Friday, 10 October 2014

the political cartel's bloodied nose makes it more dangerous than ever

I wonder if Peter Mair realised, by the time of his untimely death in 2011, the enormity of his contribution to political science with his identification of the cartel party?

Ths is a political party that has, in its own eyes, outgrown its traditional constituency – eg workers, landowners, reformers, etc – and now campaigns for as big a chunk of the general electorate’s vote as it can muster.

The concept of the cartel party was a crucial step in identifying modern politics in general as a cartel affair, with a number of parties cooperating to ensure that they, and only they, participate in the structures of power, regardless of which among them in particular ends up holding the reins of government after any given election.

So Douglas Carswell’s acceptance speech as UKIP’s first elected MP was an attention-getter:

Crony corporatism is not the free market. Cosy cartel politics is not meaningful democracy. Change is coming with the realising that things can be better. (My italics)

He’s perhaps right, however, that the day’s other by-election in Middleton, where a candidate in a safe Labour seat managed to defeat UKIP by less than a thousand votes, is just as more meaningful for a party that is often denigrated as “far-right”.

I would be surprised if the British political cartel of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties took this lying down.

And there appears to be a precedent for a party taking affairs into its own hands which I fear may be replicated across the cartel.

In the 2005 General Election, there were 3,963,000 postal votes cast – in an atmosphere where the industrial scale of postal vote fraud had just been revealed – which constituted 12.7% of all votes cast; compare this to the postal voting figures of 1,370,000 (4.9%) in 2001. Labour's majority over the Labour party in 2005, in terms of raw votes, was 789,500 - equal to a fifth of the postal votes cast.

I’m sure I don’t need to add that Gordon Brown signed us up to the Lisbon Treaty/EU Constitution on the 2005 mandate, but the point for our purposes is that if something as major as a General Election was rigged in the past, it can be in the future.

As we congratulate Douglas Carswell in Clacton and John Bickley in Middleton, we need to keep our eyes open like never before for sleight of hand and distraction emanating from the political cartel.

Gerry Dorrian
300 word theses

Resources

Douglas Carswell’s acceptance speech: 'Ukip must stand for all Britons' - Nicholas Watt, The Guardian, 10 October 2014

Neo-fascism and neo-corporatism: the emergence of the cartel party - 300 words

Changing Models of Party Organization and Party Democracy: The Emergence of the Cartel Party - Richard S. Katz and Peter Mair, party Politics, 1995

Resources for figures on 2001/2005 general elections:

Election Statistics: UK 1918-2007 - House of Commons Library, Research Paper 08/12, February 2008

2001 General Election Results, UK POlitical Info

2005 General Election Results, UK Political Info

Monday, 11 August 2014

near and far Jihad: a question for Western leaders

In the Daily Mail, Robin Harris makes an impressive case for robust action on the Caliphate proclaimed by Islamic State, now massacring thousands in Iraq and Syria, and condemns Western leaders for being "catastrophically naïve" in their analyses of the turmoil in Muslim countries.

I can’t argue with that, but I feel I must in turn suggest that Mr Harris is naïve in suggesting the Caliphate poses problems only for countries with a majority Muslim population.

As early as 2009, Jihadis have split their struggle into that against the far enemy – or far Jihad – which is America and the West, and near Jihad against Israel and all local administrations that fail to unqualifiedly call for its destruction.

Far Jihad is well-ensconced in the West, with anybody proposing counter-Jihad (literally action against jihad) condemned by organisations such as Hope not Hate as fascists, racists, and generally “far-right”, which has no fixed beaning but refers to anybody whose views they disagree with.

new face of the Caliphate: click for more
Jihadis like Anjem Choudary have openly called for a Caliphate for years, and this is key to understanding their mindset. The Caliphate can be proclaimed at any time in any country by any jihadi.

Counterjihad military action must therefore also take two parts: far counterjihad against genocide and, crucially, supporting Israel, whose attacks by Hamas were a diversion tactic to blind liberal Western media to Islamic State atrocities; and near counterjihad, including robust action on hate-preachers like Choudary and real policing of protests against established Western traditions such as free speech.

Far and near Jihad are now coming together, as shown by a recent open recruiting drive by Islamic State's predecessor ISIS in Cardiff. The question I pose Western leaders is: do you act now to protect your many loyal citizens of all backgrounds, including moderate Muslims, or must you be swept away to protect our children?

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Resources

ROBIN HARRIS: Our leaders are in denial about this Islamic revolution because it exposes their own naivety - Daily Mail, August 11 2014

Why Jihad went global -Jim Miles, The Palestine Chronicle, 2009

Counter-Jihad report - Jim Lowles, Hope Not Hate, August 2012

Anjem Choudary: Steps to an Islamic Caliphate - The Clarion Project, April 2012

10,000 Muslims Protest Against Free Speech at Google in UK - Gerard Direct, October 2012

Thousands rally in UK to demand end to anti-Islam speeches - Murtaza Ali Shah, The International News (Pakistan), April 2013

'Infidels must wear red collars and shave heads': 'Nazi' vision of Muslim Britain from Imam who ran 'Isis' barbecue in Cardiff park - Abul Taher and Nick North, Daily Mail, June 2014

'That's my boy!': Shocking photograph of a SEVEN-YEAR-OLD Australian boy brandishing the head of a Syrian soldier - and his jihadist father who took it - Emily Crane, Louise Cheer, Daily Mail, August 11 2014

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Israel and why Westphalia matters

In 1648, the Peace of Westphalia ended the 30 years' war by esconcing Cardinal Richelieu’s principle of raison d’état – justifying Catholic France’s alliances with Protestant powers to prevent absorption into the Holy Roman Empire – as the defining principle of the nation state.

Under raison d’état each state was free to run its legal internal affairs as it wanted, for example responding to pressures for universal suffrage at its own speed.

When Tony Blair was elected in 1997, he trumpeted a post-Westphalian settlement which would see Britain not only buy into the European Union’s supra-national agenda like never before, but participate in wars to spread neo-conservative values to Afghanistan and Iraq in what former US Deputy Defence Secretary Robert Ellsworth called "salvation without representation".

In Israel’s Gaza campaign, we’re seeing a demonstrably democratically-elected government take on Hamas, a group banned in many countries for its links to terrorism. It is in a sense a campaign against the crisis-hit post-Westphalian movement, where

it is the "internal" boundaries that create problems. Security, defence of privilege, identity, recognition and cultural traditions…are now altered, uncertain, liquid. They are no longer reliable.

Egypt’s sponsoring of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is also a classic Westphalian move: Egypt is one of the states that have banned Hamas. If Palestinian terrorists (by no means all Palestinians) were to catastrophically weaken Israel, the terrorists’ first move would be to announce themselves part of the soi-disant caliphate proclaimed by Jihadis in Iraq and Syria.

This is also a supra-national power, but far removed from the multilateral transfer of rules with the EU as template dreamt of by Blairites. It is an attempt to rebuild the Ottoman Empire, and as such the next stop would be Egypt, therefrom the rest of Arab Africa.

Israel is certainly fighting for survival, but it is now at the centre of the fight for the nation-state system. All of us who value freedom need to realise that freedom lives or dies with Israel.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Resources

Imposing Our 'Values' by Force - Robert F. Ellsworth and Dimitri K. Simes

A Crisis Of The State? The End Of The Post-Westphalian Model - Carlo Bordoni

The EU as a Multilateral Rule Exporter: The Global Transfer of European Rules via International Organizations - Mathieu Rousselin

Friday, 1 August 2014

comparisons between Hamas and Nazis aren't made lightly

During the Second World War, the British visited a lot of attrition on Germany and on Germans for a very good reason: it was them or us.

The Israeli Foreign Minister harked back to this time when he delivered a message to his counterpart here, Stephen Hammond, on the conflict in Gaza:

[Foreign Minister Avigdor] Liberman told Secretary Hammond that Israel expects special understanding on the part of the British. During one of the most difficult but greatest hours of Great Britain, when London was bombed during World War II, we learned from Churchill that even if the price is blood, sweat and tears, a nation that wants to survive must fight for its freedom.

Any comparison between Hamas and the Nazis is neither done lightly nor without justification. In November 2013, the Palestinian university in Jerusalem, Al Quds, made international news when it hosted a Nazi-themed rally; six months earlier – shortly before the murder of Gunner Lee Rigby – the Swastika was spotted flying over the town of Beit Omar.

This is what the Israelis are facing: a war that is basically a continuation of the one we faced from 1939-1945; a war that is not about land or money or power but the very existence of the Jewish people. Those brave Palestinians who realise and reject this know the risks they run: recently jihadis murdered 25 peace activists and blamed it on Israel even as Palestinian rockets, by accident or design, fall upon Palestinians.

As genocide is prosecuted in Syria and Iraq, our prone media prioritise manufactured outrage at recycled pictures and promote the BDS agenda. The original Nazis were more honest in their evil when they verbalised their version of BDS: kauf nicht bei Juden – don’t buy from Jews. As jihadis and their useful idiots shout and fly Palestinian flags over council buildings, please spare a thought about where the Swastika and kauf nicht bei Juden were headed from the start. There's been no change in plan.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Friday, 18 July 2014

Flight MH17 decisions: wait till vested interests stop shouting

The outrage [shooting down of MH17 over Ukraine] immediately raised questions over why commercial flights were using a region where attacks on aircraft have been rife.

These words from the Telegraph form the most succinct explanation, I think, as to why Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 came to grief in such a terrible tragedy. The article says, earlier, that "aviation safety authorities in the United States and Europe warned pilots in April about potential risks flying in or near Ukraine airspace". The paper now reports other Asian airlines "had already abandoned [flying over Ukraine] months ago because of security concerns".

Regarding concerns, an International Civil Aviation Organisation website document ostensibly praises Ukrainian Air Traffic Controllers for picking up English language skills, but then expresses concern that:

Learning language is a long and costing business…[and] Lack of resources does not allow to invite native speaking teachers and instructors to train aviation personnel, to purchase necessary equipment for…training, to organize recurrent training of teachers, instructors, raters and examiners abroad.

Considering airline fuel is expensive, and the Malaysian government was found in investigations into the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 to be a major shareholder in the debt-stricken airline, and one can understand their pilots being pressured to fly over Ukraine.

Ultimately, did Putin order the plane shot down? I don’t know, but the picture gets more complex the more you examine it. And I wonder how long conspiracy-theory sites will take to notice that the US, the UK and the EU could all do with attention taken off their internal affairs, or even that it might not be beyond the abilities of Jihadis to down the flight and blame it on an Israeli attention-diversion exercise?

I have my own theory – that it’s always better to wait for vested interests to stop shouting before making decisions with long-lasting consequences.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Resources

Air operators belatedly avoid Ukraine war zone - Tom Whitehead, Nick Collins and Martin Whitehead, Daily Telegraph, 17 July 2014

Asian airlines stopped flying over Ukraine months ago - AFP, Daily Telegraph, 18 July 2014

Challenges in implementing Language Proficiency Requirements in Ukraine - International Civil Aviation Authority; statement made on p12 of pdf. 2003 mentioned in document, but date of its publication not apparent

Saturday, 17 May 2014

UKIP and the anti-democracy machine: a message from the police to the real fascists?

The anti-UKIP machine reveals itself as an anti-democracy machine more every day.

The most alarming development is the spread of so-called "anti-fascist" groups gathered around the "Unite Against Fascism" banner, for example Hope Not Hate, SLATUKIP, etc. Their devotees remain a tiny minority, but what is most worrying is that while such organisations were once hard-left bodies allied to the fringes of the Labour Party, they are now in receipt of patronage and members from across the political cartel of Britain’s three main Westminster parties, whose electoral closed-shop UKIP threatens.

These groups are telling new members that UKIP are "fascists", then ensuring they are exposed to propaganda saying "the only good fascist is a dead fascist". We know this from former members who joined up in the first place because they thought UKIP was unpalatable, but found the violence-orientated approach they found themselves expected to adopt far more sinister.

The leading cliques within the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties need to be given a message that if one UKIP candidate, member or supporter is hurt or even killed then the reverberations will go right up the greasy pole and will find them.

Perhaps a preliminary message has already been given.

When Cambridge police visited Michael Abberton, who tweeted a satirical list of UKIP "policies", their bosses doubtlessly knew that the tweet was arguably within the ambit of free speech, and even if it weren’t the anarchic nature of the Internet made a successful prosecution almost impossible. But the message was delivered: regardless of what individual officers think of UKIP, police will not stand by and allow its members to be targeted by anti-democratic thugs who themselves are the real fascists.

I hope UKIP is maintaining a database of members who have been threatened or otherwise targeted. We cannot let fascists steal our democratic birthright.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

neo-fascism and neo-corporatism: The Emergence of the Cartel Party - 300 words, January 2014

Wrong for police to visit Cambridge man Michael Abberton for tweeting list of UKIP 'policies', admits Chief Constable Simon Parr - Cambridge News, 13 May 2014

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

the political super-elite: "universal suffrage gave the wrong people the vote"

Between 1945 and 1956, Austria saw four general elections produce parliaments in which the opposition’s tussles with government were choreographed, for which Austrians coined the term Bereichsopposition. This might translate as opposition arranged within a set area; Marxist social scientist Otto Kirchheimer, writing in 1957, translates it as "opposition of principle," which he defined later as "'the desire for a degree of goal displacement incompatible with the constitutional requirements of a given system".

Kirchheimer’s 1957 paper The Waning of Opposition in Parliamentary Regimes rails at the birth of the cartel arrangement of politics, whereby a group of parties with little to differentiate them dominate parliamentary politics. He notes this was an "extreme procedure" in Austria, but that the same arrangements were emerging in (West) Germany, France and Italy.

These three were the main signatories to the Treaty of Rome the next year. This transformed the European Coal and Steel Community, intended to prevent another war between France and Germany, into the EEC, the proto-EU.

Peter mair - click for obituary

Left-leaning political scientists like Kirchheimer and Peter Mair (right - whose Ruling the Void references the former’s essay) are pessimistic about the outcome of cartel politics. This seems to stem from a middle-class phobia of the revivifying power of the popular vote: a primal suspicion that universal suffrage gave the wrong people the vote. Walter Bagehot’s fear that "ultra-democratic" politics (universal suffrage – "the rich and wise are not to have, by explicit law, more votes than the poor and stupid") will lead to "violent laws" leads straight to Mair’s phobia of populist politics.

Think of this when you hear Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem politicians slate UKIP: you are hearing the self-serving super-elite of the anti-democratic political cartel, perpetually mired in oppositionalism to the mechanisms of government in Brussels, inform you that universal suffrage gave the wrong people the vote.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Resources

The Waning of Opposition in Parliamentary Regimes - Otto Kirchheimer, Social Research, Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 1957. Link takes you to the essay on JSTOR, where permissions may be required. You can click here to try to access the pdf

Political Perfectionism and the 'Anti-System' Party - Michael keren, Party Politics 6, January 2000: a summary of the article giving Kirchheimer's definition of "opposition of principle"

Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (Treaty of Rome)

The English Constitution - Walter Bagehot, second edition, 1873. The quote about giving the vote to the "poor and stupid" is on p127 of the pdf