26 Dec 2011

Dr Who tackles climate change, corporate power and the world food crisis




The Green Death screened in 1973 was a slice of effective Green Party politics, very enjoyable (other than the dodgy hair cuts).

Evil corporation, illegal waste dumping, insane computer (who quotes Nietzsche and hums to Wagner), hippie heros and giant killer maggots.

In short perfect viewing.

The BFI notes:

Unusually, the hazard in The Green Death comes not from extraterrestrials, but from the greed and callousness of a large company, Global Chemicals. Its manager is unmoved by the deaths of miners caused by crude oil waste from his plant. He even obstructs an investigation, fearing the plant will be closed down. By ruthlessly pursuing profit at the expense of human lives and the local environment, he represents the audience's worst fears about scientific progress and 'big business'.
The early 1970s saw a gradual undermining of public faith in the industrial and technological programmes of the 1960s, alongside mounting social unrest. The protesting miners depicted in The Green Death foreshadow their real-life counterparts in the 1974 miners' strike. Most of the chemical plant staff, however, are brainwashed into obeying orders without question, and when one resists, he is forced by the plant computer to kill himself. These mindless, dehumanised workers refuse to take responsibility for the deaths and environmental damage their company is causing: they are simply 'obeying orders'.
By contrast, the free-thinking Nobel-prize winner Professor Clifford Jones (Stewart Bevan) is an advocate of moral and ecological responsibility in science, warning of the dangers of industrial waste and cultivating rare mushrooms in an attempt to solve the world's food shortage.

23 Dec 2011

Early Christmas present for students everywhere Lib Dem vote shredded to 45 votes



Westbourne ward by-election result in full from Brighton and Hove is worth a look, a Tory ward where little has changed but look at the Lib Dem wipe out, the European Citizens Party will soon be ahead of them.

Con 1027 39.2% +0.7%
Lab 826 31.5% +3.2%
Green 645 24.6% +0.6%
Lib-Dem 45 1.7% -5.5%
UKIP 36 1.4% +1.4%
TUSC 26 1% +1%
EC 13 0.5% -0.7%

Turnout 2618 35.1%
Swing 1.3% Con to Lab


Shame we didn't win but Lib Dems look unlikely to recover from the coalition.

22 Dec 2011

Westbourne by-election result

Sorry that we didn't win but an encouraging result in a non target ward, Greens in Brighton and Hove continue to do well.

 by-election result Brighton and Hove 1,027,  826,  645 

20 Dec 2011

Occupy London tank on the streets of London!




Occupy London are preparing if necessary to ship out of St Paul's I am told and have occupied an old magistrates court.

Occupy inspire, it was great to get down a couple of times including giving an economics chat and I was also pleased to talk to Occupy Newcastle after an invite in October.

Great resource, great resistance.  The structures of a failed economy need transforming and these people have shown great leadership.


As Occupy London Stock Exchange occupation prepares to present its case at the High Court today, Occupy London supporters have liberated a disused court house – Old Street Magistrate’s Court – in London‘s East End alongside a group of military veterans, Occupy Veterans.
The opening of Occupy London’s fourth occupation, will see the movement conducting “trials of the one per cent” in the abandoned magistrate’s court building which has lain empty since 1996, despite its prime location and grade II listing.
More information about this abandoned magistrate’s court can be found at http://www.mpa.gov.uk/committees/mpa/2005/050224/10/.
To the one per cent – see you soon at Occupy Justice, formerly Old Street Magistrate’s Court, Old Street London EC1.

Ha ha nice video as well,


19 Dec 2011

'Blood of the Amazon' must see film!




Indigenous defence of the world is so important!  Please spread the word about Nicola Peel's film Blood of the Amazon.

It charts the journey of a women from Pulborough, Sussex down the Amazon from Ecuador looking at the damage oil companies are doing.

The Amazon is us, indigenous people are in the frontline of action to challenge the destruction of the planet.

Must significantly they are winning victories, please support them and support the film. There is a showing on 29th December, 8pm - 10.30pm at the Fire Station Arts Centre in Windsor with a Q and A with Nicola.

If you want to arrange a film showing you can contact Nicola on nicolapeel@eyesofgaia.com  


Th

16 Dec 2011

Keith Thomas trashes the Research Excellence Framework



University research in the UK is an increasingly absurd pursuit, all about government targets that discourage publishing substantial pieces of work according to Keith Thomas:

We must press for changes to the Research Excellence Framework (REF), formerly the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). In my experience, this operation, though initially a stimulus, has in the longer run had appalling effects. It has generated a vast amount of premature publication and an even larger amount of unnecessary publication by those who have nothing new to say at that particular moment, but are forced to lay eggs, however addled. In the social sciences, it has discouraged the writing of books, as opposed to specialist articles, and by making peer review the ultimate arbiter it has very probably enshrined orthodoxies and acted as a curb on intellectual risk-taking and innovation. Everywhere, it has led to an unwelcome shift in academic priorities, for younger faculty have been encouraged to do all they can to secure outside research grants which will allow them to escape from teaching, which they now regard as a vastly inferior activity; and it has induced vice-chancellors to emulate football clubs by buying in outside ‘stars’ on special terms and conditions.
The RAE has also been absurdly rigid in its requirements. A few years ago, a colleague in another university published a huge book, based on a vast amount of archival research, meticulously documented, beautifully written and offering a new and formidably argued reinterpretation of a major historical event. I remarked to a friend in that university that this great work would certainly help their prospects in the RAE. ‘Oh no,’ he said. ‘We can’t enter him. He needs four items and that book is all he’s got.’ At a recent meeting of the editorial board of a multi-volume historical project, the question arose of what should be done if some of the chapters submitted proved to be unsatisfactory. The obvious answer was to delay publication until they had been properly revised. But it was at once pointed out that this would be very hard on the other contributors, who were relying on their work appearing in time to be included in the REF. So if the worst happens, we shall face an intolerable choice: should we meet the REF deadline at all costs? Or is our primary obligation to ensure the quality of the completed work? There must be hundreds of scholars who are currently confronting the same dilemma

MORE HERE 

13 Dec 2011

LOWKEY(ft. ADNAN AL-RADHI) - SOUNDTRACK TO THE STRUGGLE (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)




Since this was your favourite track on the CD (apart from Cradle Of
Civilisation). It is only right that you are part of the video. You
are loved and missed by us all. Sleep well Adooni."

Buy HardCopy 'SOUNDTRACK TO THE STRUGGLE' Here:http://www.soundtracktothestruggle.com/
Produced by Beatnick & K Salaam
iTunes: http://bit.ly/r1x6um

Follow Lowkey on www.twitter.com/lowkeymusic1
To join Lowkey on Facebook click here:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lowkey/14141524981
www.myspace.com/lowkeyuk

11 Dec 2011

Tory Councillor attempts to have Hospital Campaigner arrested



Marc Green, an anti-cuts and Green Party activist from Windsor was threatened with arrest (Marc is holding the anti-Heatherwood closure banner on the left)

On Saturday 10 December the campaign to Save Heatherwood Hospital took a strange and sinister turn as Castle Without Councillor George Bathurst attempted to have Heatherwood Hospital Campaigner Marc Green arrested.

Windsor and Slough against the Cuts was holding its weekly stall collecting names on our petitions as we have been doing since June. The stall was in its usual location on Peascod Street close to the Post Office in an open pedestrian area. As ever the stall was proving a popular attraction to many local people with health workers, patients and other members of the community signing the petition.
Nearby local councillors from the Borough were holding a surgery in a large van.

Without any warning or provocation Conservative Councillor George Bathurst approached Marc Green and addressed him by his name. He asked Marc whether he had a license for the stall. Marc Green said he didn’t and responded that he didn’t need one. George Bathurst said that he did and told Marc to stop collecting signatures and close the stall. Marc Green refused and said he would carry on as he had for the past 5 months. George Bathurst then stated that he would “report” Marc to the Town Centre manager and have him “arrested”. All this took place in front of Marc’s 11 year old son.  Following this exchange George Bathurst made a phone call to Paul Roach the town centre manager. Fellow councillors Eileen Quick, Sue Evans, Colin Rayner and Malcolm Beer were present and appeared to do nothing to prevent this from happening.

At approximately 12.15pm after the Councillors had packed up and left a council official came by and asked if we had license. Marc Green repeated that we didn’t need one (see below). He felt we did. Marc gave him his name and address so they could send info.  It should be noted that there is nothing on the RBWM website to suggest a license is required.

At approx 1.05PM as we were finishing up a police sergeant came along. The Town centre manager Paul Roach had called the police to investigate what was happening. She demanded Marc’s name and address. Marc refused to provide it as there is no legal obligation to do so. The police officer repeatedly asked for the name and address despite Marc confirming the legal position to her. He asked for what purpose. She replied for “future reference to log on their system”

All of the events outlined were witnessed and can be verified. The threat to have Marc arrested and the interrogation by the Sergeant were targeted at Marc Green and were played out in front of his 11 year old son. No other participants on the stall were addressed by George Bathurst or the Police Sergeant. As such it should be seen as politically motivated.

Marc Green will be making a formal complaint against Councillor George Bathurst as a clear breach of the Councillors Code of Conduct (sections 3 and 5). This is a clear case of personal and political bullying, bringing the office into disrepute and an abuse of office. It is shocking he subjected a young boy to the threat of his father’s arrest whose only “crime” was to exercise his democratic rights. Furthermore we call on the Tory Group leader to suspend George Bathurst from the Conservative group pending an investigation in his conduct. We would also like to have a fuller explanation of the role fellow councillors played on the day in turning a blind eye or complicity in attempting to have Marc arrested.

Marc Green has also raised the issue with Dave Burbage the council leader and called for George Bathurst’s suspension from the Conservative Group pending an investigation.

Marc Green commented “This is a clear attempt to stifle free speech and democracy in Windsor. We have an absolute right to collect signatures on our petition to Save Heatherwood Hospital. We will continue to hold our weekly stall and will not be bullied, harassed or intimidated by a councillor whose ignorance of the law is truly disappointing”

The following issues should be noted:-
1.       There is nothing on the RBWM website which outlines any requirement to have a license for a campaigning stall
2.       It is a long standing tradition for political parties, campaigning groups to hold stalls in this area
3.       Councillors have seen us over the months and have never raised an issue. Indeed fellow Tory Councillor Bicknell had signed the petition on a similar occasion.
4.       It is our Right to have a stall or protest and this is enshrined under the Human Rights Act which supersedes any local bureaucratic regulations. Peascod Street is a public space.
For more information please contact Marc Green on 07720298117
Further background material
Marc Green is a leading member of the Green Party in Windsor and a founder member of the Save Heatherwood Hospital Campaign.
 

10 Dec 2011

SEEKING VOLUNTEERS: ISLAMIC ECOLOGY: BECOME A WISDOM IN NATURE COMMUNITY ACTIVIST!


Great to have worked with WIN the past, a good network
 
Deadline: Monday 20th February 2012; 
Start date: Flexible/by early spring 2012.
Want to be part of an action network based on Islamic principles?
Wisdom In Nature (WIN) is a pioneer of local Islamic ecological activism in the UK, and is actively inviting applications from anyone in the London or Brighton region to volunteer within our team. Together, we will cultivate an ecological consciousness in our communities through captivating activities and events.
Specific  initiatives successful applicants will develop might include one or more of the following: Event organising; Workshop facilitation; Food growing/Land-based practicals; Social media & Blogging; and whatever else emerges from the experience, creativity and passion of the growing team.
To find out more, and/or to apply, click here>> http://www.wisdominnature.org.uk/Action/volunteer.htm
 
ABOUT WISDOM IN NATURE

Wisdom In Nature was established in 2004 and is a pioneer of local Islamic ecological activism in the UK . Our original name was the London Islamic Network for the Environment (LINE). We are committed to the transformation of society to live justly in harmony with the diverse natural world, of which we are a part, thus honouring the principle of Oneness (Tawhid). 

Our approach is both practical and contemplative. We use bottom-up processes and consensus-decision-making for much of our work, finding ways of equalising power and ensuring our processes and actions are owned by those directly involved. This deeper democratic approach reflects our commitment to mirroring the world we wish to live in, whilst being established in core Islamic principles. This is also supported by mindfulness of our sources of funding: our day-to-day work being financed by donations from individuals, helping us to be independent of corporate interest and government influence. WIN has a presence in both London & Brighton. 

Website: www.wisdominnature.org.ukTel. 0845 456 3960 (local rate)

9 Dec 2011

Green Party condems Euro-Zone deal as car crash




Euro-zone Summit: Green Party calls for sustainable economics that puts society, democracy and jobs first.
09 December 2011
The Green Party has dismissed current solutions to the Euro-zone crisis as short-sighted, economically unsustainable and tantamount to an attack on European democracy.
Current solutions to the sovereign debt crisis all amount to the same thing: the poorest paying the bill.
Two solutions are currently being discussed; first, a €2trillion fund to bail out indebted countries so that they can pay their debts to banks; second, a multi billion euro project to recapitalise the banks so that indebted countries can be allowed to default without bankrupting banks.
The first solution asks European tax payers to underwrite a €2trillion fund. The second asks Europeans tax payers to underwrite banks. Essentially they are the same regressive solution, which hits the poorest hardest and does nothing to resolve a systemic crisis.
The current solution does nothing to prevent future unsustainable debt and subsequent future crisis. Instead, it undermines democracy by putting the survival of banks before the interests of society.

4 Dec 2011

That's what she lived for, and that's what she died for.






April Bright -

posted Jun 7, 2010 5:04 PM by Jabulani Son
"Traditional ownership to Country for my Mum was everything ~ everything. It was the songs, the ceremony, the land, themselves, their family ~ everything that life was all about. This place here was her heart. That's what she lived for, and that's what she died for."

Transcript of Maranunga [Marranunggu] Proceedings, October 1993, Special Hearing before the Wagait Traditional Ownership Dispute Committee.

3 Dec 2011

Greens declare war on Osborne as he threatens to chop up wildlife





For 15 months, we have observed with growing concern this government's failure to live up to its promise to be the "greenest ever". Now, following the chancellor's autumn statement, we can say that the coalition is on a path to becoming the most environmentally destructive government to hold power in this country since the modern environmental movement was born.As George Osborne sat down, our political culture crossed a line and became a little more like that which dominates Washington DC. We know from experience – not least by observing events across the Atlantic - that when such a line is crossed it is extremely difficult to retrieve lost ground.
The chancellor has proposed:
• Tax breaks for the country's most polluting industries.
• A revision of the basic safeguards that protect our most precious wildlife sites from development.
• A major expansion of airport capacity in the south-east of England
• Support for a major expansion of the road network.
• Aggressive implementation of a new presumption in favour of development in the planning system.
Osborne has proclaimed that protecting the environment is against the public interest – something no senior politician in this country has done in recent history.
George Monbiot author; Jonathon Porritt, Tony Juniper former directors, Friends of the Earth; Joss Garman co-founder, Plane Stupid;Tamsin Omond co-ordinator, Save England's Forests campaign;Caroline Lucas MP Green party leader
From 

Broken Republic is poetic anger



Broken Republic by Arundhati Roy
Hamish Hamilton, 2011
Arundhati Roy's Broken Republic isn't just about India and it certainly isn't an apology for the Maoists, it's about the whole world.
Roy's poetic anger shines through. The Maoists are fighting a forgotten war on the side of the indigenous whose land is being stolen by mining corporations. Roy is often critical of the Maoists, but her account of meeting them is fascinating. She castigates India as a corrupt nation wrecking the environment and destroying lives, but praises the diversity and strength of the varied movements fighting back.
Her book shows how it is, globally. Governments work for the rich, assault the environment and crush their citizens. A society that respects nature and humanity is possible, but this will involve a huge fight. Roy's book is a powerful call for resistance. This is an astonishing and subversive title and it takes courage to tell it how it is. Roy has more courage than it is easy to imagine.

2 Dec 2011

Caroline Lucas has had the biggest influence on political agenda

GREEN MP NAMED BIGGEST INFLUENCER IN UK POLITICS THIS YEAR

Green MP Caroline Lucas has been recognised by a prestigious political body as the MP who has most influenced the political agenda in 2011.

Since her election to the constituency of Brighton Pavilion in 2010, the UK's only Green MP has made a significant impact through her work on a range of issues - from putting pressure on the Government to tackle fuel poverty and drop Trident, to campaigning for Parliamentary reform and fairer rail fares.

Lucas received the Political Studies Association award for 'Influencing the Political Agenda 2011' from Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow at a packed ceremony in Westminster this week.

Caroline Lucas said:

"I am honoured and delighted to collect this award from the Political Studies Association - and appreciate the judges' recognition that having even one Green in Parliament can make a positive difference."

The panel of judges at the Political Studies Association said:

'Caroline Lucas has made unprecedented steps forward in raising the profile of the Green Party. The achievement of winning a seat in Parliament under the First-Past-The-Post electoral system should not be underestimated.

"When considering these factors alongside her role in influencing the AV debate, we felt she was a worthy winner of the 2011 award for Influencing the Political Agenda."

ENDS

The Political Studies Association is the leading organisation in the UK linking academics in political science and current affairs, theorists and practitioners, policy-makers, journalists, researchers and students in higher education.

For information about the 2011 award winners, visit: http://www.psa.ac.uk/PSAPubs/Awards2011.pdf

30 Nov 2011

Dominican Republic to abolish indigenous people


Just got this from Intercontinental Cry

A new piece of legislation has been proposed in the Dominican Republic that would effectively erase the country's Indigenous population---the Taino.
According to a recent article on Dominican Today, the "Dominican Republic Electoral Law Reform" Bill identifies just three ethnicities for the country's new citizen ID cards. Those ethnicities are Mulatto, black and white.
While the country's Indigenous population has been reduced by roughly 98 per cent since 1492, according to some estimates, that population continues to exist.
An emergency petition has been set up to stop to the Bill from being ratified.

Dominican Legislation Eradicates 'Indians'

Mulatto, black and white will be the only colors among Dominicans and will be stated thus in the citizens ID cards (cedula), effectively eradicating the nation's "Indians."
The bill "Dominican Republic Electoral Law Reform" states that in the master file of cedulas the color of Dominicans will be established by their ethnic group, and as such only three colors.
The Spanish Royal Academy of Language defines ethnic group as "a human community defined by racial affinities."
Organization of American States (OAS) and Central Electoral Board (JCE)technicians drafted the legislation to reform Electoral Law 275-97, and will be debated by the JCE prior to being submitted to Congress in the next few days.
The bill also states that in addition to the person's ethnic group, in the cedulas master file information must figure the serial number for each municipality, the specific identity number, a citizen's blood type, their father's and mother's full names, their digital photo and fingerprints, among others.
The measure announced late Thursday drew quick rebuke Friday morning, with prominent media figure Teo Veras asking the JCE to "leave that as is," because in his view, it could only stoke "ill feelings."
Although nearly all Taino Indians perished early during Spanish colonization, the term "Indio" lingered from the many remaining descendants of mixed blood also called mestizos.
The term over time came to describe a person whose color is neither black, white nor mulatto, the latter often called "moreno."

Osborne biofuel expansion will kill!

Dear friends,

the UK Government is consulting on the level of subsidies for all types of electricity which they class as renewable – including biomass power stations and electricity from biofuels (including palm oil). Their proposal is to continue to support biomass on an unlimited scale – even more than at present as far as co-firing of biomass with coal is concerned. They also propose  to support the burning of up to 400,000 tonnes of biofuels for electricity per year (on top of the large-scale use of biofuels for transport).  If all those biofuels were palm oil – a realistic prospect given that this is by far the cheapest vegetable oil – then 110,000 hectares of new oil palm plantations would be needed.

Those subsidies mean more deforestation and climate change, more land-grabbing for tree plantations and thus more human rights abuses and more people going hungry.  At the same time, the Government is drastically cutting subsidies for solar PV and are proposing to cut back on subsidies for onshore wind which, according to Friends of the Earth, would harm small-scale and community wind projects.

Please go to www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2011/rocs-alerts/ [ http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2011/rocs-alerts/ ] and let the government and your MP know that renewable energy support should go to clean, sustainable real renewables, not to destructive biomass and bioliquid electricity. Please note that there are two separate email actions on the same webpage. Please help spread the word about those alerts. Many thanks!

Best regards,



Almuth Ernsting
Biofuelwatch
biofuelwatch@ymail.com

29 Nov 2011

Economic Democracy for the Occupy generation

A number of us are supporting a motion to support Economic Democracy for the next Green Party conference in the spring,  Peter Tatchell has set the ball rolling and thanks to his work we now have the following proposal:




To help prevent a repeat economic meltdown, we need greater economic democracy, participation, transparency, decentralisation and accountability. There are four ways we could achieve this:
* Make corporate negligence and recklessness an explicit criminal offence, to reign in big business sharks and ensure more responsible economic management. Bankers and company bosses should not be able to wreck whole economies and squander with impunity people’s jobs, pensions and savings. They ought to be held personally liable for damaging corporate decisions. This spectre of legal penalties is likely to result in more prudent corporate governance.
* Require medium and large-sized companies to be accountable to their employees and to the general public by including on their management boards employee-elected directors and independent directors to represent the interests of consumers. Employee and consumer directors could act as watchdogs and whistleblowers against corporate irresponsibility. Not being driven by the profit-motive, they could also push for company policies that are more socially inclusive and environmentally protective.
* Give trade unions a majority stake in the management of their members’ pension funds, to decentralise and democratise investment decision-making and to give it a social and ethical dimension. The £900 billion invested in pension funds is a sizeable counter-weight to the economic clout of big business. It could be invested in ways that help make the economy more fair and people-centred. Trade unions are less likely to invest in the arms trade and sweatshops. They would be more open to investment to meet people’s needs, including renewable energy, affordable housing and quality public transport.
* Grant employees the legal right to buy out their companies and turn them into workers cooperatives; possibly with funding from trade union-controlled pension funds. These coops would weaken the power of big corporations, localise economic decision-making and give employees incentives for greater productivity. Evidence shows that people who areemployed in worker-owned enterprises tend to have higher output, better job satisfaction and greater social solidarity.      

27 Nov 2011

Don't ask is Ferguson a racist? (because he will sue your arse!)






Niall Ferguson is suing over the review of his latest book on the imperial legacy (see below).  Empires work by stealing peoples land, removing their rights and then lying about what has happened.  You can call this civilization if you like






You can judge Ferguson by this on indigenous peoples in America, where he notes simply:


The Apache and the Navajo had all sorts of admirable traits. In the absence of literacy we don’t know what they were because they didn’t write them down. We do know they killed a hell of a lot of bison. But had they been left to their own devices, I don’t think we’d have anything remotely resembling the civilisation we’ve had in North America.
He is also a modest guy as you can read here, 'it seems to be becoming de rigueur for mediocrities to build their fame on attacking those more successful than them." 


Any how read the review while you can (i.e before he closes the LRB) and see what you think:



‘Civilisation’s going to pieces,’ Tom Buchanan, the Yale-educated millionaire, abruptly informs Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby. ‘I’ve gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things. Have you read The Rise of the Colored Empires by this man Goddard? … The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be – will be utterly submerged.’ ‘Tom’s getting very profound,’ his wife Daisy remarks. Buchanan carries on: ‘This fellow has worked out the whole thing. It’s up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things.’ ‘We’ve got to beat them down,’ Daisy whispers with a wink at Nick. But there’s no stopping Buchanan. ‘And we’ve produced all the things that go to make civilisation – oh, science and art, and all that. Do you see?’

‘There was something pathetic in his concentration,’ Carraway, the narrator, observes, ‘as if his complacency, more acute than of old, was not enough to him any more.’ The scene, early in the novel, helps identify Buchanan as a bore – and a boor. It also evokes a deepening panic among America’s Anglophile ruling class. Wary of Jay Gatz, the self-made man with a fake Oxbridge pedigree, Buchanan is nervous about other upstarts rising out of nowhere to challenge the master race.

Scott Fitzgerald based Goddard, at least partly, on Theodore Lothrop Stoddard, the author of the bestseller The Rising Tide of Color against White World Supremacy(1920). Stoddard’s fame was a sign of his times, of the overheated racial climate of the early 20th century, in which the Yellow Peril seemed real, the Ku Klux Klan had re-emerged, and Theodore Roosevelt worried loudly about ‘race-suicide’. In 1917, justifying his reluctance to involve the United States in the European war, Woodrow Wilson told his secretary of state that ‘white civilisation and its domination over the world rested largely on our ability to keep this country intact.’
Hysteria about ‘white civilisation’ gripped America after Europe’s self-mutilation in the First World War had encouraged political assertiveness among subjugated peoples from Egypt to China. Unlike other popular racists, who parsed the differences between Nordic and Latin peoples, Stoddard proposed a straightforward division of the world into white and coloured races. He also invested early in Islamophobia, arguing in The New World of Islam (1921) that Muslims posed a sinister threat to a hopelessly fractious and confused West. Like many respectable eugenicists of his time, Stoddard later found much to like about the Nazis, which marked him out for instant superannuation following the exposure of Nazi crimes in 1945.

The banner of white supremacism has been more warily raised ever since in post-imperial Europe, and very rarely by mainstream politicians and writers. In the United States, racial anxieties have been couched either in such pseudo-scientific tracts about the inferiority of certain races as The Bell Curve, or in big alarmist theories like Samuel Huntington’s ‘clash of civilisations’. It’s not at all surprising that in his last book Huntington fretted about the destruction by Latino immigration of America’s national identity, which is apparently a construct of ‘Anglo-Protestant culture’. As power ostensibly shifts to the East, a counterpoise to dismay over the West’s loss of authority and influence is sought in a periodic ballyhooing of the ‘trans-Atlantic alliance’, as in Philip Bobbitt’s Terror and Consent (2008), which Niall Ferguson in an enthusiastic review claimed will ‘be read with pleasure by men of a certain age, class and education from Manhattan’s Upper East Side to London’s West End’.

Ferguson himself is homo atlanticus redux. In a preface to the UK edition ofCivilisation: The West and the Rest, he writes of being seduced away from a stodgy Oxbridge career, early in the 2000s, to the United States, ‘where the money and power actually were’. The author of two previous books about 19th-century banking, Ferguson became known to the general public with The Pity of War (1998), a long polemic, fluent and bristling with scholarly references, that blamed Britain for causing the First World War. According to Ferguson, Prussia wasn’t the threat it was made out to be by Britain’s Liberal cabinet. The miscalculation not only made another war inevitable after 1919, and postponed the creation of an inevitably German-dominated European Union to the closing decades of the 20th century, it also tragically and fatally weakened Britain’s grasp on its overseas possessions.
This wistful vision of an empire on which the sun need never have set had an immediately obvious defect. It grossly underestimated – in fact, ignored altogether – the growing strength of anti-colonial movements across Asia, which, whatever happened in Europe, would have undermined Britain’s dwindling capacity to manage its vast overseas holdings. At the time, however, The Pity of War seemed boyishly and engagingly revisionist, and it established Ferguson’s reputation: he was opinionated, ‘provocative’ and amusing, all things that seem to be more cherished in Britain’s intellectual culture than in any other.
In retrospect, The Pity of War’s Stoddardesque laments about the needless emasculation of Anglo-Saxon power announced a theme that would become more pronounced as Ferguson, setting aside his expertise in economic history, emerged as an evangelist-cum-historian of empire. He was already arguing in The Cash Nexus, published a few months before the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, that ‘the United States should be devoting a larger percentage of its vast resources to making the world safe for capitalism and democracy’ – if necessary by military force. ‘Let me come clean,’ he wrote in the New York Times Magazine in April 2003, a few weeks after the shock-and-awe campaign began in Iraq, ‘I am a fully paid-up member of the neoimperialist gang.’

Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World (2003), Ferguson’s next book, appeared in America with a more didactic subtitle: ‘The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power’. The word ‘empire’ still caused some unease in the US, whose own national myths originated in an early, short-lived and selective anti-imperialism. An exasperated Ferguson – ‘the United States,’ he claimed, ‘is an empire, in short, that dare not speak its name’ – set out to rescue the word from the discredit into which political correctness had apparently cast it. Britain’s 19th-century empire ‘undeniably pioneered free trade, free capital movements and, with the abolition of slavery, free labour. It invested immense sums in developing a global network of modern communications. It spread and enforced the rule of law over vast areas.’ ‘Without the spread of British rule around the world,’ he went on, in a typical counterfactual manoeuvre, colonised peoples, such as Indians, would not have what are now their most valuable ideas and institutions – parliamentary democracy, individual freedom and the English language.

MORE HERE