Are a premier-opportunist and ‘ignorant electorate without knowledge of politics’, or a new global ambition of the Kingdom, the foundation of Brexit?
Written by Nikolay Nikolayev; Originally appeared at A-specto, translated by Valentina Tzoneva exclusively for SouthFront
A perfectly-tailored suit, a luxurious wristwatch and… a gun Walter PPK. He gets off from a special edition of Aston Martin and orders vodka-martini; shaken not stirred. These are details of the unchangeable style of the most popular British movie actor, James Bond, immune to fashion and variety, just like the time of the Island. As the facts show, behind the character and the different plots of the films, quite often, are hidden real stories, decoded messages and even considerable foreign policy concepts. In this perspective, the last film of the series shed light on the internal contradictions and the strategic challenges facing the United Kingdom.
The story of James Bond came from the novel of the English writer, Ian Fleming, who in order to stick to the tradition that nothing on the island is what it seems to be, is apart from being a writer and a journalist, an officer for the British intelligence under the code name 17F. During World War II, Fleming is the author and the initiator of many operations, among which is the operation ‘Golden Eye’ – a plan for maintaining communications with Gibraltar in case Spain enters the war on the side of the Axis and attack the Mediterranean colony of Britain – key for Mediterranean control.
In the novels of Fleming, the characters and their stories are intertwined with real people. For example, the character of Miss Moneypenny is borrowed from the red-haired secretary of Fleming at ‘Times’ – Joan Hole, and the head of the intelligence service, ‘M’, is the artistic image of counter-admiral, John Godfrey – Fleming’s superior at the naval intelligence of the Kingdom. As it became clear later on, the use of these types of initials dates back to the first chief of MI-6, Mansfield Smith-Cumming, who signs documents with the Latin initial, ‘C’, following the first letter of his surname. Bond himself, according to Fleming’s description, is a combined character of the British intelligence the author has met. In the stories of James Bond, Fleming includes aspects of characters and intelligence work of officers from the British service, like Conrad O’Bryan, Bill Dunderdale, Sir Fitzroy Maclean and others. Real spy stories are reflected in the pages of his book. The plot of one of J.F. Kennedy’s most favorite books, ‘From Russia, with love’, is based on events around Eugene Carp, a naval attache and spy in Budapest, who in February 1950, is trying to take on the ‘Orient Express’ in Budapest, documents regarding the discovered American spy network in Eastern Europe.
In the books of Ian Fleming as well as in their screen adaptations, and subsequent new films in the series, shows the visible mark of a precise analysis of geo-political laws and foreign-policy tendencies for the period; as well as serious messages regarding the position of Britain in the world, the Anglo-American relationship, and the modern challenges facing British national security. In the latest movies, the themes of cyber-security, international terrorism and crime, transnational ecology organizations and control over the water resources are prominent.
The latest one – Spectre – opened the door so that the broad audience could see the existence of by-passing in the strategic concepts between the leading groups in the system of the British elite – without a doubt, the major factor in whose light we have to analyze the Brexit. It would be naïve to believe that the exit of Britain from the European Union is an event that happened by chance, caused by the opportunism of the British prime minister, the naivety of the electorate or the xenophobic Farage. The facts demonstrate that leading groups on the Island are reconsidering the role and place of Great Britain in the changing world and taking steps to implement a new global strategy.
Two different parts of the British elite coexist by tradition. On one side, these is the elite, which has clearly made a group in the early 20th Century around the society of the ‘Round Table’ – an organization associated with the name of Cecil Rhodes, representing the interests of the big banks and financial Anglo -Saxon capital, the trade of precious metals and stones. Traditionally, it is considered that these are the establishments, which support the expansion of the British Empire throughout the years and is related to the expansion of their trade and financial interests and they are the foundation for promoting globalization and trans-national projects. This is a logical consequence of the existence of the state borders and national interests acting as a barrier for the expanding influence of these commercial and financial structures. An original spokesperson of the group nowadays is the financier, George Soros. This group, in recent decades, managed major transfers of capital to East Asia and particularly, China. Among the largest financial institutions in the celestial, controlled by this group, are Hong Kong and Shanghai banking corporation (HSBC) and partly Standard Chartered and Bank of China.
On the other side, is the traditional British elite linked to the Royal Court, the Security Services, and aristocratic families. The interests of this group are related, most of all, with the preservation and the development and the economy of the United Kingdom and stabilizing the trade relations with the developing markets. Inevitably, between these two groups, conflicts arise and differences in concepts of the role of the Kingdom in the changing world.
What are the strategic challenges facing Britain?
The key question facing the British strategists, from both sides, is the attitude to globalization in its present form. While for the ‘trans’-national part of the British elite the era related to the loss of the British sovereignty over the processes means only benefits, for the political leadership whose fate is connected to the Island, it equals the transfer of production in developing countries, de-industrialisation, loss of millions of jobs, reduced political influence and after all – lack of strategic advantages. It’s a less known fact that the same UKIP was founded as a party long before the eccentric Nigel Farage took it to prime position in the European elections and it is related with the name of the English Professor in international history in the London School of Economics, Alan Sked. The reason for the creation of the Independence Party is the ‘Black Wednesday’ on the 16th of September 1992, when following a number of events related to including of Great Britain in the European monetary mechanism, the British economy lost billions and on the scene appeared the new face of financial speculators who toppled the Pound, George Soros. In the UKIP programme includes messages from the early Thatcher and the ideals of British sovereignty. Sked himself fights against the Euro Union as the first step towards global governance.
Viewed from this base, the European Union is a trans-national political union and a globalist project, marking the interests of the commercial and financial elite as well as the strategic goal of the USA to neutralize Russia. It is well-known that the Prime Minister of the Kingdom between 1957 and 1963, Harold Macmillan, is in close relations with Jean Monet, and supports the concept for establishing of global governance based on regional federations. The French philosopher, Alain de Benoist, notes that the European Union takes more sovereignty from the national states but this does not lead to the appearance of European sovereignty. Instead, the sovereignty gets into a kind of a ‘black hole’ and ‘Europe’ appears only as the next step to globalization. The problem facing the degradation of the EU comes from the lack of technological breakthrough combined with impossibility for further expansion and weakening trade ties; simply said, USA, China and Russia are dividing the world. Against this background, the options available for the Union are visible. The first option is individual self-protection, which demonstrates convincingly, while resolving the debt crisis of the Euro zone, with the choice of the roots for energy supply or the financial and economic politics. In the second option, re-sovereignisation of the leading European countries is necessary, combined with centralization, which must include common defense policy and security services and it will aim at the establishment of a strong European federation, which must be a compatible player with the USA, China and Russia. The two options obviously do not attract the interests of the United Kingdom and its traditional British politics for prevention of a dominant European continental power or the lack of strategic perspective.
Great Britain has its own ‘world’ representing the inheritance of the British Empire, united today in the British Commonwealth and headed by Queen Elizabeth II. The organization includes 53 countries, with the Queen being the Head of State in 16 of them, population of over two billion three hundred million people. The British cultural inheritance, the English language and the established trade connections, are uniting them. In the Commonwealth, some of the most dynamic developing markets, especially in eastern Asia, are included, and as it is clear, the Royal Court does not see specific reasons to work out trade deals with these countries through the European Commission. On the other hand, the decrease in the relationship with these traditional allies of the Island, is weakened by its focus on Europe. Thus, in 2016 New Zealand had a referendum for a choice of a new national flag, which would exclude the Union Jack. China and the United States, significantly increased their influence over the countries of eastern Asia and Oceania and in Australia, the Republican Party insists on leaving the British community.
Another key factor for the change of the strategic priorities of Great Britain is the rise of China and the expectations for the global role of the Chinese Yuan in the next decade. We are witnessing the slow but unavoidable shift of the global financial economic and geo-political centre towards eastern Asia, combined with the biggest transfer of capital since the times of the great geographic discoveries. The British Royal Court would not like to repeat the historical fate of the Venetians sinking into internal European conflicts.
But let’s go back to Bond. In ‘Spectre’, the authors of the movie recreated conflicts of concepts between the globalization and the traditional imperial part of the British elite for the future and the place of the United Kingdom in the world through the combined character of Ernst Stavro Blofeld and James Bond, who following the plot, are brothers. In the movie, Blofeld, respecting his ancestors in his mother’s line, is a leader of a powerful trans-national organization, he is dressed in a traditional Chinese costume (tangzhuang) and he is supporting the concept of closing MI5 and MI6 and the transfer of the British national security together with the security of eight other countries in a supra-national institution, which his organization finances. Bond, as we can guess, has been blamed for lack of vision, backward attitude and extreme conservatism, but with his typical British persistence, cool head and mind, equanimity and sense of loyalty to his country, he earned victory. In the final scene in front of the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the two chambers of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, circles close to the Royal Court gave a signal of how they see the solution to the question of the power of the Island – the opponents were forced to accept the British rules.
Without a doubt, fateful days are coming to Britain that will make it clear whether the country can regain its position among the great countries in the world. The road is tough, but as the Queen said jokingly in her first appearance after the referendum (“I’m still alive”), the United Kingdom does not intend to give up. One thing is sure, in the future, somewhere in foggy London, people in dark suits with mysterious identities will continue receiving instructions over the globe in service of her majesty.