Against rightist populism
Mike Macnair explains why the CPGB recommended a Labour vote on June 4
The political dynamics of the scandal over MPs’ expenses claims are becoming clearer. The dominant dynamic of hatred for the corruption of the parties and MPs is towards a ‘democratic’ but rightwing populism which aims to produce an apolitical politics, a politics without parties. But ‘apolitical politics’, or ‘politics without parties’, does not actually mean government without corruption. It means politics Berlusconi-style: politics dominated by a handful of media barons putting up celebs for MPs in the interest of - media barons and their corporate and banker friends.
Specifically, in British politics, this means politics without the Labour Party. Britain does not need a Forza Italia - Popolo della Libertà when it has the Telegraph, Express and Mail, and so on, always well to the right of the old European Christian Democracy, and a Tory party which plans to ally in Europe with the Polish rightist Law and Justice Party, the Latvian pro-Waffen-SS ‘For Fatherland and Freedom’ and a freemarketeering splinter off the far-right Belgian Flemish Vlaams Belang.1 A right-populist Toryism, perhaps backed by a raft of ‘independent’ celebs, will do the Berlusconi job just as well as Berlusconi himself.
Sections of the rightwing commentariat have been floating the hope that this might be the last ever Labour government.2 They are not concerned particularly with preventing the sort of Labour governments we have had for the last 12 years. What they want rid of is the idea of a Labour Party, the idea of independent political organisation of the wage-earning class. In spite its 100-year history of class-collaborationism and loyalism, and in spite of all Blair-Brown have done, the real existing Labour Party remains a shadow or spectre of this idea. At the end of the day it still gets mass votes because millions think of it as - to some extent - a workers’ political party.
Hence, if the media, the scandals and New Labour’s record can break mass support for Labour, without an alternative, Marxist, workers’ party emerging, they will have achieved a big victory for capital. And they will have achieved a blow for political corruption and against political democracy.
We need an alternative to Labour which stands for the independent class-political interests of the working class: that is, for workers’ unity both across borders and between ‘legals’ and ‘illegals’, and for radical republican democracy and working class rule. But we do not have it. Instead we have nostalgic pretences to reconstruct ‘old Labour’ on the basis of nationalism, class-collaboration and bureaucratic rule. These pretences do not amount to a serious alternative to the real, existing Labour Party and do not necessarily get larger votes than the far left could get if it stood in unity on a platform of radical change.
Between 1997 and 2007 the dominance of New Labour meant a real opportunity to develop a left alternative to it. Hence it was worth trying to push the various ‘old Labour’ pretences towards a real workers’ alternative - a Communist Party. Now the opportunity the left wasted in 1997-2007 is over. With Blair’s retirement and the evident determination of the media, from that date, that Brown should be a caretaker and the baton should be handed on as soon as possible to Cameron, we entered the political end-game of New Labour. The political tide is running strongly to the right. In the absence of a clear communist alternative, the economic crisis if anything strengthens the dynamic towards right-populism. The danger is that the fall of New Labour will take down with it even the idea of independent workers’ political organisation.
Hence, under current political dynamics, it is necessary to vote Labour. Not for celeb independents who say they will clean up politics, not for the Lib Dems, not for the Greens, the SNP or Plaid, and still less for the Tories, UKIP, the BNP or other fringe rightist parties. To vote Labour in this election is to defend the idea of a workers’ party, which is right now under attack from ‘non-partyist’ populism.
Odd as it may seem, I begin what follows with the communist alternative approach to the question of democracy, before turning to the mechanisms of capitalist corruption in politics. The expenses scams are a (small) offshoot of these mechanisms and the Daily Telegraph’s campaign around them displays a rather larger aspect of the system of corruption at work. Once we grasp these mechanisms, we can see that British politics is presently dominated by movement to the right, towards right-populist nationalism. The left’s response to this movement should not be simply to jump on the populist bandwagon. We must put forward our own alternative - but, for the present, we need also a defensive stance. That defensive stance means voting Labour.
Capitalism produces boom and bust (as we have just been reminded in the credit crunch) and in the bust phase, poverty and unemployment are produced by too much material wealth. Capitalism produces social inequality both within countries (for example, the ‘Gini coefficient’ of income inequality is now at its highest in the UK in 30 years) and between countries (many countries of sub-Saharan Africa became worse off during the boom-bubble of the 1990s-2000s).3
Capitalism drives towards war, while its technical productive powers support ever more destructive weapons and warfare, with ever more impact on non-combatants: witness in recent years Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. And capitalism’s need for random ‘growth’, if economic coordination is not to break down in crisis, is now driving the world towards ecological catastrophe in the form of human-induced global warming.
Capitalism produces all these disastrous phenomena not because of the ill-will or greed of individual capitalists or of the capitalist class (or the political class). The greed is secondary: and this is just as much true of bankers’ and executives’ bonuses as of MPs’ small-scale attempts to imitate the bankers by fiddling their expenses. The bankers, the corporatocracy, the politicians, the media types, the City lawyers and so on are all skimming the till of the product produced by the combined productive endeavours of humans around the world. They cling to capitalism partly because it lets them skim the till. But even if they could be prevented from skimming the till, boom-bust, inequality, war and ecological degradation would still be the necessary products of an economy built on private decision-making and coordinating our productive activities through money and markets.
The basic idea of Marxism is that the only way out of the disasters produced by capitalism is for the working class - the social class dependent on the wage fund, including the unemployed, children, home-makers and pensioners - to take over running society, and take the necessary common decisions about productive activity and its coordination in a cooperative way.
Only the working class can find the road to real cooperative social decision-making, for two reasons. The first is that the interest of a member of the working class is in secure employment and a decent living, health provision, education for children and pensions provision for old age. In contrast the small owner, just as much as the big capitalist, has an interest in the ‘freedom to run a business’: that is, in the privatised decision-making and control of productive activity which leads to boom-bust, inequality, war and ecological degradation. The second is that members of the working class are compelled to cooperate - through trade unions, tenants’ associations, collectivist political parties, etc - to defend their elementary interests under capitalism.
Cooperative action requires republican democracy in decision-making. Republican because it denies that inheritance or natural inequalities between people are relevant to how we take decisions: “None came into the world with a saddle on his back, neither any booted or spurred to ride him” (or her).4 None came into the world, either, destined to be a trade union general secretary, member of parliament or party official, any more than to be a king or aristocrat. Democratic because it is about, in Abraham Lincoln’s phrase, “government of the people, by the people, for the people”; and, equally, because - in Aristotle’s terms - it is about the rule of the majority, who are also the comparatively poor.5
We can see that republican democracy is required for cooperative action in two ways. The first is at an abstract level. If career officials have monopolies of information and decision-making, that is a form of private property, not cooperation. This is all the clearer if they can pass on office to their relatives: thus Michael Martin is believed to want to pass on his constituency to his son;6 compare the ‘Bush dynasty’ in the US, or, more clearly, the Gandhi dynasty in India, the Bhutto dynasty in Pakistan, or Kim Jong-il, son of Kim il-Sung, who apparently hopes for one of his own sons to succeed him as leader of North Korea.7
The second is the evidence of practice. The USSR tested to destruction the idea that you can have cooperative production without republican democracy. The result was go-slow resistance from the working class (‘They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work’), the multiplication of fictions within the planning apparatus, as the planners and managers lied to each other, and eventually system failure.
Nonetheless, the western workers’ movement continues to be dominated by bureaucratic monopolies on information and decision-making. The evidence is unequivocal that the result is demobilising: that is, it works against cooperative action. The trade union bureaucracy has now failed twice this year to turn out large numbers for demonstrations (March 28 and May 16). The bureaucratic and manipulative character of Respect under the Socialist Workers Party, and of ‘No to the EU, Yes to Democracy’ now, has been at least as large an obstacle to organising the activists needed to do the work in the localities as has the debatable politics of either formation on other issues.
It is for these reasons, among others, that this paper has consistently since the 1990s argued that the left must fight for radical, extreme democracy - for republican democracy. Republican democracy is the immediate alternative both to the current United Kingdom state and to the undemocratic European Union of neoliberal treaty commitments and unaccountable court of justice and commission. It is also the immediate alternative to the bureaucratic left, from New Labour on the right to the SWP and Socialist Party on the left. I emphasise consistently because parts of the far left have suddenly ‘discovered’ these questions after a decade or more of saying that they did not matter to ‘ordinary people’.
The basic principle is that the officials should all be elected and accountable to those below: the servants, not the masters. Hence we seek abolition of the monarchy and the House of Lords, and a single chamber parliament; annual parliaments, so that MPs can be rapidly replaced; within that framework, the right of constituencies to recall MPs; proportional representation, so that minorities do not turn into ‘majorities’ at the polls; election of ministers by parliament, not appointment by the prime minister; and MPs paid only the average wage of a skilled worker.
In the long run being an elected representative should not be a career, but something more like jury service: a public duty. Within this framework, the solution to the immediate problem of MPs’ housing expenses is simple, obvious and already in use in Sweden:8 MPs from outside the London ‘travel to work area’ should be housed in publicly owned housing in the capital in order to perform their duties.
The same principles imply full freedom of information. They imply disbanding MI5, MI6, special branch and the entire secret state apparatus; the replacement of the standing armed forces by universal military training and service, a militia, and the right to keep and bear arms - an utter commonplace of British politics until a ‘Bolshevik scare’ in 1920 produced the first Firearms Act.9 When our rulers have a mercenary army and police force at their command and we are disarmed, they are the masters and we are the servants.
They also imply local democracy - for service provision, planning, tax raising, policing and funding allocation to be radically devolved downwards as far as possible and appropriate: to ward, borough, city and county levels.
Though central government control has been an important aspect of the weakness of local democracy, an even more powerful role is played by the dictatorship of the lawyers through ‘judicial review’. Essential to real, republican, political democracy are the defence, restoration and extension of trial by jury; direct limits on maximum legal fees; the flattening of judicial hierarchies; and the subordination of the law-making powers of the judiciary to the legislature, both through codification of the law and through a legislature veto on the prospective (future law) effect of judicial decisions.
Similarly, it is critical both to the working class and to republican democracy that there should be freedom of association: the right to form collective organisations for the purposes of both immediate economic self-defence (trade unions, cooperatives, etc) and political action (parties). This right has been under systematic attack by the lawyers since the 1970s - mainly through judicial review, but also through legislation like the anti-trade union laws and the Registration of Political Parties Act 1998. A very recent example is the abuse of power by the charity commissioners to attack the Viva Palestina campaign.10 If we cannot associate without the state’s or the lawyers’ approval and control, again the officials become the masters and the public the servants.
These demands are not, however, the end of the story. The corruption of MPs’ expenses claims is - as I said earlier - merely a small corner of the corruption of capitalist politics. And a central role in this corruption is played by the advertising-funded mass media. The current media-populist exploitation of MPs’ fiddles, and the idea that‘non-partyism’ can clean up politics, threatens us with a political life wholly dominated by the corruption of the media.
Before Michael Martin the last speaker to be sacked was Sir John Trevor in 1695. Trevor was also expelled from the House of Commons for corruption, after he turned out to have received £1,000 from the City of London for assistance with a local bill.11
Trevor is emblematic in three ways. He tells us about the normality of corruption in capitalist politics; he tells us about its limits; and he tells us about how corrupt control of speech can be a mechanism of corruption.
Trevor bought his first seat in parliament for £60 in 1673: the ‘pocket borough’ of Castle Rising, Norfolk, owned by the aristocratic Howard family. There was nothing unusual about this sort of transaction until the Reform Act of 1832, and even after this act the more or less open purchase of electors’ votes went on until the introduction of the secret ballot in 1872 and the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act 1883. Vote-buying was similarly common in the US in the 19th century and is not uncommon today in Thailand, Taiwan and the Philippines.12
Effective measures against vote-buying in elections do not eliminate corruption. Rather, the focus shifts to direct payments to MPs or deputies to buy their support, and to indirect payments in support of MPs or deputies and parties through contributions to election advertising. And it shifts to advertising expenditure in support of particular policies, whether by direct advertising (like Tate and Lyle’s advertising campaigns against nationalisation in 1949 and again in the 1970s) or by subsidy, through taking advertising, for newspapers and TV channels expected to support policies favourable to the firm.
Corruption, in other words, is a normal and necessary feature of capitalist politics. It is necessary to capitalist control of the state: ie, to prevent either the ‘lower orders’ taking over or the state escaping from control to pursue its own interests. It is also essential to construct the common interests of the capitalists as a class, while having regard to their inequality among themselves. The capitalist state is at base like a business corporation: the shareholders have votes in proportion to their shareholdings.
But, while political theorists might recognise this character of the capitalist state as a business corporation,13 the state proper - the army, police and bureaucracy - cannot do so. The army, and hence the rest of the state, needs structured bureaucratic hierarchy, not ordering in proportion to (varying) property holdings. And the form of parliamentary elections cannot do so either.
For example, to give companies and individuals votes in parliamentary elections in proportion to companies’ market capitalisation and individuals’ property holdings would be flatly politically illegitimate even in a capitalist society without a politically significant organised workers’ movement, because taxation is not distributed in this way, but is overall regressive.
Hence the character of the capitalist state as a business corporation has to take the form of corruption. But hence, too, this corruption has to remain politically illegitimate: inconsistent with the ostensible forms both of bureaucratic state and of representative assemblies.
1695 also illustrates the point that corruption cannot be fully legitimate. Like Michael Martin, Trevor was a scapegoat in a more generalised corruption scandal: with exposures beginning in January 1695, by March it was said to be the common talk of the public that in the Commons “both public and private business came to market there and neither could be done unless paid for”.14
MPs probably hoped that dumping the speaker rapidly would help to contain the scandal, but bribery enquiries jogged on until the formal dissolution for elections in October - and might have revived after the elections but for the convenient discovery of a terrorist plot against the royal family in February 1696.15 Corruption is endemic in capitalist politics. But so are corruption scandals.
Gatekeepers of speech
1695 has a third lesson for us. Why was it worth bribing the speaker? The answer is, in fact, obvious. The speaker controlled who got to speak and when. And controlling who gets to speak and when has enough impact on the course of any discussion to make it worthwhile for governments to try hard to get a speaker who would help them out16 (something Michael Martin has been accused of by various Tories, well before the expenses scandal forced him out). And enough impact to make it, in the 1690s, worth bribing Trevor.
Communists stand for freedom of speech. We are opposed to state speech controls - even state speech controls against fascists. We share the view of classic liberals and libertarians that the best remedy for the publication of false, stupid, racist, etc views is free discussion, in which they can be openly contradicted.
However, freedom of speech has certain inherent limits. Most fundamentally, the point of speech is to communicate with others. If we all talk simultaneously, there will be no communication, because no-one will hear what anyone else is saying. Equally, if there are no limits on how long any individual can speak for, others are excluded from speaking and there can be no collective decision: this is how the filibuster works in the US Senate.17 Hence - outside the informal conversations of a small group - there have to be gatekeepers of speech in order to enable speech to function as communication. In an ordinary political meeting, the gatekeeper is the chair; in the House of Commons, the gatekeeper is the speaker.
In the larger sphere of public political debate, which provides the context for both elections and the conduct of elected representatives, gatekeepers of speech are equally necessary if there is to be communication. Here there are three competing sets of gatekeepers of speech.
First is the bureaucratic-coercive state through various sorts of censorship and speech crimes. As I have already said, communists are categorically opposed to this sort of speech control.
Second is political parties. Political parties work as gatekeepers of speech through internal discussions - democratic or undemocratic, open or secret, depending on the party - out of which collectively accepted arguments emerge and are presented to the larger public as the positions of which the party seeks to persuade the larger public.
Within parties, platforms and factions similarly serve to turn the clashing voices of individual speech into democratic communication and the possibility of real choices. Without them, the party apparatus - a bureaucratic state in miniature - serves as the anti-democratic gatekeeper of speech.
An aside here. The CPGB generally argues for the organisations of the workers’ movement to conduct their debates as far as possible in public, and this paper generally reports the CPGB’s internal debates. If we do this, how can such a party be said to work as a gatekeeper of speech which helps to organise collective discussion and decision-making?
There are two sorts of answers to this. The first is that right now, the Weekly Worker is not publishing our internal debate about how to vote in the Euro and county elections. The Provisional Central Committee took a decision about how to proceed; though this PCC decision was controversial, it proved to be impossible to have an aggregate (general meeting of members) before the election. The election period itself - the last couple of weeks - requires unity in action, and that is reflected in what is and is not in the paper. Once the election is over, a sharp public debate will undoubtedly begin. So we are - when it comes to the moment at which choice is unavoidable - filtering voices.
The second is that even when - as we normally do - we publish debates and dissenting opinions, it is nonetheless usually clear what the position of the CPGB as a collective is. The Weekly Worker, considered overall, presents a collective view to its readers, based on our Draft programme and on our collective decisions. The fact that debate is open does not alter this character.
On a much larger scale, before the Labour Party became Stalinist in its internal forms in the 1980s-90s, it was characterised by a great deal of open public debate. The existence of this debate did not prevent voters from knowing what Labour proposed, as opposed to what the Conservatives proposed. The parties were still helping to organise democratic communication and choices.
The major political parties as they are now constructed are corrupt, not democratic. But political parties can be democratic - and, to the extent that they are, can be a democratic form of gatekeepers of speech.
The third gatekeeper of public political speech, and at present the dominant one, is the advertising-funded mass media. The advertising-funded mass media act as gatekeepers of public speech in the interests of owners of the media and of their advertisers.
That they act as gatekeepers of speech is obvious. Editors have to choose what will be published and what will not, and what will get prominence and what will not. That they act in the interests of their owners is equally obvious: an editor who is sufficiently in disagreement with the owner will get the sack.
Media types claim that they act only in the interest of audience share. This is plain bullshit. It is quite clear that advertisers make political choices, not just choices about media market share. Any number of niche market publications are supported by advertisers, but not - as repeated attempts have made clear - the niche market for the Labour left and points further left. You cannot fool all of the people all of the time. But you can fool enough of the people enough of the time to swing elections by friendly or adverse coverage and political advertising.18
The results are familiar. The political choices available are narrowed to those acceptable to media proprietors and advertisers. Even outside elections, media campaigns may veto the adoption of policies which are rational decisions in the clear interests of the majority (like, for example, fines in proportion to income in the 1990s, or taking even the slightest step back from the ‘war on drugs’ more recently).
Media dominance, in fact, underlies the expenses scandal.19 Blair’s New Labour ‘project’ was precisely the project of keeping the Sun and - as far as possible - the Mail onside. On the one hand, this entailed rigorous top-down Stalinist control of party debate to keep MPs, etc ‘on message’. The result was a party friendly only to apolitical careerists (like Blair himself), who would naturally seek to maximise the material rewards of a political career.
On the other hand, it was politically impossible to keep cash-limiting the pay of public sector workers - as the media and the capitalists behind them demanded - and at the same time to raise MPs’ and ministers’ pay to levels comparable to that of (relatively junior) media workers. The result was the deliberate and officially backed extension of expenses scams as an alternative to openly giving MPs more money.20
Towards a British Berlusconi?
The logical outcome of media as an alternative to parties appeared in Italy. The seemingly endless tangentopoli scandals about the corruption of the Christian Democrat, Socialist, etc parties, issued in 1992-93 in the collapse of the Christian Democrats, and substantial change in the electoral system.21 The result was not an end to corruption. Rather, it was the emergence of Silvio Berlusconi, media magnate, as a right-populist alternative to the traditional political parties: the direct rule of a media capitalist. Corruption has been if anything extended, with direct attacks on any judicial attempt to investigate Berlusconi’s own corrupt operations.
Cameron’s May 25 proposals in The Guardian for (he says) “a massive, radical redistribution of power” are exactly in this right-populist mould. “… we must take power from the elite and hand it to the man and woman in the street,” he says. How? The answers on offer, apart from waffle, are the following.
“End the state monopoly in state education” - ie, give it back to the churches.
Require councils to “get approval for any excessive tax increases in a local referendum”, and more generally “local referendums on issues where over 5% of the electorate have signed up” (with the inevitable Californian-style results: local authority bankruptcies and massive cuts).22
End timetabling of bills (to give Britain back the US Senate-style filibuster) and - carefully worded - “a Conservative government will seriously consider the option of fixed-term parliaments when there’s a majority government”. But no proportional representation: Cameron still wants, if necessary, to get a parliamentary majority on 35% of the vote. “Much greater use of open primaries for the selection of parliamentary candidates - and not just in the Conservative Party.”
And some old hoary Tory stuff, also shared with the US Republican right: “a progressive reform agenda demands that we redistribute power from the EU to Britain, and from judges to the people”. The anti-EU stuff is just plain nationalism. The people who are to receive power from the judges here means the government. Cameron is not proposing to extend trial by jury, etc, but to write a British substitute for the European Convention on Human Rights, a replacement for the Human Rights Act without the limited protections it gives to asylum-seekers, terrorism suspects, gypsies and such-like hate-figures for BNPers and grassroots Tories.
Not a word about the real judicial corruption - the ‘free market in legal services’ by which Elizabeth Windsor sells and denies justice in violation of Magna Carta. Cameron’s proposal is not aimed at the real problem of excessive judicial review of democratic decisions. Its aim is to cut out the limited liberalism of recent judicial decisions unacceptable to the Mail and Sun.
And, equally, not a word about the unaccountable power of the media. On the contrary. Local referendums, fixed-term parliaments and open primaries would all massively increase the power of the media to control the limits of acceptable politics - as is visible in the US.
The picture is clear enough. Cameron’s populism is unequivocally of the right. It aims at a politics like the politics of the US - but one more dominated by the ideas of the Republican right. If they succeed, the Telegraph’s campaign and Cameron between them will create a moment in which British politics moves from a pale shadow of tangentopoli in the form of expenses scams and other sorts of Blairite sleaze to a new, media-run corruption: a mixture of Bush-Cheney with Berlusconi.
As I argued in 2006, the strategic solution to the problem of media corruption is not media nationalisation or other forms of state control. In terms of programme, what is needed is the demand for an end to capitalist subsidies to news media, both directly and in the form of commercial advertising. If the media were forced to rely on sales, subscriptions, individual donations and those subsidies which could be obtained from supporting political parties for the whole of its income, it might well be the case that there would still be a mass market for Tory media - even after the working class had taken power in the form of a democratic republic and the accompanying destruction of the deeper structures of the capitalists’ political power. There would certainly be a niche market for it. But this would not in itself be a form of capitalist political power, since it would not be political power created by the ownership of the means of production.23
Both more fundamental and more practical is the point that we need democratic gatekeepers of public speech, as opposed to capitalist gatekeepers of public speech. And that means that we need political parties. I emphasise the plural: a one-party state gives merely a state-controlled party.
Specifically, under capitalism, the working class needs its own party: one not controlled by the capitalists through corruption or the state, but controlled by the working class itself through democratic discussion and the struggle of platforms and factions, and committed to the general interests of the working class, not loyal to the United Kingdom constitution, class-collaborationism or the labour bureaucracy. Strategically, that means that we need a mass Communist Party.
With the formation of the Labour Party, masses of British workers went halfway to the idea of an independent workers’ party - and stopped at that halfway mark, with a bureaucratic, loyalist-nationalist and corrupt party, half-integrated in the British state: but one which nonetheless by its name and its links to the trade unions asserted the idea of an independent workers’ party.
Maggie Thatcher set out to break the Labour Party by destroying the fighting power of the unions and the autonomy of local government. In the end, she did not succeed in breaking Labour. The trade union leaders and their chosen political representatives, from Kinnock and Smith through Blair to Brown, have accepted Thatcherism. By doing so they have come close to destroying not merely the Labour Party, but also the idea of a Labour party. The Telegraph’s and Cameron’s rightwing populist campaign hopes to break the working class from the idea finally, in favour of complete control of politics by the capitalist media.
As I said at the beginning, under these conditions the left has to fight for party politics and to fight for the idea of an independent workers’ party. And right now - as unpleasant as the fact is - that means voting Labour.
1. The Times May 15.
2. For example, William Rees-Mogg The Times May 11.
3. UK inequality: more detail at www.ifs.org.uk/comms/c109.pdf Africa, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation report, 2004, reported at news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3910719.stm
4. Richard Rumbold, speech on the scaffold, 1685, State trials ix, p882.
5. TR Martin, N Smith, JF Stuart, ‘Democracy in the politics of Aristotle’ in CW Blackwell (ed) Dçmos: classical Athenian democracy (www.stoa.org) collects the relevant passages.
6. Daily Mail May 16.
7. The Guardian May 25.
8. BBC news, March 24: news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7961849.stm ; also a nice source of superficial comparisons of MPs’ pay and allowance packages elsewhere in Europe.
9. C Cramer, ‘Fear and loathing in Whitehall: Bolshevism and the Firearms Act of 1920’: www.claytoncramer.com/firear~1.htm Since the author is a rightist, the analysis is ‘against interest’.
10. See, for example, The Guardian March 24.
11. See K Ellis, ‘The “squint from the chair”: speaker Sir John Trevor, c1637-1717’ Parliamentary History Vol 17, No2, pp198-214 for this and other information.
12. FC Schaffer, ‘What is vote buying?’, 2002 (www.gsdrc.org/docs/open/PO14.pdf) discusses the mechanics.
13. For example, E Burke Reflections on the revolution in France New York 1920, pp56-57; T Paine Rights of man Oxford 1998, p120.
14. K Ellis op cit p208.
15. H Horwitz Parliament, policy and politics in the reign of William III Delaware 1977, chapter 7.
16. K Ellis op cit pp203-05.
18. See, for example, M Franz, T Ridout, ‘Does political advertising persuade?‘ Political Behavior 2007, Vol 29, No4.
19. More on this in my article, ‘Sleaze is back’ (Weekly Worker July 20 2006).
20. ‘HP Sauce’, ‘The Blair switch project’ Private Eye May 29, has some detail on the specific issue of second home ‘flipping’.
21. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliament_of_Italy has a convenient summary.
22. LA Times May 22.
23. ‘Sleaze is back’ Weekly Worker July 20 2006.