Tuesday, 22 September 2015

A Short History of British Military Coups and Conspiracies – Excerpt from my essay “Democracy, Terrorism and the Secret State” (2013)

Colonel Thomas Pride’s Purge of Parliament in 1648


The comments in a recent edition of the Sunday Times attributed to a serving British army general contained the not so veiled threat of mounting a military rebellion in the event of a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government getting close to exercising the levers of power. The anonymous general painted a scenario which would involve “mass resignations” by high level officers in the British armed forces in what he claimed would “effectively be a mutiny.”

Although a source for the Ministry of Defence sought to dampen the remarks by issuing a condemnation of the comments, they have caused much alarm.

The comments come in the midst of a concerted media campaign aimed at discrediting the leader and proposed policies of the Labour opposition party. While there is some room for treating words expressed anonymously with some caution, events in the recent political history of Britain suggest that they should not be readily dismissed.

There is much evidence that elements within the British military and the security services have acted against serving governments which the Establishment have viewed as threatening the interests of the United Kingdom as they perceive it. Targeted were the Labour administrations headed by Harold Wilson in the 1960s and 1970s. Threats of coups and efforts geared towards destabilising Wilson’s government have been credibly corroborated over the years.

It was also reported that Tony Benn, the late Labour figure whose Left wing positions inspired great revulsion on the British political Right was threatened with assassination in the event of his ever assuming the leadership of an elected Labour government. The source of that threat is said to have emanated from the late Airey Neave, an Establishment figure in the Conservative Party who was well-connected to the British military and the security services.

Those who are aware of the manner in which state intelligence organisations can feed information to the public for the purpose of creating alarm as well as carving out what the powers that be perceive to be a threat to the well-being of society, may conclude that recent media activity seeking to discredit Labour’s lurch to the Left culminating with the threat of a military rebellion, bear the unmistakable hallmark of the implementation of a ‘strategy of tension.’

This is an excerpt from a wide-ranging essay that I wrote in early 2013 entitled ‘Democracy, Terrorism and the Secret State’ covering plots which were engineered by the military and security services.

In Britain the ‘secret state’ was active during this era of the communist threat, reaching the stage where at two distinctive points in history, the possibility of a military takeover of the country became mooted and later heightened to the extent that plans for action were substantively laid out.

Both coups were to have been directed against the socialist administrations led by Harold Wilson, the first plot occurring in the late 1960s and the second, a culmination of intrigues perpetrated by Right-wing operatives in British military intelligence and the domestic security service, MI5.

The latter part of the 1960s witnessed certain events and trends which caused certain members of the British elite to be alarmed at the direction in which the former imperial power was heading.

One key event was the devaluation of the pound in 1967, a symptom of the continuing perceived ‘degradation’ of a waning nation-empire still traumatised by the humiliation of the Suez debacle of 1956.

Another was the deteriorating situation in Northern Ireland, where the bourgeoning civil rights movement of the Roman Catholic community was being transformed into a militarised struggle led by a revived Irish Republican Army (IRA).

There was also the perception of Wilson and the Labour Party being tolerant of the ‘Ban the Bomb’ movement and a drift towards a policy of unilateral nuclear disarmament. Furthermore, fears about the increasing power of trade unions and controversies related to the uneasiness felt about non-white immigration may have added to the sense of a nation in perpetual crisis.

In 1968, meetings were held at the instigation of the newspaper baron and M15 agent, Cecil King who took the lead in an enterprise which proposed that the army would depose the elected government and install a military alternative with Lord Louis Mountbatten at the helm.

Wilson’s electoral victory in 1964 signified a lurch to the Left, a direction in which elements in the United States government looked upon balefully. The CIA’s ‘spy-hunter’, James Jesus Angleton, believed that Wilson was a Soviet-plant. The thesis went along the lines that Wilson had been compromised years before by Soviet agents when as chairman of the Board of Trade, he made several trips behind the ‘Iron Curtain’.

What is more is that the sudden death in January 1963 of Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell, came to be believed by Angleton and some in the British intelligence community to have been engineered by the KGB in order to pave the way for Wilson to succeed him as the leader of the party.

Gaitskell was on the Right of the Labour Party, and he had proposed the then radical measure of ditching Clause Four of the party’s constitution on common ownership. Wilson, on the other hand, was identified with the Left-wing of the party.

What followed was a dirty-tricks campaign mounted by British intelligence operatives. Code-named ‘Operation Clockwork Orange’, its remit was to smear a number of British politicians including not only Wilson, but significantly, Wilson’s political rival from the Conservative Party, Edward Heath.

Heath’s brand of ‘One Nation’ Toryism and perceived weakness in his handling of the increasingly belligerent trade unions did not meet with the approval of members of the Establishment who wanted a more Right-wing leader and agenda from the Conservatives.

This sort of thing was not without precedent in British political history. The infamous ‘Zinoviev Letter’, a 1924 forgery which came by way of an asset of MI6, was purportedly a communication from Grigori Zinoviev, the president of the Comintern, enjoining British communists to stimulate “agitation-propaganda” in the armed forces.

Thus, four days before the British General Election, the Daily Mail had as its banner headline the following: “Civil War Plot by Socialists’ Masters: Moscow Orders To Our Reds; Great Plot Disclosed.”

The Labour Party lost the election by a landslide.

The early part of the 1970s, a period which on the European continent was marked by an intensification of the ideological polarisation of the political Left and Right with malcontents on the Left favouring the use of urban violence in place of the ‘ineffectual’ results of mass street demonstrations, saw the birth in Britain of an organisation calling itself the Angry Brigade.

The Angry Brigade, an anarchist group, temporarily provided Britain with a taste of continental-style guerrilla warfare which involved targeting figures of the state such as government ministers and judges as well as the bombing of foreign embassies and establishments of those states which its members considered as ‘imperialist’ or ‘fascist’.

The “law and order issue” became the short-handed appellation of choice in referring to the battles between the radicalised forces of the Left and the apparatus of state authority which permeated the political and cultural discourse.

The question of how these deep-rooted tensions were going to be resolved were framed in terms ranging from a revolution which would profoundly alter the status quo to that involving the state preserving its authority through the implementing of  extreme measures.

The sentiments representing one version of a possible resolution to society’s discordant drift, namely one providing the template of the ‘strategy of tension’, even made its way into the public eye through the realm of popular entertainment.

In 1971, the ITV network aired an episode of the TV series, ‘The Persuaders!’’ entitled ‘The Time and The Place’ wherein the playboy heroes stumble upon a plot to carry out a coup d’etat by members of the British establishment which is being co-ordinated by a member of the aristocracy.

The idea is to have the prime minster assassinated during a live TV debate on a contentious law and order bill, which according to its opponents and proponents represents either a “death to democracy” or a “return to sanity”.

The assassin, who appears to be a subdued and detached figure nestled in the audience, is to be activated Manchurian Candidate-style with a gun hidden in the compartment of what on the outside is a book. The murder would then present itself as the justification for a takeover of the government and the imposition of martial law.

As one of the foot soldiers of the eventually failed conspiracy explains, “the public will be outraged, and when Croxley (the Lord leading the coup) makes an impassioned plea for strong action, the people of this country will not only approve of a new government, they’ll demand it.”

The aforementioned fiction from early evening light entertainment nonetheless did reference one consistent aspect of the prevalent understanding among the mass of Britons about the nature of their governance: namely its alluding to the existence of the Establishment; a group of powerful people who although unelected and unseen, consistently influence the direction of the country.

It also followed that any plan to effect any radical change in society such as by a military coup would find its conception and execution from persons belonging to such Establishment.

Traditionally, the British Establishment referred to those of high-born status and usually with an old school tie/Oxbridge background, who along with others in high government positions of the judiciary, the armed forces, civil service, courtiers within the royal family, the police and security services, have a tendency to form coteries within the exclusive enclaves of gentleman’s clubs.

The fictional Lord Croxley meets with establishment figures in the grandiose settings of a club to finalise the details of the coup which bears traces of reality to the claimed influence of the real life Clermont Club at which some argue that a plot to overthrow the Labour government in the 1970s was hatched.

It is useful to note that the Establishment does not necessarily merge with the concept of the ‘Deep State’, i.e. the ‘state within a state’ of which the Turkish derin devlet is considered the standard.

This other aspect of the secret state; that of a parallel government manipulating events in the background without the knowledge of the incumbent, visible elected power, has, unlike in the case of Turkey and Italy, never been specifically identified in the British context, although her majesty the Queen is once believed to have alluded to the “powers at work in this country about which we have no knowledge.”

However, what is not disputed is the existence of an influential establishment alongside at least a sizeable element of the secret service which plotted against the Labour government in the 1970s with the aim of destabilising it. Wilson himself had made intimations to the reporters Barrie Penrose and Roger Courtiour of “dark forces threatening Britain.”

There are historian-experts in the field such as the author Rupert Allason who assert that the intelligence services in the United Kingdom, unlike some of their European counterparts such as in Italy, is not composed overwhelmingly of individuals of a Right-wing bent. Those with Leftist tendencies, he has argued, were always represented.

While the personnel of the British secret service have tended to come from the elite of society, they did, after all, produce the notorious Cambridge set consisting of the likes of Burgess, McClean, Philby and Blunt, who indoctrinated earlier in their student days by the communist ideology, would later turn traitors against their country.

By the mid-1970s during Wilson’s second tenure as prime minister, the nation had already been through a three-day working week during Heath’s confrontation with the powerful miners union. Militant unions and a Left-wing agenda which could compromise Britain’s commitment to the free market economic system as well as to NATO was a cause of great concern.

Thus it was that in this noxious atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia of the existence of pro-Soviet subversive elements within the political classes, the intelligence services and the powerful labour unions that a group of MI5 agents led by Peter Wright, the author of Spycatcher, “bugged and burgled” their way across London, he claimed, “at the behest of the state.”

Harold Wilson was convinced that he was being watched and that insidious information about him was being disseminated from sources within the security services; part of the executive branch of the government which he was supposed to control.

Apart from the troublesome spooks who were lurking in the shadows, he was also of the mindset that waiting in the wings were high-ranking figures of the military, both serving and retired, who were ready for the signal to overthrow his government.

Not since 1648, when Colonel Thomas Pride strode into the august precincts of the English legislature one December day to bring an end to the ‘Long Parliament’, had anything of the semblance of a military coup d’etat taken place in the ‘mother-nation’  of democracy.

It seemed then to be a most unlikely development.

But Wilson, who privately complained of being undermined by the security services, also took note of a “ring of steel” mounted by the army around London’s Heathrow Airport, first in January and again in June of 1974. The first occurred on the eve of the February general election in which Labour was returned to power after a narrowly contested result.

Although explained as security measures in response to unspecified terrorist threats, Wilson considered these manoeuvres to be clear warnings pointed in his direction.

Warnings came from elsewhere. General Sir Walter Walker, a retired former high echelon figure within the command structure of NATO, expressed dissatisfaction over the state of the country and wrote to the Daily Telegraph calling for “dynamic, invigorating, uplifting leadership…above party politics” which would “save” the country from “the Communist Trojan horse in our midst.” He was involved with Unison (later renamed Civil Assistance) an anti-Communist organisation which pledged to supply volunteers in the event of a national strike.

Another military figure, Colonel David Stirling, the founder of the elite SAS regiment, created ‘Great Britain 75’. Composed of ex-military men, its task would be to take over the running of government in the event of civil unrest leading to a breakdown of government functioning.

These two, however, were red herrings according to Peter Cottrell, author of Gladio: NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe, who claims that these public utterances were a distraction from “what was really going on.”

But the Rubicon was not crossed. There would be no tanks rolling down Whitehall along with the probable modus operandi of solemn martial music preceding the presumed clipped upper class tones of a lord or general proclaiming a state of national emergency and the establishment of a junta.

In the end, however, the British Right won. Wilson abruptly resigned in March 1976, thoroughly exhausted by the campaigns directed at him, while Edward Heath lost the Conservative Party leadership to Margaret Thatcher, the choice of the Right.

(c) Adeyinka Makinde (2013 & 2015)

Adeyinka Makinde is a law lecturer with an interest in security and intelligence matters.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

COMMENTARY: Corbyn’s Victory

Jeremy Corbyn

To assert that “capitalism is the worst form of economic system except the others” would be a useful adaptation of the famous quote by Winston Churchill on democracy versus the other systems of government. Capitalism was not eroded by the Clement Atlee-led Labour government of the immediate post-war period. At the same time, it should be reminded that Margaret Thatcher could not override every vestige of socialism; the National Health Service being one notable example.

From the English Civil War-era groups such as the Levellers and the Diggers through to the work of Robert Owen at the time of the Industrial Revolution and, of course, the formation of Labour, socialist thinking and activism have been part of the political landscape of the British Isles.

But the Left has for long suffered from its associations with Marxism and the brutal reign of Bolshevism in the Soviet Union until its eventual collapse, and, specifically in Britain, from the failure of the Labour government in the 1970s, the over empowerment of union barons and eighteen long years in opposition to the Conservative Party that began with the triumph of Margaret Thatcher in 1979.

While the controversial election of Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of the Labour Party is being touted by the mainstream media as a retrogressive step that will end in a disastrous era of being “unelectable” if not in the party’s outright extinction, it does provide an important opportunity for the British people to re-examine the path to which mainstream political parties have all adhered for a number of decades. For instance, since the financial meltdown of the late 2000s many have simply gone along with the 'no alternative to austerity' mantra.

They also seem to be getting reconverted to the militarist agenda discredited by the Iraq invasion. The public mood was tangibly validated by the no vote against intervention in Syria a couple of years ago only for the 'programmed' rise of ISIS to begin to distort this.

If Corbyn is a 'threat' to national security, I see no reason why a compelling case cannot be made for the same charge to be saddled against the war mongering likes of George Osborne and David Cameron who must be aware of the NATO-facilitated circumstances behind the rise of jihadist militias in Syria and Iraq. Further, both cannot be unaware of the dangerously manufactured policy of provoking Russia via the Ukraine.

Away from the mudslinging and ideological bashing, I hope that Corbyn's rise will create a substantive stream of debate on the accepted postulates of how to run the British economy. It will be interesting to see what ideas he can come up with that will aim to achieve economic stability and social justice in contemporary Britain.

The Labour Party which was created to serve the interest of the working class clearly no longer does this. It has made itself beholden to corporate interests, and Corbyn's most vociferous critics are from among the 'Blairites' within the party; many of whom do not stand the test of being steadfastly principled in serving the genuine needs of the people. Indeed, the New Labour apostate socialists of the Blair-stripe are mostly a greedy, lucre-chasing lot only interested in their post-political career nest eggs from their true financial masters.

Both Labour and Conservative parties have become similar in ideas and policies and have not offered a practical choice of genuine alternatives to the British electorate. Corbyn's victory has served to delineate the boundaries between both major parties and widned the sphere of options for voters.

It is going to be a difficult time with the Establishment and its defenders in the press arrayed against him, but if he can provide a lucidly articulated viable alternative to austerity and toleration of the worst features of capitalist culture as well as a prudent strategy on immigration without succumbing to hate-laced and xenophobic posturing, he could well change the political landscape.

(c) Adeyinka Makinde (2015)

Adeyinka Makinde is a London-based writer

Monday, 14 September 2015

Bobby Charlton

Bobby Charlton during the 1970 World Cup in Mexico

Bobby Charlton.

He possesses an aura of greatness in far greater excess than Wayne Rooney.

1. Rose from the ashes of the Munich Plane disaster.
2. Won the European Cup in great style.
3. World Cup winner.
4. Participant in some of the most legendary confrontations in international football history.
5. Great ambassador of the sport.

Both Gary Lineker and Jimmy Greaves have better goal scoring ratios and Rooney has now scored more goals but Charlton's style and achievements still make him tops for me.

(C) Adeyinka Makinde (2015)


"Siegesgöttin" (Goddess of Victory - Nike) by Willy Meller at the Olympiastadion, Berlin. (PHOTO: Adeyinka Makinde)

Meller’s sculpture "Siegesgottin", situated near the border between the Reichsportsfeld and the Haus des Deutschen Sports at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium complex  is an example of the National Socialist conception of  ‘Greco-Germanic’ art.

(c) Adeyinka Makinde (2015)

Wednesday, 19 August 2015


(PHOTO: Adeyinka Makinde)

Statue of Colonel Claus Schenk Graf Von Stauffenberg in the re-constructed inner courtyard of the old 'Bendler Block' building complex in Berlin where he was executed after the abortive attempt on Adolf Hitler's life on July 20 1944. 

The plaque in front of the figure reads as follows:

Ihr trugt die Schande nicht.
Ihr wehrtet euch.
Ihr gabt das große ewig wache Zeichen der Umkehr,
opfernd Euer heißes Leben für Freiheit, Recht, und Ehre

You did not bear the shame.
You resisted.
You bestowed the eternally vigilant symbol of change
by sacrificing your impassioned lives for freedom, justice and honour.

The photograph was taken on a visit to the German Resistance Memorial Centre Stauffenbergstraße in Berlin-Mitte.

(c) Adeyinka Makinde (2015)

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Real Combat Media Historical Boxing: Whatever Happened To The Jersey Jolter, Frankie De Paula?

Bob Foster (right) with Frankie DePaula

By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent

October 31st 2014

Boxing fans tend to remember the great fighters, great fights and great moments in boxing. The late Hank Kaplan, who wrote Boxing Digest on his own for many years, was a walking encyclopedia of the fighters of his era, with most names long forgotten. As the boxing historian, I often feel a lot like Hank, as I feel very connected to some many people, places and events experienced as the reporter.

So many names have come and gone, some delegated to the obscurity of the subconscious, others are in the hereafter.

One such name is the ‘Jersey Jolter’, the late Italian American light heavyweight Frankie De Paula (1939-1970) of Jersey City, New Jersey. Frankie compiled a successful professional record of 21-7-3 with 16 knockouts, fighting in the shadows during the Cassius Clay-early Muhammad Ali days.

Many fighters never get a title shot or a significant fight. Near the end of his life Frankie DePaula fought two highly significant bouts. One was the bout of the year at Madison Square Garden in October 1968. Ex-WBA and WBC World Light Heavyweight champion Dick Tiger of Nigeria, afterlosing his world titles ot Bob Foster five months earlier, won a hair raising 10 round decision over DePaula at The Garden. Tiger went down twice in the second, DePaula went down twice in the third. Referee Arthur Mercante scored the bout 5-5, but his scorecard went to 7-6 for Tiger with the supplemental scoring method in place in New York at that time.

On the basis of that great performance, Bob Foster, for his first world title defense, gave DePaula a shot at his WBA and WBC world titles at The Garden in January 1969. DePaula was a big draw in his day and his presence sold tickets like wild at Madison Square Garden. It was a shock when DePaula dropped the hard hitting Foster in the first round. Foster beat the count, and came back to drop DePaula three times for an automatic first round TKO at 2:17. DePaula came back twice, scoring knockouts over undistinguished opponents in April 1969 and November of 1969.

An iron worker and 1962 New York Golden Gloves Sub Novice champion. After breaking the jaw of a police officer’s son in a street brawl, DePaula was incarcerated at Rahway State Prison, where he met middleweight Ruben ‘Hurricane’ Carter. A bar bouncer, hard partying womanizer, boozer, and drug user, had the right connections to rise above club fighter status. Unfortunately, DePaula hung out with the wrong crowd.

In May 1969, DePaula was arrested by Federal agents with seven others and charged with conspiracy, theft and possession of stolen copper from the Newark waterfront. His boxing license was suspended and he was later indicted for perjury. He was found innocent of possession and theft, with a hung jury on the conspiracy charge.

He was shot in Jersey City on May 14, 1970, in a mob hit. He was taken to Jersey City Medical Center where he developed paralysis and died four months later.

There were rumors DePaula’s title bout with Bob Foster was fixed by the mob, but it was never proven. Nobody was ever convicted of the DePaula hit. For those interested in learning more about Frankie DePaula’s life, a recent book, entitled ‘Jersey Boy-The Life and Mob Slaying of Frankie DePaula’ by Adeyinka Makinde, tells the DePaula story in great detail.

(c) Real Combat Media 2014

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

COMMENTARY: The Trouble with a Flag

Battle Flag Of The Army Of Northern Virginia

Part of the fallout from the recent massacre of nine African-American worshippers in a South Carolina church by a lone gunman has of course been the passionate and often embittered discourse on the role and significance of the confederate flag in American history.

For those with a neophyte base of knowledge of the civil war fought in the United States between 1861 and 1865, it has provided a welter of fascinating information about why the war was fought. It has also given a mass airing of insights into the characters of several leading figures on both sides of the conflict including their views on race and their personal records pertaining to the ownership of slaves.

Yet, if anything, many of the views garnered from a wide spectrum of sources merely seem to reinforce this outsider’s impression of an increasingly festering racial, cultural and political polarisation of the United States.

That a flag or insignia of some sort should stir a hornet’s nest of emotions is nothing new.

Symbols and colours often carry deep significance in many societies. For centuries, perhaps from time immemorial, the swastika was a symbol of fortune known by different names by different cultures. And while there are pressure groups among Hindu communities who would wish for a revival of its original identification and meaning, it would be foolhardy to believe that such moves would go unopposed even when grounded on an argument that is clearly at odds with Nazi philosophy.

Evidence of sensitivities aroused by the public display or marketing of particular symbols can be found in the 2011 decision of the European Court of Justice to ban the registration of the Soviet ‘hammer and sickle’ as a trademark within the European Union because it was a “symbol of despotism” for countries such as Latvia and the Czech Republic among those Eastern European countries who endured rule under the communist system for decades.

In Northern Ireland, a place where flags and symbols have always been extremely important, there is an increasing tendency among certain parts of the communities to fly the flags of two Middle Eastern entities. In certain areas populated in the main by Roman Catholics, it is the flag of the Palestinian territories.  In contrast, the flag of Israel is flown in Protestant ones.

Those who understand the history of Ireland as involving on the one hand the colonisation of an indigenous population and their dispossession, or, on the other, the sanctified resettlement by a purposeful people on a civilising mission, will know why each flag resonates alternately as an object of sympathy and of antipathy.

The complexities of the factors which tend to propel nations to civil war are no less present in the one fought between northern and southern states in America. The causes may be simplified, perhaps oversimplified to the point of mythologizing the narrative associated with the path to conflict. The American Civil war is alleged by one school of thought to have been consistently mischaracterised as a war to end slavery.

But South Carolina, the first state to secede, was unambiguous in its declaration that it was safeguarding “the right of property in slaves” against attempts by “the non-slaveholding states” to judge “the propriety of our domestic institutions” and to deny “the rights of property” in human beings.

And the vice president of the confederacy, Alexander Stephens, admitted that the dispute regarding the status of blacks in American civilization was “the immediate cause” of secession. Stephens claimed that the new government of the South was established on the “great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.”

It is clear that while the primary aim of the war had been to preserve the union, the issue of slavery, always hovering in the background, later took its place as a specific war aim. Thus, the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1st 1863 as the war was approaching its third year has continued to be taken as evidence that the North was fighting to free slaves while the South was fighting to preserve the slave ystem.

Victors write history goes the well-worn phrase but the impositions on the South were not as harsh as most bitterly fought civil wars or wars of secession. There was not a prolonged army of occupation and the southern states were left with many vestiges of their way of life intact. One of these was the right to incorporate civil war-associated symbols within state flags.

The particular version of the confederate flag that is the object of controversy since the South Carolina slayings may not have universally represented the secessionist movement of the South at the time of the civil war or 'war of southern independence', but in the aftermath of the conflict it came to represent in the psyche of most a reference to presumptions as to the racial order in traditional southern culture.

To deny this would be disingenuous.

After all, the state of Georgia re-introduced the flag after the Brown v Board of Education decision on desegregation. And certain groups which espouse racial supremacy such as the Ku Klux Klan specifically make use of it.

Providing references to General Lee's 1856 letter to the then President Pierce in which he berates the institution of slavery to contrast to those sources confirming President Lincoln's goal of achieving the separation of the black and white races is ultimately not the crux of the matter.

The confederate flag came to be embraced by those in favour of racial separation and by those who practised terror against black American communities. It has become one form of artefact representing the era of ‘Jim Crow’  which succeeded a period of moderate advances made by blacks in the south in the years following the ending of the civil war. 

The protests of those who claim the confederate flag to be an inseparable aspect of southern culture choose to forget that the underlying basis of southern prosperity was the system of enslavement. Indeed, the president of the confederacy, Jefferson Davis in an 1861 speech delivered before his congress acknowledged the indispensability of the labour of African slaves to this prosperity.

The banning of anything in a country such as the United States because of its constitutional emphasis on freedom of expression always presents a huge problem in terms of its justification. Nonetheless, if the confederate flag represents to a significant part of its population the intolerable idea of racial supremacy and oppression of others, the rationale employed by the European Court in banning a coat of arms on the basis of it being “contrary to public policy and to accepted principles of morality” is worthy of consideration.

(C) Adeyinka Makinde (2015)

Adeyinka Makinde is a London-based writer.