Just revisited the magnificent TV version and then thought I ought to read the book just in case there were some nuances that the TV series had left out. As it turned out the TV adaption, for my money, does a far superior job in painting the dark picture of a British/US right wing coup than the original text. But both book and TV series are compulsory tools in exploring just how the ruling establishment, on both sides of the Atlantic, seamlessly come together to rid themselves of any threatening left wing upstarts. Written in the wake of both the CIA orchestrated Chilean and Australian coups, A Very British Coup simply imagines the same thing happening in Britain should the British electorate have the audacity to elect anything like a radical social democratic government. And the genius of Mullin's efforts is that his imagined scenario is actually unfolding in front of our very eyes in the wake of a possible Corbyn administration. Mr Mullin, we owe you a debt of gratitude.


The key to any successful British coup is of course the corporate friendly media. All of it. Even those sections that one might imagine taking something of an objective view, quickly succumb to the parameters and logic of the coup. They dare not do otherwise even if they had a mind to. The BBC, Channel Four, and The Guardian  all of them are rushing to line up behind the Anyone but Corbynmovement. Mullin predicted this united media onslaught brilliantly thirty three years ago. Just examine the following passage to see how accurate Mullin's was on this score.

The newspapers received the elevation of Perkins with unprecedented hysteria. Go back to Moscow, screamed The Sun, unable to come to terms with the fact the Red Harry (as the papers insisted on calling him) had never actually set foot in Moscow. LABOUR VOTES FOR SUICIDE, raged the Express, and The Times ran a long leading article which argued that the election of Perkins spelled the end of the two-party system.  Even the Daily Mirror, traditionally loyal to Labour, thought the choice of Perkins was the end. Only the Guardian and the Financial Times conceded that there were issues to be debated and even they concluded that the election of Perkins would be a catastrophe. P44/45

Corbyn has not even been elected party leader yet and all the British media are at his throat. Just when they thought they had safely dispatched Red Ed, along comes Corbynomics to ruin their summer holidays. Both Channel Four and The Guardian couldn't wait to bait Corbyn over his Hamas and Hezbollah links, and The Guardian even went so far as to come out directly against Corbyn and for the New Labourite, Yvette Cooper. As for the openly Tory press, they are simply doing what their corporate masters order them to do. But try looking for some prominent coverage of the 41 economic professors, including Nobel Prize winners, who have come out in support of Corbynomics and instead we find the pages of our newspapers are full of anti-Corbyn venom and celebrity gossip.

It's not just the reactionary nature of the media that Mullin gets so perfect. His grasp of why Labour loses elections is also spot on. New Labour think tanks will tell us Labour lose because they moved too far to the left from the magical centre ground, whatever the hell that is. Mullin is not buying it. He knew way back in 1992 that the more likely explanation is the failure to establish a clear alternative to Thatcherite neoliberal policy. Here is Harry Perkins on the latest Labour Party defeat;

We offer the electorate a choice between two Tory parties and they choose the real one. Now we find ourselves in the wilderness for five years and the country' s going down the plughole.  p66

Any thoughts Mr Miliband. Any comments Harriet, Yvette, Andy, Liz? No, I thought not. Too much in thrall to political power. Of course the joke is that Downing Street is not the real seat of power anywa that resides in the corporate boardrooms and the military-industrial complex both sides of the Atlantic. And the state, never neutral, is always there to protect the ruling class. The Miliband brothers of all people should have understood this but it seems they just weren't paying attention to daddy.

So it transpires that Chris Mullin got it absolutely right on the hostile nature of the British media and the servile nature of the British Labour Party. And in yet one more area real events have proved his novel to be quite prophetic. And that of course is the wholly reactionary nature of the US government. It was just a few short months ago that the US was caught red-handed tapping the phones of its supposed allies. Angela Merkel, key leader of the western alliance, was not a happy bunny when she discovered that her personal phone was being tapped by her US partners. Snowden also revealed just how all pervasive US surveillance is on its friends and enemies alike. And Wikileaks has thrown a valuable light on some of the skulduggery that our democratic friends across the pond arte routinely up to. Of course, for those that really want to know, the evidence has been there all along. Chris Mullin makes it all plain enough;

At first Sir Richard assumed that American bugging the British government communications had been prompted by recent events, but Morgan (US Secretary of State) soon put him straight. America, he said, had been bugging friendly governments for the past thirty years. Including all British governments, Conservative and Labour. We started during the Suez crisis, beamed Morgan, and never kicked the habit. P167

The real question that should be running through the minds of Corbyn and his many enthusiastic supporters is not so much whether the establishment will seek to subvert their efforts. Of course they will. They have started already. No, the real question is how to combat it. Any Corbyn led government will be overthrown by a CIA orchestrated coup. That is a given. The task therefore is not so much to match their skulduggery  because that would be a near impossibility. They are simply too entrenched. Rather the task, both in opposition and in government, is to encourage, wherever and however possible, horizontal, political based organisation. Instead of seeing grassroots political activity as a threat, as New Labour always does, a Corbyn administration needs to embrace it. The thing that makes the Corbyn phenomena so exciting is precisely on this point. Corbyn gets the concept of grassroots activity in a way that Blair and Brown never did. The future suddenly got interesting. And Mullin should take no small credit for his 1980's contribution.

End JPK copyright 25/8/15

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 20 May 2018 17:22 )