In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Exit Johnson, enter Gove

Posted by seumasach on April 18, 2020


Cailean Bochanan

18th april, 2020

For three years the news and media covered Brexit to the exclusion of everything else. Coronavirus was, therefore, something of a relief: exit Brexit, enter Covid 19. The question remains: what is the relationship between the new agenda and the old one?

On the domestic front the implications of the corona-coup are self-evident and self-declaratory: the suspension of civil rights, the destruction of what remains of British business (fuck business!) in favour of financial/corporate control of the entire economy and the imposition of total social control, especially medical control over the people. You could describe this as the fulfilment of the Thatcher agenda. I prefer to go back to the Elizabethan roots of the Anglo-system. The main goal of the novus homo, the new men, who had come to power via the great plague, the Black Death was to avoid being threatened by other emerging new men, notably the potentially wealthy and , therefore, dangerous peasant, yeoman class. This fear of this aspiring undercurrent of humanity gave rise to the overpopulation scare which obsessed the Elizabethan elite, the Raleighs, Donnes, Bacons etc. The solution was gloriously simple, although at the time it still posed logistical problems: take the land from the English natives and give them native land in the Americas. Just as today the elite fear those of independent means who may also be able to think independently. They hope to end this worry and also to reduce the working class, in as far was it still exists, to a situation in which they either work for them or don’t work at all. They will also be highly indebted, also to them, and their status will therefore be that of indentured servants. The rest of the population are surplus to requirement and they certainly can’t be exported as they were from the early 17th century.

That takes care of the home front but Britain continues to aspire to global power. This brings us back to question I posed at the start. What is Britain’s Brexit strategy in times of coronavirus? What brought this to mind for me was the strange disappearance of the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, remember? This after, his after enemy and nemesis, Michael Gove, announced, with all due solemnity, on the 27th of March that Johnson had tested positive for Covid-19. Despite having made a recovery after a spell in intensive care and appearing to be well and in good spirits as he reemerged form it, he is no longer in any way involved in government- not so much as a phone call to his replacement Dominic Raab. Am I the only one who finds this odd?

Has any change in foreign policy coincided with the absence of the Prime Minister? Yes, Dominic Raab has announced that there can no longer be “business as usual” with China. That is significant: Britain has a great deal of business with China which is a major investor in this country. Most notably Huawei is playing a large role in updating the UK’s mobile phone network, the so-called 5G development. That was Johnson’s controversial choice. Expect this now to be reversed. However, it wouldn’t be necessary to sideline the Prime Minister in order to get him to reverse that decision. Coronavirus and China’s alleged nefarious role in allowing it to propagate would suffice for that. However, joining a US-UK-French alliance against China might be. France , of course, is an EU member. Did we leave Europe with such a fanfare only to start re-engaging with it? Brexit populism, of which Johnson is the embodiment, was based on old wives’ tales about making trade deals with the Commonwealth, certainly not with the French. However, as I wrote back in 2016 after the Brexit vote:

“It may come as a surprise to little englander Brexit voters that they weren’t voting to leave Europe but to destroy it. It wasn’t a vote against globalisation but for Anglo-American globalisation. Neo-conservatism, the infection that just won’t go away, is back in the form of a new unelected junta about to take control of Britain. It’s chief ideologue is Michael Gove of the neocon Henry Jackson society. According to Gove:

“For Europe, Britain voting to leave will be the beginning of something potentially even more exciting — the democratic liberation of a whole continent”

So we are to leave Europe in order, subsequently, to meddle in it.”

So, are about to see the democratic liberation of Europe led by the chief ideologue of a new unelected junta about to take control of Britain? Absolutely not: democracy is now definitively off the agenda. But we are seeing a course correction. Brexit as conceived by the brexiteers never made any sense at all from the point of view of British imperial interests. It’s underlying programme, a union of English speaking peoples, or Oceania as portrayed by George Orwell, is simply not viable. It lacks a substantial industrial base, layed waste since the Thatcher years and the elevation of the financial sector at its expense. The Western block must, therefore, include Europe, more specifically Germany. The German, and European business elite, have increasingly been looking East, especially to China, the world’s leading productive economy. They have also been looking to Russia especially for oil and gas. Germany’s Ostpolitik is really it’s default position- the one it will follow unless otherwise constrained. It is now being aggressively constrained. US/UK policy, (yes, they’re together again despite MI6’s attempt to overthrow Trump!) is now to reincorporate Germany into the West aided and abetted by France whose own Ostpolitik failed in 1812. Is Boris Johnson the man to lead this new European policy? The question answers itself. Apparently, he is to be allowed out on May 7th to lead celebrations of the last time we got the better of Germany. He is being given a new role as a ceremonial head of state with the full blessing of the actual one.

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