Ukraine: A Personal View

Anyone expecting an armchair strategist’s take on the fighting in Ukraine should look elsewhere. This is a very personal attempt to explain how I believe we arrived at war between Russia and Ukraine.

This is a litany of lies, mistakes, personal failings, and geopolitical manoeuvrings.

HISTORY AND RUSSIA

Perhaps the only time Russia enjoyed near-unequivocal support in the West was when the Grand Armée was driven out in 1812. Even then, the West celebrated, not because we’d come to love Russians, but because we feared Napoleon.

After that, as England sought to extend her holdings in India she increasingly came into contact with Tsarist Russia pushing south, in what became known as ‘The Great Game’.

So hostile was the West to Russia – and so rehabilitated had France become – that Britain and France could even ally themselves with Ottoman Turkey against Russia in the Crimean War 1853 -1856.

An alliance of Protestants, Catholics and Muslims against Orthodox Russia. At a time when Muslim Turks were still enslaving Christian Europeans, including Russians.

Still, The Charge of the Light Brigade was a stirring distraction.

In 1904 / 05 there was a brief war between Russia and Japan, which saw Japan victorious, with British support.

Though when it became obvious that Kaiser Bill was shaping for a fight, and he’d roped in old Franz Joseph, then Russia proved a necessary eastern ally against Imperial Germany and the Hapsburg Empire.

That war over, and Russia now Communist, the Western powers and Japan invaded, but Lenin remained in power.

With Communism secured the Soviet Union became the enemy, admired in the West only by deluded leftists.

The role of ‘principal threat’ was temporarily usurped in the 1930s by Nazi Germany. Even so, had Germany focused its aggression exclusively on central and eastern Europe and invaded the USSR, it’s unlikely the West would have intervened.

Following WWII we entered the Cold War, and a series of proxy conflicts and situations from Korea to Cuba to Vietnam to Chile to . . . (pick any one from dozens).

Something often forgotten from this period is that the ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’ came about because the USA had placed ICBMs in Turkey, which bordered the USSR. Kennedy and Khrushchev eventually agreed to remove their missiles from both Turkey and Cuba.

The US military at this time contained a number of senior officers who sincerely believed that a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the Soviet Union was the best form of ‘defence’.

They looked almost comical when Stanley Kubrick gave them roles in Dr Strangelove. Though some of them were almost too off-the-wall to caricature.

USAF General Curtis LeMay, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force from 1961 to 1965. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979 to support a friendly regime, giving the USA its chance to arm fanatics and boost opium production. The kind of thought-through strategic decision-making – like supporting Iran against Iraq – all too common in recent US foreign policy decisions.

As US allies skinned alive Russian conscripts and took Afghanistan back to the Middle Ages the USA claimed another victory for democracy and progress.

A further Western dividend was that the Afghanistan debacle contributed directly to the disintegration of the Soviet Union between 1988 and 1991.

This encouraged NATO, a Cold War alliance set up to defend Western Europe from Warsaw Pact aggression, to move eastwards!

Though as Noam Chomsky reminded us a few days ago:

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Bush and Baker lied to Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev. The USA, EU and NATO have been lying to Russia – and to the rest of us – ever since.

UKRAINE INDEPENDENCE 1

Before moving on to more recent events mention must be made of the Ukrainian Famine, or Holodomor, in which 3 – 4 million Ukrainians died during Stalin’s forced collectivisation of agriculture in 1932-33.

There was definitely an anti-Ukrainian aspect to the project, but Stalin wasn’t really fussed who he killed. This article suggests ‘that about 20 million died in labour camps, forced collectivisation, famine and executions.’

The demise of the Soviet Union saw an attempt at a reconfigured federation of sovereign states. A kind of east European EU. This was aired by Gorbachev at the Communist Party Congress of July 1990.

Ukraine supported joining the Union if she had first achieved independence.

This prompted a last-ditch attempt by hard-line Communists to save the Soviet Union through the attempted coup of August 19, 1991; which led to the Ukrainian parliament agreeing a Declaration of Independence on August 24, 1991.

Boris Yeltsin (left, holding paper) thwarts the attempted coup. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Ukraine became independent in December 1991 following a referendum on the August Declaration. In a turnout of 84.18% some 92.3% voted to approve the Declaration of Independence drawn up a few months earlier. Roughly 55% of ethnic Russians voted for independence. Though turnout was lower in Russian-speaking areas.

Immediately following the vote both Boris Yeltsin (President of Russia) and Gorbachev congratulated Ukraine on voting for independence . . . as a first step towards a reconfigured federation along with Russia, Belarus, and some Central Asian republics.

The independence vote was able to paper over a crack that would soon become evident because it satisfied moderate Ukrainian nationalists without alarming ethnic Russians and Russian speakers.

But there were elements in the West looking to exploit divisions.

UKRAINE INDEPENDENCE 2

I suggest you find time to read this account of Ukrainian politics in the period of the October 2010 presidential (run-off) election and the 2012 parliamentary election. These saw victories for Russia-leaning Viktor Yanukovych and his Party of the Regions.

Though these elections also revealed that the ‘crack’ I just referred to had now become a chasm. Ukraine was divided. Geographically divided.

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The ostensible trigger for the subsequent violence seems to have been President Yanukovych’s refusal to sign – or his delay in signing – an EU association agreement in November 2013.

The protests against Yanukovych soon began. With Western media focusing almost exclusively on anti-Yanukovych events in Kyiv, thereby creating the impression that the whole country was against the president.

This was obviously not true. Given that he had been democratically elected not long before there was widespread support for Yanukovych. But this support was mainly outside of Kyiv, and went largely unreported by the Western media.

Regime change was effected by the USA and NATO on February 22, 2014 when Viktor Yanukovych was forced to leave Ukraine.

This set in train a number of events, not least Russian military occupation of Crimea and the secession from Ukraine of territory in the east. Here’s a useful timeline for events in that period.

And there was violence elsewhere. In May 2014, dozens of Yanukovych supporters were killed in largely Russophone Odesa / Odessa by far right thugs, many of whom had travelled south as football fans.

Oliver Stone’s documentary, Ukraine on Fire, gives excellent insights into this period.

HUNTER BIDEN ON THE MAKE

In April 2014 Hunter Biden, the current US president’s younger son, joined the board of Burisma, Ukraine’s largest oil and gas company. This was at a time when Burisma and its founder Mykola Zlochevsky were under investigation for corruption in a number of jurisdictions. Including England.

Apart from being the son of the then vice-president it’s difficult to know what use Hunter Biden was to Burisma.

The younger Biden was trading on his father’s name to further enrich himself through companies in Russia and China.

Then, as the brown stuff started moving towards the fan with Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin looking into Burisma, Biden Senior stepped in to protect his son by insisting that Shokin be sacked. Which he was, to be replaced by a man with no legal background.

The whole business stinks. There are even allegations that President Biden himself  benefitted financially from his son’s business dealings. Which would be fitting in a way, because Hunter Biden would have struggled to get a job as a janitor if he wasn’t his father’s son.

Knowledge of nefarious dealings in Ukraine and elsewhere was widespread before the 2020 US Presidential election, but all was confirmed with the emergence of Hunter Biden’s laptop.

UPDATE 14.04.2022: After reading this fascinating article by Azra Dale it’s only right that I suggest that Mykola Zlochevsky was a front man for Ihor Kolomoisky, who seems to have a penchant for using puppets. Among them the current president of Ukraine and the son of the US President.

HUNTER BIDEN’S LAPTOP 1

In April 2019 Hunter Biden left a laptop to be repaired in Wilmington, Delaware. He was said to be in an ‘inebriated’ state when he called at John Paul Mac Isaac’s repair shop. He never went back to collect the laptop.

Eventually Isaac investigated the laptop’s hard drive. He found incriminating e-mails relating to Hunter Biden’s business dealings that traded on his father’s name and influence, also videos of the younger Biden’s drug taking and cavorting with prostitutes.

The news of the laptop was broken by the New York Post in October 2020, weeks before the Presidential election. And was immediately and unanimously rejected by the liberal media, Big Tech, FBI and CIA as ‘Russian disinformation’.

Twitter took down accounts daring to link to the New York Post story. Twitter even locked the account of the New York Post itself. (Reminder: the NYP is the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in America.)

This closing of ranks, this denial of the truth, put Joe Biden in the White House.

Today, with Biden’s presidency in tatters, the midterm elections already lost, the liberal media has decided the laptop story was true after all. New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, they’re all admitting what’s been known for a long time – the Bidens may have more than a few skeletons in the closet.

And the worst may be yet to come. It’s claimed there’s 450 GB of deleted material. And if that wasn’t bad enough, there are thought to be two other laptops (Hunter was a very careless boy); one is said to be safe with the FBI, but the other is believed to be in the hands of . . . Russian drug dealers with whom Hunter Biden partied!

HUNTER BIDEN’S LAPTOP 2

The message from the Hunter Biden laptop saga is one I am becoming increasingly familiar with. And it’s worrying.

The Woke left has persuaded itself that those ranged against it are evil. Not just wrong. Not just misinformed. But evil. That being so, then the Righteous are justified in saying and doing anything to combat this ‘evil’.

This took a new twist just this week when former Congressman Joe Walsh fabricated a statement about Ukraine and attributed it to Fox TV host Tucker Carlson, a bête noire of the left. This was relayed by thousands on Reddit, Twitter and other platforms.

When it was pointed out to Walsh that Carlson had not said what had been attributed to him, his response was, ‘No, but it’s the kind of thing he might have said’.

Thanks to the repackaged Marxism of identity politics we are in a post-reality world where ‘truth’ is whatever those who scream loudest say it is.

Which brings us back to Ukraine.

A PLEA FOR HONESTY

The USA, the EU, and NATO broke promises to Russia and made promises to Ukraine that Russia regarded as threats to her own security.

Then, to further promote Western interests, a democratically-elected leader was ousted in 2014 in yet another US-engineered regime change, with the muscle provided by, among others, Nazi militias, which now seem to be part of the Ukrainian army.

Fighters of an Azov unit with some of their flags. Is that the NATO flag on the left? Click to open enlarged in separate tab

This is what President Putin talks of when he refers to ‘denazification’. He’s not making it up.

And through their interference these Western agencies irreparably fractured an already divided country.

And further corrupted an already corrupt country. With the Biden family playing its role.

So let’s have no more black and white interpretations from Western politicians, no more propaganda masquerading as news from an already discredited Western media.

Let’s hear no more talk of every civilian casualty being a ‘war crime’, or even ‘genocide’! Because when a government arms its civilians those civilians risk being viewed as combatants. And please, let’s see fewer staged photographs using teddy bears.

To give a more balanced picture, let’s hear of the Russian PoWs being killed in cold blood. Let’s be told the role played by Ukrainian Nazis in Mariupol and other cities. And the ‘volunteers’ fighting for Ukraine.

As with Hunter Biden’s laptop, the truth will out eventually. Let’s make a start tomorrow.

GOOD v EVIL? WHICH IS WHICH?

The war in Ukraine is presented as a struggle between Western liberal democracy and something evil. The truth is more complicated.

We in the West are now surveiled 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by CCTV, by our mobile phones, and by gizmos answering to stupid names like ‘Siri’ and ‘Alexa’.

What we are allowed to say online, what we are allowed to read, is determined by the brainwashed underlings of billionaire nerds in Silicon Valley. And their ‘fact-checkers’.

We are expected to line up like sheep to be injected with untested vaccines because of a virus developed under mysterious circumstances in a Chinese laboratory. Politicians like that demented woman in New Zealand have used this virus to put us all under house arrest and close down whole countries.

We must accept that women have penises and men have cervixes. To deny this will bring down the wrath of those who preach freedom and practise tyranny. Fanatics who have political support from Corruption Bay to the Oval Office.

We are being pushed towards a cashless society – ‘cos only crooks need cash, innit!’. The true motivation was revealed not so long ago by Pierre Trudeau’s little boy when he froze the bank accounts of those who dared oppose him.

Trudeau gives the game way. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

That was a warning in 300-feet-high flashing neon letters with an accompanying wall of sound.

Our children are being taught that they’re evil because they’re White. Leftists and liberals support this demonisation of a race oblivious to the historical precedents. Justified, they argue, because Whites are ‘privileged’.

The Nazis said the same thing about the Jews – ‘too much money, too much influence’. Hardly surprising that anti-Semitism is back in vogue with the Left and we see the Comrades marching in step with the Jihadists.

Because both wish to destroy Western civilisation. Partly through undermining from within, partly through unlimited immigration from without.

The reality is that never before have individual and national liberties been under such threat as they are today in the Western – particularly the Anglophone – world. Because never before have those seeking to take away our freedoms possessed such power.

If I was a Russian I’d do everything I could to keep my country free of this repacked-for-the-twenty-first-century Marxism.

Especially after hearing Joe Biden demand regime change in my country. Does Sleepy Joe think Russia is a banana republic in the Caribbean!

FINAL THOUGHTS, FEARS

I wish I hadn’t felt the need to write this, but I believe Russia has been forced into a conflict she would have preferred to avoid.

Due to its history, Russia is understandably suspicious of the West. And the West has lived down to Russia’s expectations time after time. But still, it needn’t have come to this . . .

Not if the USA and NATO had kept the promise made to Mikhail Gorbachev.

Not if the USA and NATO hadn’t removed a democratically-elected President of Ukraine.

Not if the USA and NATO hadn’t encouraged Nazis and gangsters in Ukraine.

My real worry now is that there are in the USA and NATO people not a lot different to those ridiculed by Kubrick in Dr Strangelove – maniacs wanting full-scale war with Russia.

I hope I’m wrong. Or, if I’m right, then I hope to God they can be slapped down.

P.S. I have been critical of the USA for a reason. That’s because I think the USA is still the greatest country on Earth, and the best hope for mankind.

But the USA is in a bad place right now. Liars, hypocrites, and the seriously unhinged are calling the shots. They increasingly control the government, the media, and the education system. Thankfully, decent people are fighting back.

That fightback must intensify and win its first major victory in November’s midterm elections. Because if the USA can’t be saved from itself then we’re all fucked.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


The left and Europe, Brexit, independence

I felt compelled to put finger to keyboard because I’m tired of hearing arguments for the EU but against the totality of Europe. The kind of people guilty of this are now taking an increased interest in Welsh independence.

To re-state my position – in June 2016 I voted to leave the EU. My reasons for doing so were set out in ‘EU Referendum: Why I Want Out!’ and a few days later, after the result was known, I followed up with ‘Brexit, Wexit: Things Can Only Get Better!’

What I hope to explain is that despite being a Brexiteer I regard myself as a European, and that’s because I see Wales as part of a wider European civilisation. This being so, Wales cannot leave Europe, we can only exit the European Union.

THE LEFT AND EUROPE

For me, there are two main variants of the left. On the one hand we have the hard left, or old left, some of whom may even be ‘tankies’, still mourning the demise of the USSR. Then we also have the soft or new left, who like to view themselves as ‘progressives’, but who I often view as the ‘butterfly’ left, flitting from one colourful issue to the next.

Another difference would be that, unattractive as it was, the old left, the Marxists and the Trotskyists had a coherent ideological basis in the writings of assorted philosophers and political theoreticians.

By comparison, the new left is almost without form or ideological substance, being made up of those who believe that what’s important to them, or the latest popular issue, is of vital importance to humanity (whether humanity is interested or not). Which often makes the soft left appear to be nothing more than a loose alliance of single-issue groups – ‘We’ll support you if you support us’.

The Labour Party contains both varieties, with the old left perhaps in the ascendant under Corbyn, but Plaid Cymru is very much home to the latter.

In the good old days of the Soviet Union the hard left had an example to hold up as an alternative to the Western model. An idyll exemplified for me by Peter Sellers’ shop steward in I’m All Right Jack, who dreams of Russia as, ” . . . all them corn fields and ballet in the evening.” A line that never fails to make me smile.

” . . . all them corn fields and ballet in the evening.” click to enlarge

The economic collapse of the USSR discredited the hard left’s alternative model, and opened the door to the soft left, with no obvious political agenda beyond changing the West from within through social and cultural pressure.

Even in the good old days of the Soviet Union, among elements of the left, hostility to the capitalist model spilled over into a rejection of the achievements of ‘decadent’ Europe and its offshoots.

As with the old, so with the new, which often dismisses centuries of human achievement as being all about ‘dead white men’.

Yes, these achievements often went hand in hand with colonisation, exploitation and even slavery, but millions of Europeans were also enslaved, by Turks and North Africans. How many today have heard of the Sack of Baltimore in west Cork? Communities from Cyprus to Iceland suffered from Muslim slave-raids.

The Crimea, the fate of which now so vexes Western governments, was taken by the Russians in 1774 to stop the peninsula being used by its Tatar population to export thousands of captured Russians and Ukrainians into Turkish slavery every year.

By even using the term ‘European civilisation’ I will have had a few leftists reaching for their smelling salts (or whatever they use), for it will have conjured up images of wicked capitalists, oppressors and colonialists, pith helmets and shackles.

Their chosen interpretation of Europe is as distorted as their view on almost everything else. It’s chiaroscuro without the light. In its distortions the touchy-feely left can ignore the genocide being practised by China against the Uighurs yet hold up something said by a politician of the right as a crime against humanity.

This comment (possibly to a piece on Nation.Cymru) refers to Steve Bannon. Now I accept that Bannon is not everybody’s cup of tea, but remarks like this display a myopic ignorance of history that is truly worrying. Click to enlarge.

For them, crimes can only be committed by white men. When it comes to global warming it’s rapacious white men destroying the planet, never developing economies with their coal-fired power stations, or third world countries destroying vast areas of forest every year.

This ‘blame Whitey’ approach betrays another dangerous failing of the soft left, and that is the refusal to accept that the past is another country, they did things differently there; which results in them judging people from previous eras by contemporary mores.

The fact that someone in 1887 was homophobic makes them a creature of their time, not a monster to be vilified by immature individuals who are easily outraged. I’ll let you in on a little secret – back in 1887 most people were homophobic.

To conclude: I’m proud to be a European. I reject the European Union.

THE LEFT AND BREXIT

The hard or old left has usually been hostile to the Common Market and then the European Union, the ‘Rich Man’s Club’ as Marxists were wont to call it. But the real reason for the hard left’s hostility was the same as my original enthusiasm – we both saw the EU as a bulwark against the Soviet bloc.

Three decades after the demise of the USSR the comrades of the hard left still have a lingering affection for Russia. The fact that Putin is viewed as a threat by the West goes some way to explaining the hard left’s ambivalence towards the EU, and Corbyn’s refusal to take a stand on a second referendum, or anything.

The other consideration for the hard left, and Jeremy Corbyn, is that Labour voters from Sunderland to Stoke to Swansea voted for Brexit. They also voted against out-of-touch elites, so Labour really can’t afford to be perceived as aligning with the metropolitan elite.

Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters need to hold on to their middle class support, their ethnic minority support, and their white working class support if they are to form a government. And the largest of those three constituencies remains the white working class in post-industrial areas.

click to enlarge

Generally speaking, the soft left wants the UK and Wales to remain in the European Union. This they regard as the only option for ‘progressives’. This is why we hear them berating Brexiteers as ‘gammons’, ‘racists’, ‘Nazis’, and calling for a ‘People’s Vote’.

The soft left can afford to be openly hostile to Brexit and those who support it partly because these ‘progressives’ are free of electoral concerns and partly because they have ‘disengaged’ themselves from the white working class they regard as irredeemably stupid and reactionary. For the reasons already given, Labour and the old left behave differently.

Whether or not they had achieved this status before the Brexit vote, the new left, the ‘progressives’, have certainly become the patronising metropolitan elite those who voted for Brexit wanted to punish.

I outlined earlier the soft left’s largely negative view of Europe and its history, culture, and contribution to humanity, so why is it supportive of the EU? I can only assume that in their minds there must be some disconnect between the Europe of the Borgias and Wagner with the European Union. For isn’t the European Union Napoleon’s (even Hitler’s) dream realised?

Apparently not.

And that’s because the soft left regards the EU as ‘progressive’. The EU is perceived as breaking down national barriers, welcoming migrants, and generally being a force for good in the world.

Which is fair enough, and entirely consistent with the soft left’s wider – dare I say, globalist? – outlook, but perhaps inconsistent with support for Welsh independence.

THE LEFT AND INDEPENDENCE

As I hoped when I voted for Brexit in 2016, the utter cock-up that politicians are making of the process has both increased the demand for Scottish independence and the likelihood of Irish reunification.

Wales has not been immune to this counter-London shift in public opinion, and now we see a marked increase in support for Welsh independence. This has taken a number of forms including the formation of Ein Gwlad, a new, Wales-focused nationalist party, and also YesCymru, a group campaigning for independence.

YesCymru now seems to have been joined by other groups. One being IndyCymru and, more recently, Undod, and it’s on the second of these I wish to focus. Undod is a socialist grouping, perhaps formed following a failed takeover of YesCymru.

I have no problem with Undod being socialist, as far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier, with just one proviso – the desire for independence must transcend all that divides us.

Which is why I was disappointed to read on Nation.Cymru the old-style sloganising about, “international solidarity . . . unfettered capitalism . . . foreign capital . . . rising threat of the far-right in Wales and beyond . . . excesses of Tory rule . . . “.

A disappointment compounded by seeing no reference to the Labour Party that has mis-managed Wales for two decades. Admittedly, in its conclusion, the article says, “Devolution has shown itself to be incapable of protecting us against the excesses of Tory rule”, without mentioning that devolution could have done more – as it has in Scotland in recent years – had it not been for the Labour Party.

click to enlarge

And the dismissal of “foreign capital” I find odd. Given the traditional neglect of Wales from London (whichever party was in power), and the cowardice and incompetence of the English Labour Party in Wales in its managing of devolution, had it not been for companies and capital from Germany, the USA, Japan, France and other countries investing in Wales we’d have been in an even worse mess.

I’m at a loss to understand how a socialist Wales, which I assume would be hostile to both indigenous entrepreneurialism and foreign investment plans to sustain us. Answers on a postcard, please. (But for God’s sake, don’t tell me it’s state-owned industries!)

Even so . . .

I have said it before, and I will repeat it here – I would accept a Welsh socialist republic if that was the route to independence. I say that because for me, independence is the priority, everything else can be worked out later.

Obviously I would not be happy in a socialist republic and I would seek to make changes, but after we had won our independence; and in the meantime I would defend that socialist republic against all external threats.

Finally, we must consider Catalonia. Over the past year or so I have noticed members of the soft left advocate independence for Wales, remaining in the EU, and support for an independent Catalonia. I’m unclear how such a position can be intellectually rationalised, but some obviously have no problem with it.

From where I stand, anyone belonging to a small European nation within the EU, and seeking independence for that nation, should have been disgusted both by the Spanish state’s treatment of Catalan political leaders and also by the EU’s silence.

click to enlarge

You can read here what the great Breton singer Alan Stivell recently said. I feel the same. (For those too young to remember, here he is singing Tri Martolod.) Like me, Stivell wants a Europe that respects all identities. Not a Europe that promotes homogenisation and tolerates or encourages state terror.

The new/soft/touchy-feely/butterfly/’progressive’ left is wrong about lots of things. Certainly wrong about Europe, and the European Union. Despite this unpromising start we can only hope that its approach to independence is more clear-headed, and sincere.

But I want to make this absolutely clear: anyone imposing ideological preconditions on the kind of Welsh independence they will accept is clearly more concerned with ideology than with Wales, and therefore does not truly believe in Welsh independence.

♦ end ♦

 

An Election and a Referendum

This post examines two important votes being held in 2016; the Welsh Assembly elections on May 9th and the EU referendum on (possibly) June 23rd.

First, we shall look at the elections to our beloved and respected Assembly, wherein may already be found talent dazzling to the point of being a hazard to pilots (not that many of those intrepid aviators will be heading for the local airport) before moving on to consider the anticipated EU referendum

WELSH ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

At present, Labour has 30 of the 60 seats, and is almost certain to lose a few, the only questions are, which ones, and to which other party or parties will those seats be lost?

To help you make comparisons I have compiled the table below, which shows each party’s percentage of the vote in 2011 compared with the percentages predicted by the latest available poll. You will note that the figures in the recent poll do not add up to 100, this is almost certainly due to respondents stating their intention to vote for the kind of minor parties that combined to give us the ‘Other’ figure in the 2011 results.

Assembly elections poll

These poll figures look credible for Labour but rather odd for the other parties due to little or no difference between the constituency votes and the regional list votes. Even so, the poll confirms that Labour will be the biggest loser and Ukip the biggest winner.

Though the level of Ukip’s support is rather surprising seeing as the party keeps choosing unknown or unattractive candidates (the one often mutating into the other) and in other ways shooting itself in both feet. It begins to look as if Ukip’s leaders could be filmed sacrificing Romanian migrants on Aberystwyth promenade, bollock naked with their nether regions painted bright green, and still not lose support.

As for the other parties, it’s very much a case of little or no change which will, after almost a year of Tory government at Westminster, be a relief to the Conservatives; an even bigger relief to the Lib Dems following their near-extermination in the last May’s UK elections; but a major disappointment to Plaid Cymru, who should be the main beneficiary of Labour and Lib Dems losing support.

Though looked at from another angle Plaid’s level of support might pleasantly surprise some. Let me explain. The Party of Wales would have us believe that it’s a radical party, offering change, improvement. Yet down in Carmarthenshire, where Plaid became the larger party in a coalition last year (after the ‘Independents’ refused to work with Labour any more), Mark James, the tyrannical and vindictive chief executive, carries on as if nothing has happened!

The other party to be disappointed by the poll findings will be the Green Party of Englandandwales. Despite claimed increases in membership, and Welsh people being spotted in the ranks, it seems that the Greens still have difficulty in attracting support. But then, this is a party so English, so frightfully middle class in its membership and support, that it makes the Tories look like a Welsh proletarian rabble.

As I’ve been predicting for some time now, after the Assembly elections we shall probably see Labour in coalition with Plaid Cymru. Though if by some some electoral miracle Labour can cobble together a coalition with Lib Dems and Greens that leaves Plaid Cymru out in the cold, then Plaid will be condemned to another five years of impotence. A period the party may struggle to survive.

Ukip will do very well. In June last year I predicted the Kippers would gain 7 seats, and in October I upped my estimate to 10. (The latest poll suggests 9.) If, as is now being predicted, the EU referendum is held in June, and that EU campaign overshadows the Assembly elections, then Ukip will be the only beneficiary because all the other parties are pro EU and will be singing the same song.

And here’s a thought to cheer you all up. If the Assembly elections are indeed dominated by the EU referendum debate then it is not inconceivable that Ukip could win seats in ‘volatile’ constituencies that in May will be five- or even six-cornered contests. Gaining a percentage of the vote in the low to middle twenties could do it.

‘Nathan Gill, AM for Ynys Môn’ has a certain ring to it, n’est pas?

Gill of course is currently an MEP, which is a handy link to the next part of this post.

THE EU REFERENDUM

THE BIG PICTURE

When I was young and idealistic, the matinee idol of the nationalist fringe, I considered myself to be quite the ‘European’. With my study of history, my admiration for Charles de Gaulle, being avowedly anti-communist, and after reading The American Challenge, I persuaded myself that a strong Europe was needed as a bulwark against both the USSR and the USA.

I still believe I was right, but the world has moved on. For a start, the Soviet Union is no more, and its demise was the cue for the USA to begin its advance in eastern Europe, first with its war on Serbia and then by gradually encircling Russia with newly signed up members of NATO. Have you ever stopped to think how weird that is?

NATO started life in 1949 as an alliance to deter the Soviet Union from invading western Europe (if indeed the USSR ever had that intention). It was a Cold War organisation, from the era of Dr Strangelove, which should have ceased to exist along with the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, yet NATO has expanded since the Cold War ended. This is bizarre.

Strangelove

Unless of course you understand that the USA (and to a lesser degree, the ‘West’) must have enemies. Now this presents a problem for a country bordered only by friendly and peaceful Canada to the north and to the south by a third world state where the strongest armed forces appear to be those of the drug cartels.

Clearly this lack of a credible threat is an inconvenience to the military-industrial complex, neocons, the National Rifle Association, big corporations, news media, and politicians looking to make a name for themselves. So ‘enemies’ have to found elsewhere, which has resulted in a succession of ‘threats’ being exposed since the Second World War. These are often pantomime villains of dusky hue, with difficult to pronounce names, and living in far-off lands of which most Americans know very little. Plus of course we have the post WWII constant – USSR / Russia.

At this point many of you will be wondering why, in a section headed ‘The EU Referendum’, I’m banging on about NATO and US foreign policy. There are two principle reasons.

First, a single political unit allows the US – as we are now seeing with TTIP – to gain preferential access to the richest market on earth through influencing just a few people. The danger here should be obvious to all. Second, the EU is viewed by many US policy-makers as a sister-body or even an extension of NATO. It’s no coincidence that NATO and the EU have marched east almost hand in hand.

Let me try to explain the NATO-EU link with the table I’ve compiled below. It gives the dates that eastern European countries joined first NATO and then the European Union. And it has always been in that order (sometimes simultaneous), but never is EU membership allowed before joining NATO.

The delay in Albania’s accession to the EU can be explained by the fact that the country is a ramshackle land with large parts, especially the area bordering the Serbian province of Kosovo, controlled by people-smugglers, drug-traffickers, organ-harvesters and a motley assortment of old-fashioned vendetta-pursuing, blood-feuding bandit chiefs. Albania’s chief export is gangsters.

NATO

An exception to the NATO-followed-by-EU rule is of course Turkey, which has been a NATO member since 1952. No surprise then to learn that there have always been voices in the upper reaches of the EU arguing in favour of admitting Turkey. ‘Bridge to the Islamic world’ and other bollocks has been spouted in support of this idiocy. The truth is that the USA wants to reward its faithful ally – and currently chief Bear-baiter – so it periodically applies pressure on the EU to let Turkey join the club.

Turkey, that backward, Islamist state where the security services bomb their own people. Turkey, the country that persecutes its fifteen million Kurds and has a very ambivalent attitude towards ISIL. Turkey, that just a century ago introduced the world to the concept of holocaust with its butchering of the Armenians.

In the ongoing conflict in Syria the USA has encouraged Turkey to provoke Russia, and although the US may belatedly be trying to rein in its proxy, there remains the possibility that this dysfunctional country could start World War Three. If Russia does retaliate to Turkish provocation then we (and here I have to mean the UK), as fellow-members of NATO, are Treaty-bound to line up with Turkey.

How do you feel about going to war with Russia because Turkey has done something stupid and deliberately provocative?

THE VIEW FROM WALES

Leaving aside these wider concerns, what should be our approach to this referendum from a purely Welsh perspective?

‘Wales does well out the EU’ is a mantra trotted out by those urging us to vote to stay in. ‘Does well’ is just a euphemism for hand-outs, we export little. In other words, we get EU grants because we are so bloody poor. Which makes this ‘argument’ just another defence of begging-bowl politics, an acceptance of Wales’ poverty and deprivation.

And what has happened to the billions we’ve received in EU funding? Where are the great infrastructure projects? Where is the multi-skilled workforce we’ve trained? Where are the successful indigenous companies the funding was used to start? Nowhere to be seen, bois bach!

That’s because the greater part of this windfall has been wasted on the shysters and parasites of the Third Sector. Most of whom – unsurprisingly – seem to have Labour Party connections. 

If the UK left the EU then the UK government would have to make up the lost EU funding. If it didn’t, we’d have to go without the Third Sector. (Don’t cry!) And if the UK government didn’t make up the shortfall, then it might cause a few more people here to wake from their slumbers.

Looking further afield, the UK leaving the EU would have far more serious repercussions for England, more specifically south east England, and to be very, very specific, the City of London. Because if the UK left the EU then many of the banks, investment houses and other financial institutions would decamp for Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich, Berlin, etc.

This would result in tens of thousands of very well paid jobs being lost to London, and a few hundred thousand more would be lost in a knock-on effect. So just spare a thought for all those Lamborghini salesmen, tailors, high-class hookers, hairdressers, tattooists, coke suppliers, estate agents, jewellers, etc., etc.

eu_logo

Remove the City of London from the balance sheet and the economy of England heads south very fast. With the City of London creating less wealth the UK economy must suffer, and despite the malaise being centred on London we can be sure that – as ever – the Old Etonians will see to it that peripheral areas suffer most.

This should serve as another wake-up call to the slumberers who unquestioningly believe that London rule is best for Wales.

Another argument used is that we must vote to stay in the EU to prove how different we are to England (assuming the English vote to leave). A position that invariably cites the fact that Scotland will definitely vote to stay in. Let’s look at this argument in a bit more detail.

First, Wales is not Scotland. The obvious stated, let me add that many hundreds of thousands of Scots will vote to stay in the EU for reasons that have little or nothing to do with the EU itself. It’s all about promoting independence, hoping that England – or Englandandwales – votes for Brexit.

Should there be a vote south of the border to leave the EU, and should that decision lead to Scottish independence, then it will reverberate here no matter how Wales voted. Scottish independence will concentrate minds in Wales no matter how it comes about and will make redundant whatever views may have been held in Wales when Scottish independence was just a vague possibility.

So let me spell it out. How Wales votes in the EU referendum is almost unimportant. The vote is being hyped up in Wales by those posturers who like to regard themselves as ‘progressive’, and done in order to show how superior they are to the ‘xenophobes’ who want to leave the wonderful EU. Smug, precious, and self-deluding bollocks!

CONCLUSION

There is no party standing in the Assembly elections for which a nationalist can honestly vote. That being so, there is an argument to be made for voting for any party that might help weaken the regional socialist party that for decades now has done so much damage to the Welsh cause.

Personally, I probably won’t bother voting. There’s a temptation to toddle along to the polling station and scribble ‘None of the above’ on my ballot paper, but that’s always struck me as a bit desperate unless part of an organised campaign.

When it comes to the EU referendum I shall definitely vote to leave the EU. That’s because the EU we know today is a great disappointment for someone of my age who genuinely wanted to see a strong and democratic Europe play a leading role in the world.

Instead, we have a byzantine nightmare that I suspect no one properly understands, a monster created by bureaucrats that seems to have been subverted to serve US economic and strategic interests rather than working for the good of Europeans.

And yet, I could still be converted to a united Europe, a European army, a European diplomatic corps . . . but my Europe would need leaders of stature, not the anonymous, paper-shuffling committeemen we are cursed with today.

If only the General would come back . . .