Tuesday, 29 May 2007
I haven't time to deal with this before going on holiday in a couple of hours. I may - or may not - reply at length when I return. Meanwhile, I'll be grateful for any comments others may feel inclined to place on BB's site.
Monday, 28 May 2007
Sunday, 27 May 2007
Saturday, 26 May 2007
I have just been told this horrifying true story by a blogging friend in
“I once had a Muslim girlfriend. She was very Western in her lifestyle. She did not like the chastity police chasing her down in
We met, we fell in love, and after a while we shared a bed. After a couple of months, when I got to her apartment rather late one night she told me that she had been visited by one of her countrymen. He had pointed a pistol to her forehead telling her that this was the only and final warning she would get. She had to stop seeing me - the ‘Infidel’.
Do I need to tell you that I was horrified? But she just laughed it off, saying that 'she was used to it'!!! (I know, only a seriously deranged mind uses three exclamation marks in a row, but I just thought this was that 'one of a kind' situation where it was necessary...)
About two weeks later, I had a ‘conversation’ with the very same gentleman and his associates. It ended up with me having a 9mm Beretta at my temple. The pistol whipping left me with two seriously bruised eyes, a broken nose, and whatnot. I decided there and then that the girl - however lovely - was just not worth it.
Something I´m very ashamed about today.
Yes, that´s ‘multiculturalism’. Phew!
Fifteen years later, I was at a social gathering at my university. There I ran into a Iranian guy. We started to talk about this and that, and then came in to the matter of girls. He was... well, the bragging type of guy (if you know what I mean). He told me several stories about his conquests - laughing away about it. I had drunk a few to many beers so my tongue was loose. He seemed to be a nice enough guy, so I told him that I´d had a relationship with a girl from his hometown (Teheran). Foolishly enough I also told him the first name of my long-ago lover.
Late one night just about six months later, I got a call from "M". She was devastated, because she had been confronted by this same guy. She lives in a small town 700 km from where we originally met, and some 700 km from where I live now. This SOB had actually tracked her down. And even if she had changed her name (both first AND surname) he somehow found out her location. He threatened her, called her a whore (and worse) and pretty much considered her as an apostate. As you know, that’s the worst insult...
She cried on the telephone, asking me what I had told this guy. When thinking back on the moment - it almost makes me cry. I´ll never, never EVER trust a Muslim again. It´s all 'honour' and clan mentality, without a single thought about humanity or the very people behind [the veils].
What can you say? 15 years and 1450 km apart, and still this story haunts me. It´s so sad….
And I´m so sad!”
Comments from committed Multiculturalists are invited.
Friday, 25 May 2007
For instance, after the Reichstag fire Hitler, with Goering, Goebbels and von Papen, inspected the smouldering ruins and said to Sefton Delmer, the Daily Express correspondent who was also present, "This is a God-given signal, and if this fire, as I believe, turns out to be the handiwork of Communists, then there is nothing that shall stop us now crushing out this murder pest with an iron fist. You are witnessing the beginning of a great new epoch in German history."
Monday, 21 May 2007
Sunday, 20 May 2007
Saturday, 19 May 2007
LORD RADCLIFFE'S FORESIGHT
In 1952 Lord Radcliffe, a much-respected senior Judge, delivered the BBC Reith Lectures on “The Problem of Power”. When these were published in book form, a few years later, he added a Postscript, from which I quote the following:
“The old glories of the liberal tradition, the passionate belief that political liberties are the essential condition of the greater liberties of thought, speech and action, have shrunk to a meaningless constitutionalism which asserts that anything is all right if it is permitted, nothing is all right if it is forbidden, by an Act of Parliament. We have forgotten, or we do not care to remember, that the formal liberties of Parliament, Press and Trade Union were established to be the vehicle of real liberties of individual persons, not at all to set up those institutions to be the chartered libertines of modern English society….
“It is the vulnerability of the modern democratic society that is our abiding danger. If there is one noticeable change in the general outlook of this country in the twelve years since the end of the war it lies in a marked lowering of public tone. We seem to be losing at an alarming rate the power of independent judgment, the independent sense of value…it is egalitarian democracy that nourishes this oppression of the individual personality by its dislike, even fear, of privacy, its prim refusal to accept distinctions of value between persons, its obsession with the struggle for material advantages. We gaze with misgiving at the spectacle of a society which combines a low level of thinking and feeling with a wide diffusion of benevolence and goodwill….It is one of the deplorable results of our developed engines of publicity that persons can deeply affect the taste and tone of society who are neither conscious of their responsibilities nor qualified to perform them….
“It is enervation of soul, an abdication of personal responsibility of judgment, that we have to fear. It does not come about because evil men set out to corrupt society: it comes about because the majority of members of society will always beg not to be required to keep themselves in training….Modern life is lived as an essay in public relations. Facts themselves begin to matter less and less: all that matters is the way to put the thing. Persons themselves begin to matter less and less: all that matters is the kind of show they give….
“It seems to be the fate of the member of contemporary society that he should be invited to participate in everything and to experience nothing. Two-dimensional feeling of this kind must in the end corrode the link that relates action to emotion. When the full range of Pity and Terror can be travelled two or three nights a week, at stated hours, in all the comfort of the home, it really seems as if there was nothing more to be done about it except to register the receipt of the appropriate emotions. It is often said that this great enlargement of the possibilities of experience at second hand also extends the range and capacities of human sympathy. I daresay that it does. But it would not be a safe inference that it deepens them in the same measure. ‘Very terrible: what is the next programme?’….
“It can never be too early for people in this country to take stock of their beliefs and aspirations, to ask themselves who or what they think they are and to where they want to go. They still have the great opportunity – richness of human material, a history at once fascinating and unique, and social relations which, for all the criticism, have yet been humane, kindly and wholesome when contrasted with those of other countries. What they must not believe is that they will be saved by their institutions if they are not saved by themselves….”
Re-reading this after nearly sixty years, I find its prescience remarkable. Although the political and social situation of the 1950s was very different from that today, the seeds of many of our present discontents were already sown, and clearly discerned by Lord Radcliffe. If he were still alive, he would be in the forefront of those expressing concern at the way supposedly ‘democratic’ governments in Britain and the USA are trampling roughshod over our traditional and hard-won civil liberties in the name of a spurious ‘war against terror’.
THE SITUATION TODAY
Lord Radcliffe published his lectures shortly after the 1956 Suez Crisis, which had divided the country more sharply than any other political event since the struggle over Home Rule. It was the only time I remember when total strangers were arguing heatedly with one another in public – even on buses and tube trains. There was a deep sense of anger and, later, humiliation on the part of those who supported
Today, the nation is even more bitterly divided, and the rift has gone on far longer – for practically the whole of the 21st century so far. The dispute between those who originally supported the invasion of Iraq [and the dwindling few who still do ] and those who regard the whole thing as an unmitigated moral and practical disaster is exacerbated by their common feeling of helplessness about how to extricate ourselves from this sorry mess.
How has this situation come about? In part, because we have not heeded Lord Radcliffe’s warning that we shall not be saved by our time-honoured institutions if we are not saved by ourselves. The ‘Mother of Parliaments’ has proved even more spineless in articulating the widespread opposition to the ill-starred Gulf adventure than the wishy-washy Democrats in the US Congress. There is as yet no help in either of them – which brings to the forefront the burning question of the ‘Democratic Deficit’ which is at the heart of the modern malaise.
During the past quarter-century, there has been an increasing slippage in the power of public opinion to exact accountability from its elected representatives, or from over-powerful corporate interests which increasingly operate on an international, and even global, scale. As a result, the individual citizen feels increasingly impotent to influence the course of events, and ends up [as Lord Radcliffe realised he or she probably would] helplessly shrugging shoulders in front of the latest atrocity beamed in by the ‘telly’ and turning to more palatable fare. Thanks to the onslaught of our dear and belatedly departing Prime Minister and his authoritarian-minded cronies upon our freedoms of speech, movement and privacy – the latter concept now almost a thing of the past - there is an uneasy and growing sense that we are sliding, gently at present but more precipitately soon, into an Orwellian nightmare strongly reminiscent of Nineteen Eighty-Four . It is ironic, to say the least, that less than twenty years after the euphoria engendered by the fall of the Berlin Wall, and a decade after the even more misguided euphoria at the advent of ‘New Labour’ [the very name should have warned us!] the materialisation of a British Stasi, in substance if not in name, seems more and more imminent.
It had been my intention, in planning this piece, to offer some practical suggestions as to how this dire and increasingly menacing situation is to be redeemed. But as so often, analysis is far easier than prescription; and this post is already long enough. So I shall pass the problem over to my readers, some of whom I well know have given even more anxious and sustained thought to this mess than I have.
How do we rebuild genuine democracy? How do we stop overpowerful toxic tails wagging supine, bemused underactive electorates? Who is going to bell the cat, and to prod sleepy Cerberus?
W.B Yeats inimitably pinpointed our current dilemma in The Second Coming:
“THINGS FALL APART; THE CENTRE CANNOT HOLD;
MERE ANARCHY IS LOOSED UPON THE WORLD,
THE BLOOD-DIMMED TIDE IS LOOSED, AND EVERYWHERE
THE CEREMONY OF INNOCENCE IS DROWNED;
THE BEST LACK ALL CONVICTION, WHILE THE WORST
ARE FULL OF PASSIONATE INTENSITY.”
It is five minutes to midnight – there is still time for the Democratic Centre to regroup and ACT. But only just.
Friday, 18 May 2007
It deserves careful reading, and detailed discussion. Please read it, think about it, and post your comments here.
Thursday, 17 May 2007
A sombre analysis of what the Iraq war is really about here.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Within the next 3 years, I predict a corporate-military alliance between
Let history speak - such as the 1939 Pact between Fascist Germany and Communist Russia.
Shall we be seeing the rise (and fall) of a 'Chinamerican Empire' in the 21st Century ? We've already had the rise and fall of the American, British, Austro-Hungarian, Greek, Roman Empires etc - so why not ?
If we don't fully understand the word 'totalitarianism', then we better start waking up, wising up and growing up - fast.
The word "Anti-American" (& "100% American") is straight out of the Totalitarian Handbook - and is bandied about by Bush like confetti to denote those who oppose his out-of-control regime.
As Chomsky points out, can you imagine someone shouting "Anti-Italian" in the streets of Rome, if there is opposition to a policy in the Italian Government - or even "Anti-British" if there is opposition to one of Blair's foreign policies ? The Italians would laugh in derision - just as we would...I hope !
But Bush seems to be getting away with shouting "Anti-American" under his 'gangster-casino' Capitalism. THAT is a hallmark of a totalitarian state - just as Russian dissidents were dubbed "Anti-Soviet' under Communism. I'm sure communist
Just imagine - a Chinese-American pact in the permanent 'War on Terror' - God help us all.
Americanism = Totalitarianism
Chinamericanism = Totalitarianism
British Americanism = Totalitarianism
British Chinamericanism = Totalitarianism
We need to develop an immunity to propaganda, or we will succumb to 'doublethink'...and if we do not think clearly for ourselves - together - then we will start swallowing this kind of dangerous nonsense :
"Anti-American" = Terrorist or Terrorist Sympathiser.
"Anti-Chinamerican" = Terrorist or Terrorist Sympathiser.
Remember, the right-wing Establishment (eg American Capitalism) has been highly successful with their political propaganda campaigns - such as linking the Left, the Liberal, the Socialist with Communism.
A full dose of 'doublethink' will ensure we can square the circle of Capitalism and Communism.
The Chinamerican Empire - here we come ?!
Wednesday, 16 May 2007
“One subject that the government, the military, and the news media try to avoid like the plague is the racist and murderous culture of rank-and-file American troops when operating abroad. Partly as a result of the background racism that is embedded in many Americans' mental make-up and the propaganda of American imperialism that is drummed into recruits during military training, they do not see assaults on unarmed "rag heads" or "hajis" as murder. The cult of silence on this subject began to slip only slightly in May 2007 when a report prepared by the Army's Mental Health Advisory Team was leaked to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Based on anonymous surveys and focus groups involving 1,320 soldiers and 447 Marines, the study revealed that only 56% of soldiers would report a unit member for injuring or killing an innocent noncombatant, while a mere 40% of Marines would do so. Some militarists will reply that such inhumanity to the defenseless is always inculcated into the properly trained soldier. If so, then the answer to this problem is to ensure that, in the future, there are many fewer imperialist wars of choice sponsored by the
Read Chalmers Johnson’s detailed analysis of the
Tuesday, 15 May 2007
In a splenetic outburst on his blog, Szwagier says that “the old bastard” Winston Churchill – “a deeply unpleasant human specimen” – handed over tens of millions of people in
Well, Szwagier, I grew up during World War Two and I know – better than you, I think – that whatever his shortcomings, Churchill almost single-handedly inspired the British people to keep on fighting after the Dunkirk evacuation without even contemplating defeat or surrender at a time when the odds were almost impossibly stacked against us. Anyone who actually heard his wartime broadcasts when he delivered them – as I did – will never doubt that without Winston Churchill we would have lost heart and given up the fight. The country at that time was riddled with pessimism and defeatism after the long dreary twilight of Chamberlainite appeasement and the phoney war. Only Churchill sounded the clarion call to struggle and ultimate victory, and the proof of this is that although the people threw out his tainted party at the 1945 general election, Churchill’s personal popularity was simultaneously at its height.
Churchill was a complex man, with many political warts and blemishes during his long career. I by no means defend his total record. He was impulsive and sometimes autocratic – which as a war leader he had to be – but he was a profound believer in parliamentary democracy and personal freedom and consistently sought to secure those blessings [as he saw them] for as many people as possible.
Unfortunately, the wartime realpolitik, and the geographical realities, meant that he was in the end powerless to prevent the postwar division of
There were two aspects to the ‘Polish problem’. The first was frontiers.
Shifting frontiers, of course, affected many millions of Poles, Germans, and Russians either beneficially or adversely. There is something distasteful in the tone of the discussions about this at the Conferences; but it is the way of so-called ‘statesmen’ to overlook the impact of their decisions upon the lives of ordinary citizens – as we are seeing now only too clearly in the Middle East.
The more contentious, and significant, dispute was over the form of the postwar Polish government. The British were committed to the Polish government in exile in
At least during the earlier conferences, when the emphasis was on creating good personal relations between the Big Three leaders in the hope that this would sway the Russians into allowing at least a degree of political freedom in Eastern Europe if not in Russia itself, the British and Americans were willing to give Stalin the benefit of the doubt. At that time,
The Russians, however, now felt strong enough to provoke a crisis by arresting sixteen Polish government negotiators on charges of causing the deaths of Red Army officers. This Churchill described to his deputy Eden as ‘perfidy’. He kept up the effort at
The rest is history – the
In my view, if not Szwagier’s, this is a tale of honourable defeat – not one of callous betrayal.
Monday, 14 May 2007
Sunday, 13 May 2007
A Declaration Against Violence has been posted here seeking signatures from all over the world to express the opposition of the vast majority of humanity to the use of violence and force in personal and public affairs.
PLEASE READ IT, SIGN IT, AND ASK AS MANY OTHERS AS YOU CAN TO DO THE SAME!
Saturday, 12 May 2007
Of course, the flip side is that if you abolish the laws of war, war itself would become criminal - as it should be.
The Government – which increasingly seems to live in an entirely different world to the rest of us – is making disapproving clucking noises about the amount of depression prevalent in the population, which they doubtless consider entirely unjustified in view of all the blessings of cackhanded administration they shower upon us. Schemes are afoot to provide thousands of hastily-trained therapists [all of twelve weeks!] to remedy this situation; and not content with that, we are now being regaled with proposals to incorporate ‘lessons in happiness’ into schools!
Just how miserable and worried people can be coaxed, commanded or dragooned into being jolly and carefree on the say-so of government ministers and bureaucrats escapes me. If many people are becoming increasingly depressed these days it is just possibly because there is plenty to be worried about. And not only worried, but frightened. In fact, I cannot remember a time since the 1930s of my childhood when people were so preoccupied and dismayed about the world situation and its possible knock-on effects. Even during the Cold War, with its recurring crisis points such as Suez–Hungary and Cuban missiles, feelings that impending doom is a likely possibility were not nearly as widespread as they are today.
Yet our Walter Mitty [“I did it My Way”] retiring-at-a-snailspace Prime Minister – one of the most self-deluded characters ever to have occupied 10 Downing Street – tells us that Britain is “a country comfortable in the 21st Century, at home in its own skin, able not just to be proud of its past but also confident of its future”. If he believes that, he would believe anything. The trouble is that he does believe whatever he chooses, against all the evidence. This, presumably, is a quality of mind bestowed upon him by the ‘gift’ of Faith.
Blair’s policy of ‘liberal interventionism’ smacks of hubris even more than the wild-eyed religiosity of William Gladstone. Practically everyone – even those who still won’t admit it – knows that his cosying up to the wacky Bush-wacking Administration’s
Before the attack on
As a consequence of what many of us regard as the government’s misguided - and sometimes deliberately misleading - approach to these and many other matters, there has been a sharp erosion of trust: between citizens and government, between different sections of the community, and often between individuals. The air is filled with harsh and strident voices talking past each other and shouting one another down. This itself is dismaying. I cannot remember a time when public discourse and argument was more irritable, and often downright bad-tempered, than it is today. This alone gives the lie to Blair’s fantasy of a ‘comfortable’ country.
The fact is, people no longer feel as secure, in their own lives and homes, as they used to. The government does not help by continually issuing fleshcreeping warnings about the high risks of terrorist attacks – or by its unprecedented onslaught upon our traditional and hitherto much cherished civil liberties [“yesterday’s concept”, as the Prime Minister airily dismissed them]. Ostensibly to ‘protect’ us against terrorism, the Blair government has ushered in a snooper’s society in which we are continually watched by umpteen CCTV cameras, are apparently soon to be assailed by the amplified voices of invisible watchers ticking us off if we drop litter in the street, and in the not far distant future are likely to be compulsorily fitted with ‘smart chips’ so that our whereabouts and doings will be ceaselessly monitored.
I for one find this prospect not only highly alarming but deeply depressing. I don’t want or need to talk to a quarter-trained ‘therapist’ about my perfectly realistic fears and indignation: I want a political sea-change which will bring about a U-turn in these imbecile antics of our ‘rulers’.
Any hope from Gloomy Gordon? Don’t make me laugh. But cheer up – you’d better, or they’ll slap an ASBO on you.
Friday, 11 May 2007
Wednesday, 9 May 2007
Monday, 7 May 2007
Saturday, 5 May 2007
For one of the most sickening examples of its mindless use, read this.
“The surveillance and terror that operates in Nineteen Eighty-Four was intended for [a small number of inner party elite] only. The bulk of the population are ignored. The situation in
“The key phrase always used to justify such ideas is ‘The innocent need have nothing to fear’. Whenever that phrase is used in final justification, as it was used in Nazi Germany, Communist Russia and no doubt every other totalitarian state since the dawn of history, then infringement of civil liberties is certain and freedom, as it is understood in America, and as it was understood in Britain in the nineteenth century,…will have passed. The gloss of the consumerist society will not be able to hide what has happened. And the word used to describe this tendency is still ‘Orwellian’ or, more simply, ‘Big Brother’. The justification of the need for such a regime was always, in the past, the fear of communism, or invasion, or revolution. With the ending of the cold war and the collapse of the Soviet regime these reasons fall away. What is left is the most human motive of all, the motive of the righteous who have persecuted through the ages: power. As Orwell has O’Brien say when forcing Winston to admit that most absurd untruth, that two and two make five, ‘We are the priests of Power.’
- from The Larger Evils by W. J. West. This was written in 1992!
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
Have you noticed how haggard and shifty-eyed our Dear Leader is looking as he clings on to the doorposts of No 10 by his fingernails, draining the long drawn out wearisome last days of his premiership to the dregs with muted self-praise for his vaunted record, and subliminally telling us “you’ll be sorry when I’m gone”. [Shades of Nixon: "Soon you won't have me to kick around any more."] Our very own Archie Rice and Walter Mitty rolled into one!
Yesterday’s Labour Party “celebration” of his ten years in office looked more like a wake when I happened to see it on television. Not only was the hapless Bliarypoppins given a macabre bear-hug by John Prescott grinning ghoulishly with ill-concealed delight, he was surrounded by glum looking people wearing expressions more appropriate to a wake then a celebration. The PM’s exhortation to his Party to “make the next ten years as good as the last” had me rolling in the aisles. Is he really unaware of what his ‘legacy’ is going to be? Like Bloody Mary and
Another, unexpected, item on the same news bulletin provided food for thought as to why our Tone is looking so subdued. The precipitate fall of the hitherto unknown [to me] Lord Browne from the pinnacle of BP because he told lies in court about his personal life raises the spectre of perjury charges for Blair and various members of his entourage if the ‘cash for peerages’ affair comes to court and they are called as witnesses. There are almost certain to be uncomfortable questions which it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for them to answer truthfully; and if they put a foot wrong, their growing band of political and personal enemies will pounce relentlessly. Blair is between a rock and a hard place over this one.
As for Lord Browne, it is extremely sad that such a thrusting paragon of big business expansionism should be brought low [and lose a fortune of £15 millions which may be peanuts to him but seems obscenely large to me] because he was ashamed to admit in court that a gay affair had a commercial aspect. However impeccable his business ethics, his rather strange personal slant on things seems to be that it’s perfectly OK, and admissible these days, to pick up someone in
What pathetic humbug! It would seem that even powerful figures like Lord Browne still feel obliged to dance to the hypocritical tune of the red-top press, whose warped attitude to sex is a national disgrace. On the one hand, the tabloid ratpack ceaselessly promote sex and peddle lust for all they are worth in salacious articles and titillating advertisements, and then switch in an instant without even pausing for breath from rabellaisian ‘phwoar, phwoar’ bar-room bragging to prudish tut-tutting over the sexual misdeeds of the great and the humble, baying for ever more draconian punishments for anyone whose private life has the misfortune to attract their spotlight.
The Lord Browne saga should be a salutary reminder to all the self-congratulatory gay activists who have recently been crowing that the work of gay liberation has been finally achieved, and that there is nothing more to be done on that score. The task of campaigners for more relaxed and commonsense attitudes to consenting sexual behaviour of all kinds will never be remotely near its end while ignorance, prejudice and punitive attitudes to peoples’ private behaviour abound as they still do. As has been well said, the British vice isn’t buggery – it’s humbuggery.