Megxit and the rise of woke royalism

The spiked team discuss the royals, Iran and the Labour leadership.

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Topics Politics UK

What does Megxit mean for the monarchy? Has the Iran crisis reached its peak? Can Labour’s next leader turn things around? Tom Slater, Ella Whelan and Fraser Myers discuss all this and more on this week’s spiked podcast.

Picture by: Getty.

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Comments

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Jonnie Henly

11th January 2020 at 4:02 pm

“A brief military junta between 1653 and 1658 was enough to show puritans were the worst people in British history until Woke “culture” pipped them to the post in 2016.”

Anti woke bores are always the most a historical loons around. If you think “woke culture” really is that bad then you should probably move elsewhere. The “happiest place on earth” is apparently now under the equivalent of a puritanical dictatorship coming off the back of a bloody civil war.

Does that match up to reality? I’d love to see you try and prove it.

Jim Lawrie

11th January 2020 at 8:42 pm

It does not match the reality of those on the same side as the censors, new moralists and social climbers.
Try challenging the orthodoxies handed down from on high instead of scraping and grovelling, ya wee nyaff.

Jonnie Henly

11th January 2020 at 10:18 pm

Look, I get it. You’re desperate to act as the persecuted victim. Conservatives have realised that being a bunch of reactionary establishment shills doesn’t play well, and they’ve had to try and re brand themselves.

But you’re not. You’re not under threat, you’re not the victims, you’re still the stuck up snobs in power that you’ve always been. The Royal family is coming apart at the seams and no amount of whinging from you lot will change that.

Jonnie Henly

11th January 2020 at 10:20 pm

A good caste iron rule of thumb is: those who whinge the loudest about being censored and “freedom of speech” tend to be the least interested in actually upholding what they preach.

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Michael Lynch

11th January 2020 at 2:20 pm

I disagree with the panel regarding getting out of the Arab region. We are there for one thing and one thing only – OIL. Our whole economy depends upon it, even more so in the age of our globalized food supply chains. We have a tenuous relationship with the owners of oil only because that it was the West that went in the 50s & 60s to dig it out for them. Let’s face it, the Saudis always get what they want on the back of that. It’s also why they can get away with what they are doing in Yemen without our media being all over it. Just imagine then what would happen if they wanted to strangle that supply in order to create a high demand situation. I remember the 1974 Oil embargo, so it’s not such a hysterical concern. Back then we were not living in the materialistic world of today; not so many cars, smaller population and were much more independent etc, etc. If this situation occurred today I’d give society in Europe a couple of months before it descended into chaos. Forget Brexit, forget the Banking crisis as these would pale into insignificance compared to the damage it would do to our economy. In fact, life as we know it would be gone and we’d descend into a feral state quite quickly. I only say this because I watched people empty the shelves of supermarkets over here a couple of years ago just because the media overplayed the announcement of an approaching weather event. It would be interesting to know what others think about this.

Jim Lawrie

12th January 2020 at 12:16 am

If the Saudis were to do as you say, the shortfall would be made up by The USA, Russia, Canada and Venezuela. Sanctions would be shifted to the countries who continued to buy cheap Saudi oil.
In short, the trade war would intensify with China as the target. Its public spending is already a runaway, and would be forced even higher. 42%of all Chinese growth in the last 10yrs is made up of Government spending. 10yrs ago that spending was 20% of GDP. It is now 35%. Debt, both public and private, has exploded. A lot of Chinese could see their savings wiped out. Trump will shed no tears over all of that.

Jim Lawrie

11th January 2020 at 1:50 pm

Nemo me impune lacessit.
He has impressed upon Iran et al. that, no matter the status of the individual, they cannot act with impunity. They can no longer force thousands of martyrs to do their bidding. The feeble ‘retaliation’ tells us that this decrepit regime know they are in the crosshairs, and are scared of martyrdom for themselves.

The shooting down of the passenger jet has shown what a bunch of murderous relics they are, and strengthened the case for their replacement.

Trump has won this. After any move he always waits for his opponent to respond. He is not stupid. It is a mistake to think he is. He is not in awe of experts. He thinks and acts for himself.

Michael Lynch

11th January 2020 at 3:37 pm

Absolutely, spot on.

Jonnie Henly

11th January 2020 at 4:05 pm

If you think people will react positively to any attempt to “replace” Iran’s leadership you are sorely mistaken.

And I don’t just mean people in Iran.

Michael Lynch

11th January 2020 at 4:27 pm

You mean you won’t like it?

Jonnie Henly

11th January 2020 at 4:46 pm

Like I said, if you think people will support it, especially in the long term, then good luck to you.

Jim Lawrie

12th January 2020 at 12:01 am

I made no comment on how people would react.
The verdict on the elimination of this leader has been good riddance. Only the enemies of Donald Trump and of America are complaining.
Now that Trump has tested the water, I think he’ll cooperate with Israel who are keen to destroy the nuclear development facilities. As they did in Iraq and Syria.

jan mozelewski

16th January 2020 at 7:55 pm

On the contrary, the much put-upon people of Iran are already clearly showing they would gladly see the back of the ghastly quasi-religious dictatorship. (Until they are either shot or put in the slammer, that is.)

In Negative

11th January 2020 at 11:03 am

As ever, Trump applied a magical solution to a rational world and discovered that in rationalised worlds, there are no events. The rationalised world looks at the magical act and goes: “ok, that’s a blip; we can conjure up some signs to fix that and then get ourselves back to reason – ‘honour satisfied’.” I don’t know if it’s going to be that simple personally, but we will see.

Soleimani was not some evil mastermind. I’m so sick of hearing this. I don’t care if you weep for him or celebrate his death. He was a man working in a system that demands certain acts and values from him. He will be replaced by other men who feel similarly. He was also mourned by millions of his own people – the only people that matter really in these kinds of judgement. That the West don’t like Soleimani doesn’t matter in the slightest. That the West don’t like Soleimani is about as noteworthy as the West not liking FGM. It’s taken as read, who cares? Reality doesn’t care who the West likes and dislikes; it will continue as it continues regardless.

What Trump did was momentarily destroyed the world order. As Hitchens would have it, he destroyed the principle of ‘civilised war’. An alternative to that would be to say he applied a magical solution to a rationalised world. Soleimani was one of Iran’s most important dignitaries with diplomatic privileges. By any civilised standard, it was murder and it sanctions international anarchy.

I have no idea what Trump thought he was doing. Maybe force the Western allies to back him in his nuclear stance? Maybe get Iran back to the table to talk over a new nuclear deal? Maybe guarantee the US will have to leave Iran and the middle-east? Maybe make it known that he is a magician and that all rational certainties are off the table – that he is a man of symbolic exchanges, not a man of reason? I’ve no idea. He has though unified the Shiite world and amplified the desire for the deaths of westerners.

Michael Lynch

11th January 2020 at 12:56 pm

Trump’s strategy seems simple enough; cut the head off the chicken and let it run around aimlessly for a few seconds before it drops dead. As far as the ‘values’ of a lunatic regime are concerned, they’ve just shot down an airliner stuffed full of their own people. This was no accident, the air to surface missile crew use sophisticated radar and identification software nowadays. They may try to tell you otherwise, but it seems obvious to me that you can’t mistake an airliner for an American fighter. Unless, of course, you are claiming that a foreign fighter had landed at Tehran airplane for refueling before continuing on its journey! The fact that they tried to cover it up by bulldozing the site immediately afterward shows how clumsy they are at diplomacy and handling crisis. It’s like catching kids shortly after they’ve been caught doing something naughty. Therefore, there is no way you can trust them to keep their end of any deal you want to make with them. Trump is right in essence; enough of the continual appeasement. I wouldn’t trust this lot with a bow and arrow let alone a nuclear weapon.
We heard this all before about the warmonger Trump shortly after the start of his Presidency. Remember the Korea crisis? The looney left media were intent on telling us then that we were all heading for WW3! That was an accurate prediction, wasn’t it? This continual finger wagging is getting very tedious now.
Finally, with regards the principle of ‘civilized war’, a batshit crazy oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one, you cannot deal with an implacable enemy in a half hearted way. That strategy went rather well for the Americans in Vietnam, didn’t it?

Claire D

12th January 2020 at 8:08 pm

Yes Michael, I think the shooting down of the Ukrainian jet was another act of war, as I’ve described in my reply to IN. It’s a bizarre game where something is happening but the powers that be all pretend it is’nt, even to the extent of applauding the Iranians for their ‘ honesty ‘.

In Negative

14th January 2020 at 10:31 am

@Claire
I draw an equivalence between Harry and Soleimani not to compare deeds, but only as to compare the way a people are wounded by his death. He is a figure whose killing appears to have humiliated and united the Iranian people en masse. He was emblematic of something more profound within the culture and that culture’s feelings regarding America and the West. He is more than “a bad guy,” as Trump might have it.

As for his being directly responsible for thousands of deaths, I have no idea about this. I hear it a lot, but I’ve not been given any specific example of any particular outrage. It was likely more important to America to kill him for political reasons than to avenge the deaths of US soldiers. He was an important figure in Shiite unification throughout the middle-east – the Saudis didn’t like him; Israel didn’t like him; from a western perspective, he was a destabilising force. I don’t know anything like enough about this to get too deeply involved in it – like everyone else, I’d never heard of this guy before the other day. I’d imagine though that they killed him in order to weaken Iranian power in the region whilst committing a symbolic outrage to show that Trump isn’t playing by the established rules.

Given the West’s clandestine support of groups like ISIS where it suited them (e.g. in Syria and Libya) I’m not convinced the US are too troubled by the deaths of soldiers in and of themselves. Let us not forget that ISIS et al are essentially of a Saudi tradition and are quite useful in destabilising Iran.

Claire D

12th January 2020 at 11:13 am

@In Negative

Interesting comment, but I think you are missing out that essentially the US and Iran are at war, it is unannounced and unacknowledged officially but their actions indicate they are at war.
There were significant events which led up to the killing of Soleimani; the tit for tat taking of oil tankers in July of last year, Iran arresting and probably executing a number of it’s own citizens with links to the US for ‘ spying ‘, the killing of an American civilian + injury of US troops in the rocket attack in Iraq (probably by Hezbollah) soon after, followed by the US bombing sites linked to Hezbollah in retaliation, and ultimately the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad days before the drone attack on Soleimani.

War is going on but everyone including the US and Iran prefer to pretend it is’nt, lying constantly and with no compunction.

In Negative

13th January 2020 at 10:27 am

@Michael
This is entirely different to what was going on with rocket man. When you murder the dignitary of a sovereign nation with diplomatic privileges whilst on state business you flout an international rule-base on which every country on earth’s moral authority and meaning rests. You destroy the system by which the world consents to operate and conduct its conflicts.

You bring up the passenger shoot down. By what moral standard do you now object to that? Commercial airliners are fair game in uncivilised war. Why pretend otherwise? Trump has already reset the rules. It doesn’t matter what Iran do now, Trump has already destroyed any moral principle.

@Claire
If there is a war, it’s a low-level war. By killing Soleimani Trump has made a bet. He’s made a bet that by doing something irrational and outside the world order that it might bring Iran more into line. In humiliating the country on the world stage, he has said: “What you going to do about that then? You can’t predict what I’ll do next if you do anything about that.” This unpredictability may or may not force Iran to behave in ways that the US want them to. It may also lead us into a full blown war in the middle-east, and as we know from history, there is absolutely no knowing where that will go.

WWI started with the assassination of someone no one had ever heard of. The way the world is right now and the way the middle-east is right now, I reckon we may well be on the threshold of another world war. I would argue that WWI and WWII were necessitated by rapid changes in technology that the old world order was struggling to incorporate. With all the old systems crumbling around us now under the weight of digital technologies, I’d suggest we were in a very similarly unstable place. A globally destructive war might be just the thing we are looking for in order to rebuild our societies more appropriately to changed circumstances.

Claire D

13th January 2020 at 11:01 am

@In Negative

Indeed, “a low-level war” could be one way to describe it, but the killing of Soleimani as “irrational” no, that is the whole point of my reply; there were significant events which led to an escalation of hostilities and the killing of Soleimani was entirely rational as one way forward for the US, it was a radical, decisive and unequivocal response to Iran’s provocations of the previous 6 months. The price so far for the rest of us has been the 160 or so deaths of civilians on board a plane, collateral damage as far as the US is concerned, I’m guessing.

I hope you are mistaken with regard to another world war.

Michael Lynch

14th January 2020 at 10:54 am

Whilst I wish to cause no offense, I have to point out that the seeds of the WW1 were to found in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. The assassination was merely the last straw of increasing tensions built up over decades. I find it tedious when people assume history comes in neat, unconnected episodes.. This ‘it started on Monday and finished on Thursday’ thinking is a rather cliche and rather fashionable nowadays. The Iranian War started proper when the regime established itself and burnt its first American Flag. In fact, tensions in the Arab world go back to the formation of Israel sanctioned by the West. Trump warned the Iranians that he wouldn’t react lightly if they killed an American citizen and that’s what they did and that is the reason for the killing of Soleimani.
As far as bring down an airliner is concerned, there is no moral justification for it and there is no such thing as legal or civilized war.

In Negative

13th January 2020 at 4:00 pm

@Claire
My claim about Trump’s irrationality in killing Soleimani is based on the flouting of all civilised practise where international relations and war are concerned. I agree with you that he was responding to a line of symbolic provocations (as the US see them) and I agree that it makes sense in a tit for tat escalation of hostilities too. My point though is that he blatantly broke with all legal conventions and went way beyond what might be considered standard political practise. It is irrational insofar as it breaks with consensual, rationalised conflict and goes back to a might is right system of self-interest. There has been no formal declaration of war between Iran and America. It was an illegal assassination of a very important figure from a legitimate sovereign country – akin, say, to the North Koreans killing Prince Harry on a diplomatic mission to South Korea. I would expect that to unite the whole UK in disgust and outrage (not to mention the wider “civilised” world) regardless of what they thought about the monarchy.

And this is what Trump achieveed. He used the US occupation of Iraq (another sovereign country) without informing them, to murder a dignitry of a neighbouring state, a dignitry who was also fighting alongside many of them against ISIS. It’s not just Iran that have good reason to feel affronted by this action. The millions on the streets of Iran surely prefigure a far wider grief/outrage right across the middle-east.

I still feel that Trump is looking to clear the way for a negotiation with Iran that he has brokered and approved of. The strategy might even work and if it does, I’ll give him credit. It’s a hell of a gamble though and he’s gambling with way way more than just the Iranians. He’s relying on a lot of unpredictable elements behaving in ways I don’t believe are natural to them. Who knows what kinds of tribal enemy he’s unleashed in that action.

In Negative

13th January 2020 at 4:15 pm

@Claire
It’s also worth balancing the claims of Iranian provocation a little too. This whole situation has come about becuase the US tore up the Iranian nuclear deal, a deal that Iran were comitted to and honouring; the US have also imposed crippling sanctions on Iran which a) increases its domestic instability (one reason for the sanctions) and b) means many of its poorest, sickest and youngest will suffer/die. They are deliberately trying to strangle Iran to death in the hope a more convenient regime will emerge.

Whatever you think of Iran, you can see why it wouldn’t want to just sit back and let itself be strangled to death.

Claire D

14th January 2020 at 7:41 am

@ IN

I agree with the second part of your reply at least and accept to some degree the first. The trouble with regard to ” civilised practise ” is that it is compromised by this low-level war being unofficial. As long as it is unacknowledged as ” war ” both sides can ignore civilised practise, behave with impunity and then lie, bluster or apologise.

Claire D

14th January 2020 at 8:21 am

@ IN

Prince Harry = Solemani ? No.
Harry is/was a minor royal figurehead whose role is largely diplomatic. Soleimani was a high-ranking soldier hugely influential and directly involved in killing hundreds of people.

Iranian provocations ” symbolic ” ? No.
Try explaining to the relatives of dead and wounded victims that the bombs involved were only “symbolic”. And those executed.

Claire D

14th January 2020 at 8:34 am

@ IN

My approach to conflicts such as these tends to be neutral and historical. Perhaps if they impacted on me personally it would be different.

In Negative

14th January 2020 at 10:35 am

@Claire
I draw an equivalence between Harry and Soleimani not to compare deeds, but only as to compare the way a people are wounded by his death. He is a figure whose killing appears to have humiliated and united the Iranian people en masse. He was emblematic of something more profound within the culture and that culture’s feelings regarding America and the West. He is more than “a bad guy,” as Trump might have it.

As for his being directly responsible for thousands of deaths, I have no idea about this. I hear it a lot, but I’ve not been given any specific example of any particular outrage. It was likely more important to America to kill him for political reasons than to avenge the deaths of US soldiers. He was an important figure in Shiite unification throughout the middle-east – the Saudis didn’t like him; Israel didn’t like him; from a western perspective, he was a destabilising force. I don’t know anything like enough about this to get too deeply involved in it – like everyone else, I’d never heard of this guy before the other day. I’d imagine though that they killed him in order to weaken Iranian power in the region whilst committing a symbolic outrage to show that Trump isn’t playing by the established rules.

Given the West’s clandestine support of groups like ISIS where it suited them (e.g. in Syria and Libya) I’m not convinced the US are too troubled by the deaths of soldiers in and of themselves. Let us not forget that ISIS et al are essentially of a Saudi tradition and are quite useful in destabilising Iran.

Claire D

14th January 2020 at 11:15 am

@ IN

Yes, I agree with and appreciate what you say, in particular your first paragraph. It seems to me that in some ways there are parallels between Arabs and the Native Americans of the 19th century, both great warrior cultures whose ways no longer fit in with global politics and are being pushed to the brink. Having travelled in the Middle East and met and spent time with ordinary people whom I liked, admired and respected, I do feel sad for them. Nevertheless Time and History march on.

David Bettney

11th January 2020 at 9:28 am

Totally agree about Labour…..It can not be the liberal party of the woke middle classes and the party of the Laborer from Yorkshire…The electorate are polls apart…..And I realise that Labour will continue to try and bluff their old electorate but eventually the working classes, and the centrist middle classes will see through this charade, and maybe go over to their rightful home, which I believe is the resurgent SDP.

Jonnie Henly

11th January 2020 at 4:04 pm

How many votes did the “resurgent” SDP achieve in the election.

The SDP was a pretty big pipe dream in the 1980s. Right now? Well, best of luck to anyone backing that horse.

Jim Lawrie

12th January 2020 at 9:40 am

The SDP of the 80’s was all committee room and handed down from on high.
That inherited haughtiness was evident in the behaviour of The LibDems in the General Election.
The SDP of today is rooted in the membership. Support has grown in the last 3yrs. Although, as yet electorally insignificant, their policies are in tune with many of the working and lower middle classes. But I’m sure you know all this already.

jan mozelewski

14th January 2020 at 10:06 pm

Judging by their woeful general election result, and the standard of candidates for the leadership, Labour are going to struggle to halt their decline, let alone get back to square one.
Nature, and Politics, abhors a vacuum. The empty space where we used to have a left-of-centre opposition needs to be filled. The gap left by the Labour numpties is yawning and I see no reason why the re-established SDP cannot fill at least some of it.

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ZENOBIA PALMYRA

11th January 2020 at 12:26 am

The Puritans made your constitutional monarchy possible. Parliament successfully resisted Charles I’s attempt to impose a Habsburg/Bourbon style autocracy on these islands and laid the foundation for parliamentary democracy, and the Glorious Revolution. The Victorians recognised Cromwell’s contribution to the development of democracy and freedom and that is why there is a statue to him outside the Palace of Westminster.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

11th January 2020 at 12:27 am

That was a reply to Mr. Dominic Straiton.

Claire D

11th January 2020 at 8:38 am

I agree with you Zenobia (!!!)

The Puritans did indeed make an important contribution to the British constitution and culture in all sorts of ways as well as founding America. England’s civil war meant we had a ‘ republic’ which lasted 20 years, and Cromwell gradually took on all the privileges that had previously been held by only monarchs.
I do not think Woke culture is comparable with Puritanism, far from it.

Claire D

11th January 2020 at 8:50 am

Woke culture is a superficial adaptation linked to our social media and the desire to present oneself in an acceptable manner to one’s peers.

Puritanism was a development in Protestantism, albeit linked to the economics and politics of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Jim Lawrie

11th January 2020 at 8:51 pm

Claire D I’d say it is also a desire to simultaneously ingratiate to those further up the ladder and keep those below you right where they are. It is about status quo.

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Dominic Straiton

10th January 2020 at 5:44 pm

There is no such thing as “royalism” . If you mean a repost to republicanism then il go for a thousand years of gradual human freedom starting with magna Carta. A brief military junta between 1653 and 1658 was enough to show puritans were the worst people in British history until Woke “culture” pipped them to the post in 2016. Weve got shot of them. Charles III or more likely George VII will hopefully ring in a more merry happier time as did Charles II. There isnt going to be a British republic ever as constitutional monarchy is the happiest place to be on earth. Republics are for the 3,4th, 5th republic of France that isnt a democracy or Saddam Hussain or the American version that couldnt be replicated because modern politicians are incapable of writing the federalist papers or anything approaching it.

Ven Oods

11th January 2020 at 9:56 am

‘repost’ = riposte?

Ven Oods

11th January 2020 at 10:07 am

Oops! (Double posted).

Ven Oods

11th January 2020 at 10:06 am

‘repost’ = riposte?

a watson

11th January 2020 at 10:51 am

A citizens army executed the king and tried to impose a more democratic political structure in England in 1649 (The Agreement of the People). Thwarted by the military elite of the time. 1945 and a citizens army tried to impose a more democratic political structure in Britain (The Atlee government). Gradually being thwarted by incompetent middle class politicians.

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