Monday, 25 May 2009

The Abominable Mr Phibbs

The Guardian seems determined to follow the winning business model of the New York Times and print lots of neo-conservative bullshit in the hope that will widen the appeal. The irony that this big-business-friendly approach is probably contributing to the 'liberal' newspapers flat-lining as businesses is somewhat obvious.

What is possibly the funniest thing about this is that the ‘right wing’ as opposed to ‘left wing’ newspapers employ people with identical views to Phibbs but they tend to be better writers and more incisive thinkers.

He reheats the argument for privatisation, that Adolf nationalised the banks (rather than just pouring billions of tax dollars into them), therefore he was left wing. Apparently he had a protectionist trading policy as well.

It demonstrates that for both left and right, privatisation and unregulated open markets are now regarded as default sensible positions at a time when there are still major debates on the first issue and the second has proven to be a disaster.

Still, I don’t think that lateral thought (or any other type of thought) is Phibb’s strong point:

‘ The Conservatives need to get stuck in and expose the BNP as a neo-Nazi outfit. This task can no longer be satisfactorily left to the Socialist Workers party. Voters will understandably dismiss anything coming from that quarter as hysterical abuse – even if in this case it happens to be true.
What Conservatives can add to this critique is something that the left can never admit: Nazism and communism are ideological twins. The BNP is in fact an extreme leftwing outfit. It wishes individual liberty to be sacrificed to state control. It seeks the overthrow of capitalism, and rages against profit and speculators. It wishes to institute a siege economy with protectionism and the nationalisation of foreign-owned companies. In this it is being consistent to its founding inspiration. Hitler nationalised the banks and insurance companies, the economy was rigidly centrally planned, there was an extensive programme of public works, independent schools were banned.'
So it can ‘no longer’ be left to the Socialist Worker Party because it is the same thing? I’m confused. And ‘an extensive programme of public works’, the dastards. It just goes to show what would have happened if the neoliberal labservatives had improved the railway network. We’d be goose-stepping to the platforms.

Of course, the implicit argument is that big business will save us from Nazism. I don’t think that Phibbs missed making this explicit because he knew about IG Farben and Siemens use of slave labour, but purely because it would be too incisive to do so. I don’t think waffle is an arch ruse in Phibb’s case, but just his natural mode of being.

Furthermore, he also implies that neo-liberalism protects our personal freedoms whilst Social Democracy does not. Uh, maybe.

Still, let's wish Phibbs luck in his bold mission to 'expose' the BNP as racists. Let's just hope that he has the intellect to do so.


  1. Yeah - Phibbs is full of shit.

    His argument seems to be 'vote for the Conservatives, who are tacitly unpleasant and racist, to stop the openly unpleasant and racist BNP from gaining ground'.

    I don't know where the recent media knicker-twist about the political midget that is the BNP has come from anyway. I reckon it's a good way for the political classes to divert attention from a genuine impulse towards electoral reform.

    "We can't have electoral reform or 'UnBritish (??!!)' proportional representation because if voters are allowed to make a genuine democratic choice they'd only go and vote for who they want to represent them, I'd lose my safe seat and they would probably all vote for the Nazi's anyway !"

  2. 'I don't know where the recent media knicker-twist about the political midget that is the BNP has come from anyway.'

    I can't help noticing that we don't hear so much about 'terrorists' these days. What with the credit crunch and our retreat from Iraq, 'Vladimir Putin' and Ahmedinjad are probably too big 'Hitlers' to take on at the moment. Maybe with the BNP we've found a 'Hitler' who's a bit more in our price range. Especially as we spent so much on catching Osama Bin Hitler who ran away and killing Saddam Hitler, whose country fell apart afterwards. The BNP will probably be a good excuse for taking away our civil liberties anyway. And their protectionist economic policies (obviously much akin to Hitler's) make sefishness a virtue, sort of... well, kind of. And last of all, it will probably give our politicians a chance to drone on about Winston Churchill and (once again) Adolf Hitler. Which always seems to go down well.

    I wasn't certain to laugh or cry at Phibb's assertion that 'The Conservatives need to get stuck in and expose the BNP as a neo-Nazi outfit'. Together with his name, it made me wonder if it was a joke article.

    Yet, sadly I think as satire it would be too good for The Guardian, the idea that the most important task for the Conservative Party is to 'expose' the BNP as'neo-Nazis'. No doubt this would be followed by 'exposing' the Socialist Worker party as socialists.

    Still, I do not think there is that much popular support for major electoral reform. as Bill Hicks said 'there's nothing to see here, go back to bed America. Look, here's beer: drink this and get fat and stupid'. I think we've overtaken the Americans in that regard.

    I noticed most of the comments were very negative under Phibb's article. Interesting that our media are not interested in consumer feedback and similar market concepts when they are defending capitalism.