Monday, December 29, 2003

Iain Murray, of the Edge of Corporate America's Sword fame, has an article on the environment in the Washington Times in his capacity as a senior fellow of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Known funders of the CEI include Texaco, Inc, Ford Motor Company Fund, American Petroleum Institute and more.

You can check out the credentials of the CEI here.

And the Washington Times here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Merry Christmas

A Merry Christmas to all my readers and balls to the rest of you.

Only joking. Compliments of the season to everyone passing by.

I will endeavour to blog a bit more frequently and cogently in the new year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Brace yourself, Peter, for the inevitable accusations of anti semitism.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Good news for the world.

It will be interesting to see what the pro and anti Bush camps make of this news. Well, obviously, Bushies will take it as an indication of the success of their post 9/11 policies, and if this leads to a further reduction of WMDs worldwide it will might make the fact that there doesn't seem to be any in Iraq less of a problem.

Cynics might say that since Qadafi's nuclear programme was not exactly well advanced, this could just be a smart move by the wily Colonel to rehabilitate himself with the West at little or no cost to himself.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

It could happen to anybody - it is very plausible.

'Course it could, dear. If you are a gullible idiot or Polly Toynbee

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Dumbjon has a blog.

The world would be a duller place without him.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

So where will this end?

And I thought it was just Halliburton et al.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Nice work if you can get it.

And you can get it if you're Halliburton
Iraq delays hand Cheney firm $1bn

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Julie Burchill on Anti-Semitism:

Just a few weeks ago, a German MP was forced to resign after claiming that the Jews were responsible for Soviet army "atrocities" against the defeated Nazi state (makes you want to go back and bomb Dresden all over again, only properly this time).

Actually, Julie, it makes you wish squeaky voiced controversialists would shut the fuck up about important stuff in case they make a complete twat of themselves and debase their own argument in the process.

A fine, amiable and dreamy young man, skilled in horsemanship and archery, you were also from a long line of dribbling madmen. King at 12 and quickly married to your sweetheart, Bavarian Princess Isabeau, you enjoyed many happy months together before either of you could speak anything of the other's language. However, after illness you became a tad unstable. When a raving lunatic ran up to your entourage spouting an incoherent prophecy of doom, you were unsettled enough to slaughter four of your best men when a page dropped a lance. Your hair and nails fell out. At a royal masquerade, you and your courtiers dressed as wild men, ending in tragedy when four of them accidentally caught fire and burned to death. You were saved by the timely intervention of the Duchess of Berry's underskirts.

In 1405 you stopped bathing, shaving or changing your clothes. This went on until several men were hired to blacken their faces, hide, jump out and shout "boo!", upon which you resumed basic hygiene. Despite this, your wife continued sleeping with you until 1407, when she hired a young beauty, Odette de Champdivers, to take her place. Isabeau then consoled herself, as it were, with your brother. Her lovers followed thick and fast while you became a pawn of your court, until you had her latest beau strangled and drowned.

A severe fever was fended off with oranges and pomegranates in vast quantities, but you succumbed again in 1422 and died. Your disease was most likely hereditary. Unfortunately, you had anywhere up to eleven children, who variously went on to develop capriciousness, great cruelty, insecurity, paranoia, revulsion towards food and, in one case, a phobia of bridges.
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

Thanks to the prof for the heads up.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

I Don't Know What to Tell You

Ouch. OUCH.

In case you can't be arsed to read it, the big ouch is the German cannibal story. It's all very bizarre, of course, but what I find fascinating are the things you can be charged for in Germany - "disturbing the peace of the dead", "murder for the purposes of sexual pleasure" and, get this, "killing on demand."

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Do something along the lines of any of these strategies, George, and I for one will stop moaning - too much.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Harry's Place,the prof and others have been turning their attention, again, to the STW marches. This time they are wondering why STW haven't protested about Saddam, Al-Qaeda, terrorism, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all. The general thrust seems to be that while it does not mean, per se, that if you don't demonstrate against something, you are for it - which is a relief, since I wasn't looking forward to Stop the GBH Coalition march tomorrow, nor yet the Stop the Drunken Hoolies Throwing up in little Old Ladies' Gardens Coalition rally next week - in this case, it does. Or rather, if you marched against Bush and Blair while not simultaeneously protesting about people being shredded by Saddam and blown to pieces by terrorist bombs, then your motives may be suspect, you may be a closet terrorist yourself and at the very least you are sending the wrong message to the world, making terrorism more acceptable and providing propaganda for the Islamofascists and Baathists in Iraq.

All this is deduced mainly by the content of the banners, "Bush - World's No 1 terrorist", "End the Occupation" etc, and the toppling of the paper Bush statue, which was an attempt to suggest, apparently, a moral equivalence between Bush and Saddam rather than a rather snappy way of getting on the news.

The STW crowd are light on the details behind their slogans, and an idea of their positions on the occupation and the war on terror beyond the fact that they are against 'em wouldn't go amiss, but the vitriol that some of the pro war left are pouring on them seems to me to go beyond the necessary. There were a million people demonstrating against the war before it happened. They were saying "not in my name" to the politicians who were intent on war before all avenues of peace had been explored. They objected to many things about the war - the legal authority, the fact that world opinion was being ignored, the sidelining of the UN, the dubious evidence on WMDs. They thought it more likely rather than less likely that terrorism would flourish in the world and in the region. And they questioned whether killing Iraqis - between 20,000 and 50,000 as it turned out - was the best way to rid the world of Saddam Hussein.

The jury is out on these points. The occupation is messy. There are a thousand things to debate about where to go from here.

And the left, as per usual, squabbles with itself.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

If you only read one thing today, make it the prof's review of Emmylou Harris. Wish I'd been there.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The Beastly Beatification of Mother T

The Hitchens man is on surer ground when he slags off Mother Teresa and the whole grotesque specatacle of her impending sainthood.

He says:

Many volunteers who went to Calcutta came back abruptly disillusioned by the stern ideology and poverty-loving practice of the "Missionaries of Charity," but they had no audience for their story.

I can personally vouch for the truth of this. I volunteered for a year and was astonished at the gap between the popular view of the Sisters' unceaseless devotion to the poorest of the poor and the actuality. If you've ever wept a sentimental tear at images of a Sister cradling the head of a dying child, then you've been conned. If it happens it's the exception rather than the rule. The Sisters are more likely to be upstairs praying, leaving the poor souls to meet their maker alone. Their primary concern is their own relationship with God, with their self sacrifice and devotion to destitution. Not the destitute, the state of destitution. And as Hitchens says, since suffering is so Godly, they don't really care about its alleviation. More than one person said to me that they would rather die on the streets than live in the Sisters' house.

It's not all evil. There are some happy people living at Missionary of Charity homes all over India. There are people who are alive now with three meals a day and a roof over their head who would have died had not a sister picked them up off the street.

But when I hear of the soon to be sanctified Mother T, I think of a young boy at whose cremation I was the only onlooker, apart from the furnace man who unceremoniously tipped the shrouded body into the fire.

The boy died of hyper glycaemia, I think the technical term is. He was diabetic, and the sisters stopped giving him insulin because he kept eating glucose biscuits.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Christopher Hitchens on those last minute offerings of Saddam is uncharacteristically weak.

The general thrust is, "Aha, this proves we were right all along and goes to show that it was all for the best in the best of all possible worlds that we went to war."

He concludes by telling us there need be no silly nostalgia for a "peace" offer that confirmed all our worst suspicions about Saddam and tells us: for the date of elections, that should be for the Iraqi people and not their murderers and torturers to determine.

Nor yet Bush or Bremer, presumably?

It seems to me that for the supporters of the moral war, this whole thing is a bit of a problem. Their touchingly naive faith that this was all done for the good of the Iraqi people would take quite a knock if it turned out that gunboat diplomacy may well have worked. If this remarkable set of offers was genuine, and it's a big if, I'll grant you, then what else might have been put on the table while Saddam was looking
down the barrels of the tanks as they prepared to roll? The release of political prisoners? Some form of UN investigation/enforcement of human rights?

Fanciful? Yes, about as fanciful as the idea of Saddam saying come in and look for WMDs, actually.

If the war had been about liberation, this might have been pursued. It would probably have come to nothing, but it was worth a punt. One of the hallmarks of a just war is, surely - to mix metaphors a bit - that all possible avenues of peace are explored.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Apparently, if you write Prince Charles, Michael Fawcett and Popbitch in the same post, your traffic will increase by 300 uniques in a day. Well, I could do with some of that.

Actually, I was going to blog on it anyway. I've tried, Lord knows how I've tried, to cultivate a suitably lofty, mature and dignified attitude to the latest Royal farce, like the one over at Harry's and like the Republican on the Today programme this morning. You know how it goes, the private lives of the royal family has no bearing on the case against them and therefore we should not sully our pristine, self righteous souls with petty scandals which demeans anyone who shows the slightest interest in them.

But, I'm sorry, I just can't do it. I remember the nauseating fawning of the Silver Jubilee of '77 or whenever it was, the Royal Wedding of '82 and the endless parading of this privileged bunch as some sort of ideal family that we should all look up to. And, of course, no matter what our opinions on the matter we were, indeed still are, Her Majesty's subjects rather than citizens of this country.

So, every scandal, justified or not is fine by me. I don't care whether genuine Republicanism or unorthodox duties from flunkies brings them down, just so long as something does.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

I've changed the look again, mainly because I get a lot of referrals from Norman Geras and he uses the same template as I did. Can't have people getting confused and thinking the mighty prof has lost a bunch of brain cells, now can we?

Needless to say I forgot to retore the comments boxes and can't remember where to find the code.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Pity, if you can find it in your heart to do so, the poor Tory activist. The foot soldiers of the natural party of government, for so long used and abused by their masters in parliament. But, hey ho, while the Tories were in government or government in waiting, I don't suppose they minded too much, and there was always the promise of a visit from Heseltine or Archer on the cold chicken leg circuit.

Then along came William Hague, dragging the party kicking and screaming into some semblance of democracy by giving the rank and file a say in electing their leader. Okay, so their first choice wasn't a conspicuous success, but maybe they'd get it right next time.

But no. A hundred and sixty five of the worst performing MPs of all time decide they know best and foist a new leader upon them once again. A new leader whose chief qualification for the job is his popularity among those self same useless MPs.


Friday, October 31, 2003

Even the Israeli army chief thinks Sharon is foolish.
I've not been very curmudgeonly recently. In fact I thought I was going soft, thought that my inexorable drift towards old gitdom was looking less inexorable by the day.

I am happy, in a misanthropic sort of way, to say that television came to my rescue last night and set me back on the right track.

There I was, brandy in one hand, clicker in the other with an hour or two to kill before bed. After Newsnight got too boring - there's only so much gloating over IDS's misfortune that you can do in one day - what did I find?

Sky 1 had The Villa, a bunch of kids trying to fuck each other. Channel 4, a programme about some kids trying to find a fuck buddy, which, apparently, is something between a boyfriend/girlfriend and a one night stand. BBC 3 had something with Denise Van Outen and Essex in the title, which I didn't even think of watching, but was probably about someone in white stilettoes trying to find someone to fuck. And i'm sure there was at least one other programme with sex in the title.

Now, I've never thought of myself as a prude, but what is this prurient shit all about? Your Villas and Real Sex and Ibiza Uncovereds and your documentaries about the sex industry which are just an excuse to show snatches of soft porn? I mean, who watches it? Isn't three quarters of the internet and about twenty pay per view sex channels enough for your average wanker?

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Iraq work helps Halliburton.

Well, it would, wouldn't it?

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Bit of a challenge to the supporters of the moral war.

Oh, hello again, by the way. Been away in Ibiza clubbing it large at Thomson Gold for a week. As for the rest of the time since October 9th, don't ask.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Lots of fun over at the stupidist blogger alive's place, with the coiner of the phrase, Oliver Kamm, AKA, the boringest blogger alive, getting into a tangle with the greatest blogger without a blog alive, Stephen Marks.

I warn you, if you get to the end of the comments, you may well lose the will to live.

Lots of people in blogoland seem to respect, nay admire, Mr Kamm, but I'm hoping they say this just to encourage him. He is a curious mixture: part intellectual, part bully, part pub bore. He appears to think of himself as a formidable adversary, but I get the impression that to be attacked by him is rather like being savaged by a dead accountant. Perhaps that's why Ryan embraced his soubriquet so enthusiastically.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Shameless Excuse to Recycle Old Joke 3

I've just seen in The Thinker that I missed the re-run of the 1970 election night special on BBC Parliament last week. I was thirteen at the time (the first time round that is, not last week) and not that interested in politics, although I do remember the '74 election.

Television election coverage was brilliantly and mercilessly sent up by Monty Python, of course. Most political saddoes my age can quote chunks of the Silly Party/ Sensible Party sketch verbatim, and given half a chance many of us will boringly point out that the famous Monster Raving Lonny candidate Tarquin Limbimbusstopfertangfurtangfurtangolebiscuitbarrel nicked the name from the skit.

But for me the funniest moment was when John Cleese said, "I've just heard that Arthur Neegus has held Bristols. That's not a result, it's just a bit of gossip."

I thang you.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

They Give it a Word and the Word is, Moribund

Stop the War managed 10,000/100,000 (you pays your money you takes your choice)marchers at the weekend and Harry had a virtual counter demo.

There's no sense to be had at the moment on the left about Iraq. Stop the War have such shaky coalition of no marks like SWP and CND, backed up by some Moslems who may or may not share our ideals of secular democracy, that they can't offer anything more constructive than slogans and a clumsy attempt at linking Iraq and Palestine together. Go to their web site and there is not a shred of analysis or argument, not to mention the total lack of ideas as to what they would like to see if the scales suddenly fell from Bush's eyes and he said, "Okay guys, you were right all along, we are outa here."

And the pro war left are equally moribund. There's hardly one of them who doesn't sound disturbingly similar to the most rabid right winger . You can almost hear them say, "If you aren't with us you're against us."

Us being, of course, the angels. Those angels like Chalabi and friends - commanding such support and loyalty that some Iraqis believe he was behind the killing of Aqila Al-Hashimi. Or the corporate angels benefiting from the sale of the century and the squeaky clean politicians on both sides of the pond, spinning their ideas of WMDs and terrorist links and pushing their various agendas for all they were worth.

How they must laugh at the bleeding heart liberals and lefties who have joined with them in their common cause. Laugh at those who think for a second that this was a war of liberation.

What the pro war left, and maybe Tony Blair, too, have not grasped or choose to ignore, is that what is so dear to them: freedom, justice, the fight against tyranny, was never more than a sideshow.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Wibble While You Work

One of the joys (and simultaneous curses) of working for yourself is that there are no bosses leaning over your shoulder while you are idling around Blogoland rather than earning. It was during one such foray yesterday that I came across the old quote from Martin Niemoeller:

When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then, Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church -- and there was nobody left to be concerned.

It instantly transported me back over twenty years to the time I last heard it. I was working for a (then) large, well known chemicals and textile company. It was the early eighties, Thatcherism had got into its stride and unemployment was rising fast. The factory had seen many departments close down and others restructured with lots of redundancies.

Our union rep was an enthusiastic young politico who fancied himself as something of an orator. Passionate in defending his members, he was desperate to get us out on strike in defence of the latest department facing the axe. In a key meeting he made his final plea for solidarity by invoking the good pastor's stirring words.

"When they closed down the Dyeing Division," he thundered, "I didn't work there, therefore I was not concerned. And when they closed down the Nylon Plant, I didn't work there, and therefore I was not concerned. And when they closed down the Development Unit, I didn't work there either, so I was not concerned. And then they tried to close the Research Lab..."

He paused for effect, but for a fraction too long, because some old wag shouted out, "Because nobody ever fucking worked there, the lazy bastards, they deserved everything they got."

The meeting dissolved into laughter and the strike never happened.

If this was a proper leftie morality tale, it would finish with the old wag losing his job a few months down the line, but I don't know if that happened or not because mine went not long after.

And since it was such a shit job it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Couldn't Give a Shit Victory Revisited.

The CGAS victory quote led to some comments on the Kid's blog, which set me thinking - an occurance that occasionally happens despite all indications to the contrary.

Dumjon ranted about policians' utter degeneracy, concluding thus:

In fact, I'd say that if we as citizens have any duties it is exactly this one: we should do everything possible to marginalise these people in our society. If we wish to keep civilisation moving ahead then we need to have the courage and the conviction to ensure that those who have rejected its centeral tenets are excluded from it as quickly as possible.

While Anthony C gave the political classes' stock answer:

you could argue that we operate an inclusive political system and that anyone can get involved - you don't like what's on offer; then put up or shut up. If people really don't like what the main parties are offering they can either start their own party or - more realistically - get themselves involved in one of the existing parties and try to change it from within. I tend to feel there's a lot of truth in the maxim that we get the politicians we deserve.

Both views are quite common, although Dumjon's visceral hatred is rarely matched in the world outside the Libertarian circles I assume he frequents, and both views let politicians off the hook.

First, let us look at the pious, "well, you can always get involved in politics yourself, you know. " The first point here is, who wants to? As Dumjon points out, the political animal is not as other beings. Other men and women have real lives to lead, livings to earn, relationships to foster, families to be with and a host of other interesting things to do that don't involve sitting around dull back rooms arguing the toss about the public finance initiative. So why, if people find that the politicians are representing them in a manner that alienates rather than includes, should the response be, "Well, if you think you can do any better, you can always try it yourself. Otherwise, keep quiet." This attitude leaves millions of people with no option but to join the Couldn't Give a Shits, when really they are None of the Aboves. Unrepresented, unheard, ignored. And worst of all, labelled as apathetic.

More wibbling on this subject tomorrow. Maybe.

Monday, September 22, 2003

A Pound of Flesh

Iraq for sale.

Shameless Excuse to Recycle Old Joke 2

There has been a spat between the Kid and the Labour Guy. I have to say I'm with the Kid on this one, not only because he was nice to me the other day. Robin Cook was indeed disloyal to his wife, and for Tom to go on about smut and sexual obsession rather misses the point. Which is, how the hell did Robin Cook ever get two women to f**** him in the first place?

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Thanks to the Kid Cuthbertson for making me his quote of the day yesterday. If you are passing by, Kid, I can't get the comments to work on your new blog. Not an altogether bad thing as it helps me concentrate on this one rather than infest yours.

Update: got it to go at last. It's a tantric comment box.

Tom Utley comments in the Telegraph about the Couldn't Give a Shit's victory.

The rest of the press, predictably, concentrates on the also rans.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Big Win for the Couldn't Give a Shit Party

The Couldn't Give a Shit Party won a dramatic victory in the Brent East by-election yesterday, securing 64% of the vote. While not hitting the heights of some of their other victories in the past, notably the Leeds by-election of 1999, where they secured around 80% of the vote, this is still a remarkable result. With so much at stake for the also rans of Labour, Lib Dem and Conservatives, pundits might have expected a lower turnout for the Couldn't Give a Shits. Iraq, the Hutton Enquiry and the claims of the Lib Dems of being the "official" opposition were all factors that should have squeezed the Couldn't Give a Shit vote, but their support has once again held solid.

A spokesman for the Couldn't Give a Shits said, "This result must surely signal a change in British Politics. It is scandalous that our party, which secured such a massive majority here, and had, it must be remembered, the biggest share of the vote (41%) in the last general election, is still unrepresented in Parliament. The British people are speaking with a remarkably clear voice, but the vested interests of those in power are just not listening."

Critics of the Couldn't Give a Shits point out that under current voting conditions, it is impossible to tell who are the true supporters of the Couldn't Give a Shits and who are supporters of the much more politically significant None of the Above Party, some of whose supporters are pushing for voting to be made compulsory provided a generic None of the Above candidate is allowed to stand. This is unlikely to happen, as it suits all the established parties to confuse the two groups.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

Send for Gerald Kaufman.

After keeping creepy Kaufman under the duvet for many a long year, whose idea was it to make a bad situation worse by letting him loose on the media?

On Channel 4 News last night he gave a masterly display of political wretchedness, calling for everyone at the Beeb, bar, maybe the tea lady, to resign, blaming them for Kelly's death, while consistently refusing to admit the Government had done anything wrong. He even used the mad tactic of saying, "You invited me here to talk about the BBC..." and talking about "presenting evidence to you," as if he were granting us all the gift of his treasured secrets.

Someone should tell him we've all seen the same evidence and it is looking like the kid Cuthbertson's wish that the Government and the Beeb should both lose will turn out to be the final outcome. So what could possibly be gained by Kaufman spouting merrily away as if the public spectacle of Hutton is not unfolding under our very noses? At least Gilligan has had the, belated, good sense to admit his mistakes and apologise.

Kaufman is the culture, media and sport Select Committee chairman, I wonder what Blair makes of his barmy intervention and his early day motion calling on Dyke to resign? Maybe Blair put him up to it. After all, he can always say, oh that's just Gerald, you know what he's like. Nothing to do with me, mate. He might think that, but I couldn't possibly comment.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Pro and Anti Blindspots

Harry made a point in his 9/11 piece that re-thinking is difficult for large parts of the Left. Sadly this is true, and thinking without the "re" is a bit of a struggle for some of them. The Stop the War bunch fit firmly in this tradition of the non thinking Left. They are the direct descendants - in many cases the same people - of those whose response to the intellectual vigour of Thatcherism was restricted to "Thatcher, Thatcher, Thatcher, out, out, out!" Good at organising marches, sorry mobilising the masses, and making snappy placards, but not much between the ears when it comes to anything more demanding than crude sloganeering.

Which is a shame, because this chronic inability to forward anything like a convincing opposition to the war in Iraq beyond a heartfelt contention that war is nasty has left a dangerous void. And this makes a convincing, sceptical analysis of the present phony peace a rarity.

All of which makes it difficult for your average wibbler like me. If you look at the early posts in this blog you'll see some, okay a lot, of that war is nasty stuff along with anti Bush rants and anguished who do you support in a war with no good guys? Too much confusion, and I still can't get no relief.

What I can say with certainty is that this conflict has thrown up unlikely alliances between old political foes and given us some absurd ideas, chief of which is that Bush and the Neo Cons are engaged in the advancement of liberty and freedom worldwide. Some parts of the pro-war Left don't go as far as that, saying that whatever the motivation, Bush & co have done a good thing and deserve our support. Well, maybe.

Part of the problem the anti war Left has had with articulating its position is the same as that faced by the man in the old Irish (and none pc, of course) joke. "How do I get to Dublin?" "Oh well, sorr, I wouldn't be starting from here."

It is galling to be on the receiving end of pious lectures on the liberation of oppressed people, of being reminded of brutality, murder and chemical weapons atrocities when you are part of a small minority who actually gave a shit about it all before last Christmas. If the US and the UK governments had one millionth of the concern for Saddam's victims that they profess to have, maybe his power base would never have become so solid, maybe Uday's arsenal wouldn't have been so well stocked. It's equally galling to have the history of protest against the policies towards Saddam airbrushed out of all consideration, as if it is sordid to mention such things at a time like this. Sordid too, to mention oil and those rebuilding contracts waiting to be signed for Bush's friends behind the scenes. Sordid to mention the lack of WMDs and the lies and exaggerations that persuaded us to go to war in the first place.

Sordid, too, to mention the tame, recently unexiled Iraqi placemen on the governing council who have little credibility with the people. Sordid to note that people are dying every day still, that law and order is non existent. Sordid to mention the cluster bombs and depleted Uranium. Sordid to note that although Iraq had nothing to do with Al Qaida before the war, it certainly has now. Sordid to note that the world is probably a more dangerous place than it was before

Sordid to speculate that it is not going to get better for a long time. That maybe it never will. That in the long run the US may tire and leave it the UN too sort out.

To my mind, these are the pro war Left's blind spots, just as dangerous as the anti war Left's own.

Friday, September 12, 2003

A salutory lesson for the theorists.
Apologies to Andy Duncan, I somehow managed to delete his last comment.
Norman Geras, Crooked Timber and the mighty Harry's Place all have fine contributions on 9/11 and the aftermath, most taking Roger Burbach's article in the Grauniad as starting point. What with Meacher, the self proclaimed best daily newspaper on the world wide web is treading a Wildean path at the moment.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

The Wibbler

Thanks to Andy Duncan of Samizdata for his concern over my moral and political wellbeing in his comment on my What it Means to be Left Now post. I've not had such compassion for my sad, abject soul since a nun tried to convert me to Roman Catholicism. There's a curious echo of her, "Good works are not enough, you must let God into your heart," in Andy's call to cross over to the light side.

But even better than that, he has given me a new subtitle for the blog. From now on I am proud to be a wibbler. And in answer to Andy's points, I will wibble anew soon.
A time to reflect on that terrible day two years ago.

I got a call from my wife to put the TV on and I watched the pictures over and over, feeling numb. Some idiot who I was watching it with said something like, "I know it sounds bad, but it's about time the yanks found out what it's like," and I felt sick. I should have hit him.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

It's mostly death dealing today:
in Israel, in Gaza and in London, while in Cancun , as they brace themselves for Seattle revisited, the rich nations decide their strategies to keep the poor nations where they are. Sorry, KickAAs, it ain't gonna happen.

Meanwhile Blogger is bolloxed again. I'd shift this blog if anyone but me read it.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Final thoughts on Harry's challenge

What it means to be Left Now

And there's the thing.

If you take a tour around the high minded leftie blogs, you may well conclude that to be Left these days is the same as it always was, and the defining characteristic is a detestation of anybody else who professes to share your political leanings. It was ever thus, the most ferocious attacks, the deepest philosophising, has always been directed to the same side of the fence. The endless variations of Marxist-Leninist-Trotskyist-Socialist-Communist of yesteryear now manifests itself without the mad labels, but with none of the invective lost. Thus, the Anti War Left is contemptuous of the Pro-War Left and vice versa. The Green/anti-Globalisation wing is scorned by everyone else, Chomsky is hated and revered in equal measure.

In the Blogosphere, the Right has a clear and unswerving agenda. They know their enemy. They may have their differences, the Libertarians and the Free Marketeers, the One Nation Tories and their radical bretheren, but you have only got to mention regulation, terrorism, Israel, the unions or asylum seekers and they speak as One.

Now look at those topics again. What is the Left's position on those subjects? Hm?

Go around, look at the blogs, note the passion and intellectual rigour which the Left uses up fighting itself.

Harry, the answer to your question is that to be Left means realising the world is not as it should be and then despising others who broadly share your view.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Why I'm still left, and why anyone who thinks this government is should wake up.

They do exist, you know. There are people out there who think Blair is "leftie", amazing as that may seem to the rest of you with brains.
More on Harry's challenge.

Why I'm Still Left

Like Blairista says, what inspired you then is probably a big factor in the now. And it is certainly true that the world is still wrong. It's wrong that some individuals have more wealth than some countries. It's wrong that the 500 wealthiest people in the world have more money between them than the bottom 45%. It's wrong that the rich countries of the world arrange things so that the poor cannot compete, through trade barriers, subsidies, import taxes and the like. It's wrong that 24,000 die every day through lack of food. It's wrong that millions don't have access to clean water.

It's wrong that companies, through lobbying and patronage hold immense power over how the world should conduct its affairs. It is wrong that the poor of the world barely have a voice. It's wrong that every step forward for the poor and the weak and the powerless has had to be wrested from the forces of Conservatism. It is wrong that the affairs of the many should be arranged as if the only thing that matters is the profit generated for the few.

So far, so Marxist. But what does this actually mean in an era when Marx is dead?

This is where the uncomfortable truths come in. Private enterprise is efficient. Private enterprise creates wealth, some of which filters down to those who need it most. Private enterprise is not, per se, wrong. In fact, it is preferable to the alternative. You'll find no tears shed over the death of Communism here.

You'll find nothing else tonight, either.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Over egged  or sexed up?
Well, nothing yet from the Hutton Inquiry has made me change my original thoughts, hysterical as they were.

Friday, August 29, 2003

Still pondering Harry's challenge, and apropos of the contribution from Blairista:

If you want to know what it means to be 'left' now then just think back to why you became 'left' in the first place (whenever that was!) and providing you're not seeking nomination as a Labour MP or a job as a G2 columnist you should have the answer.

I give you:

Why I Became Left

It's not so easy as you might think, looking back to the time when you assumed certain attitudes. It sometimes feels like you were born with them, and other times you make false connections. For instance, I read Harry's description of how Thatcher inspired him to become an active socialist with a warm glow of recognition. Yeah, that's how it was for me, was my first thought, until I did the maths. When Thatcher won her first election I was 22 and my most active and intense political period was already behind me.

So where did the fervour come from? Where did the youthful certainties and arrogance come from that made me berate my old man for reading the Daily Express and led me to flirt with the SWP (or International Socialists as they were then)? How come, as an 18 year old did I choose to spend my time in smoky rooms discussing amendment 327a, sub section 3, and really, really caring who became secretary of my local branch of ASTMS?

And you know what? I really can't tell you. I can tell you about how my old man's admiration for Nye Bevan (despite the Express, my old man was a Labour voter) and Orwell and Sillitoe rubbed off on me, I can tell you how reading The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists reduced me to tears of rage, I can tell you about the English teacher (there's always a teacher) who taught me to use critical faculties on everything I read, especially newspapers. "Always bear in mind the motive" he'd say.

But these things only complemented what was always in my head anyway. For it was self evident that the world was wrong. It was wrong that millions starved in a world of plenty, it was wrong that most working people had jobs of mind numbing tedium at best, for which they had to be grateful, while the more fortunate, the more educated, had the luxury of job satisfaction and better wages to boot. It was wrong that 7% of the people owned 84% of the wealth.

And with these blindingly obvious facts always in my head, was the knowledge, gained from books and old Socialists, that it was the Labour Movement and the Unions that had actually effected any sort of change for the better, that any improvements in the lot of working people had been fought for tooth and nail and that the Conservatives represented a world of which I wanted to have no part. A world where working people knew their place, a world of selfishness and greed.

It might seem strange now, looking back. For this was, after all, the early to mid seventies. Social attitudes had changed immeasurably since the early days of Labour politics and the lot of "workers" was better than it had ever been. The Labour and Tory Governments seemed pretty interchangeable and the "Unions were running the bloody country." The country was shortly to embark on a course that would shift the centre ground of British Politics to the right, probably forever.

But throughout those years that followed, as the Thatcher Revolution trundled on, scattering the unemployed, the feeble, the weak, the poor onto the stony ground, as whole industries and communites died, I knew that I had chosen the right side of the fence to stand.

Well that was then. I'll look at now another time.

I've gone big. And also re-invented a little. Out goes the random ranter, in comes the sober reflections of a re-awakened leftie.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

The other Iraqi blog.

What is it with these Iraqis? They write like angels.

Sure makes you wonder. So far for women in Iraq the liberation has proved to be a mixed blessing to say the least.
Harry's Place is probably the most civilised political blog I know, and is currently asking those on the left what it means to be a leftie.

Having read nothing but political blogs for a while, it has come as something of a surprise to me to realise that I still am to a certain extent a political animal and also a bit of a leftie, which, according to the more rabid right, is synonymous with liberalism these days, and, of course, is the root (or route) of all evil.

As noted in Harry's Place, it is easier to explain what you are against - especially when you are arguing with opponents - than what you are for and I may return to this subject when I have spent some more time out in the fields pondering while the dog checks his pee mail.

I said it surprises me that I am still politicised and it is true. When I started this blog I had a view of myself as a vaguely misanthropic old git, tainted by cynicism and holding to the common view that politics was a load of old bollocks. A very post modern view and one that I haven't completely abandoned, for the simple reason that the field has narrowed considerably since the Eighties. When New Labour follows the policies of previous Tory Governments and only manages modest deviations from Thatcherite orthodoxy, yet still describes itself as a reforming party, you do look back to the Iron Lady's time with a touch of regret. In those days it mattered how you voted.

Well, it didn't actually, since her majority was as unassailable as Blair's, and, of course, it is a measure of the Left's defeat that there was no way to beat her or her heirs without becoming her clone. I don't know how many other old Lefties have retreated into cynicism since the realignment of British politics, but for someone like me, who was pretty cynical to start with, it was a logical step to take. Some, I know, went the hippy, green, anti globalisation route, others went even further into anarchy, some refused to acknowledge the change and stayed exactly where they were, sad idiots spouting Marxist-Leninism, even more deluded now than they were when the Berlin Wall was up.

But I wonder how many joined the "they are all as bad as each other" mainstream? Because on the face of it, it's true. There is still a very large part of me that takes the view that those seeking power over others, whether it is by the ballot box or any other means, should be automatically denied that power. The world should, like the H2G2 universe, be run by a naive, kindly soul who doesn't know he's doing it.

But the world is the world, and we get a chance to have a small say in how our bit of it is run. And thank's to t'internet, we political pub bores can talk to each other, maybe understand each other's point of view a little. Maybe the politicians themselves will take notice, too.

Now that would be something.

Monday, August 25, 2003

How depressing.

The same shit at Ayodha that was going on when I was in India in '90-91 is still claiming lives now. I remember one of the Missionaries of Charity in Banaras describing how she had seen a young moslem torn to pieces by a mob on the banks of the Ganges. Horrible.

I also remember remember standing on the steps of the Taj Hotel, wandering around, admiring the Gateway of India. Ker fucking boom.
Must mention kickAAS, the campaign to end Agricultural subsidies. Here's wishing it well.

Been pondering a bit on the Right Wing denial of global warming and the virulence thereof, sparked off by Bush's latest foray.

I know you can't get a spell of hot weather without some environmentalist killjoy uttering doom and gloom, but the free market right's seemingly absolute insistence that there is not now, nor will there ever be, any problem at all, whatsoever, with climate change, despite all the evidence to the contrary, is a mystery.

I'm lying, it's not a mystery at all. Energy lobbying comes into it bigtime, of course, but so does the curious absolutism of many a rightwinger's psyche.

Because, here, you see, we have a problem with no free market solution, ipso facto the problem does not exist.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Time to blog a bit again. Been away for a fortnight, attended to some business that might - or might not, lol - put some food on the family table, haunted some other peoples blogs, so all's well with the world.

The kid Cuthbertson has been getting carried away again. He and his ilk do make me chuckle, since half their time is spent castigating liberals and the left for demonising the right, complaining how they and their views are misrepresented in the overwhelmingly left wing media, and the rest of the time doing that exact same things themselves.

They are just a mirror image of the far left, who I knocked around a bit in my yoof, and who, judging by the Socialist Worker, haven't changed much in the interim. Particularly amusing is the mutual persecution complex and the curious symmetry of their pet hates: You say Murdoch, I say the Beeb, you say the Guardian, I say the Mail. You say globalisation, I say regulation...

If only they could see themselves as other's see them.

Friday, August 01, 2003

Nothing much of interest happening in the world at the moment, apart from the usual misery of poverty, war, death, disease and right wing blogs.

Actually, it's all pretty quiet there, too. The kid Cuthbertson's place is like a morgue, The Edge of Englands Sword (can't be arsed to do a link) is about as sharp as something very blunt that I can't think of right now and the boys at Samizdata are talking about car parks and getting into a lather about compulsory vaccinations that aren't compulsory at all.

So God is in his heaven and all is well with the world. Night.

Monday, July 28, 2003

You read this and it brings it home to you that the Iraqi people needed a regime change and doubts about the hows and whys and wherefores and motives just sink into the mud.

Next stop Zimbabwe?

But, of course, that won't happen. The plight of the people of Zimbabwe has no political mileage for Bush or his poodle. No economic interests intersect with their pain and death, although the moral argument is as strong, if not stronger, than that for Iraq.

The uncomfortable fact is that Saddam's vile sons would still be splitting people in two like a pieces of beef if we had not been dragged into war under the false pretences of WMDs ready to go off in 45 minutes, but the millions of people dying in Zimbabwe because of Mugabe's viciousness and incompetence will carry on dying because the politician's would never be able to persuade us to fight a just war.

It's interesting that both Bush and Blair are religious men. I wonder if they have pondered the irony of a situation that dictated that to do some good they had to lie and deceive to do it. Probably not. The greater good and all that. History will forgive us.

I don't think history will judge the aftermath as kindly, though. It is looking increasingly as if Blair and his Mr Hyde-Campbell let Dr Kelly out to dry. Funny how the BBC bashers and aliens from the planet Tory as losing interest in the story.
Ho yes kewl.
Just trying the Blog this thingie. Just see if it works.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Gun crime in the land of the free.

Monday, July 21, 2003

I'm confused, a not uncommon occurance in someone of vaguely autistic tendencies, I readily admit.

But take a look at this.

So, here we have the Guardian, upholders of honour and distributors of pious homilies on a daily basis, going like a rat up a drain for the source of the Gilligan story.


This is the paper that has given many a lecture on the sanctity of journalistic sources. Shurely shum mishtake?

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Just occurred to me the latest events couldn't better illustrate the difference between what politician's say and what they do.
Well, you find things to agree with from the unlikeliest of people in the unlikeliest of places.
And then they go and kill some poor fucker, allegedly.

If anyone thinks this government with the divine Blair at it's head has a shred of decency about it, this must disabuse them of such a fanciful notion.

And if you think I exaggerate, consider the sequence of events:

  • The BBC run a story critical of the government and the government don't like it.
  • The government try to bully the BBC a la Tebbit to back down and go after the journalist who reported the story.
  • The BBC put up a surprisingly - considering it is run by Blair's placemen - robust defence.
  • The government, unable to convincingly get the better of the BBC, turn their attention to the source of the story. Geoff Hoon demands to know from the BBC if MOD official Kelly was the source, despite the convention - that ensures the press is free - that journalists do not reveal sources.
  • Somehow Kelly's name becomes public.
  • The government coerce Kelly into appearing before the Foreign Affairs select committee.
  • Kelly, harrassed by the press, cross examined by a hostile committee, in danger of losing his job, tops himself.

Probably got some details wrong, but hey ho, I'm a blogger not a journo.

Anyway, the point is what started as a tactic by Blair and friends to take attention away from their problems with attitudes to the truth about why we went to war, spiralled out of control to such an extent that some poor fucker dies.

That's politics for you.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Just when an overdose of right wing bloggocks mongers makes me warm a little towards New Labour, the PM stiffens my resolve with another speech.

Now, the centralisation of power into his, or should I say, His, hands is nothing new, of course. But compulsory saving for second pensions? I think the man is losing the plot.

Friday, July 11, 2003

A couple of examples that may illuminate why most people are immune to politics:

  • Question time - some Tory MP going on about the beeb, WMD, Blair etc says something along the lines of, "well, we know the Prime Minister lies, he does it all the time on the NHS, tax etc, but to lie about going to war is unforgiveable."

    Nobody picked him up on the assertion that Blair is a habitual liar.

    So, what does this say about politics in this country? It could say that politicians do lie all the time, they expect each other to lie and nobody in the political game bothers too much about it. Or it could mean that politicans make extravagent claims about their opponents that no one takes seriously at all. Either way, extreme posturing or lying toe raggery, it's all bollocks.

  • Tony Blair on the radio. Interviewer - "With the jury still out on WMD..." PM , "If I may interrupt, as far as I'm concerned, the jury are not out on WMD..."

    In other words, fuck what you lot may think, I'm right, it's my ball and I'm going home and I don't care whether they ever find the evidence, it's what I think that matters.


Sunday, July 06, 2003

Been talking to the aliens again, but the site is down so I'll have to rant here.

The kid Cutherbertson was mightily impressed by this, especially the bit where it says the increase in global temp is less than the year on year variation in North America. Well, yes, the 1 degree rise over a century is a climatic trend, made of of 100 year on year variations throughout the globe. And the trend is up, since the average increase over previous centuries is a quarter of a degree.

Now, the junk science vilified in the article has predicted over the last couple of decades that this could result in, among other things, an increase in the extremes of weather such as typhoons, droughts, floods etc. Which, funnily is what has just been reported.

Friday, July 04, 2003

I've not taken any notice of Italian politics for decades. Years ago they were chiefly remarkable for the speed with which they changed their goverments, now they will be remembered for this.

Well, anyone who can get away with calling a German a concentration camp guard can't be all bad, I suppose, but Mr Berlusconi is rum old cove and no mistake. And what the fuck were the Italian's doing electing him as their PM? Thank God Rupert Murdoch isn't a British citizen, he'll be getting ideas.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Had to get rid of the comment thingie 'cos it was slowing loading times to around eleventy twelve seconds. I'll look for another one soon. Meanwhile apologies to that guy from the Clash, or maybe Foreigner, for deleting his comment. Probably the only bloke to have read this shit apart from me.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

You've got to laugh.

Not content with being the richest man in the world, really, all Bill wants is to be loved.

But it just never happens. He makes products we all use and we hate him for it. He tries giving lots of money away, but we all just shrug our shoulders and say he can afford it. Now he tries to help rid the world of spam, and what better way could there be to make him a hero? It's the bane of our lives, is spam, and here he is, this knight of the shining computer flashing his wallet around and going after the spammers when all the governments of the world sit idly by and watch.

So he sends his writ to a telecoms engineer with a flying club website. Well done Microsoft, you've done it again.
Now here's a thing.

So the strutting peacock of world politics decides that the US does need the rest of the world, after all. The New American Century may have to wait a little longer and may well have to involve other countries as well. Only two months ago the world according to Rumsfeld was one where a triumphant US would take on all comers, with or without the coalition of the willing, it didn't matter one way or the other, the mighty US of A would do it all on their own if they had to.

Now the talk is of multi-lateralism again, from the most belligerent hawk of the lot. And what has it taken to effect this seismic change in attitude? A belated realisation, maybe, that in both Afghanistan and Iraq, peace is a damn sight harder to win than war.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

I've been stalking again. I just can't keep away from those aliens. A random read from the section entitled, helpfully, Loony Lefties yields:

Now if you understand this, you can see why your average conservative is against what the EU now represents and why your average social democratic liberal despises what America now represents. There is of course some overlap, with conservatives like Chris Patten preferring Europe and lefties like Tony Blair seemingly preferring America, but this is the general picture. If the right weren't anti-EU, it wouldn't be the right, because social democratic welfarism is virtually irreconcilable with conservatism. If the left weren't anti-American, it wouldn't be the left, because populist, economically free toughness is virtually irreconcilable with social democracy, liberalism or socialism.

Apart from the sheer mind numbing tedium - standard in political blogging, even the Sullivan guru, who in real life writes moderately diverting journalism, in his blog is virtual temazepam - does this guy live in some alternative universe where Blair is leftie? Blair, the man who moved the Labour Party to a position where it looked for a brief time that the Tories were going to nip round the back and postion themselves to its left.

And nobody would have thought it strange.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Spent some time lurking and occasionally commenting in some political weblogs. Most blogs are pimply kids who think no further than the boil on the end of their nose - at least the politicised have a modicum of interest in the outside world.

By far the most fun are these guys. Well, I know the political blog world is mainly made of the rabid right, but to go there is a surreal experience.

I keep going back to have another guilty peek when I could be posting or better still, working. It is just so weird to find talk of positive discrimination being evil, black people's genetic disposition to be be thick and have cocks dangling round their ankles (made the last bit up) and a curious fascination with what gay people choose to do with their bodies.

And someone actually said "blah blah ... somewhere to the left of Lenin." Wow, I've not heard that one for a decades. And as for. "... if it wasn't for her the unions would be running the country now..." it was enough to bring a nostalgic tear to my eye.

Altogether now, "Let's do the Time Warp again....."

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Now this, I like. Set the time stamp to BST and the time is 5 hours ahead. Set it to Africa/Windhoek and it's right.

Those Blogger boys should be writing computer games.
New Blogging technical thingie in operation. Thank you Mr Blogger.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Yeh! My first comment. Does that mean I'm a real blogger now?

Anyway, if it's supposed to be satire, Mick, that just makes it worse. If that's what passes for humour in the Labour Party these days, I'll stick with Peter Kaye ads. And Richard and Judy. Now there's satire for you.

I really must stop commenting at other people's blogs and do some work occasionally.

Nearly took the Labour Guy's link off in a fit of pique 'cos he took down a comment. Shouldn't have called his teen page teen shite, I suppose. It is, though.

Smacking your kids in the news again, someone wants to ban it.

As the stepfather of two teenagers and father of a nine year old, this is something that exercises me less than it used to - I was a real zealot when I was seven, let me tell you. But I just love listening to the arguments - the childless, right on lefties who have never faced a screaming tantrum telling us how to be parents and the floggers who live in a wondrous dreamworld where it possible to hit a child with a "loving smack".

The uncomfortable truth that many parents realise is that it never feels right to do it, but by God it works.

Personally, I am pleased to say I have only ever smacked out of anger and frustration.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

On a more serious note, what's the crack with Big Brother for Chrissakes? Desperation or what?
Received a reply from the Labour guy:


Thanks for the email. I visited your site. I mean this in a respectful way
when I say I think you'd get on well with my dad who shares your view of the

Tax is a tricky, dangerous thing for a reforming Labour Party. Like it or
not, there are still huge sections of British society who think that we
squander their hard earned resources. More than that though, what Peter Hain
was advocating just doesn't add up. Even Megnad Desai, economics guru to
Tribune denounced his idea as unworkable.

Anyway, thanks for the kind email.


Nice. I refrained in my reply - much against my better nature, I might add - to query the whereabouts of this reforming Labour Party of which he speaks.

I especially like the "I mean this in a respectful way" bit. Serves me right, I suppose, for calling this the middleagedcurmudgeon, but I'm not much older than he is, f**** sake.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Just found some Labour MPs blog.

If nothing else it's good to see a politician, and a Labour one at that, staggering into the 21st century. Unlike the divine Blair, he has an email address, and I sent him one to see if he'd reply.

For the record, this is wot I rote, apropos the Peter Hain debacle

Hi Tom,

Nice blog. Good to see at least one politician dipping his toes into the twenty first century.

Now for some 20th Century politics:

"If there is one good thing to come out of a frustrating day it is that we have heard it from the horses mouth that we are not going to hit people in the upper bracket with more income tax"

What an amazing thing for a Labour politician to say at a time when there has never been more resentment about fat cat pay. Show's just how far the party has travelled and shows how you have let the right set the agenda to such an extent that to entertain the notion of the rich getting slightly less rich is some sort of heresy.

But as I understand it, Peter Hain was hardly advocating kicking down the doors of capitalism, and I think his point was that many people in the middle income bracket could have a lighter tax burden if the super rich - among them those executives who get millions for dragging companies through the mire - paid more.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it the middle income, middle Englanders who brought New Labour to power in the first place?

Maybe, despite the inevitable howling from the press, this could have been a vote winner rather than a vote loser. Hey ho. We'll never know.

Anyway, I'll read your blog with interest.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

It's a neat trick that Bush has pulled off. Or it will be, if it goes to plan.

Operation Corporate Wealth Creation.

Use $70 billion dollars of tax payers' to trash a country and make the trashees pay your corporate friends to clean up the mess.

The dust has settled, although the Americans are still killing Iraqies - 13 today - and life goes on much as it did before. For us anyway. For the Iraqis, well, politics, Middle Eastern style has broken out. The clerics want the power and they want to say bye bye to the coalition.

Many people over here and America can't understand this. Ungrateful swines, they say. Here we are, liberating them and how do they repay us? By trashing their own cities and moaning about us.

Well, duh. For a start, what did we expect to happen when the police suddenly disappear off the streets and the new guys with guns just sit around watching? What would have happened in New York? London? Delhi? Moscow? Do the maths. Any city of six million with an average number of criminally minded, anti social arseholes. The average number - let's be conservative and say half a percent. I make that 30,000 people on the rampage. I'd say Baghdad got off lightly.

So, why aren't they grateful to us for liberating them?

Double duh. Let's look at it from an Iraqi perspective. Thirty years ago, a few thugs from Tikrit take over the country, becoming ever more repressive, ever more evil. The world looks on. The world does business with them. The Western World, Britain, France, America sell them arms. Meanwhile ordinary Iraqis suffer. The thugs declare war on their neighbours, use chemical weapons. The West looks on. Still does business. Still sells arms. The thugs become ever more brutal, ever more repressive. Gas the Kurds. The West looks on. Does business blah blah blah.

Enboldened, the thugs invade another neighbour. One step too far. The world wakes up. Led by America, it declares war. Kills thousands upon thousands of ordinary Iraqis. Stops short of removing the thugs, instead calls upon the people to rise up and do the overthrowing, then stands aside while the uprising is quelled with the loss of 50,000 lives.

12 years of economic sanctions follow, during which time a widely quoted figure of 500,000 Iraqi children die. The West argue that it is not their fault, but the thugs fault. No matter. The dead children stay dead.

For a variety of reasons, attention turns again to Iraq and the thugs are finally kicked out, with the cost of a relatively low number of dead Iraqis. The Americans rub their hands in glee at the prospect of re-building Iraq, the biggest re-building since the Marshall Plan helped Germany and Japan after their defeat in WW2. But this time there is a difference. Whereas the Marshall plan was an altruistc act with the victors, magnanimous in victory, footing the bill, this time the defeated will be forking out the dosh. The winners will not make Marshall's mistake again and set up the loser's economy to become strong for decades to come. Oh no. That wouldn't do at all.

And we wonder why they are not grateful.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Well fuck me side ways. Have just spent half an hour on a considered dissertation on the state of the world vis a vis the war, and then I go and lose it all by checking how to spell fucking al qifuckingeda and lost the lot. Bastard.

Anyway summary.

War good or bad? Don't know. Good for Iraqi people, except for the ones that got blown up. Bad for world stability.

Americans could save the situation by doing what they say they are doing and truly liberate Iraq by handing it back to them as soon as poss.

They won't, though. And if the name Ahmed Chalabi crops up in the next few weeks, we can be sure the anti Americans got it right and the Project for the New American Century is well under way.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

More civilian deaths, more "Coalition" casualties, more sliming, more brutality towards their own people by the Iraqi paramilitaries, more lies from both sides.

One unholy fucking mess.

Who told Bush and poodle Blair this would be a quick war? What brain dead wankers ran the psy-ops campaigns that predicted 20% of the Republican Guard were ready to roll over like lapdogs with tails wagging and tongues hanging out?

As time goes on we hear more and more about Bush's plans about post-war Iraq. One thing is certain, Blair should have pulled out of this when he had the chance. Nothing he says makes any difference to the cynical brutalists in Washington. Iraq will be the Middle Eastern outpost of corporate America. End of story.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Who is this bleating about breaches of the Geneva convention? That's the multi - lateral agreement Geneva convention. The one the yanks ignore in Guantanamo Bay, just like they ignore all the others these days.
The war gets bloodier and will become bloodier still. Dead civilians in a Baghdad shopping centre, a sitting duck convoy outside Basra bringing back memories of the turkey shoot of 1991. And some more reminders of history - how 50,000 died in the last uprising while the Allies turned their backs.

And they wonder why there are no ecstatic Iraqis on the streets welcoming our boys with open arms and garlands.

The more I hear Bush sliming his way through his speeches, the more I want to throw up.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

No good guys? Well, only about 25 million or so. Of whom this is one.

Makes it all a bit more real and personal. Just reading a few posts makes me feel I know the guy, makes me feel I'd like him. Now my government, while not actually wanting to kill him, may well do so and then shrug their shoulders and mutter about the inevitable consequences of war.

As the war goes on, public opinion is swinging behind Blair - mine is hardening in the opposite direction with every sanitised bomb flash on the news.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Talking of terrorist reprisals, they found Ricin in the Gare de Lyons on Monday.

I was there that day, with wife and daughter, going to Disneyland.

Feel sick.
So, what is the position to hold in a situation where there are no good guys?

Now the bombs are going off, the missiles are raining in, the argument and posturing is finished, what's to think?

Who to admire?

The peacenicks? The ordinary protesters who don't want anyone to die? In Iraq they die anyway, have done for decades and the peacenicks have no argument about what might be done to stop it. Very good on the West's inglorious history regarding Iraq and exposing the vapid twists and turns of the warmongers' logic, but nothing to say except not in my name.

The French? Nice how they appear to be high and mighty and moralistic about all this, when the main reason they have to oppose the war is economic, or so it is claimed. They sold Saddam Hussein his nuclear capability years ago and always seemed eager to do business with him.
But if they were so against this war, why did they tell the world they would use their UN veto, thus giving Bush an excuse not to go for a second resolution?

The Russians? Plenty of Chechens would raise a hollow laugh at the thought of Putin the humanitarian.

The UN? Hoist by the petard of their own weakness, vacillation and general uselessness.

The Bush Administration? Where to start? Won't go over the peacenick arguments, but most of them are true. All I can say is, if this war was about what the yanks tell us it is about - liberating Iraq, making the world a safer place, yader, yader, yader, at least some dialogue with the various exiled Iraqi opposition parties would have taken place, but they seem to be out of the loop altogether, which rather suggests that US interests are the driving force here. Which, of course, is all of a piece with US Foreign policy since before WW2.

Blair and Co. A puzzle. Delusions of mattering a shit defines them, I suppose.

The Iraqi opposition? Haven't heard enough from them. Spineless and divided is the image I have, unfair as that may seem.

So what's to think in this new world order? Pray (lol) that it's over quickly and wait for the terrorist reprisals.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Been watching the Commons debate on the war. Blair got his majority with only a small increase in the number of rebels. Still the biggest ever backbench revolt, of course, and Ministers resigning all over the shop, with the notable exception of Clare Short.

Nice to see Jack Straw smirking and joking his way though the summing up, mocking those wrestling with their consciences who lack the certainties of those afforded a clearer view from George Bush's back passage. And good to see he can be so chipper in the sure and certain knowledge that in the next few days flesh will start to burn.

Still, it won't be his, will it?

Another wimpy liberal link , this one explaining the mindset of the terrorist.

Don't buy it, myself.

Here we have an Algerian, a devout, decent upstanding sort of bloke. Managed to escape from the tyranny of the worst imaginable sort, now living illegally in this country. His deepest hatred, we are assured in the article, is for the Algerian Government that tortures and kills innocent children, women, families.

So why kill other innocent children, women, families?

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Not much ranting today. Maybe another time.

Shameless Excuse to Recycle Old Joke

Been browsing some of the blogs of note and came across this one.

Now, this lady can write. Sentences tumble out of her effortlessly - or not, of course, she might graft for hours for all I know, but they seem effortless. She writes a particularly lyrical piece about painfully sloughing off depression, using a scene in the movie Silkwood as a metaphor.

Funny how movies can have resonance for people. They don't have the same effect on me. All I remember about Silkwood is the joke about the Indian brave who asks the old man who names the papooses how he comes by the names. "Well," he replies,"I sit outside the teepee of the squaw and at the moment of birth I look and I listen, and if I see the moon across the clouds, then I call the papoose 'Moon Across the Clouds' and if I hear a coyote call in the night, then I call the papoose, 'Coyote Calls in the Night.' But tell me, 'Two Dogs F*****g' why do you ask?"

I Thang you.
Just checked the wifeblog, she's not posting - not surprising, she's been posting to my ears for the last couple of weeks. Don't tell anyone I've told you, but she's at that age. You know what I mean, that age where life is just one long bout of PMT.

I must admit I'm not very good with all this hormone related women's stuff. It was bad enough when it really was just plain old PMT, it still managed to catch me out every month. She'd change on cue every twenty eight days from the adorable, vivacious woman I fell in love with to a vicious harridan with not a good word to say about anyone or anything, least of all me. Instead of just shrugging my shoulders and being extra supportive with the poor woman at these difficult times, taking everything she said with a fistful of salt, I'd react with my own moodies, which didn't help much.

Actually, thinking about it, it probably did help, in that it gave her something to focus on while the hormone monsters took over. Without me to blame, she tends to cast her net far and wide, becoming convinced that her whole life is worth shit.

Anyway, now the hormone monsters can attack at any time, which makes for an interesting life, I can tell you. All of my faults, which are many and varied, become magnified for her (or maybe they just assume their natural proportions - the times when she actually likes me she is probably vigorously supressing them) at a moment's notice and we lurch from row to row.

She had a real good shout at me yesterday - she stood right in front of me and yelled so loud I swear plaster fell off the ceiling. And that was when I agreed with her. It was just that the way I agreed with her was wrong.

The ways of the world are strange, but the ways of the woman are stranger still.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Just read on Lessig's Blog about a Japanese Company offering ADSL at 12Mbs (yes 12) for $26 a month.

What are our choices here? BT Openshite clogging up to crawl now that people are actually using it. NTL Cable - 1Mbs for £35 a month, but you can't use it because of bandwidth capping, or some smaller company whose service flies along nicely until more than half a dozen people sign up. That, of course, is if you are lucky enough to live in an urban area. If you can see fields, the assumption is you can't possibly want this tinternet mullarkey.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Wished I'd seen this - I know, I know, 2 Guardian links on one page, what sort of curmudgeon is this then? Less random ranting, more wimpy bleeding heart liberal. Hey ho, guilty as charged.

Anyway, maybe if the guy had just blogged his third novel he could have saved himself some angst. Someone somewhere would have told him it was rubbish without him having to go through the publisher rejection seven times.

I held a fond delusion for 15 years that I was an author waiting to be discovered, and I can tell you, it was a blessed relief to cast it off. Don't get me wrong, I love writing and when my life becomes less hectic, I may well turn my hand to it again. But I shan't go through the humiliation of submitting to the slush piles for some literary lovey to read a couple of lines and tell me it's a pile of cack, if they bother to tell me anything at all. Ho no. It's publishing in blogworld for me, and if no one ever reads it, that's fine by me.

You just have to let your fond fantasies go at some stage.

Years ago I played guitar in a band. As well as being a best selling author I was going to be a rock superstar, too. Well, the band were pretty crap and after a couple of years we went our separate ways, although I did keep in touch with the lead singer. He'd been mate from school and we'd been drinking friends before the band. I tell you, he never gave up the dream. He's now 45, and although I've not seen him for a while, I'm sure he's still cutting demos in his front room. With wife and kids to support, he lived his life as if writing songs and making demos were his main job. I couldn't see him without him badgering me to play on his next demo, which was going to be the one like, because he'd had some interest from this A&R guy in Spain.

The thing is, he wrote some decent songs, had a way with words in his lyrics and is an intelligent, funny guy. He could have done somehing else with his life and been successful, too.

As it is, he's a sad twat.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Okay, so Bush and Rumsfeld are offering a way for Blair to withdraw with a modicum of face, and what happens?

This does.

Who does Blair think he's kidding? The whole world and his dog knows that the war is going to happen with or without the UN. The British people don't want it. The rest of the world, virtually, doesn't want it. All Blair's posturing makes no difference whatsoever to Bush. So why not step back now and leave Bush to get on with it? What's with the mad scramble to be in on it?

"Please, George, let us join in your war that nobody wants. Let us kill people, too. Please, please."


Thatcher got re-elected by fighting her unjust war. I hope at least we've moved on enough to throw Blair out for fighting his.
Okay. Got something.

Nah. Just some crap about the war. You've seen it before.

Bush, oil, Blair, poodle, innocent children, death, smart bombs (not), innocent children, death, fomenting terrorism, what about all the other evil regimes in the world, what about North Korea, innocent children, death.

44 years of bile, prejudice and invective just waiting to spew forth from eager fingers.

Guess what?


Don't you hate it when that happens?