RCP/LM watch

Keeping an eye on the RCP/LM and its fronts

Brendan O’Neill: Tommy Robinson for the middle classes

In its long and inglorious, and until the (in)famous LM libel trial obscure, history, the RCP has eschewed big personalities, for all that cadre were dedicated to Uncle Frank Furedi as the ‘Lenin de nos jours‘. In recent years, however, the Spiked editor Brendan O’Neill, the Rotweiler of the RCP, has taken a publicly leading role for Spiked, appearing on broadcast media, including primetime exposure on BBC1 Question Time, and has been increasingly aggressive and outspoken on various hot button topics for the sect, particularly the Left and environmentalism, expressing deep and virulent hatred and scorn for both, and of course Right libertarianism. In these times of Brexit fever, he’s also been giving good copy to the media as a hard Brexiteer, ostensibly from the ‘left’ (though the RCP left the Left a long time ago). His articles are pushed prominently on Spiked, and are increasingly inflammatory and provocative, as is his agressive and combative personal manner.

He’s now launched the Brendan O’Neill Show as an audio podcast, and has a heap of videos on YouTube with followers in the tens of thousands. This follows the fame trajectory of the far Right figure Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, who built his following on YouTube and social media. Yaxley-Lennon pushes his far Right rantings to a white English working class audience, whereas O’Neill is targetting the middle classes regardless of ethnicity, as the RCP has done since the ’80s when it actively recruited at universities. His messages are very much about issues that wind up sections of the middle classes, particularly middle-aged and affluent males, such as feminism, the Left, academia, environmentalism, and of course free speech. O’Neill also does Brexit, not from an English nationalist perspective, but from a seemingly ‘higher’ perspective of human progress and liberty.

O’Neill’s becoming a personality cult in his own right, and is clearly adopting tools and tricks of other ‘alt-right’ personalities and projects to push the sect’s messages. The RCP doesn’t do individual initiative, being strongly Leninist since its inception, so this must be a deliberate and deliberated strategic policy from what passes for the party Politburo these days. O’Neill’s prominence must be backed by Uncle Frank and the top cadre, as a move to engage the angry middle classes, much as Yaxley-Lennon has engaged white van man and footie hooligans. O’Neill is clearly being positioned by the sect as the Tommy Robinson of the middle classes.

Uncle Frank and the leadership should beware, though. History is littered with cases of personalities who became too big for their Party boots, who went on to develop their own momentum and following independent of the Party, and who forced their ideas on to the Party. The tails that wagged their dogs. As an originally Trotskyite sect, the RCP/LM will surely be able to think of at least one instance of an obscure ‘hick from the sticks’ who developed a personality cult once the Party leader had croaked…

References

Powerbase on Brendan O’Neill

 

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January 7, 2019 Posted by | RCP/LM | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Washington gold

The doggedly persistent George Monbiot has finally uncovered direct evidence of funding to Spiked from US neoliberal sources, to the tune of some $300k which is not to be sniffed at. The Guardian published a 2-page article from him in its ‘pink bit’ on December 7th, 2018, and young George has also reproduced the article on his own website [1]. It makes for interesting and enlightening reading. It’s long been suspected that the sect has taken ‘Washington gold’ based on their pro-corporate Right libertarianism, and Uncle Frank has touted his services as ‘consultant’ to US corporations in the past, but RCP Watch has until now tended to the view that the sect staffers do actually believe their own propaganda and are convinced by their own ultra-humanist ideology (sorry, ‘Enlightenment values’). The evidence that they’ve taken money from US corporate organisations, ultimately funded by the immensely rich and as immensely shadowy Koch brothers, shows that they have a clear financial incentive to follow far Right and anti-environmentalist lines that favour US multinational organisations. This dark funding explains, to take just one instance, the RCP/LMs very hard and intellectually surprising pro-Brexit line [2], as US corporations stand to make billions from a hard Brexit as the UK becomes a low-wage, low-regulation, freefire enterprise zone for multinationals.

Knowing that they’re paid to push far Right propaganda and, essentially, do what they’re told by paymasters, seriously devalues any intellectual credibility and moral integrity on the sect’s part. Now that the organisation is clearly a front for corporate interests, it should not be taken seriously by any media organisation, for all that it gives good sensationalist and controversialist copy. Its reps should be kicked off the Moral Maze, for starters, and when its spokespeople appear on radio and TV they should be clearly described as US corporate agents.

This is sweet revenge for George Monbiot, who’s been a target of character assassination by the RCP for many years – indeed, this blog was kicked off by a seriously nasty campaign of vilification on the Spiked site (see The 2-Minute Hate). With this funding revelation, he’s seriously put the boot in.

References

[1] [You want it darker? http://www.monbiot.com, 10/12/18. “The remarkable story of how the hard-right Koch brothers funded a Trotskyite splinter group.” Also published in The Guardian, 7/1/18, as “How US billionaires are fuelling the hard-right cause in Britain“.

[2] Why surprising? Because the sect has always been in favour of unrestricted human material and intellectual progress, and of course pro-corporate, so its rejection of the European Union for a backwards English isolationism which is bound to severely impact academic collaboration and scientific research does make the eyebrows lift.

January 7, 2019 Posted by | RCP/LM | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jonathan Pie

The RCP/LM has never been known for its humour, and is usually as laugh-a-minute as a road crash. Its earnest vanguardism goes back to the early RCP days, and as anyone who had contact with Trotskyist sects then (and now) learnt, ideological purity and revolutionary zeal were the most prized attributes of cadre. Humour was seen as a bourgeois frivolity.

However, perhaps the organisation is dipping its toes into, of all things, stand-up comedy. A rising stand-up star, very popular on social media, who gives shows nationwide, is Jonathan Pie, alter ego of comedian Tom Walker. His schtick is playing a news reporter giving a live on-the-ground report from, say, outside the Houses of Parliament, on a current topic (eg bombing Syria) who starts off the report as a straight shot to camera, then when he goes ‘off air’ he lets rip with scabrous, highly sweary rants to his fictional controller in the studio. How funny and/or satirical he is, you can judge for yourselves from the videos on his YouTube channel.

RCP Watch is not outing Pie as a RCP/LM front, as some of his stuff is definitely ‘off-message’ for the sect and he has clear Left sympathies, but his aggressive libertarianism, particularly on the topic of free speech, fits in well with the sect’s far Right libertarianism. As does his putting the boot into Left liberals (an easy target, right enough, and always good for yucks). What links him to the sect is that the co-writer of Pie, Andrew Doyle, is a sect stalwart and prolific contributor to Spiked Online, as well as a stand-up comedian. An article for the libertarian communist (aka anarchist) organisation libcom.org [1] makes this connection clear.

The Jonathan Pie act will undoubtedly make it on to mainstream media in the not too distant future, giving exposure to Doyle, whose connection to Spiked will undoubtedly remain occult. Watch out for appearances on, say, Mock the Week.

PS: For those observers of the RCP/LM with a conspiratorial bent, who reckon that it’s being funded by the Russkies, note that Tom Walker worked with RT (aka Russia Today) for some months, according to his Wikipedia entry. Mind you, so do personalities as varied as Alec Salmond and Gorgeous George Galloway, neither of whom could be considered lackeys.

[1] “The unsurprising reason why Jonathan Pie rants sound straight out of Spiked.” libcom.org, 6/2/18

May 8, 2018 Posted by | RCP/LM | , , , , | Leave a comment

RCP/LM as a “far Right” group

The US Marxist magazine Jacobin posted an interesting, if wordy, article on the “normalization” of anti-Muslim hatred in the UK, which is worth reading in itself as it has some useful insights from a Left viewpoint [1]. Of interest to this blog, though, is that it cites and extensively quotes Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked, the RCP/LM’s tabloid website, as representative of a “far right” organisation, and repeatedly outs him as “far right”, with some justification based on his output in Spiked and other Right-wing outlets. Unsurprisingly, Spiked calls Islamophobia a “myth” – unsurprisingly, because the RCP/LM is by nature contrarian, and is particularly contrarily hostile to the UK Left for which Islamophobia is a given [2].

The sect has form in this kind of denial of the bleeding obvious in order to serve its ideological and publicity ends. During the Balkan wars of the early 90s, the sect repeatedly and stridently denied atrocity reports (except when committed against Serbs, natch) despite abundant evidence, and gave print space to atrocity deniers which eventually led to a libel action against LM magazine which brought it down [3]. In Rwanda, the RCP/LM denied that any kind of genocide was taking place. The sect continues to deny the reality of anthropogenic climate change. And so on.

Thus, denial of Islamophobia is par for the sect’s course, but the extent to which O’Neill, the RCP/LM’s attack dog, rubbishes it leads the Jacobin article’s authors to describe him as “far right”. For all that the RCP, back in the 80s day, did physically fight nazis in the street, its current incarnation claims that “open racism”, as it fought back in those days, has “vanished”. It not only denies Islamophobia, it denies the existence of racism, or at least as it idiosyncratically defines it [4].

O’Neill himself, and his magazine, have to be judged on its actions and words, and anyone reading Spiked articles can be under no illusion that this is a Right libertarian magazine that often strays into far Right territory. It’s about time that it was called out on this publicly, and not just by an obscure US Marxist magazine. O’Neill is regularly invited on to TV, radio and Press [5] because he gives good contrarian copy and is grand for the wind-up. If he were seen for what he is, the Rottweiler of a far Right organisation, his legitimacy as a pundit would be shot, as would the sect’s.

[1] Aaron Winter and Aurelien Mondon, “Normalized Hate“, Jacobin magazine, 17/8/17

[2] It’s also a clear and present danger to Moslem communities suffering racist attacks and State oppression, but the RCP/LM only has eyes for the Left and liberals as their Enemy No. 1, their Goldstein.

[3] See a 201o post on this blog.

[4] See O’Neill’s article in The Spectator, 6/8/16, “Britain’s real hate crime scandal“, in which he claims that ‘hate crime’ is a “self-sustaining myth”. The article could as easily have been written by Katie Hopkins.

[5] Including, amazingly, the Big Issue, which regularly publishes polemics by O’Neill, despite – or perhaps because – of its editor, the ex-Trotskyist John Bird, knowing the RCP/LM of old.

August 20, 2017 Posted by | RCP/LM | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bruno Waterfield

On BBC Radio 4’s flagship politics programme Any Questions on 28th May, 2016, was Bruno Waterfield, which the programme’s website disingenuously described as “Bruno Waterfield the Brussels correspondent for The Times” (the Telegraph, actually), rather ignoring his history in the RCP/LM as a founder member. He goes back a long way to the early days of the RCP, and has clearly maintained his loyalty to the sect and his cadre as he’s still a regular and highly prolific contributor to Spiked, these days as its foremost Brexit advocate (search Spiked for his name and you’ll get many tens of articles, nearly all putting the boot into Eurocrats). So if you listened to the programme and were slightly taken aback by the guy who was pro-withdrawal but not a swivel-eyed Ukipper, he’s the RCP/LM’s primary mouthpiece for their ‘Brexit with a difference’ anti-EU policy. The difference being that they hate all Leave and Remain campaigns, and as ever plough their own contrarian furrow spurning all alliances.

It’s a cert that the BBC, and its QT staff, know all of the RCP/LM lot, as the sect is assiduous and indefatigable when it comes to getting air time for its (well, Uncle Frank’s) views, so it’s not conceivable that the Beeb didn’t know about his past, yet there was no mention of yer man’s history, or even his present work with Spiked and the Institute of Ideas. At least Claire “Her Master’s Voice” Fox proudly acknowledges her role in the organisation, in contrast to eminences grises like Waterfield, Mick Hume and Kenan Malik who take care to hide their RCP lights behind respectable bushels.

For a brief bibliography of his oeuvre since the mid-90s, see his Powerbase page.

June 8, 2016 Posted by | RCP/LM | , , , , | 1 Comment

Scientific Alliance

RCP Watch’s attention has been drawn to the Scientific Alliance by an article in, of all publications, Wild Land News, quarterly journal of the Scottish Wild Land Group, a voluntary environmentalist body dedicated to safeguarding wild landscapes in Scotland, which has a somewhat NIMBYish attitude to wind power. The Spring/Summer 2015 issue [1] contains an article entitled “The Myth of Renewables”, by Anthony Trewavas of the Scientific Alliance, which is essentially a pseudo-scientific tirade against all and any renewable technologies, and includes quite astonishing and ludicrous assertions such as:

Current expenditure on UK wind farms is more than £20 billion. If that money had instead been used to construct 30 gas fired power stations to replace those using coal, emissions reduction would have been about 37%.

and:

One kg of fusion fuel produces energy equivalent to 10 million kg of fossil fuel.

which may be true in theory, but as there are no working [2] fusion power plants in existence  is quite simply untrue in practice. The author also extols, nay eulogises, nuclear fission, and puts the boot into even ‘invisible’ renewable technologies, such as geothermal power (which runs Iceland, btw).

Such virulent anti-renewables views got our antennae twitching. Trewavas is a prof writing on behalf of the Scientific Alliance, which the estimable and authoritative SourceWatch has a long page on, describing its views succinctly:

 It is anti-environmental, anti-organic and pro-GM and pro-nuclear power. [3]

It’s clearly a corporate front of “industry-friendly experts”, and as such is just one of many fronts shilling for the fossil fuel and nuclear industries. Nothing new there. Of interest to this blog, though, is its direct links to the RCP/LM, which has long been ‘sceptical’ (to put it mildly) of anthropogenic climate change, on the grounds that any efforts to mitigate climate change will be “anti-human” and “anti-progress”. Both Tracy Brown, of Sense About Science (a long-standing RCP/LM front), and the notorious Bill Durodié, are actively involved in the SA, the latter being on its advisory forum.

The irony of the article, of course, is that the RCP/LM not only couldn’t give a monkey’s about “wild land”, it wouldn’t even recognise the term and would positively advocate turning such land to human use. A virulent anti-environmentalist writing for an environmental magazine has to be if not unique, then remarkably unusual.

References

[1] http://www.swlg.org.uk/uploads/6/3/3/8/6338077/wln87-22.05.2015.pdf

[2] Working in the sense of generating more power than goes into the things. Over 30 years of research and zillions of dollars have yet to produce even a prototype fusion plant.

[3] Sourcewatch: Scientific Alliance

July 24, 2015 Posted by | RCP/LM fronts | , , , , | Leave a comment

The RCP/LM runs a school

A subscriber tells us that the RCP/LM has now branched out into running a school, the East London Science Academy [1], set up in 2012 by long-time sect member/supporter  David Perks, a search for whom on Spiked brings up scads of hits. He’s a little more circumspect in his personal sites, with his WordPress site being blank, and his Twitter account being “protected” for approved eyes only (which is just soooooooooo RCP, my dear). However, the always excellent Powerbase has two short but informative articles on Perks and his wee project:

Powerbase: David Perks

Powerbase: East London Science School

RCP/LM oldies, including Dennis Hayes, James Woudhuysen and Jenny Davey (aka Jenny Perks, consort of David Perks), appear on the governor and director lists, and according to Powerbase a teacher’s away day had an audience with the Great Leader himself, Uncle Frank Furedi. The School gets mentions galore in Spiked and the Institute of Ideas (sic) sites, and hosts RCP/LM recruitment events (sorry, ‘Debating Matters‘).

Plainly the sect is looking to the future and bringing fresh blood into the organisation as its middle-class middle-aged stalwarts get old and stale. The School is a secondary, with pupils in the 11-18yo age range, allowing plenty of time for them to absorb the sect’s teachings. It would be interesting to know what the syllabus on climate change is, given the organisation’s ‘idiosyncratic’ line on the issue which is rather at odds with the scientific consensus…

References

[1] The website also has an extraordinarily irritating background video, “a day in the life”, which launches full-page with a jaunty jingle-style song on when the home page is loaded, with no way of turning it off. Hence the link to the school being to an internal page, so as not to irritate our legions of loyal readers. Sack the web designer, Perksy, or did you use the RCP/LM’s pet design firm, Easynet?

July 13, 2015 Posted by | RCP/LM, RCP/LM fronts | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ellie Lee

You can always tell a RCP/LM follower from their attitude and vocabulary. On C4 News tonight there was an item in the third part of the ‘show’ about an uncontentious Unicef report on breastfeeding [1] which estimated that the NHS might save £40m/year if more women were helped to breastfeed for longer than they do now. So far, so bland, so SFW? But then a Dr Ellie Lee from the University of Kent is wheeled on, and immediately launches into a diatribe against the report and Unicef for carrying out a “moral crusade” (a term she used at least four times) against women who choose to bottle feed. This unsurprisingly took the Unicef woman aback, and she repeated calmly if bemusedly that Unicef only recommended that women be given support in continuing to breastfeed if they so chose.

The phrase “moral crusade” rang an immediate alarm bell, as this is a favourite accusation of Clare “Her Master’s Voice” Fox. When Ellie Lee’s name popped up on screen it turns out that she’s at the University of Kent, Uncle Frank Furedi’s institution where he’s turned much of the Sociology department to RCP/LM ideology. A quick look on Wikipedia [2] for herself found the quote:

She is involved in the work of the Institute of Ideas, and is a frequent guest in debates on the BBC Radio 4 programme Woman’s Hour.

A search of Spiked brings up a few articles by Lee, and referencing her. She also appeared on the RCP/LMs favourite programme, the Moral Maze, back in November 2009 [3]. Sourcewatch [4] has her profiled as a sect member and indeed as a former contributor to LM magazine, so she’s been an acolyte of Uncle Frank for many a year, it would appear. There’s also an Institute of Ideas page on her, which has her down as “Series editor” of the RCP/LM’s main recruitment channel for fresh young blood, Debating Matters, which is crucial for the sect’s future. A name to watch as she’s young, on-message and is likely being groomed for greater things by Ann Furedi.

You can spot sect followers straight off for their contrarianism, their aggression and the use of key phrases and concepts straight from Uncle Frank’s preachings. This from a sect which aggressively advocates independent thought and freedom of speech. Do as we say, not as we do…

[1] Increase in breastfeeding could save NHS £40m a year, according to report. Guardian, 18/10/12. There was nothing about this on the C4 news site when accessed 18/10/12

[2] Ellie Lee entry in Wikipedia, accessed 18/10/12

[3] Moral Maze, 11/11/09, BBC website

[4] Ellie Lee profile, Sourcewatch, accessed 18/10/12

October 18, 2012 Posted by | RCP/LM | , , , , , | 2 Comments

RCP/LM and Occupy

You’d expect the RCP/LM to be instinctively against the Occupy movement, as the sect is pro-corporate, pro-capitalism, viscerally anti-Left, but most important of all always takes contrarian positions. As the Occupy movement is the darling of the Left and liberal chattering classes, the RCP/LM will naturally be against it. However, the virulence of its loathing of the Occupy movement, as made plain by the scads of polemics against Occupy on Spiked by big cheeses of the sect (the Dear Leader, Patrick Hayes, Brendan O’Neill to name a few) is extraordinary even by sect standards. The various writers accuse the protesters of being  cop narks [1], Blairite authoritarians [2], “wannabe tyrants” [3], “conformists” [4], and more, in febrile language that recalls some of the worst excesses of the RCP’s Usenet era [5]. This is pretty over the top stuff, and indicates that the Occupy movement has hit a very sore nerve indeed, such that the full polemical force of the sect’s hatred has been brought to bear.

Sectarianism reheated?

A guess as to why the sect has such a bee in its bonnet about Occupy would be that the anarchic principles of the movement bring back the old hatreds between Trots and anarchists. Anyone active in far Left politics in the 80s knows well that the Trotskyist hate hierarchy was:

  • other Trot sects
  • anarchists
  • socialists
  • liberals
  • the bourgeoisie (trailing a long way last)

The sectarian hatred was absolutely bilious, with the most outrageous libels, and regularly included threats of violence. Just a glance at the Usenet newsgroup alt.politics.socialism.trotsky, where RCP staffers used to hang out religiously as part of their duty to the sect, shows the degree of sectarian hatred that supposed ‘comrades’ have for each other. The RCP reps put the boot in with the best of them. What united all Trots, though, was a burning hatred of anarchists, a hatred going back to the Kronstadt Rebellion and beyond. The Occupy movement is essentially a form of anarchy in action, even if most participants wouldn’t call themselves anarchists, so that guarantees them the enmity of Trots and, going by Spiked’s hysterical and nonsensical abuse, ex-Trots.

Vanguardism

Perhaps another reason is that the RCP was a vanguardist party par excellence. All Trot sects believe in vanguardism to a lesser or greater degree, but the RCP took it to extremes, demanding the tightest discipline and life-sacrificing devotion of its members and supporters. Tithes on members were at least 10% of gross salary, and the sect leadership exercised close control over members’ personal lives, even to the extent of vetoing sexual partners. The RCP held a weekend school back in the mid-80s called Preparing for Power (after the party manifesto of the same name) [6] which was ridiculed at the time, seeing as the sect had at best 150 members plus a few hundred supporters (though these would be what lesser parties would call members), and had as much chance of power as the Monster Raving Loony Party.

However, the sect truly believed that a handful of dedicated revolutionaries could lead the working class into a Bolshevik-style revolution, with Uncle Frank Furedi playing Lenin. They weren’t concerned with raising working-class consciousness, as, say, the SWP were (and are), because to the RCP the working class was an unconscious mass which would follow the vanguard when the time came. The RCP concerned itself exclusively with recruiting the right sort of dedicated revolutionary to the vanguard, usually from amongst university students. [7]

So a movement which a) involves masses of ‘unconscious’ people in activism and consciousness-raising, and b) is as far from vanguardism as you could possibly get, must really, really get the goat of Uncle Frank and his followers. It’s a shame that Occupy is retreating under State repression, not just because it lit a light of hope and progress and, yes, revolution, but also because it really pissed off the RCP/LM.

References

[1] Occupy London in cahoots with coppers – Brendan O’Neill

[2] Occupy London really are Blair’s babes – Patrick Hayes

[3] The wannabe tyrants of Wall Street – Nathalie Rothschild

[4] Occupy London: a ragbag of political conformists – Brendan O’Neill

[5] For example, see the earlier blog post  “Unconditional support” for genocidists

[6] RCP manifesto on Scribd

[7] Arguably their strategy succeeded, though not in bringing about revolution but in moulding the thoughts of the influential chattering classes through the inhuman dedication of RCP/LM entryists. It’s perhaps a shame that the ‘cultural hegemony’ that they’ve striven to bring about has been around Right libertarianism and corporatism.

February 29, 2012 Posted by | RCP/LM | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Moral Maze triple act

Turning on the BBC Radio 4 fightfest The Moral Maze, not only is there the usual RCP/LM double act of Claire “Her Masters Voice” Fox and Kenan “See no RCP, hear no RCP” Malik, but the first ‘witness’ they “cross-examine” is none other than Ann Furedi, consort of the Dear Leader himself, Uncle Frank Furedi. It’s a matter of continual amazement that Radio 4 allows the sect to get away with this blatant packing of one of its flagship programmes. Has Michael Buerk been turned, one wonders? Or maybe the producer, Phil Pegum, loves the sect’s contrarianism? After all, it does make for knockabout car crash radio. It would be interesting to query the programme makers directly but since the BBC cuts all messageboards have been closed down, so there’s no line of communication to them.

See also an earlier post on the RCP/LM’s takeover of the Moral Maze. A fun read on the sect’s takeover of the Moral Maze is Nick Cohen’s Wireless: Long march to the microphone.

February 29, 2012 Posted by | RCP/LM | , | Leave a comment