Hand in Hand Spearfishing Democracy
The images of Theresa May being led up steps by the POTUS just reek of a craven diminished human being acting like a child. Trump’s visit has thrown up two simultaneous phenomena; the elite prostrating itself to global power and the people expressing their disdain for this collection of thieves and liars clinging to office. As David Lammy remarked: “History will judge Theresa May as an enabler, an appeaser and a sycophant.”
Normal relations even with the liberal media are breaking down. The Washington Post yesterday wrote of Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “It’s really time for her to enter the White House press room some day and find it empty. What would be the loss, to journalism or to the nation? The real work of covering this administration would go on. The daily briefings are now something beyond worthless; they are acts of complicity in a gangster presidency. No journalist with any self-respect ever should appear in that room again.” The Scotsman called Trump: “a racist, a serial liar, and either a sex abuser or someone who falsely brags about being one in the apparent belief that this will impress other men”.
Things are moving very fast now. The far-right trans-Atlantic attempt to unseat May is exposed. The Tory Dark Money is out there in plain view, the Mueller revelations are spewing out of the US, and public opinion is turning rapidly against this coterie of extremism. The massive protests seen this weekend across the UK are a huge embarrassment to Trump and his followers. New polling shows the Labour vote falling in Scotland and increasing in England (Theresa May’s favourability rating has fallen to an all-time low. Jeremy Corbyn is ahead by 7 points, according to YouGov – the latest Holyrood constituency poll by @Survation shows: SNP: 43% (+1) Tories: 24% (-1) Labour: 21% (-4) Liberal Democrats: 9% (+3) Other: 3% (+1). The Brexit farce is reaching its inevitable farcical zenith, with England’s nationalist-right yearning for their No Deal Climax. New radical political forces are emerging in the US. The demographic time-bomb that is the Brexit inheritance and Generation Independence are coming home to roost. This makes for a potent mix this hot summer.
Some of the timing is exquisite.
Trump is to go and meet Putin in a few days after leaving his trail of destruction in Britain.
The scale of the Russian revelations will no doubt trigger those who seek to support Putin and will soon be mewing about the Deep State and ‘Western Imperialism’. This is inevitable but unworthy of comment.
So, what do we know?
Jon Swaine reports: “The indicted Russians were on Friday also accused of hacking into the computer systems of American state election authorities and of companies that produced software used by states for running elections. They used techniques including “spearphishing” and spying software, before publishing the emails through well-known online accounts including Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks, which purported to be independent American and Romanian hackers. Rosenstein said both personas were in fact operated by the GRU. In February this year, Mueller’s team unveiled criminal charges against 13 Russians and three Russian companies for interfering in the presidential campaign, using social media and coordinating with low-level Trump campaign activists. Rosenstein said at the time that the Russians had waged “information warfare” against the US during the 2016 campaign, with the aim of “spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general”. Mueller’s team has also charged Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, with financial crimes. Three other Trump campaign aides have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.”
The most recent revelations expose Trump further and the timing shows the Mueller team is playing a tactical game.
Mark Wilson at the New Republic writes: “On the cusp of President Donald Trump’s planned meeting with Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin, Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, released indictments with profound implications for relations between the two countries. As The New York Times reports, Rosenstein “announced new charges against 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign.”
The indictments go counter to alternative narratives put forward by both Trump and his supporters that the hacking could have been done by parties other than the Russian state.
“I don’t believe [Russia] interfered,” Trump told Time in December of 2016. “It could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”
The indictments name the hacker Guccifer 2.0 as a Russian agent. Roger Stone, a longtime informal advisor to Trump who had contact with Guccifer 2.0 in 2016, has repeatedly argued against this view.
“I have some news for Hillary and Democrats—I think I’ve got the real culprit,” Stone wrote in Breitbart in August 2016. “It doesn’t seem to be the Russians that hacked the DNC, but instead a hacker who goes by the name of Guccifer 2.0.”
If the indictments hold up, then the attempts by Trump and Stone to suggest non-Russian sources for the hacking can be dismissed. Although the indictments do not charge any Americans, they do describe several Americans as interacting with the Russian government hackers.”
The attorney Seth Abramson writes: “The answer to the big question everyone’s asking tonight (“Why didn’t the White House have an appropriate response to today’s indictments?”) is simple: no bloc of GOP pols or voters is demanding Trump act appropriately, so politically he has no need to.”
He argues that without political force from within the Republican Party, Trump will cling desperately to power as he has no moral compass or sense of shame.
As the Trump regime falters his beleaguered ally Theresa May is fighting on many fronts. She is under attack from within her own party, even within her own cabinet as ideology trumps principle and professional politicians jostle for power. Her Brexit negotiations are entering the next critical phase and her key appointments are lashed to a commitment that can only end in national humiliation, all this goaded on by a press that is in turns averse to challenging power and slavish to the old order (see the Daily Mail, right).
The Tory Dark Money is in plain sight (if shockingly ignored by the state broadcaster). It means that it’s impossible to disentangle Brexit illegality corruption and manipulation, Scottish Unionism, Loyalism, and the nexus of far-right forces connected across the Atlantic and the racism from Trump’s lips and lurking behind Farage’s toxic campaign. All are bound together with a resurgent English nationalism which we’re not supposed to talk about. The entire Brexit moment “has been seen through glorious fantasies of imperial revival and layers of self-pity about imaginary oppression.”
As Paul Mason notes: “Much though I dislike May she’s the PM – she’s being publicly destroyed by Trump/Johnson/Murdoch to install a pro-Trump Tory leader and make the U.K. a wrecking ball in Europe.”
He continued: “The people who should really feel insecure are Ukraine, Estonia, Sweden – if Europe can’t outline a common foreign policy response to Trump, Putin will begin his moves in Baltic/Black Sea.”
“What you are seeing Trump do is not a mistake – it is the injection of chaos into a rules based order; many European elites completely unprepared – France probably better than most.”
“Labour, SNP/Plaid have to stand ready to bring down May and resist installation of hard Brexit Govt by US diplomatic power. Tories no longer party of rules-based global system.”
This may be a challenging thought to some SNP supporters. We need to move beyond party boundaries in times of unprecedented crisis and seek unity. This does not mean supporting or agreeing with other parties – it means finding a National Opposition in place of a National Government. May has already intimated that she might seek to form a national government to defend herself against elements in her own party, and we should be clear to oppose such a defensive crisis-action.
For all the contemptuous self-satisfied posturing of gatekeepers like Piers Morgan and Andrew Neill and a dozen lower-graded scribes and schills, the harsh reality is that this era of toadying and wagon-circling is over. A whole generation of people who don’t subscribe to deference media dolled out by old men are emerging. The figures from the latest Survation poll are stark. And they act – in generational terms- as a mirror to Brexit. This is a generational a constitutional and political crisis rolled into one. It is a crisis of English national identity and a battle between the far-right and the forces for human decency.
Brexit is the petri dish for an unholy mixture of toxic dog-whistle politics and standing in the middle is our hapless Prime Minister grimacing as she looks about her, “an enabler, an appeaser and a sycophant.”
As the crisis deepens some people are sceptical of the analysis that we are in a ‘pre-fascist era’ and suggest that to say so is hysterical. Yet today it emerges that Trump’s own ambassador lobbied Britain on behalf of Tommy Robinson .
This suggests not just that Trump’s flirting with Britain First wasn’t some childish mistake, but a deliberate tactic. It also suggest that they think that the British government can overrule judges.
If all of this seems to go on and on without end, there are end-points in view. The Muller investigation and the Brexit ‘negotiations’ have very clear and determined time-lines to them. There is a limit to how long May can continue with this level of chaos, and she is protected only by the summer recess.
The outgoing Foreign Secretary wailed that “the Brexit Dream is dying”. But as Henry Mance notes: dreams don’t die, you just wake up.
And there are signs everywhere that people are waking up.
The extraordinary optics of a British Prime Minister being led up the steps as if to a symbolic sacrifice or some arcane ceremony reflects a political relationship: Britain as a supine state, a vassal state if you will.
At the start of the Force Awakens Daisy Ridley playing Rey teams up with John Boyega as the reluctant rebel Finn. As they try to evade capture he holds her hand – until – confused and pissed off she cries: “Why do you keep trying to hold my hand?”