Sunday, 8 November 2009

What Does The EU Mean To YOU?

My fellow blogger and political commentator Scunnert has raised an interesting point:
"The UK is, in my opinion, the driving force behind the development of an EU super-max ghetto. They do this as a proxy of the US of A for reasons yet to be revealed."
I have been considering the ever-growing size and scope of the EU for some days now: I've been trying to work out what on earth would cause nations to willingly to relinquish their national sovereignty over their parliaments and systems of government, their legal codes and modes of education in order to create a superstate. Since said superstate is, putatively at least, 'democratic' it does not represent the kind of overwhelming power that Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand or Hitler or Bismarck held over vast territories. The leaders of nations within the superstates, having been elected in by their peoples, must be shown to be actively doing in harmony with each other something that adds to human betterment - however difficult to qualify said betterment may be. And, indeed, our very own unelected Gordon Brown sees the cessation of hostilities over national and pan-European institutions as refreshing: we can now meet a new dawn etc etc as friends and so on. They *must* therefore have a cumulative agenda. Of what are they afraid?
I think the answer is deceptively simple: the fear of the resurgence of Communism. Why else force umpteen millions of people to live under systems of government which are so socialist as to hover on the border of Marx's Utopian dream if not to demonstrate that there is no real need to return to Communism? Why offer everything the Communist state held dear - socialized medicine, subsidised housing, free education, re-education if you didn't toe the party line - with the added benefit of endless bottles of Coca Cola and Levi jeans? Why spend so many billions on shoring up Eastern European nations if not as a bulwark against Russia and, farther afield, China? And why collaborate so closely with the US whose vested interests are often markedly different from ours/Europe's? Could America's sudden extreme beadiness regarding Europe be due to the fear of Reds under the bed?

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Dead Democracy

“Today is a day when Europe looks forward, when it sets aside years of debate on its institutions, and moves to take strong and collective action on the issues that matter most to European citizens: security, climate change, jobs and growth.”
I don't know with which Europeans Gordon Brown has been hobnobbing, but they certainly aren't English. Had he ever consulted us on this 'historic' signing, he would have heard very different accounts of what these 'European' citizens are worried about: immigration, bank bailouts to the tune of £4,000+ each (foetuses included), cheating MPs and the loss of even the meagre sovereignty that to these 646 MPs Lisbon represents.
The truth is - as even Brown the spurious historian would have to concede, were he not so far up his own backside as to render truth redundant - that Britain and Europe have never really been the best of friends. That 21 mile wide strip of water separating us from France may as well have been a 1000 mile gulf. We don't share language, national concerns, temperament or character; we've been proud to be insular, 'this sceptred isle', until Labour came along and told us that we should be ashamed of everything we've ever done. Ever. Our humour, stoicism, ability to keep down ten pints of strong ale and love of monarchy - at times when Europe burned in the fires of republican revolutions - set us apart. But this isn't an apologetic for Euro-scepticism. It isn't even a rant about Brown achieving his socialist world view in which everyone marches to the same tune - or else. I'm genuinely worried about what will happen next. It seems that Merkel et al are so intent on making the EU a 'global player' - whatever that means - that they have forgotten entirely about the millions of people they have crushed together. The mere concept that Tony Blair, a man with the blood of millions on his hands, thinks that he's a good candidate to run the European show should have sent alarm bells ringing around Brussels months ago.
As it is, from this day forth our votes will mean little or nothing. Our legal system - upon which 60% of the world's legal systems are based and arguably the most successful - has been shelved in favour of its antithesis, the Napoleonic code. Our politicians' strings will be further jerked by the unelected shadowy figures somewhere on the Continent. Personal privacy will become even more of a laughable idea as Europe openly rolls out its 'security' taskforces and shares our 'data' with all and sundry. Though contemporary English democracy has only become a concrete idea since WWI in which national institutions turned things like private property rights, limited taxation and privacy upside down, its proponents eighty or ninety years ago believed in and fought bitterly for personal and national sovereignty. I await with bated breath Cameron's re-thought-out plans for Europe, due later today. If ever there were an eleventh hour crisis, this is it.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Whatever happened to...

After taking a very long break from commenting acerbically upon the posturing of thıose deluded enough to believe that they have sufficient nous to make a 'contribution' to British society, due to continuing ill health, I awoke this morning wondering what in the hell has happened to Ian Tomlinson. Expenses scams and spurious swine flu epidemics (the Govt's stocks of Tamiflu have reached their 'use by' date, dontcha know: what better way to erode otherwise useless stocks and make Big Pharma richer than claiming a pandemic is sweeping the globe??) have swept the sinister - and in Tomlinson's case, deadly - events of the G8 under the carpet. Has Tomlinson's killer(s) been accused, tried, reprimanded, sentenced? Or none of the above? We need answers; we need them now.
Incidentally, much of what the smiling politicians *actually* got up to at the G8 has also been swept neatly under the rug. I refer in particular to the Roma-Lyon Group which, in its fight against organised crime, is tasked with 'identify(ıng) and promot(ing) best practices for expanding biometric identity management practices for travellers and improving security in all modes of transportation'. (See http://www.statewatch.org/news/2009/jul/g8-counterterrorism-2009.pdf). Needless to say, the group is neither elected nor accountable nor subject to any scrutiny - unlike us. It seems that the onus of democracy falls on we the people, and the freedom of tyranny upon they the leaders.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Iraq War Myth No.2

"The second Gulf war of 2003 followed the first Gulf war of 1991 which resulted directly from Iraq's invasion of Kuwait..."*

Indeed, the second Gulf war of 2003 followed the first Gulf war of 1990-1991 just as 1 p.m. follows midday, or age follows beauty; there was no basis whatsoever for the two events to have been linked (No Kuwait; No Kurds; No Tanks) had not the US administration, bloated with colonial bravado, decided to find some pretext upon which to wage war against a nation stripped down by 12 years of crippling sanctions, bombings and the first Gulf war. "Toppling Saddam remains the unfinished business of the first Bush administration. His defiant hold on power infuriates the Bushies", noted the Guardian in 2001. But this jingoistic claim does not reflect the whole story; that there was an ever-growing, authentic and powerfully persuasive grass-roots resistance to Saddam Hussein's authority that could genuinely have challenged both it and US attempts to open Iraq to Western markets. This resistance continues today, though it is amalgamated with the brutal partisan attempts to gain control over areas of destabilised Iraq: to those who wanted to finish what Bush No. 1 started, such resistance was a red rag to a bull.
If Saddam Hussein wanted to create and use chemical weapons in a war against the West, he would have found the pretext to do so as a response to the hellish sanctions imposed on his increasingly desperate population. In 1998, Denis Halliday, the UN Assistant Secretary-General, resigned after 34 years with the UN, "declaring the US and British sanctions regime imposed on Iraq 'genocidal'. Halliday, who ran the UN's 'oil for food' programme in Iraq, continues to openly place blame for the excess deaths of 600,000 Iraqi children under five, as reported by the United Nations Children's Fund, squarely on the shoulders of the US and British governments. In February 2000, Halliday's successor as UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, Hans von Sponeck, also resigned after 30 years with the UN, asking,
'How long should the civilian population of Iraq be exposed to such punishment for something they have never done?'I've been using the word genocide, because this is a deliberate policy to destroy the people of Iraq. I'm afraid I have no other view at this late stage.'
In 1993 Madeleine Albright, head of the same group responsible for 'educating' Iraqis about democracy and orchestrating US-sympathetic campaigns prior to the 2005 election said, in response to the question "I have heard that a half a million children have died [because of sanctions against Iraq]. I mean that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And - you know, is the price worth it?"

Albright: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it."

These sanctions had been imposed after George Dubya Senior played a game of cat-and-mouse with Iraq following the 1990-1991 bust-up between Iraq and the UK, USA and Saudi Arabia (tho' forces from 31 other countries were involved); a bust-up which bore absolutely no relation to the second Gulf War which began some 12 years later. And no weapons were found.
However, the news of the time would have it otherwise: every newspaper's leaders on Iraq - not to mention their editorials - gave a detailed play-by-play of the emotions and opinions of those entrenched in Afghanistan or observing the conflict from a soi-distant armchair. Forget logic: Condi Rice, and Donald Rumsfeldt (the supreme architect of disaster capitalism who was already rebuilding Iraq before it had been decimated), and unnamed sources in the Pentagon, were all commenting knowledgeably upon the motivations of the Bush team. The general consensus seemed to be that Dubya Jnr insisted on finishing what Daddy had started, regardless of lack of provocation.
Had Bush Snr et al been in office in 1998 and able to chase after Saddam Hussein in the exhaustive way in which today's US administration has systematically obliterated Iraq, he would have been able to cite a breach of UN sanctions; Iraqi officials prevented US inspectors from inspecting suspected weapons sites. Even then, UNSCOM inspector Scott Ritter says, "as of December 1998 we had no evidence Iraq had retained biological weapons, nor that they were working on any. In fact, we had a lot of evidence to suggest Iraq was in compliance." By 2001, over 95% of the weaponry - that which posed a real, tangible and immediate threat - was gone. Ritter changed his 1998 perspective, stating that the threat from Iraq was 'zero'. Zero. That doesn't present the merest possibility of viable chemical or biological weapons capable of causing localised or global terror being found or fabricated in Iraq. It means that the empty mustard gas shells found in a warehouse were the sum total of Iraq's supposedly devastating cache of WMDs. But as Ritter, who was so conveniently swept out of the limelight after a police sting operation in 2003, put it so eloquently:

The United States needed to find a vehicle to continue to contain Saddam because the CIA said all we have to do is wait six months and Saddam is going to collapse on his own volition. That vehicle is sanctions. They needed a justification; the justification was disarmament. They drafted a Chapter 7 resolution of the United Nations Security Council calling for the disarmament of Iraq and saying in Paragraph 14 that if Iraq complies, sanctions will be lifted. Within months of this resolution being passed--and the United States drafted and voted in favor of this resolution--within months, the President, George Herbert Walker Bush, and his Secretary of State, James Baker, are saying publicly, not privately, publicly that even if Iraq complies with its obligation to disarm, economic sanctions will be maintained until which time Saddam Hussein is removed from power.

That is proof positive that disarmament was only useful insofar as it contained through the maintenance of sanctions and facilitated regime change. It was never about disarmament, it was never about getting rid of weapons of mass destruction. It started with George Herbert Walker Bush, and it was a policy continued through eight years of the Clinton presidency, and then brought us to this current disastrous course of action under the current Bush Administration." (Pitt, William R. War On Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know)


To the West, Saddam Hussein had become an untenable nuisance: unstable, yet resistant to outside attempts to squeeze him out of power. Based upon his psychological profile, it is likely that had he had chemical weapons, he would have used them as retribution for the sufferings of Iraq in such a way as to precipitate a large-scale confrontation. In fact, Hussein's Iraq was in the same state of dire and worsening economic poverty that prompted him to invade Kuwait in the 1990s. But Hussein did not precipitate a confrontation. His country was already in a perilous state of decay; he had virtually no friends or allies, and had not forged the kinds of links with Iran that would have created a powerful United Eastern Islamic state. He followed to the letter 'those who would prepare for war, seek war': he had not prepared for it, nor had he sought it.

*An indepth discussion of WMDs, including UNSCOM, the ISC and Rockingham's role, to follow.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Iraq War Myths No. 1

"Millions of Iraqis risked death to elect their government. Their government therefore has a greater legitimacy than almost any other government in the world!"

At the time of the first 'democratic' elections in Iraq, America had already lost 1100 troops and spent $2oo billion on waging war. In the light of such gross expenditure of lives and money (the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died not having been factored into this analysis, of course: they were merely 'collateral damage') it is unlikely that said occupying force, having overtly and exaggeratedly stated that its real intent in invading and occupying Iraq was to install 'democracy', would permit the population to vote for that which had always passed previously as government. The very obvious fact that a nation under US occupation* is by very nature undemocratic and therefore cannot be considered capable of holding free and unbiased elections and the Blairite propagandist message that the Iraqi people could only choose between 'democracy and terror' aside, one must question just how many were able to participate in the Iraq elections. The refugees bombed out of their homes? The street children? Those held under vague or no pretext in Allied jails?
Given the extraordinary state of daily upheaval in a country that had been systematically obliterated, it is hard to see how many Iraqis could bear witness to the message that the New U-Turning US President, one who condemned the war from outside office and supported it in it, spieled out:
"We kept our troops in Iraq to help establish a sovereign government - and you got the job done. And we will leave the Iraqi people with a hard-earned opportunity to live a better life - that is your achievement; that is the prospect that you have made possible."
We kept our troops in Iraq to help establish a sovereign government: does that sound like democracy to you? Democracy at the end of a bayonet? Or that sovereignty might be established by external forces? In a country which now doesn't even possess basic sanitation? But it gets worse. Before the first Iraqi elections in 2005, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the International Republican Institute were given over $80 million to orchestrate political and electoral activities in Iraq. Two of the major players: Madeleine Albright and John McCain. These 'extensions' of the State Department, claimed Prof. William Robinson of the Global and International Studies Programme at the University of California,
"are trying to select individual leaders and organisations that are going to be very amenable to the US transnational project for Iraq... pacifying the country militarily and legitimating the occupation and the formal electoral system...[will ensure that Iraq will be controlled by] economic, political and civic groups that are going to be favourable to Iraq's integration into the global capitalist economy".
Within Iraq, independent news ceased. Al-Jazeera was shut down for the duration of the elections, and newspapers critical to US endeavours were stifled. Any hint that the population protested against the continuing occupation and wished to reinstate the Baath leadership was banned by the US Proconsul, Paul Bremer. Those who did seek to report the news as it was actually happening were threatened by the army, police and insurgent forces: 'we're unable to get access to anybody. We're frightened', said a Baghdad journalist. Cramped in on three sides, what was the response by those Iraqis who sought to challenge a unilaterally US subsidised news force and an interim PM who had formerly been a CIA asset? The truth is that we don't know; there was absolutely no canvassing, panelling or analysis of media freedom or the people's response to it in the six months leading up to the elections, yet British and American newspapers, who incidentally made no mention of either the NDI/IRI involvement or the blanket ban on critical media resolutely reported that the elections were 'democratic' and 'free'. Attention now turned to the 'brave' Iraqis and the 'rebel insurgents' who apparently threatened their ability to vote:
"American and Iraqi officials have warned that rebels determined to expel foreign forces could step up attacks before Iraq's first free election in decades." (Sunday Express, Dec. 19, 2004) This just before another 1000 troops were shipped into Iraq: could there be a better pretext? Or a less legitimate 'free' election?
Unanimously, across the so-called political spectrum, all other newspapers extolled how 'we went to Iraq to make it free'; the point was no longer whether the war and occupation was legitimate or not, but that a 'democratic' election would hasten the USUKA exit strategy formulation. Leaving Iraq suddenly became the cross-party unifier. Even Menzies-Campbell regurgitated the Blair line: "Failure to hold elections on January 30 would be seen as a major triumph for the insurgence... But if these elections are to be credible they must cover the whole country and the whole population. No one should minimise the difficulty of carrying this through." Of course, the 'exit strategy' is pure fabrication: the UKUSA are tied up in Iraq for at least 30 years, having built and continuing to build military bases and outposts; and the multinationals also have moved in and laid claim to Iraq's oil supply for the next forty years too. Should Iraq become too bolshy in the near or even distant future and elect a leadership of which the West disapproves, the military will be there to make sure that the 'Arab facade' toes the line. Given that the country, having been demolished, is already divided by insurgent factions trying to lay claim the biggest piece of the pie, it is likely that Iraq will continue to dominate our headlines for the next ten years; but those who are most affected by sectarian violence, the 'ordinary' Iraqis, will continue to suffer unnoticed.
In the most recent Iraqi elections, voters had to pass through security checks. The President Nour al-Maliki hoped to build a successful election strategy on promising electricity and sewerage processing: civic amenities we take for granted, and which Iraqis took for granted before America bombed their processing plants to smithereens. According to a Baghdad journalist, "Saddam is viewed by most [Arabs] as a heroic and impeccable figure and they believe and understand that everything that has happened in Iraq ever since his oust[ing] has been catastrophic." The US model of democracy hasn't trickled down very far, then. In fact, according to the latest intelligence on the Enduring America wire, al-Maliki's party is prepared to enter into a coalition with the outspoken Allies-hating Moqtada al-Sadr in order to establish an Islamic state - which, if al-Sadr's past rhetoric is anything to go by, will almost certainly mimic Mahmoud Ahmedenijad's Iranian state paradigm. The UKUSA method of 'making an omelette by breaking eggs' doesn't work when it comes to making democracy by breaking the backs of nations, it seems.
Finally, the opinions of Iraq ex-patriots, rarely sought, are illuminating. In 2005 less than 1 in 10 registered to vote which, according to Abu Khaleel, is remarkable: "Anybody who knows even a few Iraqis is aware how passionate they generally are regarding politics. Furthermore, most of these people have had their lives severely disrupted by politics and tyranny. It cannot be that they don't care how Iraq is governed...why didn't they register to vote? Aren't they interested in democracy and elections?

The answer is simple: They are against "these" elections."

*To be discussed in a later post

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Doublespeak

Humanity has a lot to be proud of. It's produced what we would justly call wonders: the Pyramids, the sadly-eroded Colossus, the Great Wall. It's also given us Mozart, and Avicenna, and Aristotle and, rather dubiously, Philip Roth and Bob Hope. It has a lot to be ashamed of on a large and a small scale: petty cruelties conflated into colonialism, science exploited and abused to dehumanise other cultures.
We know that things don't change - not really; there is very little new under the sun. The young have to reinvent everything anew; otherwise life would be unbearable. One of the great problems with living in a trash culture is that we're exposed constantly to the feeble thoughts of actresses and singers as if they were original truths; and, of course, the vapid-minded drink from the dregs of this non-knowledge and use it to affirm their existences. Those of us who are impatient with such moronic witterings look more closely at life; we scrutinise its history, its meaning, its purpose, the etymology of the word 'life' itself, and try to work out a way in which we can exist authentically, acknowledging the other without being turned into the Other.
Our task is made all the more difficult by the floods of disinformation and doublespeak that pour like a poison stream from the mouths of our politicians and their ever-churning propaganda machines. It will be a wonder indeed if we will ever be able to look upon life and see truth in it again. And the one responsible, who is now lurking behind his cloak of new-found piety, is being paid millions every year to get away with spewing forth more doublespeak, perpetuating the lies that have led to the deaths of around two million people. That's more than the number murdered in Rwanda, under the Khmer Rouge, in the Korean War, during the Troubles in Northern Island, US casualties in Vietnam, the Twin Towers and under Idi Amin. The man? Tony Blair. The war? Iraq.
Iraq's no longer a country. Even before the UKUSA found a shoddy pretext to go to war, Rumsfeldt and other disaster merchants were batting around ideas for its reconstruction. Blair stood up in Parliament without compunction and, hand on heart, lied. He claimed that everything that was good and pure and just in the world was at stake. He played shamelessly on people's moral convictions. Knowing full well that there was no justification for the claim that Saddam Hussein, once the West's Golden Boy, had WMDs, he added one fiction to another, Ossa atop Pelion, and built a fraudulent case against the dictator. And, having chummed up with the States, chased the UN inspectors out to unleash Operation Firefox and then lying further, claiming that Saddam Hussein had chased those inspectors out, he systematically set out to obliterate Iraq.
There is nothing left there: it was blown to smithereens, razed to the ground, turned to dust. One of the most ancient civilisations on earth is now a stinking cesspit filled with terrified, bewildered citizens and angry fundamentalist aggressors for whom the idea of the best healthcare and education the Middle East had to offer is a distant memory. Hospitals, schools, mosques, museums: gone. The only ones living in any semblance of luxury are those on military bases or occupying the plush Western-style condos that sprang up overnight. The antiquities have been looted or destroyed. The roads are full of holes; electricity is sporadic; AIDS is drastically on the rise, food is scarce, children are homeless. In fact, half of those dead are children. But they're not children to the self-acclaimed Saviour of the Middle East: they're collateral damage. It's 'regrettable'. I think he may have offered his sympathy at some point. Too late: they're dead.
If a child goes missing in this country, it's 24/7 news. The search for little Madeleine McCann goes on. But how many children have gone missing in Iraq? And who cares? What is to happen to this lost generation, the survivors of a grossly unjust and unnecessary war?
Way back when, we marched against the war. We lost. But that does not mean we give up the fight now. We cannot let journalists claim that Blair believed there were WMDs. It's nonsense; a fabrication. And it implies that because a politician believes something, it must be right. That's a very subjective and dangerous fantasy to be playing with. We can't allow our media to report the war through such a distorted lens. Again, playing with the truth and using such highly subjective terms - Iran is 'hostile' and a 'troublemaker' but America is 'committed to democracy' - is very dangerous. Iran is a 'troublemaker', yet America, which has illegally invaded two nations, is 'democratic'? What a leap in logic! Such bias breeds hostility and contention. Years later, many more will die because of the errors of today, of now.
By all rights, Blair should be on trial for war crimes. He is a mass murderer; a class A charlatan with Messianic delusions and a moral compass that points straight to Ego. He is a despicable phoney, a liar and a thief: he has stolen an entire country's history, its future, its resources and its lives. He does not deserve to enjoy freedom; were he tried at Nuremberg he would have been hanged. Instead, he is wafting around and dispensing advice on 'peace'. And he goes unchallenged, save by us. The media may be in a straitjacket of doublespeak, but we are not. If there is to be any honesty, let it be in politics, let us be saying it, and let it be now.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Happiness is a Warm Gun

I've just returned from Addenbrooke's Hospital, where I spent 4 hours in A&E waiting to see if I'd broken my ankle. Finally, having had a huge walking boot fitted by a breathtakingly handsome and genuinely nice young Gilbert Blythe-ish doctor (of course, I was looking like hell: spectacles, hoodie and jogging bottoms, smeared mascara. Add a dowager's hump, stick a tent over me and charge admission), I lurched out past a little family: two responsible parents, and a angelically pretty little girl who'd just been bought a teddy bear from the hospital giftshop. She was chattering away to parents who were clearly interested in what she had to say. She won't be needing the happiness lessons proposed by the notorious Jim Rose, then.
I googled Jim Rose; the first two entries were for circuses, which seems quite appropriate as the man relentlessly proposes clownish embellishments to our already beleaguered, over-cosseted, under-educated little guinea pigs who have suffered under successive burdens of 'progressive' teaching methods to the extent that they're going to grow up lazy, incurious and unemployable. Now, along with all the other bits of social engineering rubbish (because they don't want anyone to start forming exclusive groups by themselves: that's hierarchical and classist and non-Utopian) children have got to learn to analyse their emotions and develop happiness strategies. Which will have the effect of creating huge amounts of business for psychiatrists, but will damage children irreparably.
You can't teach unformed minds how to develop coping strategies for things they haven't experienced. You can't quantify happiness. And it's very difficult to qualify it. To do so is to orchestrate someone's existence for them, because you're telling them what should or even must make them happy. And to self-examine complex emotions behind feelings is a skill most adults don't even have, one which is still being developed because psychology is not a finite subject: different models are constantly being proposed, and the practise of it is ever-evolving. I find the suggestion that the State can dictate what passes for 'joy' - in their grey, dull, Health & Safety orientated, homogenized world - sinister in the extreme. In fact, I'd go as far to say that it's a recipe for disaster, a reason to contemplate ending one's existence. Because you see, if they get hold of the children's minds, then the kind of world we grow old in is going to be a very terrifying one, one in which everything is done 'for our own good', but no-one can remember what 'good' entails.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Swine Flu: The Great Pharma-Con

We're due a jolly bad flu pandemic, oh yes. It's been 50 years since the last one. Whether the H1N1 will indeed sweep the globe, mutating as it goes, and taking out vast swathes of the population remains to be seen; at present, its worst efforts seem to be confined to poor, beleaguered Mexico which has always been spectacularly unlucky when it comes to virii. Over the centuries, it's been near wiped out again and again by typhoid, smallpox, cholera, measles, and the clap. Add to that a near-non-existent health service and insufficient sanitation, and they're on a hiding to nowhere.
On this side of the Pond, however, we could do a LOT better. And the first thing to do is not to give the public an etiquette lesson in the form of 30 million leaflets telling us we're less likely to spread disease if we cover our mouths when we sneeze or buy up millions of useless facemasks, but to be honest about one of the biggest corporation cons of the past 5 years. Tamiflu.
Tamiflu doesn't work on H1N1. Over the past 10 years H1N1 has developed near-absolute resistance to Tamiflu. This resistance isn't confined to North America, as one virologist speculated hopefully a few years ago: it's Europe-wide as well. Despite clear evidence and even clearer articles by those in the know that have been floating around for the past year, the maker of Tamiflu, dear old Roche, on whose board the maestro of disaster capitalism Donald Rumsfeld sits, is using the Mexican outbreaks as ad opportunities and are continuing to peddle the redundant drugs even as I type.
Only Relenza and/or the 'flu jab have been demonstrated to work against this particular strain; the government in assuring us that we're well-prepared to withstand an epidemic is playing a very, very dangerous game with our lives. It is deliberately deceiving the public. We have NO way of knowing whether Tamiflu can have the slightest effect on a mutating H1N1 virus; stating therefore that we're 'safe' is barbaric.This goes even beyond the scope of illegal wars or heavy surveillance 'for our own good'; they're playing Russian roulette with our existence, and in this game no-one can win.

Friday, 24 April 2009

The Peasants' Revolt 2009

After reciting the winning formula 'this is a global recession' for over half an hour so that everyone would get the point, Darling announced the unbelievably petty, spiteful and manifesto-breaking pledge to tax the modestly well-off a phenomenal 50%, the highest rate of income tax in the developed world. And when I say 'modest', I mean modest. £150,000 by today's standards, especially given the prohibitive cost of living, is not a lot. It is not in any way comparable with JK Rowling or Rupert Murdoch's yearly take-home. Of course, they have teams of accountants ensuring that they get the best bang out of their buck; the average GP, however, has to suck up whatever the government has spewed.
The 'I don't have it so why should they?' crew are naturally delighted. NuLab has its finger right on the pulse of vindictive jealousy that riddles society like a cancer. The answer is simple: if you can do those jobs, you deserve the pay. I'm not talking about the dead-wood bureaucrats who have made the NHS a hell on earth to run, or the non-entities who work in 'diversity' or 'alcohol awareness', but the doctors who've worked incredibly hard to get a consultancy position or the lawyer who's finally commanding a decent salary after inserting two thousand years of legal theory into their cranium. If we are diagnosed with cancer, we want to go to a specialist who has a proven track record; if our spouse or business partner attempts to rook us for our life savings, we need a lawyer/barrister who can win the case. To do these jobs well requires a sterling intellect and a lot of experience. It should be rewarded.
But it is not only these professions that are being penalised; it is anyone with talent. Entrepreneurs start small, usually from a home office, and work their way up gradually. Why should their reward be a 50% tax bill? If they earn over £100k in a year anyway their current tax bill is 43 times higher than that of the lowest income bracket. What a reward! Productivity is seen as something shameful, sinful; and all this money goes to paying off NuLab's debt mountain. There's the little matter of debt interest amounting to 50 billion - more than the annual schools budget. And, of course, we mustn't forget the Client State.
I wonder when it became de rigeur for the State to make the rich be responsible for the poor. This latest tax hike states, without a doubt, that anyone who's modestly affluent is compelled - morally or otherwise - to pay for others not to work, to act as a parent to shirkers, to prop up all the ne'er-do-wells. Because somehow it's the 'right' thing for the rich to pay more tax. Rather than freely giving to charity out of altruism - and those in the new 50% bracket have already stated that their charitable donations will dry up in future - they're forced to pay through the nose for those who don't deserve charity.
Taxation - or money with menaces - is only ever successful when there is little or none of it. Lichtenstein has one of the most successful economies in the world with the happiest people and lowest level of STDs, drug and alcohol abuse, and depression. Their taxation rate is also the lowest in Europe. At present, I'm trying to get a novel published. Were it to do well, I wouldn't see the results: I'd be too busy paying for NuLab's excesses, its illegal wars and sex changes on demand on the NHS, its DNA databases and thinktanks designed to erase my freedom. (A good reason to emigrate.) I think we should resuscitate clause 61 of the Magna Carta: since the Philosopher Kings won't listen to reason, it's time for the peasants to revolt.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Demoralisation: The True Cost of Poverty

Frank Field's often represented as a sterling chap, one who has a bit of integrity, dontcha know and who, in following Blair's orders to 'think the unthinkable', addressed seriously the huge problem we have with welfare in this country. Blair's policy - and Field's response to it - is as stupid and misguided as any policy can be: you can't cure poverty by cutting off people's money. You can't 'cure' poverty full-stop. But you can alleviate it to a certain extent by fostering independence, which is precisely the opposite of NuLab's ambitions to control everyone and everything in every place at every time.
Firstly, it's important to realise that there's such a thing as the 'deserving poor', those who because of poor education, lack of training and the removal of, say, a manufacturing base (or pre-WWII a servant 'place') can't get jobs. They become demoralised through lack of prospects; the more depressed they get, the less likely they are to work - were there the jobs available in the first place, which there often aren't. The following 'big ideas' could provide opportunities for a proportion of the artisan classes to return or get into work:
1) ensuring that locals get first dibs at a job; ensuring that local jobs aren't passed out to immigrants because natives think they're too 'good' for it by removing benefits; providing on-the-job training for new starters rather than demanding experience that it would be impossible for them to obtain;
2) cutting overseas aid to India and China. In effect, we're handing them a hefty percentage of our GDP on a platter. A massive proportion of our manufacturing industry has been relocated to these countries, thus taking jobs away from Britain. Our miners and steel workers and ship builders are a fast-vanishing breed. Paying Indian and Chinese manufacturers to do the work we should be doing at home is an insult to our workforce;
3) offer substantially better business taxation rates to locate factories/manufacturing bases in the UK rather than overseas. Running a nation as a service economy is a hiding to nothing for, when the overseas manufacturing bases go bottom up, there's nothing left for us to provide a service for.
The 'deserving poor' get a pretty bad time of it. They've been badly educated in large classes which can't take the time to teach them properly and exposed to all kinds of experimental teaching methods. Small wonder that 25% of the population can't even write its own name. Many can't apply for jobs because they don't have any educational qualifications or the ones they do have aren't good enough. We need to buck up the education system seriously so that the vast majority of children are taught the 3Rs and little else until they've mastered them.
The amount on which the 'deserving poor' is supposed to live is scandalous. Beneath contempt. One simply cannot make ends meet on £60 a week. There is almost nothing one can do on £60 a week. Being given this little when one has no prospects of anything better fosters huge dependency and depression. A system of food stamps that would provide enough nutrients for a family would be a good start: if you have enough to eat (which most benefit claimants and the elderly alike don't, or have to live on the cheapest ready meals so impregnated with E numbers it's surprising they don't glow in the dark) you're a little less desperate. Soap and clothing ditto. Looking and feeling clean and presentable automatically changes you in the eyes of the world. If you smell of poverty and appear full of despair you become invisible. Society turns its back. You might as well not exist.
The poor will always be with us. There will always be those who are intellectually subnormal or retarded in some way. In the 'old' days, monasteries or parishes used to take them in and give them little jobs to do. Now they're put in over-priced facilities or into prisons after committing crimes. There will always be the undeserving poor: those who don't want to work; those who would rather turn to thieving, drug-running and scams. They've existed throughout history. What we don't want is for the deserving to turn into the undeserving poor because 'society' doesn't care if they're alive or dead: that they're damned if they try and damned if they don't.
These are the people who have been beaten through circumstance, poor aspirations, lack of opportunity, abysmal education, wretched housing, disjointed and fragmented upbringing and a Nanny State that doesn't care. To deal with our Welfare crisis, we need to deal with people, rather than statistics or stereotypes: because at present we've got an awful lot of people who have the potential to be very useful to themselves, society and the economy, but are all being treated and called 'scum'. We need to create the kind of Britain which permits free industry on home ground employing local people.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Self-sacrifice: Labour's Immigration Experiment

The government cleverly has managed over the past twelve years to make it so that there's no difference between state and society. I'd call that 'totalitarianism': they call it 'political correctness'. The price for going against their policies and diktats on immigration is to be shunned or arrested. In fact, the government moved pretty cannily on the Damien Green affair: they weighed up the risks and decided that to invite the outrage of the public by invading Parliament was less important than drawing attention to the content of the leaked documents.
Immigration on the vast scale encouraged by Labour has been an absolute nightmare. And it's not just a nightmare burden on health, education, housing, language, policing and resource services but on something fundamentally deeper, something one can even call 'primal'.
Blair et al have tried to sell globalisation as a 'good' thing. They claim that we can all 'learn' from each other and increase prosperity tenfold. The recent and ongoing financial crisis put paid to that lie, as has the rise of rabid extremism across our newly flat earth. Extremism is a knee-jerk response to flat-earthism, collectivism, corporate exploitation, illegal wars and corrupt, uncaring governments: it's a return to our origins. It's a return to the tribal instincts on which society were founded since humankind first conceived of 'I' and 'you' some 47,000 years ago.
The quickest illustration of how a society is formed is observing the way in which street gangs (and/or neofascist organisations) behave. Two or more individuals battle it out. Hangers-on from either side and fence-sitters support one or the other, deciding where their loyalties should lie. The clear winner develops a hierarchy in which brute physical strength, cunning, organisation and intellectual dexterity are prized; those who don't possess any of these skills become the faithful servants (or patsies). All pledge loyalty to the leader, respect to those high up in the ranks (to whose position they aspire), and would-be members are required to go through a rite of passage in order to 'belong'. Belonging is prized above all things; allegiance to the pack is something to fight for - to the death, if needs be. To gain supremacy, pitched battles are fought over turf between rival tribes. Tribes, nations, nation-states, religions: all have been formed in this way. Each tribe has some identifying series of marks or qualities that make them unique. They may come from the same place, speak in the same way, have the same appearance, follow the same belief system: whatever it may be, it is something that is peculiarly theirs. And, if there is an influx of outsiders into a particular area, they will stress their unity through stressing the importance of these symbols of nationhood and culture.
Because, you see, people aren't meant to be 'equal'. Evolution doesn't permit 'equality'. 'Equality' only exists in mathematics. Everyone's a supremacist at heart. I'm a white supremacist who believes in Chinese, and Native American, and Irish, and Angolan, and Indian, and Hawaiian, and Australian, and Malaysian supremacy. I think everyone's race is supreme, my own in particular, and I don't particularly want to trade it in for another's. And if you go around the global table you'll find most people think the same way: they're proud of their origins, proud of their country and think that they come from the best of all worlds. Attempts to make us a 'global family' speaking the 'same language' fail. Look at Esperanto - if you can even remember it.
Karl Popper wrote that a communist leadership likes to quickly, even lethally, turn absolutely every social institution upside down and inside out and remake it anew, reasoning that the pain that individuals feel is necessary in order to make a 'better' world: exactly what Blair did to make Britain 'his' through an utterly devious form of manipulative psychology. Beria would have been proud. Opening the floodgates to a seemingly endless deluge of outsiders - when historically we'd be gearing ourselves up for a good scrap with these invaders - and making them the honoured guests at our own expense has entirely disempowered anything that smacks of pre-NuLab Britain, anything associated with being British (or English, or Welsh, or Scottish, or Northern Irish). Our habits, our quirks, our beliefs, our temperaments, our mores, our doubts have been erased by instilling in people the feeling that they're not 'being good citizens'. We live in a culture of appeasement. And we know what happens when policies of appeasement are followed: 1939-1945.
Immigrants tend to be bewildered when they enter a new country: the way they behave afterwards is dependent entirely on governmental policy. And one of the greatest crimes NuLab's committed against 'Great' Britain is refusing to insist that immigrants speak the language. Thus foreign is good, British is bad: and, if you show any kind of patriotism or voice your discontent with the fact that your council tax is being spent on translating documents into 50+ different languages, you're labelled as a BNP supporter. An awful lot of politicians have been 'warning' about an increase in BNP support. Harriet Harman's one of these. She's someone who doesn't deserve to be listened to not because she's a hypocrite, but because she treats the general public like a 'mob' who will hang, to order, governmental scapegoats.
What creatures like Harman should have been 'warning' about is the effect of inserting millions of 3rd world inhabitants into a 1st world nation. Tribalism and hypertechnology, Eden and the Enlightenment are clashing furiously on every front; it is the battle of the alpha and omega, beginning and end (as Fukayama would have it) of history. The more the juggernaut of Fortress Europe rolls on dragging 'diversity' and 'global' policies with it, the greater the state of crisis we face. Man is an evolutionary creature of highs and lows striving ever-upwards, not for equality-driven flatlines. We live in the only country in the world that tries to make its 'native' people ashamed of their existence. If we do not act swiftly, we will be witness to a deadly struggle for supremacy between 'native' and 'immigrant', one that will destroy the tissue of our society and drag our country down for centuries.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Murdered: Ian Tomlinson Died of Abdominal Injuries

It has been confirmed that Ian Tomlinson, the man at first accused of being a G20 anarchist who recklessly taunted police, who was attacked from behind by a member of the riot squad who covered up his identifying badge before beating this passer-by whose hands were in his pockets, died not of a heart attack but of abdominal injuries.

This means clearly and unequivocally that he was beaten with such severity that he died of his wounds.

Ian Tomlinson was murdered by a member of the police. That individual, who is being questioned on suspicion of manslaughter, should be charged with murder. The evidence is unambiguous.

If Ian Tomlinson is treated with the same level of disrespect and lack of concern that Jean Charles de Menezes and his grieving family have been, another innocent man will have died at the hands of the police, on the orders of their superiors to use all 'due force' when dealing with so-called 'national security' incidents. It is a matter of absolute urgency that the usage of such corrupt tactics cannot, under any circumstances, be allowed to continue.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Guardians of Power

I've been pottering around Ebay over the last week as an hysterical displacement activity; I find that bidding on antique Toile de Jouy fabric and patchwork quilting squares soothes my tumultuous mind. Out of idle curiosity, I typed in 'gothic doors' and found some architectural delights that would have gladdened the heart of Mary Shelley and her ilk; had they been in my price range, I would probably have thrown caution to the wind and bought them. However, I told myself sternly to be sensible. Removing the sitting room window and existent front door would not meet with my neighbours' or landlady's approval. Then there would be the inevitable spiritual crisis - can I live with a decommissioned church door? Where do I put my mezuzah? (No helpful suggestions, please.) Would I have to ask a rabbi to "de-Catholick" the doors, or is their wood permeated eternally with motes of Christian holiness? Metaphysical considerations aside, some unhelpful sphincter from the council would be bound to bang thunderously on said doors and, clipboard and diversity pamphlet in hand, tell me to remove them. Should I refuse, I have no doubt they'd send for the boys in blue. Which idea fills me with dread.
Today's ConservativeHome warns against treating the police too harshly in light of Ian Tomlinson's tragic death. It cites the case of PC Mulhall who was accused of assaulting a woman only for it to transpire that she was in fact assaulting him. Indeed, in the Mulhall case, he was in the right and the drunken harpy twisting his unmentionables deserved precisely what she got. But the tactics of the police at the G20 summit and, indeed at Kingsnorth were very, very different from those of PC Mulhall. The way in which they were deployed suggests that they had been given tacit instructions to use certain levels of force and crowd control by their superiors.
'Kettling' demonstrators and passers-by alike (the latter of which were released only on the proviso that they gave their names, addresses and submitted to having a picture taken) is in itself an act of aggression which turns a relatively harmless situation into a potentially fatal one. It constitutes a complete violation of dignity; it resembles a form of prison-camp internment. Denying people water and lavatory facilities demeans them in the worst kind of way; it should not be allowed, and the questions that should have been asked as a matter of urgency at the time - are they allowed to do this? How and why are they allowed to do this? - were not. Boris Johnson and Paul Stevenson should have been in situ and available for comment regarding said 'kettling'. That they were not, and that there has been a negligible response from their respective offices suggests that they were complicit in ordering this police action.
There are many incidents involving G20 policing that just don't ring right. How was it that only two demonstrators, surrounded by riot police, smashed the windows of RBS, and that a photographer was already inside waiting for them? How was it that those peacefully occupying squats around the corner from the action, who had already had by their own account, that of passers-by and the police interacted with the Met and posed no conceivable risk, were suddenly raided on suspicion of terrorism? Why was a woman who dropped her sunglasses and bent to pick them up struck brutally in the face by an unidentifiable police officer? And why, if not as an act of premeditated violence, did the officer who struck Ian Tomlinson remove his identifying badge number?
These acts of agression, coupled with the arrest of a hundred potential demonstrators for actions as yet uncommitted (which plainly speaking means that they were arrested for thought crimes: they were not meditating murder, but dissent legitimately permitted in a so-called democratic society) and a plethora of accounts of heavy-handedness by PCs and WPCs nationwide, should paradoxically not lead us to condemn the Police Force out of hand. We may shout that we are living in a police state: but a police state is only ever created if the guardians themselves allot the police a disproportionate amount of power in order to enforce their, the guardians', will. And giving anyone too much power is to place too much temptation in their hands: no matter how good they may be, or how honourable, or decent, unless they are the very strongest of individuals the temptation will be there to see just how far they can go. With the law on their side, the police go all the way: they're not legally doing anything wrong. In my opinion (though many would disagree with me) power is synonymous with freedom; an unequal freedom that permits the few to control the many through the ever-present threat of physical violence, coercion and incarceration. The government, using the ubiquitous blanket of 'national security', has extended their remit beyond that which is permissible in a free society. And, of course, people rebel strenuously against the curtailing of their own freedom and act in what is now deemed 'anti-social' (which begs a serious question: how can one act anti-socially when there is no longer a society?), which then seems to justify the passing of ever-more stringent laws which hand more and more power to the police force.
The true culprits are the government. Plato's Republic was designed to be used as a societal blueprint, unlike 1984: and that is what we are living. A tiny minority, the Philosopher Kings who believe that they are inviolable and their thoughts and deeds sacrosant, who take responsibility for each and every creature under their auspices from the moment of birth til that of death, rule the nation; they use the military/police class to do their bidding in order to enforce their will; and everyone else, that is everyone who is not a Philosopher King or policeman, is expected to abide by their rules. They have no freedom because the Philosopher Kings do not see them as people, merely coarse entities who perform the tasks alloted to them and are punished if they do not do so. It is our duty to ourselves, to others and to the kind of society that we would like to live in and to pass on to future generations, in order that they might also live to snatch the reins of power from the unelected minority. The only response that should ever be given to the question of 'quid custodiet ipsos custodes?' is "Us".

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

These Are Not Great Days: These Are The Darkest Days Our Country Has Ever Lived

Despite the rush of schadenfreude to the head prompted by the despicable Derek Draper's fall from grace taking the Cromwellian Gordon Brown with him, I feel depressed. Terribly depressed. Depressed in a way that an entire school of nihilists would envy: I simply can't see any point in - well - anything. I can't see that any of us will be alive in ten years' time or, if we are, that our world will have been overrun by nations run on Islamic fundamentalist lines, or have become so totalitarian in response to Islamic fundamentalism that we will be tracked and tagged wherever we go, or that AIDS II will spread like wildfire (or perhaps bird flu: who knows?) and decimate human life; that man will develop ever-more sophisticated ways to spy on himself or destroy himself which will delight the disaster capitalists and neocons to everyone elses' expense; that every time I open my mouth I risk having my head bashed in by some upper-middle-class-hating prole, that positivism will anchor itself so firmly in the minds of the young that their imaginations will die, and all I have to look forward to is an impoverished senility in an old people's home, where I will be patronised, called by my first name without having invited such familiarity, and be drugged up to the eyeballs before dying alone. I've counted romantic relationships out of my equation - no-one can be bothered to get married these days but would rather commit to not committing and live together until they get sick of each other: not my bag; I've counted success out of my equation also, as no-one's interested in even reading what an aspiring writer/philosopher has to say these days, let alone representing them or publishing them. Because I've studied Theology and English Lit., I'm never going to get a decent salary; even if I were to find some job that remotely suited me, I'd be taxed through the nose, face a huge debt burden courtesy of this government for the rest of my life, and probably lose all my savings when another financial institution goes belly-up.
So, really, what is the point? I don't have freedom: society's an open prison. Usually we leave home to find independence; to break free of being watched constantly, questioned about our plans and whereabouts. Now the government's taken over the parental role, we can never leave home - unless we emigrate. I don't have prospects: the government's telling institutions to discriminate against people like me, because my background and education give me an unfair edge. There's nothing to look forward to. No wonder people drink until their livers burst.
Luckily, I'm not the only one. A report in the Telegraph today shows how the entire nation's dissolving in a morass of fear and anxiety; that the recession's going to last a lot longer than it should because of this all-pervasive sense of hopelessness and suspicion. In climates like these, people's Nietzschean drive kicks in: they start to look for a Messiah, a superhuman being to lead them out of the darkness. I only hope that we don't end up with another Hitler.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Education, Education, Education

Children today are (at least) two years behind their 1960s selves. Yet they're not becoming more stupid or inept; the fault lies in the quality of teaching and the broadening of the curriculum to the extent that every subject battles for supremacy and none is covered sufficiently.
The solution is clear. Revert to a 1950s-style grammar school education. Ensure before anything else that children can read and write their own name and add, multiply, divide and subtract without using a calculator. Restrict the pre-11 (and 11+) syllabus to English, mathematics, basic history, a smattering of science, a painting class and/or a woodwork/shop class or two a week and a good deal of healthy open-air play free of all those noisome Health & Safety regulations which deem it unsafe for children to even play with conkers or run in a playground. Teach them good manners, discipline and logic: how to argue from cause to effect, rather than dealing with the after-effects of lamentable decisions, such as to spend £1 trillion of taxpayer money, for the next two or three generations. Above all, keep technology out of the classroom and preferably out of schools altogether. Recent studies have demonstrated that exposing a four-year-old child's mind to IT can actually damage its ability to develop relationships and even moral centres. Young children simply don't need to be exposed to a barrage of podcasting, webchat and twittering: they're far better off interacting with one another. Insist on a school uniform that is as plain and unadorned as possible, ban political correctness and put the teachers in charge. Above all, ban sex education pre-11+. This government's 'if you can't be good, be careful' stance has done nothing to stop our children dabbling, often disastrously, in sexual experimentation. Allow them to be children: why presexualise them?
At the age of 11, children should be able to take 2 exams: one academic, one more hands-on and technical, which will demonstrate in what area their talents lie. Those academically gifted may go to grammar schools, try for scholarships at private schools or enter as fee-paying students if their parents are able. Those more technically-adept go on to polytechnics, the former state schools, from which they have the ability to a) leave at 14 and go on to apprenticeships b) learn other languages if they have the ability and desire to do so, to increase their job-market potential c) go on to skilled technical academies in which they can perfect their skills, develop new industries and teach and train others. For both groups, there is an opportunity for further academic/technical aptitude testing at the age of 14 so, if a child who, for example, has not performed well academically at his/her 11+, they may be 'streamed' into grammar/private school education and vice versa: children develop at different rates. The test at 14 will comprise English and Mathematics and every child must be able to read to a basic level, write clearly and demonstrate the ability to do standard sums: in other words, it must be able to go out in the world and be able to understand legal contracts and do its own household accounts.
After 14, those staying in education may carry on to 'O' Level - 5-6 subjects, with English and Mathematics a mandatory requirement and A-Level, if they so choose. University entrance must be dependent solely upon academic excellence and each student demonstrably possess the level of aptitude each institution requires. At 16, children may combine academic or technical study with Army training, either as a cadet, at military academies or in signing up post-education. Those with a long 'rap sheet' might be offered the option of wiping said sheet clean if they join the Armed Forces and learn discipline, comradeship and a trade. Around 25% of the population is expected to enter academic institutions and approximately 15-20% to technical institutions.
Just a few ideas off the top of my head about what a rounded education 'should' entail. Any thoughts/opinions, however radical, will be gratefully received!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Ism-mania

Grandpa: Penny, why don’t you write a play about ism-mania?

Penny: Ism-mania?

Grandpa: Yeah, sure. You know – communism, fascism, voodooism. Everybody’s got an “ism” these days.

Penny: I thought it was an itch or something.

Grandpa: Well, it’s just as catching. When things go a little bad nowadays, you go out and get yourself an “ism,” and you’re in business.

Penny: I’ve got it. It might help Cynthia to have an “ism” in the monastery.

Grandpa: Yes, it might that. Only give her “Americanism.” Let her known something about Americans. John Paul Jones, Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, Washington, Jefferson, Monroe, Lincoln, Grant, Lee, Edison, Mark Twain… when things got tough with those boys, they didn’t run around looking for “isms.” Lincoln said “With malice toward none, with charity to all.” Nowadays they say “Think the way I do, or I’ll bomb the daylights out of you.”

(Frank Capra: You Can't Take It With You)


Frank Capra was an enlightened man. He is typically remembered for his misty-eyed nostalgia and his unshakable belief that people are essentially good at heart, despite an abundance of evidence to the contrary. I realise that I've fallen victim to the kind of ism-mania of which he speaks, namely in depicting Blair/Brown's form of government as 'socialism'. Many if not most socialists would see NuLab's goals as incompatible with socialism in that it embraces neoconservitivism (ism no.1), laissez faire capitalism rather than that which they're supposed to uphold: ordoliberalism (isms no.2 and 3), progressivism (ism no.4), revisionism (ism no.5) and neoliberalism (ism no.6) all of which are confusingly brought together under a banner of centrist social democracy rather than democratic socialism. (Social democracy is supposed to be a form of libertarian reform from below which shakes off authoritarian shackles; democratic socialism involves minimalist to severe measures of authoritarian state socialism, which could encompass the domestic policies of just about everyone from Harold Wilson to Stalin.) Confused? We should be: we're engulfed by a flood of such 'isms' on a daily basis, all of which seem to differ so infinitesimally as not to be worthy of remark or so radically that we can only assess them from a black/white stance. Our responses become diluted: we either protest against one element of what we see as authoritarian control, or anti-civil liberties, or gross exploitation, but leave the societal definitions and constructs up to the so-called 'experts'. Then, twenty years later, someone writes a book about what we've lived through. 'Ah, yes!' we say, shaking our heads in disbelief. 'That's exactly what it was like...'

All of which feeds rather nicely into the political blueprint first devised by our old friend Edward Bernays, who stated calmly in Propaganda that there was only so much that any man needed to know or to be told: you couldn't overload the poor creature, so it was in his best interest to filter his news and opinions for him and to gather them together under particular headings, so as to give him a nice sense of structure in his life. This 'run along now, the grown ups are talking' approach pervades politics and, by extension, all of society today. And it's impossible to talk about society and politics as separate entities: since politics has turned into a personality cult we're unable to have an abstract discussion about education, say, without mentioning what Labour's done to it; rather than coming up with what we think would be a better way in which to educate our children, we can only complain about what has gone wrong or suggest ways in which to fix the rot.

This leaves us no leverage. If you consider yourself a liberal but disagree with all of the Liberal Democrats' policies, there's nowhere for you to go. Ditto Conservatism and definitely ditto Labour. Even if you agree with three quarters of their policies but vehemently disagree with the other quarter, you're still expected to support the party. You're still expected to vote for them. Your feelings on the other issues don't matter: in agreeing to disagree (though your consent hasn't been sought) you're being 'democratic'. Gone are the days where you can heckle those fighting for political office and make them substantiate what they have to say. Today's politics are based upon presumption. Which is why I made the error, for example, of calling NuLab socialist. They're not. The countries of the Southern Cone before the Chicago Boys moved in were socialist; they had the greatest explosion in education, industrialisation, shared wealth and social mobility in human history. NuLab, in stating that everyone has been 'empowered' whilst simultaneously disempowering them by pulling the lynchpins out of all existing social institutions, dumbing down education and making the intelligentsia a laughing-stock, are working from a very different agenda: one that could almost be seen as akin to that of the great robber barons of the C13th, or indeed the East India Company in the C19th. Wage war on those who may oppose you, disenfranchise the unarmed, create great hubs of power, and convince people that there is no other way to exist so that they do not even dream of seeking a new political philosophy; they can only militate against elements of the existent system whilst the great machine rumbles on, unhindered.

To create the kind of world we can really bear to live in - not a Utopia, because that is one person dreaming on behalf of the many: a nightmare - we have to overcome all these new assumptions which are being cloaked as ancient wisdom and start from scratch. From the beginning. To ask all those big ethical questions which our populist politicians answer for us on the basis of presumed consent. Whether we agree with any of the tenets of the three major political parties, for example: and if we do not, why do we not? How do we put new tenets in their place without destroying people's lives in the process? I still have enough faith, like Capra, in the goodness of people that we can achieve some kind of decency in living, in a life where people choose what level of individuality they want to assume rather than being robbed of it altogether.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

My Point Exactly...

Over the past few days I've posted a few pieces about reason vs emotions and why academic achievement should be celebrated rather than reviled. The majority of responses have been positive, which is heartening: not because I need people to agree with me, for I do not, but because I am glad that there are so many like-minded others out there who can see that which is rotting Britain's core; to be alone entirely in one's beliefs is to render one helpless. On the other hand, one unrelenting critic has steered the course of the debate into the murky waters of personal invective and has condemned me for sentiments I have not voiced and in which I do not believe. And this seems to be what passes for normality in Britain these days: people's feelings are too precious to be meddled with, or they are assaulted deliberately by those wholly and utterly unrelated to them in any way, who will then go on to ascribe beliefs and opinions to them that simply don't exist.
The atrocious lapse in etiquette notwithstanding, what does it say about our culture that we presume to 'know' another without having met them? And to pass judgment upon them forthwith? Is such an approach to human relationships the result of socialist class-levelling, in which because people are similar in some aspects they are deemed the same in all aspects? Or is it something deeper: that our world has become so formidably style-over-content behaviourally-deterministic one-size-fits-all that many do not (or cannot) perceive any inherent differences between their fellow men and women and feel equipped to judge them on an Everyman (or, indeed to condemn them on an 'Other') basis?
We hear a lot of tripe these days about how we can curb binge drinking through ever more draconian state measures. Rather than looking at the causes of it, the government feels that it can deal with the effects. But perhaps the reason that both these phenomena has spiralled out of control is that the world has become too big, too militaristic, too frightening and our politicians too distant. In the absence of community and self-determination, people either seek to escape their misery at the lack of any hope for a meaningful future by annihilating themselves through alcohol. What else do they have to look forward to? Too, in the absence of theological ritual, the Friday night piss-up has become an event invested almost with sanctity; something in which the many can participate with the same intent. Knife crime and gang culture is also being 'targeted' by various state bodies. If they stopped to realise for one moment that many young people are entirely alienated from society through a spiralling culture of suspicion, breakdown in communication, authority, family relationships and the knowledge that whatever they say simply won't matter to the government, they would realise that gangs are in basic anthropological terms like families. A hierarchy is established through struggle; each member finds his or her allotted place following a process of initiation.
And perhaps those shunning that dirty old 'real' world in favour of the internet are working off those selfsame evolutionary impulses in forging a new society in which dominance is attained by those who shout the loudest and longest, since physical combat is impossible. One thing in both worlds remains unchanged, however: falsely ascribing ideas and beliefs to others in order to castigate them is universally unacceptable. A lie is a lie is a lie.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Intellectual Snobbery or Justified Elitism?

Possessing the mandatory Stiff Upper Lip, and following my own advice, I smile serenely when reading some of the comments made about my most recent article, Grow Up Grownups: in it, I advocated a return to using reason rather than emotion when making decisions and to being less 'precious' about having one's feelings hurt. Otherwise, I argued, people become embroiled in complex situations without having any real reason to do so, support causes without knowing anything about them and judge harshly those against whom they have an emotionally-fuelled grudge in general, rather than rightfully targeting the guilty few. What I found most interesting, though, was that I was charged with intellectual snobbery and advised to take a trip into what some call the 'real' world.
I've been in and out of this 'real' world for years, and have worked in numerous places with numerous kinds of people. Some I've liked, others I haven't: such is life. I've always been interested in others' stories; for although I can't learn a great quantity of new facts from many of those I've met, I can certainly learn how their responses to situations differ, and how their experiences have shaped them, of what they want out of life and what matters to them. I also tend to retreat into an academic world because it is the only place in which I feel at home; in which I can use my intellect to the full, develop new theories about the world with likeminded others, and am not obliged to try to think like the 'man on the street'. What intrigues me most is the idea that my world is any less 'real' or valid than the one in which my critics dwell. In my humble opinion, being advised to live in a 'world' in which struggle, strife, discord, discontent, humiliation, failure, high taxes, low wages, ill health, Nanny state and dishonest government are all accepted as the status quo - are almost seen as a grim badge of honour (the sage utterances of 'well, life's hard, isn't it? But there's nothing we can do about it, so we might as well make do' strike no chord with me; I won't subscribe to such fatalism) is to condemn me to misery. A life lived in the quest for the Beautiful, however, one which seeks to learn the mysteries of time and space, the numinous, the inner workings of the human psyche and the origins of everything is to be applauded.
Which is something we don't do in the UK. Intellectuals and academics are viewed with suspicion. A good background and education are seen as excuses for discrimination. Society has dumbed down, the Spin Doctors attempt only to appeal to the middle and backwards slope of the bell curve, and those who think rather than do are ostracised. Which leaves little to aspire to - except, of course, becoming a footballler, X Factor or Big Brother winner, or a footballer's wife.
Socialism has always viewed intellectuals with fear and loathing, because they can swiftly and lethally expose its shortcomings. In socialism's exaggerated form, Communism, it tends to stick the intellectuals on pig farms or their bones down mineshafts and satisfy the lowest common denominators' lust to destroy anything that is different or smacks of superiority. Under NuLab, 50% of the population have been shoehorned into higher education, whether they possess the requisite nous or not: all in the attempt to downgrade university degrees and remove them of their 'special' status.
Such an approach runs sharply contra to evolutionary theory. To make a mockery of higher levels of intelligence which contribute to society's betterment, its potential and its happiness is to destroy future generations' innovations in thought and progress. Our legacy will be their existence: the way in which their world is worked out relies upon what we do today. To dumb down now places ever greater obstacles in the way of personal freedom and individuality. There's nothing to strive for. Moving up to the middle classes through intellectual achievement and endeavour becomes a logistical nightmare as they are, arguably, the class which is most penalised. A culture which celebrates the ignorant, the animalistic at the expense of evolution (and God's) most precious gift, that one single facet that separates us from the rest of the natural world, reason, is a dying culture.
So I, for one, will continue on in my merry way; unashamedly academic to the hilt, and I hope to die in a library surrounded by exquisite examples of erudition. There are many ways to live: and to strive for excellence is, after all, the core purpose of human nature.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Grow Up, Grownups

I'm interested to know how many people out there can still reason for themselves, rather than be driven by their 'feelings'. A lot of people have been arrested over the last twelve years because of 'feelings': because someone may be doing or saying or wearing something that might cause upset or hurt. This includes arresting a man wearing a 'Bollocks to Blair' t-shirt, an elderly campaigner because he heckled Jack Straw, and a be-placarded doomsayer being removed from his Westminster beat because his 'end of the world is nigh' message might offend someone. Ditto telling the truth about the 'global' financial crisis: the Conservatives were given a sharp slap on the wrist for stating that the collapse of banks and markets would have unpleasant implications for families on the grounds that it might cause people 'concern'.
All of which means a) people are doing our thinking for us because b) we're not motivated by reason, but emotion. Marching for Gaza when one doesn't know the name of the Fatah PM - or of Hamas, for that matter, let alone what the conflict is about - is an action born purely out of emotion. Lining the streets to say 'goodbye' to Jade Goody, a woman characterised by her foul mouth, complete lack of breeding, feral habits, bigotry, racism and extraordinary stupidity, she who was booed roundly when she exited the Big Bruvver house, is illogical. What are people celebrating? The fact that they've been so adeptedly manipulated by the media that they've elevated a guttersnipe to sainthood? Or that in twelve years social inversion has been achieved to the extent that Goody is viewed with the same misty-eyed nostalgia as Princess Diana? The same goes for MPs' expenses: that sense of outrage, the 'snout in the trough' knee-jerk response. Abusing one's expenses a la Mr and Mrs J. Smith, Hoon, McNulty et al is clearly reprehensible. But MPs receive an expenses entitlement because they work long hours running the country, representing millions of people and - in many cases, the Labour Front Bench notwithstanding - trying to act in the best interests of both the many and the few. It's a devilishly hard and often unrewarding job. The 'it's not fair' whine from an envious populace is a purely emotional one. What they're saying is that they don't get extra money for the jobs they do, so why should MPs? Simple. Invite the populace to run the damn' country and see what happens: 99% of people simply aren't anywhere near up to it, and a proportion of that 99% would be hard-pressed to run a bloody bath (though they might be able to whip up a bloodbath to order during the 'summer of rage'). People aren't equal in terms of intellect or capability. Labour's social engineering has pushed the myth that they are; that all jobs require the same level of intelligence and capability. Rubbish. Poppycock. All this has achieved is unnecessary hatred for those who receive higher salaries, a hatred that persists regardless of whether someone is - forgive the pun - doing a sterling job or not.
'But these MPS have ruined the country', I hear you say. Yes, indeed, some of them have: through the mechanism of 'democracy' to which everyone kowtows reverently. There's another bit of Blairite nonsense: socialist democracy, the idea that everyone's point of view counts. It doesn't, particularly to Labour. And they were voted in, after all. Twice. Whilst people are rubbing the wounds of mega-taxation, ruined education, binge-drinking, knife crime, terrorist plots, dirty hospitals, illegal wars, bad transport infrastructures, ruinous train fares, ID cards, data losses, 24/7 surveillance, control orders, the removal of habeas corpus, out-of-control immigration and further financial meltdown, all of which are occurring in the too-big, too-impersonal and too frightening mesh of globalisation, they've overlooked the erosion of one of the inherent attributes of humanity: reason. Without it, one is a mere infant. We need to stop being so precious about our 'feelings' and toughen up.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Interception Modernisation Programme

I just sent this letter to my eminently useful MP re the Interception Modernisation Programme:

"I am gravely concerned by the proposed expansion of governmental
surveillance to include not only records of telephone calls made,
emails sent and websites visited but to engage in mass surveillance of
social networking sites such as Facebook, Bebo and MySpace and record
each and every 'Twitter', 'poke' and instant message. 

Vernon Coaker
has stated that it is 'vital' for the government to have access to and
provision for the capturing and storing of said information in the
indefatigable fight against terrorism. The futility of said fight aside
- there will always be those who seek to disrupt societal mechanisms
and thus create terror; terrorism will persist as long as humanity does
- there are three main points which cause me particular disquietude: 


1) Firstly, the government's track record on protecting individual and
collective information is abysmal. Whether they themselves are
responsible for safeguarding said information or have extended that
privilege to a private company, there have been extraordinary breaches
in security, including but not limited to that of the armed forces,
child benefit recipients and the security services. Creating a database
to encompass the information sought by Coaker et al will require
extraordinary ingenuity; no such project has ever been attempted
before. Whilst such a database will be undoubtedly lucrative for its
architects and thus for the Treasury through direct taxation, the
taxpayer will suffer a further financial onus due to the fact that they
will be required to pay for said database, that which denies their
liberty and cannot make the commitment to safeguard their information
adequately;


2) The government's proposal of anti-terror legislation known at
present as "Contest 2" which seeks to render certain views not as
extreme but as extremist creates a dangerous precedent for profiling
and 'fishing' expeditions despite assurances to the contrary. Worded
ambiguously and subject to endless interpretation, it contains elements
of sheer delusion which, if brought into law, make life potentially
more invidious not only for British-born and immigrant Muslims, but for
the rest of the population. I refer in particular to two clauses: that
it is forbidden to argue that Islam condemns homosexuality (which it
does, unequivocally and without reservation) and that they fail to
condemn the killing of British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The
former would prohibit academic endeavour in that mentioning Islamic
aversion to homosexuality would be a crime, which is prohibitive to
free thought and, through omission, teaching certain aspects of Islam; the latter is
particularly tendentious, because it suggests that Muslims will be
monitored - if not compelled - to condemn *actively* said killings.
Throw away statements, particularly those made via the medium of
Instant Messaging, could be used to prosecute an individual in a court
of law, create greater divisions within society (ghettoization) and
even precipitate a hitherto unmeditated violent response. Email
communications, particularly amongst individuals campaigning for social
change and justice re the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have already
been monitored under RIPA, the government has acknowledged; were such a
communique to highlight the fact that statistically speaking many more
Iraqis than Allies have died, would it expose the writer to the full
wrath of an ambivalently-worded law? The two proposed bills in tandem
are potentially lethal;

3) Part III Article 14.2 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (1966) states that 'Everyone charged with a criminal
offence shall have the right to be presumed innocent until proven
guilty according to the law'. However, the Interception Modernisation
Programme makes the presumption that there is no innocence, and thus no
need even for charge; that an incontrovertible evil dwells deep within
the hearts of all men, that their being is founded not upon right
reason and will-to-good but upon the will-to-harm, to create chaos. In
a virtual world, as in a real one, a ceaseless search for wickedness
will be as fruitless as the search for the tails and horns of would-be
Hitlers. The truly wicked are as likely as not characterised by their
outward benignity, often their righteousness, heavy with the odour of
sanctity. There have been many attempts to qualify evil - and, under
this government, to quantify it; the outcome is one of resounding
failure. And in the aftermath of hundreds of badly designed, badly
phrased laws designed to curtail 'anti-social' behaviour, the State has
gradually engulfed society so that they have become one and the same
entity. The State dictates what people may think, feel, eat; say, do,
believe. Each day, another 'evil' is brought on to the statute books.
That which is deemed 'wrong', 'politically incorrect' is swelling
whilst the ability to catch the perpetrators of all these petty 'evils'
is shrinking. Whilst there may be true evil in this world - the
paedophile, the terrorist, those who would seek to break another's life
out of curiosity or for their own amusement - there is also the
infallible human will to good. It must not suppressed beneath the
weight of a tyrannical minority. We do not live in East Germany - yet.
The message 'nothing to hide, nothing to fear' has become obsolete; it
would be better if it were replaced by 'coruptissima republica plurimae
leges'.
"

I've also set up a Facebook group; please join and pass on the word.
Life is to be lived, not controlled, and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat -Ralph Ellison