Tuesday, November 3, 2020
The West has, over decades, used its technological capabilities to spy on a host of other countries and organisations. Spy hardware was built into communications systems by Crypto AG. Crypto was a Swiss firm founded in 1952 and secretly bought by the CIA and the West German spy service. In all, 120 countries were sold apparatus which enabled their communications to be decrypted by the US National Security Agency (NSA). The information gathered was actively used by the West to intervene for example, in the Egyptian/Israeli negotiations at Camp David in 1978, and to aid the British during the Falklands war. Crypto continued in use until 2018 its capabilities having been superseded by the use of software. We are now all spied on through our use of search engines and social media and the NSA has a huge capacity to process all that data fed in from Google, Facebook etc.
Monday, November 2, 2020
The right wing and liberal media are united in their attacks on so-called Russian interference in western elections. This has been so hyped that it is almost taken for granted, yet the evidence does not stack up. The Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) report failed to substantiate allegations of Russian interference. It blamed the lack of evidence on spooks not having looked hard enough. Yet the ISC used this non-evidence as a basis for arguing that Britain should boost its offensive cyber warfare capabilities, calling for more resources for the National Offensive Cyber Programme set up by GCHQ and the Ministry of Defence. This year a National Cyber Force was also established and Britain hosts the NATO Intelligence Fusion Centre at RAF Molesworth.
Friday, October 30, 2020
In the negotiations with the EU the Tories have come under fire for their confrontational approach on state aid rules, taking back powers from devolved governments and the threat of breaking international law. However the left needs to be principled in its critique of the Tories and not allow them to seize the ideological ground as defenders of sovereignty. Meanwhile their disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic continues as they aim to implement a herd immunity strategy which they wanted from the start.
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Though defeated in a referendum in 2011, proportional representation (PR) is again being mooted as a way of engaging voters and making the electoral system more democratic. In fact PR would actually produce less of what the electorate wants with more horse-trading of policies. Most importantly it would dilute a clear class divide making radical change harder.
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
How should we understand our subjective sense of nationality? Is patriotism a useful concept?
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Its advocates idealistically hope that Universal Basic Income (UBI) will change the world, undermining the logic of capitalism. But there are flaws in how possible schemes would operate. Most do not propose to pay an amount of money that people could actually live on with inevitable negative consequences. Some groups would lose out, it would tend to subsidise low-wage employers as people would still have to work and there would be tax increases on low and medium earners along with cuts to welfare spending to finance it. Nor is UBI only an idea of the left. Neo-liberals have proposed it as a way of further cutting and privatising services. To fulfill its utopian ideals UBI would need to be set at the level of a decent wage. To pay this to everyone would be mindbogglingly expensive especially when a progressive government would have many other priorities.
Sunday, August 16, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic continues to demonstrate the inability of capitalism to deliver for people. The more neo-liberal and parasitic countries are then the worse they have done. Trump's handling of the crisis has been catastrophic for Americans, but whatever damage it does, the United States remains the world's hegemonic superpower. It is now, however, facing conflicts with other capitalist powers over their different strategic interests. Above all the US has decided to ramp up tensions with China as it seeks to prevent it challenging its global dominance.
Saturday, August 15, 2020
It looks as though the Tories will not carve out an independent international role, with the US demanding it follows its line on Huawei. They are under pressure for their handling of coronavirus and there have been some positive advances. There is increased awareness of the key role of working class people yet, despite that, how their daily lives are precarious; blighted by poverty, inequality and discrimination. Trade Unions have been growing, but this has yet to translate into militant campaigning for working class demands. There have been negative trends as well. Kier Starmer has moved quickly to shift the Labour Party to the right and is attempting to demoralise the left by actions like his provocative sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey. Yet the left still has a strong base and it is important that it stays and fights for principled internationalist and pro-working class positions.