The 2nd debate.

April 22, 2010

Sky News, Murdoch run, turning more to the Right wing every time I watch, started the debate today, with Andrew Boulton (who is a kind of Bill O’Reilly-lite) as host, pointing to the first member of the audience with a question. Can you guess what a right wing TV station that has to be impartial, and knowing that the only party to be massively Euro-skeptic are the Conservative Party, would use as it’s first question? Well, to summarise, it was, unsurprisingly…

“ARRRRGH!!! EUROPE, BRUSSELS! EVIL ARRRGGH!!! What will you do about this?”

Quite obviously, Cameron and Brown lost. Clegg won again. Last week, which was an obvious Clegg win, saw Sky News immediately after the debate (remember, Sky is owned by Murdoch, who also owns The Sun, who are unapologetically Tory. He also owns right winged Fox News in America) said Cameron won. They put him massively ahead of the other two. Despite the entire Country saying otherwise. Tonight, the Sun poll, immediately after the debate, put Cameron on top again. According to the Sun and Sky, Cameron has won both debates. Really? In fact, last week, Sky said 45% of people polled said Cameron won and only 23% said Clegg won. I don’t think 45% of Conservative HQ would have said that Cameron won. What utter nonsense. The reporters kept saying “Clegg didn’t win, he didn’t win did he? CLEGG DIDN’T WIN!!!” Kate Burley wont let it go. Everyone she interviews, she tells them that Clegg didn’t win. He did win by the way. It’s like utter fear among Tory supporters, not less after todays Tory supporting newspapers, all leading with largely pointless smear stories against Nick Clegg. It’s just utter fear among the Tories. They are getting dirty.

I must concede that Nick Clegg is a far better speaker, and offers something different (as far as difference between three businessmen can actually go) to the other two. Yes we need to lead in Europe, not sit and complain like the kicking screaming child of Europe. Yes, Trident is a relic from the Cold War. The Liberal Democrats do appear to be the new Progressives.

David Cameron, whose face makes me want to punch my TV every time I see him, said that he did not want to give power away from Westminster to Brussels without asking the British public if that’s what we want first. Clearly this doesn’t extend to giving away British Nationalised tax payer funded industries like Gas and electric, to men in business suits whose only interest isn’t keeping you warm through the cold winter, but instead making shareholders richer. Did Thatcher give us a referendum on that? Of course not. Power was taken from the British public, and given to faceless businessmen. As Clegg pointed out, the private system of gas and electric, since being taken away from the public, has lead to some old people travelling around on buses, because they’re warmer than staying at home in a cold house they cannot afford to heat. How is that a better system? why is that right, yet socialised gas and electric was some big evil?

Brown looked weak, and got angry every so often. His attempts to suggest he didn’t authorise a leaflet campaign full of lies about the Conservatives, was pitiful. Of course he knew. And if he didn’t, he should have known. Cameron was right to demand that they be recalled.

The Tories position on Europe worries me. But then, i’m pro-European. Cameron in 2007 and again in 2009 stated his plan, as a “top priority” to opt out of the EU Social Charter, if he becomes Prime Minister. This is less surprising then Sky pointing to the first question of the debate being about how evil Europe is. The Conservatives are after all, socially retarded.
The EU Charter says:

1 Everyone shall have the opportunity to earn his living in an occupation freely entered upon.
2 All workers have the right to just conditions of work.
3 All workers have the right to safe and healthy working conditions.
4 All workers have the right to a fair remuneration sufficient for a decent standard of living for themselves and their families.
5 All workers and employers have the right to freedom of association in national or international organisations for the protection of their economic and social interests.
6 All workers and employers have the right to bargain collectively.
7 Children and young persons have the right to a special protection against the physical and moral hazards to which they are exposed.
8 Employed women, in case of maternity, have the right to a special protection.
9 Everyone has the right to appropriate facilities for vocational guidance with a view to helping him choose an occupation suited to his personal aptitude and interests.
10 Everyone has the right to appropriate facilities for vocational training.
11 Everyone has the right to benefit from any measures enabling him to enjoy the highest possible standard of health attainable.
12 All workers and their dependents have the right to social security.
13 Anyone without adequate resources has the right to social and medical assistance.
14 Everyone has the right to benefit from social welfare services.
15 Disabled persons have the right to independence, social integration and participation in the life of the community.
16 The family as a fundamental unit of society has the right to appropriate social, legal and economic protection to ensure its full development.
17 Children and young persons have the right to appropriate social, legal and economic protection.
18 The nationals of any one of the Parties have the right to engage in any gainful occupation in the territory of any one of the others on a footing of equality with the nationals of the latter, subject to restrictions based on cogent economic or social reasons.
19 Migrant workers who are nationals of a Party and their families have the right to protection and assistance in the territory of any other Party.
20 All workers have the right to equal opportunities and equal treatment in matters of employment and occupation without discrimination on the grounds of sex.
21 Workers have the right to be informed and to be consulted within the undertaking.
22 Workers have the right to take part in the determination and improvement of the working conditions and working environment in the undertaking.
23 Every elderly person has the right to social protection.
24 All workers have the right to protection in cases of termination of employment.
25 All workers have the right to protection of their claims in the event of the insolvency of their employer.
26 All workers have the right to dignity at work.
27 All persons with family responsibilities and who are engaged or wish to engage in employment have a right to do so without being subject to discrimination and as far as possible without conflict between their employment and family responsibilities.
28 Workers’ representatives in undertakings have the right to protection against acts prejudicial to them and should be afforded appropriate facilities to carry out their functions.
29 All workers have the right to be informed and consulted in collective redundancy procedures.
30 Everyone has the right to protection against poverty and social exclusion.
31 Everyone has the right to housing.

I wonder what it is that Cameron would like to take away from workers. We know the Conservatives do not particularly like workers rights. Perhaps they wish to take away your right to protection against poverty and social exclusion? Perhaps he doesn’t want you to have the right to dignity at work? Or that old people don’t have a right to social protection? Perhaps young people shouldn’t have any form of social security? Perhaps he doesn’t like the idea that an employer cannot sack a woman just for being pregnant? Or perhaps he doesn’t like the idea of paid maternity leave? Or perhaps the right for workers to bargain collectively? Or perhaps all of the above? They’d like that.

Cameron then decided to blame Brown for spreading fear about the Tories and their economic stance. This comes a day after he was on TV telling us all if we don’t vote Tory, England will be bankrupt, and sink, and if his Euro MEPs are to be believed, infected with AIDs by the evil gays.

Is this change? Regressive change. This regressive, socially retarded change was symbolised this week, when the Tories spoke constantly about how they were the “change Britain needed“, and then wheeled out Kenneth Clarke. The Thatcherite. I didn’t even know he was still alive.

Clegg 2-0-0


Rome

April 18, 2010

As you stroll down the rather beautiful Via Del Circus Massimo, you are presented with churches on your left, and the Circus Maximus on your right with the ruins of the palaces of antiquity looming on the Palatine overhead. If you take a left at the end of the famous arena that is now simply a big field, you are on Via Dell’Area Massima di Ercole, and on your left is a large building that now houses theatre props and equipment. It stands as a rather ordinary building in the centre of the City. Not many people realise that underneath it, still stands an old Pagan temple built by the cult of Mithra around 200ad.

Much of what we see in Rome today, left over by the Roman era, is a teardrop in the ocean of what actually still exists underground. Since the end of the Roman Empire, their successors (the Byzantines among others) have preserved the old city of Rome and simply built on top of it. Vast Roman streets and slums have been preserved under ground. Archeologists predict that only 10% of the underground Rome has been found, which is incredibly exciting for those of us who have an interest in Roman history.

I have been to Rome twice. And whilst I haven’t yet been to cities like Milan or Venice or Paris, I cannot imagine any City being greater than Rome. You get the instantaneous feeling that you are standing in a truly eternal city. The epicentre of two great empires; Rome and Catholicism. It is a surreal feeling.

Sat at a little Italian cafe, with violinists playing in the centre of the complex, looking out at the architecture of Bernini at the Piazza Navona is quite honestly indescribable. Beauty and history are two very complementary subjects.

As you walk through the centre of the Roman World; the Forum, you get a feeling that you have been transported back through history. You start to feel that you are standing in the spot where Sulla struck fear as a much hated tyrant. Where Cicero would have stood. Where Caesar would have strolled arrogantly, proclaiming himself some sort of God. Where Octavian would have rode gallantly through the main area draped in robes and cheered through the streets by hundreds of thousands of supporters, having defeated Marc Antony and “saved” Rome. And later, where the people would have almost hero worshiped Claudius and Trajan and Hadrian. It is so seeped in history, it is almost like walking onto a film set because it doesn’t seem real.

The Catholic section of the City is just as amazing. I am always in two frames of mind about Catholic Rome. On the one hand, it is beautiful. The Sistine Chapel, the Raphael rooms, and the architecture again by Bernini among others, is simply stunning. It is unrivaled anywhere on the planet. The atmosphere as the sun sets behind St Peters is something I don’t think I will forget any time soon. However, the very foundation of the Catholic Church is built on oppression and quite horrendous violence. I cannot imagine Jesus would be proud of Catholicism, if he stood in the centre of St Peters square and viewed with astonishment the great wealth they have accumulated in his name.

The Trevi fountain is locked away in Trevi Square, a tightly boxed area surrounded by cafes filled with Italian businessmen on cell phones, and lovers surrounding the fountain itself having their memories recorded on camera. It lights up at night. The Baroque Architect Nicola Salvi is responsible for the fountain. Although his work mimics that of Bernini whose undertaking of the creation of the fountain died with him (as you can tell i’m quite the fan of Bernini) The fountain depicts the Roman god of the sea, Neptune on a chariot made of shells being pulled by two horses. The horses’ moods reflect the moods of the sea directed by Neptune. One is angry and abrasive, the other is calm and uninterested. Whilst built about two hundred years after the Renaissance period, the statue seems to adhere entirely to Renaissance architecture, ignoring the common Baroque use of Neptune as a servant to City state propaganda (see “Neptune offers the wealth of the sea to Venice” by Tiepolo for typical Baroque depictions of Neptune). When it comes to the Trevi Fountain, Neptune is always in control, as in Roman myth. The myth comes to life, when you stand in front of the fountain and visualise the statue as if it had come to life.

I cannot describe in words just how I feel when i’m in Rome. I owe it to my love of Roman and Catholic history. Words on a page in books on the subjects that I read, suddenly become reality when stood in the City itself. It is a wonderful feeling. I cannot recommend Rome enough.

GO!!!!!


The Abstraction

March 31, 2010

Around the year of Muhammad’s birth, the Arabians within the central penninsula were actively resisting the Byzantines and the Persians, and in fact organised religion and empire in general. They did not however, escape the pull and the “meaning” that comes with abstract concepts invented by humanity, plaguing the West at the time. The Arabians instead practiced the concept of “Muruwwah”. This idea stressed the importance of courage and patience, endurance and honour. It kept the tribes going. It was a concept that penetrated every aspect of their lives. They were taught that society would fall apart without it. And yet, when logic prevails, Muruwwah doesn’t actually exist. It’s a subjective man made concept.

Man has always confined itself to abstractions. The problem with abstractions, and in particular abstract philosophies and concepts, is that whilst they attempt to provide dogmatic objectivity, they are by nature, massively subjective.

Humans have always placed an unattainable goal ahead of us, a goal that throughout our lives sucks up our hopes, our desires, our dreams, our human decency, like a sponge. The concept of Heaven, which is largely derived from the concept of an eternal World of Plato and other Greeks, tells us that this life is going to be a bit of a disappointment, but your dreams are going to come true in Heaven. Heaven acts as a sponge for positivity whilst the World we live in is a reflection of negativity. There is no Capitalism in heaven. There is no poverty in heaven. There is no climate change in heaven. And yet, the majority of us do not care to see our fantasy of a Heavenly World reflected on Earth. Why is that? Heaven is a man made fantasy ideal, and yet we place it in a box labelled “other“.

The Nation State is a product of colonialism. The Europeans carved up Africa into Nation States as a way of control. We could control the labour force, we could control slavery, we could control information, we could control the movement of capital. Nation borders are meaningless. They always have been. They are meaningless, because they exist in the collective mind of humanity only. The Nation State did not exist before humanity, it did not exist for the majority of the time humanity has been on the planet, it will not exist after humanity, and it does not exist to anything else other than humanity. And so therefore, it is meaningless, because it doesn’t exist. Like organised religion, the Nation State was used as a method of control by humanity over humanity.

As Capitalism took hold, Nation States no longer had the control over labour, slavery and capital that they once had. Nation States are entirely at odds with Capitalism. In fact, Nation States only really work when an economy is entirely protectionist, and Empires exist. Nation States were never about race, or identity, or culture, or anything of the sort. They have always been about control. Control previously lay at the feet of the Monarch. The State, was the Monarchy. Man and State were the same thing.
Israeli historian Martin Van Creveld says:

“What made the state unique was that it replaced the ruler with an abstract, anonymous, mechanism.”

Nationalism by logic then, is less than 500 years old. Racism grew with colonialism, and whilst the cancer of racism has largely been destroyed, remnants still remain and people are still quite unapologetically racist, with no actual reasons for their racism. Nationalism is an “other”. It is something we think is larger than ourselves, it is largely pathological because before human beings, and after human beings, England will not exist. A land mass that we once inhabited will exist. But England, and it’s abstractions that work simply to disassociate ourselves with the rest of humanity in the same way as Christianity and Islam and America and Pakistan and sexuality does.

Corporations today have more rules, more regulations, more limits on information, labour and capital than any Nation has. Corporations and their laws are just as abstract and nonsensical as Nation States. Corporations are the modern day Nation States. You all look a certain way, talk a certain way, waste your life trying to obtain this subjective and abstract concept of “success”. We are now governed by Capitalism or a form thereof. It tells us if we work hard enough, we can achieve anything we wish. But that simply isn’t true. Capitalism is the dome that we are living under, and it’s promise of ‘everything’ is in the same box as Heaven…. “other”. It is religion.

Catholicism, Protestantism, Capitalism, Democracy, Fascism, Communism, Materialism; they are do not exist. They are ideals that soak up hopes and dreams and say “YOU CAN HAVE THEM IF YOU……. work hard enough/are white/keep buying shit you don’t need/own nothing because the State owns it for your benefit………. but eventually you’ll be the perfect happiness.” They are the “other“. The concept of Heaven is very similar. The concept of Plato’s eternal realm is very similar. Abstractions that don’t actually exist in anything other than man’s mind, are used to control man. The men who create these concepts have created them for the purpose of control. Feudalism was a system of control. Capitalism is not much different. There are still Lords who suck up the majority of the wealth at the behest of the many. The U.S Constitution protects a certain class of person. The USSR protected a certain class of person. Whether or not it was designed with that specific goal in mind is debatable, but perhaps subconsciously a certain class of people always assume they are best placed to rule.

The Catholic Church was set up to spread the word of Jesus, yet ended up being perhaps one of the wealthiest institutions on the planet. In the 16th Century, instead of helping the poor that Christianity swears to do, the Catholic Church took money off of the poor, to finance St Peters. They found ridiculous ways to justify the selling of indulgences because the abstract concept they were attempting to spread, which they had inevitably corrupted, demanded obedience, even though the entire doctrine was based on conjecture, dodgy history and man made abstractions.

Catholicism created a culture of idol worship with the creation of Saints. We in the modern era have took that idol worship that the Bible strictly forbids, and our new idols are National pride, pop stars, sports stars, TV presenters, authors. They are also in the realm of “other“. Their public success is largely fatuous, worthless, and offers very little in the sense of the progress of humanity, but they’re worshipped as idols. We salute a flag that we invented, We wear the clothes that the stars wear, we recite their words, we want our bodies to look like theirs, we concentrate far too much energy on being like them, than being like ourselves. Why is that? Is that natural? Perhaps so. Humans have always created an abstraction that we place above ourselves, perhaps because we cannot cope with the notion that we as a species are the height of intelligence. And yet, we are. We created God. We created Nations. We created all other abstractions, the very same abstractions that today hold us all back and group us together into ridiculous categories.

To break away from these abstractions, and concentrate on reality, is in a sense Anarchism. Libertarianism evolves from the idea that we must break away from abstractions, and whilst I think Libertarianism goes too far to the right, I understand it’s principles. But then Anarchism itself, is dogmatic, and an abstraction……and…………… ARGGGH!!!! I don’t know how to end this blog.