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As others see us… November 2, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

RosencrantzisDead mentioned Spiked the other day in relation to Trump. I’ve been dipping in and out of their site in regard to Brexit – let’s note that they’re remarkably keen on it, more so than I’d have expected. And they’re absolutely convinced it is a good thing. But hold I thought, how do they square the legacy of their RCP inflected support for Irish republicanism and the deeply inconvenient fact that the largest body in republicanism, that being SF, is pro-Remain?

Well, you won’t find any articles trying to square that circle on their site bar the following which appears to be an excerpt from a larger work by Labour Leave. Ddd that – you might say. But no surprise that the piece itself is shot through with panglossian stuff. Like the following:

However, it is not membership of the EU or even the Good Friday Agreement that guarantees freedom of movement to citizens of the UK and Ireland, but rather the Common Travel Area, which has existed between the two jurisdictions for over 90 years. With annual cross-border trade worth an estimated £65 billion to the Northern Irish economy, everyone appears to agree that reinstating a militarised border would be politically and economically disastrous. In other words, claims that Brexit means an automatic return to the bad old days of army checkpoints on border crossings is akin to a Northern Irish version of ‘Project Fear’.

Really? Every single serious formation on the island (with perhaps the exception of the DUP, and even them too in truth) is deeply exercised by the issue of the border. And none has the rather glib certainty that that is merely a Northern Irish [sic[] version of Project Fear. Anything but.

There’s more, with near enough irrelevant stuff dragged in. For example:

The largest unionist party, the Democratic Unionists (DUP), campaigned for the UK to leave the EU on the basis of strengthening democratic control over lawmaking, immigration and trade policy. Yet, behind this apparently clear position, many unionists were worried about the economic impact of Brexit, particularly on Northern Ireland’s large agricultural sector with its heavy reliance on EU grants and subsidies. Similarly, while the largest nationalist party, Sinn Fein, urged voters to back Remain so as to protect agreements for cross-border cooperation and trade, many party members oppose the harsh austerity measures imposed on the southern Irish state following the 2008 banking crisis.

What has that last point got to do with anything? And the next too?

It would be tempting to interpret these small rumblings of dissent as possible heralds of a new politics, in which ‘bread and butter’ issues like the economy, employment, social development and democratic accountability will be put back on to the agenda. And, in some respects, the inclination to shake things up in Northern Ireland partly echoes the pre-referendum mood in Britain, where the question of EU membership – once regarded as the nation’s top conversation killer – brought politicians out to hustings and made questions of sovereignty, democracy and the economic future of Britain subjects of heated, popular debate.

Note the entirely Britishcentric view of matters on display here. Note also, and a Mick Hume piece elsewhere has this problem too, the complete indifference for all the talk about popular democracy to any sense of how democracy should function in Scotland or on this island.

And perhaps this too is evidence of a massive disconnect – optimism trumping all else.

After the Brexit vote, the questions that confront Northern Ireland are shared across the UK; they are about the nature of our democracy and the principles that underpin it. Who do we acknowledge as ‘the people’ with whom we will work to build a common future? On what basis will we come together to make laws and share resources? How will we co-operate with others? The only way to begin to answer these questions is to start asking them of each other. To turn away from this would not only be a denial of reality, and an abandonment of democratic politics, but an unimaginable betrayal of the future.

I have no idea how any of that addresses any issues whatsoever. But hey, perhaps Brexit itself, in its closest form isn’t about issues – it’s about emotion, and if there’s massive collateral damage – politically, economically, socially and in other ways, well, so what?

Telling too to see it received just 8 comments.


1. Phil - November 3, 2016

Years ago, when I was a fairly techie IT person, my company thought it’d be a good idea to groom me for more managerial roles. They identified assertiveness as an area I could work on, so off I went to London for a two-day assertiveness training course. At the end of the first day, on my way back to my hotel, I bumped into a _Living Marxism_ seller, crying his wares with monotonous persistence. Rather than take my usual approach of keeping my head down and acting as if nothing was happening, I met the guy’s gaze and replied to his sales pitch with a firm but dignified “No, thankyou.” To my surprise he answered me back – “Why not?” I stopped, turned to face him and said, “BECAUSE YOU’RE A BUNCH OF FUCKING FASCISTS, THAT’S WHY NOT!”. I may have overshot slightly on the assertiveness thing.

(To explain the intensity of my reaction, this was towards the end of the LM adventure; they’d made their views on what was going on in Bosnia fairly plain.)

There are Spiked lawyers about the place now – upwards and onwards, certainly if you’re starting from street sales of LM. Miscarriages of justice are their big thing, which sounds fine until you connect it with their tendency to see moral panics and prudery everywhere; these so-called victims of so-called historic abuse, aren’t we all getting a bit carried away…? I don’t know what makes them tick. Accelerationism sometimes seems to fit – all that’s solid just isn’t melting into air quickly enough – but sometimes it just seems like full-spectrum trolling.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - November 3, 2016

I’ve felt the same way about them for some time now, and like you found their stance in the 1990s over that particular issue near unconscionable. It wasn’t that a certain scepticism is a bad thing in relation to any conflict or any thing, but when it’s the only thing it’s a bit dim. And that locks into the point about trolling – I took a gander around their site and just thought looking down the list of issues I could predict with reasonable accuracy their stance on every single one i.e. it would be a rather studied contrarianism. Weirdly I can’t help but think they remind me of the IONA institute here or the Hibernia Forum. Not that they’re exactly analogous and in the latter case I may be doing them a slight disservice, but it’s that sense that there’s a prepackaged response for everything. Throw an issue at them and they’ll have something to fit the bill. There’s also an undertow of messianic certainty that I find particularly off-putting. Kudos to your response to the paper seller.


sonofstan - November 3, 2016

Love the definition of accelerationism 🙂


WorldbyStorm - November 3, 2016



2. roddy - November 3, 2016

What was their stance on Bosnia?


WorldbyStorm - November 3, 2016

This kind of explains the background to their most contrarian approach to that…https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_Marxism


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