Category: UK
Britain’s ‘Special’ Relationship
worker | June 14, 2021 | 8:44 pm | Joe Biden, UK | Comments closed

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/202106101083118262-britains-special-relationship/

COLUMNISTS

Get short URL
by 
5721

Britain’s much-vaunted special relationship with the United States got a clunking reality-check with the arrival of President Joe Biden for the G7 summit.

Biden told Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, to stop messing around with the European Union over Brexit negotiations concerning Northern Ireland. According to reports, Biden ordered a severe diplomatic rebuke to Johnson not to jeopardize peace in Ireland from British wrangling about customs controls.

That’s pretty sobering for the “junior partner”. It totally deflates British delusions of grandeur and shows Johnson and his ilk to be nothing but lackeys to the Americans who call the shots.

Since the Second World War, we constantly hear about this American-British “special” alliance as if it is somehow a hallowed global force for good. We hear about “our shared values” and other platitudes.

Well, it is special alright. Britain serves as Uncle Sam’s flunky. The Brits provide political, diplomatic and sometimes military cover for American wars of aggression around the world.

The Americans indulge the Brits by smiling and shaking hands for photo-ops like we will see at the G7 summit this week, and by also swooning for the cameras about a “special relationship”. But that term of condescending endearment does not mean parity between the two.

The exemplar of reality was perhaps best seen during the GW Bush administration and Tony Blair’s premiership. The Americans wanted to go to war against Afghanistan and Iraq in the early 2000s, not to avenge 9/11, but to impose “full-spectrum dominance” of US imperialism following the Cold War era. And Tony Blair, with typical British flair for moralizing and affecting civility, gave Washington the moral and seeming legal pretext for launching criminal wars.

For the Americans, that’s what is really special about the Brits. They are dutiful lapdogs that perform an invaluable service of providing gravitas and propaganda to excuse what are otherwise heinous crimes under international law.

The Americans have indisputable military muscle, but the British have an inimitable knack for conniving wordplay and duplicity.

The first British bearer of the special relationship was Winston Churchill who coined the Atlantic Charter with Franklin Roosevelt in 1941 during the Second World War. When that war was won largely by the sacrifices of the Soviet Union, it was Churchill who crucially conceptualized the Cold War that the Anglo-American capitalist powers demanded in order to isolate Moscow. Churchill delivered his rousing Iron Curtain speech in the United States in 1946 before an admiring President Harry Truman. That speech can be seen as the beginning of the Cold War which was really just a curtain to conceal American imperialist plunder in every continent.

The current British leader Boris Johnson, who likes to emulate Churchill, seems to have got above his station with delusions of grandeur.

Johnson is reportedly not happy about the term “special relationship” because he feels that overusing the phrase implies that Britain is “needy and weak” and overly dependent on Uncle Sam. 

This British prime minister was the main architect behind Britain’s Brexit from the European Union. In his hubristic mind, Johnson believes that “Great Britain” (as if that name wasn’t enough!) is now set to become “Global Britain”. He thinks he’s leading Buccaneering Britain to rule the waves again as if it was the 19th century when the British empire pilfered a fifth of the world’s landmass.

Hence his government is sending aircraft carrier battle groups to the South China Sea and declaring warnings to Russia and China over alleged malign conduct. This is while British society is crumbling from poverty and decay.

In the arrogance of Johnson and many others in the British political class, the “special relationship” with the US should mean the two are equals.

But the reality is Britain is a mere flunky – albeit a useful flunky – of the US. It has always been needy and weak as far as Uncle Sam is concerned. If it weren’t for the Americans intervening to bail them out financially and militarily, the Brits would have been defeated in World War I and II.

Joe Biden is not someone to look up to as a leader. None of the US presidents are, except for maybe John F Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt. They are all imperialist warmongers.

Nevertheless, Biden’s Irish sympathies have been rankled by Johnson and Britain’s backsliding on Brexit which is stoking dangerous tensions in Ireland over a historic border dispute.

The amusing – and enlightening – upshot from that is Biden showing in a very embarrassing way just who the boss is in the relationship between the US and Britain. Johnson has been told in no uncertain terms by the Americans to stop acting the cad and start implementing what he signed up to with Europe. That is what’s special.

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

It’s time to defund the British royal family
worker | May 26, 2021 | 8:49 pm | UK | Comments closed

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/524793-defund-british-royal-family/

It’s time to defund the British royal family

Dr Lisa McKenzie
Dr Lisa McKenzie

Dr Lisa McKenzie is a working-class academic. She grew up in a coal-mining town in Nottinghamshire and became politicized through the 1984 miners’ strike with her family. At 31, she went to the University of Nottingham and did an undergraduate degree in sociology. Dr McKenzie lectures in sociology at the University of Durham and is the author of ‘Getting By: Estates, Class and Culture in Austerity Britain.’ She’s a political activist, writer and thinker. Follow her on Twitter @redrumlisa.

It’s time to defund the British royal family
Let’s put them out of their self-induced misery, and use the removal of their birthright to be our heads of state to really build back a better Britain – one that’s more democratic, fairer and more equal.

It’s time to get rid of the royal family. I’m not calling for a Bolshevik-style solution – no one wants to see Prince Charles in a basement in his night dress, but what’s needed is a real solution to the problem of the British class system. It cannot be solved or even seriously challenged unless the strata of aristocracy at the very top of it is gone.

I am in favour of completely defunding them, and stopping the drain on us taxpayers to fund their lavish lifestyles. I mean they’ve got 26 homes – castles, palaces, estates – and vast tracts of land they call their own, but which are ours really. Does anyone really think the recently announced plan by Prince Tired-Of-Waiting-To-Be-King, aka Charles, Prince of Wales, to open up royal residences like Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle, Balmoral, etcetera, from ‘private spaces to public places’, is about altruism and reform? Blah, it’s a simple make-more-money scheme – he’s going to charge us £60 a head for the privilege of visiting buildings we already own. The brazen Prince of Plunder, anyone?

ALSO ON RT.COMUK PM Johnson ‘disappointed’ at EU attributing Northern Ireland issues to Brexit rather than trade protocolIt’s not as if cutting them off from the golden tit of taxpayers’ funds – annual dole out around £70m – would leave them sleeping on the streets like some of their subjects have to. As the wayward Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, are demonstrating, they could all easily make very decent livings becoming influencers on social media – imagine the Duchess of Cambridge’s potential revenue on OnlyFans, for example.

There is a very serious side to this, however. Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, the lockdown restrictions and deaths have sharply framed how unequal and unfair life is as an ordinary British person. We’ve seen the working class suffer the worst consequences of the pandemic, whether through disproportionately dying from the virus, losing their jobs and income, becoming homeless, or suffering with poor mental health – reports and research have documented exactly that in the last 15 months.

Boris Johnson, 95-year old Queen Elizabeth’s 14th prime minister during her long reign, has promised to “build back better” after the pandemic, and has talked of “levelling up”, particularly to help the areas of the north of England that helped secure his now 81-seat majority in parliament.

Yet it will most likely amount to a few crumbs here and there, as it always has been ever since the royals got lucky and scrambled back onto their golden tickets, sorry, thrones, after Oliver Cromwell chopped the head off another King Charles back in 1649.

We seem unable as a society to think in a wider context about the levels of inequality in the country and how realistically we can tackle them. Short term policies, quick fixes, and even an acceptance by a Tory Party that once devastated the North of England that there is now a need to level up, are all on the table. But the real, fundamental change we need – the very structure of our society, its hierarchical construction, its privilege-by-birthright, its unelected House of Lords – is forever left in place to restore and gorge itself on our wealth creation.

ALSO ON RT.COMLeaked film banned by Britain’s Queen for cheapening the royal family is tame compared to how they’ve cheapened themselvesHaving, at the top of this pile, an extremely privileged, almost deified, accident-of-birth family is not conducive to making or winning the argument that we have a society where equality and dignity and fairness are its guiding principles, as some politicians like to claim. Yet these principles are essential in any decent society.

In recent years, the dysfunctional British Royals have rarely been out of the public consciousness, with their marriages, divorces, births, arguments and scandals – they have a traditional role to fill in the pages of tabloid newspapers. They are the royal Kardashians – even if they were to no longer rule this island, there’s definitely a big future for them in this age of social media, influencers, and opportunities to sell their very essence in their very own podcast or video. (Which, by the way, quashes the argument of Royalists who argue that tourism to the UK would plummet if the Windsors were deposed – people would still flock here to visit their haunts, hoping to catch a real-life glimpse of YouTuber stars like William, Kate, George, Charlotte or Louis).

It would also be a very familiar role for a family which knows it has to constantly appear relevant or it will die.

The younger Royals have become very skilled at this – fusing their charity work, family life and state responsibility (or as they now call it ‘their service’) into easy packages for us to consume. Sadly, it appears to be working for them – which is perhaps not good news for Republicans like me. Our argument that an archaic elitist set of blue bloods is not conducive with a forward looking, fair and equal Britain has long fallen on deaf ears.

Those on the Labour Party left also appear to have lost their convictions that abolishing the monarchy is a good thing. Even that grizzly old socialist, the then Shadow Chancellor John McDonnel, backed a plan in 2016 for a revamp of Buckingham Palace at a cost of £369 million to the British people.

The public are traditionally even worse: they generally (and wrongly) view the Royals as powerless, mostly symbolic and even positive role models.

But there is hope. A recent poll revealed that young Britons are no longer enthralled with the monarchy and would rather do away with it, with 41% of people aged 18 to 24 preferring an elected head of the state as compared to 31% who wanted a king or a queen, a role reversal from two years ago.

This may reflect the elitist nature of the royals and what they represent – a society that is undemocratic, backwards and unfair – and/or it may also be a result of the deep and scandalous travails they have been involved in recently. It is a family beset by extraordinary internal and external strife. Prince Andrew’s friendship and involvement with the convicted elite paedophile Jeffrey Epstein remains unresolved, Harry and a ‘suicidal’ Meghan have fled the ‘firm’ and the country amid accusations of racism and of being cut off, and the issue of the death of Princess Diana, Harry and William’s mother, almost 24 years ago, continues to haunt them.

William only last week went to war with the BBC and, in particular, one of its journalists, Martin Bashir, who has been accused of gaining a celebrated 1995 interview with Diana under deceit. The prince made an extraordinary statement to the world that he had no doubt that the reporter’s deception “substantially influenced” what his mother said and “was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse”. I thought this was particularly bizarre, bearing in mind it is no secret that his parents’ marriage was doomed from its inception as Charles maintained an adulterous relationship with another woman (Camilla Parker Bowles, later to be his second and current wife) throughout his marriage to Diana.

ALSO ON RT.COMPrince Harry’s navel gazing narcissism in ‘The Me You Can’t See’ is no aid to his, or anyone’s, mental healthGoodness me, it’s so exhausting keeping up with this sordid soap opera. Just imagine being part of it.

Never mind what getting rid of the royals would do for Britain and all of us ordinary people, let’s think of the liberation it would bring to a deeply troubled family who deep-down must resent their lives in the goldfish bowl and clearly need our sympathy and lots (and lots and lots) of therapy. Let’s put them out of their misery.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

UK’s Warning Tickle to Russia
worker | May 20, 2021 | 8:53 pm | Russia, UK | Comments closed

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/202105191082940011-uks-warning-tickle-to-russia/

COLUMNISTS

Get short URL
by 
15930
Subscribe

British media report this week that the Royal Navy has sent a “warship” to the Black Sea in support of Ukraine against alleged Russian aggression.

To describe HMS Trent as a “warship” is a bit of a stretch. It is actually an offshore patrol boat that is more commonly used for intercepting contraband and illegal fishing vessels. It is only armed with machine guns and has no missiles. It’s as harmless as a rowing boat armed with a catapult, as one wag put it.

Russian naval defenses have been tracking the British boat since it entered the Black Sea on Sunday through the Bosphorus Strait. But the Russians say it poses “no serious threat”.

Indeed, former Black Sea Fleet commander Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov is quoted as joking: “I would not even say that the British would be able to tickle our nerves. Maybe, only the heel, a little.”

To fully appreciate the joke, we should recall that last month British media reported that the Royal Navy was planning to send two heavy warships to the Black Sea. Those vessels were a Type-45 guided-missile destroyer and an anti-submarine frigate.

 

In other words, a patrol boat appearing in the Black Sea marks a serious climb down by the Brits. It looks like the wannabe Lord Nelsons at the British Ministry of Defense have come to their senses and realized that the previously reported plan was a reckless escalation with Russia. 

Amid growing tensions between the NATO military alliance and Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, Moscow last month ordered the closure of sea routes off Crimea and Russia. The Black Sea Fleet also conducted large naval drills involving more than 40 warships armed with advanced anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles.

It seems hardly a coincidence that at that critical juncture last month, the Biden administration abruptly cancelled the planned deployment of two destroyers to the Black Sea, the USS Donald Cook and USS Roosevelt. No reason was given for the cancellation, but it seems that Washington decided it was better to de-escalate.

Earlier this month, the Americans deployed a coast guard patrol boat, USCG Hamilton to the Black Sea.

U.S. Coast Guard Legend-class national security cutter USCGC Hamilton (WMSL 753) sets sail in the Bosphorus, on its way to the Black Sea, in Istanbul, Turkey April 27, 2021.
© REUTERS / YORUK ISIK
U.S. Coast Guard Legend-class national security cutter USCGC Hamilton (WMSL 753) sets sail in the Bosphorus, on its way to the Black Sea, in Istanbul, Turkey April 27, 2021.

Now it seems the Brits are following in the wake of the US Navy’s decision to scale back on warships by sending in a patrol boat in place of destroyers.

International military vessels are permitted in the Black Sea under the 1936 Montreux Treaty. But the number and tonnage are limited given the national security concerns of littoral states.

However, with heightened tensions over Ukraine, the moves by the US and Britain to despatch serious warships to the Black Sea in the name of countering “Russian aggression” was a ludicrous provocation that could have potentially triggered all-out confrontation.

No doubt, Russia’s demonstration of its formidable naval power in the Black Sea gave Washington and London pause for thought. This reminds one of the maxim: the only language idiots understand is force.

HMS Trent, the British patrol boat, is keeping to the Turkish side of the Black Sea as it heads to the port of Odessa. Russia’s navy is closely monitoring its movement, not out of any immediate security concern, but the surveillance and locked-on weapons systems will let the Brits know of what their warships will face.

 

When it was reported last month that two Royal Navy warships were heading to the Black Sea the purported assignment was part of a larger Carrier Strike Group, led by the aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth. The battle group is due to sail from Britain to the Pacific next week. It remains to be seen if the guided-missile destroyer and anti-submarine frigate will detour from the group into the Black Sea, as was previously reported. 

But that seems unlikely now. The Brits seem to have received the message, like the Americans, that Russia is in no mood for entertaining saber-rattling on its doorstep. Especially by washed-up empires trying to inflate their ego in today’s world.

The collapsing state of British society and economy is the absurd backdrop to its navy sailing around the world as if it was the 19th century of Rule Britannia. After all the bluster, sending a puny patrol boat to the Black Sea is the sensible metaphor for running up a white flag.

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

Brits Push Russia War
worker | April 25, 2021 | 8:35 pm | Russia, UK | Comments closed

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/202104201082680955-brits-push-russia-war/

COLUMNISTS

Get short URL
by 
4017210
Subscribe

The United States backed off sending two warships to the Black Sea last week after Russia warned of a naval showdown. Days later, however, Britain is reportedly stepping in with plans to send warships.

Talk about “Mad Dogs and Englishmen”, the proposed British military intervention is a reckless provocation in a situation that is already spiralling out of control.

Violence is exploding in Ukraine’s seven-year civil war between the NATO-backed Kiev regime and ethnic Russians in the eastern Donbas region; Russia has mobilized its army for defence drills, and the US and European Union are expelling Russian diplomats, and vice versa.

Then the British announce they are sending warships to the Black Sea in the coming weeks to “defend” Ukraine against alleged Russian aggression, according to media reports.

Moscow has declared it is going to close off parts of the Black Sea in Russia’s territorial waters to foreign shipping as part of defensive measures. This includes the sea around Crimea, the peninsula which joined the Russian Federation after a referendum in March 2014.

Since the US, Britain, and EU refuse to recognize Crimea as legitimate Russian territory – always referring to it as “annexed” by Russia from Ukraine – it is possible that British warships will try to ignore Moscow’s naval restrictions in the Black Sea. If an incursion occurs, it could spark a military confrontation between Russia and NATO-member Britain. Then in that case all bets are off for a wider war between nuclear powers.

The folly evokes the Charge of the Light Brigade when British cavalry was slaughtered during the 1853-56 Crimean War fighting against Russia.

The utter madness of it is highlighted by the social crisis unfolding in Britain from the coronavirus pandemic. Millions of people are out of work, the economy has tanked and the public health service is overwhelmed from over-worked and under-paid staff. The buffoonish prime minister Boris Johnson and his sleazy Tory government – scandalized by corruption and cronyism – are planning to slash £30 billion ($40 billion) from the National Health Service.

And yet in the midst of this social disaster, the British rulers are prioritizing the dispatch of warships “to confront” Russia in the Black Sea. The criminal recklessness of it is astounding. Of course, part to the logic is to distract public anger with an overseas adventure, in a time-honoured British imperialist fashion.

But there is also the effort by the British elite to promote “Global Britain” in the era of Brexit. That is, to revamp Britain’s image as a global power by conjuring notions of “Rule Britannia, Britannia Rules the Waves”. There’s nothing like a bit of swashbuckling and sabre-rattling to burnish British national pride and advertise Britain as a relevant global player.

The corrupt and inept British rulers are exploiting the conflict in the Ukraine and tensions with Russia as a vanity opportunity to project British “Greatness”.

In a recent foreign policy review, the British government labelled Russia as “an acute threat”. And it made all sorts of bravado statements about “deterring” Russia’s “hostility”. Moscow slammed the British depictions as baseless slander, demonizing Russia without any foundation.

Britain has already sent naval forces to “support” the Kiev regime and recently deployed SAS commando units to back the Ukrainian army in its fight against ethnic Russians defending their Donbas territory.

It is also indicative of British dirty tricks that the latest claims by the Czech Republic of Russian malign conduct were prompted by an investigation by Bellingcat, the supposed private media group. Bellingcat (or rather more appropriately “Smellingrat”) is a front for British MI6 military intelligence. The Brits are claiming that the alleged Russian operatives were the same men who were allegedly involved in poisoning Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England, in 2018.

The tenuous accusations against Russia, which Moscow has condemned as a “dirty fabrication”, have led to the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the Czech Republic and calls for more expulsions across the European Union. The tit-for-tat sanctions on diplomats is provoking tensions that already are inflamed over Ukraine.

Britain’s foreign minister Dominic Raab said: “The UK stands in full support of our Czech allies, who have exposed the lengths that the GRU [Russian military intelligence] will go to in their attempts to conduct dangerous and malign operations – and highlights a disturbing pattern of behaviour following the attack in Salisbury.”

The British are past masters in the black arts of disinformation and psychological warfare. Doubtless, the British ruling class sees an opportune way to advance British interests in today’s economically challenging climate – especially post-Brexit and with the pandemic raging – by posturing as a “defender of democracy” against “evil Russia”.

It’s a cynical morality play that the British establishment is expert at. But their cynicism – as seen in sowing two world wars – is once again endangering global security and peace.

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

Galloway: Why is the BBC so keen to portray me as a Russian agent when I’m trying to prevent the break-up of the UK?
worker | April 13, 2021 | 8:17 pm | George Galloway, Scotland, UK | Comments closed

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/520808-galloway-bbc-russian-agent/

Galloway: Why is the BBC so keen to portray me as a Russian agent when I’m trying to prevent the break-up of the UK?

George Galloway
George Galloway

was a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years. He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator. Follow him on Twitter @georgegalloway

Galloway: Why is the BBC so keen to portray me as a Russian agent when I'm trying to prevent the break-up of the UK?
The BBC’s coverage of my Scottish election campaign is obsessed with my work for RT. Alex Salmond has faced the same problem. So Russia is backing the two main protagonists on either side of the debate? That’s utterly absurd.

The state-backed broadcaster BBC is currently bedecked in black, as quite befits a state-backed broadcaster on the occasion of the demise of a prominent personage of the state that backs it. I have no problem with the BBC being a state broadcaster – many countries have them – but rather with the maiden aunt horror with which it deploys this designation at others while pretending it is the very acme of independent journalism.

ALSO ON RT.COMGeorge Galloway: Both pro- and anti-independence leaders in Scotland are now RT hosts. Sturgeon may want to get out of the wayIn fact, quite a lot of people wonder why the BBC doesn’t seem to like Britain very much, despite being bought and paid for by the British people through a compulsory and whopping licence fee – the non-payment of which can end you in jail (even Stalin didn’t think of that one!) – and a substantial, additional direct grant to the BBC World Service.

The BBC certainly preferred the European Union during these last few years, and in Scotland has facilitated a nascent breakaway which could halve the territory of the country whose name it bears and whose money it spends.

If its broadcasters could choose an imagined country to adhere to, it would be Wokeland –achingly politically correct, gender, race and sex obsessed, and seemingly self-hating.

So much so that it has left an aching void which, within weeks, its former politics guru Andrew Neil will seek to fill with his new GB News channel. The threat is significant, and every other day an announcement of broadcasters from Better Days Britain joining it is received enthusiastically on social media if not in the gleaming spires of the BBC.

I mention all of this now – although I have many times before – because I’ve just been through a week in which the British state broadcaster has literally sought to delegitimize me as a candidate for the Scottish Parliament elections next month on the grounds that I am writing for you, here, on RT.

In fact, twice in one night, the BBC (supposedly covering my manifesto launch, dealing with specifically Scottish Parliament matters) began by asking me if I was a “fit and proper person” to STAND for the Scottish Parliament – elections being after all a matter for mere voters – because I work for RT, the “Kremlin-backed television station.

Some background: I have worked for RT for around a decade, during which I have been elected to and served in the British Parliament at Westminster. No one ever questioned my right to be so. In fact, I have been a Russophile for more than 50 years, nearly 30 of which I spent as a British MP.

On my shows on RT, I have welcomed guests on my sofa like Conservative cabinet ministers Jacob Rees-Mogg and David Davis, former Tory grandees like Peter Lilley, psephology king Professor Sir John Curtice, lords, ladies, generals, knights of the realm, MBEs and OBEs by the dozen, if not the score. And so many privy counsellors, I really couldn’t count them.

But now my very legitimacy as a candidate for office – elected office – becomes THE story, at least when it comes to covering my campaign. On a third occasion last week, the tack slightly changed. Again, on BBC radio, the absurd canard about Vladimir Putin seeking to interfere in the Scottish independence referendum in 2014 was thrown in my face. The sheer illogicality of this charge is astonishing, because at the time the only elected British politician on the books of RT was me, the anti-separatist. We are asked to believe that Putin and the Kremlin so wanted to foment independence for Scotland that they employed me to tour the country successfully defeating the independence cause in the referendum. That Putin, huh? Sometimes he’s so smart and sometimes so dumb.

The absurdity multiplies once you know that exactly the same charges are being made by the same people against Alex Salmond. So, get this – the Kremlin is backing the most prominent separatist Salmond, and the most prominent anti-separatist: me. It’s a two-horse race, and the Kremlin are on both of them, according to the BBC. Neither does the absurdity stop there. My protestations that nobody at RT, nobody in Russia – never mind the Kremlin – has ever interfered in the content of my television work are met with scarcely concealed scorn by the BBC’s media acolytes, the lesser-spotted Russophobes.

ALSO ON RT.COMBBC faces existential threat. In the 21st century, it has nobody left to lie toAnd yet, logically, that must be true. If the Kremlin would like to see the break-up of Britain – as Britain tried for eight decades to break up Russia – it is being remarkably tolerant in allowing me so many uncensored opportunities to fight to my last breath against the break-up on its platforms. Certainly, no presenter on the BBC would ever have been allowed to argue against the break-up of Russia on any British television station.

The lucky truth for me is that no voter on the streets of Kilmarnock gives any more of a thought to Vladimir Putin than Mr. Putin thinks of them. The men and women of the south of Scotland have enough problems rather closer to home than the Kremlin to worry about. In fact, when speaking on my show on RT about the 60th anniversary of the great mission of Yuri Gagarin, I’m sure most people’s reaction was to nod in respect and admiration for that great, stellar, achievement.

People in Scotland don’t hate Russia; we even have a street still called Gagarin Way. We’ll see soon enough if they hate Alex Salmond and me. But if they do, it won’t be because we’ve got snow on our boots and are hiding as KGB agents under their beds.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

 

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Student rent strikers targeted with eviction at London university, campaigners claim | Morning Star
worker | April 11, 2021 | 7:44 pm | UK | Comments closed

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/student-rent-strikers-targeted-eviction-london-university-campaigners-claim

Student rent strikers targeted with eviction at London university, campaigners claim

STUDENTS at an east London university have been evicted from university housing because of their involvement in rent strikes, campaigners alleged today.

The group organising the ongoing rent strike at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) says that 20 students have been kicked out since September, leaving some homeless in the middle of the pandemic.

Activists said that the university is using “minor rule breaches” such as tampering with fire alarms to target students who are withholding rent.

Since January, students at dozens of universities nationwide have joined rent strikes, which have grown into the largest such movement in 40 years, amid anger at being forced to pay for rooms they cannot inhabit, limited face-to-face teaching and other restrictions.

QMUL Rent Strike accused the university of giving “insufficient support” to evicted students, with some waiting three weeks to be able to apply for Covid-19 hardship funds.

Others have had “do not rehouse” notes added to their files, the group added.

A 19-year-old who is among those evicted said: “I believe I have been targeted by QMUL for being a vocal rent strike organiser.

“I have no family home to go to in the UK and I am forced urgently to find housing in the middle of a pandemic.

“QMUL is aware of these circumstances but made no concessions to reflect them and my requests for a less extreme punishment and a review of the disciplinary procedure were denied.”

Labour MP Apsana Begum, who represents neighbouring Poplar and Limehouse, called on the university to stop evicting students.

She wrote on Twitter: “Universities’ duty of care towards vulnerable young people must be upheld in the middle of a pandemic. Disturbing that those who have organised rent strikes are being targeted with evictions.”

National campaign Rent Strike Now is calling on QMUL to rehouse the evicted students.

The university said that no student had been evicted for participanting in a rent strike and that notices were only given for “serious breaches of their contracts.”

A QMUL spokesperson said: “Only very occasionally do we have such significant issues with a resident that we have to issue a notice to quit.

“However, when students endanger their own lives and the lives of others, for example by disabling fire safety equipment or repeatedly breaching coronavirus regulations, we have no option but to request that they leave.”

JOIN THE 501 CLUB

You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.

Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.

By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!

JOIN HERE »

 

BBC – British Black-ops Corp
worker | April 2, 2021 | 7:01 pm | UK | Comments closed

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/202104021082522369-bbc–british-black-ops-corp/

COLUMNISTS

Get short URL
by 
10420
Subscribe

To many Brits, the state-owned BBC is a household institution, a national treasure of presumed noble British values. The media outlet even claims to be “the world’s most trusted news source”.

For others, however, the “Beeb”, as the organization is innocently referred to, has a much more sinister role in serving British imperial interests, or what is euphemistically called “soft power”.

Established in 1927 by order of the British monarchy, the BBC is funded out of the pockets of taxpayers – by law. Failure by any household to buy an annual “TV license” to support the corporation can result in a jail sentence.

If that sounds slightly Orwellian, then what about more ignoble episodes in the BBC’s history when it functioned as a conduit for British military intelligence? Such as its role in facilitating the 1953 coup in Iran where it played a crucial part in disseminating MI6 and CIA disinformation, as documented by historian Mark Curtis.

 

Today, a similar role appears to be played by the BBC in destabilizing China. The Beijing government has lambasted the British outlet for a series of reports which it condemned as “fake news”. The news organization’s correspondent in China, John Sudworth, this week fled to the breakaway island territory of Taiwan. He claims to have escaped scrutiny by state security services. But the Chinese authorities say the BBC man has evaded complaints from citizens who claim to have been slandered in his reports.

By its own admission, the BBC reporting on alleged human rights abuses in China’s northwest region of Xinjiang has relied on the “research” of the German academic, Adrian Zenz. It turns out that Zenz is more of an anti-communist ideologue than bona fide academic. His purported research claiming genocide against Uyghur people in Xinjiang has been discredited as fabrication and distortion. But, as China’s foreign ministry has pointed out, the BBC and its correspondent indulged in their own distortions about what is happening in that nation.

Videos of vocational training centers and factories are edited in such a way as to portray the locations as detention centers or “concentration camps”. Darkening video filters are used to give images a sinister aspect. Grim music accompanies images as sound track to convey to the viewer the perception of something pernicious.

Other editing tricks include showing an anti-terror drill by security forces as if it is repression against civilians.

In another “report”, the BBC set up an executive of the German carmaker Volkswagen which has an assembly plant in Xinjiang. The reporter snidely refers to the company’s past involvement in slave labor in Nazi Germany, inferring without evidence that similar practices are happening in China today.

The BBC along with American media are pushing a narrative alleging “genocide” against Uyghur muslims in Xinjiang, even though the population is growing robustly and prospering. Based on these “reports”, the United States, Canada, Britain and European Union are invoking condemnations and sanctions against China for its supposed human rights violations.

China has rejected these claims, saying they are purposed to give Western states a pretext to smear and undermine a geopolitical rival. The same toxic technique of propaganda followed by punitive attacks is used against Russia and other Western-designated enemies.

The British Bombast Corporation has dubious expertise in the black arts. For some reason, the BBC like much of the British establishment has the knack of presenting itself as a paragon of virtue, reason and civility. That patina of British genteelness gives the corporation an advantage in information warfare. “Oh my dear boy, what, us in engage in lies and falsehoods? That’s preposterous!”

 

Oh yeah, who is being preposterous? Two episodes during the war in Syria revealed the reprehensible ability of the BBC. In a documentary entitled Saving Syria’s Children, the corporation was later exposed for fabricating an airstrike with napalm in Aleppo in 2013 which it blamed on the Syrian government forces. Independent journalists Jonathan Cook and Robert Stuart separately debunked the BBC’s Ian Pannell as a fabricator. There was no such attack with napalm as alleged.

In a second flagrant fabrication, the BBC’s own producer in Syria Riam Dalati disclosed that its reporting on chemical weapons allegedly used by Syrian government forces in Douma in 2018 was also a fake.

This kind of disinformation and propaganda has been cited by Washington, London and the European Union to impose crippling sanctions on Syria even as that nation struggles to recover from 10 years of war, a war that NATO powers covertly instigated for regime change using terrorist proxies from all over the world. Among those terrorist proxies in Syria were thousands of Uyghur jihadists from China’s Xinjiang.

There’s wheels within wheels, and the BBC is an important cog in the Western imperialist machine. Instead of the world’s most trusted news source, perhaps its motto should be “the world’s most busted news source”.

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.