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Here’s how The Duran got the British election right, and the MSM got it wrong

Duran writers correctly assessed the strengths and weaknesses of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn long before any one else, and correctly assessed the possibility of Jeremy Corbyn achieving a shock result

Alexander Mercouris

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In the aftermath of the British election the British political class and the British mainstream media commentariat are in shock, and are still struggling to come to terms with an election outcome which just a few weeks ago none of them were predicting and which all of them were denying could happen right up to polling day.

Two of our writers – myself and Adam Garrie – however live in Britain, and because we are not blinded by the globalist prejudices and conventional thinking that blinds the British media and political class, we were able to see what was coming.

The conventional political and media wisdom about Prime Minister Theresa May right up to the election was that she was a strong and commanding figure.  One or two commentators, notably the Guardian’s sketch-writer John Crace, began to sense that this conventional wisdom was wrong.   However no-one amongst the British political class or in the British media was making comments as early as this one, which I made about Theresa May on 15th September 2016, just two months after she became Prime Minister on 11th July 2016

……After a strong start, in which her clear out of many members of David Cameron’s cabinet appeared to promise a return to firm government after the weeks of drift that followed the Brexit vote, she has appeared increasingly unsure. 

Importantly she has failed to chart a clear course towards Brexit, hiding behind the vacuous slogan “Brexit means Brexit” to conceal what is starting to look like an absence of ideas. 

This is not in itself surprising or dangerous.  No one else planned for Brexit before the referendum took place, and it would be asking too much to expect Theresa May to be different.  However given the urgency and the importance of the issue for Britain, a proper and thorough policy review within the government – with the civil service, Britain’s still very strong diplomatic corps, and outside experts and stakeholders (including from the opposition Labour party) brought in to give advice – in order to hammer out an agreed British position, ought to be an urgent priority. 

The British used to excel at that sort of thing, and that of course is what the British form of cabinet government was originally designed for.

In the event Theresa May has given no indication that she has any intention of organising such a review, or that she even understands the need for it.  The result is continuing drift.  In the policy vacuum, and lacking any clear direction from Theresa May, different ministers such as David Davis and Liam Fox are publicly taking different positions, leading to increasing public infighting.

The lack of policy regarding Brexit echoes a general lack of policy – and a growing appearance of continuing drift and of policy being made on the hoof – in all other areas. 

Though it has become increasingly clear since she became Prime Minister that Theresa May and her predecessor David Cameron did not get on with each other, and that she is intent on reversing as many of his policies as she can, so far the only distinctive policy Theresa May has been able to come up with is the frankly reactionary policy of bringing back grammar schools, reversing a process of education reform that has been underway in Britain since the 1960s. 

This policy is profoundly unpopular with the education establishment and with much of her own party, and like almost everything else Theresa May has been doing since she became Prime Minister, has clearly not been properly discussed or thought through.  This caused Theresa May to look isolated and exposed in parliament the face of a powerful attack during Prime Minister’s Questions by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (see political assessments of the exchange here and here)…….

……….at a crucial point in its history Britain has in Theresa May Britain an inexperienced Prime Minister, unsure of her own mind and prone to making mistakes.  Her premiership is still in its first weeks and she still has plenty of time to recover.  However for the moment Theresa May does not look like the ‘safe pair of hands’ that many people (myself included) took her for.

If I assessed Theresa May correctly long before anyone else did, I also rejected the conventional wisdom that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was a vote loser.  Here is what I wrote about him on 9th May 2016 in one of the earliest articles The Duran published

Central to the criticism of Corbyn made by the Blairite plotters is the claim that the Labour party under his leadership is unelectable.  To that end, whenever elections come up the British media now fills up with stories predicting disaster for Labour.  Artificial storms are also conjured up to try to discredit Corbyn in the eyes of the British electorate before those elections in order to make those predictions come true. 

Thus on the eve of a parliamentary bye-election last autumn a furious row was concocted over British bombing in Syria – something Corbyn is known to oppose – whilst in the days leading up to local government elections last week an extraordinary row erupted alleging – falsely – that Corbyn is in sympathy with anti-semites within the Labour party.

In the event actual election results in Britain since Corbyn became Labour’s leader persistently defy the predictions of that his leadership is an electoral disaster for Labour. 

Labour has won the two parliamentary by elections it has fought since Corbyn became leader with increased shares of the vote. In local elections held in England on Thursday Labour defied predictions and held on to nearly all the gains it made when the same elections took place in 2012 at a time when Labour was doing well.  The same day Labour won convincingly three mayoral elections and the assembly elections in Wales.  The most important of the mayoral elections was the one in London, the nation’s capital and by far its biggest city with more than a tenth of its population, where the Labour candidate won a landslide.

Only in Scotland did Labour do badly.  This is because since the 2014 Scottish independence referendum the Scottish left wing vote which used to support Labour has gone over wholesale to the pro-independence SNP.  This is a process that began since before Corbyn became Labour’s leader.  It is universally accepted that Scottish politics have become disconnected from those of the rest of Britain. The fall in the Labour vote is not therefore connected to Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party. 

Over-emphasis on the elections in Scotland draws attention away from the in strictly electoral terms arguably more important mayoral and assembly elections in London – which Labour won convincingly – even though London’s population is bigger than Scotland’s (8 million to 5 million) and even though at the start of the electoral campaign in London in October it was the Conservatives who were widely expected to win.

Having however decided before Thursday’s elections to run the story of Labour’s electoral disaster in Wales and England, the British media including the BBC and the supposedly left of centre Guardian persisted with the story even when it failed to happen. 

In article after article and news report after news report every part of the British mainstream media has hammered away at a story of an electoral disaster for Labour that was universally predicted but which never happened (for a proper and intelligent discussion of what actually happened in Thursday’s English and Welsh elections see here, here and here).

In the case of Corbyn’s electoral successes and general popularity I was not the only person making this point, though one needed to go to what is still wrongly called alternative media to find the truth.  It was also the case – as I said in my 9th May 2016 article – that the mainstream media in Britain was deliberately misreporting Jeremy Corbyn’s electoral successes in order to assist the Blairite plotters who were trying to oust him from his leadership of the Labour Party.

However on the subject of Corbyn’s supposed electability, at some point the mainstream media, the Blairite plotters in the Labour Party, and the British political class generally, started to believe their own lies, which more than anything else was what set them up for their horrified astonishment as the results poured in on election day.

To get a sense of this consider the following articles written by certain so-called ‘friends’ of the Labour Party which appeared in the mainstream media and on Blairite websites during the election campaign itself: this article  in the Guardian by Jonathan Freedland written at the beginning of the election campaign personally blaming Jeremy Corbyn for Labour’s coming electoral disaster, this article written just days before election day itself by the Guardian’s leader writer Anne Perkins assuring readers that claims of a narrowing of the Conservative lead were wrong, this extraordinary article predicting a Labour wipe-out on the very eve of the election by the New Statesman’s arch Blairite editor Jason Cowley, and this pseudo-scientific prediction of the same thing supposedly derived from canvass returns also written on the eve of election by Atul Hatwal for the arch Blairite website Labour Uncut.

Contrast these delusional claims of Labour disaster – which could not have been further from the truth – with this calm and accurate assessment of Labour prospects written for The Duran on 30th May 2017 – a week before the election – by my colleague Adam Garrie, which exactly reproduces what actually happened

The polls which got Brexit and Trump totally wrong are still saying that the Conservatives will win, but only by a small margin. The reality could be very different. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour might capture most of middle and northern England, all of Wales and find allies in Scotland. Theresa May’s Conservatives may end up losing some seats in their own affluent backyard, among those who still cherish the EU as much as they did when they voted against Brexit alongside former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron.

We could be looking at the most unlikely political revolution in British history….since last year, anyway.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of a would be Corbyn victory is that he managed to quietly build an unlikely coalition without sacrificing his principles. Perhaps this is the real lesson of the campaign.

Speaking for myself, I did not predict a Labour victory because the swing needed to achieve one was simply too great to appear to me believable.  In the event the 10% swing Corbyn and Labour did achieve is immense, only just short of that achieved by Clement Attlee in 1945 (after 5 years of successful work as Britain’s deputy Prime Minister in Churchill’s wartime coalition), and greater than the one achieved by Tony Blair in 1997.

Swings of 10% are almost unheard of in British politics, and as the examples of Attlee and Blair show, only happen in extraordinary circumstances.  The only reason this swing did not bring Corbyn to Downing Street is because the Conservative vote also increased, though to a smaller degree but from a significantly higher base.  The Conservative share of the vote however looks as if it may have hit its ceiling, whilst Corbyn and Labour still seem to be well short of theirs, with more votes and seats to win in Scotland and elsewhere.

It is likely that despite Theresa May’s desperate attempts to shore up her position by entering into a crypto-coalition arrangement with the Ulster Unionists that another election will follow shortly.  If so then a landslide win by Corbyn and Labour looks on the cards, perhaps on a greater scale than the one achieved by Blair in 1997.

This is a tidal wave, repudiating the British establishment and their globalist agenda, like nothing Britain has ever experienced before, and very different from the 1997 Blair landslide, which was ultimately a vote for continuity.  It is not a repudiation of the result of the Brexit referendum, but its sequel.  Corbyn embodies it, and is riding the wave.

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America the Punitive

What do Russia, Turkey and Iran have in common?

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


There has been a dramatic shift in how the United States government carries out its business internationally. Admittedly, Washington has had a tendency to employ force to get what it has wanted ever since 9/11, but it also sometimes recognized that other countries had legitimate interests and accepted there was a place for diplomacy to resolve issues short of armed conflict. The Bush Administration reluctance to broaden its engagement in the Middle East after it recognized that it had blundered with Iraq followed by Obama’s relaxation of tensions with Cuba and his negotiation of a nuclear agreement with Iran demonstrated that sanity sometimes prevailed in the West Wing.

That willingness to be occasionally accommodating has changed dramatically, with the State Department under Mike Pompeo currently more prone to deliver threats than any suggestions that we all might try to get along. It would be reasonable enough to criticize such behavior because it is intrinsically wrong, but the truly frightening aspect of it would appear to be that it is based on the essentially neoconservative assumption that other countries will always back down when confronted with force majeure and that the use of violence as a tool in international relations is, ultimately, consequence free.

I am particularly disturbed with the consequence free part as it in turn is rooted in the belief that countries that have been threatened or even invaded have no collective memory of what occurred and will not respond vengefully when the situation changes. There have been a number of stunningly mindless acts of aggression over the past several weeks that are particularly troubling as they suggest that they will produce many more problems down the road than solutions.

The most recent is the new sanctioning of Russia over the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury England. For those not following developments, last week Washington abruptly and without any new evidence being presented, imposed additional trade sanctions on Russia in the belief that Moscow ordered and carried out the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4th. The report of the new sanctions was particularly surprising as Yulia Skripal has recently announced that she intends to return to her home in Russia, leading to the conclusion that even one of the alleged victims does not believe the narrative being promoted by the British and American governments.

Though Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded with restraint, avoiding a tit-for-tat, he is reported to be angry about the new move by the US government and now believes it to be an unreliable negotiating partner. Considering the friendly recent exchanges between Putin and Trump, the punishment of Russia has to be viewed as something of a surprise, suggesting that the president of the United States may not be in control of his own foreign policy.

Turkey is also feeling America’s wrath over the continued detention of an American Protestant Pastor Andrew Brunson by Ankara over charges that he was connected to the coup plotters of 2016, which were allegedly directed by Fetullah Gulen, a Muslim religious leader, who now resides in Pennsylvania. Donald Trump has made the detention the centerpiece of his Turkish policy, introducing sanctions and tariffs that have led in part to a collapse of the Turkish lira and a run on the banking system which could easily lead to default and grave damage to European banks that hold a large party of the country’s debt.

And then there is perennial favorite Iran, which was hit with reinstated sanctions last week and is confronting a ban on oil sales scheduled to go into effect on November 4th. The US has said it will sanction any country that buys Iranian oil after that date, though a number of governments including Turkey, India and China appear to be prepared to defy that demand. Several European countries are reportedly preparing mechanisms that will allow them to trade around US restrictions.

What do Russia, Turkey and Iran have in common? All are on the receiving end of punitive action by the United States over allegations of misbehavior that have not been demonstrated. Nobody has shown that Russia poisoned the Skripals, Turkey just might have a case that the Reverend Brunson was in contact with coup plotters, and Iran is in full compliance with the nuclear arms agreement signed in 2015. One has to conclude that the United States has now become the ultimate angry imperial power, lashing out with the only thing that seems to work – its ability to interfere in and control financial markets – to punish nations that do not play by its rules. Given Washington’s diminishing clout worldwide, it is a situation that is unsustainable and which will ultimately only really punish the American people as the United States becomes more isolated and its imperial overreach bankrupts the nation. As America weakens, Russia, Turkey, Iran and all the other countries that have been steamrolled by Washington will likely seek revenge. To avoid that, a dramatic course correction by the US is needed, but, unfortunately, is unlikely to take place.

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NATO Repeats the Great Mistake of the Warsaw Pact

NATO expansion continues to drive the world the closer towards the threat of thermonuclear war.

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Authored by Martin Sieff via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Through the 1990s, during the terms of US President Bill Clinton, NATO relentlessly and inexorably expanded through Central Europe. Today, the expansion of that alliance eastward – encircling Russia with fiercely Russo-phobic regimes in one tiny country after another and in Ukraine, which is not tiny at all – continues.

This NATO expansion – which the legendary George Kennan presciently warned against in vain – continues to drive the world the closer towards the threat of thermonuclear war. Far from bringing the United States and the Western NATO allies increased security, it strips them of the certainty of the peace and security they would enjoy if they instead sought a sincere, constructive and above all stable relationship with Russia.

It is argued that the addition of the old Warsaw Pact member states of Central Europe to NATO has dramatically strengthened NATO and gravely weakened Russia. This has been a universally-accepted assumption in the United States and throughout the West for the past quarter century. Yet it simply is not true.

In reality, the United States and its Western European allies are now discovering the hard way the same lesson that drained and exhausted the Soviet Union from the creation of the Warsaw Pact in 1955 to its dissolution 36 years later. The tier of Central European nations has always lacked the coherence, the industrial base and the combined economic infrastructure to generate significant industrial, financial or most of all strategic and military power.

In fact the current frustrating experience of NATO, and the long, exhausting tribulations that faced Soviet diplomats and generals for so many decades was entirely consistent with the previous historical record going back at least until 1718.

From 1718 until 1867 – a period of a century and a half – most of Central Europe, including even regions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, were consolidated within the Austro –Hungarian Empire, However even then, the Habsburg multi-national empire was always militarily weak and punched beneath its weight. After Emperor Franz Josef recklessly proclaimed his famous Compromise of 1867, the effectiveness of the imperial army was reduced to almost zero. The autonomous and feckless conduct of the Hungarian aristocracy ensured a level of confusion, division, incompetence and ineptitude that was revealed in the army’s total collapse against both Russia and Serbia in the great battles of 1914 at the start of World War I.

Germany moved in to occupy and consolidate the region in both world wars. But far from making Germany a global giant and enabling it to maintain its domination of Europe, the Central European regions – whether as part of Austro-Hungary during World War I or as independent nation-states allied to the Nazis in World War II – proved miniscule and worthless against the alliances of Russia, the United States, Britain and France that the Germans fought against in both global conflicts.

After the Soviet Union militarily destroyed the genocidal military power of Nazi Germany in World War II, Russia’s Great Patriotic War, the political consolidation of East Germany and Poland were strategically necessary for Russia’s security. But occupying and organizing the rest of the region was not. Far from strengthening the Soviet Union, those nations weakened and distracted it. Today, NATO is repeating the Soviet Mistake and that fatal move is inexorably draining the alliance of all its strength and credibility.

NATO is also repeating the disastrous mistake that France made in 1920-21 when it created a “Little Entente” of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Romania to supposedly counterbalance the revival of Germany. The plan failed completely.

Today those very same nations – enthusiastically joined by Hungary, Poland and the three little Baltic states – are relentlessly distorting both NATO and the EU. They generate weakness and chaos in the alliances they are in – not unity and strength.

As I have noted before in these columns, the great British historian Lord Correlli Barnett drew the important distinction between militarily powerful nations that are generators and exporters of security and those, either tiny or disorganized, pacifist and weak nations that have to import their security from more powerful states.

One might call such small countries “feeder” or “parasite” states. They siphon off energy and strength from their protector partners. They weaken their alliance partners rather than strengthening them.

The consistent lessons of more than 300 years of Central European history are therefore clear: Leading and organizing the tier of Central European nations in the Warsaw Pact did not strengthen the Soviet Union: Instead, those activities relentlessly weakened it.

Incorporating most of the small nations in Central Europe into any empire or alliance has never been a cause or generator of military or national strength, regardless of the ideology or religious faith involved. At best, it is a barometer of national strength.

When nations such as France, Germany, the Soviet Union or the United States are seen as rising powers in the world, the small countries of Central Europe always hasten to ally themselves accordingly. They therefore adopt and discard Ottoman Islamic imperialism. Austrian Christian imperialism, democracy, Nazism, Communism and again democracy as easily as putting on or off different costumes at a fancy dress ball in Vienna or Budapest.

As Russia rises once again in global standing and national power, supported by its genuinely powerful allies China, India and Pakistan in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the nations of Central Europe can be anticipated to reorient their own loyalties accordingly once again.

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Why Russia will NOT fall victim to emerging markets financial crisis (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 81.

Alex Christoforou

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As the Turkish Lira collapses, sending emerging market economies into turmoil, Russia is being slapped with additional US sanctions dubbed the US Congress ‘bill from hell’.

The full text the newest sanctions bill has been released. The sanctions are deliberately designed to punish Russia’s economy for a Skripal poisoning hoax for which no evidence of Russian state involvement has been presented. The new bill even goes so far as to suggest designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The “sanctions bill from hell” officially entitled ‘Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2018’ was introduced by a group of Republican and Democratic senators on the 2nd of August.

According to RT, the bill would place restrictions on US cooperation with Russia’s oil industry, target Russian sovereign debt transactions as well as Russian uranium imports. In addition, the legislation calls for sanctions against “political figures, oligarchs, and other persons that facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, on behalf of the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris explain why, unlike the financial meltdown in Turkey, Russia is well equipped and properly prepared to weather the US sanctions storm… and may, in the end, come out of the latest emerging markets turmoil stronger and more independent from western petrodollar control than ever before.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via RT

The bill, which was recently published in full on Congress’ official website, also pledges full support for NATO and would require a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate if the United States ever wishes to exit the transatlantic alliance.

The legislation also declares that “the United States will never recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation” and that Washington, in conjunction with NATO, should “prioritize efforts to prevent the further consolidation of illegal occupying powers in Crimea.”

The pending ‘Kremlin Aggression Act’ decrees that Congress should also determine whether Russia “meets the criteria for designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.”

The bill also accused Russia of “enabling the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria to commit war crimes,” adding that Moscow has shown itself to be “incapable or unwilling” to compel Assad to “stop using chemical weapons against the civilian population in Syria.”

The Act calls for a congressional committee to investigate “alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity attributable to [Russia]” and resolves to “punish the Government of the Russian Federation for, and deter that Government from, any chemical weapons production and use through the imposition of sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and the use of the mechanisms specified in the Chemical Weapons Convention for violations of the Convention.”

The legislation is just the latest addition to a laundry list of sanctions and laws passed in the months following the 2016 presidential election.

Republican hawk Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) and Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), who both sponsored the bill, said in a joint statement that the legislation is designed to show that the US will “not waver in our rejection of [Russian President Vladimir Putin’s] effort to erode western democracy as a strategic imperative for Russia’s future.” The Russia-obsessed Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) was one of the five co-sponsors of the bill.

Moscow has brushed off the new wave of accusations as a projection of internal US struggle. Some elements in the US government are trying to “keep afloat” the conspiracy that Russia meddled in the US elections, in hopes of derailing constructive relations with Moscow and using the issue “purely for internal American purposes,” Senator Konstantin Kosachev, who chairs the Upper House Committee for International Relations, has said in response to the latest sanctions.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned that the adoption of any US legislation that targets Russian banking operations and currency trade would be considered a declaration of economic war.

“If they introduce something like a ban on banking operations or the use of any currency, we will treat it as a declaration of economic war. And we’ll have to respond to it accordingly – economically, politically, or in any other way, if required,” Medvedev said last week. “Our American friends should make no mistake about it.”

Moscow has vowed to respond to any new sanctions. Russia’s Finance Ministry said it would continue to sell off its holdings of US Treasury securities, while some lawmakers have called for Russia and its allies to stop using the US dollar for mutual payments.

 

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