THE RHODES CONNECTION
23 January 2017
BRITISH SHAME! The Rhodes Connection
The betrayal of those who had fought in WW2 and returned to help rebuild a shattered UK was not because of affordability – the UK economy was at its highest point since WW2. It was not a matter of payment through British Post Offices, for arrangements had already been made to pay pensions through Consular offices overseas. It was not the thought that future costs would be huge since inflation was not expected to increase much if at all. It was not because of an expected high emigration volume of pensioners since few ordinary people ventured overseas in those days, particularly after retirement.
Why should the government of a wealthy country choose to exploit and discriminate against a small group of its own pensioners for no apparent reason or benefit?
To answer that question we have to go back before both wars, to a time when the British Empire dominated political thought and action. Around 1867, Disraeli established Conservative Central Office, and local associations around the country, which continued political campaigning between elections. As a Sephardic Jew, he claimed nobility which he argued made him an equal to the aristocrats with whom he rubbed shoulders in the House of Commons. The rhetoric he expounded, welcomed by those aristocrats, about Britain’s place in the world and its right to rule the greatest Empire the world had ever seen, shaped Conservative thought for generations. His leadership would eventually, in 1874, result in the first outright Conservatives election victory for thirty years.
In 1871, its eyes on South African diamonds, Britain annexed Griqualand West as a Crown Colony, much to the delight of Cecil Rhodes and the anger of the adjacent Boer republics. Rhodes had begun to formulate his plan to extend the British Empire ‘from Cape Town to Cairo’ and had started to build a secret group of influential people who would eventually carry that vision into the very heart of the British government. Rhodes confessed to huge imperial ambitions, adding that the accumulation of wealth was no longer his prime objective. “The object to which I intend to devote my life is the defence and extension of the British Empire. The British Empire stands for the protection of all the inhabitants of a country in life, liberty, fair play and happiness and is the greatest platform the world has ever seen for these purposes … it is mainly the extension of the Empire northwards that we have to work for in South Africa.” Rhodes believed that he could deliver Africa to the British and he continued to keep his dreams alive behind a shield of clandestine groups, a shield which still protects those dreams and groups today.
With the Conservatives in power, General Gordon, who had met and fallen in love with Rhodes, promoted Rhodes’ vision to the young British MP, Reginald Baliol Brett, and proposed a secret group whose members would be sworn to secrecy. Brett would go on to play a prominent part in government, and continue to promote Rhodes’ vision of Empire, for many years to come. At about the same time Alfred Beit, a diamond buyer from Hamburg arrived in South Africa and was gradually drawn into close, and ever closer, relations with Rhodes. Beit would later become a close friend and benefactor of Winston Churchill who he bailed out of financial difficulties on more than one occasion. General Sir Charles Warren and General ‘Chinese’ Gordon thought they had spotted something remarkable in the young Rhodes, as did many others including the banker Nathan Rothschild and Alfred, the Lord Milner (second only to the Prime Minister David Lloyd George in the administration of Britain) who by the turn of the century had trained an elite corps secretly destined to further Rhodes work. Rhodes’ cronies included the British foreign minister Joseph Chamberlain and a score or more of the British aristocracy, including the Lords Rosebery (a former prime minister), Brand, Lothian and later Viscount Astor; also the Lords Amery, Selbourne, Grey and in particular Lord Esher (former Reginald ‘Regy’ Brett), important advisor on political matters to Queen Victoria, Edward VII and George V.
Many of these men were homosexual, at a time when this was against the law, and there is no denying that they strongly influenced British politics from late Victorian times through the Edwardian period. Brett kept a journal in which he recorded his affairs with men and boys, while Rhodes had his angels and lambs, as well as Neville Pickering with whom he lived. Gordon had his brandy and his boys, while Kitchener had a “constant and inseparable companion” in his aide-de-camp, Captain Oswald FitzGerald, with whom he perished in 1916 in a torpedoed ship. Kitchener, like Gordon and Rhodes, avoided contact with women, took a great deal of interest in the Boy Scout movement, and decorated his rose garden with four pairs of bronze sculptures of boys.
Yet another millionaire, the little known Abe Bailey – who through astute gold investments accumulated a huge fortune, political contacts and eventually an English baronetcy – also supported Rhodes in many of his ventures, including the Jameson Raid. Some idea of the future influence of these moguls may be gleaned from the fact that Bailey was a close friend of Winston Churchill from the time the latter was a war correspondent in South Africa. Indeed, Bailey’s son, who became the second Baronet Sir William Milner Bailey, married Churchill’s daughter Diana. Churchill himself never bothered to hide his admiration for Rhodes’ imperialism and when Rhodes applied for self-rule for his African dominions, the most influential of the British aristocrats who supported the idea was the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill.
The Royal Charter of 1889 was far more extensive than Rhodes had originally requested; it gave him the right to acquire unlimited ‘heathen’ lands on the same terms as were granted to a much earlier adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh. In a nutshell, whatever Rhodes could take he could keep as long as it was heathen territory and unclaimed. Rhodes recruited a number of influential British aristocrats, lured by cheap share options, to serve as directors of the chartered British South Africa Company. The company chairman was the Duke of Abercorn, with the Duke of Fife vice-chairman. Perhaps most significantly, Albert Grey – later Earl Grey, arguably Britain’s most respected politician – agreed to join the board. Lord Rupert Cecil, Salisbury’s son, was appointed legal counsel while a handful of experienced Rhodes acolytes, including Alfred Beit, did the real work.
After Rhodes’ death in 1902, the stewardship of the secret circle’s affairs fell to Alfred Milner, who was political pro-consul in South Africa. As Lord Milner he soon held a seat on the Queen’s Privy Council and later served as Britain’s Minister of War, eventually developing the secret circle into a global political network. Through Milner’s control, the secret circle built a power base at the very heart of the British government, with such influence that it would eventually write the terms that ended the Great War, help to establish the uneasy peace that followed, and even make attempts at appeasement with Hitler during the Second World War. Milner also established the funding of Rhodes Scholars bursaries for the most gifted students to become political and business leaders internationally. Rhodes scholars now can be found in the highest political and business environments world-wide. The secret circle has continued to evolve, establishing the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) as well as similar political instruments in countries around the world. The RIIA, still secretive and better known as Chatham House, is widely recognised as the most influential global political think-tank of our times.
Another of Rhodes’ aspirations – the recovery of the Holy Land for the Zionists – developed into a reality. The Balfour declaration, as was generally believed in 1917, was a letter from the British foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, to Baron Rothschild offering Palestine to the Zionists. The Rothschilds had been involved in the Rhodes’ circle from the start; Nathan Rothschild was a trustee of one of Rhodes wills. Furthermore, Leopold Amery, who had taken over the running of the evolved Rhodes circle after Milner’s death in 1925, announced in Neville Chamberlain’s 1937 Parliament that he had written the Balfour Declaration with Milner. This has never been denied or raised eyebrows, perhaps because Milner, then and now, is remembered not as the head of Rhodes secret circle but as the super-diplomat who ended the Great War. But there is no doubt that Rhodes’ secret circle – with Milner at its head – influenced decisions relating to WW1 and continued to exercise enormous influence at least through the Second World War and probably longer.
Rhodes wrote: “Why should we not form a secret society with but one object – the furtherance of the British Empire and the bringing of the whole uncivilised world under British rule.
This was the perception of those who directly influenced government. This was the perception of the aristocracy, many of whom had made huge profits from British Colonies and, before that, from slavery. This was the perception of the Conservative Party. This was the attitude which, after WW2, confronted the claims for independence from British Dominions. The British Establishment were not used to being told what to do, particularly by people who they still regarded as ‘uncivilised’. They could not let go of the Empire that easily; they had to hit back, avenge the insults from the ‘natives’ who now demanded independence.
In an unaccustomed position, weakened by WW2, they fixed on how they could prevent British money going to the independent colonies in the future. However, to prevent ordinary MPs, and particularly Labour MPs, from being able to stand against them in the House of Commons, they first had to create a new system which allowed the Chancellor of the Exchequer to introduce ‘regulations’ into a Finance Bill; henceforth the House of Commons could vote down a whole Bill but could not vote out a single regulation. The scene was set for the vengeance of the Tory Imperialists.
The only way to stop uncontrolled future money flowing to former Dominions and Colonies was to stop the possibility of pensions being paid to British citizens overseas. That would be amended in the future through a series of reciprocal agreements with certain ‘preferred’ countries, a process is now the basis for payments to pensioners in certain countries. However, government has admitted in the House of Commons that a reciprocal agreement is not a legal necessity for the payment of pension parity to all.
In effect, the Tory Government of 1955 was deliberately choosing to withhold pension payments from the very people who had fought for the freedom it now enjoyed. These were WW2 veterans who survived and returned to help rebuild a shattered Britain, and who paid into the National Insurance Fund all their working lives. These WW2 heroes would become the first ones to suffer the indignity of losing, without being told, the annual pension increases they had paid for, at a time when there were few private pensions for ordinary workers, in order to get security and dignity in retirement. So much for Rhodes, ‘protection of all the inhabitants of a country in life, liberty, fair play and happiness’
But that is not the end of the story. Why should subsequent governments continue to maintain a policy which is clearly unjust, immoral, unethical and discriminatory? Is it possible that the secret groups originated by Rhodes still influence political decisions? Does that group contain people who are also bound together because of personal behaviour and preferences and who cannot protest against a clear infamy in government? Are there external forces of the Rhodes influence that still bring pressure to bear to maintain outdated perceptions? These are subjects for future consideration, currently being researched by our members around the world. We will continue to expose these infamies until the frozen pensions’ policy is finally ended
Next: BRITISH SHAME! The Commonwealth