England: The Peasants are Revolting

June 08, 2009

So far as I can
tell from England, the American media gives

little real coverage
to events in the United
Kingdom. Either events are not covered at all, or they
are covered without enough context to give them meaning.
I think this has been the case with the results of the
European elections and the

House of Commons expenses scandal
that is said to
have led to these election results.


The European
Elections

Let me begin
with the facts. On Thursday the 4th June
2009, the British people voted in elections to the

European Parliament
. This is supposed to be the
legislative body of the

European Union
, and it has around 750 Members, of
whom 78 are from w:st="on">Britain. It has no meaningful
functions, and its only effect is to give a democratic
veneer to a multinational federation that cannot by its
nature be democratically governed. Despite the best
efforts of the pro-Establishment BBC, hardly anyone
takes European elections as other than an excuse to pass
judgement on the government of the day.

The results came
out on Sunday, 7th June. The ruling

Labour Party
, with 15.7 per cent, got its lowest
share of the vote in any national election since 1918.
The

Conservatives
won the largest share, with 27.7 per
cent. They are celebrating their victory—but this is
hardly the sort of percentage share of the vote that
promises a Commons majority in a general election. It
may be that the 16.5 per cent won by the

UK Independence Party
would probably go to the
Conservatives in a general election. But it did not go
to them in the European elections.

The result may
have been to complete the disintegration of the Labour
Government. Already in trouble, the Prime Minister,

Gordon Brown
, may now have little choice but to
resign.

The main shock,
however, has been the

election
of

Nick Griffin
and one other

British National Party
candidate to the European
Parliament. The BNP
stands
for
a complete halt to non-white immigration,
expulsion of illegal immigrants and voluntary
repatriation of non-whites legally here. It also
believes in an end to multiculturalism and political
correctness, and in withdrawal from the European Union.

These were the
first victories for the BNP in any national election,
and they have been greeted by the British media and
political class with hysterical rage. The favoured
explanation is that the BNP—plus UKIP and the

other small parties
that did so well in the European
elections—is to blame the

House of Commons expenses scandal
. The idea that
people might have voted as they did because they liked
what they saw cannot be entertained.


The Expenses
Scandal

But, rather than
just sneer at its use as smokescreen, let me explain
something about the expenses scandal. Members of the
House of Commons are allowed to claim expenses that are
"wholly,
exclusively and necessarily incurred for the performance
of a Member`s parliamentary duties."
This is
supposed to mean that a Member who lives in

Scotland
or some other distant part of the country
can claim for the cost of running a second home in w:st="on">London, and for travel between w:st="on">London and his constituency. Because payment
of expenses has been confidential, and because receipts
have not always been required, the system has been open
to abuse. For several years, occasional stories have
been appearing in the establishment media about abuses
of the House of Commons expenses system that amount to
fraud. These have been only occasional stories. They
have usually caused a few days of comment, and then been
forgotten. Then,
The Daily Telegraph


obtained a disc
giving a million pages of expenses
claims going back over the past four years. Every day
since the

8th May 2009,
The Daily
Telegraph
has been

publishing details
of the more lurid and fraudulent
claims.

Examples of
these claims have been:


  • Nominating and renominating
    second homes
    . As said,
    expenses are paid to cover the costs of running a
    second home. Running costs include renovations.
    Members have used the rules to designate as their
    second home whichever of their two properties was
    most in need of work. This might be their home in
    London

    or in their constituency. Many have then nominated
    their other property as their second home to claim
    for a fresh set of renovations.

  • Subsidised property development
    .
    Several Members have pushed these rules to the
    limit. They have bought derelict properties,
    nominated them as second homes to claim the full
    cost of improvements, then have sold them at profits
    that are free of tax.

  • Subsidised luxury
    .
    Even without profiting from a rising property
    market, Members have been claiming for expenses not
    reasonably incurred for the performance of their
    parliamentary duties.
    The Daily Telegraph has published details of claims for
    landscape gardening, for tampons, for cosmetics, for
    trouser presses—even for court fines and for
    charitable donations.

There are many
other examples. But the four given are of the same
nature as the others.

The results of
The Daily Telegraph disclosures have been—depending on who you
are—catastrophic or highly entertaining. Promising
careers have been blighted. Distinguished careers—that
is,
"distinguished"
within the rules of the political
game—have been cut short in corruption scandals that
will forever put all else in the shade. So far, about a
dozen Members of the House of Commons have announced
that they will not stand again at the next election, or
have been blocked by their parties from standing again.
The Home Secretary has resigned from the Government. The
Communities Secretary has resigned It is possible that
the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be sacked within
the next few days. Other Ministers will probably leave
the Government. The Speaker of the House of Commons has
been forced to resign. Dozens—perhaps hundreds—of
Members are expected to lose their seats at the next
election, as an angry electorate delivers its own
verdict on the general scandal.


The Real Causes
of Disenchantment

Now, the
expenses scandal may have been the immediate cause of
current electoral upsets. But no one who is honest or
can think longer than four minutes at a time will regard
it as anything approaching the ultimate cause. The
British people are outraged—that much is certain. The
stories published have shown a grossness of behaviour we
used to think confined to the

political classes of lesser foreign countries.
On
the other hand, the total cost of the illegitimate
claims—even including those merely questionable—does not
amount to more than a few million pounds. Since 1997,
our Labour Government has burned its way through two
trillion
pounds of our tax money. This has been mostly used to
buy Labour votes or to oppress us—usually both. During
this time, the Government has put an ancient and highly
successful Constitution through the shredder. It has
abolished common law protections of liberty, and
replaced them with the powers and institutions a police
state. It has limited its own political accountability
by alienating national sovereignty to the European
Union. It has engaged us in wars of imperial aggression
against

Serbia
,

Afghanistan
and

Iraq
.

It has also
encouraged legal immigration on an unprecedented scale,
and done nothing about a possibly greater

illegal immigration.
According to official figures,
the

non-white population
of the
United Kingdom
is about
five per cent. The probable figure may be as high as 20
per cent.

The Government statisticians themselves admit that the
figure may pass 50 per cent as early as 2040
. This
immigration has been facilitated by positive
discrimination and

hate crime laws
that give preferential treatment to
the newcomers and

suppress complaints
. If it has raised gross domestic
product, and if it may have raised the living standards
of the middle classes, the immigration has noticeably
reduced the

living standards of the working classes.
And it has
raised obvious questions about the survival of at least
the English people and their liberal institutions.

We have

put up with all of this and more.
The Labour
Government has won two further elections since 1997.
There have been no riots. There has been no irresistible
rise of new political forces. Now, if the whole
political establishment appears on the brink of public
rejection, we are supposed to think is because a few
dozen Members of Parliament have been fiddling their
expenses.

The reason for
this, I suspect, is that the expenses scandal has been
seized on by the people as the surrogate for the far
greater complaints already mentioned. These cannot

easily be made in public.
Some cannot be made
because it

would be illegal to make them
—or, if not illegal,
making them would be attended by

informal sanctions
. Most cannot be made because it
is almost impossible to breakthrough the wall of lies
behind which our rulers have sheltered themselves.

For

years now
—and the Conservatives were
nearly
as bad in this respect
—British Governments have been
refusing to tell the truth about their actions or
intentions. Every lunatic or evil change has been
accompanied by the flow of unpersuasive but unanswerable
chatter most of us can remember from childhood.

To take one
example of this, there is the

European Constitution
. Back in 2005, the European
Union decided to sweep away the tangle of treaties and
lesser agreements under which it operated and replace
them with a single constitution. This was an
impenetrable document, but appeared to bring about the
final transfer of sovereignty from the Member States to
the

European Union.
It was rejected by the

French
and Dutch in referenda. It was then
withdrawn. In w:st="on">Britain, the three main parties
solemnly promised before the general election of that
year that they would not sign up to a revived
constitution until after the British people had been
consulted in a referendum.

In 2008, the
Constitution was edited into the

Treaty of Lisbon.
This appears to achieve exactly
the same as the Constitution by amending earlier
treaties. It is shorter than the Constitution, (which
runs over 400 pages [PDF])
but also still more opaque. This was rammed through
Parliament by the British Government, with support from
the Liberal Democrats. The justification was that the
election promises had governed the Constitution, not
another treaty. Every Government Minister and every
Liberal Democrat leader joined in the fraud—and did so
with arguments that could only be countered by a closer
reading and understanding of the relevant documents than
any normal person could reasonably be expected to make.

And the
Conservative opposition has been little better. For
electoral reasons, it made a great show of insisting on
the promised referendum. It then promised to hold a
referendum if it won the next election. This promise,
however, seems to have been limited to a referendum
if, after the
next election, the Treaty has not come into effect
following ratification by all the Member States of the
European Union. When asked what they would do if the
Treaty had already come into effect, the Conservative
leaders have refused to give a straight answer.

A decent
construction can be put on this refusal to make the
further promise. But decent constructions can no longer
be credibly made of any promise made by any of the

main British parties.

We could not
shake these people on their smug, emollient drivel about
the European Union or mass-immigration, or handing out
unimaginable amounts of our money to privileged banking
interests. But we can take hold of them and rub their
noses in the dirt of their expenses claims. Those are
things anyone can understand—and that no one can
credibly defend.

We are like the
child who has been lectured into silence over having his
dog put to sleep and his best friend excluded from the
house and his pockets searched every night—but whose
parents
have now broken a clear promise to watch him play in the
school pantomime. We are angry, and what would otherwise
be the pettiness of what has made us angry is no longer
important.


What Will Happen
Next?

A further
question is what will come out of all this. Labour has
done badly, and its days in government may be numbered.
The Conservatives will almost certainly win the next
general election, and the only reasonable question asked
is how big will be their majority.

But none of this
may be very important. The Conservatives are part of the
political cartel that rules my country. They cannot be
worse than Labour. But they will almost certainly be
little better. They may take enough of the hard choices
to stop the country from disintegrating in the short
term. But the longer term problems will not be
addressed.

What we have at
the moment, therefore, is not a revolution—as some of
the newspapers have claimed—but a peasants` revolt. We
have grievances. But we lack the organised articulating
body for those grievances that will bring about
meaningful change.

This may,
though, be one of the precursors of revolution. It may
be our equivalent of the

Diamond Necklace Scandal
in
ancien regime
France. That did not bring on the

Great Revolution
. But it did prepare the way by
showing the greed and stupidity of the people who ruled w:st="on">France.

It is to be
hoped—though not necessarily expected—that the longer
term result of what has just happened will be to enable
the emergence of new political forces in the United
Kingdom—or perhaps just in England. I do not think these
have yet made an appearance. I voted for the

United Kingdom Independence Party.
But this is a
protest party. It has neither the personnel nor the
ideology for mounting a challenge capable of overturning
the established order of things.

Several people I
know

voted
for the

British National Party,
and are rejoicing in its
successes. This party has the best leader any
nationalist party in
England

has had since the

Establishment itself
stopped being recognisably
pro-British. He is clever. He is articulate. He is
brave. He and his party, nevertheless, are tainted by
their national socialist past. Too many of the party`s
leading members have said or done things that most
people in this country regard as disreputable.

Whatever
successes it may now be celebrating, I do not think the
British National Party has much of a future. Or, if it
does have a future, this must be under a new and
untainted leadership.

However, just
because I cannot see where it will lead, I can take
pleasure in watching the modern equivalent of the

Peasants` Revolt,
and hope that it will ultimately
lead us out of the gutter into which our political class
has dumped the British people.



Dr. Sean Gabb



[
Email
him
]
is a writer, academic, broadcaster and Director of the


Libertarian
Alliance

in England. His monograph Cultural Revolution,
Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to
Get It Back
is downloadable



here
.
For his account of the



Property and Freedom Society`s 2008 conference

in Bodrum, Turkey, click



here
.
For his address to the 2009 PFS conference, “What is
the Ruling Class?”
, click



here
;
for videos of the



other presentations
,
click


here
.