tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-144224352014-07-24T12:54:14.826+01:00ObsoleteIncreasingly fragile leftist fashion blogging from someone somewhere. || “The Labour party has never been a socialist party, although there have always been socialists in it – a bit like Christians in the Church of England.” -- Tony Benn || The newspaper gown she wore is always on fire.septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.comBlogger3559125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-11495294788275970652014-07-23T23:43:00.001+01:002014-07-23T23:43:11.022+01:00When words are not equal.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">And what do you know, about alienation honey? Yeah please, explain how it feels.<br /><br />There are numerous ways to shut down debate when it comes to Israel/Palestine.&nbsp; The most obvious, and the most used and abused, is to cry antisemitism, although it must be stressed the line between vehement anti-Zionism and antisemitism is often an extremely fine one.&nbsp; We saw this not too long ago <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2013/01/do-we-have-to-go-through-this-again.html">when the Israeli ambassador to the UK denounced</a> <a href="http://www.thecommentator.com/article/2577/sunday_times_blood_libel_cartoon_on_holocaust_memorial_day_no_less">a Gerald Scarfe cartoon in the Sunday Times</a> (having read a copy at the weekend, calling it a comic does a disservice to the Beano) as antisemitic on the grounds he portrayed Binyamin Netanyahu with a big nose, encasing Palestinians in a wall where the bricks were held together with blood.&nbsp; This apparently invoked the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_libel">blood libel </a>and the age old antisemitic trope of caricaturing Jews as having big/long facial appendages.&nbsp; As I noted at the time, it's fine for those who want to cry racism to do so on flimsy evidence, <a href="http://www.nationmultimedia.com/breakingnews/Twitter-remains-unprofitable-despite-leap-in-sales-30232589.html?utm_source=The+Nation&amp;utm_medium=twitter">as Twitter would be even more unprofitable</a> than it currently is if people didn't; when actual state actors start doing it to silence criticism, something much more sinister is at work.<br /><br />Today we have a wonderful new example of the disparity in the nature of the discourse.&nbsp; As they have in the past, <a href="http://972mag.com/what-no-country-in-the-world-should-tolerate/93485/">Israeli politicians and those defending Israel's actions in Gaza</a> have asked what other countries would do were they subjected to barrages of rockets on their towns and cities.&nbsp; <a href="http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/18/15257041-obama-israel-has-every-right-to-defend-itself-from-gaza-missile-attacks?lite">No nation could tolerate it</a>, they say.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israelgaza-conflict-rockets-fired-at-the-houses-of-parliament-in-idf-propaganda-image-intended-to-justify-gaza-offensive-9619380.html">The IDF went so far as to photoshop an image</a> of the House of Commons under just such an attack, questioning what we'd do then.&nbsp; This obviously ignores how we dealt with the threat posed by the IRA, or how other countries which have faced down terrorist groups have done so without imposing <a href="http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/07/22/here-s-how-big-gaza-comparison-some-cities-around-world">a permanent siege on a heavily populated but relatively small city</a>, but as the Israeli prime minister said, <a href="http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118751/how-israel-palestine-peace-deal-died">only Israel understands Israel</a>.<br /><br />When Lib Dem MP David Ward tweeted, saying <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidWardMP/status/491653069424558081">"If I were in Gaza, would I fire a rocket? Probably yes"</a> he was conducting a similar thought experiment.&nbsp; You could say it's a rather redundant one, as transplanting yourself into such a situation without also taking into account how different your life would be makes it likely your entire world view would also be drastically altered, but at the same time it raises the question. What would you do? Would you resist as well, even if not necessarily alongside Hamas?&nbsp; I find it likely I probably would.<br /><br />Even to pose the question <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/23/lib-dem-david-ward-refuses-apologise-gaza-tweet">the other way it seems is to provide Hamas with succour</a>, to suggest there is an equivalence between Hamas rockets and Israel defending itself.&nbsp; Palestinians, as we really should have learned by now, don't have the same right to target those the UN says may have committed war crimes.&nbsp; Indeed, according to the berk's berk, Tory chairman Grant Shapps, Ward's tweet may have incited violence, while Labour's Douglas Alexander said his "vile comments are as revealing as they are repellent".&nbsp; Quickly the party issued a statement clarifying the obvious, that he was pointing out how people can be driven to such desperate measures, but not before the <a href="http://www.bod.org.uk/live/content.php?Item_ID=130&amp;Blog_ID=1217">Board of Deputies of British Jews</a> said Nick Clegg should expel Ward from the party.&nbsp; Just as with everything else, words are simply not equal.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-60050316645391231502014-07-22T23:12:00.003+01:002014-07-22T23:13:27.571+01:00It's so fucking funny.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Supposedly, the older you get, the more right-wing you become.&nbsp; It's strange then that at least when it comes to foreign policy, the more I age, the more to the left I shift.&nbsp; Perhaps it's because the propaganda <a href="http://flyingrodent.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/that-dont-kill-rule-was-commandment-not.html">accompanying those shilling for war becomes ever more egregious</a>; maybe it's because those selling leaden death are about as plausible <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgE35hWF7R4">as a pig dressed as a chicken</a>; or it could be that as my anger on much else has dimmed, and boy has it dimmed, if anything it still hasn't peaked <a href="http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=24&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CJkBEBYwFw&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gettyimages.co.uk%2Fdetail%2Fnews-photo%2Fthe-streets-of-gazas-shujaya-district-after-israeli-attacks-news-photo%2F452423276&amp;ei=e8HOU5yLGonb0QWBlIGAAQ&amp;usg=AFQjCNGWfzZ7twyzN3X0nQ4pkpiMeOvHww&amp;sig2=73s1usQHwkqEMCOBUrfaYA">when civilians are massacred by the "most moral" army on the planet</a>, supported and backed to the hilt by our own wannabe bombers.<br /><br />We must start though <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_MH17">with the shooting down of flight MH17</a>.&nbsp; Here is the worst example imaginable of what happens when you give heavy weaponry to amateurs, or as could be the case, when professionals are made to answer to dilettantes.&nbsp; As soon as the news emerged a civilian plane had came down in the area where the eastern Ukrainian rebels have been pushed back to it was apparent what had happened.&nbsp; Regardless of how the <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/22/ukraine-sightings-missile-launcher-mh17">Donetsk People's Republic fighters got their hands on a Buk</a>, whether supplied directly by Russia or captured from the Ukrainians, they couldn't have kept fighting this long without the tacit, barely disguised support of Putin.&nbsp; He bears a heavy responsibility for the tragedy, and the fact <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/20/mh17-pro-russia-rebels-crash-site-kiev-ceasefire">he either refused or failed to pressure the rebels into allowing immediate access</a> to the crash site so investigators could carry out their work speaks of the inhumanity of the Russian president.<br /><br />This said, there is little many in the west like more than the certainty of past battles.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/world_news/Ukraine/article1436663.ece">To hear some commentators</a> <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-28408037">and politicians over the last few days</a> you could be forgiven for imagining the Russians themselves had carried out the most heinous, despicable atrocity of recent times.&nbsp; The strike on MH17 apparently occurred in a vacuum, few of the reports setting out how the Ukrainians had carried out air strikes in the area before last Thursday, <a href="http://news.msn.com/world/airstrike-in-eastern-ukraine-kills-11-civilians">at least one missile destroying a house and killing those inside</a>.&nbsp; Nor have there been such shootings down in the past, it would seem, neither the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Air_Lines_Flight_007">Korean flight brought down by the Soviets in 1983</a> or indeed the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Air_Flight_655">USS Vincennes incident of 1988</a> being recalled.<br /><br />Those quite rightly demanding justice and the handing over of those responsible might well reflect on the punishment given to the US navy crew whom unintentionally killed 290 civilians on Iran Air Flight 655: <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Air_Flight_655#Post-tour_of_duty_medals">they received their medals</a>, while the captain got the Legion of Merit.&nbsp; Few have considered the irony either of the media traipsing all over what would normally be a crime scene, access carefully controlled so as not to lose evidence or contaminate the area.&nbsp; Indeed, if the scene had been quickly handed over to investigators, it's possible the bodies of the victims could have stayed where they landed just as long if not longer than they did; <a href="http://martinfrost.ws/htmlfiles/locherbie1.html#Lockerbie_residents">that was certainly the case with Lockerbie</a>.<br /><br />Watching last Friday's session at the United Nations Security Council was an instruction in how diplomacy does and doesn't work.&nbsp; The anger of US ambassador Samantha Power was palpable, her words at times mawkish.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/18/malaysia-airlines-crash-flight-recorder-found-as-anger-at-russia-mounts-live-updates#block-53c93147e4b05ffcfd4ef492">"We now all know the letter I stands for infant," she said</a>.&nbsp; It doesn't of course when it comes to Gaza, where instead it must stand for irrelevant.&nbsp; If the same politicians who have barely been able to contain their contempt and rage at Russia over MH17 directed even a tenth of that feeling at Israel, the pressure would have almost certainly already told on Netanyahu.<br /><br />Israel instead is held to different standards, always has been, always will be.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118751/how-israel-palestine-peace-deal-died">"No one understands Israel but Israel,"</a> as the Israeli prime minister apparently told John Kerry.&nbsp; It's the story taken up by apologists, as well as those who don't bother to sugar the pill.&nbsp; When we highlight the disparity in the number of casualties between the two sides, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/20/israelis-die-defend-british-media">the context is we want more Israelis</a> <a href="http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9265051/not-enough-dead-jews/">to be killed to even things up</a>.&nbsp; It's also extremely distasteful to share pictures of dead children, because doing so <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/21/sharing-pictures-corpses-social-media-ceasefire">"</a><span class="trackable-component component-wrapper four-col" data-component="Blog:alternate-grid front-promo America:Pickable single tag with optional floating head"><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/21/sharing-pictures-corpses-social-media-ceasefire">devalues the currency of shared humanity",</a> while if we do it for the Palestinians, we should also do it for <a href="http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/brendanoneill2/100280647/can-everyone-please-stop-posting-photos-of-dead-palestinian-children-all-over-the-internet/">the children of every other conflict or disaster</a>.&nbsp; God forbid that we see <a href="https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpf1/t1.0-9/10559797_601221043308632_5520492363472975599_n.jpg">the victims of a war</a> where one side has rudimentary rockets and rifles and the other has tanks and the finest weaponry the west can supply.<br /><br />If it wasn't apparently designed to infuriate, <a href="https://twitter.com/IDFSpokesperson">the IDF Twitter account</a> could be taken for satire.&nbsp; We're told the ground invasion <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/18/israel-targets-tunnels-gaza-ground-invasion">is to destroy the tunnels Hamas hides its missiles in</a>, but they <a href="http://www.leninology.co.uk/2014/07/hiding-among-civilians.html">conceal them in every civilian building too</a>.&nbsp; Israel is threatened by Hamas fighters using the tunnels to attack settlements just outside the Strip, <a href="https://twitter.com/IDFSpokesperson/status/490846527410024448">despite them being obliterated the moment</a> they step out of them, yet when Hamas kills <a href="https://twitter.com/IDFSpokesperson/statuses/491574722161672192">Israeli soldiers inside Gaza they're still terrorists</a>, rather than resisting an invading force.&nbsp; The media can't repeat enough the great lengths the IDF goes to avoid civilian casualties, despite multiple incidents every day that suggest at best either lack of care or at worst a complete indifference, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/20/world/middleeast/gaza-israel.html?ref=todayspaper&amp;_r=0">yet similar statements from Hamas never</a> make the cut.&nbsp; When civilians don't leave despite being warned to flee, they're either human shields or <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/21/world/middleeast/havens-are-few-if-not-far-for-palestinians-in-gaza-strip-seeking-refugee-status.html?ref=todayspaper&amp;_r=0">Hamas wouldn't let them go</a>.&nbsp; That nowhere in Gaza is safe doesn't matter.&nbsp; Hamas is responsible.<br /><br />We've heard it all before, and no doubt we'll hear it again.&nbsp; One thing we do seem to have been spared this time is the Palestinians don't feel pain <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2012/11/already-looking-forward-to-next.html">such is their martyrdom ideation line</a>, perhaps because the grieving for those killed has been there for all to see.&nbsp; So too we've seen more <a href="http://www.vice.com/read/sderot-cinema-twisted-conflict-spectatorship-in-israel-and-palestine-721">reports from the "Sderot cinema"</a> or other vantage points where an extreme, tiny minority of Israelis go to watch the carnage being wreaked on Gaza, cheering it on, just as vengeful and filled with hate as we're so often informed Palestinian children are brought up to be.&nbsp; Whether they really approve of the horrific consequences on the ground, <a href="https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BtK78RZCIAAOUhf.jpg:large">when 19 children were killed in a single strike</a>, apparently just as guilty as the solitary target, we can't know.&nbsp; They surely however demand justice just as much as the infants on board the MH17 did.</span></span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-82554177002666233622014-07-21T16:54:00.002+01:002014-07-21T17:15:52.407+01:00Complicit in the lies of a serial offender.<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-8exJysznrgE/S_sUG3r3gNI/AAAAAAAAAF8/HtOTdU42UsU/s1600/mahmoodsheikh-732229.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-8exJysznrgE/S_sUG3r3gNI/AAAAAAAAAF8/HtOTdU42UsU/s320/mahmoodsheikh-732229.jpg" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-1-pemxfVlpc/S_sUHLVAy2I/AAAAAAAAAGE/YsHaLYBdEQc/s1600/mazer_mahmood01-758981-722975.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-1-pemxfVlpc/S_sUHLVAy2I/AAAAAAAAAGE/YsHaLYBdEQc/s320/mazer_mahmood01-758981-722975.jpg" height="200" width="146" /></a></div><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br />Regular readers will know it takes a lot to stagger me.&nbsp; Cynicism comes easily, because it is so easy.&nbsp; Think the worst, and then you won't be let down come the inevitable.&nbsp; There are no heroes only humans, and we are flawed flesh and bone, all with our own prejudices, failings and traits.<br /><br />Sometimes though you still can't help but be blown away by just how unbelievably stupid supposedly intelligent people are.&nbsp; In fact, in this instance stupid doesn't cover it.&nbsp; The only word that even comes close to accurately describing <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-25304621">the Crown Prosecution Service's original decision to prosecute</a> Tulisa Contostavlos is fuckwitted.&nbsp; A lawyer earning no doubt good money looked at the "investigation" carried out by this blog's favourite journalist, hopefully soon to be ex-journalist Mazher Mahmood, and felt, yeah, <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2013/06/the-more-things-change.html">this isn't the most obvious example I've ever seen of entrapment</a>, and told the CPS there was a realistic chance of conviction.&nbsp; The CPS then reviewed his decision, and went along with it.&nbsp; Then the judge, despite the defence making what has to be one of the most compelling applications for the case to be thrown out on the grounds Mahmood is a lying sack of shit, allowed it to proceed.<br /><br />Only for Alistair McCreath <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-28403821">to days later discharge the jury and find Contostavlos</a> and her friend, Michael Coombs, who had already admitted supplying the cocaine after Mahmood asked Contostavlos to get some for him, not guilty.&nbsp; Why?&nbsp; Because <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2014/jul/21/mazher-mahmood-tulisa-contostavlos">Mahmood it seems put pressure on his driver</a>, Alan Smith, to change his statement, having first told the police Contostavlos had spoken of her opposition to drugs as a family member was an addict as the pair talked in his car.&nbsp; At the legal arguments pre-trial Mahmood denied he spoke to the Smith at all, only for Contostavlos's QC, Jeremy Dein, <a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/tulisa-drugs-trial-stony-faced-3878835">to winkle the truth out of Mahmood under cross-examination last week</a>.&nbsp; He had indeed discussed the statement with Smith, he just didn't have anything to do with him altering it.<br /><br />Even now I can't begin to get my head round how Mahmood's latest and clearly for him most disastrous entrapping of a celebrity got to the point of being put before a jury.&nbsp; Back in June last year the People, whether through speaking to Contostavlos and/or her management or a disgruntled source at the Sun <a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/tulisa-hoaxed-film-executives-over-1941181">wrote up an almost completely accurate blow-by-blow account</a> of how the former X-Factor judge was enticed by Mahmood, although it didn't explicitly state her arrest and the "hoax" were connected.&nbsp; They flew her to Las Vegas (either in first class or by private jet, according to whether you believe Mahmood or the People), telling her she was going to star in a Slumdog Millionaire-type film as a "bad girl" making the journey from London to India, possibly alongside Leonardo DiCaprio.&nbsp; As in previous stings, Contostavlos was plied with alcohol, <a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/recap-tulisa-drugs-trial-day-3872279">her defence going so far as to say her drink was spiked</a> on one occasion, before Mahmood then sprang the trap.&nbsp; Desperate to get the part, having been told Keira Knightley was also being considered for the role, she arranged for Coombs to supply Mahmood with his requested "white sweets".<br /><br />Regardless of what you think about subterfuge by journalists, and the PCC code makes clear it can only be justified in the public interest, the person in this instance commissioning a crime is the hack, not the celebrity.&nbsp; Not only that, unlike in other instances where those involved step back at the last minute, the evidence their target is willing to go along with their request acquired, Mahmood's drug stings have nearly always involved the actual supply of the banned substance.&nbsp; By accepting such a level of skulduggery was permissible, despite the relatively slight nature of the offences committed, both the police and the CPS became complicit in Mahmood's abuse of power, not to forget lies.&nbsp; Nor is this anything like the first time they've been embarrassed by Mahmood's mendacity and the Murdoch tabloid stable's hyperbolics: the <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2956224.stm">Victoria Beckham "kidnap plot" trial collapsed</a> after it emerged the key witness had been paid, while <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2006/07/dangerously-deceitful-ruthless.html">the "red mercury" case ended</a> with all the defendants acquitted.<br /><br />Indeed, yet again the court system <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2011/12/very-small-carrot.html">gave in to Mahmood's bullshit</a>, the myth of the man as tabloid investigator extraordinaire.&nbsp; He gave his evidence from behind a screen, to both protect him from enemies and so as not to give away his identity to those he might yet seek to stitch up.&nbsp; No matter that his visage has been available online for years now, or that, err, his victims know all too well what he looks like.&nbsp; Also irrelevant is just how petty and cliche the drug dealer expose is; it's one thing to try and show corruption in sport, although Mahmood <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2010/09/if-this-victory-what-would-defeat-look.html">failed to do even that with John Higgins</a>, it's another to get a pop star to show they know someone who can get drugs.&nbsp; I mean, who knew they got up to such things?&nbsp; It's not as though most of us have acquaintances whom dabble in illicit substances, and if tempted in the same way as Contostavlos was could just as easily find ourselves helping out a new VIP friend, clearly we're meant to regard this as a terrible indictment of the morals of our heroes.&nbsp; What will the kids who look up to her think?&nbsp; Nor do certain sections of the media encourage ambition and aspiration whatever the cost, oh no.<br /><br />As well as being suspended by the Sun, Mahmood now faces the possibility of a perjury charge, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-28199829">another former News of the Screws hack</a> accused of lying under oath.&nbsp; This entire affair also gives the lie to the idea Leveson changed anything: still a Murdoch paper was prepared to do whatever it took just to catch out a <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/lostinshowbiz/2013/jun/06/team-tulisa-contostavlos-cocaine-arrest">jumped-up celeb</a>.&nbsp; How delicious then that someone like Tulisa (and admittedly her legal team) should be the one to finally pin the fake sheikh down.&nbsp; This time, surely, there can be no way back for Mazher Mahmood.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-91758386756894086502014-07-18T14:13:00.000+01:002014-07-18T14:13:00.033+01:00Judge yr'self.<center><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/am9KYPvu2pk" width="480"></iframe><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/m14pt9necao" width="480"></iframe></center>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-58488301113637662932014-07-18T13:49:00.000+01:002014-07-18T13:49:06.006+01:00A pound of flesh.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"></span><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq"><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/18/israels-ground-invasion-of-gaza-live-updates#block-53c90bfbe4b0d8d24212ff7e"><i><b>Three branches of the Entez family, around 60 people, were sheltering in a house in Zeitoun when it was struck by an artillery shell shortly after 8.45pm. Three of the family were killed – Abed Ali, 24, Mohamed Ibrahim, 13, and Mohamed Salem, two – and four injured. Three of the exterior walls were destroyed in the blast.</b></i></a></span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><i><b>In the wreckage of the home on Friday morning, Salem Entez, 29, Mohamed Salem's father, approached the Guardian with a plastic bag, which he opened to revealed pieces of flesh he was collecting for burial. "This is my son," he said.</b></i></span></blockquote>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-66863646575344413832014-07-17T23:21:00.002+01:002014-07-17T23:21:19.815+01:00The differentation of fools.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">It begins.&nbsp; Still 10 months away from the election and the two constituent parts of the coalition <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/law/2014/jul/17/tories-challenge-european-court-human-rights-british-bill-rights">are starting their</a> <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/17/nick-clegg-defends-bedroom-tax-policy-shift">differentiation strategies</a>.&nbsp; Apparently we're meant to believe it was pure coincidence Danny Alexander penned an article for the Mirror <a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/want-fair-housing-benefit-system-3871175">detailing how deeply iniquitous the bedroom tax</a>, sorry the spare room subsidy is just after <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2014/07/all-you-need-is-gove.html">Cameron launches his biggest reshuffle</a> of the parliament and news "leaks" out about how the Tories intend to engineer a <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-28339263">"legal car-crash with a built in time delay"</a> with the European Court of Human Rights.&nbsp; The Tories are feigning shock at the duplicity of the Lib Dems at the same time as <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28339686">Nick Clegg claims to have been left "blindsided"</a> by the very much anticipated sacking/retirement of the ministers opposed to leaving the ECHR.&nbsp; If it wasn't all so obvious you'd be forgiven for deeming it cynical.<br /><br />What certainly is cynical is the Liberal Democrats only now deciding the <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/15/bedroom-tax-hardship-dwp-study">bedroom tax doesn't work, can't work and is extraordinarily unfair</a> even by the coalition's benefit reform standards.&nbsp; <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/329948/rr882-evaluation-of-removal-of-the-spare-room-subsidy.pdf">It was the report this week</a> (PDF) that truly opened our eyes they say, <a href="http://leftfootforward.org/2014/07/the-real-reason-the-lib-dems-u-turned-on-the-bedroom-tax/">ignoring the assessment by the Department for Work and Pensions</a> carried out beforehand which predicted exactly the outcome we've arrived at.&nbsp; This can only be explained in one of three ways: either they didn't read the assessment, they didn't believe it, or they just didn't care either way.&nbsp; The Conservatives for their part say not once had the Lib Dem leadership raised concerns with them over the policy, and on this occasion it's difficult not to believe them.<br /><br />After all, this is the same Nick Clegg <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2012/12/nick-clegg-is-unsustainable.html">who gave a speech back in December 2012</a> claiming that the welfare system was in danger of becoming unaffordable, in only one of many remarks Iain Duncan Smith or David Cameron could just as easily have made.&nbsp; The only thing that's changed between now and then is, unlike most of the rest of the welfare reforms, <a href="https://twitter.com/MSmithsonPB/status/489627038295556096">the bedroom tax has become unpopular</a> as a direct result of people knowing friends or relatives affected by it.&nbsp; When there are no suitable alternative properties for someone to downsize to, as the government knew there wouldn't be, the policy was always going to result in flagrant injustice.<br /><br />While the Tories have been in the vanguard of <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2013/01/2013-year-of-benefit-bashing.html">attempting to portray all those claiming benefits</a> (with the possible exception of child benefit) as scroungers, both of the other main parties have been happy to go along with it, not prepared to fight against the increasingly pernicious narrative pushed by both the tabloids <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2014/01/a-street-called-deceit.html">and broadcast media</a> (although the Lib Dems should be given some credit for opposing the Tories on limiting housing benefit to the over 25s).&nbsp; Labour eventually realised so many of those who couldn't be easily dismissed as dole scum were being affected <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/sep/20/labour-abolishing-bedroom-tax">they could oppose it without the Tories and the tabloids</a> tearing them to pieces.&nbsp; Now the Lib Dems, despite having voted against Labour's attempts to alter the legislation as recently as February, have moved on the most obvious policy they can quickly say they were never convinced of in the first place.<br /><br />It's precisely the kind of politics that only increases cynicism, rather than as the Lib Dems clearly believe might persuade a few former supporters to return home.&nbsp; It's also one thing for the Tories to move to do something they've threatened for quite some time, regardless of the politics involved; it's another for the Lib Dems to row back on a policy <a href="http://labourlist.org/2014/04/oppose-the-bedroom-tax-the-lib-dems-have-had-at-least-6-chances-to-oppose-it-and-failed/">that would have never passed in the first place but for them</a>.&nbsp; Just as every previous attempt by the Lib Dems to make amends for broken promises has been rebuffed, so too will this latest desperate gambit be.<br /></span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-31579429803905139262014-07-16T23:59:00.000+01:002014-07-17T01:10:48.998+01:00You will be buried in the same box as a killer.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Back in the good old days of the Cold War, the estimated time between the warning a Soviet ICBM was heading towards your area and the actual strike itself was four minutes, although most think even that was a tad optimistic.&nbsp; It certainly didn't leave long to get to anywhere that might be safer, unless say you lived within running distance of an underground station and weren't knocked over and trampled to death by all the others with the same idea.<br /><br />Fortunately, our good friends the Americans remain the only people to have decided to go nuclear.&nbsp; Less fortunately for the Palestinians, the latest humanitarian gesture on the part of the IDF <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israelgaza-conflict-israeli-knock-on-roof-missile-warning-technique-revealed-in-stunning-video-9603179.html">is to fire a "warning" missile at houses</a> they intend to destroy, not just leaving it to chance the occupants will answer the phone.&nbsp; Caught on film is one house getting a "knock on the roof", <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28325260">then being struck by the following</a>, far more destructive projectile.&nbsp; The time between the warning and the attack? Four minutes.<br /><br />We shouldn't feel sorry though for the owner and his family, or indeed any others living in the building as multiple families usually do in the crowded Gaza strip.&nbsp; The owner's sons are apparently Hamas members, therefore completely justifying the razing of his house.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/16/israel-warns-100000-gazans-to-flee-live-updates#block-53c6aadae4b0d70555a360bf">Moreover, as the Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu</a><b> </b>said, since Hamas rejected the terms of the <a href="http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4543548,00.html">proposed Egyptian ceasefire</a> everything that happens in Gaza from now on is solely their responsibility.<br /><br />Not that it wasn't already.&nbsp; <a href="http://t.co/XqsbXolZgi">A hospital struck by an Israeli missile</a> was clearly a Hamas hospital, <a href="http://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/emergency-reports/gaza-situation-report-7">while the 55 UN installations either damaged</a> or destroyed (since June 1st) were UN/Hamas installations.&nbsp; The water supply infrastructure the UN warns is in danger of collapse due to the damage inflicted on it is a Hamas water supply.&nbsp; How can it not be when Hamas members use it? <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/16/witness-gaza-shelling-first-hand-account">The four cousins between the ages of 9 and 11 killed by an Israeli shell today</a> were on a Hamas beach, inside a Hamas fishing shed, and it was witnessed by Hamas journalists who treated the survivors.&nbsp; <a href="https://twitter.com/benabyad/statuses/489443356481970177">All 47 of the children killed so far</a> have been Hamas children, still terrorists, just smaller.<br /><br />Israel doesn't just have the right to defend itself, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/16/israel-warns-100000-gazans-to-flee-live-updates#block-53c6bde9e4b0d70555a360cf">it has a responsibility to do so</a>. The Palestinians by contrast don't just have the right to die, they have a responsibility to.&nbsp; Hamas might rule the Gaza strip, and they might be responsible for everything that happens there, but they don't have the right to defend their territory, to resist.&nbsp; Their use of rockets is a war crime, as they are too indiscriminate to properly target anything or anyone that could be considered as legitimate, not that there is anywhere in Israel that could be considered a legitimate military target anyway.<br /><br />To step back from rocking the snark for just a second, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/16/egypt-no-negotiations-gaza-ceasefire-israel-hamas">Hamas was far too hasty</a> in dismissing the Egyptian ceasefire proposal.&nbsp; You can understand why they did; it only offered further talks rather anything substantive.&nbsp; When we've been here twice before, Israel making promises to <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2012/11/already-looking-forward-to-next.html">loosen the siege of Gaza that have subsequently come to nothing</a>, it's not a surprise Hamas wants something this time they can hold the Israelis to.&nbsp; In both previous examples it was also Israel rather than Hamas that broke the fragile peace.&nbsp; Nonetheless, when the option is on the table to halt the suffering of the people Hamas claims to represent, to not at least give it a chance is close to unconscionable.<br /><br />True, it's far easier to sell a ceasefire when the number of casualties on your side is 1, rather than 200 as it was yesterday for the Palestinians and there's little to show for it.&nbsp; It doesn't however absolve Hamas of continuing with a policy which failed in the past and is going to again this time.&nbsp; Israel has no intention of lifting the siege of Gaza, nor does Egypt under Sisi have any intention of making life easier for a movement that grew out of the Muslim Brotherhood.&nbsp; The only way of putting Israel under pressure over the Palestinians is to threaten and if necessary introduce boycotts, just as <a href="http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/07/14/cant_kill_hamas_make_it_stronger_protective_edge_israel_gaza">John Kerry warned Netanyahu were on the horizon</a> if he continued to refuse to countenance even the slightest gestures needed to keep the talks with Fatah on track.&nbsp; Netanyahu's response was to "wag his finger" at the US secretary of state.&nbsp; Responsibility, as we've seen, is something only the Palestinians fail to exercise.<br /></span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-55552198602129062822014-07-15T23:59:00.000+01:002014-07-16T01:17:16.889+01:00All you need is Gove.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-28302487">Government reshuffles are always</a> <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2013/10/reshuffling-for-sake-of-it-mostly.html">over-analysed and often pointless affairs</a>, especially in terms of what it means for the departments ministers are being shuttled between. You can take the view that moving someone from say their position as culture secretary, one of the more undemanding jobs, to being plunged in at education is damn stupid considering the level of expertise we should expect of those given the role, or you could instead reason that as the civil service does the bulk of the work anyway, given the outline by the minister, it doesn't really make much odds.<br /><br />What certainly is cretinous in this instance is <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2014/jul/15/cabinet-reshuffle-whos-in-and-whos-out">having a major reshuffle this late into a parliament</a>.&nbsp; While David Cameron has at least refused the Blair tendency to move everyone around every poxy year, the only reason our dear PM is getting rid of so many on the liberal wing of the Tories while at the same time promoting as many loyal women as <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/15/cabinet-reshuffle-lord-hill-says-britain-ready-to-leave-eu">he can is for party political</a> <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/15/cameron-barnacles-trouble-tory-right">and presentational reasons</a> respectively.&nbsp; It's certainly not because Nicky Morgan will be a better education secretary than Michael Gove, although it's difficult to imagine how anyone barring a resurrected King Herod could be any worse, it's down to how <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/15/cameron-sacks-toxic-gove-promotes-women-reshuffle">Cameron has judged Gove to have become</a> too much of an electoral liability in his current job.&nbsp; Therefore he's absolutely the right man to be <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-28311959">the "face" of the Conservatives in the media</a> (is this right? Ed.).<br /><br />No, me neither.&nbsp; Gove's demotion will undoubtedly be presented by his allies in the media as the ultimate example of someone being a victim of their own success.&nbsp; Sadly, there's also more than an element of truth in it.&nbsp; Compare Gove's ramming through of the expansion of academies and setting up of free schools to <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/09/duncan-smith-business-case-universal-credit-approved-treasury">Iain Duncan Smith's catastrophic attempt to introduce universal credit</a>, and judged purely on that basis it's <a href="http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2014/07/why-idiots-succeed.html">bewildering how the latter is still in his job</a>.&nbsp; Unlike IDS though, who has merely got into scrapes with George Osborne <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/10342039/Inside-the-Coalition-Iain-Duncan-Smith-was-not-clever-enough-claimed-Osborne.html">over whether or not he's a bit thick</a>, Gove managed to piss everyone off at some point.&nbsp; Not all his own work, with some of it being the responsibility of <a href="http://politicalscrapbook.net/2014/06/the-worst-of-dominic-cummings/">his just as combative former SpAd Dominic Cummings</a>, most recently seen describing Dave as a <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/shortcuts/2014/jun/16/sphinx-without-riddle-political-put-downs-david-cameron">"sphinx without a riddle"</a>, it's now time to take the battle to the other parties rather than your colleagues.&nbsp; Hence Gove, although bruised, is apparently content to become chief whip and chief TV/radio mug.&nbsp; Why those who didn't like him as education secretary will suddenly discover him to be charming and persuasive in his new role isn't clear, but it must all be part of Lynton Crosby's grand plan.<br /><br />Also integral to Crosby's barnacle-shedding scheme is trying to end the impression Dave has a problem with women.&nbsp; Rather than, err, change the policies women disproportionately oppose, far better is to promote a few more women to defend them, a ploy guaranteed to work just as well.&nbsp; Apart from Morgan, also getting an office of state is Liz Truss, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/15/liz-truss-media-personality-schooling-tory-conservative">taking over as environment secretary </a>from right-winger Owen Paterson, which predictably and despite all the other changes has still elicited moans from the headbangers.&nbsp; Truss you might recall was the minister pushing for the ratio of young children an adult could look after safely to be increased, only for it to run into opposition from that other coalition, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/jun/06/nick-clegg-childcare-standards-liz-truss">Mumsnet and Nick Clegg</a>.&nbsp; Esther McVey, once of GMTV, stays in her job but gets to attend cabinet, while Penny Mordaunt is rewarded for appearing on Splash! by becoming the first coastal communities minister.&nbsp; Any suggestion the introduction of yet another ministerial post is designed to further reduce rebelling is cynicism of the lowest order.&nbsp; Best to gloss over <a href="http://www.leftfootforward.org/2014/07/the-modern-day-norman-tebbit-is-now-a-treasury-minister-be-afraid/">the rise of Priti Patel</a>, lest I start to feel the urge to repeatedly slam my head against the wall.<br /><br />Out then went a whole bunch of older white men, much to the discomfort of <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-the-papers-28303905">those older white men in charge</a> of the country's newspapers.&nbsp; Describing Ken Clarke as middle-aged as the Mail's front page did is also a bit of a stretch, although you have to remember Paul Dacre is determined <a href="http://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2013/10/paul-dacre-he-should-have-retired.html">to see off any attempt to retire him</a> as the paper's editor, and he's 9 years Clarke's junior.&nbsp; More pertinent is Clarke, Dominic Grieve, Damian Green, David Willetts and Alan Duncan have all gone, all of whom were dovish on Europe or liberal in outlook generally.&nbsp; Along with Gove, the new foreign secretary Philip Hammond said he would vote to leave an unreformed EU, while the loss of Clarke, Grieve and Green suggests, as anticipated, the Tory manifesto will <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/law/2014/jul/15/dominic-grieve-warns-uk-withdrawal-human-rights-court-echr">propose leaving the European Convention on Human Rights altogether</a>.<br /><br />The Conservatives seem convinced it will be the messengers as much as the message that will make the difference in 10 months' time.&nbsp; Long-term economic plan; Miliband weird and not prime ministerial; and look at how completely normal and representative your fun, go-getting Tories now are.&nbsp; It ignores how the Tories failed to win in 2010 on a centre-right but not right-wing manifesto, as the fresh-faced alternative to the disastrous tenure of the son of the Manse.&nbsp; Regardless of the polls <a href="http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/8896">occasionally showing a Tory lead</a> or the difference being within the margin of error, there's still nothing to suggest as yet they can win the election outright.&nbsp; If this reshuffle was one of the first steps in an effort to alter that, the party seems set again on deluding itself.<br /></span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-81271790530965200702014-07-14T23:59:00.000+01:002014-07-15T21:27:55.792+01:00An attack of morbidity.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Track-marked amoeba lands craft.&nbsp; Cartwheel of scratches.&nbsp; Dress the tapeworm as pet.<br /><br />A few weeks back a friend (thanks as always, mate) and I paid a visit to <a href="http://highgatecemetery.org/">Highgate cemetery</a>.&nbsp; Yes, <a href="http://theitchtotravel.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/15.jpg">Karl Marx, obviously</a>, but it wasn't just his tomb I wanted to see.&nbsp; It might seem more than a little creepy in these post-Savile times, having an interest in graveyards; all the same, they are always fascinating, humbling, evocative, beguiling places, and <a href="http://europeupclose.com/article/a-victorian-valhalla-meeting-londons-famous-dead-at-highgate-cemetery/">Highgate is one of the finest of its kind</a>.<br /><br />More than anything else, in death we are all equal.&nbsp; In Highgate East the hulking monstrosity of Marx's cenotaph, paid for and constructed by the (Stalinist) Communist Party of Great Britain in the 50s, sits almost directly opposite the plain, minimalistic by contrast headstones of <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/dudewhat/harmanfoot.jpg">Chris Harman and Paul Foot</a>, both members of the SWP, and both of whom died before its current troubles.&nbsp; Foot's epitaph is a quotation from Shelley, while Harman's is from Brecht; Marx's, naturally, quotes himself.&nbsp; At Marx's original resting place <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/dudewhat/marxoriginal.jpg">lies a slab noting the moving</a> of his and his wife's remains.&nbsp; It's riven by cracks, which if you were so inclined you could take either as a reflection on his legacy or what he might have thought of the cultish monument erected 70 years after his death.<br /><br />Away from the "names", one headstone more than any other has stayed with me.&nbsp; On it were the names of two children, who died the same day, at ages I think 5 and 7.&nbsp; While there's a life beneath every plot, a history of someone who came into existence and then as we all must went out of it, behind this particular grave there had to have been a story more tragic than most.&nbsp; Whether they died in an accident or something more sinister there was no indication, as there shouldn't be.&nbsp; In creating a memorial to someone the emphasis ought always to be not on how they died, but how they lived.&nbsp; Or, if they were taken too soon, how they could have lived.<br /><br />Today I visited a cemetery closer to home, one I had been to not so long ago to celebrate a life, just not to see this particular grave.&nbsp; As I searched for it, not remembering where it was, I looked at hundreds of headstones, dedications to husbands, wives, sons, daughters, all regretfully departed, all much loved, all people I didn't know.&nbsp; Yet I found myself tearing up, reminded of how fleeting this experience we call being alive is, of the cruelty when it is snatched away, of the pain caused by parting regardless of the time spent together.&nbsp; The babies who expired within hours or even minutes of taking their first breath of air, if indeed they ever did.&nbsp; The children who never reached adulthood.&nbsp; The former partners, in death reunited.&nbsp; The murder victim, justice finally achieved for her last year.<br /><br />Having been severely depressed, not to mention disposed to ruminating on such things, I've probably thought about dying more than I care to relate.&nbsp; Except, not really.&nbsp; As I sat before my brother's headstone, talking to him, paying my respects to someone I never knew, never could have known, crying my eyes out, as I'm doing again now, it hit me that all the images my mind has conjured up have been but the most wretched facsimile of what my actual death would be like.&nbsp; Not for me personally, as I'm unimportant, as I've always been.&nbsp; I don't hold to the bullshit we are all unique, beautiful creatures line when we are most certainly not.&nbsp; However, to the people that matter, who really matter, you are exactly that, like it or not, despite it often not seeming that way.<br /><br />Life makes no sense.&nbsp; For years I've tried to quantify exactly why it is I feel the way I do, whether there's anything I could have done to change my path, how it is I ended up here.&nbsp; Should I just be happy to have lived the way I have?&nbsp; Can I be?&nbsp; You tell yourself how extraordinarily lucky you are, by historical standards, by quality of life standards, by being born in a western democracy no matter how many things there are wrong with it, and yet it still feels hollow.&nbsp; I think of what is I thought I wanted, how simple, how pitiful it is.&nbsp; Then I look at the alternative solution I've lusted after more than anything, anyone else, how encompassing it is, how it seems to offer release.<br /><br />But at what cost?<br /><br />Fell asleep.&nbsp; Dearly loved.&nbsp; Sadly missed.&nbsp; We'll meet again.&nbsp; Our darling Rich.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com2tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-62670261094890657312014-07-11T13:40:00.003+01:002014-07-11T13:40:53.307+01:00Hidden XS.<center><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/vMICWWlyRYw" width="480"></iframe><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/47C9K9IEjMg" width="480"></iframe></center>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-40837323013381500872014-07-10T23:59:00.000+01:002014-07-11T00:14:04.546+01:00Every modern scourge tamed, but only if we pass this emergency legislation.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/10/surveillance-legislation-commons-support-critics-stitch-up">When all sides of the House agree on a measure</a>, you know there's something else going on behind the scenes.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-28244294">This is an emergency</a>.&nbsp; Lives are at risk.&nbsp; Our prime minister doesn't want to be the one to stand up after an attack and admit more could have been done.&nbsp; This is not about introducing new powers, it's to ensure the authorities can carry on as before.<br /><br />It's utter crap, but every single time it works. The government clearly hoped it would have another justification to fall back on, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jul/04/surveillance-lee-rigby-murder-uk-muslims-syria">as the Graun reported last week</a>. The Intelligence and Security Committee is due imminently to release their report into what involvement the security services had with the killers of Lee Rigby, expected to predictably say they could have done more if they had the precogs seen in Minority Report. Only the ISC report for whatever reason hasn't materialised, meaning the government had to act today regardless <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/10/ministers-emergency-surveillance-law-push-commons">to be able to force it through before parliament</a> goes into its summer recess next week.<br /><br />The excuse is a <a href="http://www.bailii.org/eu/cases/EUECJ/2014/C29312.html">ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union back in April</a> struck down the data sharing agreement between governments and providers which allowed metadata to be kept for up to 12 months.&nbsp; There needed to be far more privacy safeguards in place, <a href="http://gigaom.com/2014/04/08/eu-court-cites-constant-surveillance-strikes-down-data-collection-law/">said the CJEU</a>.&nbsp; The wiseacres among you will note April was three months ago; if this was truly urgent, the legislation would have emerged long before now.&nbsp; Indeed, when Iain Duncan Smith needed to swiftly get an act on statute to deny those on benefits compensation for not being given the information they needed to make an informed choice about the workfare scheme they were sent on, <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2013/03/liam-byrne-must-try-harder.html">the bill was before parliament in just over a month</a> (and that act, incidentally, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/04/high-court-back-to-work-legislation">has also fell foul of the beak</a>).&nbsp; The idea the same wouldn't have been the case if this was truly as serious as claimed is ludicrous.<br /><br />Instead they've waited for the most opportune time to ram through a bill that barely makes any concessions to the ECJ ruling.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/10/snoopers-charter-security-bill-explained">Sure, as part of the apparent deal</a> between the Tories and the Lib Dems/Labour we're now due to get a privacy and civil liberties board as an apparent replacement for the current lone reviewer of terrorism legislation, as well as a review of the RIPA legislation that allows for the very existence of <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/search/label/Tempora">Tempora</a>, but these carry as many potential downsides as they do benefits.&nbsp; <a href="https://terrorismlegislationreviewer.independent.gov.uk/">David Anderson has been a vast improvement</a> <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2011/02/saying-farewell-to-lord-carlile.html">over Lord Carlile</a>, and frankly I'd rather have one decent reviewer than a board of Carliles.&nbsp; Much the same goes for the review of RIPA: are we really supposed to expect the same politicians who have insisted time and time again that rather than putting in more safeguards we in fact need even wider surveillance to accept any report calling for the former?&nbsp; Pull the other one.&nbsp; The sunset clause will therefore provide just the opening the securocrats have been looking for.<br /><br />Nor will the legislation just reinstate the existing agreement as the government and opposition are insisting.&nbsp; <a href="https://twitter.com/JackofKent/status/487357068312346624">As Jack of Kent and others</a> <a href="http://gigaom.com/2014/07/10/uk-fast-tracks-communications-data-retention-law-and-plans-new-us-data-sharing-deal/">have pointed out</a>, it goes beyond what RIPA currently allows.&nbsp; It will require overseas companies to comply with warrants, where previously the law was hazy on whether it applied to them, while also redefining exactly what "telecommunications services" are far more widely, again removing any room for doubt.&nbsp; Rather than risk having these changes scrutinised by committee, the government and opposition have connived in the idea of there being a phony emergency, a move most likely needless in any case considering how the majority of the press and the public accept each new dilution of privacy and civil liberties as needed to save us from <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2014/07/celebrity-betrayal-and-revived-frenzy.html">paedogeddon</a>/bearded fanatics/any thug with a gun/<a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituaries--geoffrey-dickens-1619966.html">transforming teddy bears</a>.<br /><br />See, this is why the idea there was an establishment cover up over child abuse at Elm Guest House or wherever else is so difficult to believe.&nbsp; The odd person with suitably powerful connections can, on occasion, get away with such things.&nbsp; Cyril Smith wasn't just the subject of rumours for instance as we've seen; there were specific allegations published about him that simply weren't followed up or were squashed with help.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/08/children-homes-supply-line-paedophiles-lord-warner">When we're talking about 20 or so high profile figures</a>, as some are claiming, that's a hell of a lot of back covering, involving hundreds of people or more, none of whom were challenged by their conscience into backing up Geoffrey Dickens or taking their concerns to the press or anyone else.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Moreover, government is terrible at keeping secrets or pulling a fast one: it couldn't do it on this, <a href="http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2014/07/water-damage/">it couldn't do it on rendition</a>, where the papers that might have confirmed more flights did land at Diego Garcia were destroyed by "flood", and News International couldn't do it to take a corporate example over phone hacking.&nbsp; This isn't to say there aren't conspiracies to be uncovered, it's we always ought to wield Occam's razor first.&nbsp; Or just a razor in general when it comes to the aforementioned legislation.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-42886249154352965712014-07-09T23:29:00.001+01:002014-07-09T23:30:54.334+01:00These perfect abattoirs.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Only a god can bruise.&nbsp; Only a god can soothe.&nbsp; Only a god reserves the right to forgive those who revile him.<br /><br />How many ways are there to say exactly the same thing differently?&nbsp; For those whom (rightly) argue that history doesn't repeat, it's difficult to explain why it is <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28233135">Israel and Hamas seem stuck</a> <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2008/12/cynicism-of-terrorist-state.html">in a perpetual loop</a> <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2012/11/the-cynicism-of-terrorist-state.html">of action and reaction</a>, neither side moving forward, neither falling behind, while the poor bastards stuck in the middle have to suffer the consequences over and over again.<br /><br />If there is a slight difference this time round, it's that Hamas can't really claim it was Israel that started it.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2014/07/a-price-to-be-paid.html">The kidnap and murder of Gilad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel, and Eyal Yifrah</a> may not have been carried out by Hamas members, or with the knowledge of the leadership, but nor have they so much as condemned the heinous crime. Anyone mentioning one of the teenagers was old enough to serve in the IDF, as all Israelis are required to, or that they were settlers (or rather the children of settlers) is making abominable excuses. They had as much right to life as Muhammad Abu Khudair did, the 17-year-old abducted and <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/05/palestinian-boy-mohammed-abu-khdeir-burned-alive">set alight in an apparent act of vengeance</a>.<br /><br />As usual, the response of Hamas has played straight into Israel's hands.&nbsp; If they had wanted they could have presented Israel's actions in the immediate aftermath of the abduction as what they were: cynical long planned manoeuvres designed to undermine the recently announced unity government.&nbsp; Arresting <a href="http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/7/9/political-crackdownwestbank.html">hundreds of Hamas members wasn't about finding the boy</a>s, not least as we now know the <a href="http://electronicintifada.net/content/netanyahu-government-knew-teens-were-dead-it-whipped-racist-frenzy/13533">Israelis must have realised it was unlikely they were alive</a>, but about getting a reaction.&nbsp; Naturally, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/07/hamas-vows-revenge-israel-seven-members-killed">the rockets from Gaza once again began to fly</a>.&nbsp; Coupled with the understandable anger on the Palestinian street at the murder of Abu Khadir, especially when Israeli politicians used irresponsibly inciteful language, the events of the past few days have been all too familiar.<br /><br />Not that there is an equivalence between the missiles fired into Israel and those once again devastating the Gaza strip. Even the <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/09/jerusalem-prepares-bomb-shelters-rockets-fired-gaza">more advanced Katyushas obtained/manufactured by Hamas</a> and the other militant groups kill only extremely rarely; <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Palestinian_rocket_attacks_on_Israel,_2014">their main purpose is to cause fear</a>, to let Israelis know there will be no peace without a fair settlement that also includes them.&nbsp; The Israeli missiles by contrast, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_aid_to_Israel#Military_aid_and_procurement">provided often by American military aid</a>, only extremely rarely fail to kill. They are also fired without compunction for the innocents caught up with those who might be militant members. <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/09/israel-intercepts-gaza-rockets-heading-for-tel-aviv-live-updates#block-53bd1c8be4b03dba04dbe1b3">The deaths of six others is a price deemed worth it</a> for removing a Hamas terrorist, no matter how low down the pecking order, from this plane of existence.<br /><br />It's also of course about collective punishment.&nbsp; It doesn't matter the whole of Gaza may as well be a free fire zone, or there's <a href="http://www.juancole.com/2014/07/numbers-people-there.html">nowhere the 1.7 million civilians</a> can escape to, the tunnels into Egypt that once provided a lifeline <a href="http://electronicintifada.net/content/closure-tunnels-deprives-gaza-230-million-month-says-government/13080">mostly shut down by new president Sisi</a>, the real victims are <a href="http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2014/07/so-soon-forgotten/">those in southern Israel</a>.&nbsp; No nation could put up with such rocket fire, say the Israelis and Americans as one, except say Syria, where the "moderates" (aka Islamists far more radical than Hamas) we support mortar Damascus every day. The Palestinians simply don't have the <a href="http://angryarab.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/do-you-believe-that-palestinians-in.html">same right to defend themselves</a>.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/09/hamas-goes-to-war-gaza-israel-ceasefire">This supposedly was a battle neither side wanted</a>, only for them to discover there wasn't a way around it. Bombing Gaza never turns out badly for whichever prime minister orders it. Hamas by contrast seems to believe the only way to get back its previous levels of support is by standing up to the onslaught, apparently unconcerned by how many civilians die in the process, thinking each death will only create more resistance.&nbsp; Such grim calculus, such cynicism on both sides.<br /><br />At this point, it's always worth remembering the <a href="http://www.quartetrep.org/quartet/">Quartet's special envoy</a> is a certain Anthony Charles Lynton Blair.<br /><br />Jesus fucking wept.</span> septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-60942650282123509532014-07-08T23:59:00.000+01:002014-07-09T02:09:41.845+01:00Condemned to repeat.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Yesterday was the 9th anniversary of the 7/7 attacks.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2682954/Memorial-7-7-bombing-victims-vandalised-just-hours-families-arrive-ninth-anniversary-commemorations.html">Survivors, relatives of the 52 people murdered by 4 British men</a> once again paid quiet, dignified tribute at the memorial in Hyde Park.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-28193157">The graffiti sprayed by an idiot truther on the memorial</a> the night before was removed long before they arrived.</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br />Despite making a number of attempts since, 7/7 was al-Qaida central's last "success".&nbsp; While other western cities have been attacked post-2005, none of those responsible have been definitively linked back to al-Qaida in Pakistan.&nbsp; Indeed, if we're to believe <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/secret-osama-bin-laden-documents-reveal-dark-days-for-alqaida-7711839.html">the documents captured in the raid on Osama bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad</a>, the hermit leader of the network was having doubts about the wisdom of indiscriminate, high casualty attacks, not surprising considering the damage caused to the image of al-Qaida's brand of jihad <a href="http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2013/11/19-how-zawahri-lost-al-qaeda-mccantsw">by the takfiri sectarianism of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq</a>.</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br />Not for a second though has the level of threat posed by Islamic terrorists diminished, oh no.&nbsp; Just because they aren't as focused as much now on simultaneous suicide attacks doesn't mean we should relax or suggest things aren't as bad. On the contrary, <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/10948725/New-airport-security-measures-unavoidable-says-Sir-Malcolm-Rifkind.html">to do so would be truly irresponsible</a>.&nbsp; It doesn't seem to matter how increasingly ridiculous the plots we're meant to be afraid of are, or how insane the security measures imposed on air passengers have become, we can't question the people who've seen the intelligence and know best.&nbsp; They have our best interests at heart.</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br />Finally then the two other main threats to our security have melded together. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula's master bomb maker <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibrahim_al-Asiri">Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri</a> <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/03/al-qaida-bombmaker">is feared to have passed his knowledge</a> on to the al-Nusra front in Syria, although it's not clear whether this is in the form of devices or training. Intelligence, we're told, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-28138526">suggests foreign fighters returning from the battlefield</a> may have been persuaded to take the fight to the West rather than Assad, with fiendish undetectable bombs hidden in their luggage.&nbsp; This weekend the Americans started introducing checks on electronic devices, requiring airline passengers to demonstrate smartphones, tablets, etc could be powered on, with those found to have uncharged gadgets either not allowed to board or forced to leave their possessions behind.&nbsp; As we simply have to follow our former colonial cousins, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/08/britain-tells-air-passengers-mobile-phones-must-work-security">the same restrictions have since been put</a> in place here.<br /><br />If all this sounds eerily familiar, it might be because we've been through this just a few times before.&nbsp; Al-Asiri is a master bomb maker in the sense that so far, not a single one of his devilish, ingenious devices has had the desired effect of killing infidels.&nbsp; On the contrary, the only person killed by his forays into experimental chemistry has been his own brother, who died <a href="http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.reuters.com%2Farticle%2FlatestCrisis%2FidUSLU594154&amp;date=2009-09-01">attempting to assassinate Prince Mohammed bin Nayef</a> of Saudi Arabia.&nbsp; The attempt was notable for how the bomb was supposedly hidden in Abdullah al-Asiri's rectum, although it's never been properly established whether it was implanted, shoved up there or was rather the first use of an "underwear" bomb, a tactic further refined and then used by <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umar_Farouk_Abdulmutallab">Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab</a>, again without the desired effect.&nbsp; Also intercepted <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_cargo_plane_bomb_plot">were his printer bombs</a>, while another device was given to the Saudi intelligence services by a double agent.<br /><br />Since then we've had a scare approximately every six months, and each time nothing has come of it.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jul/06/al-qaida-belly-bombs-planes-warns">3 years ago almost to the day the US warned of implanted bombs</a>, although without being able to pinpoint exactly which part of the body would house the explosives.&nbsp; At the end of last year Frank Gardner, ever the willing conduit for the spooks' whispers, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-25206462">insisted Al-Asiri was once again refining his methods</a>.&nbsp; Now apparently we're meant to worry about smartphones, <a href="http://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/airport-terror-alert-over-iphone-stealth-bomb-9584004.html">especially iPhones and Samsung Galaxy devices</a>, handily the two most popular models on the market.&nbsp; To get technical for just a second, I bothered to weigh my Galaxy S3.&nbsp; The battery weighs 80 grams, while the phone with battery weighs 140.&nbsp; Abdulmutallab's bomb <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentaerythritol_tetranitrate#Terrorist_use">we're told contained 80 grams of PETN</a>, the explosive Al-Asiri's devices have used.&nbsp; 80 grams is almost certainly not enough to pierce a plane's fuselage, that is if the bomb successfully detonated, unlike Abdulmutallab's.&nbsp; Unless these bombs are sophisticated to the point of concealing more explosive in weight than the phone would ever normally be able to without raising suspicions, the chances of one blowing a plane out of the sky are fairly low.<br /><br />It isn't clear why, having upped the amount of PETN in the printer bombs to the point where they certainly would endanger a plane, Al-Asiri or those he's trained would then turn back to lesser quantities and risk the possibility of yet more failures.&nbsp; Nor does this tale properly add up when it comes to what we know about al-Nusra.&nbsp; Regardless of the affiliation with al-Qaida, it has shown absolutely no sign of being interested in attacks outside of Syria.&nbsp; Why would it when it has a life or death struggle on its hands, against both ISIS and Assad?&nbsp; <a href="http://www.leftfootforward.org/2014/07/its-ludicrous-to-deny-the-threat-to-the-uk-from-isis/">Charlie Cooper of Quilliam insists we should be worried</a> precisely because of the rivalry between ISIS and al-Qaida, with one group or the other likely to try an attack on the West respectively either to establish itself once and for all as al-Qaida's successor, or to regain the initiative.&nbsp; This doesn't instantly translate into why al-Nusra would be the group chosen to carry out the legwork, when surely it ought to be al-Qaida central itself handling the fightback.&nbsp; It seems more than a little convenient it all works back into the other current scare, that of Western citizens who've gone to fight with either al-Nusra or ISIS returning home and continuing the battle here.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/08/two-british-men-admit-linking-extremist-group-syria">Today saw another 2 men convicted of terrorism offences</a> for fighting in Syria, despite there being no evidence whatsoever to suggest they posed a threat to the UK.&nbsp; It also comes after, of all people, former head of MI6 Richard Dearlove <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jul/07/islamist-terror-threat-out-proportion-former-mi6-chief-richard-dearlove">gave a speech arguing the terrorist threat has been exaggerated</a> by both politicians and the media.&nbsp; As head of MI6 post 9/11 he was up to his neck in both rendition and the dissemination of intelligence on Iraq, likely to be criticised by the Chilcot inquiry.&nbsp; His message is, despite what others have been insisting, <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2014/06/the-taking-of-mosul-isnt-our-fault-well.html">the rise</a> <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2014/06/williams-last-words.html">of ISIS</a> (or the Islamic State, as it is now pretentiously insisting it be called in its umpteenth name change) is related to the Arab spring and the on-going proxy war between Sunni Saudi Arabia/Qatar and Shia Iran more than anything else.&nbsp; Those going to fight in Syria are doing so not as a first step towards targeting the West, but due to a sense of religious duty as much an adherence to takfirist ideology.&nbsp; This doesn't make them pleasant, liberal people by any stretch of the imagination, but it also hardly means they'll be coming back to bomb tube trains.<br /><br />In more sensible times, Dearlove would be listened to.&nbsp; These are not sensible times, as is all too apparent.&nbsp; Instead it's a time when the <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/law/2014/jul/06/track-phone-usage-law-snoopers-charter">security services' demands for more power are never-ending</a>, and organisations such as Quilliam have to justify their existence by forever looking for fresh bogeymen.&nbsp; Despite dire predictions, the sky did not fall when the threat was considered its most serious.&nbsp; Nor will it now.&nbsp; You can but hope that by the 10th anniversary of 7/7, we might just have finally got some perspective.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-54181213405044099132014-07-07T23:59:00.000+01:002014-07-10T04:09:54.167+01:00Celebrity betrayal and a revived frenzy.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Last century promised so much.&nbsp; Now all our heroes are dead or corrupt.<br /><br />As a sprog, one of my favourite, if not absolute favourite TV programmes was Rolf's Cartoon Time, later <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolf%27s_Cartoon_Club">Rolf's Cartoon Club</a> after he shifted to ITV.&nbsp; I even joined the club, as there was one attached to the show (really?), and could well still have somewhere the paraphernalia sent every so many months.&nbsp; In truth Harris wasn't a great artist, and while <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/shortcuts/2014/jul/02/i-saw-rolf-harris-dark-side-portrait-queen-art">I detest the snobbery that greeted his commission</a> to paint the Queen, there were obviously dozens, hundreds, thousands of others far more deserving of being given the publicity of doing so.&nbsp; Rolf's amateurishness was however part of the point: just as with Neil Buchanan and Tony Hart to name but two other presenters, their enthusiasm was meant to inspire kids to be creative themselves, to nurture the belief they could think out and do something as impressive (at least to a child) as <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&amp;v=8JuyfSuS2lM#t=309">one of Art Attack's on a grand scale collages</a>.<br /><br />Reading the latest <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/03/rolf-harris-max-clifford-jimmy-savile-interviewed-dark-sides">outburst of being wise</a> <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-the-papers-28101045">after the guilty</a> <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10937762/Rolf-Harris-trial-we-were-all-fooled-by-his-primitive-magic.html">verdict comment</a>, just as there would have been an outburst of why was he even prosecuted comment had he been found innocent, it's hard not to <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2014/jul/07/rolf-harris-dailymail">agree with Dominic Lawson in the Sunday Times</a> and be thoroughly dispirited at the uniform reaction.&nbsp; Rolf Harris didn't betray me, <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2681286/PLATELLS-PEOPLE-My-old-friend-Rolf-groomed-too.html">as so many others are convinced</a> he did them just by existing and not admitting he was in private a different, sad and extremely flawed man.&nbsp; The only people he betrayed are those whom put personal trust in him and those whose innocence he stole.&nbsp; As an adult he's never meant anything to me; all I have is those childhood memories of a much simpler time.&nbsp; I bear him no ill, and feel sorry for him, just as I also feel desperately sorry for his victims.&nbsp; Rather than <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jul/04/rolf-harris-jail-sentence-review-attorney-general">the sentence being too lenient</a>, I thought it too harsh, lack of guilt or regret notwithstanding.&nbsp; Some of the reporting <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jul/04/rolf-harris-websites-indecent-images-children">on his supposed child porn stash has also been</a> extremely dubious, with it being most likely he sought out images of young looking but over the age of 18 women.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/comment/columns/dominiclawson/article1430553.ece">As Lawson wrote</a>, there really doesn't seem to be any room for grey when it comes to celebrities in this hellish second decade of the 2000s.&nbsp; They are either at the very peak of their powers or in crisis; they are either globe trotting behemoths or once again piling on the pounds; they are either heroes, or they are villains.&nbsp; We, or at least most seem to find it intolerable for anything of someone convicted of offences against children to continue to exist, or at least be consumed in public.&nbsp; It's not just lobbing <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jul/03/rolf-harris-hometown-removes-signs">plaques</a> down the memory hole <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10944743/Rolf-Harris-eBay-to-review-sales-of-artists-work.html">or the refusal to host sales of artwork</a>, it's the rubbing out of a person's existence in substitute for not being able to do so literally.&nbsp; Everyone else's brand must be protected.<br /><br />You can also forget about rehabilitation: look at Chris Langham, acquitted on charges of sexual assault <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Langham#Arrest_and_conviction">but found guilty of possession of child pornography</a>.&nbsp; A great comic actor bedevilled by alcoholism and himself abused as a child, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0486413/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1">he's barely worked since</a> (he appears alongside Leslie Grantham in <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2793072/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_4">The Factory</a>, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leslie_Grantham#Murder_Conviction">Grantham's conviction for murder</a> not having affected his career as much as his later "sex scandal" did).&nbsp; A fitting punishment?&nbsp; Only with death is there the opportunity for release: those stations that had rarely if ever played Michael Jackson's music after his trials suddenly found it was again permissible to fill the airwaves with his oeuvre.&nbsp; Once gone from our midst we can start to put things in context, despising Wagner's rabid anti-Semitism while adoring his operas, concerned about Lewis Carroll's fascination with young girls while still enthralled by his Alice.<br /><br />Nor do we learn anything from past events.&nbsp; Was it only 18 months ago <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2012/11/through-media-looking-glass.html">we had the McAlpine fiasco</a>, Philip Schofield brandishing a list of names dug up via Google at David Cameron, demanding they be investigated?&nbsp; <a href="http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/Yewtree_more_propaganda_than_police_investigation/14686">Can it only be last February when Operation Yewtree was being criticised</a> after the initial prosecutions had all failed?&nbsp; Now with some of the press in full cry we have <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/07/theresa-may-child-abuse-allegations-inquiry-files">Theresa May announcing a Hillsborough-type inquiry</a> into the potential covering up of child abuse across almost every sector, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/07/theresa-may-child-abuse-inquiry-investigate">whether it be government, churches, or broadcasters</a>.&nbsp; This has been principally sparked by the sudden rediscovery of how Geoffrey Dickens, a Conservative MP, had presented the then home secretary Leon Brittan <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jul/06/norman-tebbit-theresa-may-cover-up-child-abuse-dossier">with a "dossier" on child abuse by establishment figures</a>, which may or may not be connected with the investigation into the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elm_Guest_House_child_abuse_scandal">Elm Guest House</a>, a brothel frequented by among others, Cyril Smith.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/05/elm-guest-house-paedophile-network-allegations">That 114 papers connected with Dickens' dossier</a> have either gone missing or been destroyed simply has to mean this is a cover-up, or will be seen as such.&nbsp; So insists Simon Danczuk, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/06/child-abuse-inquiries-widespread-cover-up">billed by some as having "exposed" Cyril Smith</a>, ignoring the <a href="http://northernvoicesmag.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/sexual-abuse-cyril-smiths-family-vs.html">Rochdale Alternative Paper</a> and <a href="http://theneedleblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/untitled4.png">Private Eye</a>, just as they were ignored when they printed the original allegations against Smith.&nbsp; It couldn't possibly be the whole thing was mostly if not entirely bollocks, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/07/geoffrey-dickens-mp-campaign-child-abuse-taken-seriously">Dickens being perhaps the original rent-a-gob MP</a>, <a href="http://ianpace.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/mary-whitehouses-favourite-tv-programme-jimll-fix-it/">mates with Mary Whitehouse</a>, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Hayman_(diplomat)">hitting one target</a> and then never able to repeat the trick.&nbsp; Towards the end of the 80s, along with a distinct minority of social workers, <a href="http://barthsnotes.com/2014/07/02/geoffrey-dickens-child-abuse-claims-and-satanic-panic/">Dickens was convinced children were being ritually</a> and Satanically abused, that great witch-hunt where witches really were sought and none discovered, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_satanic_ritual_abuse_allegations#United_Kingdom">families broken apart in an attempt to prove</a> one of the great recent myths and panics.<br /><br />If there is a case for an over-arching inquiry, it's to put all the allegations that have surfaced or resurfaced since Jimmy Savile's abuse came to light to both the test and to get them out in the open.&nbsp; One aspect barely covered has been what the security services were up to or knew about the likes of Savile, apparently unconcerned as they were at his forming relationships with the royals and Margaret Thatcher.&nbsp; Were they too taken in, or not bothered by his predilections?&nbsp; Did they perhaps have some sort of involvement with Cyril Smith, <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2602802/How-Liberal-party-police-MI5-concealed-MP-Cyril-Smiths-industrial-scale-child-abuse.html">as has been hinted at</a>, hence why he wasn't brought down after RAP and Private Eye first printed the claims about him?&nbsp; While suggestions of a massive cover-up aren't completely unbelievable, especially when you consider <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Driberg#Daily_Express_columnist">what the likes of say Tom Driberg got away</a> with through having friends in high places, it does stretch credulity to the limit.&nbsp; It seems all too similar to the wild conspiracy theories that have floated around the internet for years; moreover, if the likes of Private Eye had thought there was something to Dickens' dossier, they certainly would have ran with it.&nbsp; Before Newsnight took Steve Messham at his word over Lord McAlpine, the magazine was also burned by his understandable failures of memory.<br /><br />Such an inquiry must not though be a place for allegations to be looked at but not seriously investigated, then reported as being proof of the depravity of those accused.&nbsp; As Anna Raccoon has been painstakingly pointing out (I must stress I wonder about her motives and think the number of allegations against Savile means he definitely was an abuser, albeit not on the scale as has been suggested) <a href="http://annaraccoon.com/2014/06/26/eyeball-eyewash-the-yewtree-allegations/">by actually reading the NHS report</a> <a href="http://annaraccoon.com/2014/06/27/mortuary-mendacity-the-yewtree-allegations-continued/">into Savile's access to the estate</a>, <a href="http://annaraccoon.com/2014/07/07/truly-awful-dreadful-the-yewtree-allegations-continued/">not a lot of them stand up to scrutiny</a>.&nbsp; Faded memories are one thing, giving credence to dubious in the extreme claims something else entirely.&nbsp; The appointment of the head of the NSPCC to lead a separate inquiry into last year's government search for files, an organisation that <a href="http://www.nspcc.org.uk/news-and-views/our-news/child-protection-news/savile-child-sex-abuse/savile-child-sex-scandal-one-year-on_wda98732.html">has made some of the most hyperbolic claims about Savile</a>, therefore raises concerns.&nbsp; It all smacks of the government acting because there have been days of tabloid front pages rather than because it truly believes there's something in the claims.&nbsp; Also helpful is the main inquiry's report will be published in the next parliament rather than this one.<br /><br />There's another subtext here.&nbsp; Focusing on the establishment, the politicians, the BBC, it all shifts the glare away from the rest of the media.&nbsp; The conviction of Harris at almost the exact same time as that of Andy Coulson and the rest of the phone hacking gang <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2014/06/the-prerogative-of-harlot-throughout.html">helped superbly in distracting attention</a> from the former tabloid editor, while few have wondered just why it is our supposedly free press never managed to catch any of these abusers, focusing instead on the small timers.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2014/04/the-king-of-sleaze-abandoned-by-sleaze.html">The silence on Max Clifford was understandable</a>, as they were so hand in glove with one another; on Harris it's more difficult to think why it is nothing was found out before now.&nbsp; Harris wasn't influential, and didn't court those in high places to the extent of a Savile.&nbsp; He also admitted to suffering from depression, failing to be there for his daughter, to having a darker side.&nbsp; Nothing came of it.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04994d6/newsnight-07072014">Watching the "debate" on Newsnight just now</a>, I felt like throwing myself out the window, the sound and fury adding to the impression pitchforks are being sharpened over something that failed to get attention three decades ago for the reason there wasn't anything there to begin with.<br /><br />And what did become of us? A borrowed intellect and a stolen pose.<br /></span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com3tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-78801725179812202422014-07-04T13:42:00.001+01:002014-07-04T13:42:44.341+01:00You used to hold me.<center><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/X57bQyTUCfw" width="480"></iframe><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/je_8-9EARgo" width="480"></iframe></center>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-49661341406623623232014-07-03T23:59:00.000+01:002014-07-04T00:54:25.425+01:00A price to be paid.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">I wanted to rub the human face in its own vomit, and force it to look in the mirror.<br /><br /><a href="https://www.facebook.com/bennettnaftalienglish/posts/492405927557377">There can be no forgiveness for child murderers</a>.&nbsp; <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Limor-Livnat-%D7%9C%D7%99%D7%9E%D7%95%D7%A8-%D7%9C%D7%91%D7%A0%D7%AA/155726207778990?ref=br_tf">May God avenge their blood</a>.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/01/world/meast/israel-teenagers-death/">They sanctify cruelty, and we mercy and compassion</a>.<br /><br />Rhetoric bound to incite, designed to incite, is nothing new in the Middle East.&nbsp; Calls for revenge are commonplace, with both sides in Israel/Palestine issuing them.&nbsp; Rarely though has an Israeli prime minister been so forthright, so irresponsible in their choice of words as Benjamin Netanyahu has since the discovery of the bodies of the three missing Israeli teenagers, presumed murdered by Palestinian terrorists.&nbsp; "They were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by animals," <a href="http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/repeated-vengeance-netanyahu.html">his initial statement read</a>.&nbsp; "We'll expand the battle as much as needed.&nbsp; No matter where they hide, we’ll reach them until the last one and we’ll take our revenge," <a href="http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/aftermath-demolitions-palestinian.html">he added in his eulogy at the boys' funeral</a>.<br /><br />Hours later, after protests in Jerusalem <a href="http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/jerusalem-lynch-mobs-attack-palestinians-after-israeli-teens-funerals">which saw hundreds chanting "death to Arabs"</a>, 17-year-old Muhammad Abu Khudair was abducted, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/03/palestinian-teenager-khdeir-video-footage-abduction-kidnapping">his body later found dumped</a>, apparently set alight.&nbsp; Before then, <a href="http://www.juancole.com/2014/07/palestinian-children-unlawful.html">as Human Rights Watch reports</a>, two Palestinians had already been deliberately run over by Israeli settlers, one an 9-year-old girl.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4536910,00.html">Despite Ynetnews reporting on mobs in Jerusalem</a> attacking Arabs, most attention has instead focused on Palestinians in <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/02/palestinian-demonstrators-clash-police-suspected-attack">the occupied east of the city clashing with police</a>, amid a strengthening of the IDF presence on the edge of Gaza.<br /><br />The revelation <a href="http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/07/misleading-kidnapping-almoz-hamas-vengeance-hatred.html">the Israeli authorities knew almost</a> <a href="http://972mag.com/how-the-public-was-manipulated-into-believing-the-teens-were-alive/92865/">from the outset it was extremely unlikely </a><a href="http://972mag.com/how-the-public-was-manipulated-into-believing-the-teens-were-alive/92865/">Gilad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel, and Eyal Yifrah</a> had survived for long after they were kidnapped does not come as a surprise.&nbsp; The phone call one of the boys managed to make to the emergency services included audible gunshots; these were removed from the released version.&nbsp; The car used in the abduction was recovered, without the fact blood had been found inside being made public.&nbsp; Indeed, it seems as though they also knew <a href="http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/06/qawasmeh-clan-hebron-hamas-leadership-mahmoud-abbas.html?utm_source=Al-Monitor+Newsletter+[English]&amp;utm_campaign=06fee2792b-June_30_2014&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_28264b27a0-06fee2792b-93084597#">who was responsible almost from the outset</a>, with the two men since named as believed to be the kidnappers disappearing within 24 hours of the boys going missing.&nbsp; Despite this, something that looks exactly like a campaign <a href="http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/aftermath-demolitions-palestinian.html">designed to undermine Hamas in the West Bank was undertaken</a>, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/03/world/middleeast/israel.html?ref=todayspaper&amp;_r=0">with the arrest of at least 400 men</a> and an influx of 2,000 IDF soldiers.&nbsp; 7 Palestinians were also killed in the period following the abduction, f<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/02/reporting-contradictions-on-israeli-deaths">our of them teenagers</a>.<br /><br />Nor does it seem despite the repeated claims of Netanyahu and others <a href="http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/07/qawasmeh-kidnapping-hamas-kuttab-netanyahu.html#">that Hamas had any real involvement in the murder</a> of the three hitch-hiking teens.&nbsp; Why would they having just succeeded <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/02/palestinian-unity-government-sworn-in-fatah-hamas">in reaching an agreement with Fatah to share power</a>?&nbsp; Instead, it seems a rogue element recently distanced itself further from Hamas was behind the kidnapping, probably designed to undermine precisely the agreed accord between the previously warring factions.&nbsp; With the Netanyahu coalition denouncing Mahmoud Abbas for trying to achieve Palestinian unity, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/05/israel-build-more-homes-settlements">announcing the construction of a further 1,500 homes in illegal settlements</a> as a riposte, any excuse to disrupt Hamas further would have been seized upon.&nbsp; It just so happens they had an extremely good one.<br /><br />Whether the Israeli public will react with disgust to learning the truth was kept from them for so long remains to be seen.&nbsp; The response to the discovery of the bodies was always going to result in an outpouring of grief and anger, yet even by the standards of the conflict it's been a shock to the system.&nbsp; Smiling teenage girls <a href="http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/selfie-potential-murderer.html">posting photos of themselves holding racist slogans</a>; soldiers showing off their weapons, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1436966449902421&amp;set=a.1436816133250786.1073741827.1436809373251462&amp;type=1&amp;permPage=1">one image with "revenge" spelled out in bullets</a>; 35,000 likes for a Facebook page demanding retribution, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/03/world/middleeast/israel.html?ref=todayspaper&amp;_r=0">described as "passionate" in the New York Times</a>.&nbsp; If there's a single encouraging sign to take from all of this, and it's an extremely slight one, <a href="http://www.voanews.com/content/israeli-police-palestinians-clash-after-suspected-revenge-killing/1949038.html">the swift denunciation of the murder of Muhammad Abu Khudair</a> by the US suggests they viewed the language used by Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett among others as beyond the pale, bound to exacerbate tensions rather than attempt to calm the situation.&nbsp; <a href="http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/repeated-vengeance-netanyahu.html">That the Israeli prime minister has since toned down his rhetoric</a>, albeit far too late, could be a sign of pressure being applied.&nbsp; Even so, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28148976">one again fears for the trapped</a>, beleaguered people of Gaza.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-46675038697303865742014-07-02T23:59:00.000+01:002014-07-03T19:07:33.092+01:00Everyone I've loved or hated always seems to leave.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Puking, shaking, sinking, I still stand for old ladies.&nbsp; Can't shout, can't scream, hurt myself to get pain out.<br /><br />Remember that thankfully brief period just after the turn of the millennium when nu-metal/rap-metal seemed to be all conquering?&nbsp; How could anyone possibly forget?&nbsp; Such was the success of perhaps the standard bearers of the ill-fated movement, Limp Bizkit, that Fred Durst's band contributed <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3UHMV3jrZk">the main theme to Mission Impossible 2</a>.&nbsp; Then there was Slipknot, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hm7vnOC4hoY">Papa Roach</a>, KoRn, Puddle of Mudd, and most importantly for this piece, Linkin Park.<br /><br />Ah, Linkin Park.&nbsp; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gd9OhYroLN0">Crawling</a>, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yw1Tgj9-VU">In the End</a> and all the rest are classics of the period, in they're perfect distillations of what the especially angsty side of nu-metal was all about.&nbsp; Previous generations of rebellious teenagers heard music that tended to suggest they either direct their anger outward, or better still, created the conditions which enabled them to create their own new sub-culture, somewhere they could belong.&nbsp; This isn't to say those into the heavier side of usually American rock didn't have their own cliques, and in my neck of the words we called those who belonged to it or dressed in the style grebos, but I digress.&nbsp; Nu-metal seemed different in that it suggested the best way to deal with the loneliness and pain of being a teenager was to direct it against yourself.&nbsp; At least, that's what it seemed at the time.&nbsp; When the chorus of Crawling is "crawling in my skin, these wounds they will not heal", why would anyone think differently?<br /><br />If I haven't made it clear before, I was more than a bit of a dickbag until not long after this period (who am I kidding, I still am).&nbsp; What could be more enjoyable then than a spot of trolling Linkin Park fans?&nbsp; Whether this was an official site or not I now can't recall; what I do is there were plenty of other teenagers the band did speak to, and they were incredibly easy to wind up/upset.&nbsp; Before the banhammer came down, plenty of forum threads were duly derailed, much personal shit was mocked, and self-harm especially made light of.&nbsp; Kill yourselves.&nbsp; Do it properly.&nbsp; Slice up and not across.<br /><br />At the time I hadn't realised the sadness I felt, the self-loathing I was beginning to truly experience and the longing for things to stay the same meant I had far more in common with these kids than I would have ever admitted.&nbsp; I didn't know I had been depressed, was depressed, would become more so.&nbsp; It was just angst, typical hormonal stuff, nothing more; I'd get over it.<br /><br />Karma doesn't exist, couldn't possibly, not least when so many of those deserving will never get their comeuppance, but all I had dished out, not just online obviously, came back and far more besides.&nbsp; So it was that probably only a year and a half later I started using a knife against myself.&nbsp; Irony of ironies.&nbsp; Hypocrite of hypocrites.&nbsp; Where I got the idea I don't know; extremely rarely does someone begin to self-harm completely of their own volition.&nbsp; Perhaps it was from a friend I spoke to over the internet who had told me he had cut himself.&nbsp; Maybe I thought it would give some kind of release, divert my attention from thinking about everything else to a real, physical injury.&nbsp; It could have been I wanted to prove just how "4 real" I was.&nbsp; As usual, probably a mixture of all three.<br /><br />Except, thankfully in retrospect, I wasn't very good at it.&nbsp; Not that I didn't try.&nbsp; I even bought a Stanley knife from a market stall so as to keep from blunting the kitchen cutlery (jokes).&nbsp; Surprisingly, cutting yourself hurts.&nbsp; Who knew, right?&nbsp; It didn't however have any real effect on me.&nbsp; It didn't distract me.&nbsp; It didn't make me feel better.&nbsp; All it did was leave lines of not much more than scratches on my arm.&nbsp; It was addictive though, and I kept doing it for a while.&nbsp; For some people, it clearly does help.&nbsp; <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4942834.stm">There was controversy a while back about providing adult patients</a> with a "safe" environment where they could self-harm, on the same principle as allowing addicts to inject.&nbsp; If it's a first step in getting those with a severe problem to stop, then it's worth a go.<br /><br /></span><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-9g-Im9dbrtg/U7SVyexWCLI/AAAAAAAAAXU/Q6sTWB2fH3k/s1600/20140702_181224.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-9g-Im9dbrtg/U7SVyexWCLI/AAAAAAAAAXU/Q6sTWB2fH3k/s1600/20140702_181224.jpg" height="300" width="400" /></a></span></div><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">When you cut yourself, you aren't thinking of the future.&nbsp; You exist only in the moment.&nbsp; In my case I didn't think I had a future anyway.&nbsp; I certainly didn't imagine that 11 years later the scars would still be all too visible, a constant reminder of how fucking stupid you were, you still are.&nbsp; As I've made clear, I never cut too deep, with the possible exception of the mark dead centre, where I gouged as much as slashed.&nbsp; Here's the warning, kids: if you think cutting will solve something, anything, know that you will bear it for a long, long time, even if you're a wuss like I was.&nbsp; Sure, you could cover the marks with a tattoo (if that is the damaged skin can be covered), but it will have to be a pretty damn big one, we're talking almost a full sleeve, and they cost money, money that could definitely be spent on better things.&nbsp; Besides, is a tattoo going to make the difference that matters the most, the one to you, when you know what it's hiding?&nbsp; Plus trust me, while a tiny minority of people might like scars, they won't appreciate those where it's apparent how the injury happened.<br /><br />See, I was wrong about Linkin Park.&nbsp; Not about them being shite, natch, especially when everyone could have been listening to say, <a href="https://open.spotify.com/album/33h4FVCtfR6FUpFyd2yLNO">Relationship of Command</a> instead.&nbsp; Rather it's that the lyrics, regardless of what you think about them, meant something to those people at a time when it mattered.&nbsp; When they needed to know someone else had gone through what they were, were thinking the same way they might have been, a popular beat combo filled the role.&nbsp; Looking at the mainstream in 2014, about the only person telling teens to be themselves and not to worry about being different is, err, Lady Gaga.&nbsp; How times change.<br /></span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com2tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-21136789336293305242014-07-01T23:59:00.000+01:002014-07-02T03:21:42.126+01:00When presenting failure as success works.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">You furnish decay with innocent hands.&nbsp; You furnish decay with polymer down.<br /><br />Politics is a strange, constantly changing, always the same business.&nbsp; There are times <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28083829">when you can present failure as success and get away with it</a>, and there are times when you can claim failure when you've succeeded and get pilloried for it.&nbsp; You can travel across Europe, get the signature of a world leader that condemns an entire country and be feted for ensuring peace (at least for a few months), or you can go to Brussels, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/28/cameron-eu-juncker-defeat-britain-exit">be completely humiliated</a>, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/29/andrew-rawnsley-cameron-right-about-juncker-which-makes-his-defeat-worse">shown up as having precisely no influence over anything</a>, and <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/30/david-cameron-juncker-mps-european-strategy">yet be cheered to the rafters by your backbenchers</a> and <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/10934657/David-Camerons-EU-reform-A-long-tough-campaign-and-the-right-one.html">most of the media</a> as though you didn't just stop someone unsuitable from becoming EU commission president, but put a lance through their bowel in the bargain.<br /><br />This is the really odd thing about David Cameron: for all the insults liberally thrown at Ed Miliband, about being weak, a loser, a nerd, weird, by rights the two former jibes should have stuck to our glorious prime minister.&nbsp; Ever since he went to the <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2011/12/in-europe-without-influence.html">Eurozone summit back at the tail end of 2011</a> and wielded the veto, achieving precisely zilch other than further isolating Britain in Europe, his policy on the EU has been one flub after another, yielding to his backbenchers in a way that would have seen his predecessors condemned as vacillating pygmies.<br /><br />Pressured by growing discontent at his leadership, <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2013/01/if-if-and-if.html">he promised an in/out referendum in 2017 following</a> a successful re-negotiation of our role in the EU, believing giving a set in stone pledge would buy off his more intransigent critics.&nbsp; Instead, as was wholly predictable, they've kept on pushing, trying repeatedly to hold the next government to account by <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/david-cameron-vows-to-continue-fight-for-eu-referendum-after-lords-block-bill-9101068.html">forcing the referendum on to the statute book</a> despite it being utterly futile.&nbsp; Nor did it have the other desired effect of <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2013/05/cameron-hostage-to-fortune.html">showing UKIP voters the only way to be sure of a vote</a> is to support the Tories; again, if anything, it's just pushed those already disposed to wanting out to plump for Farage.&nbsp; Cameron insists he wants us to stay in, after all.&nbsp; Why would they be bought off with half measures?&nbsp; To complete the trifecta, it hasn't trapped Labour either, Miliband refusing to promise a referendum when there are far more pressing issues to be dealt with, and when staying in is so obviously in our interests.<br /><br />If another aim was to make it clear to the rest of Europe we could leave, causing concern leading to&nbsp; continental leaders becoming more amenable to to Tory demands, that's gone for the birds as well.&nbsp; And no wonder, as the only way most Eurosceptics <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/20/juncker-merkel-cameron-britain-eu-european-commission">know how to communicate is through abuse</a>.&nbsp; Whatever Jean-Claude Juncker is, he's not the most dangerous man in Europe, that old formulation given life yet again by the Sun.&nbsp; When the Germans, otherwise sympathetic to Cameron and desperate to ensure we don't leave do a volte face and support Juncker, it's not just down to Angela Merkel coming under domestic pressure, it's also in part due <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jun/23/polish-mps-ridicule-cameron-stupid-propaganda-eurosceptics">to our counter-productive attempts at lobbying</a>, or more accurately described, that odd mixture of threatening and pleading.<br /><br />We are then according even to Cameron one step closer to the exit.&nbsp; Juncker's presidency of the Commission will make the re-negotiation more difficult.&nbsp; Understandably, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jun/30/politics-sketch-failure-success-cameron-barmy-army">the likes of Bill Cash and Edward Leigh lap it up</a>, unconcerned at how the exit happens so long as it does.&nbsp; Nor does the obvious weakness of a British prime minister concern those it would normally excise deeply.&nbsp; It also doesn't bother them how the increasing likelihood of leaving the EU <a href="http://www.leftfootforward.org/2013/05/prospect-of-eu-exit-boosts-support-for-scottish-independence/">could affect the Scottish independence referendum</a>, when the SNP have been campaigning on the basis of being a welcoming country, wanting to be an active member of the EU, calling for more immigration rather than less.&nbsp; The dismay of the vast majority of the business community is <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/28/european-union-exit-will-harm-britain-says-cbi">something else that can be shrugged off</a>, especially when Labour is seen with such suspicion.<br /><br />On almost any other issue Cameron would have been filleted had he talked so big and ended up achieving so little.&nbsp; When the level of debate about the EU is so wonderfully summed up by the classlessness of <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/shortcuts/2014/jul/01/ukip-turn-their-backs-on-european-parliament">UKIP MEPs turning their backs in parliament though</a>, the kind of political gesture that would make fifth-formers look like idiots, it just doesn't get through the dissonance.&nbsp; A man who supposedly wants us to remain in a reformed Europe gave into the demands of his want out MPs at the first sign of trouble, and on every occasion since has multiplied the magnitude of his original error.&nbsp; If the Tories win in 2015, a huge if, he faces the nightmarish prospect of having to bargain and cajole <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10932929/Cabinet-ministers-attack-cowardly-EU-leaders-in-Juncker-row-and-unite-behind-Cameron.html">those he and other members of the cabinet have insulted</a>, knowing it could end up in a choice between putting either the interests of the country or himself as Tory party leader first.&nbsp; Going by his past decisions, it's not difficult to ascertain which option he'd go for.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-38183779417927957002014-06-30T20:52:00.001+01:002014-06-30T21:19:27.436+01:00White people as far as the eye can see.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/errnc8/acts/axcbj5#p02169t0">"We're Mogwai from Glasgow, Scotland."</a>&nbsp; You only need hear Stuart Braithwaite say those words in his distinctive lilt, the way he always introduces the band, to know that for however long they play, everything will be all right.&nbsp; While the BBC <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28070775">were raving away about how heavy metal was taking over the Pyramid stage</a>, agog at just how noisy and uninhibited <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metallica#Napster_controversy_.282000.29">the tossers who sued Napster were</a>, away at the Park stage a group that know the quiet parts are just as important as the loud ones were in their element.&nbsp; They might not have played Like Herod, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0H2Td31xdY">the version they recorded for John Peel putting anything</a> by Metallica to shame in terms of sheer aural punishment, but Mogwai Fear Satan more than made up for it.&nbsp; Their thank you at the end of the set was both heartfelt and pointed, a barely veiled nod to the comments beforehand about <a href="http://www.nme.com/news/mogwai/77663">the "shite" they were billed against</a>.<br /><br />Glastonbury was without a doubt <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2013/07/glastonbury-view-from-at-home.html">better this year than last</a>, in my obviously irrelevant view formed from sitting in front of a computer at home.&nbsp; At least it was so long as you ignored the main stage entirely, which is increasingly the best policy.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/errnc8/acts/abhq2m#p021b6v6">Arcade Fire undoubtedly tried their best</a>, but they're never festival headliners in a million years, however much I like them.&nbsp; It also might have meant something if Metallica had been on the Pyramid on Saturday night over 20 years ago; in 2014 it's frankly embarrassing.&nbsp; As for Kasabian, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/jun/29/kasabian-or-spinal-tap-billy-bragg-tell-them-apart">comparing them to Spinal Tap</a> suggests a sense of humour they conspicuously lack.&nbsp; I understand Elbow's appeal (I bought the new album despite being deeply underwhelmed by Build a Rocket Boys!), <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/errnc8/acts/ag9v4f#p021bf3p">it just increasingly leaves me cold</a>, One Day Like This destined to become a song so overplayed any meaning it may have once had left as sterile as a hospital ward, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/errnc8/acts/avg6v2#p021bkxm">while Jack White's histrionics</a> were wearying rather than seductive.&nbsp; If nothing else, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/errnc8/acts/anb4wh">Lily Allen's performance</a> conjured up a new vision of my own personal hell: forever condemned to relive a false experience of being trapped in the middle of the crowd for her set, surrounded by hipsters, trustafarians and tens of thousands of white people.<br /><br />Which is something that has to be discussed: the whole weekend I saw more non-white faces among the security and on stage than I did in the crowd itself.&nbsp; You can't tell me the range of music on offer doesn't appeal across the demographics, so clearly there's something else at work.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/2014-ticket-sale-faqs/">Whether it be the price, the way the tickets are sold</a> or other factors, it ought to be something to worry the organisers and sponsors.&nbsp; If those on high are going to deliver lectures about culture and values to communities that supposedly want no part of modern Britain, we can't ignore how monopolised the events regarded as the biggest of the year are by the (white) middle classes.<br /><br />Following on from last year, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/errnc8">the live streaming of all the main stages</a>, if not the dance tents as would help complete the picture of what the festival as a whole is like, meant you could dispense with the BBC's main coverage entirely.&nbsp; Not that this was wholly successful: at least my end the stream couldn't make up its mind the quality my connection could handle, constantly switching and so interrupting playback to the point of distraction (and much swearing).&nbsp; Thankfully, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/b007r6vx">and as should be the case</a>, the full sets for almost every act are now available to be replayed to your heart's content, at least for a month.<br /><br />You can then watch the <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/510LtCh0VjGtLPywFHCWDw7/royal-blood">latest great white hype (surely hope?)</a> for British indie, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/errnc8/acts/az5nc8#p021jzkg">Royal Blood, delight an easily pleased John Peel tent</a>.&nbsp; They're not bad, it's just I remember them from ten years ago when they were called Death from Above 1979 and they were better.&nbsp; Coincidentally (or not), the actual DFA 1979 <a href="http://pitchfork.com/news/50393-death-from-above-1979-announce-new-album-the-physical-world/">have a new album coming out in September</a> after reforming a couple of years back.&nbsp; More impressive were <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/errnc8/acts/agxwrz">Wolf Alice</a>, but you still can't see them making the breakthrough.<br /><br />A further reminder of how far ahead the Americans have been of us Brits in the indie rock stakes in recent years came from <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/errnc8/acts/a62dgw">Parquet Courts</a>, whose spiky, idiosyncratic assault on the Park stage must have won them plenty of new admirers.&nbsp; The Park stage in general was the place to stick around for most of the weekend: apart from <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/errnc8/acts/afzmxj">Interpol</a>, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/errnc8/acts/ancbj5">the Manics</a> and <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/errnc8/acts/a8jxn3#p021j6ym">the Horrors</a>, all of whom were reliable on the Other stage, with the latter surprising everyone with a gorgeous rendition of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOLE1YE_oFQ">Jamie Principle's Your Love</a>, not much came close to <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/errnc8/acts/ab5nc8">Four Tet's Friday night mix</a> as the sun set.&nbsp; Kieran Hebden had more people dancing outside of the area dedicated to DJs than the rest of the acts combined.<br /><br />The real highlight of the weekend <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/errnc8/acts/a6jxn3">though had to be St. Vincent</a>. On before <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/errnc8/acts/amzmxj">James Blake</a>, who despite starting with <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2kr9udP6Zo">CMYK</a> failed to translate his stripped back sound in the same way as the xx did last year, Annie Clark stunned in absolutely every sense. Whatever drugs she was on, and she was so high she could barely stay on the ground, I could really do with some.&nbsp; As fantastic as <a href="https://open.spotify.com/album/1Lci4bx7JIuCC8pnBNX7ds">Strange Mercy</a> was, to see her perform the same guitar heroics live was to be reminded of how exciting rock can be when sonic experimentation meets great song writing. It ought to be a rebuff to conservatism in music in general at the moment, whether it be from the garage-house revivalists or the Kodalines of this world.&nbsp; Sadly, what sells matters more than ever.<br /></span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com2tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-17922169009419562432014-06-27T13:29:00.000+01:002014-06-27T13:29:04.469+01:00Glastonbury can do one.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Call me a cynic, but I'm pretty doubtful John Peel would have ever played Clean fucking Bandit.</span><br /><br /><center><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/wk28cgCG3Ho" width="480"></iframe><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/nk4BxhCvc-s" width="480"></iframe></center>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-39092326548330158362014-06-26T21:38:00.001+01:002014-06-26T21:38:36.815+01:00Crucifixion is an easy life.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Knuckle deep within the borderline.&nbsp; This may hurt a little but it's something you'll get used to.<br /><br />Just this once, can we hear it for the Jordanian justice system?&nbsp; Theirs is a country <a href="http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2013/country-chapters/jordan">where freedom of speech is heavily restricted and torturers are able</a> to operate with impunity, and yet even with such things in their favour they still couldn't manage to <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28033749">convict Abu Qatada on terrorism charges</a>.<br /><br />For those who've (sadly) <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2012/11/yet-another-post-on-abu-qatada.html">followed the entire sorry process</a>, <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2013/07/so-ta-ta-then.html">this doesn't exactly come as a surprise</a>.&nbsp; With the tainted testimony from those tortured expunged, the evidence for everyone's favourite Uncle Albert lookalike (stretching it a bit here) being involved in the 1998 bombings in the country was wafer thin.&nbsp; In fact, there was such a lack of almost anything incriminating against Qatada it could be said to <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28031608">mirror the trial of the al-Jazeera journalists in Egypt</a>.&nbsp; Jihadica (not exactly the most neutral source)<a href="http://www.jihadica.com/the-verdict-of-abu-qatada-al-filastini/"> reports that few if any of the witnesses called knew Qatada personally</a>, and rarely even touched on the charges he was facing.&nbsp; Going by this it seems equally unlikely he will be found guilty of involvement in the "Millennium plot", despite there being a smidgen more circumstantial evidence linking him to it, at least according to SIAC.<br /><br />It bears repeating then that if it hadn't been for the courts, <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2012/02/abu-qatada-same-shit-different-month.html">both here and in Strasbourg repeatedly blocking the attempts</a> by successive governments to deport Qatada back to Jordan without receiving adequate assurances he wouldn't face "evidence" acquired as a result of mistreatment, an innocent man would now most likely be enjoying the hospitality provided at the Jordanian king's finest prison establishments.&nbsp; Qatada is without doubt an utterly repellent individual, a supporter and apologist for terrorist groups, <a href="http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/04/jihadist_ideologue_p.php#">as proved by his defence of the al-Nusra Front in Syria</a>, but just as he never faced any charges in this country, managing to stay on the right side of the law, he is not a terrorist himself.<br /><br />Our determination to get rid of Qatada also leaves Jordan with the problem of what to do with him if he is indeed also found innocent of the remaining charges.&nbsp; While here he was relatively limited in his ability to propagandise, with leaked interviews from prison about the only way he had of communicating with supporters.&nbsp; In Jordan journalists have spoken to him at the end of court sessions, while simply being in the dock has given him the opportunity to speak out.&nbsp; Not that this bothers our politicians, far more concerned with making clear there is no possibility <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/26/abu-qatada-cleared-terrorist-bomb-plot-jordan">he could return if found innocent</a>.&nbsp; Might it have been an idea to try and build a case against him back here, rather than just wash our hands of the man we gave asylum in the first place?<br /><br />Don't be silly.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-16749484029047106452014-06-25T23:59:00.000+01:002014-06-26T01:32:59.693+01:00The prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Killers view themselves like they view the world, they pick at the holes.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jun/25/-sp-phone-hacking-trial-rebekah-brooks-rupert-murdoch">Nick Davies, as usual, is right</a>.&nbsp; When it came down to it, the phone hacking trial wasn't about crime conducted on an industrial scale in the offices of a newspaper; it was about power.&nbsp; Had Rebekah Brooks also been convicted, it wouldn't have just caused David Cameron further embarrassment over all those <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/leveson-inquiry/9334069/Secret-ingredients-of-Rebekah-Brooks-and-David-Camerons-Country-Supper.html">cosy country suppers</a>, it would have also implicated his two predecessors, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jun/24/-sp-rebekah-brooks-profile-news-international-rupert-murdoch-">both of whom got close to the tabloid editor</a>.&nbsp; As for Rupert Murdoch, it would have meant the person he installed at the top of his UK operation and treated like a surrogate daughter had broken the law repeatedly, either with or without his knowledge, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jun/24/scotland-yard-want-interview-rupert-murdoch-phone-hacking">bringing a potential corporate charge all the nearer</a>.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2014/jun/25/national-newspapers-newspapers">The relief was palpable also in the quarters of Fleet Street</a> where they've always downplayed just how out of control newspapers for a time were.&nbsp; Had Brooks been sent down there would have been no denying the moral vacuum that had dominated and <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2013/10/no-one-to-blame-but-himself.html">still remains in certain newsrooms</a>.&nbsp; One editor gone bad can be portrayed as a rogue, just as one reporter once was; two would have destroyed any such posturing.&nbsp; It wouldn't have revived the demands for statute, but it would have shown just how inadequate the reheated PCC in the form of the <a href="http://www.ipso.co.uk/">Independent Press Standards Organisation</a> is.<br /><br />Instead all got the result they both prayed and paid for.&nbsp; Brooks' acquittal <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-the-papers-28011056">meant they could focus on her</a> rather than the conviction of the prime minister's chosen one and their former colleague.&nbsp; To read <a href="http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/leaders/article4129283.ece">the leader columns of the Times</a> and <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/leveson-inquiry/10922935/Scandal-that-could-not-scupper-press-freedom.html">Telegraph is to be beamed into a world</a> of make believe, one where the establishment overreacted to a few unfortunate breaches of privacy by a handful of journalists on what was always a downmarket rag.&nbsp; The orchard was not rotten, says the Torygraph, the trial failed to live up to its billing and there is "some truth" in Charlie Brooks' statement that there was a "witch-hunt" against his wife.&nbsp; "There has not been a vast criminal conspiracy by the press against the public," it solemnly goes on.<br /><br />It makes you wonder how the paper's editorial writer would describe the largest player in another major industry <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jun/25/andy-coulson-jury-discharged-live-coverage#block-53aaba7ee4b05726f1eb080d">found to have broken the law on at least 1,000 separate occasions</a>, with it possible there are up to 5,000 victims of phone hacking in total.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28027911">As the BBC summarises</a>, this is far from the end of the saga: 59 people are awaiting trial over corrupt payments, mostly from the Sun, while investigations continue into alleged hacking at the Mirror.&nbsp; A fact you also won't see bandied about by the apologists is Glenn Mulcaire's files show he was tasked 600 times during Brooks' editorship at the Screws.&nbsp; Her defence managed to whittle this figure <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28027911">down to just 12 occasions when it was absolutely certain</a> the notes corresponded with a known hack rather just "blagging", and as there was nothing to personally connect any of these hacks with Brooks, the one major question being over the Milly Dowler intercept itself, the jury simply wasn't convinced she had conspired with those she worked alongside.&nbsp; The idea she didn't have a case to answer however, or that this was a witch-hunt, is absolutely ridiculous.<br /><br />They can't just focus on Brooks' innocence though, and so the story is already being moved on to the cost.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jun/25/phonr-hacking-trial-legal-costs-rebekah-brooks">£100m, as the Telegraph already reported</a> today on its front page, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-the-papers-28030468">and as the Times does tomorrow</a>.&nbsp; Some £60m of this is down to the no expense spared approach of News Corp; Brooks' lead QC and his team were pulling in 30k a week, while the lead prosecutor by contrast was on £570 a day.&nbsp; All that just to convict "one" individual, ignoring those who admitted their guilt at the outset, as though there are some investigations just too costly to bother with, especially when they involve figures at the very heart of the establishment.&nbsp; Then we have those<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/2014/jun/25/reaction-to-coulson-phone-hacking-verdict-pmqs-politics-live-blog#block-53aa83b5e4b021fba290c6ed"> once again deploying the "no one cares" argument</a>, or this doesn't tell voters anything they didn't already suspect line.&nbsp; On the latter perhaps not, but voters don't care about the prime minister having to apologise for either being a knave or a tool?&nbsp; Please.<br /><br />If there's one specific irony that overwhelms here, it has to be how different sides of the elite while seemingly in conflict are desperately working towards the same goal.&nbsp; The majority of the press professes to stand up for Mr and Mrs Average in their battle with the out of touch career politicians of Westminster while in actuality caring only for their own interests, namely profit.&nbsp; Any threat, however small or risible, must be countered with derision, special pleading and hyperbole.&nbsp; The press statute, regardless of merit, was the biggest threat to freedom of speech <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2013/03/the-vilest-thing.html">since our ancestors first developed language</a>.&nbsp; Of course they were going to mock and pick as many holes as possible in the "trial of the century", regardless of the outcome.&nbsp; Those in power meanwhile, still believing they need the fourth estate to get their message across, are anxious to reset everything before the election gets any closer.<br /><br />Hence all of this was settled by Leveson.&nbsp; Cameron was cleared.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jun/25/andy-coulson-cameron-phone-hacking-news-of-the-world">He was misled, just as Coulson misled everyone</a>.&nbsp; Do you really want the cretin opposite to be prime minister?&nbsp; Can't we go back to Murdoch sneaking in the back door of Downing Street now?&nbsp; There's nothing more to see here folks.</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br />All I preach is extinction.<br /></span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-64834308235236981872014-06-24T23:59:00.000+01:002014-06-25T20:39:46.293+01:00Emptiness, thy name is Coulson.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">When you've been writing <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2006/11/screwed-by-inspector-knacker.html">about one subject</a> <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2009/07/dark-arts-come-back-to-haunt-andy.html">for so long</a>, aren't you meant to feel something when finally, beyond any dispute <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27997688">it's confirmed you were right to do so</a>? Even if it's simply something as petty, as paltry as schadenfreude? I don't know.&nbsp; I just don't feel anything.<br /><br />Which is probably the exact same emotion Andy Coulson is currently experiencing.&nbsp; He must have known this was how it was always likely to end.&nbsp; You can tell lies for years, you can even tell them on behalf of the government, and if we're to take <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-27998411">David Cameron seriously then also to the government</a>, but <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2010/12/coulson-in-knowing-nothing-shocker.html">when you start telling them in the law courts</a> there's always a fair chance they will catch up with you.&nbsp; Coulson's biggest mistake by far was to imagine he could remain Cameron's chief media adviser once his boss had become PM, believing the phone hacking story had once again gone away.&nbsp; He then compounded the error by having the hubris to give evidence at Tommy Sheridan's perjury trial, denying under oath he had even so much as heard of Glenn Mulcaire, again without apparently considering for a second how his mendacity could come back to haunt both him and Cameron.<br /><br />He wasn't to know <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2010/12/coulson-in-knowing-nothing-shocker.html">Nick Davies would discover Mulcaire had been tasked</a> with hacking the phone of Milly Dowler, or that the revelation would shake almost the entire establishment, at least for a short while.&nbsp; By then Coulson had at last realised the net was closing in; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jun/24/andy-coulson-david-cameron-phone-hacking">as the Graun is reporting</a>, a week before he resigned he was called by Rebekah Brooks to an urgent breakfast meeting, apparently to be told of incriminating emails about to passed over to the police.&nbsp; Not that his reason for resigning, <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2011/01/bang-and-coulson-is-gone.html">coming on the same day as Tony Blair's second appearance</a> before the Chilcot inquiry, offered a hint: he just couldn't give "110%" while "events connected to his old job" continued to receive coverage.&nbsp; This may well have made him the only person in history to resign twice over something he professed to have never known about.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-27796276">Coulson did of course know about hacking</a>.&nbsp; He was up to his neck in it, he authorised it and in the end it consumed the News of the World whole.&nbsp; While the Crown seems to have characteristically bungled the case against Brooks, failing to convince the jury beyond reasonable doubt that she also conspired to intercept voice messages and pervert the course of justice, the evidence against Coulson was just too overwhelming.&nbsp; Unlike the other senior figures at the paper who had the sense to plead guilty, realising they couldn't deny the story told by the copious notes kept by Glenn Mulcaire, Coulson gambled on the complexity of the case overwhelming the jury.&nbsp; The moment it became apparent his ploy had failed was when he had to admit in the witness box <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/phone-hacking/10770259/Andy-Coulson-I-listened-to-hacked-David-Blunkett-voicemails-into-affair.html">to listening to the voicemails intercepted from David Blunkett's phone</a>, the same ones Neville Thurlbeck had pleaded guilty over.&nbsp; All the previous attempts to present himself as an honest, unfairly traduced operator in a world where grey rather than black or white was the dominating colour were ruined in a matter of minutes.<br /><br />It was always a fantasy, but it was one sections of the press and the Conservative party did their utmost to continue to maintain.&nbsp; They ignored the employment tribunal <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2009/11/how-very-strange.html">ruling in favour of Matt Driscoll</a>, <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2009/07/graun-vs-news-international-fight.html">claimed the Guardian was misleading the British public</a> and only when a murdered schoolgirl was found to have been a victim did the tone very temporarily change.&nbsp; The Augean stables had to be cleaned out.&nbsp; Once the Dowler moment had passed, the tact altered to <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2013/03/the-vilest-thing.html">crying press freedom risked being permanently curtailed</a>.&nbsp; It doesn't matter the only newspaper threatened with being closed down recently <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/19/david-miranda-schedule7-danger-reporters">has been the, err, Guardian</a>, with most of the right-wing press <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2013/10/the-feral-press-pathetic-in-face-of.html">sagely agreeing how irresponsible it had been over the Snowden files</a>, we simply have to believe the likes of David Woodring when they say there's a climate of fear in Fleet Street post-Leveson.<br /><br />This is why it's so utterly irrelevant to concern ourselves <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-27998412">with whether Cameron should have been more careful</a> in choosing his director of communications, demanding to know if Coulson was telling the full truth when he insisted it was all just one rogue reporter.&nbsp; Had Cameron given even the shortest, most prematurely concluded fuck about phone hacking or indeed ethics at all he would have steered clear not just of Coulson but tabloid journalists in general.&nbsp; He didn't because the only thing on his mind was following what he and George Osborne saw as the path to power: get in with the Murdochs and their clingers-on, and everything else will be fine.&nbsp; Build it and they will come.&nbsp; The allegations against Coulson were a nuisance, but the fear of Murdoch and his papers was such that it kept Labour quiet.&nbsp; Besides, they were only celebrities.&nbsp; Who cares about privacy in this day and age anyway?<br /><br />Listening to Cameron tell us all how desperately sorry he is that he believed Coulson's lies reminds of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSHaCzb3yYk">Father Jack's apology from a certain priest sitcom</a>.&nbsp; To give Cameron and the Tories credit, they've always presented his mistake in the best possible light.&nbsp; After all, who doesn't deserve a second chance?&nbsp; Coulson had never done anything wrong in the first place mind, but still.&nbsp; Cameron might have been warned multiple times taking Coulson with him into Downing Street was asking for it; he still did it.&nbsp; How could he not?&nbsp; He'd made all these rash promises <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2012/05/eternal-darkness-of-coulsons-spotless.html">about abolishing Ofcom, keeping the BBC in check and the rest of it</a>.&nbsp; Should these things not be as easy as thought thanks to the coalition he needed Andy n' Becks close by lest Keith and James get the wrong idea.&nbsp; And he might have gotten away with it had it not been for the pesky Graun.&nbsp; We could quite easily be sitting here now with Sky fully under the yoke of News Corporation, Brooks in charge of a triumphalist News International, the Sun even more scathing about Red Ed and his failings to eat bacon sandwiches while looking vaguely human.<br /><br />The worst could also be yet to come.&nbsp; Coulson still faces the perjury charge for his evidence at the Sheridan trial, an appearance it seems Cameron must have been intensely relaxed about.&nbsp; It's one thing to be such a pleb you take the word of a tabloid editor at face value; it's quite another for them to be in your employ when they tell those fibs to the beak.&nbsp; Should Coulson be found guilty a second time, can he really just deploy the "I was lied to as well" defence again?<br /><br />Probably.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-the-papers-28011056">Looking at tomorrow morning's front pages</a>, it's difficult to see exactly what's changed since July 2011.&nbsp; Only the Mail goes for objectivity, while the Times' splash could have been set by Murdoch himself.&nbsp; In fact it probably was.&nbsp; For all that's altered, there's much that's still the same.&nbsp; Almost exactly the same system of regulation.&nbsp; The same biases.&nbsp; The same changing of the story.&nbsp; The same emptiness.&nbsp; Oh, that last one's just me.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-23344043712307295152014-06-23T23:59:00.000+01:002014-06-24T00:30:35.840+01:00Why would anyone want to play for England?<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">20ft. high on Blackpool promenade.&nbsp; Fake royalty second hand sequin facade.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/football/2013/apr/30/the-real-harry-redknapp">Everyone loves Harry Redknapp</a>, right?&nbsp; Our 'Arry.&nbsp; Always tells it like it is.&nbsp; Never knowingly undersold.&nbsp; Took QPR down and didn't receive a lick of criticism because he's 'Arry, ain't he?&nbsp; Didn't get the England job despite the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmXz4NGbwBs">press dearly wanting him to as he's hand in glove with them</a>.&nbsp; Can always rely on 'Arry for a quote.&nbsp; Brought QPR back up this season because he's 'Arry, ain't he?&nbsp; Got off the tax evasion charges <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/harry-redknapp-found-not-guilty-in-tax-evasion-trial-6661638.html">by making out he was an idiot in all things apart from football</a>.&nbsp; In his autobiography he insists he was the <a href="http://www.theweek.co.uk/football/55485/harry-redknapp-five-claims-his-autobiography">"people's choice, the only choice"</a>, unlike the man <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/l/liverpool/9350630.stm">Liverpool sacked for being useless</a>.<br /><br />There's only the one problem with having a big mouth.&nbsp; Well, probably more but stick with me here.&nbsp; Eventually it will get you into trouble, even with your pals in the media.&nbsp; NAME AND SHAME screams the Sun.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/jun/22/harry-redknapp-roy-hodgson-steven-gerrard-england">Redknapp told to name and shame</a>, says the Graun.&nbsp; You see, apparently while 'Arry was ensconced back at White Hart Lane, "two or three players" used to ask him to try and get them out of England games.&nbsp; His wider point, supposedly, was the modern English player sees the national side, the baggage that goes with it, and decides they're more than content with just earning hundreds of thousands, millions of spondulicks, playing in the Champions League against the greatest teams in the world.&nbsp; Who needs the hassle of representing your country?<br /><br />Cue the attempts to work out who the traitors in our midst could possibly have been.&nbsp; Not Jermaine Defoe, according to Roy Hodgson, who reacted with anger to Redknapp once again making an obviously calculated intervention in the whole why are England so completely and utterly crap debate.&nbsp; Probably not Peter Crouch either.&nbsp; Ledley King maybe, who was forced to <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ledley_King">retire with a chronic knee injury</a> and so could have had a justifiable excuse?<br /><br />Who knows, and who cares.&nbsp; It's completely irrelevant to what befell England this time round, which was the bad luck to be drawn in a really tough group.&nbsp; This might look like being wise after the event, but I didn't think they would make it out of it, and it was probably better to crash and burn after two games than do so after three with hopes having risen.&nbsp; You could say Hodgson should have tried to persuade John Terry to come out of retirement, or brought Ashley Cole, and plenty have.&nbsp; It might have tightened up the defence had they heeded the call.&nbsp; Would it have made us Netherlands beaters, though?&nbsp; And pigs might.<br /><br />It could be I haven't properly been paying attention, having ahem, had other things on my mind, yet it does seem as though this time round with hopes not as high as in previous years there hasn't been quite such a colossal backlash.&nbsp; We certainly <a href="http://bloggingmebloggingyou.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/picture-16.png">haven't had the Sun telling the players they'd let the country down</a>, although there have been calls for apologies, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2014/jun/22/england-apologise-not-other-way-round-world-cup">as Barney Ronay relates</a>.&nbsp; He also points out that, away from home, England's best achievement in 64 years has been the semi-final.&nbsp; For all our grandeur, our sense of entitlement, our pride in the Premier League (yeah, right), our supposed self-deprecation, we don't take well to losing, at least at football, when we should be all too used to it.&nbsp; Personally I've started finding it all colossally amusing, hearing the same moans time after time, the <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02191f7">Chris "pelanty" Waddle's ranting away</a> about how we never ever learn, and how, despite everything, we keep getting worse, going out earlier and earlier.&nbsp; It's almost as though it was karma.<br /><br />Those possibly mythical players going to 'Arry (considering he claimed in court to not know how to send a text, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/oct/09/hugh-muir-diary-ed-vaizey">and both his own book and those by other managers detail</a> he most certainly does) do after all have a point.&nbsp; Why would anyone want to play for England?&nbsp; You find yourself putting on a show in front of some of the most boorish prats on the planet, who find it great sport to boo the opposing side's national anthem and dress up as crusaders, offer the kind of tactical encouragement that would shame a under-7s league, and then have the temerity to complain if you don't manage to find the same form you do in the league despite the two situations being all but incomparable.&nbsp; The media, bless them, build you up and then at the first sign of trouble tear you limb from limb.&nbsp; They can see you hurting and still they demand more contrition.&nbsp; What do they want, blood?&nbsp; The FA are about as useful as having teeth in your arsehole, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/may/08/premier-league-division-b-teams-fan-commission-greg-dyke-league-three-non-eu-players">their big idea the introduction of "B" teams</a> into the lower leagues, while the amount of money flowing to the top sides never trickles down to where it's needed, in coaching and development.&nbsp; It might just be the problem isn't with those who don't want to play for England, it's with everything else.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-69617811516225013432014-06-20T16:46:00.000+01:002014-06-20T16:46:29.413+01:00Routine.<center><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/aJpokjkDLHg" width="480"></iframe><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/I14QeEikC3Y" width="480"></iframe></center>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0