was a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years. He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator. Follow him on Twitter @georgegalloway
Having alienated the remaining 27 members of the European Union and set Anglo-Russian relations back a century, Boris Johnson has just declared an economic war on China. What could possibly go wrong!
The British economy fell by 20 percent in the last quarter, a bell which tolled on the very day the government announced a raft of moves which can only be described as a declaration of economic war against China, a country of 1.4 billion people and the world’s second biggest economy – certain to be biggest by 2025. The proximate reason – that allowing Huawei into Britain’s 5G roll-out is a “security risk” – is patently false. If that were true for 5G, it would be true of 3 and 4G. If it were true then the company would have to be banished now, not in 2027 (by when, incidentally, 5G will be so last year).
There is not a shred, not a scintilla, not a jot or tittle of evidence that Huawei has ever done anything wrong during its highly successful penetration of the British market, from which Britain has economically benefited mightily.
And if Chinese investment in 5G is not wanted – indeed, is being ejected – what of China’s powerful stake in Britain’s energy sector? What happens if China pulls the plugs on its nuclear power stations? Do all our lights go out? Has anyone thought this Chinese Kick-Away through?
Equally, and frankly absurdly, like something from a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, little Britain has simultaneously dispatched one of its mighty warships up the Yangtze. Well, not quite up the Yangtze, where our ships took a beating from the Chinese in 1949 – we are sending the aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth to China’s Maritime Border (a border itself contested by the US ‘on behalf’ of some of China’s neighbours) in an act of 19th-century Palmerstonian gunboat diplomacy fraught with serious dangers of a clash of arms. The difference is that Palmerston did rule the waves, while Boris Johnson surely doesn’t.
Both of these acts of outright hostility towards China follow the interference by western powers in the ongoing destabilisation of Hong Kong. Foremost amongst them being the former colonial power in London. Somewhat counter-intuitively, Brexit Britain is about to say goodbye to mass immigration from the European Union and hello to a mass immigration of three million Hong Kong Chinese.
During the 150 years of British colonial rule in the territory, no single Hong Kong Chinese person was ever offered visa-free travel to the UK with a clear pathway to settlement and citizenship. But now, millions of them are, to China’s obvious chagrin.
In this triple whammy of sanctions, gunboats and settlement, the brassy note of Jingoism plays ‘Rule Britannia’, but no one seems to have noticed that China is a vastly richer and more powerful adversary than it was when we extorted Hong Kong from them in punishment for their attempt to halt the flood of British opium into China which caused the addiction of 90 million Chinese people.
The economic sanctions imposed on China in the Huawei affair will be returned several-fold by Beijing. If the Queen Elizabeth goes too far, the Chinese Navy has more than what it takes to sink her.
And if the three million Chinese arrive from Hong Kong, it is not immediately clear where they will be housed or where they will work in Britain’s broken economy. In fact, perhaps the most cunning plan would be for China to open the Hong Kong floodgates now and force London to own up to its words.