The shocking footage that emerged of soldiers belonging to Britain’s elite Parachute Regiment using a picture of Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, for shooting practice while on deployment in Afghanistan, should be a wake-call to anyone who may still harbour tendrils of belief that democracy and the British state walk hand in hand.
In truth and in fact, democracy in Britain is but a simulacrum of the real thing, while the various institutions which underpin the British state and direct its actions remain steadfastly impervious to the very idea. For the sake of clarity, those institutions are the monarchy, judiciary, civil service, security and intelligence services, along with the armed forces.
The primary task of the political class in Britain is to serve the state not the people, and to maintain and uphold the invisible but rigid parameters within which political challenge or change to the status quo is possible. In this task over recent years the political class has been joined by the fourth estate, the mainstream media, whose role has shifted from holding the powerful to account on behalf of the people to holding the people to account on behalf of the powerful.
Corbyn’s accidental emergence as the leader of the Labour Party in 2015, through the gap in the political door that was erroneously opened to him by the gatekeepers of the PLP, now has the British state shaking in its boots. This after his showing at the general election in 2017 confirmed that the ideas he represents enjoy real traction. Those ideas can be summed up as a decisive shift in wealth and power from the wealthy to the masses, which after four decades of Thatcherite free market fundamentalism has reduced the condition of millions of working people to either purgatory or hell would have a transformative impact on society in Britain if implemented.
This being said, the real threat Corbyn poses to the British state and its various institutions is not with his domestic programme of wealth redistribution, government investment, and public ownership. Though unwelcome by big business and the wealthy, Britian can more than live with Corbyn’s economic reforms, rooted as they are in sound economics, just as it was able to live with Attlee’s economic reforms in the postwar era.
The real threat Corbyn poses is in the realm of foreign policy — for it is foreign policy that defines and sustains Britain’s role in the world, revealing not only its true character as an imperial rather than democratic power, but also the sordid methods and actions employed to sustain this role — methods and actions that lie far beyond the purview of democratic accountability.
Specifically, we are talking about the array of alliances that go into Britain role as an important cog within the apparatus of US-led western hegemony — to wit: the Atlantic Alliance, NATO membership, the alliance and arms trade with Saudi Arabia, and Britain’s close and longstanding alliance with the apartheid state of Israel. These alliances are fundamental to a British state which sucks at the teat of US economic, strategic and geopolitical heft and which has done uninterruptedly since the Suez Crisis in 1956.
Thus the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn entering Downing Street brings with it the prospect of those key pillars of the British state coming under threat in a way they never have before.
The ferocity of the ‘Get Corbyn’ campaign that has been waged without pause within the media, political class and, as revealed, within the armed forces, since he was elected leader of the Labour Party in 2015, reflects the intensity of their dread when it comes to the leader of the opposition and his ideas. It is why conversations will have taken and are taking place within the upper echelons of the armed and security services, perhaps with the connivance of key figures within the political class and big business, over the necessity of doing whatever it takes to stop Corbyn entering Number-10.
And by the way, when I say ‘whatever it takes’ I really do mean ‘whatever it takes’.
Those who would dismiss this claim as fantasy would do well to research the details of the Wilson Plot, surrounding former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson in the 1970s. MI5’s former assistant director Peter Wright outlined details of the plot to topple Wilson as prime minister in his bestselling memoir, Spycatcher, which Thatcher initially banned from publication in the UK upon its release in 1987.
In the book, we learn that plans were drawn up by key figures within what is now referred to as the deep state to undertake a military coup to remove Wilson, acting on CIA fears that he was a Soviet agent, the belief that his government was in hoc to the unions in the context of economic recession, runaway inflation and deepening industrial unrest. The plan involved retired intelligence officers, the military brass, and entailed seizing control of Heathrow Airport, Buckingham Palace, and the installation of Lord Mountbatten as head of a military government which the Queen would, it was envisaged, urge the public to support in order to save the country.
This, in brief, describes the contours of the Wilson Plot in the mid 1970s. As for the Corbyn Plot of our time, it is being played out in front of our very eyes.
Nothing could be more sinister or stark than footage of soldiers of the British Parachute Regiment using for shooting practice a picture of the democratically-elected leader of the opposition. Their actions were not rogue or an aberration. They reflect in technicolor detail the thinking of the country’s military leadership and the British state in general when it comes to Corbyn as a putative prime minister.
Those who think otherwise really do need to wake up.
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