By Hungry Charley
“English-speaking people have a shared history, heritage, culture in common. It was shameful that we turned our backs on Australia. We now need to build the alliance, in terms of military, trade, security and culture” (Nigel Farage to Sky News Outsiders program 11th August 2019).
The first Australian CPAC came and went just a couple of weeks ago, and well, nothing much took the attention of the Australian media apart from some coverage of comments by Labor Senator Kristina Keneally. As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, it was pretty mild, a “mixture of political civility and conservative rhetoric,” though Nigel Farage did a naughty and called Malcolm Turnbull a ‘snake’.
The CPAC event was attended by about 500 people, what the organisers had moderately aimed at, bringing together notable neo-cons from the UK, US and Australia for the first of many such events, according to the organisers. While topics of conversation were not identified prior to the event and media were not permitted to record the proceedings, the first day was mix of Australian conservative culture wars mixed with pleas for a ‘better political discourse’, particularly from former deputy prime minister, and all round reasonable guy, John Anderson.
Tony Abbott’s topics d’jour were the issues of legal abortion in NSW and voluntary euthanasia in Victoria, calling them, “death on demand” and claiming Australian should read the Bible more. He claimed the recent LNP win in the federal was due to a ‘pragmatic’ ideology while at the same time being less ‘ideological’ than their Labor opponents.
Sounds clear? It goes something like this. The coalition won the election he claimed, because they were not obsessed with Labor’s ‘ideological agenda’ on tax, climate, unions, and ‘big government’. He seems to think the Coalition won because they supported support smaller government, lower taxes and did not have an obsession with climate issues. He also claimed that the Coalition was not obsessed with gender and identity, which probably explains their strenuous efforts to thwart gay marriage recently. Of course, above all, it was the right leaning people in this country who were the real patriots, or the ‘quiet Australians’.
Reporters though agreed, “It was the Americans who brought the aggro” on the first day. Particularly through the persons of ‘Judge’ Jeanine Pirro, a Trump fan and former prosecutor, notable Fox News fixture and gun lobbyist, who threw some ‘red meat’ out to audience to fire them up. She was preceded by the American congressman Mark Meadows and the American Conservative Union’s Matt Schlapp, who in conjunction with LibertyWorks here in Australia, had organised the event. Both were relatively mild in demeanour though made a joke at Kristina Keneally’s expense, prompting some audience chanting. Keneally was also attacked by British commentator Mr Kassam during a predictable anti-Islamic rant.
The big moment of the conference however, though little reported in the mainstream media in Australia, was UK Brexit Party leader, Nigel Farage on the second day. Like a snake-oil salesman with a heavy dose of American evangelical zeal, Farage took the stage with the key message that the broad conservative movement he represents was rising around the world. It was a ‘nationist’ worldview, not ‘nationalist’, though he has used this word in the past, he painted the world poised in a struggle between nations and globalism. Nigel said a lot of things in his 20 minute address, including wishing to draw on the ‘success’ of the American approach to rising conservatism, “What is happening in America … the shock result you saw here in Australia, the fact is we are winning.” He also told Boris Johnson he had to ‘deliver or die’ on Brexit.
But who is Nigel Farage and how important are these views? A better idea of the vision Farage brings to the world stage are evident in two interviews he did straight after the CPAC event to Sky News Australia’s Outsiders program and to Jeanne Pirro on Fox News on August 11th. More recent global events since the conference have shown his predictions to be uncomfortably accurate.
Farage was founder of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), whose primary objectives it seems were to reduce immigration and to move from a common market with the European Union (EU) and to make the UK ‘independent and free’.
Now as leader of the Brexit Party, the old UKIP policies are coming closer to fruition, with Farage now seeing the time for the UK to reset the agenda in terms of its international relations and domestic priorities. Importantly, he sees himself as an crucial link between the UK and the US administration.
Use of the term ‘bridge’ is coincidentally the name given to the previous attempt to form greater cross Atlantic economic and defence association, the ‘Atlantic Bridge’. In the late 2000s, former defence minister Liam Fox and others to attempted to escalate the influence of the organisation known as the ‘Atlantic Bridge’, in UK defence and economic policy, a move which critics claimed was an attempt to undermine the democratic processes of the UK. Mr Fox is now a member of the current UK administration and is still pushing for a closer economic relationship with the US.
The stated goal of the Atlantic Bridge was to protect the US and the UK’s military and cultural ‘special relationship’ from “the European integrationists who would like to pull Britain away from its relationship with the United States.” The Atlantic Bridge fell over in late 2011, after investigations found Fox had been constructing a “shadow foreign policy” using corporate lobbyists and military contractors with dark (untraceable) money via a falsely labelled charity.
At this time, following the decline of UKIP, Farage was forging strong ties across the Atlantic. Steve Bannon met with Farage in the US 2012, due to supposed shared common interests, with his firm Cambridge Analytica. This firm primarily handles massive databases on the public for military psychological research and lobbying and brought Facebook into disrepute during the recent US election with the disclosure of its data mining operations. Nonetheless at the time, it was and still is a valuable for tool for world domination.
The growing relationship between Bannon, Trump and Farage had brought the emerging Brexit team and the US administration much closer together, in many ways the objectives of the Atlantic Bridge are much closer to fruition with the new Farage lead Brexit team. The ongoing relationships between the UKIP, Atlantic Bridge and Brexit teams on both sides of the Atlantic is explored more fully in a good article in the Medium.
The Brexit Party is a real electoral force in the UK, with polls showing its support among the population at between 20-30%. This of course gives Farage much leverage with the current Johnson administration, whom he often gives some political chastisement, saying to the Outsiders that he doesn’t known if he can trust Boris to lead the UK into a Brexit, whatever form that may take, he still has to prove himself to the British public and that Boris is career man, not a principles man. Harsh words from a potential ally, in what is really a form of political blackmail.
There are other signs however that Farage is already influencing Johnson’s actions behind the scenes, the latest move by Johnson to prorogue parliament, with many critics decrying as a move to push through a no-deal Brexit at any political cost sounds like Farage. There are also suggestions of a declaration of emergency. A no deal Brexit is exactly what Farage has advocated for some time now and it is precisely the economic turmoil created by this approach that will allow the establishment of a new economic paradigm, a ‘resetting of the agenda’.
What will it look like? One only has to see the way money today is laundered by the leading corporates today through overseas tax havens, including those who supported Atlantic Bridge, notably billionaire Michael Hintze and his Caymans listed hedge investment fund CQS. Hintze channelled much of the money into the Atlantic Bridge organisation.
Offshore havens are very useful way of avoiding taxes, but so are onshore tax havens, what better location for tax avoidance than London itself, a major financial global capital. Many have warned the disruption caused by a no deal Brexit would cripple the British economy, but this may be precisely what the new corporate elite have in mind, after all its 11 years since the last financial crisis and it may be time to bleed the middle classes and poor again or have a war, or both. Betting on uncertain world events is core business now for fund managers like Hintze, who now supports the Brexit campaign.
On Outsiders, Farage was explicit, Brexit was crucial to the new Anglo world order. Whatever the consequences and they achieved support for Brexit in the British population through ‘Project Fear’ of the ‘black locusts’ (immigrants). He also wants an end to the EU and in fact the world ‘global project’, with ‘nation states’ as the new building block, Brexit is clearly designed to achieve these ends. He also doubts of course the future of NATO, echoing Trump’s criticisms of the organisation.
He is keen to point out the fallacy of ‘climate alarmism’ as a ‘globalist agenda’. While he contends the environment is important, there is too much obsessing with carbon dioxide for him, a perfectly natural molecule that couldn’t really hurt anybody. He claimed a carbon tax was only a way of transferring money from the poor to the rich.
But Farage also points out a role for Australia in this new world he is proposing, such as a better trade relationship, as he quite likes our wines. As far as our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, was concerned, on August 11th Farage was unsure, asking if he had what it took to join the Anglosphere, though admitting we were “much better off” than under Turnbull, who was a traitor to the conservative cause and was known to enjoy a latte at times.
Are we really on board with this? You only have to see what has our Prime Minister has been doing in the last few weeks to clarify that question. First, he went to see the Trump administration, having a number of dinners and meetings, mainly to talk about a new trade deal with the US, outside of the TPP arrangement and is due back again in September for another wine and dine. It was reported they also discussed Australia’s involvement in the military build-up in the middle east, along with internal security matters, as Morrison presented his idea for greater internet security at the subsequent G7 meeting in France.
Everyone noticed Morrison’s close relationship with Trump at the G7 meeting, acting as a sort of confidant and accompanying him closely.
Afterwards, Morrison then met with Boris Johnson, where it was reported in the media that the meeting was primarily to discuss a new trading relationship with the UK following Brexit. It seems our little Aussie battler is doing just fine with the big boys and their big new plans and indeed may be ‘making plans for Nigel’. His admiration for Trump was clearly visible at the G7 and Morrison even knew when to keep his mouth shut in relation to foreign policy.
In terms of support from home, our PM has the local crew, Tony, JA, JH and the new cadre of Koch-funded advocates, Janet Albrechtsen from the IPA, Andrew Cooper from LibertyWorks, a consensus of support within the Coalition Party room and of course Uncle Rupert, all cashed up and without whom, the far right hegemony in Australia could never have been possible.
Is this just a dream or will the evil empire transpire? If I were Nigel Farage, I would be quite happy with recent developments. But what all this will mean for the rest of us is uncertain. I think it’s time to put the seatbelt on, there may be a rocky ride coming up.
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