Saturday, February 13, 2021
Brexit will leave British capital weaker and marks another significant step in Britain’s decline relative to other imperial powers over the last 100 years. Britain always had an uneasy relationship with the EU, with different allegiances and ambitions from France and Germany. Having said that the dominant sectors of British capital, whose interests were tied up with the EU, were not in favour of Brexit. However it did happen due to the continued tensions within the British ruling-class about its world role, the incompetence of its political representatives and alienation in communities which had suffered neglect over decades. The full impact of Brexit remains to be seen, but there is bound to be a hit on the financial sector which dominates the economy. There is also the prospect of the break-up of the UK with majority support currently for Scottish independence and the reshaping of Northern Ireland’s relationship to the UK and Ireland by the Brexit process. All this is happening against the backdrop of a long term decline in British capital’s share of the world economy, an increasingly parasitic domestic economy and the disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic by the UK government and the devolved administrations.
Friday, February 12, 2021
Britain has left the European Union and exited from the year-long transition period on 31st December 2020. This is four and a half years after the vote to Leave and it is not over yet. The agreement between the UK and the EU leaves many issues unresolved and constructs a web of committees which will keep them in permanent negotiating mode. Although the UK has gained some formal autonomy from the EU in this agreement, nevertheless it is founded on neo-liberal assumptions and keeping both parties in alignment, precluding progressive intervention in the economy.
Thursday, February 11, 2021
One of the hallmarks of this increasingly dangerous world has been the growing hostility of the US towards China as it becomes more powerful and assertive. To understand this conflict it is necessary to also understand China's development since its revolution and the aspiration that the United States had to bring it into its orbit as a capitalist economy serving US economic interests. When it became clear that China would not follow the path prescribed for it by the US and was seeking to develop its own direction, including nurturing hi-tech industries, the US responded quickly to try to halt this. These moves began in earnest under President Obama and were continued by Donald Trump. President Biden will not depart from this path but will seek to collaborate more with US allies, alienated by Trump’s approach, to put pressure on China. The question is whether or not China can overcome attempts to isolate it and the barriers created by sanctions designed to strangle the development of its hi-tech industries.
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
The Brexit deal has exposed Boris Johnson’s false claim that Britain would gain total control of its fishing after Brexit. In fact, the deal has only given Britain an increased 25% share of the fish within its waters. It’s a far lower figure than the Tory promise of 80%. Over decades the UK government and the EU conspired to develop a market in fishing quotas which benefited big business at the expense of small fishermen. The Brexit agreement has done nothing to change that.
Tuesday, February 9, 2021
The EU’s image is not what it was – and not just because of internal tensions over a Covid bailout to the poorer European countries. But perhaps the starkest sign of the EU’s true nature is its racist treatment of refugees fleeing wars and poverty – in most cases caused by the very European countries now refusing them entry. More than 20,000 refugees have died trying to cross the Mediterranean and those who do mange to get to Europe face inhuman living conditions and the threat of deportation.
Monday, February 8, 2021
Despite the judge in charge of the case ruling against extradition to the United States, Julian Assange remains in prison without charge. He is being detained in conditions which amount to torture and his physical and mental health are at serious risk. Although not charged with any crime his offence has been to expose the misdeeds of the US war machine. His persecution a major threat to investigative journalism and free speech everywhere.
Sunday, February 7, 2021
One of the most notorious aspects of the development of neo-liberalism has been the huge growth in the gig economy. With venture capital having a big stake in it, Deliveroo was one of the pioneers in slashing workers’ rights and their terms and conditions of work. The use of workers with bogus self employed status has become a significant feature of how capitalism exploits workers in the 21st century.
Saturday, February 6, 2021
Whilst big rivals confront each other in a new cold war, the tactics involved in this of sanctions, boycotts and bullying are also being underpinned by military might. This includes a concerning build up of nuclear weapons and the lowering of the threshold for their use by the USA and NATO. There are nuclear and other threatening manoeuvres directed at encircling Russia and China. Britain too is increasing its arms spending and exports, is developing a new National Cyber Force and is still set on renewing Trident nuclear weapons.