The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Destruction of the United Kingdom

Jeremy Corbyn, the UK’s Last Hope

The more I look at the UK the more I become convinced it’s done. We tend to forget that United Kingdom is the union of Scotland and England and I don’t see a reasonable scenario where Scotland doesn’t leave the UK. The UK will almost certainly also lose Northern Ireland, which post-Brexit does not make sense in the UK (and the EU is FAR more powerful than the UK and wants Ireland re-united). Give it a couple decades and I wouldn’t be surprised if England (they won’t be the UK then) loses control of Wales.

This has been a long time coming. England has been de-industrializing since the late 19th century. After the war they didn’t renew their physical plant and wound up in such bad shape in the 70s they had to go to the IMF for help. They joined the EU to get help, so that the IMF wouldn’t completely immiserate them (which is what it does to countries.)

The EU did bail them out, that’s just a fact, but then came neo-liberalism. Remember that it first took formal power in Britain, with Thatcher, in 79. Oh President Carter in the US had a lot of neoliberal policies, but he wasn’t formally with them. Thatcher was.

Thatcher deliberately accelerated de-industrialization. The decision was made that Britain couldn’t compete, and more importantly, shouldn’t even try: neoliberalism said to open borders, not engage in industrial policy and so on. The policies needed to rejuvenate Britain’s industrial plant and become involved with the next great techological leap (which Britain still had the ability to do, to be clear, it still had good computer companies, for example, and auto firms and so on), were thus ideologically forbidden.

So what happened instead is that Britain completely financialized: everything poured into “the City”, the financial capital and money was made primarily from financial games. The people who lost their jobs were not compensated and did not find good jobs to replace them. The social state was liquidated in wave after wave, starting with Thatcher bribing people by selling them council homes for less that they were worth.

As usual, some people won from this, at least for a generation or two, but the real wealth production of the UK was absolutely shattered (financial games do not count.)

Then came Brexit. It’s worth noting two things about the EU: it is an evil neoliberal institution AND it was less evil than a big chunk of the British establishment: it was stopping them from doing even more evil things (aka. even more immiseration of the population and even more lowering of regulations and privatizing of the state).

The people who had lost their good jobs and been plunged into multi-generation shit-lives blamed the EU. Remain pointed out that the EU was actually keeping those people’s heads above water, but it was also true that the policies required to un-immiserate them were essentially forbidden by EU rules. No matter, it wasn’t decided on that: it was decided on the UK having been in the EU for the entire period when their lives had gotten worse. Maybe the EU was not the villain, but their lives still sucked ass. “The EU makes sure your miserable lives aren’t even more fucking miserable, peasants” was not the winning argument many Remain types seemed to think it was.

So Britain left the EU, and now what is happening is that the population is being even further immiserated. Austerity upon austerity upon austerity. Every pound which can be hoovered further up the chain is being sent up. The ruling class is solidifying its position over a de-industrialized country. It is better to be rich and powerful over a bunch of beggars, than to give any power or money to the hoi polloi.

The route out was offered: elect Corbyn, a 60s style liberal, and do a left wing Brexit. Then engage in actual industrial policy and bring back an economy which actually produces things and services (other than financial games) that both it and the rest of the world needs.

But Corbyn wanted to help reduce poverty, to give more money and power to the poors and the middle class. He wanted to gut the City (which has to be done, because a financial center like that actually harms the rest of the economy outside of it), and to let people into the power-franchise who didn’t go to OxBridge.

He was a direct threat to the elites. They would rather be in charge of a collapsing country returning to poverty than be less powerful in a more prosperous nation returning to true health, though most of them are too ideologically bound to even understand that was what was on offer: all they could see is Corbyn was a threat.

So they took him out, lying about him almost 80% of the time, and enough British voters were fooled.

And now the UK’s days are numbered. The only way to keep Scotland in would have been to make it a good place to be again: to reverse the decline and be seen to be reversing the decline.

The EU sucks, but it’s better than a Britain run by people like Boris Johnson, and the Scots can see that, and soon enough the Irish and Welsh will too.

And so the sun which was never to set, will set on Great Britain.

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  1. Astrid

    I don’t know about Scotland. Maybe with different leadership that’s true but the SNP leadership under Sturgeon appear as venal, unlawful, and uninterested in actual Scottish independence as anyone South of the border. Witness the absurd lawfare against Murray and Salmond. The poor social welfare indicators under SNP governance. The petty venality and poor qualifications of the Sturgeon clique. The ridiculous “woke” gender identity politics that seem mostly aimed at allowing pre-op self proclaimed “trans women” to invade traditional women’s safe spaces rather than help actual transpeople obtain their own safe spaces.

    The cold shoulder given to Alba suggest the locals are still a long way from recognizing the insanity infesting the SNP. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wales or Northern Ireland breaks out first, especially if Sinn Fein continues its upward and sensible trajectory.

    The UK is wreaked for sure, but its union may persist for much longer than we would think, maybe longer than the union of the United States.

  2. Astrid

    In the Anglosphere, half the population is interested in being kings of Hell (and hating the other half) and the other half is fixated on criticizing (and hating) the other half. Nobody is interested in solving problems or even identifying actual problems anymore. Can we even begin to solve this without a total collapse and discrediting of existing loan others-hating belief systems?

    I think the countries the US has destroyed or working to continue to destroy, might actually be closer to recognizing this flaw and hopefully in their way to some kind of workable solution, while the US self balkanized a la 1980s Yugoslavia.

  3. Ché Pasa

    The City harms the world, you know that. It’s the last vestige of the Empire and it is rotten to the core. It’s almost the definition of Evil in the modern world. So many of the Evils that beset the rest of us can be traced right back to the City of London and its branches. So far the Good has not been able to even begin to control let alone triumph over that charnel house.

    What was done to Corbyn didn’t happen by accident. The smears that destroyed him appeared to have been planned long in advance, and at times it appeared that he was in on the deal. There was never any adequate push back from Corbyn or Labour, and it just goes to show how completely the Masters of Finance and the Rulers of the Universe (in their own minds) can warp reality to suit themselves. The UK has not been much of a unity for generations. The City doesn’t care.

    Corbyn (by himself) could not have changed that situation any more than Sanders could do so here. They may have the insight or the urge to do something positive on behalf of the People, but neither has demonstrated the Power dynamic necessary to overthrow and demolish the Overlords and their castles.

    There is literally no one on the public stage who can or is willing to do it.

    Thinking back to when these necessary total revolutions have happened in the past, it was almost by accident, rarely by design, and always instigated by the idiocy, greed, and bloodlust of those Grand Masters in charge.

    How close are we to that point now?

  4. gnokgnoh

    The UK cannot feed itself. It must import more than 40% of its food. I suspect the ratios are even worse. The UK has 23 million acres of agricultural land with only a portion of that arable. It has 67 million people. Under traditional farming methods, it takes about 1.5 acres to feed one person per year. They are using high levels of industrialized farming just to provide 60% of their food.

    This is not sustainable without the modern rapacious equivalent of globalization, cheap imports, and resource extraction from the third world. Financialization is another term for that form of empire. It will not and cannot continue, regardless of Brexit, the EU, or the magic of financialization.

    In 1800, the population of England and Ireland combined was about 16 million. In a self-sustaining agricultural economy, given the amount of arable land, this close to its maximum. I don’t think Corbyn was likely to win many converts, if he was really honest about what the UK is facing. Regardless, less of the population would have been reduced to poverty in the short term, if he had won.

  5. Hugh

    Looking at the world today, there are no political systems or leaderships that work. They are all in various states of decay from the effects of wealth inequality, climate change, and overpopulation. The futures we keep talking about are already arriving. They are in the room. Why should the UK be any different?

    The whole idea of a ‘kingdom’ is a tired anachronism, another cover for a destructive class system and unjustifiable wealth inequality. Throw in that unwritten constitution in the bag of lethal quirks. And if the EU had even operated minimally, there would have been no Brexit or any need for one.

  6. Chirom

    Seeing the Anglosphere going down the shitter in my life time is a blessing.

  7. Hart Liss

    Can’t be stressed too much but the ruling class is making a shit ton of its money what you can call financially as opposed to economically; speculation, as opposed to commerce. Given that speculation is a game fueled by the state’s promotion of continued extraction and an upward transfer of wealth. That the overwhelming majority of people are getting ever more impoverished is of no concern to the powers that be, at least til the former revolt — and given that the state is thoroughly corrupted, a revolt maybe even do the job.

  8. Mark Pontin

    Ian: “Remain pointed out that the EU was actually keeping those people’s heads above water, but it was also true that the policies required to un-immiserate them were essentially forbidden by EU rules. No matter, it wasn’t decided on that: it was decided on the UK having been in the EU for the entire period when their lives had gotten worse. Maybe the EU was not the villain….’

    This is naive, Ian. For practical purposes, the EU _was_ the villain that needed to be removed from the strategic picture first. Here’s why.

    EU’s freedom of movement rule meant that: (1) companies could move plants to Eastern Europe and pay their labor force 1/4 as much as in UK and (2) could hire E. European workers for a 1/4 as much on UK soil; commercial recruiting agencies existed to literally import E. European labor to the UK to work there at 1/4 the rate.

    At this point in this debate, it’s customary to note that EU rules allow enforcement whereby if a worker from another EU state hasn’t found work after three months, the EU state to which they’ve moved can then deport them. Pro-EU commenters invariably argue the UK could have enforced that three-month rule, as other EU states do, and it was the UK’s failure to enforce it that led to an un-monitored population of EU immigrant residents coming to make up about 10 percent of the UK population.

    No. There are two problems with that argument:

    [1] Obviously, no UK government, Conservative and Labour, wanted to stem the inflow of cheap labor, with Tony Blair’s government being by far the worst culprit in that respect, opening up the floodgates between 2004-2007. No surprise there, but also ….

    [2] The other problem with trying to enforce a three-month rule was and is to do with deep English culture, which anybody not from the UK fails to grasp. The English regard any law forcing UK individuals to carry ID cards as a sign of a police state and an abridgement of individual freedom, and simply will not accept such a law.

    This is a cultural shibboleth, maybe similar to the ‘right to bear arms’ in the US (though somewhat less destructive, I’d argue). A brief exception was made during WWII, after which the law was repealed.

    Predictably, Tony Blair’s government tried to re-introduce such a law in 2006- —
    This was defeated in 2010 —

    Obviously, to enforce the EU three-month-then-deportation rule, you need a culture that also accepts enforced ID carrying to figure out who’s legal and who’s not, and the British do not want and will not accept enforced ID carrying. That’s just the way it is.

    Hence, the broad mass of working-class Leavers supported Brexit to stop the inflow of cheap labor from Europe, and IMO they were correct to do so.

    Ian: “… So Britain left the EU, and now what is happening is that the population is being even further immiserated.”

    But are they?

    ‘UK employers ready to increase pay in order to keep staff’

    ‘UK wage inflation — sign of adjustment or symptom of woes?’

    One swallow does not a summer make, so we will see. From 2016, I started visiting the UK every six months (prior to the pandemic) because my father had had a heart attack, and going to the north of England where he has an SME employing about 16 people. I met no working-class English people there who didn’t favor Brexit and very consciously, for the practical purpose of stopping the inflow of cheap European labor.

    The English working class aren’t stupid and have a centuries-long tradition of class struggle. Here’s what happened after Thatcher went one step too far —
    London Poll Tax Riots of 1990

    Following that, Thatcher was removed by her own Conservative party, which has generally understood what’s necessary to remain in power.

  9. Hugh

    “The English working class aren’t stupid and have a centuries-long tradition of class struggle.” This is why they successfully resisted privatization of government infrastructure and austerity cuts to the NHS. Oh, wait …

  10. VietnamVet

    For the exact same reasons as the United Kingdom, the succession of the United States is just as inevitable. Color revolutions and identity politics are based on stirring up tribal hatreds to promote uncontrolled financial looting.

    The dismantling nuclear armed governments to further enrich the wealthy by eviscerating the middle-class during an uncontrolled pandemic is a first for mankind.

  11. Hugh

    From around 1936

    F. Scott Fitzgerald: “The rich are different from you and me.”

    Ernest Hemingway: “Yes. They’ve got more money.”

  12. Z


    I’ll go with Fitzgerald on that one. True to form, Hemingway oversimplified it.


  13. someofparts

    “the only way to really grow in strength as a political movement is to somehow return to that older and more powerful form of politics, one that is reliant on the political equivalent of the ”Citizen Soldier”, who like the US National Guard spend most of their time as civilians but then put on an uniform when they’re called up. That is the model we are going for, and the localist strategy is about creating NCOs for that army of political ”conscripts”; about forming a cadre that can lead and train ordinary people enough to where they can be a part of a political struggle again. . . . All the members are expected to be able to do the work of NCO leadership, to basically go to a town or a city and start, recruit for, and organize an entire party organization on their own, with only limited outside help.”

  14. Ché Pasa

    Someofparts wins the interwebs prize for today for linking to that very perceptive and true though insulting piece.

    As we know, there is no Left worth the name, and there hasn’t been for a very long time (2019 and 2020 demonstrations and uprisings notwithstanding.)

    Did the Left die with the Soviet Union? Sometimes I think it must have, but many of us have been pointing to the flaccidity of the “Left” for a generation and more, a flaccidity evident well before the CCCP collapsed. The “Left” could not deal with Thatcher or Reagan, simply put. And that failure was the Beginning of the End.

    All of the political energy has been on the Right ever since. Where it still is.

    I think we are truly beyond the concepts of a Left and a Right in politics anyway.

    An Elite that co-opts everything the People might come up with as opposition, rebrands and markets it back to the People as the Best New Thing. Brave! New! World! An Elite that never faces consequences for their depredations, looting, and destruction. That is the Universal Politics of Today. They are protected no matter what.

    Even if one of their own is thrown to the wolves now and again.

    As for the rest of us? Well, despite the millions dead and permanently disabled by the pandemic, populations haven’t been reduced enough to satisfy our Overlords, so we can expect something much worse is on the way. Precursor is the unsolved and worsening “supply chain disruption”. As pointed out, it is permanent. We are on our own in the face of it.

    But that’s only one of a multitude of crises. So many, in fact, that for most people there will be no way out.

    For the Ruling Class? We’ll see, won’t we?

  15. Z


    The Deep State murdered the bravest and most important leaders of the Left in the 60s and since then they’ve primarily infiltrated it and redirected its energy towards social issues.


  16. different clue


    One can be ” not stupid” and also ” not powerful” at the same time.

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