On Friday, February 1, 2013, 이승환 wrote:
Dear John Hutnyk
My name is Seunghwan Lee and I am from “Hankyoreh 21,” a weekly magazine with the largest number of subscribers in South Korea.
As a South Korean journalist based in London, I am working on an article about a possible successor to the current Prime Minister. I am writing to ask for your help to assist in one of my projects that I am undertaking at the moment.
There are four people who are likely to the next Conservative leader. Adam Afriyie is probably one of them, Jesse Norman, Boris Johnson or Michael Gove. We will see repeated stories about these people over the next two years. These people will be supportive of David Cameron, or set up to stand against him.
I believe that introducing this issue would help our subscribers in South Korea to understand what is the right-wing’s role in the UK as there has been debate over what is a “true right-wing” in South Korea. As you may know, mainstream South Korean politics has shifted to the right with the election last December of Park Geun-hye, the candidate of the far-right New Frontier Party (NFP), as president.
As you are a well-known expert on politics, sharing your insights on this issue will be a tremendous help for us. I would like to ask you five questions regarding a possible successor to the Prime Minister.
1) What is your opinion of David Cameron’s leadership? Do you think he will succeed in delivering a majority at the 2015 general election if he continues to drive his policies such as welfare cuts, a closed door immigration policy, and an in/out referendum on EU membership?
Cameron is the representative of the ruling class. Similar to the way Karl Marx wrote in the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Boneparte, Cameron is also an example of a mediocre figure, thrown up by the circumstance of history, who repeatedly offers farce where political vision is needed. That Britain has had a succession of such shallow ‘leaders’ is indicative of a stagnant and rotten system. You noticed that there has been over ten years of war, under Labour and Con-Dem, and that the individual leader of the war economy is fit only to travel the world promoting arms deals. The present prime minister is no different in this respect than the previous two from Labour. That said, Cameron will not win the next election because the cuts are biting, our local hospital was cut back yesterday, the benefits system is being dismantled, anti-Muslim racism is on the rise – and Cameron is looking for yet another war, this time in Northern Africa, with the hope that a Thatcherite moment like the Falklands can be repeated, to save him, as farce. Unfortunately, the Labour Party is only staying quiet, hoping to step into power when Cameron fails. Sadly, they also have no vision, and little real support. The Lib Dems of course are toxified by their association with the poison of the ruling class collaboration that is the coalition.
2) Mainstream politics in the UK has shifted to the right with the election in 2010 of the Conservative Party (albeit in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats). If Cameron fails to deliver a majority at the 2015 general election, how can the next leader of the Conservative party drive the party forwards?
The path to this shift was prepared by Thatcher and implemented by Blair. The longer perspective would see that since the 1970s a sustained move to the right of the right has been underway. This seems calibrated with the deeper crises of capital, the oil crisis of the mid to late 70s, the recession and bubble of the 1980s, the collapse of communism in Europe at the end of the 80s and early 90s. Europe’s reconstruction involved a right wards drift as capital panicked, and fled to the temporary profits of cheap labour in Asia. Now Euro-American capital panics again as China and India see its bourgeoisie on an economic rise – the rightwards politics of Labour and Conservative in Britain is just another example of this short term panic thinking, the immigration restrictions included in this. Political party politics has little reference to the aspirations of the general population, except through attempts at ideological spin and jingoistic manipulation. In fact Labour was slightly better at spin, but no-one ever believes them these days. The August 2011 riots in Britain were the expression, if muffled, of a necessary call for regime change – and the Olympics the following August was capital’s answer – armed military on the streets and a nationalist propaganda effort – go for gold! – unparalleled since the blitz.
3) Adam Afriyie has emerged in reports as a surprise contender to be the next party leader if Cameron fails to deliver a majority at the 2015 general election. In terms of leadership, what are the main difference between Cameron and Afriyie?
Tweedledum and tweedledanger. It does not matter which leader the party of the ruling class puts forward, labour, lib dem or con, without an organised opposition we will continue to bump along the bottom of a deeply unfair and exploitative mode of moribund capitalism that only brings misery and global war. Weapons sales and the production of fear go hand in hand. To maintain a defence budget you must create a fictional monster or enemy that looks almost the same as you, but must be treated with a poisonous suspicion. The population sits passively on the tube in low-level anxiety or watches with a mix of resignation and fear as the news reports the war at home, while ‘at the front’ our military recruits drill ever more costly weapons systems, to the delight of the arms industry.
4) Boris Johnson has perhaps the most fascinating relationship with British politics. He often seems to be set to stand against the PM.
Tweedledum and tweedledum’s more media savvy brother. No significant difference, both former members of a wild ruling class drinking club – the Bullington. Both representative of the interests of industry and media barons, both ready to say anything to justify their continued puppet rule.
In terms of politics, what are the main differences between Cameron and Johnson?
See above. Johnson saw an opportunity to pretend to be different on immigration, but read him carefully and see he too is the cod-multicultural version of big business.
4) Of the four previously mentioned, who is the best candidate to lead the Conservative party if Cameron fails to deliver a majority at the 2015 general election?
Does anyone in the public actually care? What evidence do we have (hilariously low voter turnout etc)? The pit of political intrigue that is a leadership ‘contest’ is only an illusion of debate – see the Labour party version two years ago for similar – none of this matters much except for a small coterie of radio four, posh bistro going, luvvies. The disconnect between these so-called leaders and the population of Britain is vast.
5) What is the qualification required for a party leader? What leadership is required to win the general election?
Only a sustained revolt can shift things from the current impasse. That revolt might lead us to a period of disturbance important enough to bring forward ideas about care for our communities, radical grass-roots democratic decision-making (not the farce of so-called electoral politics, once every five years), dismantling of the war economy and the militarized police, and for a radically new arrangement of how we live. We could work towards a world where we share the productive resources of humanity equitably amongst all, everywhere. The capability of people with immense knowledge and technology (not weapons) could be utilised to ensure no-one anywhere goes hungry, dies from curable disease, or remains thirsty, without shelter, clothes… and a really progressive arts channel on tv for all. You get what I am talking about here? The crisis has been bad enough, the planetary mood is for radical change, the possibilities are endless. And it is Cameron’s class leadership about which you ask. No, the point is to forget the general election, and General Motors, and work instead for the general population, for the general strike, and for the general uprising, in general.