Tag Archives: Westminster

The End Of British Politics

9783319499642

The End Of British Politics
By Michael Moran
Palgrave Macmillan/Pivot – £37.99

The film director Alfred Hitchcock once summarised his aim in film making as ‘to scare the wits out of the audience.’ This is a fine formula for a great film director but not a credible strategy of statecraft.

                                                                                                      (‘The End Of State’)

Can’t argue with that.
Indeed, who would even want to?
Especially given the fact that what’s left of Westminster’s ‘strategy of statecraft,’ is itself, being flushed down the toilet (of all misbegotten hope), faster that a jack-booted-skinhead can decide whether or not to Sieg Heil outside a mosque or a synagogue.

That Britain’s politics are no longer a joke, but rather, an international cataclysm of the most profound disdain, ought come as no surprise.

Doesn’t the mere (succinct) title of this rather tough and gritty book, wholeheartedly illustrate as much?

What accounts for The End Of British Politics being such a resolute and rather spot-on read, is it’s no nonsense account of current day Britain, by way of a vituperative, yet well analysed consideration of condemnation.

Take the military for instance, upon which Michael Moran (who is Emeritus Professor of Government at the University of Manchester and Professor of Government in the Alliance Business School, University of Manchester) writes: ”In perhaps no European country bar Russia is militarism so powerfully ingrained as in Britain. Britain is the only member of the European Union which allows the military to enter schools for the purpose of recruiting schoolchildren. Military spending, and the economy’s military production, is uniquely high for a state the size of the United Kingdom […]. There has only been one year (1968) since the Second World War when a British Service person has not been killed on active service. Some of the greatest military engagements, such as the defiance of Hitler in 1940, have fed into the belief in providence: that the British are a chosen people with global military responsibilities.”

That just one recent aspect of said ‘responsibility’ manifested in the terrible Iraq War – upon which Moran also writes: ”In Chilcot we see this pragmatic face of the special relationship: no sooner was the invasion over than the two parties began, like gangsters dividing the loot, to argue over the division of the spoils, notably Iraq oil and the lucrative market in defence services” – is, like Brexit and the ever widening cleavage between the country’s haves and have nots, just one example (of many), of where the country is going so horribly, horribly wrong.

But at the end of the day, who really (really) cares?
The government? Nigel Farage? Theresa May?

This blunt and altogether forthright publication is one book the Prime Minister won’t be wanting to read; which is why everyone else in their right mind at least, absolutely should.

David Marx

The Kingdom To Come

kingdom

The Kingdom To Come
By Peter Hennessy
Haus Publishing – £7.99

According to the Times Higher Education: ”Haus is to be congratulated for its courage in dusting off the political pamphlet format and publishing a series of essays, short enough to be read in one sitting, in the internet age.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Especially in this particular instance, where the essay has been somewhat entertainingly written by the Attlee Professor of contemporary British History at Queen Mary, University of London, Peter Hennessy. An astute and dedicated journalist, who has over the last twenty or so years, beguiled us with his more than informative writings in such publications as The Financial Times and The Economist.

Already on n page seventeen of The Kingdom To Come – Thoughts on the Union before and after the Scottish Referendum, he writes: ”There’s lighting and heavy rain over the Palace of Westminster. We wonder if this is God showing he’s a unionist;” which, in the big scheme of what could quite easily have been construed as an all too dry and rather didactic subject matter, once again, beguiles the reader unto reading more.

This ought hardly be surprising, because it is after all, Hennessy, who , in this pocket-size book’s Introduction (‘Thoughts from South Ronaldsay: Hope, anxiety and the shadow of Orwell’) writes: ”Pessimism is not my strongest suit. Quite the reverse. I possess perhaps excessive faith in the UK – that we will find a way through with out allies whatever we are up against, whether it be the Kaiser, Hitler or Stalin and his successors – or any ‘ism,’ person or country likely to threaten our existence or the special cluster of characteristics and practices we bundle together inside our borders.”

Given the current migrant crisis, the final sentence of the above (cryptic and colourful) quote, is surely capable of triggering another Haus pamphlet in its own right?

Watch this space I guess.

David Marx