Britain is gripped by election fever. The polls suggest voters are as divided as ever. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Tories face accusations of Islamophobia. Jeremy Corbyn is seemingly the face of acute and widely-held antisemitism in the Labour Party. For some, Corbyn is an anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist and anti-austerity extremist. For others, Johnson and his Conservative Party are knee-deep in problems of racist Islamophobia — something they routinely deny existing, let alone agreeing that something needs to be done about it but not sure when.
360° Context: Britain Faces a Historic Election
This is all too much for the London-encamped, Oxbridge-educated, pseudo-liberal intelligentsia, some of whom feel free to brandish Corbyn a threat to national security. Who the people of Britain are going to believe and follow will invariably reflect on their predilections. Let us first examine some obvious truths.
Anti-Semitism and the Labour Party
The recent furor in relation to accusations of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party deserves particular scrutiny. This is not just because anti-Semitism in any of its forms is completely abhorrent, but because the question of anti-Semitism in Labour is a particular line of attack for the pro-Tory press and for those who wish to silence criticism of the dominant, neoconservative economic and political outlook.
The fact is that questions of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party have been investigated and are being dealt with. In general, issues of anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom are relatively limited, although any kind of violence or intolerance toward minority groups needs to be addressed fully. Corbyn and the Labour Party are invested in a fight against racism, intolerance and bigotry, but the details are never fully elaborated on in the media. As a result, the general perception is that anti-Semitism is rife, that it is unchecked or that it persists in spite of all the utterances against it.
This is nefarious mendacity at some level. At another, it is deeply disingenuous — an attempt to do one thing: to ensure that Corbyn never becomes prime minister. The reality of the matter is that there is far more anti-Semitism among the Tories than Labour. Left-leaning critics of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians are far more capable of separating this from the trouncing of people of the Jewish faith per se, which many on the right often do not.
Why is there is so much enmity toward the possibility of Corbyn as prime minister? Is it because of his lifelong commitment to the cruel injustices meted out against Palestinians at the behest of various Israeli governments that have been tilting further to the right? Is it because Corbyn has been a staunch anti-war campaigner, specifically in relation to the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003?
We now know that the war in Iraq was a neoconservative project based on lies and deceit at the highest levels of public office, and all in an effort to maintain control over key energy supplies in the Middle East when Saddam Hussein wanted to shift away from petrodollars and toward the euro. The unnecessary invasion of Libya in 2011 had much to do with the ambitions of Muammar Gaddafi in wanting to switch to trading the country’s vast oil reserves in a new African dinar.
Sadly, there are large international conglomerates with interests in energy, technology and the financial sector whose ambitions are to ensure further deregulation of economic policy at home and a neoconservative foreign policy abroad. These interests seduce politicians.
Too many of today’s Westminster MPs are vacuous. Their desires to increase their net worth after their lives in politics are over is thoroughly palpable. It has a significant impact on the democratic process, with politicians looking ahead for a future career propped up by these very same international players. It is a generational corruption of the political classes. Conservatives, Blairites, Liberal Democrats and other sycophants of the new world order have fallen foul of the ambitions of wealthy and highly-organized others.
This is not to provide a conspiratorial air to the discussion here. The corruption of politics is not new to the “global north.” Oligarchic powers and the military-industrial complex dictate US politics.
In the UK, findings on the Russian oligarchic influences motivating the likes of Johnson are suppressed in case they might reveal unfortunate truths. The ambitions of the Conservative Party to introduce further deregulation of taxation policy while opening up new markets and trade laws under the guise of Brexit — with all of the lies around “taking back control” or managing “our own laws” — are means to suppress the truth to support those who would wish to exploit further opportunities for the very few. Corbyn stands in complete opposition to all of these concerns and has done consistently over the years. Various dark and dishonest interests want to prevent exposure of their ill-gotten gains.
Who Will Win?
The battle lines are drawn. Divisions are increasingly set in stone. But who will win the election on December 12 is as unclear as ever. The chances are that it will be a hung Parliament, leaving a radical new economic plan offered by Labour, supported by leading economists, dead in the water.
If the Tories form a government of sorts, and with Johnson at the helm, do not expect it “to get Brexit done.” This mere focus-group-derived slogan is targeted to appeal to the frustrated and the flummoxed to move matters swiftly forward. In reality, to undo 40 years of trade laws and regulations with the European Union could take up to a decade of hard and painful negotiations where only the ordinary people of Britain suffer.
So, what is the point of this general election — the third in five years? The answer is that there is no point at all. It is happening because Brexit will not go away with any clarity or purpose for anyone, least alone for the people who instigated the sorry, sad, sordid and unnecessary affair in 2016. But the election has come and it is time for Britain to decide.
The Tories intend to drive Brexit through no matter the cost or the wider implications for society as a whole. But there is a chance to make a change to the status quo in this election. The electorate is getting wiser to the machinations of elitist political interests. And perhaps there is a surprise awaiting us all. Somehow, though, I am not holding my breath.
*[An earlier version of this article was published on Medium.]
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.