BREXIT: John Pilger Explains why the British said No to Europe

John Pilger
John Pilger

The majority vote by Britons to leave the European Union was an act of raw democracy. Millions of ordinary people refused to be bullied, intimidated and dismissed with open contempt by their presumed betters in the major parties, the leaders of the business and banking oligarchy and the media.

This was, in great part, a vote by those angered and demoralised by the sheer arrogance of the apologists for the “remain” campaign and the dismemberment of a socially just civil life in Britain. The last bastion of the historic reforms of 1945, the National Health Service, has been so subverted by Tory and Labour-supported privateers it is fighting for its life.

A forewarning came when the Treasurer, George Osborne, the embodiment of both Britain’s ancient regime and the banking mafia in Europe, threatened to cut £30 billion from public services if people voted the wrong way; it was blackmail on a shocking scale.

Immigration was exploited in the campaign with consummate cynicism, not only by populist politicians from the lunar right, but by Labour politicians drawing on their own venerable tradition of promoting and nurturing racism, a symptom of corruption not at the bottom but at the top. The reason millions of refugees have fled the Middle East – first Iraq, now Syria – are the invasions and imperial mayhem of Britain, the United States, France, the European Union and Nato. Before that, there was the wilful destruction of Yugoslavia. Before that, there was the theft of Palestine and the imposition of Israel.

The pith helmets may have long gone, but the blood has never dried. A nineteenth century contempt for countries and peoples, depending on their degree of colonial usefulness, remains a centrepiece of modern “globalisation“, with its perverse socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor: its freedom for capital and denial of freedom to labour; its perfidious politicians and politicised civil servants.

All this has now come home to Europe, enriching the likes of Tony Blair and impoverishing and disempowering millions. On 23 June, the British said no more.

The most effective propagandists of the “European ideal” have not been the far right, but an insufferably patrician class for whom metropolitan London is the United Kingdom. Its leading members see themselves as liberal, enlightened, cultivated tribunes of the 21st century zeitgeist, even “cool”. What they really are is a bourgeoisie with insatiable consumerist tastes and ancient instincts of their own superiority. In their house paper, the Guardian, they have gloated, day after day, at those who would even consider the EU profoundly undemocratic, a source of social injustice and a virulent extremism known as “neoliberalism“.

The aim of this extremism is to install a permanent, capitalist theocracy that ensures a two-thirds society, with the majority divided and indebted, managed by a corporate class, and a permanent working poor. In Britain today, 63 per cent of poor children grow up in families where one member is working. For them, the trap has closed. More than 600,000 residents of Britain’s second city, Greater Manchester, are, reports a study, “experiencing the effects of extreme poverty” and 1.6 million are slipping into penury.

Little of this social catastrophe is acknowledged in the bourgeois controlled media, notably the Oxbridge dominated BBC. During the referendum campaign, almost no insightful analysis was allowed to intrude upon the clichéd hysteria about “leaving Europe“, as if Britain was about to be towed in hostile currents somewhere north of Iceland.

On the morning after the vote, a BBC radio reporter welcomed politicians to his studio as old chums. “Well,” he said to “Lord” Peter Mandelson, the disgraced architect of Blairism, “why do these people want it so badly?” The “these people” are the majority of Britons.

The wealthy war criminal Tony Blair remains a hero of the Mandelson “European” class, though few will say so these days. The Guardian once described Blair as “mystical” and has been true to his “project” of rapacious war.  The day after the vote, the columnist Martin Kettle offered a Brechtian solution to the misuse of democracy by the masses. “Now surely we can agree referendums are bad for Britain“, said the headline over his full-page piece. The “we” was unexplained but understood – just as “these people” is understood.

The referendum has conferred less legitimacy on politics, not more,” wrote Kettle. ” … the verdict on referendums should be a ruthless one. Never again.”

The kind of ruthlessness Kettle longs for is found in Greece, a country now airbrushed. There, they had a referendum and the result was ignored.  Like the Labour Party in Britain, the leaders of the Syriza government in Athens are the products of an affluent, highly privileged, educated middle class, groomed in the fakery and political treachery of post-modernism. The Greek people courageously used the referendum to demand their government sought “better terms” with a venal status quo in Brussels that was crushing the life out of their country. They were betrayed, as the British would have been betrayed.

On Friday, the Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was asked by the BBC if he would pay tribute to the departed Cameron, his comrade in the “remain” campaign. Corbyn fulsomely praised Cameron’s “dignity” and noted his backing for gay marriage and his apology to the Irish families of the dead of Bloody Sunday.

He said nothing about Cameron’s divisiveness, his brutal austerity policies, his lies about “protecting” the Health Service. Neither did he remind people of the war mongering of the Cameron government: the dispatch of British special forces to Libya and British bomb aimers to Saudi Arabia and, above all, the beckoning of world war three.

In the week of the referendum vote, no British politician and, to my knowledge, no journalist referred to Vladimir Putin’s speech in St. Petersburg commemorating the seventy-fifth anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June, 1941. The Soviet victory – at a cost of 27 million Soviet lives and the majority of all German forces – won the Second World War.

Putin likened the current frenzied build up of Nato troops and war material on Russia’s western borders to the Third Reich’s Operation Barbarossa. Nato’s exercises in Poland were the biggest since the Nazi invasion; Operation Anaconda had simulated an attack on Russia, presumably with nuclear weapons. On the eve of the referendum, the quisling secretary-general of Nato, Jens Stoltenberg, warned Britons they would be endangering “peace and security” if they voted to leave the EU.

The millions who ignored him and Cameron, Osborne, Corbyn, Obama and the man who runs the Bank of England may, just may, have struck a blow for real peace and democracy in Europe.

***

Follow John Pilger on twitter @johnpilger and on Facebook 

READ MORE BREXIT NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Brexit Files



UK Arms Dozens of Nations on Its Human Rights Watch List

Published 21 July 2017
Saudi Arabia has spent over US$4 billion in arms deals including the purchase of fighter jets, bombs, armored vehicles, rifles, and ammunition.

The U.K. has been selling arms to  20 of the 30 nations on its list of “Human Rights Priority Countries” including Saudi Arabia, Israel, China, and Bahrain.

RELATED:
UK Court Rules Sale of Arms to Saudi Arabia Is Legal

In the government annual report’s foreword, the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, wrote, the country has been making efforts to advance global human rights, “Promoting the values that Britain holds dear is not an optional extra, still less a vainglorious addition to our diplomacy; it is in keeping with centuries of tradition. This is part of who we are”.

The U.K. based advocacy group Campaign Against Arms Trade, CAAT, says just over US$1Billion of arms were sold to 20 countries on the list.

Whitehall has particularly come under scrutiny for supplying arms to Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest buyer.

Since May 2015, Riyadh has been leading a conflict against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

It has spent over US$4 billion on arms deals with the U.K. including the purchase of fighter jets, bombs, armored vehicles, rifles, and ammunition.

“UK weapons are used in the devastating bombing of Yemen, in clear violation of the UK’s own rules on arms sales, and European and international law,” CAAT’s website stated.

“Saudi Arabia’s contracts with the UK government and BAE Systems are the UK’s biggest ever export deals and successive governments have stopped at nothing to protect them. The government’s campaign to sell the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft now bombing Yemen has involved interventions at the highest level,” the website reads.

Last year, in a leaked draft report, the Committee on Arms Exports Control echoed both the European Parliament and the Commons International Development Select Committee in calling for arms sales to Saudi Arabia to end, The Independent reported.

Yemen now has the worst cholera outbreak in history & the value of arms sales continues to exceed bilateral aid. https://www.google.co.uk/amp/www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2017/07/yemen-cholera-epidemic-worst-record-oxfam-170721081529026.html 

Photo published for Yemen's cholera epidemic is worst on record: Oxfam

Yemen’s cholera epidemic is worst on record: Oxfam

More than 360,000 suspected cholera cases have been recorded over just three months in war-ravaged Yemen, says charity.

aljazeera.com

Andrew Smith, a spokesperson with CAAT told paper: “These are the countries where even the Government accepts that serious human rights abuses and conflicts are taking place, yet it is still pushing arms to these regimes.”

“We have no way of knowing what abuses these arms may fuel, or who they will be used against. The Government will no doubt tell us how rigorous and robust its system supposedly is, but it is actively arming and supporting many of the most brutal dictatorships in the world. If [Theresa] May and her colleagues want to promote human rights and democracy then they must stop selling arms to unstable and repressive regimes,” Smith said.

RELATED:
1,600 Yemenis Dead from Cholera Outbreak, All Provinces Infected: UN

In response, a Department of International Trade spokeswoman insisted “The UK Government takes its defense export responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust export control regimes in the world. We rigorously examine every application on a case-by-case basis against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria”.

“We draw on all available information, including reports from NGOs and our overseas network, and our export licensing system allows us to respond quickly to changing facts on the ground. We have suspended or revoked licenses when the level of risk changes and we constantly review local situations,” the spokeswoman added.

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