|Volume 50 Number 29, August 1, 2020||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
The government is treating the polity as though they were the private owners of the body politic, giving contracts to dubious hedge funds or companies, and taking money with promises of protection of these narrow private interests. In the name of "efficiency", arrangements are being made to pay the rich, and concentrate power in the hands of the executive, an executive which is totally divorced from the political institutions of old where political parties were supposed to be political and represent sections of the body politic.
In the midst of this, in the midst of the "shaking up" of the Civil Service, trying to keep warring factions of the financial oligarchs and big business chiefs in check, while taking the ultimate control of the "special advisors" to the extreme, has come the Russia report.
The House of Commons' Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) finally published its long-awaited Russia report on July 21. In fact, the ISC was not overly concerned about alleged Russian attempts to "rig" elections and referenda within the United Kingdom, stating that "in terms of the direct threat to elections, we have been informed that the mechanics of the UK's voting system are deemed largely sound". In fact, the report said: "Successive governments have welcomed the [Russian] oligarchs and their money with open arms, providing them with a means of recycling illicit finance through the London 'laundromat', and connections at the highest levels with access to UK companies and political figures."
It is reported that Russian officials angrily rejected any conclusions of the report that alleged Russia's interference or hacking, accusing Britain of taking a "leading role in Russophobia" and seeking to distract from a loss of status due to the Brexit crisis
The spin, and what the monopoly-controlled media are promoting, is that it proves that Russia is interfering in elections and referenda in Britain. But even a cursory investigation of what has been uncovered by the report gives the lie to this promotion. For sure, Russian oligarchs are muscling in, taking advantage of the destruction of the old norms of the politics of the powers-that-be, and not just paying the Tory Party hoping for advantage, but joining in the mafia-style shenanigans of the cartel party system, with all its opportunities for corruption, money laundering, money lending to the government, and on a wide scale the pay-the-rich schemes.
Of course, it is not just the Russian oligarchs but the global oligarchs that are finagling to get their interests served. One is supposed to think, however, of Putin and the Kremlin intervening for their own advantage, whereas the most that is really exposed is the so-called "Russian oligarchs with links to the Kremlin". As for hacking, as explained for example by Craig Murray, leaving a "smoking gun" of Cyrillic characters could only be the work of US or British intelligence agencies. There is no smoke; there is not even a gun. As Craig Murray says, "Even at the height of the Cold War, we never saw such a barrage of unprovable accusations levelled at Russia through the media by 'security service sources'."
Craig Murray continues: "Wikileaks Vault 7 release of CIA material showed the specific programmes for the CIA in how to leave clues to make a leak look like it came from Russia. This irrefutable evidence that the CIA do computer hacks with apparent Russian 'fingerprints' deliberately left, like little bits of Cyrillic script, is an absolutely classic example of a fact that everybody working in the mainstream media knows to be true, but which they all contrive never to mention."
To continue quoting Craig Murray: "My own view is that there are malign Russian forces attempting to act on government in the UK and the USA, but they are not nearly as powerful as the malign British and American forces acting on their own governments. The truth is that the world is under the increasing control of a global elite of billionaires, to whom nationality is irrelevant and national governments are tools to be manipulated. Russia is not attempting to buy corrupt political influence on behalf of the Russian people, who are decent folk every bit as exploited by the ultra wealthy as you or I. Russian billionaires are, just like billionaires everywhere, attempting to game global political, commercial and social structures in their personal interest."
It could be said that what is being shown is not so much a case of competing social systems as of competing oligarchs on a world scale.
In his concluding paragraph, Craig Murray points out: "Finally, do not forget that there is a massive armaments industry and a massive security industry all dependent on having an 'enemy'. Powerful people make money from this Russophobia. Expect much more of it. There is money in a Cold War." Or, it could be said, in this post-Cold War period, it is financial vultures rather than geopolitical players that are marauding the world.
Among the unwarranted conclusions which are being drawn by the ruling elites is that of giving more powers to the intelligence services, which involves attempting to keep the people's resistance in check also. It is corruption and destruction of the social fabric raised to a way of life for the ruling elites. To pursue this way of life, the arbitrary powers of the state must be strengthened, and this is what we are seeing. In the course of this, it is the people's resistance which the government is seeking to criminalise, not the corruption of the oligarchs and indeed themselves. The report seeks to disorientate opposition to the government, a trap into which the parliamentary Opposition is only too willing to fall, by putting up Putin and the Kremlin as the straw-men.
The hand of corruption and acting with impunity can also be seen in such government spending as its investment in the OneWeb satellite firm, a bankrupt satellite operator in which, according to Downing Street, the government is to participate in a $500 million deal to rescue it. Business Secretary Alok Sharma said that this deal offers "strategic geopolitical opportunities".
And on July 17, the Good Law Project issued proceedings in the High Court against Michael Gove, alleging breaches of procurement law and apparent bias in the grant of a £500,000 contract to his long-standing associates "Public First" to promote "free schools". It is crowdfunding the challenge. The awarding of contracts to companies to supply PPE equipment during the pandemic without the usual norms of competitive tender has also become a scandal. For example, the government awarded PestFix a £32 million contract to supply surgical gowns. PestFix is not a manufacturer but an intermediary, whose role was simply to order the gowns from China.
The people have had no say in the matter and no control over what has been done. A new direction is needed for society and the economy which would prohibit the global oligarchs from taking value out of the economy and prohibit all levels of government from going into debt to private interests. It is necessary to move on to the New. Working people demand public enterprise and governments under their control, organised to serve the public interest not certain privileged private interests.
No to corruption! Government must be accountable to the public! On to democratic renewal!
As a footnote, it may be noted that the "first phase" of an "independent" policing review into the rise of "confrontational protests" in Britain, especially the upsurges following the killing of George Floyd, has been led by Michael Barber, a former education adviser to Tony Blair, and the author of the books "Instruction to Deliver" and "How to Run a Government", encapsulating the doctrine of "deliverology". Michael Barber is also the chair of higher education regulator the Office for Students. The hallmark of Barber's style is to concentrate power in the hands of the Prime Minister's special advisors with a lack of accountability to any public authority, going hand in hand with privatisation and neo-liberal restructuring of the state to serve private interests.