30 January 2009

World Jewry and Israel

The WJC and the Israel-right-or-wrong lobby are digging themselves into a deeper and deeper hole. More and more they are deluding only themselves.

Every element which helped blind the world to Israeli crimes is falling away: Israel the little besieged settler-state (no more), Holocaust guilt (now a crime of great grandfathers), Zionist socialism (gone).

Israel can only maintain itself by being a pawn of US Middle East imperialism and winning the support of American right wing Christian nutcases. The country has no moral strength; so thank God (if I believed in Him) Israel is not synonymous with Jewry.

No Aid Appeal broadcast for Gaza

The suffering in Gaza is the direct result of Israeli military action. To have people see that suffering, identify with it and want to ameliorate it, also focuses attention on its perpetrators. In other words, Israel’s war crimes are unmasked.

To defend Israel in world opinion it is therefore necessary to conceal the effects of Israel’s actions. Hence the BBC, at the behest of pro-Israeli pressure, seeks to deny human suffering; the BBC is in effect saying that helping injured Palestinian children is anti-Israeli and therefore illegitimate.

Imposing Esperanto and English

There is undoubtedly an assumption on the part of many Esperantists to the effect that not only is Esperanto the best choice for communication across language boundaries, but also that everybody else should endorse that opinion. Given the peripheral status of Esperanto, that view is liable to cause annoyance as it clearly has done here.

The imperialism of English works differently. Everyone is free not to learn it and take the consequences.

Children are not often free to choose what is best for them, so when their schools and parents compel them to learn English, that is no different from forcing the child to learn his or her multiplication tables.

Across Europe, at any rate, the English language is imposed, not with police, courts and prisons, but through capitalist economic power. If the citizen wants a better job or to sell the firm’s product, English is often required. The more people who learn English as a lingua franca, the more powerful the lingua franca becomes.

Is that fair? Of course not, but life is seldom fair.

21 January 2009

Britain in Europe

Whether to join or not to join the Euro consists of two parallel debates. One is the calculated economic merits of doing so; the other is the political and psychological implications of membership. Jeremy’s article is on the latter.

If the British have lost an empire and failed to find a role, the only place where that role could be found is as one country among equals in the European continent. If that is to be, the British must want it for themselves. There are three test issues.

First is seeing the Euro, not as an external threat, but as a potential means of participating in the joint economic strength of a continent. Second, is a willingness to identify with a Europe in which Britain can be an equal, rather than with the US where Britain is condemned to satellite status. The third is to see open borders with Schengen Europe, not as rot pouring in uncontrolled, but as an open bridge inside free European space.

Practicalities may prevent or delay any or all of these measures, but the will has to precede the means.

20 January 2009

Appointing Ken Clarke

The main difficulty for Cameron and his crew is that they radiate an early middle-aged haute bourgeois dandyism. Though once seen as electorally ‘attractive’ in the booming 2000s when Blair was their opponent, it now grates. In contrast, the New Labour government may be authoritarian and self-serving, but Brown’s morose oafishness better suits the recession age.

Clarke is there for his personae; and Cameron obviously believes that Tory quarrelling on Europe is less to be feared than the effects of his own personality.

Replacing Trident

What some people even on the right are realising is that there is a future for Britain as a normal European country. The policy framework established since Suez in which Britain retained delusions of grandeur as first satellite of the US armed with purchased American nuclear weapons is in its twilight.

It will take time, though, for this argument to sink into mainstream politics.

12 January 2009

Polish workers and the recession in Britain

From 2004 New Labour permitted the free inflow of Easter European labour from the new member states of the EU into Britain, simply for the purpose of depressing British wages in a period of boom.

As Britain falls into recession, tensions over diminishing employment opportunities will inevitably arise. Two points should be made. First if Poles and others have established residence in the UK, then they should not face employment discrimination on the basis of their ethnicity. Second, workers should struggle together for improvements in their well-being, not fight against each other.

10 January 2009

Indentity Cards in Britain

From my point of view the problem is not the idea of an ID card per se, but the intrusive aspects of the government’s proposed scheme.

If ID cards were voluntary and just consisted of your name, date and place of birth, and photo, and were usable for European travel and self-chosen identification; e.g. in banks, then who would oppose them? They could be issued with the passports, if requested.

8 January 2009

The falling value of sterling is of concern

Much of this article is correct and states the obvious, but I just with to pick up on one point; i.e. that the fall in sterling is of little concern. You write:

…the sea of Sale signs on the high street, and the savage discounts many retailers have been forced to make to tempt shoppers through their doors, hardly suggest that a surge in prices is on the way.

Stores may indeed be reducing prices in order to realise value on their existing stock, but the fact remains that imports will increase in price. Retailers will then either have to pass on these prices to consumers (i.e. inflation) or go out of business (i.e. recession).

7 January 2009

Civic Freedom dying in Britain

In 1985 I finished a short holiday on the Baltic Sea Island of Reugen in the former East Germany. At the station, waiting for the train back to Berlin, I liked the way the sun was falling over the station house and took out my camera. Luckily, there was no CCTV in those days, so all that happened was that a railway official told me that photographing railway installations was forbidden.

Britain is not yet a totalitarian state, but its civic rights and freedoms are dying. Most people won’t either realise or care until they themselves come into conflict with the state (police, courts and prisons). In the meantime, it is necessary that those who believe in freedom to properly document every infringement and highlight it – as you are doing.

Understanding the Financial Crisis in Britain

Most of us are ignorant about most things most of the time, and it is a wise person who recognises that.

Though it is difficult, if not impossible, to quantify these processes, it is easy to see the direction which the economy is travelling. The mass increase in public expenditure and state debt, incurred in attempt to limit falling levels of consumer demand, will lead in due course to inflation and a depreciated currency.

The debt binge has left Britain in an economic mess. The policies designed to cure that mess will lead to new difficulties. My own preference would be for the government to use the recession to invest in the infrastructure and support industries with a long term commercial future, so at lease when the upturn arrives the country is better placed to prosper than simply start borrowing again.