists working for actual publications are identified by a blue tick, and although he describes himself as a journalist Robinson’s account does not possess such a symbol. Neither does Robinson possess a press card, as he almost certainly doesn’t know what one is and would probably block anyone who asked him about it.

Asked whether these issues, in conjunction with the fact that Robinson is not a journalist in any way, shape or form, will mean that the notion of his winning the Pulitzer Prize could not be sensibly regarded as anything other than ridiculous, absurd and ultimately laughable, the spokesperson (who had, in any case, been made up for satirical purposes) answered ‘yes’.

UPDATE: The Daily Mail has announced that it plans to offer Tommy Robinson the role of Chief Reporter. The newspaper confirmed the news in a press release, saying that it will soon boast a ‘dream team of hate, consisting of Katie Hopkins, Robinson himself and (although negotiations with the relevant authorities are not yet entirely concluded) Anders Breivik (PBUH)’.

FURTHER UPDATE: Katie Hopkins has now been sacked from the Daily Mail. They didn’t mind her genocidal racism and outright lies, but others did and she’s cost them an absolute fortune in libel payouts. She’s now deleted hundreds of her tweets, relocated to Luton, and is applying for a job at Tommy Robinson’s tanning salon :-P.

P.S. The subscription options on Waxy-Lemon’s website are fucking hilarious. I’m tempted to sign up for the ‘Producer’s Club’ one ($250 a year). I strongly suspect that no one else has done so, and it would give me to change the tenor of his podcast somewhat. A lot less ranting about immigrants by someone who’s never been one or actually met any, a lot more music by ADF and MIA and guest spots from the likes of Warsaw Shire and Hassan Akkad. I’m sure his paid-up subscriber(s) would be delighted.

Trump has effectively abolished the role of President

Although Robert Mugabe was a tyrant, he was also apparently a stickler for constitutional procedure. He did everything by the book – while others cheated in elections and persecuted opponents on his behalf, he made sure that he appeared to be above reproach, partly by regularly rewriting the book to suit his requirements. The facade was thus paper-thin, but even as he clung to power he did so on the understanding that his position was above board.

Although Donald Trump has shown himself to have autocratic instincts, he’s clearly no Mugabe. As Khizr Khan pointed out, it’s unlikely that he’s even familiar with the Constitution, and debatable whether or not he’s au fait with the distinction between the Senate and the Congress. (Neither am I, but I’m not even from the USA, let alone President of it.) His actions have confirmed again and again that he does not appreciate the separation of powers, but rather believes himself to be in total and unimpeachable authority over not just the executive but also the judicial and legislative branches. His governing medium is is not formal procedure, but Twitter, and he tweets not in the name of Potus, but Donald J. (as in, juvenile) Trump.

The office of the President has existed since 1789. The holder of the office embodies the role: he or she is not more powerful than the State. Myriad checks and balances pertain to the position, restricting any attempt to impose absolute power. He or she is subservient to the Republic. There are numerous problems with this setup, all sorts of loopholes and imbalances which could if exploited maliciously be used to topple the whole edifice from within. The most explosive element would be a potus who was ignorant of and thus careless with the rights and responsibilities of the role. The current Republican Party, insofar as their intention was to detonate the structure of American democracy and install one or another of their kind in power in aeternum, chose well.

How can we be sure that this is the case? In his recent tweet regarding the release of the three college basketball players, Trump, in his customary but still staggeringly infantile way, confirmed that he does not believe in the office to which he was elected. He insists that it was he, not the White House or the State Department, that chose to intervene on behalf of the players. The notion of himself an incumbent in an elected office rather than as absolute ruler does not even occur to him.

Thus, any talk of the Republicans stealing the Presidency is misplaced. As things stand, the role of president is in abeyance. Trump regards himself as a dictator, with limitless power. This indicates that attempts to remove him through constitutional means will fail. Mugabe was at last persuaded to remove himself from an role that he ultimately respects. Getting rid of a man who doesn’t recognise that he’s only playing a role will be impossible – Trump is not going to give up being Donald Trump. As Lacan said, the madman is not only the beggar who believes himself to be King, buy also the King who believes himself to be King. (Note Trump’s prominent use of that word in the aforementioned tweet.) Trump will either die, or must be made to die, on the throne.