tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-144224352015-09-05T04:00:12.129+01:00ObsoleteSelf-destructive dickish leftism from who knows where. || "It is now less and less necessary for the writer to invent the fictional content of his novel. The fiction is already there. The writer's task is to invent the reality." -- JG Ballard. || "In other words, the male is an incomplete female, a walking abortion.... To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples." -- Valerie Solanas.septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.comBlogger3844125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-59011398854433696332015-09-04T13:30:00.001+01:002015-09-04T13:30:34.138+01:00Do you feel it?<center><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pTA0DSfrGZ0" width="480"></iframe><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/T5mZVT-uxAg" width="480"></iframe></center>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-24696685410080288252015-09-04T13:26:00.000+01:002015-09-04T13:34:40.049+01:00The only solution to war is more war.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">There's been a lot of this about the last couple of days, but the Guardian really ought to know better:<br /><br /></span><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq"><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/03/the-guardian-view-on-the-refugee-crisis-much-more-must-be-done-and-not-just-by-the-uk"><i><b>To begin restoring that hope will inevitably mean international intervention of some kind. The establishment of credible safe havens and the implementation of a no-fly zone must be on the table for serious consideration.</b></i></a></span></blockquote><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br />Except we've really gone too far now for this to be even approaching a viable solution.&nbsp; Establish a no-fly zone and you undoubtedly help protect civilians, but you also give a massive advantage to the rebels, including Islamic State.&nbsp; It's difficult to imagine how things could get any worse, but the bloodletting likely to follow the total collapse of the Syrian government and immediate battle for the spoils between the rebel groups will be immense.&nbsp; Safe zones again sound like a great idea, but who on the ground is going to guard them?&nbsp; The Kurds, the very people <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/02/syria-mustard-gas-attack-my-body-was-burning">the Turks have launched 100x more air strikes on than IS</a>?&nbsp; Other rebel groups other than IS?<br /><br />Nor has there been any past argument for intervention that would have helped matters.&nbsp; Unless it had evolved Libya-style into regime change, the mooted response to Assad using chemical weapons in Ghouta <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-governments-case-for-war-collection.html">was to chuck a few more Hellfire and cruise missiles into the mix</a> and hope that made clear just how serious we were about him killing people with explosives and bullets rather than more exotic weapons.<br /><br />The only realistic option at this point is to push for a ceasefire between the rebel groups (excluding IS) and the government, with the promise being that once the fight has been taken to IS, Assad will depart and a settlement will be reached from there.&nbsp; Even this would require a massive turnaround in current attitudes, such has been the amount of blood spilt and the belief on all sides that total victory can still be achieved.&nbsp; This I'm afraid is the fault of all involved.&nbsp; There are no clean hands.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34148913">And taking in an extra 4,000 refugees</a> remains a completely pitiful gesture, considering the role we've played in Syria reaching this beyond grim juncture.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-1188665398103495782015-09-03T19:44:00.002+01:002015-09-03T19:44:50.743+01:00As a dog returns to its vomit.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">The reappointment of <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/sep/02/rebekah-brooks-return-tony-gallagher-sun-editor-rupert-murdoch">Rebekah Brooks as chief executive of News UK</a> is first and foremost an act of the utmost hubris on the part of Rupert Murdoch.&nbsp; Only he could possibly think someone so indelibly tainted by the phone hacking scandal, <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2014/06/emptiness-thy-name-is-coulson.html">regardless of her acquittal at the Old Bailey</a>, could possibly make for a suitable leader of the company in part created in an attempt to move on from all that unpleasantness.&nbsp; It is at the same time however a move he could have only made due to events going in his favour.&nbsp; Were we now being led by prime minister Miliband, it's difficult to believe he would have felt able to do so.&nbsp; That the Sun campaigned slightly less hysterically than the rest of the right-wing media for a Conservative victory will have been noted by Downing Street, although not to the point where Cameron or anyone else could so much as think of saying anything remotely critical about Brooks' second coming.<br /><br />Of far more significance is what it tells us about Murdoch's previously decent relationship with his journalists themselves.&nbsp; At the height of the scandal <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/sep/02/rebekah-brookss-unthinkable-return-symbolises-murdochs-hatred-of-the-uk-establishment">Murdoch made public his first priority was "this one"</a>.&nbsp; That Brooks had worked hand in glove with hacker-in-chief Coulson, and her response until almost the bitter end was it was all a load of nonsense overblown by the BBC and Guardian was of not the slightest concern.&nbsp; Brooks' response to the first reports of Gordon Taylor's settlement with the News of the World <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2009/07/graun-vs-news-international-fight.html">was to attack the Guardian</a>, rather than quickly realise this was a problem that wasn't going to go away.&nbsp; She continued the cover-up, <a href="http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/news-corp-hacking-scandal-costs-rise-512m">a decision that has cost Murdoch in excess of £300m</a>, and almost certainly the ultimate goal of taking full control of Sky, with the incalculable amounts that would have brought it, not to forget the accompanying all but complete stranglehold over the British media.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2669838/Rebekahs-16m-pay-party-celebrate-freedom-Jeremy-Clarkson-seen-leaving-Brookss-home-hours-not-guilty-verdicts.html">Brooks herself got in the region of £16m in settlement</a>, only to walk back into the job once a suitable period of time had passed.<br /><br />How very different to the hacks and sources grassed up to the police by <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/06/coulson-merely-liar-not-perjurer.html">News Corp's Management Standards Committee</a>, in an attempt by the company to further distract attention away from the bosses.&nbsp; This week saw Graham Dudman, previously managing editor of the Sun <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/sep/01/senior-journalists-quit-sun-after-pay-for-stories-legal-battle">decide to leave the paper rather than return after his own acquittal</a> on charges of conspiring to cause misconduct in public office.&nbsp; Dudman was the paper's spokesman throughout Brooks' reign at the Sun, as Becca herself had already made clear how hopeless she was under any sort of scrutiny, letting slip to parliament's media committee that the paper had "paid police officers in the past", the exact same thing some of her charges were subsequently tried on.&nbsp; However much Dudman and picture editor John Edwards are receiving in pay-offs, it's doubtful to amount to even a smidgen of the lucre handed over to <a href="http://www.vanityfair.com/news/business/2012/02/rebekah-brooks-201202">Rupert's surrogate daughter</a>.&nbsp; How the other hacks that have returned to the Sun <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2015/sep/03/what-has-happened-to-the-28-arrested-sun-journalists">feel about Brooks lording it over them once again</a>, especially when their initial reaction to the closure of the News of the World was one of suspicion it was an attempt to save both Brooks and Murdoch junior, something rather proved by subsequent events, is anyone's guess.<br /><br />Nor does it apparently matter to Murdoch that Brooks can hardly play the part <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/sep/02/murdoch-aims-to-restore-power-of-sun-with-tony-gallagher-appointment">he supposedly wants his UK papers to continue to</a>.&nbsp; No one in politics is going to want to be seen anywhere near her, nor will many in the wider media world, let alone celebrities themselves.&nbsp; Her one and only quality, that she was an excellent networker and set people at their ease, has long since departed.&nbsp; It's almost enough to make you wonder if, secretly, Murdoch has realised that his days of ruling the roost, at least as far as newspapers go, are gone.&nbsp; Appointing Brooks could be one of his final slights to an establishment he has always believed has been against him, even if she's only there to manage the decline.&nbsp; If that is her remit, he could hardly have chosen better.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-64640995725642767492015-09-02T22:24:00.002+01:002015-09-02T22:30:21.828+01:00Subtext is everything.<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-tHW53-rnbKQ/VedikERSZtI/AAAAAAAAAa0/AfNAsZfDVvw/s1600/Rick.and.Morty.S02E03.720p.HDTV.x264-BATV.mkv_20150902_215425.756.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="280" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-tHW53-rnbKQ/VedikERSZtI/AAAAAAAAAa0/AfNAsZfDVvw/s640/Rick.and.Morty.S02E03.720p.HDTV.x264-BATV.mkv_20150902_215425.756.jpg" width="460" /></a></span></div><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">There is always a danger in reading too much into works of art, whether they be music, film or animated comedies.&nbsp; The number of obsessives that regard American Pie (the song, not the film series, you dullards) as a masterpiece with <a href="http://understandingamericanpie.com/">meaning and allusions so deep that it can never be fully deciphered</a>, or have detected things that were never there in <a href="http://www.cracked.com/article_19454_5-famous-hidden-song-meanings-that-are-total-b.s..html">the Eagles' Hotel California</a> is testimony to that.</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">And so we must <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/08/where-are-my-testicles-summer.html">then return to Rick and Morty</a>, for which I make no apologies whatsoever, although if you have been watching and haven't reached this point yet there are obviously spoilers ahead.&nbsp; The third episode of the new series ends in another <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHiAL0C6stE">exceptionally bleak denouement</a>: after being dumped for a second time by Unity, a being that can take over the minds of the inhabitants of entire planets, Rick comes within a whisker of killing himself, passing out moments before the suicide machine he constructs would have turned him to dust.&nbsp; Clearly it's not just because of Unity that he tries to do so, and it's also the case that he's not certain about what he's doing, hence why he drinks a substance that he knows will knock him out very quickly, reducing the chances he actually will die.&nbsp; Does he also take it though because he doesn't want to experience even the momentary pain the instant cremation will have if he doesn't collapse before the beam reaches full power?&nbsp; Has Rick reached this point despite being a world-beating albeit unrecognised genius, or is it rather because of that genius, and that despite his intelligence he cannot overcome the failings of his own sociopathic personality, which in the words of Unity, makes him better at what she does without even trying?&nbsp; And as this is a world where there are an infinite number of alternate realities, as demonstrated neatly by the next episode, in just how many of those universes did Rick kill himself?</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Or of course it could be that this was simply a neat way to end an episode that would get an already fevered fan base talking all the more.&nbsp; Such is television.</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Similar pratfalls can result if you focus on one particular issue rather than the whole.&nbsp; Witness the silliness over <a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/all-about/cecil-the-lion">the killing of our old friend Cecil</a>, for instance.&nbsp; You could if you so wish reflect on the impression that gave of an awful lot of people caring more about the death of an endangered animal on the other side of the world than they do plight of other humans on their doorsteps.&nbsp; You could say that's understandable when animals are, unlike humans, far less complex creatures and operate only on instinct, however much we like to anthropomorphise them.&nbsp; It's also easy to lose proportion when you don't have to deal with the bottom line, with nature reserves unable to survive on tourism and government funding alone.</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">All the same, when images like the ones today of <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/02/shocking-image-of-drowned-syrian-boy-shows-tragic-plight-of-refugees">a drowned, tiny child washed ashore in Turkey</a> are widely shared, the sort of photographs that manage to speak of both the simplicity and difficulty of the refugee crisis gripping Europe, you can't help but note the other items that are vying for attention alongside it.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/sep/02/taylor-swift-accused-racism-african-colonial-fantasy-video-wildest-dreams">The latest on Taylor Swift's latent racism</a>?&nbsp; How about every single one of you journalists involved in bringing us the latest on this thrilling saga build your own suicide machines?&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2015/sep/01/20-autumn-fashion-trends-need-to-know">A 4-page feature on the styles for autumn 2015</a>, including school bully hair, whether to channel the 70s or the 80s and where the only people smiling in the entire feature are notably those smug fucks that sit in the front row at all the shows?&nbsp; Fashion journalism has always been about incredibly privileged white people in a tiny part of London telling each other to buy £700 trousers and £1,200 pairs of shoes, but isn't it about time you stopped trying to tell us this is of any importance whatsoever or deserving of even the small space it still gets in the national press, especially when the writing reaches ever greater heights of absurdity and insularity?</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">The real villains are of course not these people, although they make for easy, highly punchable targets.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/02/david-cameron-migration-crisis-will-not-be-solved-by-uk-taking-in-more-refugees">According to our prime minister</a>, taking in more refugees will do nothing to solve the root problems in Africa and the Middle East.&nbsp; Well no it won't, but then I don't think anyone was suggesting it would.&nbsp; <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/09/germany-putting-rest-of-europe-to-shame.html">It would be a gesture</a>, a recognition that we along with a whole lot of others should play more of a role than we have so far.&nbsp; Except according to Dave we already are doing our bit to bring peace and stability to these troubled nations.&nbsp; It's not precisely clear <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/aug/27/eritreans-protection-uk-home-office-east-africa">what we're doing to help the situation in Eritrea</a>, for instance, or how aid will help persuade the government there to stop terrorising its own citizens, nor is it obvious what we can do to fix Libya having helped to so comprehensively break it.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">As for Syria and Iraq, presumably the fact we're playing a role in bombing Islamic State targets in the former and the government is likely to seek parliamentary authority to do the same in the latter is what Cameron means, although considering advances against IS have only been won with a combination of air power and ground forces, their defeat is hardly expected any time soon.&nbsp; Nor would IS's defeat immediately bring an end to the wider conflicts in Iraq and Syria, especially not in the latter, where for all the repeated claims <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/26/assads-confidence-backers-well-placed-for-now-syria">that Assad's government is on the brink of collapse</a>, the murderous stalemate continues.</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">This is without once again repeating the tedious argument that err, we've played quite a considerable role ourselves in creating this refugee crisis, whether by intervening in Libya and then all but abandoning the place, or by following the Saudi policy in Syria.&nbsp; If you're going to bomb somewhere or provide support to the people <a href="http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/meet-the-hell-cannon-the-free-syrian-armys-homemade-ho-1628114916">who operate weapons like this</a> with as much impunity as the Assad regime, the very least you can do is offer sanctuary to the people who find themselves in harms way.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">To Cameron, and it should be added a sizeable proportion of people in this country, the 200 who have been give refuge through the specific scheme and the few thousand others that have made it here through fair or foul means are more than enough.&nbsp; Cameron either doesn't feel any responsibility, or believes that to do the decent, honourable thing would cost him some short-term popularity.&nbsp; We know he's not going to serve a full term, his government currently faces almost no opposition except from the media; what is there to stop him from this once refusing to bow to those further to his right?&nbsp; Or is it that he really is just a completely obtuse, pompous snob, from whom there is no subtext to read?</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-33218194851233841292015-09-01T23:48:00.000+01:002015-09-01T23:48:38.497+01:00Germany: putting the rest of Europe to shame.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">There is something quite extraordinary taking place in Germany.&nbsp; With predictions that the country<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/20/germany-raises-estimate-refugee-arrivals-800000"> will see 800,000 asylum applications this year</a>, a figure that some are already suggesting is likely to be an underestimate, it's all too predictable that 199 attacks of <a href="http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/germany-registers-sharp-increase-in-attacks-on-asylumseekers-a-1045207.html">varying severity on refugee hostels</a> had been recorded by early July.&nbsp; Polls suggest 40% of Germans are opposed to taking in any more, while the rise of both the Pegida movement and the Alternative for Deutschland party have both further raised concerns.<br /><br />Yet that only tells half the story.&nbsp; Established a year ago, the <a href="http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/spiegel-cover-story-the-new-germany-a-1050406.html">Welcoming Alliance for Refugees, based in Berlin</a>, now has over 1,000 supporters and regularly sees more than 300 volunteers turn out to give donations and help newly arrived asylum seekers with their claims.&nbsp; Banners making clear that refugees are welcome have been <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/germans-stage-promigrant-rally-with-refugees-welcome-banners-in-response-to-violence-10478647.html">waved not just at demonstrations</a>, <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/11834636/German-football-fans-welcome-refugees-and-invite-hundreds-to-watch-match.html">but at football grounds across the country</a>.&nbsp; The German media, regardless of political affiliation, has almost as a whole expressed the same message.&nbsp; The populist tabloid Bild, which most closely resembles the Sun, declared at the <a href="http://www.thejournal.ie/refugees-welcome-campaign-2300995-Aug2015/">weekend it too supported the "we're helping" movement</a>, having in the past been accused of helping to ramp up xenophobia.&nbsp; Politicians too have almost universally said that the country can accommodate the numbers coming, even if there has been criticism they have at times been slow in acknowledging as much.&nbsp; Last week the government <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/11821822/Germany-drops-EU-rules-to-allow-in-Syrian-refugees.html">also suspended the Dublin convention</a>, if only for Syrian refugees, making clear they would not be deported regardless of if they had already made an application in another EU state.<br /><br />Indeed, in the main this has been the reaction of the locals at the sharp end of the biggest mass movement of refugees since WW2 regardless of country.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/20/lampedusa-refugee-fleeing-libya-boats-italy">Residents of places like Lampedusa</a> and <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2015/aug/18/greek-island-leros-europe-migrant-crisis-video">any number of Greek islands</a> have shown remarkable patience and made great sacrifices to help those whom have landed on their shores, a kindness that has not always been extended by the authorities themselves.&nbsp; While few will begrudge the Greek government protesting about it being unable to cope, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/01/europes-migration-response-tempers-frayed-insults-traded-results-absent">the refusal of other EU member states to agree to a quota system</a> for refugees is one of the first signs of the possibility of the Schengen agreement breaking down.&nbsp; The Schengen agreement underpins the freedom of movement rules that have become the bete noire of those opposed to "uncontrolled" immigration with the EU, with Theresa May declaring at the weekend that freedom of movement ought to mean freedom to move <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/30/theresa-may-says-only-migrants-with-jobs-should-be-let-in-to-uk">to a country where a job is waiting</a>, not simply to look for work.<br /><br />Der Spiegel's depiction of both a "dark Germany" and a "bright Germany" is probably to overdramatise events in the country that will on current trends take in more <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2015/aug/20/asylum-seekers-eu-comparison-germany-datablog">refugees this year than the rest of Europe combined</a>.&nbsp; Germany's stance is all the more remarkable when you realise it is motivated less by anything approaching guilt over the role played in the various wars that have led to the refugee crisis and more by memories of the suffering following the second world war, when millions were left to make their way back to places that were either in ruins or soon to be under a new tyranny.&nbsp; Germany, unlike ourselves or France, <a href="http://www.newrepublic.com/article/world/85702/germany-libya-intervention-qaddafi-merkel">refused to get involved in the NATO intervention in Libya</a>, while it has also played a less partisan role in Syria.&nbsp; The irony that it is now the major destination for refugees making their way through the failed state of Libya and has opened its borders to Syrians as a whole has not been lost on the German media: Bild for one <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/08/31/in-germany-tabloids-welcome-refugees-in-britain-they-propose-sending-the-army-to-keep-them-out/">has raged against David Cameron</a> for shirking his responsibilities.<br /><br />The attitudes of the German and British media could hardly be further removed from each other.&nbsp; At the same time as the German papers have welcomed the 200,000 that claimed asylum in the country in July alone, <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2015/08/blaming-immigrants.html">our finest have been thundering against the 1,500</a> that equally desperately have been trying to make their way to this country from Calais.&nbsp; Every solution other than letting those who clearly won't be put off by bigger fences and more security make their claims in France has been considered, including sending in the army.&nbsp; Some might argue that our papers are more reflective of public opinion than their German equivalent, and to judge by radio and TV debates that's probably the case.&nbsp;<br /><br />That this merely demonstrates the nadir the debate on immigration has descended to is hardly something to say in our media's defence. &nbsp; The number of asylum seekers <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-april-to-june-2015/asylum">taken in last year made up only around a tenth</a> of the <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34071492">overall net figure of 330,000</a>, a number which is itself deceptive due to how it includes students coming to study from abroad.&nbsp; We've reached the point where a Songs of Praise <a href="http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/597444/Songs-of-Praise-Calais-BBC">broadcast from a makeshift church in the Calais "jungle"</a> has become a front page outrage.&nbsp; That once these same papers did on occasion welcome asylum seekers, so long as they were from the eastern bloc, with even those who would now be denounced as people smugglers regarded as heroes just underlines the way in which the default tabloid position has become one of permanent suspicion if not outright opposition.<br /><br />You could say the reality of mass immigration since 2005 has led to public opposition to migration in general, whether economic or for sanctuary, and there's a smidgen of truth in that.&nbsp; Easily forgotten is back in 2001-2003 the same scenes of chaos at Calais were a nightly feature on the news, with much the same reaction from the media, including alleged collusion <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-L6U0ZQE32E">between the Sun and the government over what the paper had deemed</a> to be the biggest issue facing the country.&nbsp; The main problem for many seems to be those in Calais trying to get to Britain aren't completely helpless: that they are breaking into trucks, sneaking onto trains, cutting fences, scaring holidaymakers means they can't possibly be victims, not least when their actions are or were having such a knock-on effect in Dover and Kent in general.&nbsp; Combined with the questions over why they aren't claiming asylum in France or elsewhere in Europe, despite <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/File:Number_of_%28non-EU%29_asylum_applicants_in_the_EU_and_EFTA_Member_States,_by_age_distribution,_2014_%28%C2%B9%29_YB15_III.png">France taking more than double the number we have</a>, such an atmosphere is hardly conducive to our politicians attempting to raise the tenor of the debate, let alone draw back from such self-defeating policies as the ever more ridiculous Conservative target of reducing immigration to the tens of thousands.<br /><br />Credit must then be given to Yvette Cooper, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/01/yvette-cooper-uk-should-take-in-10000-refugees">for at least making the case for us to do more</a>.&nbsp; To be frank, even accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees would be a fairly minor gesture, such are the numbers not just in Germany but throughout Europe and also Syria's neighbours.&nbsp; It would at least be a start, and as Cooper said, would go some way towards this country once again playing the role it has in the past.&nbsp; Without going further however, and providing a way for refugees to claim asylum from outside Europe, it is both ludicrous and downright stupid to talk about those involved in getting Syrians and others into Europe as the equivalent of slave traders.&nbsp; What option is there apart from paying smugglers when the other choices are staying or attempting the journey through Turkey and then the Balkans on their own?&nbsp; Stripped of those boats and vehicles there would be even less hope, terrible as the sinkings in the Mediterranean and suffocation of so many last weekend are.&nbsp;<br /><br />That regardless Cooper is up to now the closest we've come to a politician recognising we have a responsibility, not just to Europe but to ourselves to do more is an indictment of just what a nasty, selfish and brutish country we are in danger of becoming.&nbsp; The very least a nation can do when it has had such a role in breaking the likes of Libya, Iraq and Syria is to give shelter to those who were in the way.&nbsp; The selflessness of Germany increasingly stands apart from a rest of Europe that seems all too willing to turn its back on its shared past.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-34466994820881383272015-08-31T16:25:00.001+01:002015-08-31T16:25:11.192+01:00Jeremy Corbyn threat to economic security, says George Osborne.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Labour under the “far left” anti-nuclear leadership of Jeremy Corbyn will be a threat to Britain’s national and economic security, George Osborne has declared.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.sunnation.co.uk/jeremy-corbyn-is-threat-to-national-security-chancellor-says/">"The man is frankly a lunatic," the chancellor said</a>.&nbsp; "Not only does he want to get rid of our insanely expensive doomsday devices, the ones we can't use without the permission of the Americans and have to be built with their help in any case, making them independent in the same way as my arsehole is from the rest of my body, and which are practically useless anyway when the main threat remains not an opposing state but international terrorism, he wants to let mass-murdering jihadist nutjobs off the hook as well!&nbsp; How can the rest of the world possibly take us seriously if we don't just slaughter our foes like they do?&nbsp; Put Bin Laden on trial?&nbsp; You're having a bubble mate."<br /><br />George Osborne is likely to be our next prime minister.<br /></span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-18144324150039105922015-08-28T11:53:00.002+01:002015-08-28T11:53:55.356+01:00Helelyos.<center><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MuEbpKOUyZU" width="480"></iframe><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VuOS4wOujs0" width="480"></iframe></center>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-56063215621212129592015-08-28T11:48:00.000+01:002015-08-28T11:48:09.961+01:00House of Lords number crunching.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">8 - Number of Lib Dems voters saw fit to return to parliament after five years of coalition with the Conservatives<br /><br />11 - <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-34076465">Number of Lib Dems nominated to the House of Lords</a> for services to the Conservative party<br /><br />2 - Number of former Lib Dem MPs knighted for their help in getting the Conservatives their first majority in 23 years<br /><br />4 - Number of honours handed out to various people for services to Nick Clegg<br /><br />3 - Number of Downing Street staff given the resurrected British Empire Medal, a bauble recognising something that no longer exists, to honour years of service to politicians regardless of stripe<br /><br />1 - Person bewildered by politicians' continuing insistence on making the public despise them, i.e. me</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-45794807818343298462015-08-27T20:04:00.002+01:002015-08-27T20:08:32.609+01:00The worst is yet to come.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">When it comes to covering breaking news, broadcasters and live bloggers are always going to be damned if they do and damned if they don't.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/aug/26/virginia-gunman-kills-reporter-cameraman">Yesterday's murders in Virginia</a>, notable internationally only because it involved two journalists being shot at live on air (however harsh that sounds) were always going to involve an element of voyeurism precisely for that reason.&nbsp; When they had already shown video of Adam Ward's camera hitting the floor and played the audio of the gunshots and Alison Parker's screams, as without it this was just another shooting in a country that sees dozens every day, it was hardly a leap to then linking to or hosting the videos the murderer himself shot.&nbsp; If one outlet decided not to, others would have done, while at the same time <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/27/technology/personaltech/violence-gone-viral-in-a-well-planned-rollout-on-social-media.html?_r=0">the videos were being shared on Twitter and Facebook regardless</a>.<br /><br />Getting too sanctimonious about the initial coverage is pointless.&nbsp; Decisions on featuring content that previously would have been debated intensely now have to be made in a matter of seconds, like it or not.&nbsp; The 24-hour news monster may have been created by the media themselves, but it has long since been overtaken by the demands of consumers.&nbsp; The BBC was criticised earlier in the month for taking slightly longer than its competitors to report on the death of Cilla Black, as it apparently awaited confirmation from a family member, for instance.<br /><br />As I've argued in the past, <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2014/10/perpetuating-abuse.html">looking for the transgressive, the extreme, the forbidden</a> <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2015/02/by-their-works-they-shall-be-judged.html">is just as normal as not looking for it</a>.&nbsp; Judging people that choose to seek out the worst the internet has to offer, so long as that worst does not break the law, is not going to change minds, whether it's the hacked personal photographs of celebrities or Islamic State propaganda (and that so much as watching videos by Islamic extremists is enough in some cases to get you arrested is a disgrace in itself).&nbsp; At worst it is the height of hypocrisy: I've seen this material, I'm pretty much telling you where to find it if you so wish, but you're a terrible human being if you do.<br /><br />This said, <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/08/trigger-warnings-and-sexual-fluidity.html">it should always be the active choice of the person</a> to watch such material.&nbsp; Click and be damned.&nbsp; Search and be damned.&nbsp; When newspapers, forced or rather unable to compete with such rivals then make the decision to <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-the-papers-34070373">put on their front pages images shot by the killer</a> pointing his gun at Parker, with the Sun going so far as to screencap the exact frame when he fired the first shot, <a href="http://zelo-street.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/suns-sick-stateside-shooting-splash.html">grabbing the flash of the muzzle</a>, the question of complicity comes very much into play, without any of the grounding that say films that have asked their audience why they're still watching have done.&nbsp; If anything, printing mere shots from the video is far worse than watching the whole thing.&nbsp; The grabs show the murderer as he imagined himself, in a position of power, stalking his victim, waiting for the moment he decides is best for taking the life of another person, for maximum impact.&nbsp; The full video shows Parker's absolute panic and terror, inviting sympathy and empathy for her and Ward.&nbsp; It also reminds of just how common gun violence is in the United States, an epidemic that could be curtailed if only there was the political will to do so.<br /><br />It has also left almost anyone who has gone into a supermarket, off licence or onto a garage forecourt without the ability to make the active choice as to whether or not to see someone in the process of taking a life.&nbsp; Again, that this happened in the US has without doubt played a role in the editorial decisions: had it been in this country, it seems unlikely the papers that chose to use those grabs would have come to the same decision, precisely because the backlash would have been all the fiercer.&nbsp; The Sun for one made clear last year it would not print any of the images from the IS video that showed the murder of Alan Henning, as they would not give his <a href="https://twitter.com/stigabell/status/518151450489548800">"absurd murderers the publicity they crave"</a>.&nbsp; The killer of Parker and Ward may not have filmed his attack partially for the purpose of spreading fear, but he clearly did so knowing full well that he was about to have the publicity he had long craved and believed he had been wrongly denied.&nbsp; His task done, he further denied the families of the two people he killed proper justice by taking his own life.<br /><br />You could if you so wished put the shooting and its aftermath down as just the latest extreme example of <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2014/05/they-say-life-is-beautiful.html">the latent narcissism that drives a minority</a> into believing they are entitled to something they're convinced they've been wrongfully denied.&nbsp; It also though reflects on the media that so often encourages such beliefs, that thinks so little about the impact it has, and which it would be foolish to dismiss outright as having very little overall impact.&nbsp; It also, sadly, marks the beginning of what thanks to advances in technology and the internet of things is bound to be just the first in a series of acts committed with the intention of garnering the maximum possible publicity.&nbsp; It can only be so long before a spree killer streams live his trail of murder and horror, before someone who believes he has nothing to lose tortures a kidnap victim while taunting journalists, the police and the social networks over their failure to find where his feed is coming from.&nbsp; If yesterday was a challenge to the media's sense of ethics, morals and news values, the future promises far worse.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-33707298961155180042015-08-26T23:09:00.000+01:002015-08-27T13:28:53.868+01:00Another post in the making myself even less popular series.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Earlier in the month you might just recall we had days of coverage on <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/08/a-post-bound-to-make-me-even-more.html">the varying allegations made against Ted Heath</a>.&nbsp; Every police force in the country seemed to be launching investigations into claims made against the deceased former prime minister, to the point where it was decided Wiltshire police, the force whose superintendent had decided to make an appeal to other potential victims to come forward from outside what was Heath's home, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/11/wiltshire-police-edward-heath-investigations">would supervise the other inquiries</a>.<br /><br />It does strike as just slightly odd then that mere weeks later a<a href="https://theneedleblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/full-statement-of-harvey-proctor/"> genuinely extraordinary press conference by Harvey Proctor</a>, during which he outlined in full the allegations of both child sexual abuse and murder, made not just against him but other senior members of the establishment, has slipped down the news agenda quite so quickly.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-the-papers-34059248">Only the Mail and Independent lead with it on their front pages</a>, and <a href="http://www.iaindale.com/posts/2015/08/25/watch-my-exclusive-interview-with-harvey-proctor">beyond the interviews</a> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lm0abUBV2FA">Proctor gave</a>, little in the way of further analysis of the claims being made about a Westminster/establishment paedophile ring has been forthcoming.&nbsp; One has to wonder if whether this might either be as a result of a request from the Metropolitan police, who yesterday were declining to comment on Proctor's media blitz, or if others have taken the same tact as the Guardian, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/2015/aug/26/harvey-proctor-claims-entitled-to-fair-treatment">declining to name the other figures identified</a> out of a misplaced sense of not further spreading unproven allegations.<br /><br />Some of it can undoubtedly be put down to the extravagant, hyperbolic way in which Proctor put his message across.&nbsp; Either he should be arrested, charged and prosecuted immediately, or his accuser, known only as "Nick", should be charged with wasting police time, while the officer in charge of Operation Midland, Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald, should either resign, be sacked or demoted to traffic duties.&nbsp; Oh, and both should be medically examined to ensure they are of sound mind.<br /><br />Proctor has done himself no favours with such personal attacks.&nbsp; He does though have absolutely every right to be as angry and bewildered as he is.&nbsp; When someone makes allegations as lurid and as serious as the ones that Nick has, not just against Harvey Proctor but, to reel off the list Proctor was provided with, Ted Heath, Leon Brittan, Lord Janner, Lord Bramall, the heads at the time of both MI5 and MI6, <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/11826011/Retired-General-named-by-Harvey-Proctor-says-he-was-interviewed-by-police-but-not-as-a-paedophile-suspect.html">General Sir Hugh Beach</a>, a man called Ray Beech, as well as to be asked as to whether he knew or had any association with Jimmy Savile, Leslie Goddard or <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Hayman_(diplomat)">Peter Hayman</a>, the expectation has to be that they will be investigated thoroughly, properly, and without favour or prejudice.&nbsp; Instead, one of McDonald's first actions following the interviews with Nick was to hold a press conference at which he said that he believed the allegations <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/dec/18/london-police-vip-child-sex-abuse-murder">made to be not just credible, but "true"</a>.&nbsp; Nick has since appeared on television <a href="http://barristerblogger.com/2014/11/16/exaro-news-playing-dangerous-game-paedophile-murder-story/">a number of times to relate his story</a>, albeit with any details beyond that he was abused by establishment figures and also witnessed the murder of three other boys almost entirely shorn from the interviews.<br /><br />Now that we know precisely whom Nick is accusing, it does, as Proctor said, seem "so farfetched as to be unbelievable".&nbsp; As Evan Davis nearly summarised on Newsnight last night, either the very worst fears of an establishment abuse ring and cover-up are true, or this is the biggest witch-hunt since the Satanic abuse panic of the late 80s/early 90s, <a href="http://annaraccoon.com/2014/01/31/what-happens-if-three-butterflies-flap-their-wings-simultaneously/">with some of the same individuals involved</a>.&nbsp; The police strategy appears on the surface at least to have been to give publicity to Nick's allegations in the hope <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/mar/16/westminster-paedophile-ring-innuendo-evidence">that other witnesses will come forward to corroborate them</a>.&nbsp; If anyone has, it would seem their accounts haven't matched, leaving the Met with little evidence other than Nick's statements.&nbsp; This would explain why despite searching Proctor's home and twice interviewing him under caution, he has not been arrested.<br /><br />Instead, the police have allowed the drip, drip of the claims against various figures, not just Proctor and Heath, to continue for the best part of the 9 months.&nbsp; In the vanguard has been <a href="http://www.exaronews.com/">Exaro News</a>, the online agency that has come to specialise in investigating cases of historic child abuse, with a journalist from Exaro apparently sitting in on the interviews between the police and Nick.&nbsp; Exaro also had the scoop on just when Proctor was to be raided and interviewed, whether as a result of the police telling Nick and Nick informing Exaro, or being told directly.<br /><br />Nick's testimony, regardless of the figures he says were involved in his abuse, is clearly compelling.&nbsp; Without other witnesses however, or when most of those named are either dead or advanced in age, it's left the police with almost nowhere to go.&nbsp; When you've already declared the account given by the witness to be true, a word that Exaro notably have been leaving out of their defences of Nick, <a href="https://twitter.com/MarkWatts_1/status/636271697109340160">saying only that he is regarded as credible</a>, to then not act against Proctor other than to leave him to be judged in the court of public opinion is deeply troubling.&nbsp; Proctor's claims of a homosexual witch-hunt may be over done, at least when it comes to the police, but that these allegations have been made repeatedly and principally against gay men does raise concern.<br /><br />As does so much about the way these cases have been reported and consumed.&nbsp; I don't know whether Nick's account is true, nor do I know if as Proctor protests, he is innocent.&nbsp; You might well have thought <a href="http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/who-harvey-proctor-disgraced-spanking-mp-who-denies-further-rent-boy-allegations-1490646">that Proctor's downfall in 1987 over rent boys</a>, albeit ones that would now be above the age of consent, would have led to these even more sensational claims coming to the fore sooner, for instance.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Nonetheless, the more serious and the higher allegations of wrongdoing go, the rule normally is the more evidence is needed in order to convince.&nbsp; Neither the police or media have come close to providing anything other than innuendo or a single, necessarily anonymous source to back up the claims being made.&nbsp; The so close to almost be inseparable involvement of a media organisation with both the witness and the investigating state body also raises alarm bells.&nbsp; For the same media organisations that have had no problem with repeatedly publicising allegations against senior figures without naming them or detailing exactly what they have been accused of to suddenly blanch when the principal accused sets out in unflinching detail the rapes, the stabbings, the running over of a 12-year-old, a list of exactly who is being accused, it smacks of them thinking that their readers will conclude they've been strung along for months once they're given the whole picture,<a href="https://twitter.com/ExaroNews/status/636607610016370688"> rather than as Exaro laughably claims</a>, about "avoiding contaminating the evidence pool".<br /><br />This still doesn't explain why so many have been convinced from the moment Nick's allegations were first made public that they were true.&nbsp; Exaro yesterday retweeted someone who asked them to send their regards <a href="https://twitter.com/TheHazelBowden/status/636177361667510272">as Nick was a source of "hope"</a>.&nbsp; If that's out of the sense that survivors of abuse will be believed, fine.&nbsp; If however it's because many want Nick's account to be true because it will prove accurate the worst fears or rather prejudices many have long had for politicians, especially Conservative ones, as it's difficult not to detect, that's something quite different.&nbsp;<a href="http://barthsnotes.com/2015/02/01/some-notes-on-leon-brittan-geoffrey-dickens-and-the-media/"> Barth's Notes puts it down to a form of anti-establishment millennialism</a>, but to me it reminds of <a href="http://www.nickdavies.net/1994/03/01/the-mysterious-death-of-hilda-murrell/">Nick Davies' mea culpa over the murder of Hilda Murrell</a>, an anti-nuclear campaigner whose death became a cause celebre in the 80s.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Then it was the shadow of the secret state combined with the viciousness of the Thatcher era.&nbsp; Now it's the spectre of the failure to expose Jimmy Savile while he was alive, combined with the general contempt for politicians and the belief that exposing the figures of the past will do for their successors today.&nbsp; Others call for the abused to always be listened to regardless of how outlandish their claims may seem, ignoring how if it turns out that Nick's story is false or doesn't lead to prosecutions the damage likely to be done to public faith in similar exposes will be considerable.&nbsp; Like what Proctor did or not, his actions are a more than understandable response to the mistakes and questionable decisions of both Exaro and the Metropolitan police.&nbsp;</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com3tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-56257905750648588652015-08-25T21:37:00.000+01:002015-08-26T02:41:11.338+01:00Being right about the Iraq war has made Sarah Ditum insufferable.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/08/being-right-about-iraq-war-has-made-left-insufferable">I, like Sarah Ditum, was against the Iraq war</a>.&nbsp; I, like Ditum, focused on the potential for war to the detriment of everything else, with the exception of one thing.&nbsp; I was a few years younger than Ditum, but otherwise the picture she paints is highly recognisable.&nbsp; Perhaps I wouldn't go as far to say that it gave me an overwhelming sense of moral superiority, as it didn't, mainly because I'm rarely 100% certain about anything.&nbsp; I definitely hoped that other people I admired would be anti-war too though.<br /><br />Which is where we must separate.&nbsp; I long ago reached the point of being bored senseless by Iraq; there are only so many times the same arguments can be regurgitated, the same realities ignored, the same mistakes repeated before you lose the will to carry on.&nbsp; I might not feel morally superior for it, but I'm more convinced than ever that Iraq will come to be seen as the defining disaster of early 21st century foreign policy.&nbsp; It's just that there seems little to no point whatsoever in acting high and mighty about it, or reminding everyone just how right you were, precisely because most other people who were also energised and enraged by the build up to the war are now also in a similar position.&nbsp; Shutting the fuck up about Iraq is something I would have advised everyone to do, or at least would have done prior to the rise of Islamic State.<br /><br />For the reason that you can't talk about Islamic State without recognising where the group came from.&nbsp; Islamic State owes its existence to the Iraq war, <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-taking-of-mosul-isnt-our-fault-well.html">even if its existence can hardly be wholly blamed on the West</a> as some would like to.&nbsp; Al-Qaida probably had at best a handful of members in Iraq prior to the invasion.&nbsp; Afterwards, thanks to the Americans and our good selves deciding it would be a spiffing idea to carry on with an occupation that was doomed from the start, foreign Sunni extremists, domestic Islamists and nationalists/Ba'athists opposed to the foreign presence swiftly made common cause and so began the insurgency.&nbsp; <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/07/lets-call-whole-thing-off.html">The forerunners to Islamic State changed name repeatedly</a>, seemed on a couple of occasions on the brink of defeat, but thanks to mistakes by the Western-backed Iraqi government, were never degraded completely.&nbsp; It's a very long way from the bombing of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canal_Hotel_bombing">the UN building in August 2003</a> to the destruction of <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/25/islamic-state-images-destruction-palmyra-temple-baal-shamin-isis">the Baal temple in Palmyra in Syria in August 2015</a>, but the two outrages are connected.<br /><br />No, what Ditum seems to be describing is, once again, <a href="http://flyingrodent.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/mea-maxima-culpa.html">and as Flying Rodent has also pointed out</a>, her own private Idaho.&nbsp; The left she's talking about and identifies is the same one trapped in the social media echo chamber, the one where as fellow <a href="http://www.newstatesman.com/helen-lewis/2015/07/echo-chamber-social-media-luring-left-cosy-delusion-and-dangerous-insularity">New Statesman columnist Helen Lewis has recently identified</a>, appearing right on is more important than actually being so when it matters.&nbsp; I mean really, <a href="http://www.medialens.org/">Media Lens</a>?&nbsp; I too quite liked them back between around 2003-2006, then lost interest once it became apparent they believed their real enemies to be the few mainstream outlets in this country that are even vaguely left-wing.&nbsp; It's very easy to be snotty about Twitter, especially when you're someone who has always refused to have anything to do with it, but it undoubtedly can and has made some even more parochial in their interests and selective in precisely what information they rely on.<br /><br />Ditum's real point, more really than Iraq, is about how this relatively small cross-section of people are among the most vocal in supporting Jeremy Corbyn.&nbsp; They no doubt are, and considering that the SNP have long been some of the most noisy in making known their opposition to the war, despite having done very little at the time about it, it's not surprising that some of these same people were not like us marching around our miserable little town centres knowing full well it was pointless.&nbsp; Mainly because plenty of them were, <a href="http://www.newstatesman.com/2015/04/battle-paisley-will-20-year-old-snp-student-defeat-labour-s-chief-election-strategist">like Mhairi Black</a>, not even into double figures age wise at the time.&nbsp; That's how long ago it was, even if it doesn't feel like it.<br /><br />Iraq does and at the same time doesn't matter.&nbsp; It doesn't matter because the vast majority have long since grown bored of it, or if they aren't exasperated by its mere mention they don't base their decisions when it comes to voting on something that happened 13 years ago.&nbsp; And yet, it does matter, not because there is this noisy minority that overwhelmingly supports Corbyn, some of whom regarded Iraq as the ultimate betrayal and <a href="http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2014/02/bonnie-tyler-syndrome.html">have been holding out for a hero ever since</a>, but because it's Corbyn's largely irrelevant attitudes towards foreign policy, at least from a Labour leadership standpoint, <a href="http://flyingrodent.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/your-bed-sir.html">that have been where most of the mud thrown at him has been found</a>.<br /><br />The reason this especially seems to enrage his online opponents is that unlike them, he's been able to make common course with <a href="http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/142706/jeremy-corbyns-friends-re-examined">groups or individuals that are rightly controversial</a>, in this instance ones that have either made anti-Semitic comments or are definitively anti-Semitic, and yet it hasn't damaged him.&nbsp; It doesn't seem to occur this is because Corbyn himself is not racist in the slightest, and that the best explanation for his continuing to attend <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/18/jeremy-corbyn-antisemitism-claims-ludicrous-and-wrong">Deir Yassin Remembered meetings</a> or speak at a conference organised <a href="http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/142789/jeremy-corbyn-addressed-larouche-front-organisation">by a front organisation for the LaRouche group</a> is down to not checking out their credentials properly or naivety, alongside his general friendliness towards any organisation that seems on the surface at least to share his views.&nbsp; Also, unlike them, his willingness <a href="http://www.channel4.com/news/jeremy-corbyn-i-wanted-hamas-to-be-part-of-the-debate">to not instantly condemn any group in the search for peace</a>, his experience with the IRA having informed this approach, rankles more than anything.&nbsp; Ideological purity is always important regardless of whether it's the far left or the Labour right involved in the whatabouttery.<br /><br />Except, of course, it's not Corbyn's anti-war position on Iraq that has led him to associate with most of these accused individuals and groups, but his stance on Palestine, as Ditum must know.&nbsp; Iraq has very little to nothing to do with his rise in the contest; as Andy Burnham has recognised, the real reason for Corbyn's surge was the welfare vote.&nbsp; <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-interminable-adventures-of-labour.html">As I related yesterday</a>, only 2 people at the Burnham question and answer session mentioned Iraq, one of them a Tory, the other asking not about Iraq specifically but mentioning it in regard to conviction.&nbsp; If anything, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/20/jeremy-corbyn-apologise-iraq-war-behalf-labour-leader">Corbyn telling the Graun he would issue a general apology</a> for the Iraq war was a response to the Labour figures that have made so much of his views on foreign policy, <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/11822204/Labour-leadership-candidates-go-head-to-head-on-BBC-5-Live-live.html">pointing out the ridiculousness of such people</a> lecturing others over what is and isn't acceptable.<br /><br />Ditum is right that being right about Iraq is not a good enough foundation for political life, but Corbyn isn't relying on it as his foundation in any case.&nbsp; The question ought to be what is preferable, knowing what we do now: is remaining an interventionist by instinct going to count in your favour when we have not just Iraq, but also Libya to judge by?&nbsp; Is bombing in Syria as well as Iraq, as it is after all worth remembering that technically we are currently involved in the third Iraq war, really going to alter anything, especially when we seem to have just <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/07/preventing-bad-boys-from-becoming-dead.html">abandoned the Kurds in favour of the Turks</a>?&nbsp; Has in fact our belief that we have the "responsibility to protect" undermined both national and international security, making our protests against Russia's annexation of the Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine even easier for Putin and other imperialists to ignore?&nbsp; And isn't much of the insufferable banging on about Iraq in any case not about what went wrong at all levels of government, what mistakes everyone involved made, <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/01/and-were-back-in-room.html">but in fact about one man, who has become just as much the scapegoat</a> for the failings of all concerned, driving force as he was?&nbsp; Indeed, shouldn't we truly learn the lessons of Iraq, as we clearly still haven't, before condemning a small group of annoyingly self-righteous people whose politics have been defined by it?</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-37926452040419129362015-08-24T21:25:00.001+01:002015-08-25T17:04:46.548+01:00The interminable adventures of a Labour supporter, pt. 1.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">There are many ways to spend a weekend.&nbsp; I doubt most people's idea of a good time would be going to see the former frontrunner in the Labour leadership election try his best to persuade other legendarily boring gits to vote for him, but this apparently is my life now as an official Labour supporter™.&nbsp; Or at least it will be until some bright spark connects my real name to this blog, where I have previously said to vote for parties other than Labour, something considered <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/20/labour-membership-jeremy-corbyn-purge">enough to bar you from being a member or supporter</a>, <a href="http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/08/labour-purging-supporters-jeremy-corbyn">even if you campaigned for the party</a> or said to vote for them this year.&nbsp; With new friends, eh?<br /><br />Anyway, just a few points:<br /><br />1. I estimate between 150 to 200 turned up to see Andy Burnham speak and then take questions, certainly more than I expected.&nbsp; Jeremy Corbyn has been filling far bigger places than where we were, <a href="http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/politics/more_than_1_500_people_to_attend_jeremy_corbyn_rally_in_norwich_tonight_1_4182884">getting numbers in the region of 800-1200</a>, but Burnham himself seem pleased with the turnout.&nbsp; Considering where I live is at the best of times devoid of anything approaching culture (the coming attraction at the local theatre is Shrek The Musical) and completely apolitical, I don't think it was bad going.&nbsp; I've been to stand-up gigs where the numbers could be counted on a single pair of hands, if that's a comparable metric.&nbsp; (Yes, yes it is).<br /><br />2. The only person to mention Jeremy Corbyn was... Andy Burnham.&nbsp; To the point where it almost seemed as though he was the man who couldn't be named.<br /><br />3. The most intriguing thing Burnham said by far was that if he'd resigned from the shadow cabinet <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/07/violent-sexual-imagery-only-way-to.html">over the welfare bill</a>, he expects he'd probably still be the frontrunner.&nbsp; And indeed, he's almost certainly right to think so.&nbsp; He didn't however because he's never broken the Labour whip, loyalty to the party being far more important than taking personal advantage.&nbsp; Unity is strength, he repeated, a number of times.&nbsp; Apart from being just a word away from one of the key slogans of Ingsoc from 1984, it seemed on a number of levels to be a truly odd line to take and regard as a plus point.&nbsp; There's nothing wrong with resigning over a point of principle, especially when the politics behind the line being pushed are so utterly wrongheaded.&nbsp; Moreover, if Burnham had resigned and gained accolades for doing so, much of the ridiculously damaging in-fighting <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/08/self-improvement-is-masturbation-now.html">that has since been conducted over the rise of Corbyn</a> would have been avoided.&nbsp; It seemed like a false line, precisely what the rival campaigns of Cooper and Kendall have accused him repeatedly of adopting.<br /><br />4.&nbsp; Regardless, Burnham was more impressive than I expected him to be.&nbsp; Yes, he's obviously had a lot of practice in delivering his short speech and in answering questions put to him, but he did so with admirable fluency, taking three questions at a time and answering them in turn, without resorting to cliches, platitudes or padding out his responses.&nbsp; His only real annoying tick was in referring to Cameron and pals more than once as "the Bullingdon boys", which apart from being increasingly old and a bit rich from a Cambridge graduate, hasn't really posed said "Bullingdon boys" much trouble with the voters, has it?&nbsp; Should he come through on second preferences, I'm less concerned than before that he will just be Ed Miliband Mk2.<br /><br />5.&nbsp; I wasn't though in the slightest bit convinced.&nbsp; On the surface, there's much to like about Burnham: <a href="http://www.andy4labour.co.uk/manifesto">his manifesto is the most detailed apart from Corbyn's</a>, has a good line in creating a National Health and Care Service, funded through a care levy, and behind Kendall would be the candidate the Tories most fear.&nbsp; He seems to be a Thoroughly Good Bloke, certainly less weird or geeky than that loser MIliband, something we're informed voters respect greatly, despite also much liking politicians who are complete dicks.&nbsp; <br /><br />What he lacks is that ruthlessness Ed did occasionally show; the point I felt like making, but didn't, both because it was more of a statement than a question and although this blog hides it, I'm far more shy and retiring than you might imagine, was that if he had resigned over the welfare vote and hadn't joined in with the others in the aftermath of the election in the accepting everything the Tories, Blairites and right-wing press said about why Labour lost, he might already have it in the bag.&nbsp; He answered a question about conviction from someone who was clearly leaning towards Corbyn by saying that we should look <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillsborough_disaster#Hillsborough_Independent_Panel">at his role in the Hillsborough inquiry</a> as to how he will challenge vested interests and the right people.&nbsp; This would mean more if it <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z3mBIi084Q">hadn't taken the 20th anniversary memorial at Anfield</a> to spark his determination; the passing of time meant there was little real opposition to taking another look, the Sun having repeatedly tried by that point to apologise, if the police and state were yet to.<br /><br />Labour needs, deserves better than someone who only acts once the time is right, who only moves once others have done so.&nbsp; Burnham seems the compromise, and despite the party needing to come to a compromise once the leader is elected, doing so over the leader isn't the answer.&nbsp; That said, I would now like to see Liz Kendall speak and answer questions in person, although she seems to have abandoned the pretence of doing much other than TV and radio appearances and calling individual members, for obvious reasons.<br /><br />6.&nbsp; The only entryist in evidence was a Tory councillor who for reasons known only to himself decided to gatecrash the event and prove he had an even more pathetic existence than the rest of us.&nbsp; His question, when he could have easily made everyone uncomfortable by asking about the deficit or Corbyn, was to ask Burnham why Tony Blair lied over Iraq.&nbsp; Yes, really.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-77746191381166547172015-08-21T11:59:00.001+01:002015-08-21T11:59:50.547+01:00Crickets.<center><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ryAguA7oKiw" width="480"></iframe><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3KUoMpqiYmI" width="480"></iframe></center>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-85617580316723887622015-08-20T19:59:00.001+01:002015-08-20T19:59:56.225+01:00New victim of Labour purge identified.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">There was consternation today <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/20/ed-miliband-new-beard-milibeard-corbyn-labour">after it emerged Ed Miliband's incipient beard</a> has been denied a vote in the Labour leadership election.&nbsp; The new facial appendage was informed via email, in what has been <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/20/labour-leadership-election-rejected-supporters-express-their-anger">dubbed the "great Labour purge</a>", that it does not support the "aims and values" of the party.<br /><br />"It's an outrageous decision," said Keith Flett, chief executive of the Beard Liberation Front.&nbsp; "The idea that beards are anything but rooted in Labour values is absurd.&nbsp; From Marx and Engels to Keir Hardie, from Ramsay MacDonald to that apology <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/520973.stm">for a moustache that once took up space</a> below Ken Livingstone's nose, from <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/3135233/The-moustache-victim-of-fickle-public-taste.html">Peter Mandelson</a> to Robin Cook, facial hair and the Labour party have always gone together.&nbsp; To deny this is to deny history.&nbsp; The Milibeard must have its vote restored forthwith."<br /><br />A spokesman for the Labour party, who refused to comment on whether he too had decided to forgo using a razor for a couple of weeks, denied that the decision had been made in error.&nbsp; "We have reason to believe that the Milibeard is an unconscious attempt on the part of Ed to indicate support for Jeremy Corbyn.&nbsp; As all former leaders are required to either keep shtum or endorse Yvette Cooper, we had no option but to remove his vote."<br /><br />It as yet unclear whether Ed plans to add to his new hipster image by getting a sleeve tattoo and opening a breakfast cereal pop-up eatery in Shoreditch.<br /><br />In other news:<br /></span><br /><ul><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><li><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/19/russell-brand-backs-jeremy-corbyn-in-labour-leadership-race">Russell Brand gives thumbs up to Corbyn</a> - bookies immediately lengthen his odds</li><li><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-33991635">Crowds gather to remember immensely overrated passed on celebrity</a> - remind you of anything?</li><li><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/20/sexual-harassment-women-curfew">I'm tired of creepy men says Guardian writer</a> - creepy men duly make clear just how not creepy they are&nbsp;</li><li>Yes, I'm truly scraping the barrel today</li></span></ul>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-56273691160725719242015-08-19T22:55:00.000+01:002015-08-19T23:02:12.395+01:00Trigger warnings and sexual fluidity? Yeah, this is going to go well.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Trigger_warning">Trigger warnings</a>, doncha love 'em?&nbsp; Well no, not really.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/education/commentisfree/2015/aug/18/trigger-warnings-dont-hinder-freedom-expression">To Lindy West</a>, they are merely the equivalent of a newsreader warning that the next item contains "scenes you might find upsetting or distressing".&nbsp; It's basic human decency.&nbsp; Not everyone wants to see images of starving, crying children, <a href="http://t.co/9UtW7lRnrz">corpses washed up on the Libyan coast</a> or blood-stained pavements where the injured <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-33984177">after a bombing are screaming in agony</a>, and I wouldn't for a second force anyone to see such things.&nbsp; I would argue though that within reason we should look at such things, precisely because like it or not, such images depict life, not as we want it to be but as it is.<br /><br />West objects strongly to the idea that asking for such warnings to be included on college syllabuses might be about censorship or not wanting to engage with ideas that students rather wouldn't.&nbsp; On the whole she's likely to be right, and so long as professors themselves are making the choice to include the warnings, there's little to be concerned about.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117320/oberlin-amends-its-trigger-warning-policy">The Oberlin case she swiftly brushes over though</a> didn't involve the teaching staff, and more than gives the impression the aim of the students, consciously or not, was to avoid discussing subjects they disliked as a result of their political views.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/05/trigger-warnings-can-be-counterproductive">Such a position is worrying regardless of the politics of those involved</a>, as the Oberlin professors made clear in getting the proposals thrown out.&nbsp; You don't need to be an opponent of "cultural Marxism" or <a href="http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=SJW&amp;defid=8254152">"SJWs"</a> as the new online right present themselves to worry for instance that the great giving and taking offence wars have gone too far, <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/01/comedy-satire-and-subjectivity-oh-and.html">as the reaction to the attack</a> <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2015/01/tout-est-pardonne.html">on Charlie Hebdo surely demonstrated</a>.&nbsp; Political correctness, as far as such a thing actually exists, should be as West argues about common courtesy; it has the potential to stop being that however when the privileged affect to speak on behalf of minorities, something that both the right and left are equally capable of doing.<br /><br />Concluding, West states that "People hate trigger warnings because they bring up something most don’t like to remember: that the world is not currently a safe or just place, and people you love are almost certainly harbouring secrets that would break your heart."&nbsp; She's right, only she's got it completely back to front: people dislike the idea of trigger warnings because however much we want the world to change, we still have to deal with it as is.&nbsp; Life does not come with a trigger warning, regardless of how corny that sounds, as abuse victims will know all too well.&nbsp; Not confronting difficult subjects isn't a solution, rather the opposite.<br /><br />Somewhat related are the reports <a href="https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/08/16/half-young-not-heterosexual/">on a YouGov poll from the weekend on how we're all sexually fluid</a> now, or rather that 1 in 2 young people say they are not 100% heterosexual.&nbsp; This is rather less surprising when <a href="https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/7zv13z8mfn/YG-Archive-150813-%20Sexuality.pdf">you dig further down into the poll</a> (PDF): 1 in 2 young people might not say they are definitively either straight or gay on the Kinsey scale, where you rate yourself between 0 and 6, but when specifically asked if they are heterosexual, gay, bisexual, other or prefer not to say, the results are almost boringly as you'd expect.&nbsp; The original Kinsey surveys suggested 1 in 10 were gay (the ONS by contrast suggested <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/reality-check/2013/oct/03/gay-britain-what-do-statistics-say">that only 1.5% of the population was gay in 2013</a>), and this poll pretty much backs that up: 81% and 83% of the young (18-24s and 25-39s) say they're heterosexual, while 10% and 11% say gay (2% and 4% say bi).&nbsp; I know I wouldn't put myself as 0 on the Kinsey scale, despite sadly being as straight as they come, for instance.&nbsp; The obvious explanation for the difference between the young and old when it comes to the Kinsey scale is again, rather dull: there's no reason whatsoever to believe that older generations are any different in terms of sexual preference, they're just not as comfortable in saying so.<br /><br />More interesting is why some continue to believe that regardless of this evidence, their own sexual identity or rather lack of wouldn't be welcomed or understood back in their home town, despite everything suggesting that we've never been so tolerant.&nbsp; Some of it might be down to just how silly the labels themselves are: <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/18/bisexual-british-adults-define-gay-straight-heterosexual">Alice, 23, from Sussex is apparently a "bisexual homoromantic"</a>.&nbsp; Or translated, "It means I like sex with men and women, but I only fall in love with women. I wouldn’t say something wishy-washy like, ‘It’s all about the person,’ because more often it’s just that I sometimes like a penis."&nbsp; Some others might more succinctly call it having your cake and eating it, although that has often been the judgemental accusation thrown at bisexuals.&nbsp; Alice's description of her sexuality does nonetheless seem a recipe for more than the usual amount of hurt feelings and misunderstandings, at least outside of a close social group, while also hinting towards narcissism.&nbsp; Does the owner of the penis have a say, for instance?&nbsp; When Alice then talks of feeling entitled to be who she is in London, but doesn't feel the same way in the small town in the home counties she hails from, where she never experienced discrimination but puts this down purely to "passing" as straight, you do have to wonder.<br /><br />This isn't to pretend that there isn't still prejudice, or lack of understanding, it's more that it's likely to become more and more confined to specific sub-cultures and localised areas.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/aug/16/keegan-hirst-first-rugby-league-player-come-out-gay">Keegan Hirst no doubt genuinely thought</a> that he couldn't be from Batley, be a rugby player and be gay, and no doubt it's why despite having always been gay he went down the path he did, but it often takes just the one breach for the whole dam to burst.&nbsp; The belief that you need to move away from "backwaters" in order to be yourself, that anywhere outside of the major cities is the equivalent of social death or likely to be homophobia central just doesn't ring true any more.&nbsp; It is however an eerily familiar way of thinking: just like we tend on the whole to say crime is low and public services are decent in our local area, we imagine that everywhere else there be monsters.&nbsp; It might well be the case there will be more snorts of derision should someone declare themselves to be a "bisexual homoromantic" outside of the M25, but err, is that necessarily a bad thing?</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-2840344947809119982015-08-18T23:15:00.003+01:002015-08-18T23:16:18.709+01:00"Self-improvement is masturbation. Now, self-destruction?"<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">(<a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2015/08/oh-and-dear.html">Yeah, I can quote Fight Club as well.&nbsp; Oh, and incidentally Liz Kendall's campaign did get round to emailing me today.</a>)&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Of all the ill-judged and misguided interventions in the Labour leadership contest, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/17/jeremy-corbyn-liz-kendall-labour-leadership-david-miliband">David Miliband's is without question</a> the most tone deaf.&nbsp; He name checks both Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt, two of the figures who have most helped push party members towards Corbyn <a href="http://averypublicsociologist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/an-open-letter-to-tristram-hunt.html">with their intemperate outbursts</a>, repeats the nonsense that Labour lost because his brother retreated from the true Blairite way,&nbsp; and then advises that Britain could become an effective one party Conservative state.&nbsp; Well yes, it certainly could if whoever becomes leader follows the D Miliband path of reform, reform, reform.&nbsp; It's either reform or Conservatism, folks, it's simple as that.<br /><br />Except of course it isn't.&nbsp; To portray Jeremy Corbyn's platform as pure nostalgia, the failed policies of the past, a wholehearted return to the 80s is a caricature and no more comforting for it.&nbsp; Whether you like the idea or not, the <a href="http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2015/08/corbynomics-meh.html">Corbyn proposal for people's quantitative easing</a> offers an alternative to austerity that none of the other candidates have come close to matching.&nbsp; Miliband responds to the retaliatory accusations that the other three merely want to reheat what worked in the 90s by claiming nothing could be further the truth, only to produce a list of policies, or rather "ideas" almost indistinguishable from the ones that became increasingly less popular in each successive election.&nbsp; Only the references to secular stagnation and a low-carbon European energy future mask what is an incredibly familiar programme, complete with the same old euphemisms.&nbsp; What else is the reference to "combat humanitarian catastrophe where it occurs" other than a call for more liberal interventionism?&nbsp; Miliband is clearly referring to Syria, rather forgetting that it was our invoking of the responsibility to protect in Libya that has had just a big an impact on the numbers seeking asylum as anything else.<br /><br />If there's one message that each of the successive figures from the past have wanted to drill into the newly signed up supporters, affiliates and members, <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2015/08/dear-liz-kendall.html">it's that Labour has to be a party of government, not protest</a>.&nbsp; And yet the irony is that Jeremy Corbyn has been by the far the most leader-like of all the candidates.&nbsp; He's declined to respond in kind to all the various insults both he and his supporters have received, <a href="http://www.jeremyforlabour.com/news">has repeatedly set out in detail exactly</a> what his policies would entail, in complete difference to the other three, and when confronted with the accusations of being acquainted with antisemites <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_Jaw_pJq50">has given straight answers</a>, if not at the first time of asking.<br /><br />The contrast with Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/18/yvette-cooper-truce-andy-burnham-ed-balls-labour-leadership">who have spent the past day fighting like two tomcats in a sack</a> could not be more stark.&nbsp; Cooper, having seemingly let all the various transfers of allegiance <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-road-to-jeremy.html">from the those on the right of the party go to her head</a>, demanded that Burnham withdraw both because he clearly can't be trusted to properly oppose Corbyn and only she can possibly win.&nbsp; Considering Cooper's strategy from the outset was to say almost nothing in the slightest bit challenging and in the end triumph on the basis of second preference votes, her extremely late in the day conversion to attacking Corbyn head on is just a little rich.&nbsp; Besides, regardless of Burnham's similar lack of anything remotely approaching conviction, the next leader will need to work not just with the various factions within the party but also with those who have been enthused by Corbyn.&nbsp; To regard him and those who've supported him as beyond the pale completely, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/18/andy-burnham-accuses-labour-factions-circling-wagon-jeremy-corbyn-leadership">as Cooper and Liz Kendall apparently do</a> just isn't going to work.&nbsp; Corbyn probably won't want a shadow cabinet position, but there's no reason why he couldn't play a similar role to the one say Jon Cruddas does currently.&nbsp; He certainly couldn't do any worse, as the latest batch of risible research commissioned by Cruddas shows.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/08/labour-are-becoming-toxic-brand-warns-jon-cruddas">Prospectors, pioneers and settlers, fuck me sideways</a>.<br /><br />As the <a href="https://twitter.com/abstex/status/633614513305206784">man formerly known as Anton Vowl tweeted</a>, if we didn't know it before, there are an awful lot of arseholes in the Labour party.&nbsp; Arseholes with remarkably thin skins, it should be added.&nbsp; Some of the same people who have gone around shouting about Marxists, Hezbollah and Hamas lovers, or simply called anyone thinking of voting for Corbyn idiots or in need of a heart transplant are it turns out really quite hurt when they're called Tories by anonymous people on the internet.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/liz-kendall-slams-labour-supporters-for-vitriolic-online-abuse-in-leadership-campaign-10456963.html">Liz Kendall took to moaning about this at the weekend</a>, and repeated her message today.&nbsp; To be fair, Kendall has not herself been one of those going around insulting people, even if those who are or at least were supporting her were in the vanguard of doing so.&nbsp; Calling those on the right of the party Tories is not helpful, but nor is it as Kendall claims, an "enormous strategic mistake".&nbsp; An enormous strategic mistake is to carry on acting like spoilt children, spitting out dummies when things don't go your way.&nbsp; For Yvette Cooper's campaign to repeatedly play the sexist card when Burnham's has as far as we know simply been stating the facts as we know them, that she can't win, is exceptionally low politics.<br /><br />It's also indicative of the hole the "mainstream" of the party has dug itself into.&nbsp; Their hope was to have a simple, straightforward contest where all the candidates agreed with the Tory and right-wing media consensus on why Labour lost, elect whoever emerged on top and go from there.&nbsp; This fell apart not with Corbyn's entry into the contest, but <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/07/voters-are-often-wrong-politicians-need.html">when Harriet Harman declared the party would not oppose the government's welfare bill</a>.&nbsp; Everything that has happened since has its root in that unbelievably damaging capitulation, an act of self-harm from a party leadership that claims it has to be in power in order to protect the vulnerable.<br /><br />Any doubts about Corbyn, and they are many and myriad, have been overlooked <a href="http://flyingrodent.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/your-bed-sir.html">both because of those making them</a>, whether they be the Decents that ignore the realities of the Middle East and cheer lead for Israel regardless of how it acts and who have been making the same hysterical arguments for years,&nbsp; the ex-party figures that have simply lost any influence they once had, or down to how the other three candidates are just so woefully lacking in every regard.&nbsp; Rather than accept they might have made any mistakes, their reaction has been to turn on each other, to the point where it looks as though regardless of who wins, the first task will be to rebuild trust and relationships that should never have broken down in the first place.&nbsp; Rather than welcome new members the major response has been to treat them with suspicion if not outright contempt.&nbsp; Rather than work with whoever the new leader is, many have said they will refuse to serve under one person or another, while others are plotting practically in the open.<br /><br />The reason the Conservatives as a party have barely bothered to comment on the woe of their rival is they don't need to.&nbsp; Labour's self-destruction these past few weeks has been completely unnecessary and all the more damaging for it.&nbsp; Nothing makes a party look less electable or serious than the recriminations that probably haven't as much as started yet.&nbsp; Absolutely nothing I've seen or heard, regardless of <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/07/kendall-or-corbyn-either-will-do.html">all the entreaties and pleas has made me alter my view</a> that the party needs either Jeremy Corbyn or Liz Kendall to win, if only so that all the bad blood can be purged in one go, however it is that turns out.&nbsp; If it means a split in the party, frankly so be it.&nbsp; The quicker the left gets itself organised the better.&nbsp; This didn't have to happen, but now that it has it might as well come to a conclusive end.&nbsp; Voting for either Cooper or Burnham is only going to prolong the agony.<br /></span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-40084367023099579042015-08-17T21:19:00.001+01:002015-08-17T21:19:45.567+01:00Oh and dear.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Since paying my £3 last Monday and signing up as a Labour supporter, I've had emails from, in order, Jeremy Corbyn's campaign, Stella Creasy's campaign (with the topic "<a href="http://www.labour.org.uk/blog/entry/the-first-rule-of-campaign-fightback-club-is">The first rule of Campaign Fight(Back) Club is...</a>" and then the body doesn't enlighten me further.&nbsp; Don't talk about Campaign Fight(Back) Club? Do talk about Campaign Fight(Back) Club?&nbsp; Don't always try and be down with the kids by referencing 90s novels and films?), Andy Burnham's campaign, Tom Watson's campaign, Stella Creasy's campaign again, and finally, Yvette Cooper's campaign.&nbsp; Spot the odd one out.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-47542660631093929672015-08-17T21:10:00.001+01:002015-08-18T17:47:26.737+01:00Planet football: The Mourinho delusion.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGkoMgdG82o">Jose Mourinho, hijo de puta.&nbsp; Jose Mourinho, hijo de puta</a>.&nbsp; So the fans of Atletico Madrid gleefully sang a couple of seasons back, watching their team knock Chelsea out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage.&nbsp; Translated that's son of a whore, which while not pleasant is one of the tamer chants to be heard at a football ground.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/aug/14/jose-mourinho-chelsea-eva-carneiro-son-of-a-bitch-jon-fearn">It's also apparently what Mourinho himself exclaimed</a> as his medical team of Eva Carneiro and Jon Fearn ran on to the field in stoppage time at the end of the second half of Chelsea's first Premier League game of the season against Swansea, having been beckoned on by referee Michael Oliver to treat Eden Hazard.&nbsp; In what was a fairly transparent attempt to deflect attention away from his team's stuttering performance, Mourinho went <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/aug/11/chelsea-doctor-eva-carneiro-role-change-jose-mourinho">on to accuse the pair of "not understanding the game"</a> in post-match interviews.<br /><br />Normally, that would have been as far as it went.&nbsp; Mourinho, like Alex Ferguson before him, is a master of blaming everything other than his team or indeed himself when his charges fail to win.&nbsp; Ferguson was at least on occasion magnanimous in defeat, notably when Barcelona outplayed United in the 2011 Champions League final.<br /><br />Such concessions come much harder for Mourinho, a stance that often rubs off on his players.&nbsp; Mourinho is a natural cynic, making things up as he goes along, and is unashamed of resorting to tactics that are at best unsporting and at worst on the very edge of cheating.&nbsp; While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with "parking the bus", a phrase Mourinho himself coined, i.e. putting 9 or all 10 outfield players behind the ball and aiming for a 0-0 draw, as the other team in such circumstances should almost always be able to carve out one decent opportunity during the 90 minutes, it's something else to tell your side to make the most of every challenge and try to get opposition players sent off, the apogee of which was reached in <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/mar/11/chelsea-psg-champions-league-match-report">last season's clash with Paris St. Germain</a>.&nbsp; Despite having Zlatan Ibrahimovic red carded midway through the first half, PSG persevered with 10 men and won on away goals after equalising on the night in the second period of extra time.&nbsp; Arguably, Chelsea's reputation for theatrics, especially from Diego Costa, has started to count against the team: a number of fouls on Costa last season which should have resulted in penalties were waved away.&nbsp; Not that this has altered Mourinho's thinking.&nbsp; Rather, he chose instead to accuse referees and the league <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/chelsea-penalty-appeals-could-be-swayed-by-jose-mourinho-rant-over-cesc-fabregas-incident-9947999.html">of having a "vendetta" against his club</a>, which at the same time deflected attention away from his underperforming players.<br /><br />Carneiro's real offence it seems was to acknowledge the people who <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/aug/12/eva-carneiro-chelsea-doctor-facebook-jose-mourinho">had taken to her Facebook page offering support</a>.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/14/jose-mourinho-eva-carneiro-chelsea-doctor">As Marina Hyde says</a>, perhaps her response was slightly grand, thanking the "general public" for their response.&nbsp; Nonetheless, this simple gesture is apparently what led Mourinho, supported it seems by the rest of the hierarchy at Chelsea, to demote both Carneiro and Fearn to junior positions at club.&nbsp; Mourinho <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/33931547">at his press conference on Friday read out a statement</a> to the effect that both could yet return to being on the bench at games, but they would certainly not be there for the game on Sunday.&nbsp; Accordingly, when the two replacement medics were called on in yesterday's 3-0 defeat to Manchester City, the home fans cheered and chanted "you're getting sacked in the morning".&nbsp; Mourinho's response to the utterly deserved defeat, which if anything should have been more emphatic?&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/aug/16/manuel-pellegrini-jose-mourinho-chelsea-manchester-city">"A fake result"</a>, and his team was the better side in the second half.<br /><br />Mourinho can of course think and claim whatever he likes.&nbsp; His responses to the opening three games of the season have all though been either delusional or to deflect attention.&nbsp; The defeat to Arsenal in the Community Shield (disclaimer: I support Arsenal) was <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/jose-mourinho-arsenal-abandoned-their-philosophy-to-beat-chelsea-10433768.html">down to the opposition abandoning their philosophy</a>, playing on the counter-attack, as though he has the right to lecture anyone else about using such tactics.&nbsp; The draw with Swansea, as well as leading to the ridiculous and dictatorial treatment of Carneiro and Fearn, also saw him "refusing" to comment on a penalty incident once again involving Costa, the refusal intended to be nothing of the kind.<br /><br />Other managers would not be allowed to get away with such behaviour, or at least not without widespread mocking and criticism in the media at large.&nbsp; Leicester's Nigel Pearson was on a number of occasions last season brought to account for <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/apr/30/nigel-pearson-leicester-city-ostrich-rant">overly aggressive treatment of journalists, players and fans</a>, and he had the decency to admit he had gone too far and apologised following his "ostrich" rant at Ian Baker.&nbsp; That Pearson despite succeeding in keeping Leicester up left the club in the summer, with journalists after the apology asking if he was a bully and paranoid, is probably instructive.&nbsp; Any sign of weakness from a manager is swiftly leapt upon, and when three unfavourable results in a row for a "top" club is inevitably deemed to be a crisis, deflecting the blame onto others rather than one's self is almost always going to be the first rather than last resort.<br /><br />The chances of Mourinho ever being labelled a bully are remote, just as Alex Ferguson was almost never called on his similar behaviour.&nbsp; As long as a manager succeeds, is seen to be succeeding, or alternatively/at the same time provides journalists with good copy, it's in the media's interests not to rock the boat, not least when clubs are increasingly treating anyone who has as much as a <a href="http://blogs.channel4.com/alex-thomsons-view/normal-ban-journalists-football/9763">critical word to say about them incredibly spitefully</a>.&nbsp; There have been almost as many articles written down the years on the "mind games" between managers as there have on the matches themselves.&nbsp; This refusal to at the same time as acknowledging the genius of the likes of Mourinho and Ferguson to make clear their antics are self-defeating and also damaging to the game as a whole is what leads to Mourinho and Chelsea getting away with the sheer pettiness of the all but sacking of Carniero and Fearn.<br /><br />When Alan Shearer, the game's idiot's idiot, says that if Mourinho was the manager of any of last season's top four they would win the league, it's an invitation for Mourinho to imagine himself bigger than the game, to grant him carte blanche, to do as he pleases.&nbsp; No one is bigger than the game.&nbsp; Nor should a player be denied medical treatment because a manager deems a win to be more important, let alone those doctors then have their jobs threatened for doing what was asked of them by the only person in the position to make that call.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-35011371992755543702015-08-14T11:48:00.001+01:002015-08-14T11:48:43.646+01:00Upstate.<center><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qSWVE2N7OhA" width="480"></iframe><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/s552JMK1YeY" width="480"></iframe></center>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-35289693195368272602015-08-13T22:41:00.002+01:002015-08-13T22:41:54.477+01:00The road to Jeremy.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/12/tony-blair-labour-faces-annihilation-if-jeremy-corbyn-wins-leadership">"There is something fascinating about watching a party wrestle with its soul."</a>&nbsp; So goes Tony Blair's explanation as to why Jeremy Corbyn's campaign has "sparked interest".&nbsp; What Blair really thinks is far clearer: this isn't just people rubbernecking, who don't want to look at an accident but can't find the willpower not to, but the actions of those whose first instinct is to reach for their smartphone and "join in".&nbsp; To Blair and the still true believing Blairites, Corbyn doesn't so much as offer creative destruction, but just destruction: everything they achieved is under threat.&nbsp; To them, the reason Labour lost the last two elections is <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/07/much-like-pulling-teeth.html">because Gordon and Ed abandoned their "values"</a>, didn't remain that "radical centre".&nbsp; Everything else that's happened since Blair stepped down is irrelevant.<br /><br />As has already been pointed out approximately 392 million times, the lack of self-awareness is quite extraordinary.&nbsp; It doesn't seem to occur to Blair that perhaps, just perhaps, the decisions he took while leader might have something to do with Labour's predicament now.&nbsp; For argument's sake, let's dispense with the Iraq war, the way you can only push a party around for so long by arguing the only way to win is through triangulation, with the constant taking on of your own backbenchers, and accept the Blair argument that while not perfect, he left the party in a good shape.<br /><br />The fact is he didn't.&nbsp; The TB-GBs, the infighting, the broken promises, they left a party that while never united in its history, and has as the left is wont to do, often accused its leaders of selling out, substantially weakened.&nbsp; Moreover, Blair and Brown had dominated the party for so long that once the pair themselves were out of the way, it left the crop of leadership candidates we saw in 2010 to pick up the pieces.&nbsp; The Blairites had always thought themselves far more talented than they were in actuality, as could not be more evidenced by Hazel Blears and John Reid to name but the two most egregious examples.&nbsp; Not that Brown's acolytes were much better on the whole, but give me Ed Balls over almost any of the now vastly diminished gang of Blair groupies any day.&nbsp; Brown's election or rather ascension was swiftly followed by the spitting out of the dummy by <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2009/06/browns-bastards-and-death-of-once-proud.html">such leading lights as James Purnell</a>, now of course of the BBC.&nbsp; Fact was that Labour was doomed by the crash, anyway; how different things might have been <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/jan/11/gordon-brown-panicked-2007-poll">had Brown had the courage to call that early election</a>, and ignore the polls suggesting he would only scrape back in.<br /><br />This process was then repeated following Ed Miliband's election.&nbsp; It was David's birthright!&nbsp; Ed stabbed him in the back!&nbsp; Ed's a hopeless loser!&nbsp; And who knows, maybe, just maybe a David Miliband-led party would have performed slightly better.&nbsp; Rather than wait for a second opportunity though, or hell, even stop sulking and do his darnedest to help his brother out, <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2013/03/the-twilight-of-tb-gbs.html">Dave fucked off to New York</a>, and with him went the Blairites' last realistic hope.&nbsp; Leaving who?&nbsp; Chuka Umunna, who couldn't so much as handle the slightest amount of press intrusion that Ed dealt with and fought back against from the start?&nbsp; Liz Kendall, who bless her is trying but hasn't worked out you <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2015/08/dear-liz-kendall.html">can't just deliver insults and lectures</a> and expect a depressed yet still hopeful party will snap back into line?&nbsp; Rachel Reeves, who makes Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson look interesting, and in any case has now hitched her wagon to the Burnham train?&nbsp; Speaking of whom, isn't it indicative that excluding Corbyn, the two other candidates either ran previously and came second from last, or are the partner of someone also rejected?&nbsp; Isn't that perhaps an insight into just why someone as unelectable, as backwards, as old school as Corbyn has reached the parts they haven't?<br /><br />No, it's not their fault.&nbsp; At the very heart of the modern Labour party is a contradiction: it claims to be the people's party, to represent those from all walks of life, and yet when those very same people decide they would like to vote for the next leader, the reaction is one of horror and paranoia.&nbsp; It surely ought to occur <a href="https://twitter.com/labourpress/status/631509831103434752">that only a tiny number of the 121,000</a> who have registered as supporters can be Trots or Tories, and that for a party that lost so badly to have signed up that number in such a short space of time, not to include those who've done so through their union, is something really quite special.&nbsp; To end up <a href="https://twitter.com/labourpress/status/631510665606365184">with an electorate of over 600,000</a> gives the lie to the idea that mass party membership isn't possible in the 21st century.&nbsp; It ought to be embraced, celebrated.&nbsp; The number will without doubt fall back significantly, but it still means that a huge number of people in this country are looking to the Labour party, not to any other organisation, grouplet or flash in the pan activist group to lead the opposition to the Conservatives.<br /><br />And yet to Blair and indeed the other three candidates this feat apparently equals annihilation.&nbsp; It would of course be wrong to extrapolate from the mass sign up that the country at large is crying out for an alternative; if it were, more would have voted for Ed.&nbsp; It hardly though suggests Labour is anywhere near finished, unless that is Labour itself it is out of pure spite.&nbsp; The situation reminds of fans of a band that stop liking their previously favourite group once it hits the mainstream, regardless of whether or not they adapted themselves to do so.&nbsp; When Labour had the 400,000 or so members it did at the height of Blairism, that was great, fantastic.&nbsp; When they sign up to vote Corbyn, although that again is to surmise, the sky is about to fall.<br /><br />As is no doubt clear by my fluttering of eyelashes in the direction of Kendall, I'm not Corbyn's biggest fan.&nbsp; There's nothing spectacularly <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2015/aug/13/labour-leadership-candidates-comparison-burnham-cooper-corbyn-kendall">wrong with any of his policies</a>, but then neither is there anything spectacularly right with them, or rather there's no reason why they should be priorities.&nbsp; I quite like the idea of renationalising the railways by taking them back into state control as the current franchises expire, but when like it or not money is so tight should it be a leading pledge?&nbsp; The same goes for abolishing tuition fees, which again is a wonderful, progressive policy, just one that perplexes me by how it continues to be proposed when we know just how screwed any party will be that fails to live up to the promise.&nbsp; Compare them though with what's on offer from the other three, with only Kendall offering substantially anything different, and nearly always for the worse, and it's little wonder why a left-wing party has decided that if it's going to lose, it might as well lose by being genuinely left-wing.&nbsp; <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/07/violent-sexual-imagery-only-way-to.html">Why carry on waltzing into George Osborne's bear traps</a> if it won't alter the end result?<br /><br />This is to fall into the belief that Corbyn is completely unelectable, admittedly.&nbsp; A lot can happen in 5 years, and Blair's line in his article that the public would turn on the party for its self-indulgence is nonsense.&nbsp; A Corbyn led Labour party would be many things, but not providing active opposition is hardly something it could be accused of.&nbsp; The obsession with being a party of government at all times, when Labour cannot be a party of government unless the Tories lose their slight majority for 5 years is completely bizarre.&nbsp; There is not the slightest recognition that Labour's victory in 2005 with 35% of the vote was no more sustainable than Tories' win with 36% this time will be.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2015/results/england">Ed Miliband won more votes in England</a> <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/vote2005/html/england.stm">than Blair did in 2005</a>, it should be pointed out.<br /><br />The last <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/13/guardian-view-labour-leadership-choice-yvette-cooper-jeremy-corbyn">roll of the dice it seems is to Yvette Cooper</a>.&nbsp; Liz Kendall is too far behind, Andy Burnham can't be trusted as far as he can be thrown, so it falls to the <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/13/yvette-cooper-profile-you-dont-have-to-choose-between-head-and-heart">candidate that has said the least</a>, has the least personality and hoped to swing it on the basis of 2nd choice votes from Corbyn supporters to carry the banner of the sensible.&nbsp; Considering just how boring David Cameron is, in some ways Cooper would certainly be a worthy competitor: if that's what the British public likes most about their leaders at this point in history, then carry on.&nbsp; According to the Graun though the next leader must take on "the desiccated condition of the Labour establishment", the same Labour establishment that Cooper has <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/13/yvette-cooper-jeremy-corbyn-policies-not-credible-labour">finally embraced with her attack on Corbyn</a>.&nbsp; I can't help but think that either Burnham or Kendall would be more capable of that task, of "harnessing young people's passion", and am frankly bemused <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/don-paskini/why-i'm-backing-yvette-cooper">by the sudden upswing in support</a> <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/13/corbyn-labour-leader-not-credible">for someone who has always seemed</a> up to now an also-ran, achieving high office without ever having done anything to distinguish themselves.&nbsp; Which might just have something to do with it.<br /><br />In any case, you suspect it's all been left too late.&nbsp; Rather than try and engage Corbyn supporters as soon as it became clear he was making headway, the approach has been to either insult him or them, or hope that by sort of agreeing with him while also sort of not that everyone would see how radical and sensible they were at the same time.&nbsp; As ought to have been lesson from the Lib Dem collapse, from the nigh on 4 million votes for UKIP, it doesn't work like that anymore.&nbsp; Nor are they going to take of notice of <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/13/jeremy-corbyn-labour-leadership-foreign-policy-antisemitism">those who claim that political parochialism</a> is a result of the crash, rather than the foreign policy disasters supported by the same people who keep on saying no you can't, and who then go on to quote the Hamas charter as to why Jeremy Corbyn while not personally an anti-semite, does stand in close proximity to them.&nbsp; A Corbyn leadership might not last long, it probably won't trouble the Tories in the slightest, but Labour had better started getting used to the idea sharpish.&nbsp; Hell, it could even look at precisely how it got here, take some responsibility, and make the best of it.<br /><br />Yeah, right.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-81641519075221984192015-08-12T22:09:00.000+01:002015-08-12T22:29:08.700+01:00"One girl was clearly upset by what was going on."<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-33882923">The singer Paloma Faith has been found guilty of a public order</a> offence following an impromptu gig at a private function in Hyde Park.<br /><br />"I was shocked," said Andrew Shandy, giving evidence for the prosecution.&nbsp; "There I was, just about to shoot my bolt, and suddenly this excruciating noise started up.&nbsp; It startled everyone.&nbsp; At first I thought someone had got a little bit too enthusiastic with the noshing, but then I realised the screeching was vaguely in tune and made out the words truth and beautiful.&nbsp; The last thing you want at an event like that is Paloma's brand of nasal bird scaring."<br /><br />The court heard that the singer had mistakenly turned up at the Blowjobs in the Park (incorporating Cunnilingus in the City) cheese, wine and fellatio picnic bonanza believing it to be the adjacent Radio 2 Party in the Park concert.&nbsp; Rather than make a swift exit, and despite the entreaties of the organisers, Faith saw fit to serenade the exhibitionists with songs such as Slightly Tipsy and Only Teeth Hurt Like This.<br /><br />Passing judgement, Mr Justice Cocklecarrot commented: "This was particularly revolting behaviour.&nbsp; Generally we turn a blind eye to such indiscretions so long as they take place in full view of CCTV or in dimly lit rural car parks.&nbsp; The sheer number of people that filmed your performance when there was so much other action going on stands as testament to that."<br /><br />Ms Faith, 48, of Shoreditch, was fined £10 and pleaded with to pack it in.<br /><br />--</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br />Labour MP for Rochdale Simon Danzcuk has called for <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-33873722">an immediate halt to the party's leadership contest</a>, saying that survivors of child abuse have no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn's ability to hold the establishment to account.<br /><br />"Survivors tell me that they could never put their trust in a man with a beard, not least one who has represented Islington for over 30 years, the other dark heart of the country, apart from all the others.&nbsp; Should Corbyn win the leadership nonetheless, I pledge to lead an immediate coup and install Our Liz, the sensible candidate for sensible times as leader for life, or at least until we inevitably lose again."<br /><br />In other news:</span><br /><ul><li><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/aug/12/airport-shops-vat-row-boots-dixons-new-rules-boarding-pass-checks">Airport shopping VAT row</a>: If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next&nbsp;</span></li><li><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Blair: Insert obvious and unfunny gag <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/12/even-if-hate-me-dont-take-labour-over-cliff-edge-tony-blair">about Corbyn annihilating Labour within 45 minutes here</a></span></li><li><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Perhaps back to a proper post tomorrow, probably about the above.&nbsp; Silly season, eh? </span></li></ul><ul><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"></span></ul><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"></span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-28672383688759539352015-08-11T21:41:00.000+01:002015-08-12T01:36:12.741+01:00Turkey PM: Syria no-Kurd zone needed.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-33868627">The Turkish prime minister has told the BBC</a> that Turkey will continue pushing for a no-Kurd zone in northern Syria, as the Turkish government is quite frankly that evil.<br /><br />"It's fairly remarkable what you can get away with so long as you claim to be against Islamic State," Ahmet Davutoglu told yet another bloke called Jeremy.&nbsp; "We've bombed almost precisely two supposed Islamic State targets since Islamic State killed a bunch of socialist teenagers that frankly we're better off without.&nbsp; Once that was <a href="http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-turkey-bombing-kurds-20150729-story.html#page=1">out of the way we've targeted the Kurds exclusively</a>.&nbsp; Yes, <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/turkeykurdish-conflict-obamas-deal-with-ankara-is-a-betrayal-of-syrian-kurds-and-may-not-even-weaken-isis-10432524.html?origin=internalSearch">those are the same Kurds</a> that have been the only truly effective ground force against Islamic State other than the Syrian army.&nbsp; Confused?&nbsp; You shouldn't be."<br /><br />"You see, we're so utterly myopic that we fear the Kurds far more than we do Islamic State.&nbsp; The Kurds are <a href="https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CCIQFjAAahUKEwi8mKSn3KHHAhUISRoKHdMIDFY&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FPeoples%27_Democratic_Party_(Turkey)&amp;ei=MkfKVby3OYiSadORsLAF&amp;usg=AFQjCNFTDdFDal9w30uFXQA4F-uL1zui-g&amp;sig2=iWSmK-VXzlTJokBP6MKKmw">represented mainly by liberals, leftists, secularists</a>, people that we in the AKP utterly loathe and detest.&nbsp; Islamic State we can do business with, at least until they decide to extend their caliphate to Istanbul and Ankara, whereas the Kurds merely want their own state, not to go on expanding and subjugating everyone in their path.&nbsp; You can see our way of thinking, right?"<br /><br />"Not that it's surprising so many are still so utterly ignorant about all this.&nbsp; Natalie Nougayrède (crazy name, crazy gal?!) in the Guardian <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/10/barack-obama-strategy-syria-procrastination-civilians-protecting-rebels">is still pushing the line</a> that if only Barack Obama had let Hillary Clinton arm the moderate Syrian rebels then Assad might just have been forced into peace negotiations.&nbsp; This of course ignores the fact that Western governments from the outset said Assad had to go, that Saudis, Qataris and Kuwaitis were quickly funnelling money and weapons to jihadists and that still the thinking remains that a stalemate is preferable to either Assad or Islamic State winning outright, hence why nothing has changed on that score, but it's the kind of argument you've come to expect.&nbsp; No wonder hardly anyone minds when we start killing the only people involved who aren't fanatical sectarians."<br /><br />In other news:</span><br /><ul><li><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/11/hamlet-benedict-cumberbatch-cumberbitch">Theatregoer pays stupid amount</a> to see overhyped play featuring overhyped actor, is given space in the Guardian to complain about how the Barbican won't cater to her every whim</span></li><li><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="https://t.co/dw3jR9lutc">Owen Jones and Toby Young face off over Jeremy Corbyn</a>; whoever wins, we lose</span></li><li><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/11/ministers-halt-benefits-young-workers-migrant-pledge-eu">Tories realise they can be bastards to young people</a> and immigrants at the same time, high fives in Whitehall heard as far away as Thurso</span></li></ul>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-8817581241583482712015-08-10T22:07:00.001+01:002015-08-10T22:15:11.895+01:00Dear Liz Kendall...<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">You'll be pleased to know I've just signed up as a supporter of the Labour party, with the intention of voting for you as my first choice for leader.&nbsp; Most likely however I will be putting Jeremy Corbyn as second choice.&nbsp; Why would anyone do such a thing when the mutual antagonisms between your wing of the Labour party, dismissively and ever more irrelevantly labelled the Blairite faction, and that of Corbyn, equally derisively labelled the hard left, have broken out into the open as never before during the contest thus far?<br /><br />First off, we both know that this has been an especially nasty and vituperative campaign.&nbsp; It reminds more than anything of the Scottish independence debate, when both sides often appeared to be trying their best to scaremonger and appeal to the basest instincts of their supporters.&nbsp; Some of it has been down to the collective trauma the party and its supporters went through on May the 7th, having been convinced that power of some sort, whether in a minority or a coalition, seemed likely.&nbsp; The anger, finger pointing, sulking and exchanging of insults has been without doubt part of the process of getting over that crushing disappointment.&nbsp; You can relate as <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/liz-kendall-interview-the-mp-on-rap-music-margaret-thatcher-and-hiding-her-holiday-snaps-10441193.html">you've said in a couple of interviews</a> <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/10/liz-kendall-profile-power-labour-leadership-election">just how despondent you were</a> after the 1992 defeat.<br /><br />It's also partially though a result of just how lacking the candidates on offer are, and I'm afraid to say I'm including you when I say that.&nbsp; The latest Private Eye features the spoof headline "WHY JEREMY CORBYN IS WINNING THE LABOUR LEADERSHIP -- IN FULL" with a photo of yourself, Andy and Yvette below, and that's about the most accurate and succinct summary of why we are where we are that you'll find.&nbsp; No, it isn't fair, but then nor has much of the poison spread if not by your supporters then by those who are most favourable towards you as leader.&nbsp; <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/07/much-like-pulling-teeth.html">Labour party members are not idiots, morons</a> <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/07/its-not-difficult-manuel-this-is-not.html">or anything else for at this stage</a> plumping for Jeremy to be the next leader, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/08/jeremy-corbyn-could-bring-back-labours-clause-iv-on-public-ownership">nor are threats from donors</a> or <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/04/labour-yvette-cooper-jeremy-corbyn-alan-johnson">party grandees to do the "right thing"</a> or else in any way helpful.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/04/labour-yvette-cooper-jeremy-corbyn-alan-johnson">The contest does not need to be stopped</a>, nor is the surge for Corbyn down to supporters of other parties, either on the left or on the right signing up.&nbsp; It's because a party that has just gone through the shock of losing a second election on the trot when it seemed on the verge of something needs to be comforted just as much as it does lectured.&nbsp; You so far have delivered almost entirely lectures, and also don't seem to be listening to what party members are saying, including when you went along with Harriet Harman's <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/07/violent-sexual-imagery-only-way-to.html">absurd and damaging line on abstaining on the welfare bill vote</a>, and at the various hustings.<br /><br />This is not to say that some of the actions of Corbyn supporters haven't been self-defeating or stupid.&nbsp; When someone like Alex Andreou comes up with the formulation <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/alex-andreou/on-labour-being-taken-over-by-lefties">that Labour only grew from 1983 and only declined from 1997</a>, and apparently lacks the self-awareness to realise that's how politics worked until the last election, or when a union leader rants about the "Blairite virus", without acknowledging that virus, like it or not, won three elections, it's difficult not to respond in kind.&nbsp; My point though is that your campaign equally seems to be saying it's all or nothing - that nothing can be done without that power, that protest of the kind Jeremy has engaged in throughout his time as an MP has little to no role in gaining power.&nbsp; I agree with you that the longer <a href="http://www.lizforleader.com/letter?splash=1">Labour is out of power the greater the risk the Tories will dismantle</a> the achievements that previous Labour governments have introduced.&nbsp; At the same time however an opposition must oppose, it must campaign, it must protest - and, what's more, it must reach out to those of like minds who are outside the Labour party to help, even if that means reaching deals whereby Labour does not stand in seats like say, Brighton Pavilion.<br /><br />You and I both know politics is currently in flux.&nbsp; The Conservatives have just won an election and yet are so uncertain of their position they're using <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/aug/09/african-migrants-threaten-eu-standard-living-philip-hammond">the language of the far-right against migrants</a>.&nbsp; The world is changing faster than anyone can properly keep up with or understand, and it leads <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/09/jeremy-corbyn-donald-trump">otherwise sensible people</a> <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/a-martian-stranded-on-earth-more-of-the-paul-mason-interview-10446940.html">to talk nonsense</a>.&nbsp; It's no wonder the certainties provided by Jeremy or the SNP seems so attractive.&nbsp; It's why populism has made such a comeback, seems to offer answers when in fact it offers none, either for left or right.&nbsp; When voters are wrong, they need to be told so.&nbsp; When political parties are wrong, they need to understand why.<br /><br />What ought to be fairly certain by now is why Labour lost.&nbsp; Although he reaches entirely the wrong conclusions and is a busted flush in any case, <a href="http://www.alastaircampbell.org/blog/2015/08/10/nice-guy-good-mp-making-the-weather-but-it-has-to-be-abc-anyone-but-corbyn-labour-is-finished-if-he-wins/">Alastair Campbell's analysis is fairly sound</a>.&nbsp; It was not because of any great love for the Conservatives, and certainly not evidence of support for austerity, <a href="http://labourlist.org/2015/08/labour-lost-because-voters-believed-it-was-anti-austerity/">regardless of what polls with laughably leading questions suggest</a>.&nbsp; I suspect and hope you know this.&nbsp; Labour lost because Ed Miliband failed to connect with enough voters; because the party failed to convince on the economy; and then and only then did other factors, including the scare tactics over the never going to happen Labour-SNP pact come into play.&nbsp; Ed Miliband failed to become prime minister in the main not because he misread the mood of the nation -- Britain in my view has been and likely always will be a small c conservative country -- it was down to how his arguments either weren't listened to, weren't convincing, or not so much as articulated, especially in the face of a media that was unutterably biased against him from the very beginning.<br /><br />One of the most attractive things, perhaps the most attractive about your campaign has been the fact the media clearly will listen to you.&nbsp; They might say extremely unkind things about you, demonstrate just how sexist they remain, and <a href="http://www.thefrisky.com/2015-07-20/liz-kendall-to-daily-mail-over-weight-question-fuck-off/">your telling a Mail reporter to "fuck off"</a> for asking personal questions deserves to have received more applause than it did, but they will listen.&nbsp; To win, Labour has to be listened to without at the same time being dismissed or attacked.&nbsp; Maybe if you become leader usual service will resume, or rather certainly will as 2020 approaches.&nbsp; Nonetheless, this is an opportunity that shouldn't be wasted.&nbsp; And yet, for supposedly being this heir to Blair, or at least to what he was prior to when power went to his head utterly, your campaign has been low key, technocratic and fiddling at the edges.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.lizforleader.com/causes">Your five causes</a>, somewhat unfairly mocked on social media for their vagueness, are more fleshed out once you go behind the banner, but still don't satisfy.&nbsp; Extending the remit of the low pay commission is not going to worry anyone, let alone set the hustings alight.&nbsp; You want to end inequality from birth, and yet make no mention whatsoever of how the Tories are set to abolish Labour's child poverty targets.&nbsp; Is this because you support the removal of child tax credits, which have done so much to help?&nbsp; If so, what's your alternative?<br /><br />If you're wondering at this point why then I'm supporting you, it's simple.&nbsp; I believe you are the most electable candidate of the four on offer.&nbsp; Like you, I want Labour to win in 2020.&nbsp; I, like you were in 1992, was devastated by the loss in May.&nbsp; For the first time I felt the Labour party was not just the least worst of all the options, but genuinely on my side.&nbsp; Moreover, if there is someone needed to tell the Labour party hard truths, and once the campaign is over there will be, I think you're the best person to do so.&nbsp; Labour cannot be all things to all people and win.&nbsp; It cannot fall into the fallacy of believing that the reason all those people who were previously Lib Dem voters or toyed with voting UKIP went back to the Tories was because Labour failed to oppose austerity enough.&nbsp; To have a chance of winning, the party has to get the 18-34 vote out, and again I think once Corbyn mania passes you'll have the best chance of doing so.&nbsp; The fact you're not married and don't have children ought to be a plus, not a negative.&nbsp; That you know how to have fun, admit you smoked cannabis when as you put it, were having fun at college, and have a life outside politics are all things that should count in your favour at a time when grey, career politicians are so disliked.<br /><br />Liz, Labour is a coalition or it is nothing.&nbsp; You've said you were Labour by choice, not born into it.&nbsp; That isn't a bad thing, but some were born into it.&nbsp; Antagonising them hasn't worked.&nbsp; To win requires first of all damn hard work, but also the support of those who believe in protest.&nbsp; Without protest Labour would not have come into existence; without protest it would not exist as it is now.&nbsp; It's why Jeremy will be my second choice, even if I don't believe for a second he could win in 2020 or even last as leader till then.&nbsp; It's also why I fear that you will come last.<br /><br />Yours,<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; septicisle.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com2tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-40904236737983264452015-08-07T15:43:00.000+01:002015-08-07T15:43:22.324+01:00Britain, August 2015 part 2.<i><b><span style="font-family: georgia;"><span style="font-size: x-large;">EXCLUSIVE TO THE SPECTATOR<br /><br /><a href="http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2015/08/edward-heath-wasnt-gay-trust-me-i-tried-and-failed-to-seduce-him/">JONATHAN KING: ALL THOSE OTHER MEN WHO CLEARLY WEREN'T GAY AS THEY WOULDN'T SLEEP WITH ME</a><br /><br />LIBERACE: I TINKLED ON HIS IVORIES, BUT HE TOLD ME TO FUCK OFF WHEN I GRABBED HIS KNOB<br /><br />ROCK HUDSON: I RAN ROUND HIS RUGGED GOOD LOOKS, BUT STILL COULDN'T GET IN HIS PANTS<br /><br />TOM DRIBERG: I BEGGED HIM TO TAKE ME BACK TO HIS CONSTITUENCY AND PREPARE FOR MY PROTUBERANCE, BUT THEN HE THREATENED TO NAIL MY HEAD TO THE FLOOR<br /><br />OSCAR WILDE: TO BE REJECTED ONCE MAY BE REGARDED AS MISFORTUNE, TWICE SEEMS LIKE CARELESSNESS<br /><br />NO WONDER I HAD TO LOOK ELSEWHERE, HUH?&nbsp; THANKS INCIDENTALLY FRASER FOR LETTING ME MAKE CLEAR JUST HOW NOT INNOCENT I AM AND DRAGGING TED HEATH INTO IT IN THE BARGAIN</span></span></b></i>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-62416869809084178432015-08-07T13:26:00.000+01:002015-08-07T13:26:29.965+01:00Coming down.<center><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/sZdbNMDH8hc" width="480"></iframe><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/O-nAtob9mlo" width="480"></iframe></center>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0