We Don’t Need This Fascist Groove Thing, 16th July 2020; Populism, Scapegoats, Soundbites – a mask for the right’s insecurities


‘Though the world Is my oyster
It’s only a shell Full of memories…’


At long last the PM has realised that wearing masks might just help the fight against Covid-19, which, you would think, is preferable to your own death or that of your nearest and dearest.

However, for some it is the death of their civil liberties, ‘a monstrous imposition!’, according to the Tory backbencher Sir Desmond Swayne.

‘anti-mask activists believe such an imposition belongs in a ‘communist country’’


Sir Desmond has rather a strange sense of priorities, having previously dressed up as the late soul singer James Brown, describing the blackface as an ‘entirely acceptable bit of fun’.

From this you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that Sir Desmond believes that all freeborn Englishmen have a sacred right to racist fancy dress, whereas measures to stop the spread of a pandemic that has killed one in every 1,000 of his fellow citizens is tyranny.

In isolation his insensitive stupidity might be eccentric. Alas he isn’t alone, social media is full of Tory activists ripping up their membership cards, assailing an authoritarian government that ‘is not remotely conservative’.

The right, it would seem isn’t only populated by nasty, evil people, but also by many who are remarkably stupid and selfish:

  • In Texas, anti-mask activists believe such an imposition belongs in a ‘communist country’,
  • Stillwater (Oklahoma) dropped the imposition of compulsory masks after threats of violence.


There seems to be a common thread with such people, it is called fear.

Fear of change, of anything progressive, of the 21st century, and worst of all, fear of the younger generation, who’s progressive values are hegemonic.

Issues such as LGBTQ, women’s rights, anti-racism, and immigration, are their concerns as they try to communicate their moral values on social media to the older generation who dominate the nation’s media.

This is at the root of the ‘culture war’ or ‘cancel culture’: rising demands that the values of the nation’s institutions are aligned with the worldview of the under-40s have provoked a moral panic. Black Lives Matter is just one flashpoint among much of the country’s youth.

In might be better summed up as the over-50s are the ‘don’t care generation’ wanting to regress, while youth cares and wants to be build a progressive and tolerant future.

The ‘don’t care generation’ have got their wish, we have regressed to a state similar to the end of the 1950s, it’s like living in an episode of ‘The Darling Buds of May’. The young and indebted have become hostages of the old and propertied, regardless of occupational class.

‘it’s like living in an episode of ‘The Darling Buds of May’’


The economic and social wellbeing of the country is in their hands as Johnson continues to court those who voted Tory, many for the first time, last December.

A key subject of difference is immigration, a powerful political tool, and one exploited continually by populist and neo-Fascist politicians: the academic Harris Beider (1) notes that ‘opposition to large-scale immigration has been a majority opinion since 1964, regardless of who is in power or how well or badly the economy has been doing’.

In his infamous 1968 Rivers of Blood speech, Enoch Powell told of meeting ‘a quite ordinary working man’ who expressed racist fears that ‘in 15 or 20 years’ time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man’.

Powell hid behind the ‘a quite ordinary working man’, whereas today it masquerades as ‘legitimate concerns on the doorstep’. A racist is a racist however you choose to describe it!

‘Some people say we got a lot of malice,
some say it’s a lotta nerve
But I say we won’t quit movin’ until we get what we deserve’


Brexit is just a part of this regressive theme taking over the country, with a hard Brexit looking more and more likely, it might prove to be the final kick-in-the-teeth the ‘don’t care generation’ foist on the young.

Whilst the coronavirus crisis has dominated 2020 Brexit has been grinding towards the inevitable conclusion, however there is still 5-months to go before we ‘leave’ some time for one more campaign and slogan; the government is spending £93m on a Brexit refresher campaign with the slogan ‘check, change, go’.

The target for this trite slogan appears to be people who currently have dealings with Europe and who might be labouring under the mis-apprehension that it will continue to be as be as easy as it has been to date.

This is, of course, precisely what Johnson and ‘leave’ have been saying for the past 4-years, now the new message appears to be disregard what have said. Perhaps a tacit admission that it was all fiction?

‘the final kick-in-the-teeth the ‘don’t care generation’ foist on the young’


Part of the truth is we can leave but the EU is still there, and we have yet to decide how we manage relations with them.

Whilst we have a sort of plan for borders, tariffs, and regulations, which seems to be based on what Brexit ultras refer to as the ‘fall-back’, i.e. the World Trade Organization our place in the world is uncertain.

This week Johnson narrowed the discussion with the EU to trade, taking foreign policy, security, and defence cooperation off the table.

Whilst the EU maybe baffled by such draconian stupidity, this is in-line with the Eurosceptic doctrine of ‘pristine sovereignty’. A new ‘global’ Britain free to deal with other global players peer-to-peer.

However, we have been given a clear steer as to what this really means; depending on which criteria you pick we will be either the 51st or 53rd state within the USA (2).

We are swapping be a vassal to the EU for the US, governed by a madman, with C.40% of the electorate little, if at all, saner.

‘if you want access to US markets you need to toe the line on foreign policy’


The signal to which I refer is the dropping of Huawei from our developing 5G infrastructure and limiting their involvement elsewhere.

I will readily accept concerns that Huawei has the potential to be a conduit for Beijing security interests, but there is a bigger picture; the US sanctions against the company and the demand from Washington that Britain be more demonstrative in its transatlantic loyalty.

The White House views trade and security policy as being intertwined, if you want access to US markets you need to toe the line on foreign policy.

EU members have their trade deals brokered by the European commission, which uses the scale of the single market – 28 countries: 450 million consumers – as leverage in negotiations. That is what concessions in national sovereignty buys you, and every government that has felt the benefits considers it a price worth paying. This what we no longer have. Remember, isolation is another word for alone.

‘I searched for form and land
For years and years I roamed..’


We are forgoing the leverage EU membership brings for sovereignty that means nothing in either Washington, or Beijing.

And, whatever we end up agreeing with the EU in terms of trade it will not be ‘frictionless’, as ‘Leave’ has always pretended it would be. This has now been admitted by Michael Gove, and Priti Patel, as Gove proposes spending £705m on border infrastructure, such as a giant holding pen in Kent.

As with the pandemic no one in government seems to have a clue what will happen, and therefore we have yet another slogan, ‘Let’s get going’ as an alternative to frictionless dealings with the EU trading block, and, as yet, we have no deals with others that compensate for withdrawing from the EU single market.

Patel’s proposal for short-term visas only to care workers only serves to highlight the cynicism of this government, a move that critics say could prove ‘an unmitigated disaster’ and may increase the risk of spreading coronavirus.

The government said it hoped Britons would fill a shortfall of around 120,000 workers, equating to 10% of all posts. Currently 17% of care jobs are filled by foreign citizens.

‘When immigration policy is put ahead of social care at anytime it should be a cause for concern, during a pandemic it should topple a government’


Prof Martin Green, the chief executive of Care England, which represents the largest private providers, said the decision, amid a pandemic in which 20,000 people have died in UK care homes, ‘has the potential to destabilise the sector even further with potentially disastrous consequences’.

A Downing Street spokesman said: ‘We want employers to invest more in training and development for care workers in this country. On care workers specifically, our independent migration advisers have said that immigration is not the sole answer here, which is why we have provided councils with an additional £1.5bn of funding for social care in 2021-22, as well as launching a new recruitment campaign.’

Vic Rayner, the executive director of the National Care Forum, said that in London, where around 38% of care workers are non-British, the policy could be ‘an unmitigated disaster’. We have 122,000 vacancies, growing demand for our services, and then the tap is turned off like this,’ she said. ‘It is not good news at all. What you need for good care is a stable, skilled and plentiful workforce. And in the context of Covid-19, where you are trying to minimise movement of staff, any shortages might increase movement of staff and use of agency staff, which we are trying to avoid.’

When immigration policy is put ahead of social care at anytime it should be a cause for concern, during a pandemic it should topple a government.

I can only conclude that we are governed by people subsumed by the fear of change, of anything progressive, of the 21st century, and the fear of the younger generation. These people hid behind a mask of belligerence, and pander to a minority of people who form the ‘don’t care generation.

‘…Don’t judge a book just by the cover
Unless you cover just another
And blind acceptance is a sign
Of stupid fools who stand in line..’


I will try and finish on a lighter note. Last week I visited a restaurant with my wife, the lady in charge asked for my name and phone number. I thought, ‘things are looking up, the old magic still works, when my wife pointed out that it was for ‘track and trace’. Our world beating solution was a pen and paper

  1. https://theconversation.com/profiles/harris-beider-209107
  2. http://www.faktoider.nu/50states_eng.html#:~:text=The%20United%20States%20of%20America&text=USA%20has%20had%2050%20states%20since%201959.&text=The%20District%20of%20Columbia%20is,%22states%20and%20other%20jurisdictions%22.&text=The%20flag%20has%2050%20stars%2C%20one%20for%20each%20state.


Fewer  words  from  Philip  this  week,  but  is  all  about  the  fight  in  dog; he’s  angry  alright.

Some  of  the evidence  as  presented  could  almost  be  comical,  if  it weren’t  so  deadly  serious;  Boris  tries  to  get  people  back to the office, but there  are  still  those  like  Desmond  Swayne  complaining about the  ‘monstrous  imposition’  of wearing  a  mask;  presumably it inhibits  his access to bitty.

Inequality is a long-running  theme  Philip’s  work,  but highlighting  the inter-generational  divide  between  haves  and  have-nots,  or  possibly the cares and don’t  cares  seems  raw  and uncomfortable;  they  may  share a house  by  necessity,  very  little else.

Then  Brexit  hurtling  toward  us,  spawning  yet  more meaningless nonsense  an  administration  founded  on  –  ‘check,  change,  go’?  £93m really?

The prospect of a hard Brexit forcing  us  become  vassal  to the US is rendered  even  less  attractive  when the Donald  sticks  chin out in the  direction of Beijing.

Lyrically,  we  have a treat and a rare  glimpse  of Philip’s generous  side – 23 pts  available  from just  four  tracks;  entries received in the normal  way  12pm  monday  please,  with  no  outliers.

First  up  ‘the  art  school  part  glam  revolution’  three each for  Roxy Music  and the splendid  ‘Song for Europe’;  next  the ‘godfather of soul  had a conscience  too’  the clue’s there and he’s mentioned  in the article,  one point for James  Brown,  and three for ‘I’m  Black and Proud’.  Thirdly, lashings of points  – ‘never  released by him as a single,  was a  hit  for an unlikely  choice of singer.  Also covered  in one of the all-time  great ‘unplugged’  sessions’  3pts for David  Bowie, three for ‘The Man  Who  Sold the World’,  3 for Lulu and 3 for Nirvana.

Last but  not  least,  this week’s  ‘gimmie’  ‘only  15-songs  but nothing  was ever  the same  after  them’;  it’s those  naughty  boys the Sex  Pistols  again with ‘EMI’;  enjoy,  you’re and if easing  your  lockdown this weekend,  let’s be  careful  there.


Philip Gilbert 2Philip Gilbert is a city-based corporate financier, and former investment banker.

Philip is a great believer in meritocracy, and in the belief that if you want something enough you can make it happen. These beliefs were formed in his formative years, of the late 1970s and 80s

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