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Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!



A very Merry Christmas to everyone.

Keep in mind the fact that the Son of Man, the Christ who lived and was executed by the government of His day, was a great leader, and leader of the common people. It was his great message of Love and Brotherhood which brought him to his death. He knew the poor of the earth were oppressed by the rich and wealthy, and in scathing terms denounced the money changers and all those who defiled the Temple and brought suffering to starving humanity.

George Lansbury, 1926.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

So where is all the snow?




This piece of mine appears in today's Sunday Express

OH DEAR, let’s put those sledges away. It seems that this year we’re going to get a wet Christmas, with the Met Office informing us that the only chance of snow falling anywhere in the UK on December 25 is at the top of the highest Scottish peaks. 

You can read the whole article here.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Christmases that changed history




This piece of mine appears in the Daily Express

1879: On December 28, 1879, a violent storm that some witnesses described as a hurricane, caused the central portion of the Tay Bridge near Dundee, to collapse, just as a train was passing over it. Between 60 and 75 people were killed . 

The disaster was commemorated in verse by the Victorian doggerel poet William McGonagall: “Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay! Alas! I am very sorry to say, That ninety lives have been taken away, On the last Sabbath day of 1879, Which will be remember’d for a very long time.”

You can read the whole article here:

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Apostles of a war without end




This piece of mine appears in the Morning Star. 

The West stepped up its intervention in the Syrian civil war this week, with the United States formally recognising the rebel coalition as "the legitimate representative" of the Syrian people.
As with France and Britain before it this is presented as an entirely reactive step, a response to events on the ground in Syria.

The truth is rather different.

After the end of the cold war many hoped we'd be entering a new era of peace and international co-operation.

Nato could be disbanded, our nuclear weapons could go and the money saved - the so-called "peace dividend" - could be spent on alleviating poverty.

But Western rulers had other ideas. The fall of the Soviet Union left a terrible power vacuum as there was no longer any real check on Western imperialism.

You can read the whole article here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why we need a salary cap in the Premier League- but not just in Premier League



You can listen to an interview with me and Mark Littlewood of the IEA on the subject of footballers' wages on the Adrian Goldberg Show on BBC Radio WM  here. (item starts at 1hr 39mins)

While here, you can hear an interview with me and the former England player Michael Gray on the Tony Livesey Show on BBC Radio Five Live, in which we discuss Platini's plans for the 2020 Euros. (Item starts at 49 mins)

Sunday, December 09, 2012

If all else fails-play the WMD/chemical weapons card




The Guardian reports:

William Hague has said he has seen "some evidence" that Bashar al-Assad's regime is preparing to use chemical weapons against Syrian rebels.

The foreign secretary would not give specific details of the intelligence, also seen by the US, but said it was enough to renew warnings to Assad that his regime would face action if they were deployed.


You wouldn’t think they’d try it again ten years after Iraq would you? Do they really think we plebs are that gullible?

The fact that the WMD/chemical weapons card is being played is a sign of real desperation.

The UK/US and its NATO & Gulf allies have been trying for over a year and half now to topple the government in Syria through their backing of anti-government 'rebels'. Now that it's clear that the rebels don't have the strength, or the popularity within Syria to succeed, they've got to come up with a pretext for military intervention. So, hey presto! - let's start scaring people about 'evidence' that the Syrian government is about to use chemical weapons. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Egypt’s 99% want real changes, not a new dictator




Above you can watch an interview with me on RT on the latest developments in Egypt. More on this story here.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

'The West wants to install a puppet regime in Syria'




Above you can watch a new interview with me on RT, on the west's plans for Syria and why democracy is the very last thing they want.

More on this story here.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

War & Travel: Libya lures tourists as Bani Walid atrocities silenced




Above you can watch a video report on RT, which includes a short interview with me on why the atrocities in Bani Walid are being ignored by the west's 'humanitarian interventionists'.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

On western double standards towards terrorism in Syria



Above you can watch an interview with me on RT on the western double standards towards terrorism in Syria. More here.  Just imagine the reaction from Clinton, Hague and co if the carnage we witnessed yesterday had happened in Riyadh or Tel Aviv?

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Oh Dear, How Sad, Never Mind: Neo-Con MP & fraudster Denis MacShane resigns from Parliament



Oh dear!


The former Europe Minister announced he was quitting after MPs on the Standards and Privileges Committee banned him from the Commons for a year for what they described as ‘the gravest’ breach of expenses they have seen.

Mr MacShane claimed thousands in travel expenses so he could jet around Europe and for consulting services using fake invoices from a front organisation that he had set up.

The bills were signed with a “nom de plume” purporting to come from a general manager who did not in fact exist,’ the MPs said.

The former MP for Rotherham also claimed thousands of pounds for computers and laptops, including one which he allowed an intern to keep after they stopped working for him.
The total Mr MacShane claimed on expenses for computers was £5,968. He even submitted the same invoice twice for one computer he bought…

More on the shaming of Neo-Con MP Denis MacShane here.

Meanwhile, here's my 2009 blog post on Macshame and the 'European Policy Institute'.

Well, MacShane's political career is thankfully finished, but if he doesn't get arrested for his fraud- remember he was stealing from you and me dear reader- it will be another scandal. We'll see in the next few weeks if well-connected Neo-Cons really are above the law.









Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Smoke 'em if ya got 'em





What the elite are trying to do, it seems to me, is to fashion identikit people, all holding the same ‘acceptable’ opinions on a range of issues, all liking the same movies and the same music, all going to the same coffee shops. In this increasingly standardised world, where ‘bad habits’, ‘bad thoughts’ and ‘bad speech’ are officially proscribed, individuality and eccentricity — the very things which make human beings interesting — are being gradually erased.

Imagine a pipe-smoking lady politician like Millicent Fenwick, ‘the conscience of Congress’ in the US in the 1970s, achieving prominence today. Or a figure like Winston Churchill, hardly ever seen without a cigar, becoming British Prime Minister. Deciding whether or not we smoke and then making up our own mind what we smoke — be it a pipe, cigars, filter cigarettes or roll-ups — is one way we can express our individuality, and one our legislators are taking away from us.

You can read the whole of my Spectator Australia article on how the anti-smoking crusade has gone too far, here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Libya: where are the western 'humanitarian interventionists' now?



Massacres in Libya, human rights abuses, a ban on demonstrations, claims that chemical weapons are being used by the government- but silence from the west's 'humanitarian interventionists' - the very people who couldn't stop talking about Libya in Feb/March 2011.
 
Above you can watch an interview with me on RT on western double standards towards human rights in Libya and what it tells us about 'humanitarian interventionism'.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

For a future that works: support the day of protests

If you're based in the UK do try and support the anti-austerity protests going on in Belfast, Glasgow and London today. The government tells us the cupboard is bare, but of course there's always money for war, as we saw with Libya last year and we can be sure that if the US President got on the phone and said 'come on, we're going to attack Syria/Iran', then the money would miraculously be found.

The state of the public finances is being used as an excuse to destroy the last remains of the post-1945 settlement. Meanwhile, the bankers and financial speculators, the people who caused the crash of 2008, and the people that we, the taxpayers, bailed out, continue to rake in millions.

Details of today's demonstrations can be found here.

While here you can read a piece by Lindsey German of Stop the War, on why Stop the War is taking part in today's demonstrations.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

007 Doubles: The real-life people behind the James Bond characters



This piece of mine appears in the Daily Express.

IT'S the most famous and longrunning film franchise of all time. Now, exactly 50 years after the first James Bond film, Dr No, was released in 1962, it's time for number 23. Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig, opens in cinemas across the UK next week.

Bond's creator, author Ian Fleming, worked in British Naval Intelligence in the Second World War and based his characters - including his villains - on real-life people.

But who exactly were the models for the likes of Miss Moneypenny, M, Q and 007 himself.


You can read the whole article here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

How we can get the left back on track



This column of mine appears in the Morning Star.

According to former Communist Party general secretary Harry Pollitt we would have had a revolution a long time ago in Britain if not for horse-racing.

As a racing-loving socialist and someone who has a bet on the gee-gees most days of the week, I'm not sure I'd entirely agree. It could be argued that the block to radical change hasn't been Lester Piggott, Frankie Dettori and Red Rum but the Labour Party.

Labour undoubtedly has some great achievements to its name: the NHS, the creation of the post-war welfare state and the extension of public ownership in the 1940s, '60s and '70s. But it has done some terrible things too - with the illegal war on Iraq right at the top of the list.

As the party's 2012 conference ends, the question is: should we give up on Labour as an organisation which can deliver positive change or persevere with trying to get the party back on a more progressive path? To answer that we need to understand exactly what the Labour Party is.

You can read the whole piece here.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Why we need to renationalise the railways



You can listen to an interview with me on BBC Radio Five on why renationalisation is the only solution to Britain's railway woes, here.
(Discussion starts at around 54 minutes into the programme).

While here, you can read my piece from the Guardian's Comment is Free website on the renationalisation issue and what it tells us about the state of democracy in Britain today. 

UPDATE: You can listen to another BBC radio interview with me on the railways, here. The discussion starts at around 1hr 49mins into the programme.

FURTHER UPDATE: You can listen to a panel discussion on 'Britain's Broken's Rails', featuring Christian Wolmar, John Page of TSSA and myself  on Voice of Russia, here.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

How Venezuela's participatory democracy puts western 'democracy' to shame.



I’ve witnessed the self-assured superiority of Paris, the imperial arrogance of Washington, the capitalist decadence of New York’s Manhattan, parliamentary elections in Germany, and my fair share of elections in Britain. In none of them have I encountered a democratic political culture as profound as Venezuela’s.

You can read the whole of Ewan Robertson's report on Venezuela's elections here.

Contrast the genuine choices that the Venezuelan people have with the very limited choice on offer in the US Presidential election.

HAT TIP: Joe Emersberger at Media Lens Message Board:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Abuse of inmates happens in every Georgian jail, says torture whistleblower




President Saakashvili must step down if he is a democrat. But he’s no democrat. He keeps the entire nation in chaos and fear. He relies on criminals. He has people with blood on their hands working in high positions in the government.

Imagine if this scandal took place in Belarus. What a huge fuss there'd be. But it's happening in Georgia, a key US ally, so let's move on....

More on this shocking story here:

 


Friday, September 14, 2012

Forget Andy Murray and Wiggo- it's Camelot's turn to shine



This piece of mine appears over at The Week/The First Post.

Neil Clark: Three-year-old colt will make Triple Crown history if he wins the St Leger on Saturday.


BRITAIN'S glorious summer of sport isn't over – get ready for another historic moment tomorrow, this time at the races, when a three-year old colt named Camelot aims to become the first horse to win the English 'Triple Crown' since 1970.

You can read the whole piece here.

UPDATE: Camelot failed to make history as he could only finish second behind the 25-1 outsider Encke.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Blowback time for US: why death and destruction are the only outcomes of NATO interventions



Above you can watch an interview with me on RT, on the Libya consulate killings and the wave of violence sweeping the Middle East. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Give us back our diamond



This piece of mine appears in the Daily Express.

Descendants of an exiled maharaja have launched a legal battle to reclaim the priceless Koh-i-Noor jewel given as a gift to Queen Victoria.

IT IS the most famous diamond in the world. The fabulous Koh-i-Noor was given as a "gift" in 1850 to Queen Victoria from 11-year-old Duleep Singh, the last maharaja of the Sikh Empire, and remains to this day at the heart of our crown jewels.

But for Sikhs the affair still rankles as the diamond was acquired by coercion after the British had annexed the Punjab region and yesterday Singh’s descendants launched a legal action for the diamond, other possessions of the maharaja’s family and also Singh’s body to be returned to India.

You can read the whole article here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The fight for a great Britain begins now

  

This column of mine appears in today's Morning Star.

 Neil Clark: The TUC meets in Brighton this week at a time when public services are under the gravest threat they have faced since the modern welfare state was founded in the 1940s.

You can read the whole of the article here.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Is the U.S. the greatest nation on earth?



You can hear me in a radio debate on this topic on BBC Radio 5 Live here.

The discussion starts at around 13 minutes into the programme.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Why we can't take Egypt's President Morsi at face value


 

Above you can watch an interview with me on RT on the new Egyptian President and why we can't take him at face value.

More on this story here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ecuador!

 


There's only one song to listen to at present! Play it as loud as you can and sing it in the street.
(there's not too many lyrics to remember!).

Bravo to Rafael Correa for standing up to the international bully boys and granting Julian Assange political asylum. And shame on the British government for the pathetic stance they have taken on this issue. Mind you, it's exactly what we would have expected from William Hague and his rancid Neo-Con crew.

Also, on the subject of Ecuador, don't miss this great piece by the U.S. writer Glenn Greenwald on how western human rights critics of Ecuador & Russia parade their own hypocrisy. These people pretend to be oh, so concerned with the plight of political dissidents in countries which are independent from The Empire, but when they have a case of a political dissident facing persecution at home, they attack the dissident and side with the authorities. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

RT interview: Rebel atrocities turn Syrians away from the opposition



Above you can watch an interview with me by Karen Tararache on RT on the situation in Syria and why both Hillary Clinton and William Hague have blood on their hands.


Also on Syria, here is a video, a quite horrific one, of what Clinton & Hague's 'freedom fighters' have been up to. (Of course we can't call them 'terrorists' because they're on 'our' side).

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Bilderberger and Henry Jackson Society-supporting Tory MP Nick Boles charges you and me for his private Hebrew lessons



The Daily Mail reports:

A Tory MP has been learning Hebrew at the taxpayers' expense following his civil partnership to his Israeli partner, it was revealed today.
Nick Boles, who has called for pensioners to be stripped of their winter fuel payments, free prescriptions and bus passes, claims he is 'entitled' to grasp the ancient Jewish language even if he has got hitched to Shay Meshulam.
Instead of putting his hand in his own pocket he put £678.80p on his MP's expenses to cover the cost of his learning.
Mr Boles met Mr Meshulam on a Conservative Friends of Israel trip and they had a civil ceremony in London last March.
Critics said today the decision to take Hebrew lessons is simply to help him 'make conversation around the breakfast table'.
'Language instruction is a service available to Members of Parliament. I took some Hebrew lessons,' he said in a statement to MailOnline.
'It is something I’m entitled to do,' he said, 'I’ve done it and that’s that,' he added to the Mirror.
Mr Boles, who is MP for Grantham and Stamford in the East Midlands, is believed to be in David Cameron's inner circle.
 
Don't you just love the phrase 'It's something I'm entitled to do'.
 
Boles attended this year's 'elite' Bilderger conference and is also a signatory to the statement of principles of the neo-con Henry Jackson Society, so don't expect too much criticism, if any, of his actions from liberal interventionist/neo-con media commentators. If he'd been an anti-war MP charging the taxpayer for private language lessons, we'd never have heard the last of it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Australia's failure at the Games is a wake-up call for legacy-mad UK



This article of mine appears over at The Week.

LEGACY, legacy, legacy. We are told daily by Coe, Cameron, Boris and countless BBC commentators that Team GB's success in the current Olympics will inspire a new generation to even greater success at future Games.

Well, I'm sorry to a bit of a party-pooper, but we shouldn't be getting too carried away just yet.

The experience of Australia, who hosted the Games just 12 years ago, should act as a reality check.

You can read the whole piece here.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

On Poldark and Privatisation: How George Warleggan struck back



This piece of mine appears in the Morning Star

I was very sad to wake up a couple of Sundays ago and read on Teletext that Angharad Rees, star of the 1970s drama series Poldark, had died aged just 63.

Earlier in the year my wife and I bought a video box set of Poldark at a charity shop.

The series was hugely popular when first broadcast in the 1970s, attracting around 15 million viewers.

Watching it again today, I can understand why. There's gripping storylines, great acting and characterisation. Not only that but it has a profound message too. The anti-greed, pro-worker values which the series promoted reflected the progressive values of Britain's most left-wing decade.

You can read the whole article here.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Why the western powers and their allies are to blame for the continuing bloodshed in Syria




Above you can watch an interview with me on RT on Kofi Annan's resignation- and why the western powers and their allies are to blame for the continuing bloodshed in Syria.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Follow me on Twitter!

For those of you on Twitter, I'm 'tweeting' here @NeilClark66.

I'll still be putting up regular posts here as well, so no change in that direction.   

For those of you particularly interested in public ownership issues and fighting privatisation, the Campaign for Public Ownership is also now on Twitter, here, @PublicOwnership.

Do try and spread the word if you can!




Monday, July 30, 2012

Danny Boyle's Britain is being dismantled brick-by-brick



This piece of mine appears over at The Week/The First Post.

ON THE strength of Friday night's Olympic opening ceremony, I think it's fair to describe Danny Boyle as a 'progressive patriot'. The working-class son of a school dinner lady and a self-educated farm labourer, his patriotism is about pride in Britain's industrial achievements, its welfare state and its tolerance towards minorities.

But the sad truth is that the Britain Danny Boyle was celebrating in some of the most memorable scenes on Friday is either finished or very close to being finished.

You can read the whole article here.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Channel 4's Alex Thomson's Guide to 'what the hell is going on in Syria'

Rather different, I think you'll agree, from the black-and-white neocon/'liberal'-interventionist narrative written from thousands of miles away and to which we're subjected on a daily basis.

The regime is not simply shelling entire city zones and never has.

They know where the rebels are fighting and that is where the warfare takes place. The rest of the city will look and feel strikingly normal to you. Inside the fighting area of course it is terrifying and exceptionally dangerous.

So what do Syrians want?

Hard to tell. But for sure this is not Egypt – there are no Tahrir Squares or vast protests against the regime.

There is no discernible sign in any of the big cities – Homs, Aleppo and Damascus for example,that the people even wish to rise up against the regime.

You can read the whole of Alex Thomson's Guide here.

Hat tip: our regular commenter Brian.

More on what's happening in Aleppo over at RT

During a statement at a news conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the Syrian government could not be expected to stand by while rebel forces occupy Aleppo and other areas throughout the country.

"Our Western partners, together with some of Syria's neighbors, are essentially encouraging, supporting and directing an armed struggle against the regime," said Lavrov.

Also on RT, check out this story about where Syrian rebels have been in training.




Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Olympics: Then and Now




This piece of mine appears in the Sunday Express.

Neil Clark looks at how London 2012 is a far cry from the charming Games we managed to host in the capital 64 years ago.

THERE is now less than a week to go before “The Greatest Show On Earth” begins. This year’s Olympics will be the biggest, the most expensive and easily the most publicised in history. So am I the only one who wishes we had a very different Olympic Games in prospect, such as the one held in London in 1948?

The 1948 Games were described by Janie Hampton, author of The Austerity Olympics, as “one of the most inexpensive and unpretentious Olympiads of the 20th century”.

You can read the whole of the piece here.

On the subject of the 2012 Olympics, you can read my piece on ten of the world’s most fabulous sports stars who’ll be appearing over the next two weeks, here. 

While here you can me discussing on BBC Radio Five Live as to whether there are any ‘dead certs’ for Olympic gold medals. (The item starts at around 1hr 20mins into the programme).



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Death and Destruction in 'liberated' Iraq




Over a hundred people killed in bomb attacks in a Middle East country. No, not in Syria, but in Iraq. A country we 'liberated' earlier. As the RT reporter asks in the above video, why is that events in Iraq are no longer getting much coverage- certainly nowhere near as much coverage as Syria?

Think back to ten years ago, when we couldn't put on a tv set without seeing some neocon warning us on the danger that Iraq posed to the world with its WMD. The neocons and their 'liberal interventionists' allies, the great 'humanitarians' who couldn't stop talking about Iraq and 'liberating' its people in 2002, don't seem too interested in the country's plight in 2012. I wonder why that is?

Meanwhile, one of the architects of the destruction of Iraq, the serial war criminal Tony B-Liar, is out and about in London tonight. Over at Stop the War you can find out about how you can join the protest. And remember, there is a £2,500 reward for anyone who attempts a citizens arrest.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bradley Wiggins's Tour de France win: Britain's greatest sporting achievement ever?



video: fritz51302.

Wow, what a dramatic sporting Sunday. Adam Scott's incredible collapse in the Open and Bradley Wiggins's historic win in the Tour de France.

You can hear me attempting to put Wiggins's victory into some sort of context on BBC Radio Five Live here (the item starts at around 1hr10mins into the programme)

You can also read a round up of  media reaction to Wiggins's win over at The Week.


While above you can listen to a cycling pegged-classic hit from the summer of 1977: Oh Lori by the Alessi Brothers. Enjoy a truly great track.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Alexander Cockburn R.I.P.





Very sad news: Alexander Cockburn, one of the truly great political writers of our time and a man whose opposition to neoliberalism and aggressive military interventions never wavered, has died.

You can read Nigel Horne’s tribute piece from The Week here. While above you can watch an interview with Alexander Cockburn on RT in which he talks about the NATO war against Libya.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Why Britain needs public ownership

If you’re based in London/South East you can hear me making the case for public ownership at the 21st Century Marxism Festival in Bishopsgate, London today.

Further details of the weekend programme, here and here.



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Breaking News: Syria's Defence Minister killed in suicide bomb attack


RT reports:

Several Syrian government officials have been badly wounded by a suicide bombing attack at a national security building in Damascus. State TV says the country’s Defense Minister Gen. Daoud Rajha was killed by the attack.
A meeting of Syrian ministers and security officials was taking place on the premises at the time of the blast. 

So, the terrorists have struck again- oops sorry, I shouldn't use the word 'terrorists'-I forgot it's only meant to be used when people who aren't on 'our' side carry out such attacks......

UPDATE:

The Guardian reports:

The defence minister, Gen Dawoud Rajha, was a Greek Orthodox Christian from Damascus. Aged 65, he was appointed defence minister last August. He had previously served as the army's chief of staff.  


It seems that President Assad's brother-in-law has also been killed in the bombing.


Some people seem quite delighted about today's events.

Here’s Sultan Al Qassemi boasting on Twitter about how they are ‘dropping like flies’

We’ve got some great peace-loving, moderate ‘allies’ in Syria, haven’t we?

UPDATE: 'Don't be duped by Western humanitarian rhetoric on Syria': an interview with Russia's US Ambassador Churkin, here on RT.

We know those greatest humanists in the world – US and UK – intervened in Iraq, for instance, citing all sorts of noble pretexts, in that particular case – non-existent weapons of mass destruction. What it caused – 150 thousand civilian deaths alone, to say nothing about millions of refugees, displaced persons and the whole dislocation in the country. So, don’t be duped by humanitarian rhetoric. There is much more geopolitics in their policy in Syria than humanism

I must add that after Yugoslavia, after Afghanistan, after Iraq, and after Libya, that anyone who does believe that the west & its allies are motivated by humanitarian concerns in Syria, must be extraordinarily naive.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why we can't afford a privatised railway



This article of mine appears over at The Huffington Post.(UK edition)

David Cameron has hailed it as the "biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian era". But we really shouldn't get too carried away about the government's £9.4bn programme of investment in the railways announced today, or believe it will do much to alleviate our transport problems. For a start, building work on the projects will not start until 2014 at the earliest. And even when the modernisation does get going, the basic problem of our railways will remain: namely that they are run for private profit and not as a public service. For that we have to blame a certain Mr John Major.

You can read the whole article here.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Russia holds firm against western bullying on Syria




RT reports:

Lavrov did not miss an opportunity to address Russia’s detractors – specifically the United States – which, he said, seeks to “blame” Russia and China for the ongoing hostilities in Syria.
"It is not right to blame the situation [in Syria] on Russia and China, to say nothing about threats like 'they are going to pay for this'," he said.
The Russian minister then criticized Moscow's western partners for provoking a civil war in the country.
"Some of my Western colleagues even proposed that the resolution [the Western draft resolution that mentions Chapter 7 of the UN Charter] declare an economic, financial and communication blockade against the Syrian government,” the minister said. “In other words, even talks with [the Syrian government] are ruled out.”
"This is a direct invitation to a civil war, not the implementation of the Geneva communique," Lavrov declared.

Meanwhile, guess which country is talking about a Syrian WMD threat?! Yes, you guessed right, the same one that is telling us that Iran's non-existent nuclear weapons programme is a threat to the entire world. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

G4S's Olympic struggles should derail the drive towards more privatisation



This article of mine appears on the Guardian's Comment is Free website.

Neil Clark: Private companies have one aim: profit maximisation. So expect cuts in staffing levels and everything done on the cheap


The next time you meet one of those free-market ideologues who tells you private companies are always more efficient than the public sector, don't bother to get involved in a lengthy argument. Instead just use the example of G4S.


You can read the whole article here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Austerity at the races: trainers boycott race over paltry prize





This piece of mine appears in The Week/The First Post.


Neil Clark:  Barbour-clad brigade are not waving placards yet – but they're angry about falling prize money

THE natives are restless. I'm not talking about Spain, or Greece, where anti-austerity protestors have been taking to the streets, but about the - usually - more placid world of British jump racing.

You can read the whole piece here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

URGENT: War Criminal on the loose in London. Stop the B-Liar!



An urgent message from Stop the War.

Tony Blair is on the comeback trail to rehabilitate his political career. Help give him the welcome he deserves when he speaks at Arsenal Stadium on Wednesday 11 July: War Criminals are not welcome here... or anywhere except at the International Criminal Court facing war crime charges.



More details on tonight’s anti-B-Liar protest here. Do try and make it to the Arsenal Stadium if you live in the London area and try and spread the word as widely as you can. Don't forget either, that there is a reward for anyone attempting to make a peaceful citizen's arrest of the former British Prime Minister and serial warmonger.

UPDATE: On the subject of Tony B-Liar and his planned comeback, don’t miss this great piece from Lindsey German over at CIF.


And for the most na├»ve piece I’ve ever read on Blair and his motivations, here’s Ed West, writing in the DT.
(HAT TIP: Media Lens Message Board)

Blair had nothing to win from Iraq.  He invaded Iraq because he thought Saddam was a monster who should be removed 
Yeah, right…..!!!






Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Telstar: The satellite that launched the 1960s





video: cheesemoon

Fifty years ago today, Telstar was launched. Here’s my piece from The Daily Express.


FIFTY years ago next Tuesday the world suddenly became a much smaller place. On July 10 1962 at 11.47 GMT, Telstar, the world’s first direct relay communications satellite, was launched into space from Cape Canaveral in the US. For the very first time television pictures, telephone calls and telegraph images could be relayed through space.


Nowadays we don’t think much about it when we sit back and watch major sporting events such as World Cup finals or the Olympics or news stories from the other side of the globe broadcast live on television from wherever they take place. But before Telstar it was a different story……..


Many believed in the Sixties that satellite technology would lead to a more united world. “Both sides of Earth can be in immediate photographic contact, communication that could bring better understanding among men,” a newsreel at the time of the Telstar launch declared.


But although wars still go on the impact the satellite had on our lives cannot be underestimated………


You can read the whole article here.



Sunday, July 08, 2012

Andy Murray's finest hour



Well, he didn’t quite manage it- but what a great effort- and what a touching speech he made afterwards.


I was never a huge Andy Murray fan, but he seems a lot more likeable nowadays and I’m sure that if he continues to improve his game then one day he’ll land that elusive first Grand Slam.


PS Wondered why it’s so hard for ordinary tennis fans to get Centre Court tickets?
Take a look at this. No doubt the same crowd of  'celebrities’ will be at the Olympics.


As ‘Amanda’, from Norwich says in the comments section:

Makes me sick! I am a life long tennis fan, I would give almost anything to see a Wimbledon final but there is not much chance of that. Why do these 'celebs' , some of whom obviously have little or no interest in the sport, get the greatest prize of all? I am so angry looking at these photo's. Wimbledon, you should be ashamed of yourselves. -









Saturday, July 07, 2012

Black Caviar: Mare's best


This piece of mine appears in The Spectator (Australia)

Neil Clark:  Black Caviar's narrow victory at Ascot will seal her legend.


She came. She saw. She conquered. But blimey, it was close. Like 77,000 or so others I headed to Royal Ascot on Saturday to see ‘The Wonder from Down Under’ — to get my first glimpse of the horse officially rated the world’s fastest sprinter. I’d seen Black Caviar on YouTube and had read about her exploits at Flemington, Caulfield, Moonee Valley and other tracks across Australia. But now this equine superstar was 10,496 miles from home, in the cool and cloudy UK, to put her reputation and her unbeaten record on the line. Could she make it 22 wins from 22 races? Or were we about to witness the eclipse of an Australian sporting icon, a shock defeat on a par with Eric Hollies bowling Don Bradman out for a second ball duck in his final Test innings at The Oval? 

You can read more of the article here.







Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Seumas Milne on the (latest) disgrace of our neoliberal and neocon governing elite






This is yet another disgrace for the country's governing elites. The new revelation of corruption comes after the exposure of the deception of the Iraq war, fraud in parliament and the police, the criminality of a media mafia and the devastating failure of the banks four years ago. It could of course have happened only in a private-dominated financial sector, and makes a nonsense of the bankrupt free-market ideology that still holds sway in public life. 


You can read the whole of the article here.


Monday, July 02, 2012

The best and the worst of the Euro 2012 football tournament



This piece of mine appears over at The Week/The First Post.


Neil Clark: Who gets the brickbats, who gets the plaudits among players, managers, commentators and fans?



THE LATE Jimmy Sirrel  famously said that in football the best team always wins - the rest is only gossip. Few could disagree that the best team- Spain - won the tournament. But what about some other categories as we look back at a vintage three weeks of football?

You can read the whole piece here. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hands off Syria and Iran! No to western intervention! -London public meeting








‘They lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They lied about Vietnam. Cambodia, Serbia and so on, they lied when they told you that Libya was about ‘humanitarian aid’ , they are lying about Syria and will lie about Iran’.

Stop the War is organising a week of action against western  intervention in Syria and Iran.

Do try and take part and if you’re anti-war and  live in London or the south-east, do try and make it along to the Stop the War meeting on Syria and Iran in London tomorrow where I will be among the speakers.

It's not just about opposing western intervention in Syria and Iran- it's also about lifting sanctions.

"On June 28 US oil sanctions on Iran are set to take effect, followed by EU sanctions on July 1. Iran has threatened to close the straits of Hormuz in response. Even in the absence of an immediate conflagration, oil sanctions are an attempt to weaken Iran and therefore a prelude to war, not an alternative to it. "






Friday, June 22, 2012

John Pilger: History is the enemy as “brilliant” psy-ops become the news






The threats against Syria, co-ordinated in Washington and London, scale new peaks of hypocrisy. Contrary to the raw propaganda presented as news, the investigative journalism of the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung identifies those responsible for the massacre in Houla as the “rebels” backed by Obama and Cameron. The paper’s sources include the rebels themselves. This has not been completely ignored in Britain. Writing in his personal blog, ever so quietly, Jon Williams, the BBC World News editor, in effect dishes his own “coverage”, citing a western official who described the “psy-ops” operation against Syria as “brilliant”. As brilliant as the destruction of Libya, and Iraq, and Afghanistan.

You can read the rest of John Pilger’s brilliant new NS piece, on how US and British democracies have been replaced by an extremism hell-bent on the destruction of democracy, here. 

While on the subject of the destruction of Libya, do take a look at this report.  Also, this great piece by Peter Hitchens from last week’s Mail on Sunday.

‘Liberal interventionism’.  Or as it should be called, the destruction of independent countries that don’t do the west’s bidding. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Memo to Platini: don't change Euro 2012's winning format



This piece of mine appears over at The Week/The First Post.

Neil Clark: The next European Championships will expand from 16 to 24 teams. It will make for a more boring tournament

DEAR M. PLATINI - Like other football fans across Europe, and indeed the world, I've been enthralled by Euro 2012.

We've had some great games, lots of goals and some tremendous excitement. There have been shocks and surprises aplenty - with Russia, who started the tournament with a 4-1 demolition of the Czech Republic, being eliminated after a defeat by Greece, and Holland, one of the tournament favourites, failing to register even a single point.

The 2008 Euros was a fantastic tournament, too: we can all remember the incredible never-say-die exploits of Turkey, the attacking dynamism of a young and emerging Germany and the brilliance of the tournament winners Spain, but 2012 has surpassed even that - and to think the knockout stages haven't even begun yet.

This year's European Championships has been so very different from the boring and sterile 2010 World Cup, where there were many disappointing matches.

Yet my enjoyment of the tournament is tinged with sadness. I fear that due to changes that your organisation is making to the competition, we will never have such an exciting European Championships again.

You can read the whole of my Memo to Platini here.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Letter of the Week: Dick Maunders on Syria in the Morning Star


This week's pick: Dick Maunders on  Syria in the Morning Star.

..........It is plain to see the long-term tactics of the West.

They are hoping to create another Libya scenario in Syria, start a civil war and overthrow the Syrian government to be replaced by a compliant Western one, then use Syria as a forward base for any impending invasion of Iran.

William Hague should mind his own business about the internal affairs of Syria. We can see the results of Western meddling in Libya now with tribal fighting and murders happening every day.

You can read the whole of Dick Maunders' excellent letter here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Water, water everywhere, but it's too expensive to drink




This column of mine appears in the Morning Star. It’s also cross-posted over at the Campaign for Public Ownership.

The Crazy Gang. The Keystone Kops. The Marx Brothers. Just three of the all-time great comedy troupes. To which we need to add another name - the Institution of Civil Engineers. 

Last week this bunch of comedians issued a report which claimed that water in Britain is too cheap and recommended the introduction of compulsory metering. 

It would be a hilarious, side-splitting joke if only the subject under discussion wasn't quite so serious. In England water prices have risen by an average of 5.7 per cent since April, nearly double the rate of inflation. 

More and more people are finding it harder to pay their water bills. Research by the Consumer Council for Water has found that one in seven of all customers feel their charges are now unaffordable.
 
Far from being too cheap, water in England is actually too expensive - and the reason is a simple one. It's called privatisation. 

You can read the whole of the article here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Germany’s leading newspaper reports that the Houla massacre was carried out by anti-Assad rebels.




But you won’t find too much about this story in the US/UK media…..

It was, in the words of U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan, the “tipping point” in the Syria conflict: a savage massacre of over 90 people, predominantly women and children, for which the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad was immediately blamed by virtually the entirety of the Western media. 
Within days of the first reports of the Houla massacre, the U.S., France, Great Britain, Germany, and several other Western countries announced that they were expelling Syria’s ambassadors in protest.

But according to a new report in Germany’s leading daily, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), the Houla massacre was in fact committed by anti-Assad Sunni militants, and the bulk of the victims were member of the Alawi and Shia minorities, which have been largely supportive of Assad. 

You can read the rest of this article by Doug Macatonis of Information Clearing House over at the Stop The War website.
As I argued on RT here, the Houla massacre has been used by the neo-cons and ‘liberal interventionists’ to try to get the military action against Syria which they have long desired.  They want to forcibly replace the current Syrian government with one which would be anti-Iranian and more pro-Israel.

The propaganda against Syria (and Russia too)  in the US and UK has been fierce and unrelenting, but thankfully more and more people are seeing through all the lies. After all, we've seen the same sort of 'pro-intervention' propaganda pumped out before the military action against Yugoslavia in 1999, against Iraq in 2003 (WMD anyone?) and Libya in 2011.
 Stop the War is organising an Urgent ‘No Intervention in Syria’ Protest Picket in Downing Street this Thursday (14th June) from 5.30pm to 7pm. If you live in London do try and get down there to join the protest. Full details here:

Saturday, June 09, 2012

How England can win Euro 2012: play like Chelsea




This piece of mine appears in The Week/The First Post.

Neil Clark: Roy Hodgson is a master of getting the most out of ordinary players - and the championship favourites look weak



WANT A good outside tip for Euro 2012? A side currently available at juicy odds of 15-1 and whose chances of victory have been largely dismissed?



OK, I'll tell you the name of the team. It's England. That's right, England. The team that has never won the Euros or even been to the final. A team that hasn't won any major international tournament, in fact, since 1966.


This time round expectations of an England success have never been so low. We haven't got enough good strikers. Or enough good defenders. Or indeed enough good players all round. Our squad has been hit by injuries. The manager has only just taken over. And so on. Yet ironically, despite all the doom and gloom, we might just have the best chance of winning a major tournament that we've had in years.

You can read the whole article here.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Why it’s time to end England’s great privatised water rip-off



So the Institution of Civil Engineers think water in England is too cheap! That’s when we’ve just had a price hike of an average of 5.7% in England- with Southern Water raising bills by as much as 8.2%.


You can hear me making the case for public ownership of England’s water industry in an interview on BBC Radio Newcastle here.  (The discussion starts at around 10 minutes into the programme.)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Syria: Why Russia must be firmer with the west to save the peace plan




Above you can watch an interview with me on Russia Today (RT) on on how western states are using the recent tragedy in Houla as a pretext for a possible military intervention. 
 
You can read a transcript of the interview here.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Diamond jubilee: TV steps up the celeb factor




This piece of mine, comparing tv coverage of the 1977 silver jubilee with the diamond jubilee today, appears in The Guardian.

Neil Clark:  A look back at the coverage of the silver jubilee shows there were fewer crowns – and famous faces – in sight back in 1977.


"A jubilant burst of celebrations in London and all over the country officially marks the start of the jubilee week revelries. Bonfires, fireworks and traditional pageantry are all part of the week's programme which has full coverage on BBC TV and radio." So proclaimed the Radio Times of silver jubilee week in 1977.


A comparison of the television and radio listings of that week 35 years ago with those of diamond jubilee week in 2012 shows that, even though the Radio Times published its own "souvenir issue", coverage of the event occupied significantly less broadcast time in 1977.


You can read the whole of the article here.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Letter of the Week: Peter McKenna on Syria and foreign intervention





A brilliant letter from Peter McKenna from Liverpool, published in The Guardian.

It ill behoves the US to accuse another country of aiding and abetting the massacre of women and children (Houla massacre: US accuses Iran of 'bragging' about its military aid to Syria, 30 May).



The US (and the UK) didn't just aid the killing of women and children in the bombardments of Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya (and in the genocidal sanctions against the Iraqi population), but was actually directly responsible for it (The US drone campaign is fuelling, not fighting, terror, 30 May). And the particular mode of child-killing which is firmly ascribed to the Syrian regime in the Houla atrocity – via artillery fire into civilian areas – is a particularly brutal means of warfare which was actively supported by the US (and the UK) in Libya as well as in Iraq.


You can read the whole of the letter here.
 
(hat tip: gabriele at Media Lens Message Board)
 
On the subject of the terrible Houla massacre, do check out this latest Media Lens alert.


There's also a great piece by John Bradley in the Daily Mail which you can read here.


We still don’t know exactly who was responsible for the massacre- but what we do know is that the neo-cons and ‘liberal’ interventionists in the west are trying all they can to use it as an excuse for military action against yet another sovereign state. And we should not be surprised that the current British Government is taking such an aggressive stance.

UPDATE:
Today in Damascus, President Assad has denounced the Houla massacre as an  "ugly crime" that even "monsters" wouldn’t carry out.  More on  the Houla massacre over at Global Research.




Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Will fans of Asian and Afro-Caribbean descent be safe at Euro 2012?



You can hear me discussing the issues of racism in football and the safety of fans at Euro 2012,
on the Tony Livesey show on BBC Radio Five live here.

The discussion kicks off at about 1hr 20 minutes into the programme.

Monday, May 28, 2012

"This man (Tony Blair) should be arrested for war crimes"



Bravo to anti-war film maker David Lawley-Wakelin for his intervention at the Leveson Inquiry today.

Lawley-Wakelin was putting into words what millions of people, not just here in Britain, but all over the world feel about the disgraced former British Prime Minister.

As I wrote in The First Post/The Week here:

There is widespread contempt for a man who has made millions while Iraqis die in their hundreds of thousands due to the havoc unleashed by the illegal invasion, and who, with breathtaking arrogance, seems to regard himself as above the rules of international law.

On the subject of holding Blair to account, don't forget there’s a reward going to "people attempting a peaceful citizen’s arrest of the former British prime minister, Tony Blair, for crimes against peace".





Saturday, May 26, 2012

It's Eurovision time..!




video:escbelgium

Yes, it's that time of the year again. I may be a EU-sceptic, and a Euro-sceptic (who isn’t nowadays?), but I’m no Eurovision sceptic.

Above you can watch a classic from the ‘Golden Age’ of Eurovision: Gigliola Cinquetti singing ‘Si’ from the 1974 contest. Surely the best song never to win the contest?

While here you can read my 2006 Guardian article on how we can improve Eurovision.

May the best contestant(s) win in Baku tonight (so long as its Engelbert Humperdinck !)


Monday, May 21, 2012

Eastern Europe's neoliberal disaster provides a warning for the Arab spring


This article of mine appears on The Guardian's Comment is Free website.

Neil Clark: Rather than help enhance democracy and reduce corruption, following western advice on privatisation does the exact opposite.

I wonder if David Cameron spent any time in eastern Europe in the 1990s.

Judging from his recent remarks about the Arab spring and international aid, the British prime minister seems to believe that having a more "open" and "free", ie privately owned, economy is the key to both economic development and a successful transition from one-party rule.

The evidence from the former communist countries gives lie to that neoliberal viewpoint.

You can read the whole article here

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks charged with perverting the cause of justice



The Week reports:

FORMER News International CEO Rebekah Brooks and her racehorse trainer husband Charlie have been charged along with four other people of perverting the course of justice in relation to the phone hacking scandal.

That's right. The former CEO of what, not so very long ago, was the UK's most powerful newspaper group charged with a crime which can carry a sentence of life imprisonment.

But as The Mole reports here, NI's problems are only just beginning.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Wrong Munro




As a huge fan of the Edwardian comic writer Hector Hugh Munro aka Saki  (I wrote an appreciation piece on him for the Daily Telegraph a few years back), I was very pleased to see the great man’s photograph in the new edition of the Radio Times- page 106, above the caption:


Munro: Mountain Man 8.00pm . Profile of Victorian adventurer Hugh Munro.



....Nicholas Crane visits some of Scotland's most spectacular peaks as he explores the legacy of Victorian adventurer Hugh Munro, whose lofty ambition it was to climb and list all of Scotland's mountains that stand over 3,000 ft. '

I've read nearly all of Saki's work and also a biography of him and so it was a huge surprise to read that he was, in addition to his other talents, a mountaineer whose ‘lofty ambition it was to climb and list all of Scotland’s mountains that stand over 3,000 ft’.

I think perhaps the man whose photo the Radio Times should have used was this other Hugh Munro.

 
I'm sure Saki, with his wonderful sense of humour, would have seen the funny side of it!

 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Man City win the title for the first time since 1968 with two injury-time goals




Well, it didn’t look too likely when they were trailing 2-1 at home to QPR after 90 minutes today, did it?

What an incredible end to a football season.

UPDATE: You can hear me discussing Sunday's dramatic events, and whether or not Man City's title win is good for football, on BBC Radio 5 Live here (starts around 6 minutes into the programme), and on BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback show here (start about 14 minutes in).

Friday, May 11, 2012

Terrorism in Syria: at least 55 killed in bomb attacks




Some people really don’t want a peaceful solution do they? Or for the democratic reforms, endorsed by 89% of the Syrian people in a referendum, to succeed.
 

More on this shocking story on the RT website here.


Meanwhile, what does the oh-so democratic EU do in the week that Syria holds multiparty elections? Yes, that’s right, announce that it is to impose even tougher sanctions on the Arab Republic.


 As I commented here, a democratic Syria where the Syrian people- and the Syrian people alone-  decide their future, is the very last thing the western powers want.

UPDATE:

The radical Sunni Islamist group the al-Nusra Front has claimed responsibility for Thursday’s terrorist attacks, and other such outrages which have occurred in Syria in recent months.


Will those who peddled the conspiracy theory that the Syrian government was behind the terrorist attacks be coming forward now to issue an apology? I don’t think we should hold our breath, do you?



Thursday, May 10, 2012

Are NYPD using sexual assault to defend their Wall Street paymasters?




LET'S SUPPOSE that the blind Chinese dissident, Chen Guangcheng, remains spunky and rebellious once he's settled in at New York University, and decides some time during the summer to join an Occupy demonstration, along with his wife.



Here's what they might reasonably expect by way of treatment from the NYPD, if we are to believe – which I do – a report on new police strategies against protestors by David Graeber, anthropologist and creative force in the Occupy movement.

You can read the whole of Alexander Cockburn's article on how the NYPD are protecting their Wall Street paymasters,  here.  Imagine if the police acted in this way in Belarus- what the reaction from the neoliberal/neoconservative commentariat would be! Yet in the 'great' neoliberal/neocon media organs, there's very little, if any, coverage about how democratic protestors are being dealt with by the authorities in New York. I wonder why that is?

Also in The Week/The First Post, don't miss this great piece by our good friend David Lindsay on the House of Lords- and why if the second chamber is to be reformed, the main parties should be banned from it.



 

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Politics of Nostalgia- and why it's nothing to be ashamed of (2)




Here's Part Two of my essay on the Politics of Nostalgia, from the anti-war and anti-neocon magazine The American Conservative. You can read Part One here.

Look at the statistics which measure the mental health of society and you get the picture. In the U.S., a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed that the use of antidepressant drugs has rocketed by nearly 400 per cent since 1988. In Britain, according to National Health Service figures, prescriptions for antidepressants rose by 43 per cent in the period 2006-2010 to nearly 23 million a year. In the US more than one in four teenagers and young adults have owned up to being binge drinkers- overall 15 percent of Americans binge drink. In the UK meanwhile, health experts say that one in four Britons drinks excessively- with alcohol-related deaths more than doubling in the past decade. The crisis is affecting children too: a recent UNICEF report found that British and American children are the unhappiest in the economically developed nations.

All around us there are the increasingly common displays of aggression in public places. “There is an element of devil-may-care to the way we treat each other“, writes Hugh Muir in The Guardian. “ You see it on the streets, in supermarkets, on public transport, hear it on the talk shows, read it on the internet threads. Go on to YouTube: three instances now of apparently ratty women berating fellow passengers on the public transport network.”


It certainly seems that the more we‘ve advanced technologically, the more we’ve regressed as societies.


Unease about the modern, globalised world is growing- and I don’t think we’re guilty of what Paul, the unbearingly pompous, pseudo-intellectual pedant in Midnight in Paris, sneeringly calls "golden age thinking."


As this dissatisfaction grows, so what I call the Politics of Nostalgia is becoming stronger and stronger. The divide today is not so much between left and right, but between those who want us carrying on hurtling forward down the road marked ‘modernization’ and those who believe that the clock needs turning back, not further forward.


In one corner we have Tony Blair, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Barack Obama,
George Soros, Richard Branson, and most of the western world’s political and financial elite. In the other we have Ron Paul and Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich and Patrick Buchanan, Pete Seeger and Burt Bacharach, and- I‘d wager, a sizable chunk of the world’s population.


“When I was a young boy/Twelve Years old/Growing up in New York City/I could
ride the subway by myself/And never, ever be afraid/Where did it go?
And tell me what happened to that world I knew/Is it really gone?/ How did
we wind up in this place instead?” asked Bacharach in his 2005 composition
Where did it go?


Where did it go? How on earth did we wind up in this place? The right and the left offer different explanations. The former tend to blame family breakdown, the growth of secularism, and diminishing respect for authority. The latter hold the shift to a more heartless form of capitalism in the late 1970s/early 1980s to be responsible.


But the encouraging thing now is that the more thoughtful commentators- and some politicians too- are seeing that far from being contradictory, the positions of the nostalgic left and the nostalgic right are both correct.

Economic liberalism begets social liberalism and vice versa. And if you want a "me first" society where greed, selfishness and cruelty come to the fore, where people regard each other not as potential friends but as threats, and where rates of alcohol and drug abuse and depression shoot up, all you have to do is overdose on economic and social liberalism.


On the British right, the ‘Red Tory’ academic Philip Blond has challenged the Conservative Party’s commitment to neo-liberalism and advocated a return to more traditional conservatism, one in which the interests of communities come before corporate profits. “A vision of the good life cannot come from liberal principles. Unlimited liberalism produces atomised relativism and state absolutism”, Blond argues.

Sadly, the Conservative party, dominated by uber-modernisers and still in thrall to ‘market forces’ hasn’t followed Blond’s recommendations since its return to power in 2010. Instead, the nostalgist's best hopes could lie with Labour. And what a turnaround that would be.
 
PART THREE, IN WHICH I DISCUSS THE 'BLUE LABOUR' MOVEMENT, TO FOLLOW....