31 March 2006
I remember that as a young man in Manchester a conversation would often come up, usually as the evening drew to a close, which in those days was at 11.00pm, as that was when the pubs chucked out. What would be done under socialism with capitalism's refuse, the middle classes?
One man always pointed out that Stalin had basically had them all shot. At the time this seemed a little drastic to me, but when you consider how in eastern Europe those same creatures were allowed to join the local Communist Party and how many of them went on to become the management in the state enterprises, I can see that he had a point. One of the reasons why capitalism was able to return in that part of the world is that the socialists had not fully dealt with these creatures. Thus they were able to arse lick their way into senior positions - the middle class are any country's greatest sycophants - and once the systems became wobbly they could emerge once again under their true colours. Shit always floats to the surface, I suppose, but at least in Russia capìtalism is not having a free run, thanks to the late Joe Stalin.
My feeling then was that these people were not a problem. High inflation kept their numbers down and strong trades' unions stopped them from getting too lippy. My views have not changed all that much: the first task for an incoming socialist government should be to repeal all the anti working class legislation that went through in the 1980s and let the inflation rate climb. The working class has nothing to fear from inflation, thanks to our unions. The middle class will get squashed, and that is the aim.
In the medium term these creatures can be further corralled with high taxation. Hopefully, as the years go by, their descendents will come to accept the permanence of the situation. If they don't then that's a problem for the police, who will, it is hoped, be keeping a close watch on their activities. To be candid, beyond taxation and inflation, I don't have a long term solution to this problem. If anybody does, please let them send it along.
30 March 2006
More on the Oxford Union & blowjobs - with a sideline on hand shandery.
Yesterday I posted some memories of the Oxford Union and a certain Joe Blob that took place in its garden. I have received quite a few e-mails on the topic, several of which count as obscene even by my dubious standards. What can I say? Keep up the good work.
They can be divided into two themes. The writers of the first tranche were determined to demonstrate that the girl on her knees could not have been Sally; rather it was Sarah, or Susan or even Caroline. For the record, all I did was pick a name out of thin air. . . I'm not so sure that I even remember a Sally at Oxford in those days. I do remember a Caroline, though, and agree that "she went like a steam engine," so maybe my correspondent's memory is better than mine. However, she was at the Ox & Cow, and most of them did clatter like Stephenson's Rocket when their fires had been suitably poked.
The second group wanted to prove that I was rehashing a tale from their day - some even provided names, colleges and dates to prove their thesis. Gentlemen, it may very well have happened in Trinity 1970, but that does not prove that it did not also happen in Hilary 1984. Truth be told, I suspect that if all the Oxford Union's hackettes were laid end to end, nobody would be in the least bit surprised.
And now for something completely different. . . Ollie Kamm reports that he was in the audience for the Weinberger show. I don't remember him from those days, and judging from his published photograph the bugger still hasn't reached puberty, so I reckon that it's a safe bet that he has never leaned against an Oxford Union wall. That said, amid all the verbiage, I was reminded that the late E.P. Thompson was one of the speakers.
What I remember most about him was that he wore an ordinary tweed jacket instead of the more usual black tie. He explained, rather movingly I thought, that after returning from the Second World War, he and his surviving friends had vowed never to wear black tie again in memory of all of all the friends that they had lost. I was reminded as he spoke of Harold Macmillan, a man who left Oxford to serve in the Great War, and who could not face returning to the university to finish his degree after it ended. His aching memories of so many who had died simply precluded it.
I think that we should listen to the fading voices of men like these, rather than the strident tones of prepubescent oinks who want to send my sons off to die, while they sit at home, wanking dementedly over the carnage.
29 March 2006
Caspar Weinberger & an Oxford Union blow job.
Shall we have a little stroll down memory lane? Caspar Weinberger has cashed in his chips, which reminds me of the one and only time that I actually met the man. This was in the Oxford Union in early 1984, when he had come along to debate the motion that "This House believes that there is no moral difference between the foreign policies of the USA and the USSR," or something like that.
The debate should have taken place about a year earlier when a certain Andrew Sullivan had been President, but Michael Heseltine had pursuaded the Americans to postpone it for some reason or other. If I remember Sullivan's account correctly, the first he knew about this was when Heseltine got on the telephone to him and began by saying, "Mr. President, you are not going to enjoy this conversation. . ." Anyway, when the debate finally was allowed to go ahead, Malcom Bull, the then president, invited Sullivan back to present the motion. I don't think that Sullivan was anti-American, I just think that he was cheesed off that the debate had not taken place during his term and wanted to stick the boot in.
The chamber was packed and the left for once turned out in force. Put another way, Ruskin College had about twenty people there, which for the Oxford Union meant a large left-wing presence, because we were all that they had. None of the Ruskin men spoke in the debate. We tended to prefer the bar, anyway, but on this night we did leave our principles behind and went into the chamber.
I cannot remember much about the debate. A young man named Lawrence Grafstein led for the defence, as it were, and gave a speech that pretty much won the crowd over. He was cheered to the rafters and the bar-brigade decided to mark his card there and then. His later term as president was made a misery, largely because the bar takes an exception to clever buggers who spoil the fun. We, that is High-Tory Christ Church and very low Ruskin, were eagerly anticipating the beagles getting to the bunnie, as one Houseman remarked. Cheated of the sight of blood we returned to the bar, but Grafstein was going to be in for it.
The debate ended and most people left the building. I was dragooned out of the bar and marched up to the president's office by a rather nice young lady who explained that I was needed for drinkies and to meet Caspar. I did the decent thing, and then scampered back downstairs as soon as possible.
While I was upstairs the most memorable event of the evening took place in the garden. It is reported - indeed it has entered Oxford lore - that a rather sweet young thing took it upon herself to provide a memorable blow job for a friend of mine out in the garden. By all accounts they were sheltered by the large tree that grows there, and he just leaned against a wall. The story is told that he uttered the imortal line, "No, Sally, you have to suck - blow is just a figure of speech," at some point during the proceedings. Needless to say, since this fellow went on to work for GCHQ, he has consistently refused to either confirm or deny the tale.
Other than that the evening was hardly memorable. Weinberger left, as did the TV crews. The Union closed at 11.00pm and my bar brigade platoon went off to somewhere or other to eat a curry. The blow job recipient probably wandered off to the river to smoke a cigarette and ponder the meaning of life. I like to think that he gave the girl her taxi fare back to her rooms, but someone told me that all she got was a slap on the rear and her bus fare.
Update: Those of you who are following links to this post may like to know that it continues one stop above. Or you can click on this link.
On John Profumo
|John Profumo died earlier this month at the age of 91. He had been the War Minister in the government headed by Harold MacMillan, and resigned over a sex scandal in 1963.|
A few days after his resignation he went along to Toynbee Hall in East London and asked if they needed any volunteers. He started out by washing dishes and rose to become the charity's president. An awful lot of the East End's poor owe their survival to that organisation, and the charity owes a lot to Profumo who spent hours writing letters and raising funds on its behalf.
Throughout the 43 years of life that remained to him after 1963 he refused to talk about the Profumo Affair that had led to his resignation, and his work at Toynbee Hall may have been his way of making amends for that whole matter.
There does seem to have been a decency to Profumo that is missing in public life today. When one thinks about the sleeze that hangs around NuLab like some vile and noxious fog, the question has to be asked, will any of the warmongers, honours purveyers and wide boys who make up this government ever find it within themselves to atone for their sins in the way that John Profumo did?
28 March 2006
More on Abdul the apostate
I know that I shouldn't get cheap laughs like this, but since every bugger else seems to be laughing at the warmongers, I feel obliged to go with the flow.
One of my favourite 'mongers has finally commented on the case of Abdul Rahman, the Afghani convert to Christianity who faced the death penalty for his apostay. This is a case that I mentioned all of four days ago, by the way. It is possible that he was trying to save face by not commenting earlier - let's face it, this is hardly the outcome that these gawps expected when they began wanking for war, is it? The problem is that if he was trying to save face he has only managed to bollock things up for himself still further. Thus we get to chuckle twice: once for the silence, then for the up fuck when he finally does post.
Right, here's the thing: the silly sod has claimed that the case has been dropped because it is ultra vires - that means that the body trying the matter lacks the competency so to do. That is just wrong.
Afghan law is based on the Sharia code. The constitution states that "no law can be contrary to the sacred religion of Islam". The country has also signed up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and they get around the freedom of religion clauses by allowing Christianity, but not conversion from Islam to Christianity.
The reason why he has been released is a lack of clear evidence, according to the authorities. It may also be that he is not actually an Afghan national and, oh yes, he has been declared mentally unfit to stand trial. Put another way, the Afghans have bowed to western pressure, but not in the way that this 'monger wants us to believe. The prosecution was never unconstitutional and no Afghan body has claimed that it was. What they have done is allowed this bod to leave prison so that they can keep the western butties flowing; they have not accepted that their original decision was wrong in any way.
What is wrong with Belarus?
What exactly is wrong with Belarus? It is a landlocked country of about 10 million souls that most people had probably never heard of until recently. Now the USA and its supporters are screaming that the end of civilisation is nigh just because the good people of that country turned out to return President Alexander Lukashenko to office with over 80% of the votes cast. It seems like only yesterday when they were praising the 97% that Mikhail Saakashvili scored in the Georgian elections. Now they claim that 80% is evidence of a fix.
It could be of course. However, it could also be that the people of Belarus have seen what happened in their neighbouring countries and have decided that the old soviet system had its good points after all. The economy is growing, wages are not only paid on time, but they have risen by almost a quarter during the past year. The opposition candidate in the election promised that he would end the supplies of Russian subsidised gas and oil into Belarus. In other words he told people that their heating bills were going to rise by about 70%. Given a choice like that it is a wonder that Lukashenko didn't manage a complete clean sweep and get 100% of the vote.
So why all the complaints? The only answer that I can come up with is that the Belarusians are trying their best to keeep out of the clutches of the New World Order. The country does not have a parasitic middle class that relies on low inflation and cheap credit to finance its lifestyle at the expense of the rest of the population. The government controls the economy and makes sure that there is a reasonable buttie for everyone. It may not be paradise, but it is better than quite a few other places that I can think of.
Perhaps this is why it has to be demonised? The issue seems to be that here is a country where ordinary people have a decent standard of living, especially when compared to capitalist puppets like Poland: a country that seems to be exported a sizable chunk of its unemployed labour force to Britain, where they are cheerfully engaged in helping to keep the wages down.
Belarus is not a shining light on a hill, but it is is an example of a country that can make its own way without adopting the Classical Liberal model. If people come to believe that full employment is possible once again, then they might just reject the system at home. The whole point about the Thatcher-Blair continuum is to remove that option from people's minds. Belarus, in her own small way, has shown that there are other paths to take.
27 March 2006
Americans massacre more civilians in Iraq
More reports are emerging of massacres in Iraq carried out by imperialist forces. The first concerns an atrocity in Haditha last November when the Americans slaughtered 23 civilians, and the second is in the Abu Siga area where they butchered 11. The latter death toll ranged from a 75 year old to a 6 month old baby.
It is rare for the perpetrators of these war crimes to be prosecuted and, when they are, the accused are either freed, or given a light sentence, and there is little evidence to suggest that anything will be different in these new incidents. Furthermore, atrocities like this have been reported ever since the war against Iraq began, so there is nothing that is actually new about the latest batch.
What is new is that the Americans seem to be using actions like this as retaliation for nationalist attacks on their troops. Both incidents occurred immediately after Iraqi forces launched roadside bomb attacks on occupation patrols, and the Americans then charged off and killed the first Iraqis that they could find. One incident could suggest a brutal, but unofficial, act of retaliation. However, the two together suggest a deliberate policy of terrorising the civilian population into submission.
When imperialism gets to this stage it usually means that they know that they have lost the war. Terror only breeds more fighters, but that is a problem for the future. If the soldiers do not plan to be around in the future, then it is a reasonable strategy for those imperialist troops to follow.
Probably the only good news to come out of Iraq these days is that we are clearly in the end game. The occupiers are hanging on and waiting for the order to evacuate. Nobody even pretends to care anymore about hearts and minds, because they are just trying to stay alive in a country that hates them.
26 March 2006
Fourth Afghan war
The British have fought three wars against the tribes of Afghanistan. The first ended in disaster during the 1842 retreat from Kabul. The second and third both ended because trying to hold that God-forsaken country was more trouble than it was worth.
So why are the British about to return for a fourth round? The plan is to send some 6,000 troops to a country that nobody else has ever managed to subjugate. Needless to say the Afghans are just waiting for them to arrive.
The wheeze seems to be that Britain's troops will act as an enducement to other countries - principally Germany and France - who will also then send troops to Afghanistan. The problem is that neither country shows any signs of putting the combat boots on the ground.
The Americans want to leave, so who is going to fight the Afghans? Get ready for the Fourth Afghan War, folks, because it looks like it is going to be Britain.
25 March 2006
The Road To Guantanamo
Information Clearing House is offering The Road To Guantanamo as a free download. By all accounts the links will only remain active until the 26th of this month, so grab it while its hot.
Right click on the file version that you want and select "save target as . . ."
This Channel Four docudrama has caused quite a stir already - the hysterical hand-shandery here is a laugh all in itself - and its further circulation should give apoplexy to the remaining warmongers. So let's encourage its circulation.
24 March 2006
Democracy in action
A couple of interesting news items have come my way. The first relates to some poor sod in Afghanistan who converted to Christianity 16 years ago and who now faces the death penalty for his apostasy. My favourite quote comes from Abdul Raoulf, a mullah who was thrice-imprisoned under Taliban rule: "Rejecting Islam is insulting God. We will not allow God to be humiliated. This man must die," he opined. He is considered a moderate, by the way. The real hardliners want him to die slowly, presumably so that he can repent just as the last bit of him is torn into two.
The second concerns a fatwah that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued back in October of last year. In it he called for homosexuals to be killed in the "worst, most severe way."
The thing that I like about this is just how it tells against the whole published reason for the two wars. Afghanistan and Iraq were going to be model showcases for democracy. What the warmongers expected was a bit of North London liberalism. What they have got are two primitive societies where the lid has been lifted and everyone gets to see the maggots crawling around inside.
This is the reality of life in primitive countries, I'm afraid. Maybe if they had been left to their own devices they would - probably centuries down the road - change and evolve into something that a North Londoner would want to support. As things stand, the occupations freeze everything in amber. Nobody can even think about change, even glacial change, until those foreign troops are removed. To do so is to colaborate: and we all know what happens to collaboraters when occupations end.
Update, 25th March 2006, 12.15am: a full 24 hours have now gone by since I posted the above. For some reason not a single wanking for war site has commented on the fact that the people of Afghanistan have democratically elected a government that wants to kill apostates from Islam. Why is that I wonder? The Afghan people have spoken through their elected representatives, so why the silence from those valiant lads of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders?
Idiocy on parade
This is good sport: Ollie Kamm nibbling at Crooked Timber's ankle like some deranged King Charles Spaniel that has just been kicked.
We have to go back to 2004 for the real laughs. That was when Ollie announced that he was deleting Crooked Timber from his blogroll. Since Crooked Timber had never actually linked to him - they had probably never even heard of him - Ollie felt able to explain that he was "at liberty to explain the excision with no risk of causing the distress that my strictures ought properly to elicit".
Now, let's just pause here for a moment, shall we? If some wazzock with a photo that makes him look like a lobotomised hamster suddenly decided to nibble my ankle in this way, what in the name of God's left testicle makes him think that my reaction would be anything less than sheer indifference?
Blogging is fun, but it's unimportant fun. Most people do not read blogs, as I found out back in January when I returned to the UK. Of all the old friends that I met up with only one actually read weblogs, and about half had never even heard of the damned things. In Britain people meet up in the swill shops and set the world to rights that way - they don't do it via a computer screen.
I blog because I live in what used to be a village on the far outskirts of Mexico City. To get from my house to the city centre is rather like travelling from Manchester to Liverpool. I am bored shitless in other words, so to prove that I still exist, I blog. What is the influence of this blog? About nil I should think, and that is true of all the others.
Ollie, aside from being a humourless git, is clearly one who thinks that his drivel is meaningful. I hate to disabuse him but it is not. My advice to him is to get back with Stan as quickly as possible - the laughs that way would be better.
23 March 2006
Returning to the lying fields of Kosovo
I have always had a basic rule of thumb that has served me well for almost half a century. If the management filth tell you that the sun is shining, then you grab your damned unbrella.
This served me well six years ago when imperialism first flexed it muscles in Kosovo. We were told that the province has become a killing field, but when the aggression ended only 2,788 bodies were found it mass graves. Some had been killed by the NATO airstrikes, others by the Kosovo Liberation Front. The rest, probably, in fighting between the Yugoslav army and the rebels. It was all a lie.
At the time I helped the Yugoslavian Embassy in Mexico City set up meetings to try and rally support for their defence. I did not need to be told that Blair was telling lies: I just knew he was everytime he opened that pretty little mouth of his. He is a representative of the boss class and we know that the boss class always lie. We take in this truism with our mother's milk.
A lot of people forgot that basic truth and believed the lies in those days. God knows why, but they did. Fewer were prepared to swallow the guff when it came to Iraq, but a lot still bought into it for a time.
As moves are afoot to start a war against Iran, the question has to be asked: are you still so stupid as to believe the bosses' lies?
American casualties mount
The American death rate in Iraq has been falling over recent weeks. If I were a warmonger I might be tempted to gloat at this and put it forward as evidence that the rag-heads were finally learning to bow low and spread 'em for the almighty USA - not forgetting the little poodle that comes yapping along as well.
Thankfully I'm not a `monger, but that's not the point: the casualty figures are dropping, aren't they?
Actually, they are not. Only the death toll has dropped; the overall casualty rate has climbed dramatically during the course of this year. Put another way, we are talking about the difference between dead dogs and winged dogs.
The number of American soldiers who have been so seriously wounded that they are unable to return to duty is now running at over seven per day. Why they are being wounded and not killed is anyone's guess. It could be that they are skulking in their bases, or that their armour has improved.
One thing is obvious, or should be to anyone who is not blind to reality: the inter-communal violence that is shaking Iraq has not damaged the nationalist's ability to wage war against the main enemy, which is the USA. If fighting a civil war had degraded the nationalists' abilities, then we wouild expect these casualty figures to be falling. Instead the reverse is true.
Let's put it in simple English: the Iraqi guerrillas are able to fight both the Americans and the Americans' puppets.
Now that takes bottle. The kind of bottle that wins wars.
22 March 2006
Iraqis mount large, conventional attack
|Over 200 nationalist guerrillas in Iraq launched an attack on a collaborationist run jail and freed some 33 of their people who were being held there. They blocked the road on either side of the building with bombs and then battled both the Americans and their Iraqi puppets before making their escape.|
This is quite amazing, because guerrillas at this stage in the war should not be mounting large operations like this. This is the sort of thing that happens as an insurgent force starts to make the transition from guerrilla operations to conventional attacks and that only happens when the enemy has been so weakened by the guerrilla war that he is on the ropes, anyway.
For the Iraqis to do it now suggests that the war might be about the speed up yet again.
Cheers: Juan Cole.
21 March 2006
Whistle blowing anyone?
|Katherine Gun, the brave young woman who leaked the memo outlining the American dirty tricks campaign against the UN Security Council three years ago has published an appeal for more whistle blowers to come forward. She is looking ahead and fears an American attack on Iran. Miss Gun argues that this time around the government must not be allowed to twist the facts to suit the policy.|
20 March 2006
Chimp vows victory
"Our goal in Iraq is victory," said the chimp. Good, because that means that he does not plan to withdraw the occupation forces any time soon. Which means that the withdrawal, when it comes, will be even more humiliating for the forces of imperialism than they would be if they scuttled out now.
Can socialism and islamism work together?
One of the charges that is levelled against the socialist wing of the anti-imperialism movement is that we are collaborating with Islamofascists - or whatever the latest playground term of abuse is for the Iraqi resistence. A quick reply is that at least we are not collaborating with the class enemy at home, but I have never been a great fan of the one liner. I will leave that to the hand shandyists for war who are capable of nothing better.
Leaving the Iraqi resistance to one side for the moment, can militant Islam and secular socialism work together? Our paths are different, but they do lead to the same point: the destruction of globalised capitalism. After that the paths diverge again; the Islamists wish to create a Muslim Caliphate that would encompose the whole of Arabia, at the very least, and we wish to have a secular state with an economy that is managed co-operatively. Viewed in this light, surely the aims of the two are incompatible?
In the long term obviously they are, but that long term is so far in the future that worrying about it now strikes this writer as rather silly. Especially when the beast that we both face is the beast that answers to the name of capitalism. It makes no sense at all to try and fight both Islamism and capitalism at the same time. We must decide which is the greater enemy. Islamism may very well pose a long-term threat to socialism, but the problem of capitalism is immediate and pressing.
So one war at a time, comrades, because the most pressing conflict is the class war at home. Fighting Islamism when its adherents are fighting the same enemy as us is a bit like saying that the USSR should not have allied herself with the UK and USA during the Second World War: the argument is fucking insane!
19 March 2006
|So how many turned out for the London demonstration against the war? The organisers claimed 100,000, the police said 15,000, and one bloke who was there reckoned about 50,000. Take your choice of figures.|
The numbers are not that important, anyway, because if 2,000,000 could not stop the war three years ago, then the much smaller numbers that turned out yesterday are not going to have any effect.
The good news is that the warmongers are reduced to pointing to these figures as proof of something or other. That is all they have left after three long years of war. Less people turned out yesterday than three years ago so, er, that's all folks.
17 March 2006
Cheer yourself up this morning
|Having one of those days? Management filth getting you down? Click on the link and play the game: you know that it makes sense. Can you find all 15 ways to kill the fucker?|
The rebel snowman
I don't normally reprint whole articles, but this one is so seriously funny that I am breaking my rule. It refers to an event that took place during the great Miners' Strike of 1984-85:
The Miners of Silverwood, having been told they were confined to six pickets only, built themselves a seventh comrade in the shape of a large snowman,wearing for good measure a plastic policeman's helmet.
Next morning, Chief Inspector Nesbitt appears on the scene and seeing the jeering miners and their steely eyed companion, ordered the constables to knock it down . This order brought rebellion to the police ranks as PCs declined to, "look so fucking stupid knocking down a snowman". "Very well," shouts the irate Nesbitt, jumping in his Range Rover and charging off to demolish the snowman, as pickets ran laughing for cover.
Maybe it was a trick of the light, or maybe a twinkle glistened in the icy countenance on the snowman's fixed expression - we shall never know, as the Range Rover made contact and came to a dead stop, smashing front grill, bumper and headlamps and hurling the shocked Nesbitt into the steering wheel. PCs found excuses to walk away or supress body shaking laughter while pickets fell about on the ground with side splitting mirth. The snowman had been constructed around a three foot high two foot thick concrete post!
You can buy the book that this passage is from here.
16 March 2006
Ramsay MacBlair has to rely on Tory votes
Tiny Tony Blair was forced to rely on the support of the Tories yesterday after 52 Labour MPs voted against the Education Bill, with a further 23 abstaining. In theory the Labour majority is 69 over all the other parties, but that is looking increasingly threadbare.
Athough Blair sounds like an Englishman, he is actually Scottish. Funnily enough the last Scottish Prime Minister that the Labour Party had was Ramsay MacDonald, a man rightly held in contempt in the party because he preferred the company of Tories. At least Macdonald had to be seduced by the Tories: Blair has always seemed quite at home in their company.
I mention this not to insult the Scots, but to ask how much longer will it be before the Tories offer little Tony a nice deal along the lines of the Macdonald betrayal all those years ago? He could remain as Prime Minister, heading a largely Tory government, and bring with him as many NewLab MPs as he can persuade to jump ship. For the deal to work he would have to bring quite a few MPs along, because Macdonald headed a minority government. However, there are bound to be a couple of dozen Blairites who, like their pretty leader, find the air of the Labour Party a bit too sweaty and lower class for their tastes.
Get it right, ye wankers for war.
First things first, I'm not a reader of Melanie Phillips' blog and was only drawn to it by a rather nice sarcastic comment from Neil Clark. However, it is amusing to see the warmongers fight amongst themselves; and it's even nicer when one - la Phillips - mangles the words of another - in this case Francis Fukuyama. Here is what Melanie Phillips has to say:
Has there ever been a more ridiculous public intellectual than Francis Fukuyama? First, he famously pronounced the ‘end of history’ and that democracy was now happily spreading across the entire planet. Then he decided that, far from history having ended, civilisation was in mortal danger and he became a prominent neo-conservative.
Well, no, and on all counts. Fukuyama did not talk about the end of history, his work was originally called The End of History? which is not quite the same thing. He never claimed that democracy was spreading across the globe, and he did warn from the start that the Iraq agression could end in tears.
(Sigh) Let's start with The End of History?. Fukuyama was writing about history in a Hegelian sense. The argument is that by understanding the past we can make sense of the present and, crucially, we can project that understanding onto the future. That we can see the future of human society in other words. Karl Marx took that idea and came up with the notion that communism was the inevitable outcome of the class war that he saw all around him in nineteenth century Britain. To Fukuyama, the end of the Cold War meant the triumph, in the future, of capitalist democracy throughout the world.
Now, historicism like this contains one fatal flaw: it is all bollocks. You cannot predict the future based on a reading of the past and an understanding of the present. As a trained historian, which I am, the most that I can say is that the past and present are a rough guide to the future, and we must always be aware that Lady History just loves to stick her foot out and trip up the unwary. It is rather like buying an insurance policy. The salesman looks at past performance in the stock market and tells you that based on those past performances the value of your policy when it matures in 20 years will be so much. Then you read the contract and see that past performance is no guarantee of future perfomance. Well, history is the same.
Almost 2,000 years ago more people in Britain had running water in their homes than they did in 1900. Sorry, that is just the way it was. The average Briton was far and away healthier, lived longer, and was more literate than he was in the year 1,000AD. A man looking forward from about the year 300 AD, could imagine all sorts of good, progressive things on the horizon. In reality what his descendents got was the Dark Ages.
Now then, you can criticise Fukuyama for his historicism, but that is not the same as saying, as this woman has, that history will just end, because that is not what he was talking about, was it?
Secondly, back in 1989, Fukuyama saw no alternative to liberal capitalism that could command mass support. He was wrong about that as well, but that is not the same as saying that liberal capitalism was then spreading across the planet. It wasn't and he never said it was. He said that it would do. Could he be right? I hope that he isn't, but that is not the point.
Finally, although Fukuyama did sign a letter calling for the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein, he also backed away from that position before the aggression against Iraq began. By December 2002 he was writing that any aggression against Iraq would look "come to look more like empire pure and simple". By the end of 2oo4 he was warning that the elections of early 2005 would not lead to stability and an early withdrawal of imperialist troops.
You can criticise Francis Fukuyama for many things - I have just done so. However, such criticism should be based on what the bugger actually wrote, rather than a mangling of it. Still, on the other hand, it is good fun to watch the right tear itself to bits. Even better fun to laugh at two right-wingers: one for what he said, the other for what she thought that he said.
15 March 2006
New labour: old scabbery
The Labour Movement owes a debt to places like Grimthorpe. The people who live there are our people. During the 1980s Grimthorpe poked two defiant fingers up to Thatcher and the vermin that she represented. They stayed loyal to their class. This is their reward after almost a decade of New Labour:
The grim facts of commercial life here are that just 37 per cent of Grimethorpe's adult population is economically active, the average household income is £8,000 compared with a national average of £20,000, nearly 46 per cent of locals are on housing benefit and 33 per cent are unemployed.
This is Blairism in a nutshell. Can anybody tell me why any working man should vote for these creatures?
Please stop feeding the entryists
Socialist disagree on many things, but I don't think that many would argue with the notion that the Labour Party has historically been the vehicle for working class aspirations in Great Britain.
Unfortunately that vehicle has been taken over, not by the left or the right, but by the middle class. It is our fault, since we allowed these creatures to move in and take control, but I do detect that their days are numbered. As the war against Iraq goes from bad to hilarious the credibility of these entryists declines at a rate of knots. With defeat comes disgrace and soon - please let it be soon - we should be in a position to retake our party and restore its constitution and values.
This being so, why the devil are people who are clearly anti-Newlab helping its adherents? Let's take just one case as an example. A seriously funny article was published in The Guardian which tried to defend the war against Iraq. I took the piss out of this load of old wank in my last posting - just scroll down if you want to read it. However, over 200 people have now written to the author to point out his errors. People, we do not debate with cockroaches! By doing so we legitimise their position within our movement. This is the whole point of the matter: their views are not legitimate and neither are they. They are worse than Militant or any other Trot sect, because at least Militant's argument was legitimate within the context of a working class party. These NewLab creatures are not of our tribe, they do not stand inside our laager and we will not dignify their arguments with a reply.
The only debate that needs to take place within the labour movement is about how to remove them. In the meantime, if people feel the need to write to these maggots, why not do it by laughing at them? They could be invited tell us how the cakewalk is coming along, or when they think that the Iraqi ambassador will be sent to Tel Aviv. Thus anyone who feels an urgent need to write to any of these creatures can do so, but without validating their views in any way.
Let's stop playing silly buggers with them, in other words.
14 March 2006
Another fine mess
Marcus over at Little Green Soccer Balls is up early this morning. I wonder if he shit the bed? I sort of have visions of him tucked up in his jim-jams, little Teddy cuddled to his breast. He feels a spasm in his tummy - it's a fart! He lets rip and giggles to Teddie. In his mind Teddie giggles back. Then he feels another spasm - so he lets rip again! Oops, big mistake. Yes, well, you can tell that I am the father of young sons I suppose.
Anyway, all nice and clean, with Teddy still by his side, he has booted up the computer and, well, dropped some more shit. He offers us the sight of Oliver Kamm's article in The Guardian. Ollie wants us to believe that invading Iraq was a good idea; probably in the same way that young Marcus thought that letting rip was a good idea. It wasn't, Ollie, believe me it wasn't.
Ollie, it's another fine mess, but this time you can't blame Stan. You got yourself into this one. Trying post-facto justification for a lost war is not going to work. No bugger is listening to you, Ollie, we all all too busy mocking you.
When this war is finally over, NewLab will vanish as National Labour did before it. You and people like you were the cheerleaders for the aggression that led to defeat and you will be jeered by the left for the former and the right for the latter. Get used to it: it means nobody will take you seriously again. How can they? Many of the loudest jeers will come from people who have their arses hanging hanging in the wind! They have to cover those arses and hope people will forget that they were warmongers once as well. They will do it by joining in the mockery of those tossers who still seek to justify the unjustifiable.
Now then, Ollie, I have two slices of stale bread and some rancid butter. The filling is a large turd. Here is your shit sarnie. Bite down hard and get used to eating this delicacy.
Has the British army reached its limit?
Quite a few soldiers now seem to be speaking out against the war. Fusilier Lawrence Buckley (19), from Newhey, which is just outside Manchester, has spoken to the Manchester Evening News about serving in that occupied country:
We are supposed to be out there training the Iraqis to take over the situation, but nine-tenths of them don't want to know and the police force they have got is corrupt.It is quite understandable that the Iraqis "don't want to know," of course, because they realise that sooner or later the occupation will end and they don't want their neighbours to see them getting too close to the occupiers. Nasty things have a habit of hapening to collaborators when occupiers leave. . .
Ben Griffin (28), was an SAS trooper who told his commanding officer that he was no longer willing to fight alongside the Americans. He cited the "dozens of illegal acts" that he has seen the Americans carry out, and claimed that the Americans regarded the Iraqis as "untermenschen."
"I did not join the British army to conduct American foreign policy," he said, and expected to be court martialled for his refusal to serve any further tours in Iraq. Instead he has been discharged from the army with a testimonial that describes him as a "balanced, honest, loyal and determined individual who possesses the strength of character to have the courage of his convictions".
These are not lone voices. Max Hastings quotes from a new book written by another former SAS man that says pretty much the same thing: Iraq is a mess that has been made worse by the Americans.
The interesting thing about all of this is the way in which soldiers are chatting freely to the press and other soldiers are being quietly allowed to leave the service with glowing references, even though they have refused orders to serve in Iraq. I can think of only one serving officer who is being court martialled for refusing to serve; he is Flt Lt Malcolm Kendall-Smith, whose trial proceeds slowly.
Could the armed forces be sending a message that they have had enough of America's war? Will the politicians listen to them?
13 March 2006
Am I a "rogue blogger"?
|I would just like to welcome the folk who are arriving here as a result of this article on the Slate Website.|
Am I a rogue blogger? Clearly the delightfully named Victoria, named no doubt after the late Queen-Empress herself, obviously thinks so. I have my doubts, but will not quibble on the principle that there is no such thing as bad publicity.
This is insanity
Late last month I wrote about some possible fallback positions for imperialism in the event of civil war breaking out in Iraq. I said that such a position could involve encouraging Iraq to collapse, thus to grab the oil-rich bits. I had no evidence to back this idea up; it just seemed logical.
Now, gobby neocons are giving weight to this idea. Daniel Pipes who was one of the chief proponents of the aggression against Iraq has claimed that civil war in that country could have three benefits. The first is that if the Muslims are killing each other, than are not killing non-Muslims:
The bombing on February 22 of the Askariya shrine in Samarra, Iraq, was a tragedy, but it was not an American or a coalition tragedy. Iraq's plight is neither a coalition responsibility nor a particular danger to the West. Fixing Iraq is neither the coalition's responsibility, nor its burden. When Sunni terrorists target Shi'ites and vice versa, non-Muslims are less likely to be hurt. Civil war in Iraq, in short, would be a humanitarian tragedy, but not a strategic one.Secondly, civil war will "terminate the dream of Iraq serving as a model for other Middle Eastern countries, thus delaying the push toward elections. This would have the effect of keeping Islamists from being legitimated by the popular vote, as Hamas was just a month ago".
Finally, civil war may provide a pretext for the USA to fight a major regional war, as an Iraqi civil war "would likely invite Syrian and Iranian participation hastening the possibility of confrontation with these two states, with which tensions are already high".
Now this plan, if that is actually what it is, strikes me as the last throw of the dice for imperialism in Arabia. It basically involves turning the region into one giant battlefield just to protect Israel. Say what you like about the old Rhodesia lobby in Britain, they weren't that fucking insane.
Will the bulk of the imperialists support it? The oil lobby might if they are promised the black gold. What about the mugs - the wankers for war that I use as electronic toilet paper on this blog? I suppose if they were fool enough to believe that the war against Iraq was a liberation, then they should be cunt enough to believe in this as well. On the other hand, who cares what they think? They were useful idiots for the imperialists; another set of useful idiots will no doubt come along to take their places.
Will it work? That is a tricky one. A basic rule of history is that creole states only survive if they can either swamp the locals with newcomers, drive them away or kill them off. However, if the natives stubbornly remain, then the future of a creole state is nil. Where is Rhodesia today? French Algeria? Portugese Mozambique? Gone, all gone.
The issue is not that the Europeans occupy the West Bank: the issue is that even within the creole heartland, the area that existed in 1948, the Arabs are still outbreeding the Europeans. Such a state, even within the 1948 lines, is not sustainable in the long run.
Hence chaos in the rest of Arabia is not going to save Israel because the Arabs are winning the battle of the bedroom. So, the logical conclusion must be that a final solution to the problem of the Arabs in Palestine has to be found.
This is where things could get interesting. The Rhodesia lobby was prepared to dump Rhodesia because, at the end of things, flogging arms to Kenya and buying oil from Nigeria was far more important that damaging the British economy to save a fairly sleezy creole population in a shithole named Rhodesia. Will the Israel lobby come to the same conclusion over yet another western-established shithole? They might, if things start to go pear-shaped.
The possibility of things adopting the shape of that fruit are enormous. What evidence is there to suggest that the whole thing can be contained in Iraq, Iran and Syria? How do we know that the oil supply can be maintained? Suppose the Arabs in neighbouring countries finally do decide to stream over the border, clutching whatever weapons they can grab? They would lose hundreds of thousands, but what if they just pushed on? Can five million Europeans stand that strain? My guess is that they would scuttle for the boats as the French did in Algeria. Life may not be great for them back home, but death in Palestine isn't so wonderful either.
The problem with this wheeze is that its success is outside the control of the imperialists who are advocating it. It relies on everyone dancing to the same tune. If they don't then the whole thing will go horribly wrong. For that reason I suspect that this idea will remain nothing more than a wank-fantasy in the minds of its proponents.
On the other hand I could be wrong. . .
Socialism and nationalism.
I would like to begin by thanking Neil Clark for his kind words. I really do not know what to say in reply, so a simple thank you will have to suffice.
Neil makes two points in the remainder of his post. The first is that imperialism will continue its onward march and the second that all "patriotic forces of both left and right" must come together to stop this happening. I am not convinced that the first point refers to an immediate danger, but the second one strikes me as basic common sense: we need unity.
I must be candid and say that it strikes me as incredible that the USA and its vassals can mount another attack on another country so soon after the disaster that has been Iraq. On the other hand who would have thought in May 1941 that Germany was going to attack the USSR the following month? You cannot predict what an unstable power will do - you can just hope for the best.
That said, even if the danger is in the long-term, sooner or later the beast will attack someone else, so Neil's second point is one that should be taken on board by all anti-imperialists.
Up to now we have allowed our class enemy to monopolise patriotism. It is time that this stopped. By demanding that Britain leave the European Union, almost be definition, it is the socialists who are the patriots. Our enemy wants the UK to continue to be governed by Brussels, so it is they who are anti-British: we are the nationalists. It does not matter one hoot that our motives for leaving the EU are basically economic: what matters is that we can argue our corner from a position of patriotism. Follow our lead and Britain will govern herself.
The same is true of NATO: our basic objection to the organisation is that it is about extending imperialism abroad and class enemy control at home. However, if Britain left the organisation, then our armed forces would no longer be under the control of a foreign power. By default our position becomes the nationalist position.
In Latin-America this fusion of nationalism and socialism has had a lot of success: it is what lies behind the triumphs in Bolivia and Venezuela. I might add that it is also what keeps Cuba afloat.
An counter-argument might be that British nationaliosm is, ipso facto, an imperial nationalism, and that this is not the case in these countries. Put another way, Venezuelan nationalism can be said to exist in opposition to colonialism, anyway, whereas the British version doesn't.
However, that argument ignores the fact that nationalism involves an invented tradition, so all we do is create our own version, and we don't need to go back very far to do it. We can start with Britain as a vassal of the USA and a province of the EU. It would involve a people yearning to breath the free air of national independence once more. Under this, we are the insurgents, the nationalists, and our party is the party of Britain. By definition, all parties and classes that oppose this are unpatriotic at best and downright treasonous at worst. Funnily enough, this argument has the advantage of being true.
Over the past few days I have been writing about a putative new socialist party for Britain. It looks like this could be its main plank.
12 March 2006
Getting ready for the third anniversay.
It is not almost three years since the war against Iraq started. The Independent has a very nice article to mark the start of the raucus and cynical laughter that the actual date will receive. It's a sort of what they said then as compared to the reality on the ground now type of article. If you are a warmonger you will hate it, but for everyone else it's a great read.
So, 'mongers, how's life these days? Getting ready for the big exodus that was predicted a long time ago? I know, you mocked in your little schoolboyish ways, but we were right, weren't we?
How does it feel as more and more `mongers jump ship? What was the name of that fat bugger who dropped Little Green Soccer Balls a while back? He was one of the first, but there are so many now. Too many to count: all hoping that we will forget. Fat chance if you want my opinion.
Why imperialism hated Milosevic
The death of Slobodan Milosevic has led to various types rehashing events in the former Yugoslavia. Milosevic is usually presented as the chief villain and the man responsible for everything that went wrong. Actually he was nothing of the sort. He was a tough, ruthless operator, in a region that has more than its fair shair of them. The difference between Milosovic and the rest is that he was not prepared to bow his knee to Washington.
To give one example: Operation Storm was launched in August 1995 by the Croats against the Serbs. It had logistical support from the USA and succeeded in its aims: the expulsion of over 200,000 Serbs from their homes. Nobody talks about Operation Storm and I suspect that most hand shandyists for war have never even heard of it. Why is that?
The most logical explanation is that Croatia was willing to work with the USA to achieve its aims. Those aims involved removing most of the Serbs from Croatian territory, and they were able to get away with this because the Croatian government placed themselves within Washington's orbit. Croatia is eager to join NATO, and this looks likely to happen this year. Zagreb also wishes to join the EU and has the support of Germany in this - it's always nice to see old allies working together. In other words Croatia posed no threat to the international capitalist order, and basically was allowed to get on with its activities unhindered.
In the case of Yugoslavia, Milosevic's crime seems to have been that he tried to hold Yugoslavia together after Washington had decided that it was going to break up. Then, once the breakup became pretty much complete, he had the temerity not to offer his country up as a vassal to Washington. Had he done so, the Americans would probably have left him alone in the troublesome Serbian province of Kosovo.
However, what Milosevic wanted was an independent Yugoslavia - and when that became impossible, an independent Serbia. He did not want to run a vassal state that would have helped globalised capitalism swallow up yet more independent territories: he wanted his country's freedom. For that he had to be slapped down.
So was he a hero? As a fighter for national independence against the beast of capitalism, yes, he certainly was. Within his own country and its region he was as ruthless and cunning as any of the other leaders that emerged as Yugoslavia fell apart. Slobodan Milosevic died in a prison cell. Agim Ceku was one of the principal commanders in Operation Storm: he has just become the puppet Prime Minister of imperialist occupied Kosovo.
11 March 2006
Slobodan Milosevic has died
|Slobodan Milosevic has died at the age of 64. He suffered from high blood pressure and a weak heart, but his enemies refused him permission to travel to Russia last month for medical treatment. Only yesterday President Milosevic had claimed that he was being poisoned, and his lawyer today requested that the autopsy be carried out in Moscow. Needless the say this has been refused.|
His crime was to stand up to the west who wanted to turn his independent country into yet another capitalist appendage. Had Russia not still been in thrawl to western interests in 1999 he might have managed to stop imperialism in its tracks with their help. He failed, and the Serbian province of Kosovo was stripped away. Thus the world was then forced to watch as the beast slouched over to Iraq. Luckily Iraq decided to resist; one hopes that this gave some comfort to Slobodan Milosovic as he endured the indignity of his imprisonment.
As a prisoner from 2001 onwards he spat defiance at the dwarfs that held him. Who can forget his contemptuous exchange with Judge Kaffirbasher, or whatever the wazzock's name was? He was asked if he wanted the charges read out in full - and his reply was a mocking: "That's your problem".
It is still unclear if his body will be released to Serbia for the funeral. It is possible that the capitalists will want assurances that it does not turn into a display of Serbian defiance against the beast.
Update: Neil Clark knows far more about the region than I do. Readers are advised to keep an eye on his blog.
Another modest proposal
I would feel happier is this had come out on All-Fools' Day, but since it's appearing now, I suppose it must be true. A council tried to fine a man £50.00 for dumping his rubbish in a rubbish bin. Basically, one Andy Tierney used a street bin to dump some junk mail while he was on his way to work. Officials from Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council then tracked him down using the address on the envelopes. A first they claimed that he had dumped a whole bag of crap, including food, in the bin. Then they backtracked on that, but still tried to land him with a fixed penalty ticket - whatever that is. Now they have backtracked again and withdrawn the notice.
However, the council's chief executive - usually these are overpaid and unelected polytechnic graduates - has said that better information needs to be given to residents as to where they can dump their crappie. Street bins are not to be used for household waste.
There are a couple of points that need to be made about this. The first, and minor point, is that the opinions of unelected penpushers do not count for shit. I remember when a social worker had the temerity to call me up when I was on my way to have just such a shit: a couple of press releases and one complaint to the council later, and said social work slag was sending me letters when it wanted an appointment to see me and it was arriving with another bit of social work scum in tow. So I got to waste the time of two of 'em instead of just the one. These creatures are the types who used to be the factory foremen and chargehands. We have a responsibility as working class people to treat them as the scabby-arsed vermin that they are. They have lost whatever right they may once have had to say that they are part of the tribe.
Secondly, and far more importantly, the reason why the Victorians set up rubbish bins and public lavatories in the streets is that they knew that if they didn't people would dump rubbish and piss all over the place. It was part of a process - a collectivist process - that aimed at getting folk to see that the public space belonged, partly, to them.
The Thatcherites closed down the piss-stones and privatised the rubbish collection. Thus, if you go to Piccadilly in Manchester on a Friday night, just as the locals have finished taking their revenge for the working week by poring beer down their necks, you will find that the streets around Piccadilly stink of piss and are knee-deep in rubbish.
The excuse for keeping the piss-stones closed is to avoid them being used by homosexualists, but that is a nonsense. The police could quite easily ensure that such practises do not go on and they have enough public order laws to justify arrests and ensure convictions. No, the reason is that so-called Labour will not tax the middle class enough to ensure that these public services are restored.
The point about municipal public services such as toilets, dustbins and pavements, is that by running them municipally we can employ an army of toilet attendents, dustbinmen and street sweepers. Not only does this provide work for our people, but it provides work that comes with a union, a long-term contract and a pension at the end. It is the difference between having a job and having a shit job in other words.
By having these services we encourage people to once again think of the collective, rather than the individual. That, finally, is what socialism is all about: running things collectively to improve the lot of the urban working man, his wife and his kids.
Earlier in the week I commented on what a new working class party had to do to be credible. Well, here is a modest start: advocate municipal services to provide jobs for our people and decent conditions for them to live in.
10 March 2006
The first Britblog libel case?
Neil Clark, who comes over as a decent bloke, has decided to sue Oliver Kamm over some comments that the latter made. You can read Neil's reasons for yourself, and at the bottom of that posting you will see my comment that urges him not to do anything of the sort.
As I said on Neil's blog, the problem with suing a pretty boy like Kamm is that all his little friends will crawl out of the woodwork and start a smear campaign. Sure enough, that is what is already happening, as Wankers for War claim that Neil is doing an "Irving". So even if he wins, the matter will not end with that court victory. He will find himself firefighting all across the web.
The second point really only applies to socialists, but I'll offer it out as a freebie: when the sewer dwellers start giving it gob, you know that you are doing something right. It happened to me with a type accused me of being a jew-baiter. I still get cheap laughs at that bugger's expense even now. I suppose the problem with not having anything approaching a proper job is that I don't have management vermin to kick around: the world o' blogs makes up for a lot.
Neil Clark is not a socialist, but I would hate to see him waste his time on this matter. I hope that it gets dropped.
Update: Neil Clark has left comments in this posting's box and pointed out that he is a socialist. I am sorry for the error: so many people from the far-right also believe in collectivisation that I assumed that this was where he was coming from. It was his argument in favour of capital punishment that did it. Actually, of course, there is nothing socialist about opposition to the death penalty, and I should have realised this.
09 March 2006
More on rats and sinking ships.
You have to love this front page from today's Independent. It's so nice that I can't resist posting it here. I also cannot resist pointing out to The Independent that I broke this story a full 24 hours before them.
The Exile: hung like a donkey and twice as hairy.
Update, 6.30pm: This article by Rupert Cornwell is now available at The Independent's website.
A modest proposal for an Independent Labour Party
A new socialist blog has just started up, and it looks good so far. One posting had me nodding my head wearily as the writer listed the various grouplets that have tried, and failed, to become the voice of the British working class. I have to be honest and say that the last thing we need right now is yet another set of initials.
So what can be done? Well, one of the reasons why these new parties fail to get off the ground is that they don't have roots in any local community. If we look back to 1893 and the birth of the Independent Labour Party, we can see that what actually happened in Bradford was the coming together of many local groups and parties, quite a few of which that had been in existence for around a decade by that time. In other words people were not being asked to support a new party; they carried on supporting the local group that already existed.
A second reason why these new parties fail is that they tend to be run by infantile Trots who think that the revolution is just around the corner. The latest seems to be the Socialist Party, formerly known as Militant. Anything that Trots touch they fuck up - in that they are fully in tune with their mentor who ended up head-butting an ice pick.
It is far better to take a leaf out of the old ILP's book and form an alliance between socialists and labourists. The reason why the proposal, debated at Bradford, to call the new party the Socialist Labour Party was defeated was due to the fact that the bulk of the delegates knew that the majority of working class people were not socialists. However, labourism, coming as it does from the unions, was something that the ordinary person could relate to.
That common sense approach is something that is sadly lacking today. People from the labourite wing of the movement are just as cheesed off and isolated as we are. It makes no sense at all to leave them on the sidelines by setting up yet another socialist sect. We need to unite socialists and labourists under one banner.
Hence the modest proposal. Let socialists and labourists build their local parties and groups and when there are enough of them - and when they are winning council seats and when union branches and trades' councils are supporting them - then let us have a conference to set up a new party that will act as a voice for the urban working class.
As part of this modest proposal, I would suggest that if we ever get to the stage where enough groups exist to form a new party, then we take our cue from Bradford in 1893. The party should be called the Independent Labour Party and the conference should simply re-adopt the original consitution.
08 March 2006
Will the last hand-shandyist for war please switch off the lights?
It is amusing the watch the warmongers abandon the lost cause. Francis Fukuyama did it the other day, and the latest to join the exodus is Andrew Sullivan. Funnily enough, Sullivan makes the point that William F. Buckley had also recanted, which was something I didn't know.
Who is left, I wonder? I am not talking about the people that we laugh at, I mean who is left with any degree of gravitas amongst the 'mongers?
Niall Ferguson doesn't count. He was never signed up to the notion that within the chest of every Iraqi there pounded the heart of a true, North-London New Labourite. His view was that Iraq had to be occupied indirectly, with the white men keeping real control.
No, I'm talking about the true believers. The ones who believed that Iraq would emerge as an ally of the USA, with an economy open to western control and an Iraqi ambassador in Tel Aviv.
Are there any of them still around, or are we just left with the knobs?
07 March 2006
Chistopher Hitchens sees sense.
Sonic, if you are reading this, I suggest you hold onto your hat: Christopher Hitchens is calling for detente with Iran! He is adopting a Nixon goes to China strategy, and probably covering himself in case the chimp really is insane enough to send the American army off to destruction in Iran.
I don't agree with his point that the young of that country are "fed up with medieval rule," mainly because he bases this assertion on those who have "relatives in the West, access to satellite dishes and cell phones, and regular contact with neighboring societies". A minority, in other words, in a country where the bulk of the population are quite happy to stick their bums in the air and their noses in the dirt five times a day. It is always a mistake when assesing Third World opinion to base it on the tiny elite who speak English, use the internet and moan at the government. Most people are not like that.
Caveats aside, it is nice to see yet more hand-shandyists for war coming over to the cause of non-interventionism - however belated the conversion is.
Memories of Iran in 1978.
An interesting article by John Simpson appears on the BBC's website. He comments on how the British Embassy in Tehran maintained that the Shah would remain in power right up to the time that he fled into exile. The reason for this was not duplicity: it was that the streets of Tehran were too dangerous for British diplomats to walk in. The embassy had to rely on official statements from Iranian officials who, obviously, were preaching good news right up until the moment when they fled along with the Shah.
Diplomats, generals and officials probably still sit around in Baghdad, still reinforcing each others views, just as they did in Tehran 28 years ago. The difference is that today we don't have to wait for a report to be telexed back to London so that we can read it in tomorrow's daily papers. The news from Iraq arrives pretty much instantly and for almost three years it has confirmed what those of us who opposed the aggression from the beginning said then: this is going to be a disaster for imperialism and for the Iraqi people.
06 March 2006
British to abandon Iraq? What about the USA?
Conflicting news is coming out of Iraq. On the one hand The Sunday Telegraph reported yesterday that the Anglo-American occupation forces will be withdrawn by the summer of 2007. On the other, American sources have dismissed this claim and reiterated the old line that the troops will remain, so long as the Iraqis need them. (Ho-hum)
The Telegraph report strikes me as the most likely, mainly because it came with the confirmation that the British involvement in occupying Afghanistan may last a further ten years. The British army cannot occupy both Iraq and Afghanistan, so it looks like the British are preparing the ground for the end of the Iraq adventure.
However, the report also states that the Anglo-American forces will abandon Iraq together, but since all the sources for this report seem to be British, the cynic is inclined to ask, just how firm is the American committment to leave the country? It could be that the British are talking up withdrawal in the hope that the Americans may be forced by popular pressure at home to come on board.
03 March 2006
Centcom's latest bright idea.
The U.S Central Command (CENTCOM) has started trying to influence blogs! No, I can't believe it, either, but that is what this report states.
The wheeze involves "public affairs officers," (propaganda purveyers) leaving comments in a blog's comments boxes, along with a link to CENTCOM.
I have a better idea for these lads: why not send me a full article and some money and I will post that for you on my blog? In the finest traditions of Mexican hackery, I will post the article in a different font so that the observant reader can tell that it is your shit and not mine, but other than that I promise to post any such article exactly as you send it to me.
Payment should be in used notes, please, and I am more than happy to trot along to your embassy to pick up the envelope.
02 March 2006
'Monger of the Month: February
Yes folks, it's that time of the month again! Time to look back through the previous month's contributions to find the utter and complete wanker who will walk away with the title of 'Monger of the Month.
Out of competition was the anonymous tosser who wrote this load of old wank. Sorry, it was good, but rules are rules: you cannot be a cowardly 'monger to win this coveted award. Still, you get a dishonourable mention today, and The Exile hopes that you stop shaving and walk around with your head turned to one side. If you keep your mouth horizontal you will not only have a cunt's opinions, but you will look like one as well.
The runner-up this month is CSC5502D for his wonderfully off-the-wall comment about Canada. Claiming that Canada, a NATO ally to the Great Satan, and fellow capitalist country, is not a friend to the USA is, well, a seriously idiotic thing to say. I thought that you had it, CSC5502D, but the winner roared past you, cock in hand, wanking like buggery!
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you CR Mountjoy-GDF, a serious head the ball if ever there was one. The posting was about Iraq, but old CR came along and commented on Palestine! To make matters even more engaging, he claimed that the PLO were spending western aid on arms - as if anyone needs to spend that kind of brass on getting tooled up. You can buy a bloody AK-47 in Mexico City for about a hundred quid - in Africa they are about a quarter of that price. The Palestinians don't use the money for arms - they shovel it into Swiss bank accounts like everyone else.
The 'Monger of the Month for February 2006 is CR Mountjoy-GDF!
Every month this blog will award due recognition to the animal, vegetable or mineral who has made the most asinine, stupid and/or off-the-wall comment or comments. Nationality is not important, but anyone who signs themself as anonymous will not be included. The publisher-editor's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
Hotel Sheraton gets its closure notices
Virginia Jaramillo, the senior political figure in the part of Mexico City where the Hotel Sheraton stands came along personally this morning to slap the first three closure orders on the building. A few hours after her visit, the rest of the building received its full quota of such notices.
As readers of this blog will know, the hotel had the temerity to turf out 16 Cuban guests who were staying there last month. Now they have to pay the price for their stupidity.
A fine of about £10,000 has been levied on them for their failure to have the correct planning permits for part of the building. The notices will be removed once that has been paid. My feeling is that this amount will already have been paid, and the hotel is probably open for business as usual, but that is not the point.
The point is that the American owners have had to shell out 10,00 quid to the city government. Next, they will have to pay-back the Cubans who had paid in advance for the rooms and who were forced to leave at such short notice - the federal government has already told them that they, the hotel are responsible, not the American government. Finally, that same federal government has a case of its own pending against the hotel Sheraton, that will probably be heard in about May or June. That's right - just in time for the Mexican elections, and just in time to give the Sheraton and its American owners another slapping.