Twitter folk this week had been engaged in discussions about the future of the UK Labour Party in the light of its new leadership. Many differing opinions, claims and explanations about how the current situation came about were put forward. all with merit but often seeming to miss the benefit of an oversight of the process.
The Dangerous Globe asked some of its followers if such an oversight might be of use, and in general the response was Yes, do it.
Here it is.
There had also been responses along the lines that Labour has never a party of the Left and pointing to events way back to the time of the Tolpuddle martyrs and their fight with the lords of the manor.
I take those points too, and in general agree with them, but only in the sense that we live within an illusion of Democracy, created by those same lords and their offspring, and we are still under their control to this day. The idea that they would ever give us a meaningful say in how the world is run is naive at best, but that is a different story, for a different page than this.
The scope of this piece is purely about the UK Labour party in recent years and how it was hollowed out from within by Corporate interest, as opposed to the interests of the population at large. The Many not the Few.
I do start though by taking a quick look back at a couple of major issues that created the Anti Left atmosphere.
The Left and the BBC
For decades job applicants at the BBC were subject to political vetting by MI5 and the BBC went to great lengths to deny it. The vetting began in the early days of the BBC and continued until the 1990s. Paul Reynolds became the first journalist to see all of the BBC’s vetting files and the full story of the long relationship between the Corporation and the Security Service is detailed here
What follows is extracted from those pages
As early as 1933 a BBC executive, Col. Alan Dawnay, had begun holding meetings to exchange information with the head of MI5, believing the BBC was in need of “assistance with regard to communist activities”.
Two years later an agreement was drawn up between the BBC and MI5 that required all new staff to be vetted (except “personnel such as charwomen”). The fear was that “evilly disposed” engineers might sabotage the network at a critical time, or that conspirators might discredit the BBC so that “the field could be made clear for a left-wing government”. The Playing fields of Eton had been deployed to ensure we had interminable years of Right Wing Governments instead
Vetting was brought into play once a candidate and one or two alternatives labelled “also suitable” had been selected for a job. The candidates were told only that “formalities” would be carried out before an appointment was made.
Candidates did not know that “formalities” meant vetting – which in fact became a code word for the whole system
Examples of organisations under the microscope include the Communist Party of Great Britain, the Socialist Workers Party, the Workers Revolutionary Party and the Militant Tendency. Latterly there were also concerns about movements on the right – the National Front and the British National Party. A banned applicant did not need to be a member of these organisations – association was enough.
If MI5 found something against a candidate, it made one of three “assessments” in a kind of league table:
- Category “A” stated: “The Security Service advises that the candidate should not be employed in a post offering direct opportunity to influence broadcast material for a subversive purpose.”
- Category “B” was less restrictive. The Security Service “advised” against employment “unless it is decided that other considerations are overriding”.
- Category “C” stated that the information against a candidate should not “necessarily debar” them but the BBC “may prefer to make other arrangements” if the post offered “exceptional opportunity” for subversive activity
An interview given in 1968 by BBC director general Sir Hugh Greene shows the BBC’s policy of denial and obfuscation in action.
To a reporter from The Sunday Times, Greene blithely and misleadingly declared: “We have a staff of 23,000 and in that community, we have people of all descriptions, including Gays and Communists. But that is none of my business. We don’t conduct an inquisition on people who join the BBC.”
Banned applicants did not know why they had been turned down, though most will have guessed.
One notorious case involved the journalist and broadcaster, Isabel Hilton (who later received an OBE for her reporting). She was refused a job in BBC Scotland in 1976 because, she believes, she was guilty by association with a member of the Communist Party at Edinburgh University – a fellow member of the university’s China-Scotland organisation.
After unprecedented protests from Alastair Hetherington, the BBC executive who wanted to employ her, she was eventually offered the job, but it was too late she had gone elsewhere. Isabel was later told apologetically by Michael Hodder, the last BBC official who acted as liaison with the Security Service, that it had all been a “mistake”, but the whole episode angered her.
“I still feel indignant. It’s the lack of accountability that bothers me, More seriously and beyond the particulars of my own case, I felt that the BBC had betrayed public trust by promoting a system in the UK by which the secret police were licensing and blacklisting journalists. Whenever I hear the BBC boasting about its fine traditions of journalism, I feel a minor stab of outrage.”
I cannot say I blame her. This whole sordid affair came about when Col Alan Dawnay decided to make a name for himself and get MI5 involved in the first place, then again maybe somebody in a “Higher place” gave him an order.
It would surely have been much better to let all job applicants know that they would be getting vetted as a matter of course, the BBC would have every right to vet candidates to ensure that they could fulfil the charter in any case. I have been vetted on several occasions when having to work in sensitive areas, it is quite simple, if you object to that procedure then do not go for the job.
Transparency is ALWAYS the best policy; it represents the Truth. Opacity represents the perfect opportunity for conspiracy, often not a theory either, just a matter of fact.
The Left, and British Intelligence
Most if what follows here is selected and paraphrased from this original piece, ‘The Influence of Intelligence Services on the British Left’, A talk given by the Author Robin Ramsay to Labour Party branches in late 1996. The original full text is to be found here
Robin is Editor of The Lobster, a massive collection of work which we draw from regularly. Most of what follows is found and can be referenced from The Clandestine Caucus pages of the Lobster Website
In the official theory of British politics, the state in general and the intelligence services have no role. Robin calls this the Disney version of politics still taught in British universities and simply regurgitated by the mass media. In the Disney version, the state is neutral. Interests in society align with political parties which contest elections. The election winners form governments whose policies are then implemented by the state. This was the view, for example, of Ron Hayward, the General Secretary of the Labour Party. In 1974 Hayward was informed by a private security company that the Labour Party’s headquarters were bugged. ‘Nonsense,’ said Hayward. ‘We don’t have Watergate politics in Britain.’ Hayward simply did not know.
In 1974 hardly anybody outside Whitehall did.
But we do have ‘Watergate politics’ specifically dirty tricks and covert operations. With hindsight, post cold war, it was inevitable that the major working-class party of the second most important member of NATO would be of interest to intelligence services of several countries including our own, the US and the Soviet bloc to be specific.
- In 1948 the psychological warfare organisation, IRD, the Information Research Department, was set up within the Foreign Office. IRD worked abroad fighting nationalism within the Empire and at home the British left. IRD fed information and propaganda on ‘communists’ within the labour movement through confidential recipients of its briefings. One such confidante was the late Vic Feather who passed the information to the media and Labour Party’s policing units, the National Agent’s Department and the Organisation Subcommittee. All very cosy then.
- Through the State Department and the Department of Labour, the US ran education programmes and freebie trips for sympathetic Labour movement people. Nobody knows precisely how many British trade union officials and MPs enjoyed these freebies. The State Department, via the London embassy, was sending back masses of reports. The idea that this was just the role of the CIA is false. None of these British reports have surfaced but over a 1000 pages of such reports made by the New Zealand US embassy to the State Department on the tiny NZ labour movement have been declassified and show surveillance down to the level of trades councils and union branches. It seems a reasonable assumption that the same level of detail was being exercised on the British labour movement. One of the US Labour attachés based in the London embassy, Philip Kaiser, has written a memoir which includes an account of his years in London. He writes: ‘the labour attache is expected to develop contacts with key leaders in the trade union movement and to influence their thinking and decisions in directions compatible with American goals. Kaiser’s predecessor, Joseph Godson excelled himself and got so close to Hugh Gaitskell( Some Union Leader?) that during the major Left vs Right struggle with the Bevanites, Hugh Gaitskell was actually planning strategy with Godson. Even more cosy, I wonder if they invited MI5 to join in?
- This story is well known because the mass media actually reported it, there is good money to be made for the Press Barons with Russian Spy stories, and indeed there was some spying and propaganda going on but most of it has been documented as “Of no real political significance”.
The main area of Soviet activities in Great Britain was the connection with the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). Here the story gets complicated but what is clear is that through Trade Unions and through dialogue with some on the Labour left, the CPGB did have some influence on the Labour Party in the 1970’s. How much influence they had varies with the person you are talking to, opinions vary. We now know that sacks of used Banknotes were transferred from the Soviet Embassy to the CPGB. Peter Wright told us so in Spycatcher, and much later Falber and Matthews of the CPGB Central Committee admitted it, so there is no way MI5 did not know about it as soon as it began.
Funny how MI5 chose to let the money continue flowing when at any time after 1957 MI5 could easily have exposed the Soviet funding of the CPGB.
Surprising even more when in 1974, with “ Private armies forming in the Home Counties, the Army on manoeuvres at Heathrow”, The Times talking about a military coup and the Daily Telegraph saying “The state was under threat from militant unions run by the Communist Party” even then, MI5 chose not to reveal the Soviet funding of the CPGB. Maybe they had a plan?
A similar thing was happening in the United States at this time. The man who collected the dollars from the Soviets for the American Communist Party was an FBI agent, and like MI5 in the UK the FBI let the funding continue.
In effect MI5 and the FBI were running the American and British communist parties as honey traps for their labour movements, and quite possibly also a simple drain on much Soviet Dollars.
New Labour and the American connection
“The New Labour project has always been defined in an Anglo-American context.” Martin Kettle (a friend of Mr Blair), the Guardian 3 February 1996
One aspect of US political interference was promotion of a section of the Labour Party perceived as the social democrats, currently referred to as Blairites.
In 1986 Tony Blair went on one of those US-sponsored trips to America that are available for promising MPs and came back a supporter of the nuclear deterrent. I can only identify with this through my own lifelong conviction that all Nuclear weapons should be scrapped, and I am bloody sure my belief would need more than a trip to Disney-world to be destroyed.
In 1993 Blair went to a meeting of the Bilderberg Group set up by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and one of the meeting places of the European-American elite. 3 years later John Monks, an important Blair ally as head of the TUC, attended the 1996 Bilderberg Group meeting in Toronto.
Gordon Brown used to tell interviewers that he spent his holidays in the library at Harvard University.(Harvard is the Education Department of the Rockefeller Foundation)
David Milliband, Blair’s head of policy, did a Masters degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Jonathan Powell, Blair’s foreign policy advisor, used to work in the British embassy in Washington
Ed Balls, Gordon Brown’s economics advisor, studied at Harvard and was about to join the World Bank before he joined Brown.
Eds wife, MP Yvette Cooper, also studied at Harvard
Sue Nye, Gordon Brown’s personal assistant, lives with Gavyn Davies, chief economist with the predatory American bankers, Goldman Sachs.
Chris Smith, former New Labour Heritage Minister, was a Kennedy Scholar in the USA — (as were David Miliband and Ed Balls)
In 1976, Peter Mandelson by the end of his final year at Oxford University, had become Chair of British Youth Council. The Council began as the British section of the World Assembly of Youth, set up and financed by MI6 and then taken over by the CIA in the 1950s,it was created to combat the Soviet Union’s youth fronts.
In 1977 Mandelson and Charles Clarke, another familiar name, then head of the British National Union of Students, put together a delegation from the UK to attend the 1978 World Festival of Youth. Charles Clarke, as head of the NUS, was chosen to fly the flag for Britain in Cuba, later becoming Neil Kinnock’s chief gatekeeper.
In 1995 Donald McIntyre wrote in the Independent, Peter Mandelson is ‘a pillar of the two blue chip foreign affairs think-tanks, Ditchley Park and Chatham House’.
From their early twenties Clarke and Mandelson were already in the Whitehall system as players, albeit minor ones, in the Cold War, Foreign Office game.
Blair and his immediate group all stand out as being linked to the United States via the British Foreign policy establishment whose chief aim, since Suez, has been to cuddle up to Uncle Sam.
Here is a source of tension between so called Old and New Labour.
Old Labour was the party of British domestic manufacturing and British public sector workers, the domestic economy.
New Labour is the overseas British economy, the multinationals, the City of London, and the Foreign Office which represents their interests.
New Labour is just the latest manifestation of the social democrat tendency within the Labour Party, which runs with Hugh Gaitskell, through Roy Jenkins and the SDP, which has existed since the Cold War, and should more properly be called the American Tendency.
The very idea that US business interests have had any significant influence on the UK Labour MP’s is of course laughable….I mean Honestly! Its not true, it really isn’t, would I lie to you?
The special relationship
Let me introduce you to Nick Butler, a busy chap, Labour Party member. Former Group VP, for BP. Visiting Prof at Kings College London, Chairman, Kings Institute, Chair of Promus Associates, Ridgeway Information Ltd, Sen Adviser to Coller Capital and Linton Capital, One time advisor to Neil Kinnock and Ex SPAD to Gordon Brown, Ex VP Fabian Society, Ex Chair Centre for European Reform, and a whole host of other positions up there in the top drawer of society. Finally, he was the founder member of the British American Project for a Successor Generation, which quietly dropped the last, almost Evangelical, bit and just became the British American Project.
He conceived the idea in 1982 after getting steamed up about about the “growing tide of anti-American sentiment”*, particularly within his own party (Yes, Labour…isn’t it obvious from his CV?) *
* Worth noting that many folks in the UK had become concerned about the US parking its Cruise Missiles at Greenham Common, thus using the UK as a forward US strike base during the cold war…and creating a prime UK target in the process. Many of us has also been a tad disillusioned by the American Dream turning in to an American Empire, with all of the death and destruction it had, and still does entail
Mr. Butler seemed to have had some success with his idea, because the BAP got off the ground and into full flight when its structure was conceived and constructed by the far-right oil baron J. Howard Pew and launched by Ronald Reagan and Rupert Murdoch, none of whom I readily associate with Left wing sympathies.
John Pilger very aptly called them “a masonry of chosen politicians and journalists”, and all falling over themselves to give an old Labour pal a leg up? Pull the middle one it’s got bells on.
In a 2004 Guardian Article the BAP is “portrayed as a Trojan horse for American foreign policy”, recruiting Britons of liberal or left-of-centre inclinations and political talent and connections when they are young, indoctrinating them with propaganda about the virtues of American capitalism and America’s role in the world, and then watching them approvingly as they steer British politics in an ever more pro-Washington direction. According to this analysis, the project’s greatest success has been New Labour.”
16 Years ago, people could see exactly what was happening, and 16 years later its far too late for the Labour Party
Pulling Labours teeth
This is a chapter heading from the book ‘A century of Spin, by David Miller and William Dinan, published in 2008. You can download the entire book here The chapter begins Page 133
With the British American Project established, a series of annual meetings was organised that drew 24 US Delegates and 24 UK Delegates together for an annual jolly. These delegates were selected for their suitability to represent the “Successor Generation”
By virtue of these meetings, and a wide variety of spin offs with Think Tank and Lobby Group interventions the BAP had become a key instrument in detaching people from Social Democracy.
The Labour party had already suffered the loss of the Gang of Four and the subsequent arrival of the SDP yet nothing appeared in the media on the subject of how it came about. It was encouraged and exacerbated by US linked organisations often connected with the CIA.
From Page 139 of the same book
“The history books neglect to mention much in the way of trans-Atlantic connections of the Gang of Four and their co-conspirators. They often miss out the well known links of Shirley Williams with the right wing Ditchley Foundation, or those of Robert Maclennan, a founder of the party, with the Atlantic Council, the pro-NATO policy group. Indeed all four leaders of the SDP had been ‘career long’ members of the American tendency in Labour. When the SDP merged with the liberals to form the Social and Liberal Democrats ‘one of the authors of the proposed joint policy statement was seconded to the job by his employer [CSIS] a propagandising Washington foreign policy think-tank much used by successive American administrations in pursuit of its foreign policy goals”.
The BAP, after the 1997 UK General Election published in a privately circulated newsletter under the cryptic headline trumpeting “Big Swing To BAP”
‘No less than four British-American Project fellows and one advisory board member have been appointed to ministerial posts in the new Labour government.’ A list of the names of these ﬁve people and of other New Labour appointees who were members of BAP followed: ‘Mo Mowlam … Chris Smith … Peter Mandelson … Baroness Symons … George Robertson … Jonathan Powell … Geoff Mulgan … Matthew Taylor …’ The article ended with a self-congratulatory ﬂourish and the names of two more notable BAP members: ‘James Naughtie and Jeremy Paxman gave them all a hard time on BBC radio and television’.
One of the best illustrations of the effect of this on those who did is the conclusion of Trevor Phillips, writer and broadcaster who strongly identified with New Labour., Since his BAP experience he has advocated more ‘choice’ in the NHS, (AKA privatisation) . Phillips’ own account is that ‘five years before I joined BAP, I thought wealth creation and progressive politics were completely incompatible… BAP was one of the things that made me think that was absurd’.
On a personal note I think its absurd to take up a position claiming wealth creation is incompatible with social democracy, but then I do not happen to believe the garbage that is fed to us by the billionaire controlled media. There is nothing wrong at all with wealth creation, it is absolutely fine in my book, its what helps people find a job just for starters. Wealth creation though must be for everyone, not just a few hundred Billionaires who were born into money and keep telling us how hard they worked to get it ( some of them are now even TRILLIONARES, because having a Billion in the Bank is never quite enough for some people)
Let us have a look at the “Blue Chip” list of companies that helped finance the BAP Since 1985, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Monsanto, Saatchi & Saatchi, Philip Morris, Coopers & Lybrand, American Express, Apple, British Airways, BP, Cadbury Schweppes, Camelot, American Airlines, Boeing, United Parcel Service, BP, Centrica, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, US Embassy (London), JP Morgan, BAe Systems and Vodafone amongst others.
Sugar Tax anybody? Fossil Fuels, Airlines, Big Tobacco, Round-Up Ready Crops, Arms manufacture, Communications and Surveillance. Its not hard to see how such a grouping might gain benefit, if they had to stop internalising all profit and externalising all of the collateral damage they cause to people health and the planets environment. All of the things that a democratically elected government with ANY level of social awareness might want to address…like the UK Labour Party for instance.
The BAP was run by a collection of corporate leaders and pro-corporate and pro-US politicians. Patrons include the former CEO of BP Lord Browne, the former Secretary General of NATO and former UK Defence Secretary, George Robertson together with the former US Ambassador to the UK Philip Lader. Continuing the theme, Michael Maclay is on the UK advisory board of BAP and has been on the board of the corporate intelligence ﬁrm Hakluyt, set up by former MI6 ofﬁcers and was exposed for spying on Greenpeace and the Body Shop using an undercover operative. The US advisory board included Paul Wolfowitz, one of the chief architects of the attack on Iraq in 2003. So the Neo-Con machine taught Labour politicians Neo-Con Ideology, and they swallowed it hook line and sinker.
The Enemy within
When Jeremy Corbyn was elected head of Labour it represented a very large spanner in the works. It became obvious following the EU Referendum in 2016, when Leave won the day. This didn’t fit with the overall plan, and the moment the referendum results were in (23-6-2016) the contingency plan was taken out. On June 27 Ruth Smeeth, Labour MP resigned her post as PPS Northern Ireland. So did 60 other Labour MP’s, determined to force a No Confidence vote in Corbyn and get him to quit. He didn’t.
June 30 saw Smeeth storm out of a Press Conference claiming, “a Jeremy Corbyn supporter” had “used traditional anti-Semitic slurs to attack me for being part of a ‘media conspiracy” Looking at the timings of this charade leaves no doubt in my mind that it was indeed a conspiracy.
Labour MP Ruth Smeeth was elected Labour MP at the 2015 general election, after working in public relations at multinational food and facilities management company, Sodexo and in public relations for Nestlé. In between, she held a post with the pro-Israel lobby group, Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM).
Smeeth describes herself as “a lifelong Labour Party campaigner,” a former trade union officer and activist, as opposed to a PR Spin Doctor, but what is generally not known is that she was identified by WikiLeaks, via a US embassy diplomatic cable, as a “strictly protect” US informant.
The cable, dated April 24, 2009, was one of more than 251,287 made public by Wiki-Leaks and is headed “UK POLITICAL SNAPSHOT”. It notes, “Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Burton [the seat she contested and lost, prior to winning another in 2015] Ruth Smeeth (strictly protect) told us April 20 that [former Labour Prime Minister Gordon] Brown had intended to announce the elections on May 12, and hold them after a very short (matter of weeks) campaign season.”
The cable ends: “(Note: This information has not been reported in the press.)”
The cable testifies to the intimate connections that Labours plotters have to the US state and intelligence agencies and the fact that Ruth Smeeth is married to Michael Smeeth, a member of the executive body of the British-American Project (BAP) seems to support that testimony.
When the accusation was made back in the 80s/90s that the BAP was a vehicle for big business to prevent any chance of true left-wing government it was met with strong denials or simply laughed off.
How can you possibly deny that which is staring you in the face? Easy, think of the money you are being paid and your next Super-yacht. The BAP is a US vehicle specifically designed to groom impressionable wannabe career politicians in the UK. The BAP is funded by a wide range of big business interests, several of whom are at grave risk from any Government that places the interests of its people above the profit taking of the Corporations and their executives.
The methods of persuasion they employ to do this are some of the oldest in the book. Lavishly funded soirees, parties and dining events in stunning locations with convivial US hosts plying the well aged Bourbon and Havana cigars with waitresses and barmaids straight out of the Playboy centrefolds.
“You know Tony, a chap could get very used to this lifestyle very easily,” said the prospective Labour MP for Crudhampton South, in Grimeshire. “Yeah we know where you are coming from buddy”, said the BAP Host. “You stick with us friend and all this can be yours too, a seat on the board, a speaking circuit around the globe, we look after our people here, welcome aboard”.
The so-called ideology that the advocates of BAP have fallen in love with hangs on that single thread…”It is OK to embrace the Free Market Economy and good that Labour stops being the enemy of the businessman”
Ridiculous claptrap dreamed up by two a penny PR men, disguised as Intellectuals, and Fellows of the Institute. Mere Spin doctoring dressed up as argument. The Free Market fallacy has been debunked for years. If they were truly free, how is it possible that more legislation has been applied globally to define and address the “Markets” in the last 40 years than in the previous 400 years?
Of course most of the new legislation has been to shred the old sensible stuff like “Thou shalt not steal from thine Pension Fund”, but maybe I am just being picky. Meanwhile the pursuit of this “Free Market” aberration has delivered the highest levels of inequality since the 1929 Wall Street crash. Trickle down economics was always a lie to distract us for a couple of decades while the bankers skinned the working public down to their fingernails. Incidentally, Post Pandemic Pundits are telling us there will be another depression coming along shortly
The Businessman, more specifically the Bankers that are behind the big businesses, are solely responsible for the 2008 Global fraud and the subsequent decade of austerity that the western world has had to endure. The Governments that relaxed the regulations that allowed the Bankers to perpetrate that fraud then went on to pay the Fraudsters $$Trillions of Taxpayers money.
Nobody I know voted for any of this, and I don’t recall any party adding ‘Defrauding the Public’ to its pre-election manifesto, but the fact that they got away with it is now in some circles “All the fault of the public for letting it happen”. This is an observation of reality BTW, not a topic open for discussion
New Labour really is an extension of the Thatcher Party and a creation resulting from the interference of US business Interests in a the democracy of another nation, What used to be a party that looked after the majority of people is now the party of Offshore Banking, Corporate lobbying, Banking and Finance.
When the prospective new leaders of ‘Britain’ left UK shores bound for the BAP’s Stateside jollies I am sure they were excited at the prospect, and possibly still retained some of their freedom and independence. When they came home 4 days later they left America passing through the security scanners like Iron filings passing through a magnetic field, and came out all leaning right, at exactly the same angle as each other, clutching the promises they had been given that greatness was theirs for the asking.
What many of them forgot was that there really is no such thing as a free lunch, and at some point in the future they would be presented with a bill for all the fun and games.
Such a bill might easily look like a ‘quid pro quo’ long London break with a trip round Buck house and Tea with the Queen, all very innocuous.
But on another day of reckoning, the Bill might just as easily look like giving the US a hand in Iraq to topple the government and slaughter a large number of its citizens.
The whole sorry mess of them were bought off for a pocketful of Directorships, Fellowships or Professorships in the Fastest Think Tank Breeder on Earth. They can protest all they want but the PROOF of the pudding is clear to see in the current governments of the 2 most corrupted nations on Earth.
Its high time we got our Humanity back, after which we can hit the reset button marked Democracy.
The British Labour party is now finished in the eyes of a growing number of people and the responsibility for that lays squarely in the laps of the people named in this piece and the current Opposition leadership
Links to sources