The Christmas Blog

December 25, 2010

I haven’t blogged recently for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Ash is over for the next month and we’ve been busy in London and shopping. In fact, so busy shopping, that we left the buying of Christmas Day food, until 10pm Christmas Eve…… granted we were in the pub when we should have been shopping for food, but nevertheless, the lack of time is one of the main reasons I haven’t blogged. And secondly, because I don’t particularly have any political opinion at the moment. I still hate the Tories, I still want to shake my head in shame any time a Lib Dem shows his or her miserable Tory-lite face, and I still think Labour are a massive waste of time. There isn’t much more I can say on that.

England is an EDL member’s dream right now.
Totally white.
The snow is immensely irritating.
It takes around about three minutes from my hands and feet to freeze when i’m out side.
Ash loves it.
But that’s because she’s from Australia an oven.
We fly to Paris in two days.
But first, Leicester City vs Leeds at the Walkers Stadium tomorrow!
Is it just me, or is it the older a bloke gets, the more socks he gets for Christmas?
Ten pairs for me this year.
We are cooking the Christmas day starter, for my family.
Stuffed mushrooms and Prawn cocktail.
I say “we are cooking“, I mean “Ash is cooking the stuffed mushrooms, and I bought the prawn cocktail ready made.
But i’ll sprinkle lemon juice on the prawns!
That makes me a cook, right?
We are enjoying Christmas day.
The celebration of the birth of a man who probably wasn’t actually real.
Annie Lennox was born on Christmas day and she’s definitely real.
We should change the name of Christmas to Lennmas.
I could be consistent with my Atheism and ignore Christmas entirely.
But then i’d miss out on Turkey.
And no amount of Dawkins/Darwin/Hitchens is going to make me miss out on Turkey.
Jesus invented Turkey, 1970s Christmas rock songs and presents.
Dawkins Darwin and Hitchens invented scepticism.
And as much as I adore scepticism….. it doesn’t taste like Turkey.
Or sound like Slade.
Apparently Aussies have never heard Slade, or Wizzard’s Christmas songs.
That both shocks and appals me.
Ash bought me some new boots from Oxford Street.
They’re amazing boots.
I cannot imagine a time when these boots weren’t in my life.
I bought Ash a silver locket, that we can put a picture of us in Paris in, and keep for when we get old.
I’m so romantic.
She’s SO lucky.
So lucky in fact, that this morning I decided to put some USB speakers down her tights whilst she was wearing them, and play Come on Eileen through them.
It was magical.
Ash and I have taken a few photos already.
Here they are:

Merry Christmas!

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Rise of the filth

December 15, 2010

When we were kids, the police were known by their more mellifluous title of “the filth“. They managed to gain this nickname, by insisting on turning up and supervising any group of teenagers standing around doing nothing. The result was not only a bunch of teenagers standing around doing nothing, but a bunch of police standing around doing nothing, and both groups inherently disliking and mistrusting each other. The difference between the two groups standing around doing nothing, was that the taxpayer didn’t fund teenagers to stand around doing nothing. If public funds were directed more at the kids, maybe we wouldn’t have been so bored we ended up standing around doing nothing, and maybe the police could concentrate on, you know, their job.

As we grow up, we learn to respect the police a little more. You note that they protect your property rights and at times, it must be difficult for them. And, we all love Gene Hunt. We suddenly respect what they do a little more, because we know we’d need their support if our house was broken into. Granted, that support would turn up 45 minutes after the actual brake in, take notes, and then spend the rest of the evening not actually finding your stolen stuff and instead supervising the next generation of bored teenagers in case they light up a spliff; but it’s nice to know they exist. But the respect we have for the police, does not give them the freedom to be vicious thugs.

The Metropolitan Police in London seem to have gained even more reason for the public to refer to them as “filth” recently. They are a formidable force of filth. Whenever they are on TV explaining themselves, I find I am more and more inclined to dismiss everything they say, as a crock of shit.

This tendency toward my absolute dismissal of everything the Met say (so that’s The Met, The CBI, and The IMF), stems entirely from the fact that they are, in fact, a crock of shit. First, the shooting in the head seven times, of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube Station, by the Met, because he looked a bit like a terrorist. Despite an IPCC investigation, which found that not only did the Met kill an unarmed innocent man, in the most violent of ways, but they tried to cover it up. It stated the Met:

made or concurred with inaccurate public statements concerning the circumstances of the death. The alleged inaccurate information included statements that Mr de Menezes had been wearing clothing and behaving in a manner which aroused suspicions.

The Chief of the Met at the time, Sir Ian Blair even tried to suppress an investigation, wishing instead to conduct an internal inquiry. Internal inquiries always clear the party involved. It is the equivalent of being your own judge at your murder trial. You’re not likely to send yourself down. Later, it became known that Metropolitan police surveillance officer codenamed “Owen” had deleted files off his computer, that involved a recording of deputy assistant commissioner Cressida Dick saying that de Menezes was not a threat at all.

The Crown Prosecution Service decided it would not press charges against anyone in the shooting of de Menezes. Shooting an innocent man seven times in the head apparently doesn’t even come under manslaughter.

And then we move onto the infamous G20 protest in London in 2009. The Met used the kettling technique to contain the crowd. A bystander on his way home named Ian Tomlinson had a heart attack and died during the kettle. First, the Met denied they had anything to do with his death. Suddenly, a youtube video appeared, showing PC Simon Harwood hit Ian Tomlinson with a baton, and then push him to the ground with ridiculous force, about a minute before Tomlinson had a heart attack and died. The police do not help him off the ground, instead they stand there, smug, doing nothing. A fellow bystander helps Tomlinson back to his feet.
Again, the Crown Prosecution Service said that they were unable to bring any charges against PC Simon Harwood. Harwood was known to have taken his police number off, and covered his face, to avoid detection. In 2009, a second and third postmortem on Ian Tomlinson revealed that he had died as a result of massive internal bleeding caused by a shock to the abdomen. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to point out that Harwood first hit Tomlinson with a baton, to the abdomen, and then shoved him to the floor…… a pretty closed case.

This is where the Met tend to act like great saviours in a land of crazed Anarchists, just trying to protect us all. They released a statement four hours after Tomlinson had died, stating that the police had noticed a man collapse, and had tried to rush in and help him but were bombarded by missiles from protesters. Those damn protesters. The only problem was, another youtube video surfaced, minutes later, after Tomlinson had collapsed. It shows police surrounded him, but not actually helping. It shows a female protester trying to help and saying “these are the bastards that did it“, and curiously, absolutely no “missiles” at all. This video surfaced just after The Sun, in its vast attempt to insult all protesters whilst masturbating furiously over the wonders of The Met, lead with:

“Man dies as bottles lobbed at rescuers.

POLICE were battered with beer bottles and cans as they desperately tried to save a dying man at the height of the G20 riots in London last night. But when cops struggled through the crowd to reach him, they were pelted with missiles. They finally got to him and set up a cordon as two ambulances rushed to the scene. ”

It’s amazing “journalism“. The Sun appear to have received a press statement from the IPCC, and manufactured a story around it. What is even more amazing, is that Harwood was hired by the Met, even though he had previous disciplinary action taken against him over the past decade. The Met are hiring lunatics.

Skip forward to the Student Protest in London last week.
Alfie Meadows, a Philosophy Student from Middlesex University is found wandering in a dazed state covered in blood, by his Philosophy Professor also at the protest. Meadows had been struck on the head by a police baton, with such force that he required brain surgery. The Met were kettling again at this point, and when the Professor begged them to let him and Alfie out of the kettle, they only allow Meadows to leave….. on his own……. in the middle of London……. needing brain surgery. Despite students and reputable professors from across the Country all claiming the violence started after kettling began, and after several unprovoked horse back charges by police took place, the media and the government still seem intent on keeping quiet on the subject of police brutality, instead choosing to focus their crocodile tears on a bit of paint on Charles’ armoured car.

This monday night, the BBC conducted a shameful interview of a man named Jody McIntyre. They asked him if he’d been throwing rocks at the police and if he were a “revolutionary” attempting to paint him as violent. The reason for this, is a video surfaced showing a Met officer pull Jody McIntyre ……. from his wheelchair…… which he can’t operate without the help of his brother, because of his celebral palsy, and dragged across the street. The BBC interviewer asked him if he’d provoked the attack….. by wheeling toward the police…. the muscular, trained, armed police. The BBC surely shouldn’t be acting as a mouthpiece for the angry right wing who are stuck in a tornado of shouting “omg it’s political correctness gone mad” arguing for “sanity” whenever it suits them, but claiming rather outlandishly that they’re second class citizens whenever someone with slightly darken skin complexion gets a job ahead of them? They aren’t the Daily Mail. Although The Daily Mail took it one step further, by comparing McIntyre to Andy from Little Britain, with the quite insufferable turd Richard Littlejohn stating:

“…he should have kept a safe distance.

Jody Mcintyre is like Andy from Little Britain.
‘Where do you want to go today, Jody?’
‘Riot.’
‘Are you sure? Wouldn’t you rather go to hear Bob Crow speak at the Methodist Central Hall. You like Bob Crow.’
‘Yeah, I know.’
‘So, we’ll go there, eh?’
‘Riot!’
‘Ken Livingstone will be there, too. He’s your favourite.’
‘Riot!’
‘All right, then.’
Five minutes later at the riot . . .
‘Don’t like it.’ ”

Littlejohn apparently thinks disabled people should not stand up for what they believe in, and if they dare to, they apparently shouldn’t complain when police drag them out of their wheelchair.

The Tory Party aren’t exactly the friends of disabled people, what with cutting adult social care funding for those suffering a disability. But Tory Councillor Phil Taylor took it one step further, when, on his blog, he said:

” Although he presents himself as a cerebral palsy victim in a wheelchair he does not mention that by his own account he walked up the 9 stories of stairs of the 30 Millbank building during the student riots of 10th November.”

– How utterly irrelevant. Even if he did an elegant handstand, all the way up the stairs, with a cartwheel finish, into a double somersault….. it still doesn’t justify police dragging a kid from a wheelchair and throwing him into the street.
Taylor posts a quote from McIntyre’s website, in which Taylor highlights certain areas of the text, that in Taylor’s odd opinion, paint a picture of a disabled kid who deserves to be pulled from his wheelchair by The Met. Let’s take the sections of McIntyre’s blog that Taylor highlighted one by one:

The sun was shining on the morning of November 10th, and our blood was boiling.

– Yup. That was the feeling among all 50,000 of us. I was there too. We didn’t go down to show how happy we are with the Coalition. Absolutely no reason to highlight this. Also, John Major, the former Tory Prime Minister, and a man who lost his personality in the 1970s, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, that Labour’s attacks on Coalition policy……. “makes my blood boil“. The violent bastard. The Met need to be kicking the shit out of the ex Tory PM for that. They can count on Phil Taylor’s support too!

We passed Trafalger Square, and half way down Whitehall found ourselves approaching the main bulk of the demonstration, which had assembled there. It was an endless sea of people, but unfortunately, they had been corralled by police and NUS stewards into one lane of the dual carriageway. Me and Finlay immediately set to work, tearing down the metal barriers which separated the two lanes.

– Good! I’m glad someone did. We were squeezed in. For a guy in a wheelchair, it couldn’t have been easy. Even if he were stood up and walking, it couldn’t have been easy. I moved a barrier twice, to make a bit more space. There was no reason for the divide whatsoever. Taylor wasn’t in the mesh of people being held together like sheep.

A group of 200 followed, including me in my wheelchair, and Finlay pushing at full speed.

– Erm, okay. So he quite likes to go fast. I’d hate to see how angry Taylor gets at the Paralympics. “THEY AREN’T DISABLED!!! THEY’RE GOING TOO FAST TO BE DISABLED!!!” presumably.

We continued down the sixty stone steps at the other end of the Treasury road without so much as a pause for breath. We were on the rampage.

– It’s a figure of speech. He wasn’t literally on a rampage, shooting innocent bystanders (or pushing them over inducing a heart attack). It is a figure of speech, and its a soundbite. Like when Taylor himself refers to a man in his constituency who said “I see broken windows as being totally justified compared with the damage being done to the public sector. This is just the beginning“, as a “Leftie, nutter headbanger“…….. he isn’t literally saying that the man quite likes to bang his head, nor is he even suggesting that the man in question listens to music one might “headbang” to. Figure of speech, Phil. The same sort of figure of speech that he used, when in his latest blog about a rather useless cowboy builder, with the phrase “It took a lot of kicking and screaming from local councillors to get this site sorted out“……. if we are to go by Phil’s new found literal approach to sentences that quite clearly, aren’t meant that way, we must presume that local councillors Taylor is speaking of, literally did kick and scream……. the violent thugs.

It was an epic mission to the top. Nine floors; eighteen flights of stairs. Two friends carried my wheelchair, and I walked.

– Having just spoken to my lovely girlfriend Ashlee about the effects of cerebral palsy (she is a physio at a disabled kids school, and deals with this everyday), she has informed me, after watching the BBC interview herself, that of course McIntyre can walk, but judging from his posture, and the way he spoke and his twitching, he would find it difficult to get too far without help. It would take him a long time to get to where he was heading, he wouldn’t be able to balance himself properly for very long at any one time, and he’d get overly tired very very quickly. So, he should be commended for fighting for what he believes in, at the same time as going through the trouble it must have been to achieve it. But, the fact remains, the police considered it perfectly okay to pull a man from a wheelchair and drag him across the street. Phil Taylor, is a tremendous scrotum. His entire blog is drivel. Right winged, miserable, vicious drivel in which anyone slightly left of Reagan is considered a thug. It is people like Taylor that make me proud to wear the badge of the Left Wing, with pride.

Tory Blogger Guido Fawkes waded in on the subject, stating on his blog:

“Jody Macinytre, radical pro-Palestine supporter and sufferer from cerebral palsy”

– They are his only two attributes apparently. He also isn’t “radical” pro-Palestine supporter, although even if he was, i’m not sure why that’s a bad thing. Fawkes continues:

“However he has revelled in, and incited, violence on his website……”

“Macintyre can’t hide behind his disability when the police treat him like any other violent trespassing thug. It’s called equality…”

– Yes he can. Because he’s disabled. And the police are fully armed, trained guards. And also, because 1) he wasn’t trespassing, and 2) he wasn’t being violent. What a horrible sense of equality Tory bloggers have. Disabled people causing no problems are apparently just as equal as the rest of us causing no problems, in being beaten by the Met. We should all be thankful for that little gem of equality.

The point is, despite the talk of violence from protesters…. the only serious injury, was caused by the police, and the only shameful attack on a disabled man, was caused by police. The media tend to tread carefully with the issue, because criticising an institution like The Met, who they clearly still consider to be a reputable source, could provoke anger amongst right winged commentators like Phil Taylor and Guido Fawkes, who would inevitably refer to the BBC as “left wing” if they dared to criticise the police. The Government keep telling us that the “full force of the law” will come down on violent student protesters, but never mention any such repercussion for Police. The Met are not on a higher moral plateau. They are dangerous, provocative, murdering, violent, lying…………. filth.


London’s burning

December 9, 2010

I’m all for violent direct action; but I draw the line when those damn students made the future King of England ejaculate out of his eye. That’s too far.

London is burning again. The protesters have spoken. I genuinely hope this is a sign of things to come. I hope the Unions get a backbone too. The middle classes certainly wont. They need to watch Coronation Street’s live episode and complain about students. I am a strong supporter of violent direct action, when Government’s quite clearly piss on the very people who elected them. It gets the message across. Always has. Shock Capitalism has been tried on Countries in the past, with shocking consequences. We should not allow it to happen here, we don’t want it here. We will not be peaceful about it either.

So the Tuition Fee debate lasted five hours. The biggest decision on higher education in decades, was decided in less time than it takes to drive from Manchester to Devon. Nick Clegg and Vince Cable didn’t stay for the debate.

The Government won by 323 votes to 302. Their majority of 86, swiftly cut to 21. A number of Lib Dems showed the had to courage to vote against the rise, and surprisingly, a few Tories voted against it too.

Still, here is the list of Lib Dem MPs who voted for the rise in tuition fees, despite pledging to vote against any such proposal.

Let’s make sure this is the last Parliament they ever sit through.

Danny Alexander (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey)
Norman Baker (Lewes)
Sir Alan Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
Gordon Birtwistle (Burnley)
Tom Brake (Carshalton & Wallington)
Jeremy Browne (Taunton Deane)
Malcolm Bruce (Gordon)
Paul Burstow (Sutton & Cheam)
Vince Cable (Twickenham)
Alistair Carmichael (Orkney & Shetland)
Nick Clegg (Sheffield Hallam)
Edward Davey (Kingston & Surbiton)
Lynne Featherstone (Hornsey & Wood Green)
Don Foster (Bath)
Stephen Gilbert (St Austell and Newquay)
Duncan Hames (Chippenham)
Nick Harvey (Devon North)
David Heath (Somerton & Frome)
John Hemming (Birmingham Yardley)
Norman Lamb (Norfolk North)
David Laws (Yeovil)
Michael Moore (Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk)
Andrew Stunell (Hazel Grove)
Jo Swinson (Dunbartonshire East)
Sarah Teather (Brent Central)
David Ward (Bradford East)
Steve Webb (Thornbury and Yate).

If any of these are your MP, and you voted partly due to their stance on tuition fees; email them. Let them know that they are a disgrace. Let them know that they have absolutely forfeited their right to be known as Progressives. Let them know that they are Tories.


Imagine

December 8, 2010

John Lennon was killed thirty years ago today by Mark Chapman.
Lennon is one of my musical heroes. An icon. A voice of the political left. Not an academic, or an economist. Not involved in the bullshit of party politics. He simply expressed a sentiment shared by a large number of those of us on the Left, and he amplified it, because he had the means by which to do so. Musically, a true artist.

“Our society is driven by neurotic speed and force, accelerated by greed and the frustration of not being able to live up to the image of men and women we have created for ourselves – an image that has nothing to do with the reality of people.

“We’re one world, one people, whether we like it or not. We can pretend we’re divided into races and Countries, but the reality is that it is one World and it is one people”

There is no artist today who could manage to have their song sung in unison by thousands of people marching on Washington DC. Especially one from a little house in Liverpool.

Whatever you think of John Lennon’s music, it is necessary to say that he had a profound influence on music, and on the political left within the music industry. And The Beatles, along with The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, and The Who defined London in the 1960s. They made Abbey Road; a long, uninteresting road just north of St John’s Wood Tube Station, a cultural landmark. They massively influenced artists and bands popping up fifty years later. And Lennon outshone the other Beatles when they finally split. Even so far as the fact that the FBI kept tabs on him and President Nixon tried to have him deported because the White House believed Lennon might be a threat to the President’s re-election.

In order to help save John from being deported, Bob Dylan wrote a letter to the Immigration and Neutralisation Service, with:

John and Yoko add a great voice and drive to the country’s so-called art institution. They inspire and transcend and stimulate and by doing so, only help others to see pure light and in doing that, put an end to this dull taste of petty commercialism which is being passed off as Artist Art by the overpowering mass media. Hurray for John and Yoko. Let them stay and live here and breathe. The country’s got plenty of room and space. Let John and Yoko stay!

Our artists today, are a little too worried with upsetting their record label.

Imagine no religion.
Imagine no countries.
Imagine no greed or hunger.
Imagine no possessions.

One of a kind.
John Lennon
1940-1980


The sleight of hand

December 3, 2010

There is a bit of a sleight of hand employed by the Conservative/Liberal Coalition on the whole issue of Tuition Fees. It is a little untouched, and quiet, and isn’t really being spoken about, but it needs to be.

I went to a Question Time style event at University tonight. It included Labour MP for Leicester South Sir Peter Soulsby, Conservative MP for Loughborough Nicky Morgan, and our Student Union President. The Liberal Democrat dropped out, spinelessly. No Liberal Democrat contacted in the area would take up the spot. The rats are in hiding it seems.

I got a couple of questions in, and especially focused on the Tory’s claims that her Party do not dislike the public sector or funding higher education because her boss David Willetts, the Universities Minister often speaks highly of both. I pointed out to her that 9 months ago Willetts referred to students as a ‘burden on the taxpayer’, yet amusingly he claimed thousands of pounds in Parliamentary expenses to do up his home, public money that could have been used to fund any one of us students in that room, or not in the room who are likely to be put off going to university due to the Coalition’s horrific attack on higher education. So I asked her given that information, who does she consider to be the real burden on the taxpayer? The student, or the insufferable hypocrite David Willetts.
She didn’t answer. She went on a rant about how much the Tories love the NHS. I wanted to say to her “sshhh, you’re talking bollocks“. I refrained.

On the subject of Tuition Fees, Nicky Morgan, the Tory made the point to say:

“The important thing here, is that you don’t have to pay anything in upfront fees under our system.”

We don’t pay upfront fees now. Never have. Nor does anyone actually think that under this new Tory/Lib system, students are expected to turn up on their first day with £9,000,000 in a briefcase ready to hand to the University. That has never been the argument against the rise in tuition fees. It is purely a nice thing for Tories and Lib Dems to say, in order to sound like they’re doing us a favour. They aren’t.

And then there is the real sleight of hand.
There has been much praise amongst Lib Dems and Tories for them raising the amount you need to be earning before you start paying back your tuition fee loan, from £15,000 to £21,000. This is their flagship policy, because they claim it’s more progressive than the current system. I have a couple of issues that make this a sleight of hand. The idea is those earning less will not have to start paying back.
Firstly, raising the bar to £21,000 is great, if your loan amounts to what it does at the moment. If I leave University with a £20,000 debt, a £21,000 threshold is workable. But it is highly ineffective if i’m leaving with a debt of £40,000. That is a huge difference. Also, the interest rate is set to rise from 1.5% to anywhere up to 3% for those earning over £40,000 a year. So that’s more money we’re going to be paying back overall. Whilst at the same time the University budget is to be slashed beyond recognition. Yet they insist on calling it a fair deal and progressive. It is like a barman saying “Hey, why don’t you pay for a pint, and i’ll give you half a pint? That’s a fair deal for all of us!” Paying a lot more, for a lot less, has never in the history of the World been considered fair and progressive; unless you’re Nick Clegg living in a fantasy World.
And secondly, and most importantly; The plans are based on 2012 prices, which the Government has been quick to point out don’t matter because no one pays up front in 2012. So, the plans should be based on the first lot that leave under the new system; 2016. This means that adjusted for an expected 2.2% rise in inflation by 2016, the threshold is not £21,000 but is actually closer to £17,000. That represents a massive sleight of hand that will save the treasury a lot of money, and cost graduates a hell of a lot more in monthly repayments than the previous system, a hell of a lot more than the Government has lead the public and the Institute of Fiscal Studies to believe.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies pointed out that whilst 20% of graduates will indeed benefit from the plans; 8 out of 10 graduates will pay a lot more than they would do under the current system.

Vince Cable stated:

“Almost one in three graduates will pay less than they do at the moment under the scheme that the Labour Government introduced.”

Almost? Not quite one in three. So, that means more than two in three will pay more than they do at the moment. How is he still insisting that this is a fair and progressive system? It’s fucking awful. The plans by some Lib Dems to abstain, is absolutely useless. If they signed the pledge, they should vote no next week. If they abstain or vote yes, they do not deserve to call themselves elected representatives.


The Student Union

December 2, 2010

I wrote an article for our University newspaper this week. I haven’t really read the paper before, but with my article in this edition, I thought I would.

I hated it.
Literally hated it.
That’s unfair actually, because I had decided I hated it from the moment I looked at the front cover. I didn’t read the articles on media, or art, or anything other than the articles surrounding the student protests. And they annoyed me.
A photo of burning placards from the Student Protest, outside Millbank, accompanied by the title: “What went wrong“.

The problem here is so rudimentary, it’s annoying. It’s a simple title. It follows the lines of other pretty badly put together tabloids. It gets peoples attention. It isn’t being daring. It is attempting to suggest objectivity, through weak bias subjectivity. It suggests immediately that something went wrong. As if that’s the objective truth. When it quite clearly isn’t. You would expect to see “What went wrong” on the front cover of a story covering the explosion of a Space Shuttle in mid-air. Clearly, something went wrong. Asking “what went wrong” in regard to the student protest, is not objective. The paper is supposed to represent us students as part of the Student Union. It certainly does not represent me. I choose to distance myself, and condemn it, for its self righteous, weak journalistic position. I have a problem with journalists as it is. They are too institutionalised. They are the mouthpiece of businessmen. It annoys me to note that the next generation of journalists, aims to be just like the last lot; unquestioning microphones for the horrendously hypocritical middle classes.

The article shows a number of boxes with quotes from students questioned. All of whom, one way or another, back up the viewpoint of the paper. One refers to the students as “anarchists“. The paper here, in not questioning the idea that the protesters were just crazed anarchists, have simply read a couple of tabloids, noticed it gets a reaction and the word “anarchist” even makes TV news, and so decided to run with it. Had they actually used their initiative, they would have investigated the claim that the people who stormed Millbank were anarchists, and found quite the opposite. I was stood at Millbank and I noticed no one shouting anarchic slogans, I saw no Bakunin or Kroptkin tshirts or placards. I saw one young girl with a backpack look scared, but determined to make a stand. I saw a skinny guy with a placard simply saying “Mr Clegg, stand by your pledge” storm the building. In what way were they anarchists? Is it just easy for journalists to get out of doing any actual digging, and simply acquiescing to the status quo, by suggesting anyone who might indulge in direct action, is actually an anarcho-syndicalist who want to abolish government and Nation States, and establish a society built on the co-operation of the Unions in trade agreements? Because that is not what I saw.

The paper doesn’t challenge the idea that they were anarchists. Which is slightly annoying, given that none of them were at Millbank, or asking the students involved what their political beliefs are. I certainly didn’t notice the majority of students saying “Well this contravenes the concept of modern democracy and the right to protest, for I will not stand for it! Damn Anarchists!” What the University Paper has chosen to do (including our Student Union President) is repeat what the tabloids have said, because it’s all they can do, given that they weren’t there. They are not reporting first hand news. They are reporting second hand news that has travelled through the great media filter system, and came out with a nice biased, subjective opinion, which in no way challenges any mainstream belief. They are regurgitating the opinion of the popular media. How brave.

There is, for example, no menton of a letter signed by academics, professors, experts, lecturers and economists give their full support to the direct action at Millbank. The letter with all the signitures can be seenhere. They are absolutely correct when they say:

We also wish to condemn and distance ourselves from the divisive and, in our view, counterproductive statements issued by the UCU and NUS leadership concerning the occupation of the Conservative Party HQ. The real violence in this situation relates not to a smashed window but to the destructive impact of the cuts and privatisation that will follow if tuition fees are increased and if massive reductions in HE funding are
implemented.

Our Student Union President is quoted a few times in the article in our Student Paper. Which is interesting, because he left about an hour before any rioting actually kicked off. So I am not sure how he has any authority whatsoever. He was that dedicated, he was there for about ten minutes. In that time, I didn’t see him ask anyone around Millbank if they were anarchists, or how they felt in general. He certainly never asked me how I felt about direct action. I am going to hedge my bets and suggest he didn’t ask anyone at the protest, how they felt about direct action. Which renders his opinion that:

“It’s such a shame a minority of protesters engaged in violent action”

…..absolutely useless. If he’d have been there, which I was, he would have seen thousands more heading toward Millbank, but suddenly being blocked by police, and many turning away and running when they saw about five riot vans filled with riot police turn up. He goes on:

“It’s hugely disappointing to see all our hard work undone by a minority.”

One wonders what hard work that is? Peaceful protest, as noted with the Iraq war demonstrations absolutely never works (unless you have a Gandhi figure, and whilst our SU President talks in articles, like he’s the next Gandhi, be assured, he really isn’t). It is the equivalent of writing a strongly worded letter. But with no swearing. Because swearing is naughty, and puts a disappointed look on the faces of those who seem to think they are somehow superior.

Your “hard work” would have achieved nothing. You’d have been lucky to get a front page mention.

Our SU President talks with a paternal like arrogance and self assurance:

“I’m proud of the protesters we took down who took our message and made their point in a peaceful manner.”

Thanks dad!
I’m 25 in a little over a month. I am not concerned with making an SU President, who is so ridiculously institutionalised (i’d guess in order to pave a way into politics – doesn’t want to say anything controversial), proud of me. I couldn’t care any less. In fact, if he isn’t proud, then i’m proud of myself for upsetting that narrow institutionalised vision of what is decent and correct.

“We, along with NUS condemn the actions taken.”

Two problems. Comments like this make the idea that direct action is a great evil, seem legitimate because an apparent legitimate authoritative voice says so. A bit like when a newspaper of TV news program interview a member of the CBI on economic matters. CBI members have no business talking on economic matters, any more than a Union member. They are not economists. There are not an authority on the situation.

Secondly, the NUS now doesn’t “condemn the actions taken”. The National Union of Students, President Aaaron Porter, did at first condemn the actions. But in the past week, he changed his mind, stating:

“For too long the NUS has perhaps been too cautious and too spineless about being committed to supporting student activism.
Perhaps I spent too long over the last few days doing the same.”

Porter did however refer to Millbank as mindless violence. One wonders where he draws the line. He is now in favour of occupying private property, but not smashing a window. So, breaking (bad) and entering (fine) is his new stance. Well it’s something I suppose. It’s more than our SU President is happy to commit to. He has apparently fully committed himself to ENTIRELY peaceful protest.

Direct Action has a beautiful history, and the thing to note is, it works. Poll tax is the obvious one. Civil Rights is also obvious. But it goes back further. The right of women to vote, turned ugly on many occasions. The American Revolution was a form of direct action. Indian farmers burnt down many fields of GM crops because their futures were at risk from big business in agriculture. People in Latin America rose up against corrupt regimes. In Indonesia too. They would have got nowhere with simply reasoned argument. When the owners of large sums of capital are protected by new terms of property protection, at the expense and exploitation of those without large sums of capital, it doesn’t matter what the issue is; whether it be GM crops, or the right to vote, or tuition fees, it is always going to result in direct action. James Madison referred to the people as a “great beast” that needed taming. The framers of the Constitution worried that if you gave the people without great wealth a say over the democratic process, they would always try to take some of that wealth, and so shouldn’t be given too much of a say, and should be punished if they tried. Hence, the electoral college system. When people are massively disregarded by the political elite of the time, and punished with economic or political violence, then direct action is bound to ensue. It is a product of democracy, not the antithesis of democracy.

The second thing to point out, is that we aren’t exactly living in a democracy. We have no say over the economic sphere. Our politicians are funded by big business. The very same big business who control the economic sphere. We rely on our information from media outlets, all of which are owned by the owners of large sums of capital, and tied to political interests. Of 70 million people, only two parties, of the same people, ever have power. They represent the same Corporate interests. They aren’t labourers, or local farmers, or small shop owners. The media will use those with wealth, as credible sources, regardless of their expertise. Those without wealth are considered unimportant. When the BA Cabin Crew strike ensued, all effort was made to paint the strikers as greedy staff intent on bringing the company down. I did not see anyone mention the utter mismanagement of Willie Walsh and the fact that he single handedly made the company pay out the biggest fine in Corporate history. It certainly wasn’t raised in Parliament. There is a systematic effort to ensure that those with wealth, and power, or with important positions of authority, are represented as the bearers of great truth. The only way I could ever see this changing, is through direct action. Unless you believe we are in fact living in a true democracy now, to suggest that direct action is some great evil antithesis of democracy, is frankly ludicrous.

People don’t enjoy being trampled by horses, or beaten by men dressed as Robocop with batons. They don’t enjoy being arrested or tear gassed. They are protesting for a better World. And violence often worked. I bring you back to Civil Rights (Our SU President, to be consistent in his condemnation, would have to condemn civil rights rioting); without the violence, if it were all kum-by-yah singing and pot smoking peace, it would have achieved nothing. I say that with conviction. It would have absolutely achieved nothing. 2,000,000 people went on peaceful anti-iraq war demonstrations in London throughout 2003 and 2004. The war ended in 2010. Thousands more died. I wonder what would have happened, had there been mass riots on the streets of London. I cannot imagine the voices of 2,000,000 people would have been ignored then.

I would go further, and say contrary to our SU President’s short sighted opinion; direct action of the violent and non-violent variety have been the catalysts for the social and economic changes we have all come to appreciate. Direct action has enhanced democracy. It has encouraged debate. Peaceful protest has not had anywhere near the same level of success. It gets ignored. By politicians, by the mindless middle classes (which our SU President is well on his way to representing, should he take up a career in Parliament), and by the media who cater to their celebrity news needs.

The SU President says:

“Students are now left with the burden of looking like yobs”

To who? Who are we apparently trying to impress? The Government? Do we really believe that the Government are going to take any notice of a peaceful march? Do we really believe had it been entirely peaceful, maybe a flower laid outside Parliament with a love note attached to it, that they would say “hey, maybe those students are right, let’s debate with them”. Of course not. They didn’t even mention in Parliament on the day, that 50,000 students were marching past the Houses they were all sat in. It was only when direct action ensued, that any politician made a statement of any kind. The question still remains, who are we trying to impress? I’d suggest it’s the middle classes, the main bulk of the population. Because to “look” a certain way in public, means getting negative publicity, and that happens to be the niche of the popular press, who all aim their product at the middle class market. The question is, do we actually care what the middle class thinks of us? They are riddled with hypocrisies and contradictions.

What seems apparent is that issues that matter, but which show the upset middle classes in a negative and rather hypocritical light, will not be brought up. They wont be propagated by the mainstream press mainly because the mainstream press needs the hypocritical middle classes on their side in order to sell papers and stay in business. This is a middle class that needs to be kept smiling. Any bad news that might affect them, is at all times to be kept at bay. Don’t tell them that the clothes they buy from Primark and Gap might have involved the labour of an over worked exploited child. Or Tesco, who pay the workers who make the clothes, £0.13p an hour in Sri Lanka (Way below a living wage in Sri Lanka). Instead, make them feel utterly disgusted by a few students burning placards. That’s where their misplaced and hypocritical anger apparently ought to be. They are happy to shop in Tesco clothes, whilst wearing their clothes from Primark, and eating food that from big business that is undermining small local farmers; as long as they can be angry at a student smashing a window in London. Our SU President, for me, embodies that.

It is ridiculous to suggest that marching peacefully, means you’re getting your voice heard. It means nothing. It means you’re shouting. It doesn’t mean anyone is listening to that voice. You are shouting at a man in a suit wearing headphones. To get noticed, you have to take those headphones off, and smash them.

Peaceful protest” is a nice little phrase, that makes people like our SU President seem all Messiah-like, but in reality, mean nothing. Acting and speaking as if you are an oddity in our species, that you have evolved beyond any form of aggression, in your quest for universal peace is great, if it were true. But until the World has caught up and humanity has evolved beyond self interest and violent exploitative economics, you are living in a dream World. I genuinely believe our SU President is institutionalised. He’s robotic in his opinion. He may aswell skip university and go straight into Parliament. He certainly doesn’t represent me.


The way of the Huckabee

December 1, 2010

Former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee has called for whomever leaked the cables to Wikileaks, to be executed. Interesting. When Islamic extremists issue fatwas against people like Salmond Rushdie, our politicians rush to condemn them. They are barbaric. They are left overs from the Middle Ages. But apparently, American Republicans can issue death threats against whomever they so wish; especially if it intrudes on their apparent inherent right to be the bringers of war and destruction across the World.

Huckabee said:

‘Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of treason, and I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty’

A little extreme perhaps. But then i’ve always said, those who worship their abstract, fantasy World of the concept of “Nation” are just as moronic as those who worship their fantasy World of “Religion“. Huckabee wants to put someone to death for the sake of his abstract concept.

Huckabee, ironically, is part of a political party that sent thousands of troops to their deaths in a war that won support on the basis of a lie. In 2003 a letter was conveniently found in Saddam Hussein’s house, from one of the 9/11 bombers, Mohammad Atta, and the head of Saddam’s Iraqi Intelligence, General Tahir Jalil Habbush. The letter read:

“To the President of the Ba’ath Revolution Party and President of the Republic, may God protect you.”
reads:
“Mohammed Atta, an Egyptian national, came with Abu Ammer [the real name behind this Arabic alias remains a mystery] and we hosted him in Abu Nidal’s house at al-Dora under our direct supervision.
We arranged a work program for him for three days with a team dedicated to working with him…He displayed extraordinary effort and showed a firm commitment to lead the team which will be responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy.”

It was convenient, because it was simply false. The man named Nidal was an enemy of Hussein. I wrote about this in a previous blog in greater detail than I will go into here. Needless to say, the document is not authentic. This comes years after Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist and Author Ron Suskind, suggested that the Bush White House along with the CIA had forged the document to suggest a pre-war link between Iraq and Al Qaeda to back up their authority for war. Given that, according to Wikileak documents leaked a few months back, this little lie, along with the tidal wave of lies the Republicans threw at the World in order to gain support for their illegal war, caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, shouldn’t Huckabee be getting his priorities straight, and quit worrying about how many rich Americans in expensive suits these leaks embarrass, and worry about his weak interpretation of the word “treason”?

Every President for the past, at least, 100 years should be tried for treason. Reagan funded and armed right winged terrorists in Nicaragua, and so was indirectly responsible for thousands of innocent lives lost.
General Suharto of Indonesia is estimated to have killed around 1,000,000 people in 1965, after the US gave lists of known Communist sympathisers, making it easier to round them up and execute them. Arms deals then propped up the Suharto dictatorship through the reign of President Ford right up to President Clinton.
$112,000,000 worth of arms were passed to Suharto’s regime, from the Carter administration.
During the invasion of East Timor, but the Suharto regime in Indonesia, supported by the Americans; the UN had a vote calling for Indonesia to stop its invasion immediately. The vote was blocked by the US who also blocked a vote to impose economic sanctions on the Country.
Ford’s Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told Suharto, on his absolutely abhorrent invasion of East Timor:

“It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly; the use of US-made arms could create problems.”

Kissinger knew that what he was supporting and helping, was nothing short of genocide. Strangely, Huckabee hasn’t called for Kissinger to be executed.

The problem isn’t that the leaker, or Wikileaks puts anyone in danger. They don’t. What they do, is embarrass World Governments. Especially America. It is long overdue quite frankly. Politicians like Huckabee would quite like to be able to get away with murder, without being hindered by those pesky journalists.

They set a precedent; they show that technology has reached a point where it is possible for those working within the system to say “Hang on, this is wrong, this needs to stop” and leak the relevant information and misdeeds to the press, without meeting in a car park and handing over brown envelopes. Politicians like Clinton, and Obama, and Huckabee, and Bush are not concerned with National Security, they are concerned that their quite obvious misdeeds and crimes are being made public. It is the equivalent of a murderer complaining that the press made his name public, and that it might make his neighbours dislike him now. Boo fucking hoo.

Wikileaks is doing what journalism should have been doing for years. This is the job of journalism.
It seems to have become the job of the press, to add fuel to the cancer of Nationalism/Patriotism. To mask all shocking details of what our Country undertakes in our name, behind a wall. On one side of the wall, the press place us…. portrayed as the great victims of the evil Arab and Socialist World. On the other side of the wall, they place everyone else. The problem is, the wall doesn’t exist. It is an illusion. To keep us supporting this shit, they wave an English or American flag every so often, and play our National Anthem. Suddenly, we don’t need to question what sort of crimes our Governments are committing, because they must be doing the right thing; they’re English after all!

The Press tend to toe the Government line, certainly on foreign policy issues. Even the BBC, that beacon of independent broadcasting, in 2004 referred to Blair as the “great liberator”, and not in an ironic sense.
We seem happy to read versions of stories sourced by government officials and business leaders (as if their word is truth), influenced by the needs and desires of advertisers, and playing to the political and business sympathies of editors; who all create a sort of fantasy World, but the moment any potentially embarrassing story is leaked, we bang on about National Security. As if it’s the fault of those who leaked the fact that our governments are shit and our ridiculously clouded National Pride is a little bit misplaced.

It isn’t irresponsible. We’re fucking irresponsible for constantly electing corrupt lying money hungry bastards. Governments are irresponsible for playing such a dangerous game with diplomacy, and invoking a sense of the abstract concept of National Pride whenever we’re heading toward a conflict, whether we’re morally right or not.
We’ve known for years anyway, that governments and big business are absolute bastards, it’s nice to have it confirmed.

Yet some people seem to have said….. “Oh my god, the UK has been supporting torture, and bad mouthing other Nations. They also are responsible for millions of civilian deaths in the Arab World……….including children!!!……………….. who fucking leaked this, the bastards!!
Get your priorities straight.

There needs to be a place where the misdeeds of government and business can be aired without being twisted by vested interests in the press. There is no Andy Coulson or Alastair Campbell to spin the truth.

Also, there exists quite a contradiction within Capitalist countries, especially from the Right, who want wikileaks closed down. The hollow cries of “keep government out of the market” are suddenly ignored, whenever they demand it. It’s almost laughable how hypocritical the bastards actually are. Jefferson said that a free press was essential to democracy. Well, this is what a free press does. Accept it.

One of the leaks shows that whilst the US and UK have been telling us that no official log of civilian deaths in Iraq exists at all, it actually does exist. It shows that the US had continually ignored hundreds of cases of rape, child abuse, torture, beatings, and murder by the Iraqi police. It shows also that the US and UK know that at least 109,000 innocent Iraqis have died as a result of the Iraq war. A war that was sanctioned on the basis of a complete lie. The Republicans, of whom Huckabee is one, are responsible for the deaths of at least 109,000 innocent people. Huckabee should be tried for war crimes, and treason given how many Americans lost their lives as a result of it.

Wikileaks also released a video not long ago showing soldiers in an Apache helicopter gun sight, using the helicopter like an XBox war game. They take out a small village, and then can be heard saying “Ha, ha, I hit ‘em.” Another says “Look at those dead bastards“. Who are the real fucking criminals in this?

Another log shows that a British rifleman shot dead an young Iraqi girl who was innocently playing in the street. Our journalists would have never uncovered this. Her death, the anguish of her family would have remained a secret. The rifleman would be, and probably still is, hailed a hero. And so the game of the glory of the West no matter what, continues, unhindered; whilst the bodies of children lie shot and bloodied in the streets of Iraq. But Huckabee doesn’t have a problem with this. He has a problem with anyone who actually dares to make it public.

For a Nation that prides itself on its democratic system, I would have thought we’d all be supporting something that absolutely helps democracy flourish. You cannot have democracy, without all the relevant information on how your representatives and government are acting, in your name. Genuinely justifiable secrets, like troop positions in Afghanistan are one thing; but leaking the amount of awful deaths and torturing your Country has been involved in, or leaking the fact that your Country is trying to spy on UN officials, is not a genuinely justifiable secret (unless you’re President Nixon).

Without these sorts of leaks, the status quo remains, and the status quo is massively unbalanced, and quite honestly wrong. The status quo exists to keep the consumer-lead middle classes happy, half truthful news, quickly devised, by journalists who do not investigate as they should, next to stories about who Paris Hilton fucked at the weekend. A World that and is basically saying “ignore what’s happening over there…. ignore the blood……….. oooo look, a shiny thing! You want to buy the shiny thing! Go on, buy the shiny thing”. But then when someone shouts, loudly, “No, fuck the shiny thing, let’s focus on the blood, let’s focus on what’s happening over there….” politicians call out “NATIONAL SECURITY!” It has nothing to do with National Security and everything to do with National embarrassment.
What Huckabee is generally saying is “We have worked hard to create the myth that was care about the World. That we aren’t just attempting to create an economic empire built on docile, easily manipulated and exploited peoples. Our people ACTUALLY believe this bullshit we propagate too. Please don’t ruin it. If you do ruin it, we’ll put you to death“.
Wikileaks, and online citizen journalism, is where journalism is heading. A proper radical kind of press, that does not filter out damaging reports, is what people like Northcliff set out to do decades ago.

This isn’t dangerous. It isn’t going to cause another World War. It is massively needed. Because the way things work at the moment, is very one sided, and is run like an American Empire. They are the new Rome and they want it all their way, without question, placing themselves above the law. The President and the Secretary of State are on damage control mode. They are part of the established order, that wishes to conduct their business, however dodgy it is, however illegal it may be, in absolute secrecy. That is the order that exists. If you don’t particularly like this fairy land of an order, then you will support Wikileaks, like I support Wikileaks.

The only question you should ask yourself is; Should America be allowed to get away with anything it pleases?