Saturday, May 15, 2021
Capitalism and greed, as Boris Johnson is proud to say, go together. However, they are not the success he likes to pretend. In fact markets have failed abysmally to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. It is actually the public sector and state intervention that has had the greatest success in combating the virus. Capitalist greed benefits no one but the capitalists. The rich world - the EU and countries like Britain and the United States - are battling it out to secure shares of vaccines while poorer countries are being left far behind. The EU has struggled with it's procurement programme which is a further blow to those who wish to centralise power even more within the bloc.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
We are now only too used to a world of war, including in Europe in the Balkans and the continuing conflict in Ukraine. The cold war is portrayed as a time of great world tensions, yet there was far less armed conflict and more attempts to achieve peaceful relations between states. The Helsinki Accords were an attempt to create a binding framework for security and cooperation in Europe, but did not fulfill their potential due to the West's lack of commitment.