Monday, May 28, 2012
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Interesting to see that some psychologist has come up with a questionnaire to weed out potential terrorists out from the rest of merely pissed off mulsim citizens angry at the war in
This combined with social services saying they can tell whether people are likely to be criminals from an early age we can nicely pigeonhole everyone in concentration camps who don’t fit the criteria of the cheery and prosperous new Britain. Can’t help but feel the camps might be quite full…
Monday, May 19, 2008
I can’t honestly believe Brown has backed teaching shooting and military training at school. Surely it must be a joke? Do I even need to show how shit an idea it is? is the fact its supported by Norman Tebbit relevent? is irony dead again, so very quickly?
The idea that if you teach a kid from a disadvantaged area how to shoot, put them around guns and tell them gun are ok, and this will stop the youth crime in urban areas is madder than voting for Boris Johnson if your not already a lord or baron. Does it even need saying that this will glorify guns more than any number of gangsta rappers? That teaching kids how to shoot each other more accurately is a good thing? Have we learned fuck all from American school killings?
Need I add as well the associated problems that come from the military lifestyle? The domestic violence, the culture of abuse at barracks and the related substance abuse? Do we really want to inculcate kids with a message that was stopped in the fifties with the end of national service?
By treating kids like they do in the army do we expect to gain their respect? By treating them scum, ordering them about, taking away their identity and expecting them to all act the same and think the same do we really expect a healthier society?
This will help nothing, it panders only to the worst of the knee jerk old right who believe that violence and punishment are the only way to deal with anything they don’t like and are thus the worst kind of example to set to any young people. I hope that just because Brown backs it the scheme will wither and die like all his other plans.
Thankfully at least a few people have seen sanity, even some of the ‘broken
The only reasons i can think they are doing this is the same reason they play classical music outside shops. It makes it son uncool that kids don’t want to be around there. Maybe getting authority figures to say its ok to shoot guns and order people about then the kids will turn against it…
The new nationalism
So Brown is trying to resuscitate the idea of
The fact is the modern world allows people to hermetically seal themselves off from the rest of their countrymen who might disagree with their perception of the world. Cars for instance allow the driver and passengers to take their environemtn with them, from music to smell to design and make. There are reallyb only a few palces left where people of all walks of lifea are force to merge, we can choose our pubs and our schools and our neighbourhoods, and even in these shared places people do not actually mix that much.
You can see this on those rare geographical expressions of shared identity, such as train stations or airports. The one I observe the most is the Tube, which is a greater leveler than any other kind of public transport.
There for the first and only time will you see city gents actually share space with those who clean their toilets, students stand too close to bricklayers and nurses to civil servants. Of course its not a perfect melting pot of every British person, some can afford to cruise by taxi everywhere, and the rest of britain outside London doesn’t really get a look in unless in comes to the city for a show and a chance to gawp at how rude we all are.
The main thing to notice is that nobody really shares anything beyond physical space, everyone sticks their head in a book or listens to music, all of them reinforcing cultural markers. But you can at least observe those ambassadors of the other nations, you can listen to them talk about posh things or poor things or arty things or lowbrow things. There at least you get to see the nature of
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
The curse of Gordon
I fear for the fate of anything endorsed by Gordon brown, the man has failure and compromise written all over him. When faced with a decision he makes a compromise that satisfies no one and fails to solve the problem at hand. Whoever he endorses in anything will be tainted with its association, I fear then for Ken who’s got Brown’s backing, for the MDC in
Take the credit crisis, not his fault, in as much as he oversaw the treasury for a decade and failed to prepare for a event he must have known was coming one day. As PM he gets to oversee a recession and inevitably have to bail out the city whenever they squeel for it. Which brings us to northern rock, which brown managed to fuck on his own. He did the right (Ish) thing in the end by nationalizing the fucker but ummed and ahhed for ages, looked indecisive, failed to set the agenda or defend the principle of nationalization. He also let the bank fuck off with all the good accounts and let the british taxpayer pick up the tab for the shitty debts they’d accrued.
Before that of course was the election that never happened, where for whatever reasons he lost his bottle. Fair enough if brown had seen a genuine killer crisis to come he would have battened down the hatches but it was a matter of style. He let them talk up an election then seemed to loose his nerve, a thing a PM must never do. Fact was he could have called the election and would have won fairly easily, if he waits another year or more then it gets ever likely that Cameron will ooze his way into power. He should realise by now when you are the incumbent of a long running government all that will happen during your reign no matter how good you may be is that there will always be a string of corruption scandals and sleaze that will drown out any new policies or agendas you set. Ken Livingstone has found this and he is twice the savvy politician that Brown is. For all his power play brown is just a slightly insecure control freak, like good old Blair but without the nous and pretending to be a regular guy.
Another obvious pointer to Brown’s inherent indecisive nature in power is the Olympic flame nonsense. His behaviour showed up in stark contract to
Points go to Ken Livingstone for staying the fuck away from the whole thing, if it had been any other country he would have been grinning like a lizard and reminding everyone how he’d got the Olympics for
There is in fact no one in the current labour party who even looks like they could lead the country, the sad thing is that though Cameron is clearly a cunt he at least looks electable. I fear the inevitability of an eventual Tory majority and a time for labour in the wilderness again; sadly now though what with Brown’s shiteness and the whole new labour plan of driving of the unions they won’t actually have a base from which to come back from. Another Brown gaff is related to exactly that, the control of the party that is so essential to the running of the governments elections. The fact that there is no general secretary for the party and that the man Brown wanted in the job can’t take it up means that it will roll rudderless for the next year or so. Perhaps in brown wasn’t so keen on central control of the party he might have let the popular choice through, but then that guy was an ex amicus man and it would never do to that sort at the controls of the party. It is that combination of blair like control freakery with an inherent indecisiveness that will be brown’s undoing, that and the fact fate is not on his side. Jimmy Callaghan and Johnny Major would sadly nod in agreement.
whiting up brixton
When they first started playing classical music in tube stations and outside shops to drive off young people I was amused. I thought it a master stroke of psychology, that by accepting that classical music was inherently uncool they had found the perfect tool to bring young people into line.
"kids, pay attention at school or we get out the Debussy"
"hand in that homework or its the bach for you"
oh the hilarity that would ensue, either that or i was hoping that kids would co opt the classical music scene and hip hop groups would start adopting the mannerisms of middle class Prom lovers.
the dissonance started to hit though when they were playing Beethoven as i went down into Brixton tube, the same composer who the characters of a clockwork orange liked to fight to. This was meant to calm people? Stop them intimidating people?
Because much as i accept that kids won't hang about when you play them dead white dude music enforced listening will not make them suddenly into the ideal Daily Mail citizen (thank fuck). That was when the rationale became slightly sinister, because its all about asserting middle class white identity into areas that frighten the selfsame voters.
It has little to do with actually changing anything other than the perception of crime, which is the new big thing for the Labour government once it realised that crime rates were falling but the voters were still shit scared of each other. That is what all the anti hoodie bollocks and getting part time coppers on the beat is all about, making people feel safe. Never mind that a lot of people aren’t really encouraged by more coppers hanging about looking for an excuse to hastle anyone young looking. frankly i'm more scared of constant CCTV surveilance and the thought that the Met could get away with shooting me for no reason than by a bunch of pimply 14 year olds in hoods. who only wear them to be honest in order to hide from the world because that’s what you want to do for the most part as a 14 year old boy. Adolescence has a lot to answer for.
It is also part of the ongoing war on young people, who are assumed to be root evil of everything because they don’t respect their elders anymore. Notwithstanding the fact their elders are the worst examples of materially obsessed, broken down wankers who live in a culture where capitalist individualism is the only religion and where young people are shown no respect in any way. Respect has to be earned, as the right likes to say, and that goes double for adults. No wonder most kids hate their parents, they aren’t stupid and they question things.
So the playing of classical music in Brixton tube especially has that nasty undercurrent of racial assumption, that it will somehow better the people who live there, that the non white, non European origins of most of the people using the station are not culturally allowed. That we all must go to work under the banner of dead white men's music, to assert should we ever forget it that this country is a white, middle class homogenous daily mail reading flag saluting nation. Which of course it is not, but we have to pander to that minority who think it is because they shout the loudest.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Which brings me to the real reason for writing about eurovision, namely the dominance of eastern Europe and specifically the fragmented pieces of the old Yugoslavia. What makes it incredibly interesting is that last nights winner Serbia, the most hated nation in Europe for the last fifteen years picked up most of its votes from its neighbours, the very same people who were the victims (and in some cases fellow perpetrators of) ethnic cleansing during the civil wars of the 1990’s. Why should it be that these countries vote for their neighbours regardless of the fact they clearly still hate each other, most Balkan music is still intensely nationalistic, sebia itself is more nationalistic than ever, though that is obviously more due to the fact the west is still happy to chip bits of Serbia and to routinely hold it in contempt. Germany in the 1920’s shows what happens when you do that.
The only reason I can think of why the Balkans would vote so heavily for each other against the grain of recent history is simply the context of the tournament. While it would be tempting to say its because no one takes Eurovision seriously they clearly do, in Britain you see whole groups of people shouting themselves hoarse at the TV in a manner similar to world cup behaviour.
In fact the football metaphor is the best way to explain it, the whole supporters dynamic whereby people support their home side against the illusory ever changing other. The strange change you get when one moment a Chelsea fan will hate an arsenal fan but when it is England against Germany they will sit together and shout the team on, even though it has players drawn from both clubs. They see no dissonance in this, and the same is true of eurovision. The Balkan counties see the context as being not Serbia against Croatia but the balkans against the rest of Europe, where the loyalty to each other suddenly trumps the historic neighbourly hate. Were the competition a Balkans only event with each nation pitted against each other then there would be bloodshed.
Also interesting to note is the nostalgia many feel for the old Yugoslavia, akin to much of the old eastern block yearning for old school Communism. Though perhaps more understandable in the Balkans as things were perceptively better then, in that there was no internicine bloodletting and there was an economic safety net. The fact most of the Balkans is dominated by various forms of organised crime and poorly regarded by the rest of the world would have anyone harkening back to the times of Tito.
This has an added frission as in the wider context of eastern Europe they see themselves as looked down on and dictated to by the west. For sure they all want to be part of the EU and NATO and the other fruits of western cooperation but no country wants to be treated like a junior partner and the truth is western Europe treats the east like a backwards child. The east itself is also enjoying a renaissance, both in terms of economics and in of self confidence that makes it chafe against this.
Interesting to note is that the top fifteen in Eurovision were all ex eastern block apart from turkey who is likewise treated in the same supercilious way by the west, as if its somehow not good enough and that its just a young country in need of care, regardless of its thousand odd year history of culture and civilisation.
Therefore it is perhaps the best method of national reconciliation is, rather than having an expensive commission and getting politicians involed I think when the American leave iraq the best way to get peace is to have a middle eastern eurovision, where iraq enters a single candidate from each warring group against egypt, Saudi and the rest.
Voila, instant campy pop peace. Maybe.
Friday, December 15, 2006
that crap master plan in full
I think I see what is happening in Palestine now, other than obviously it all going to some new level of hell along with Iraq. The Israelies clearly have a strategy, the same one thee have always had of weakening the Palestinian nation as much as possible, hoping in essence to destroy it as an idea as much as a reality. In fact they used to just deny it ever existence and they were just another group of Arabs with no distinct identity. Now as they have to contend with the obvious facts of Palestinian existence they move to the age old act of divide and rule by trying to forment a civil war.
They along with Saudi are trying to get a war between Hamas and Fatah, because although saudi is on the same fundementalist level as Al Qaida Hamas leans towards hizbullah/iran, and there is much tension between them and saudi, it’s a battle to take control of the middle east between Saudi Arabia and Iran with various proxy battlegrounds. The so called cedar revolution and the continuing battles in Lebanon are between the hariri supporters backed by Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Gulf states and iran. Syria although not ruled by shia or sunni has obvious geopolitical alliances that go very well with iran’s.
But israeli action, such as cutting off money from customs revenue ($60 million a month, to a country in dire poverty, surely illegal if not obviously immoral) and generally along with the west trying to undermine the democratically elected government of Palestine will have the opposite effect. The obvious irony in this is the west who have said democracy will solve all the ills of the Arab world boycotting the only genuinely democratically elected government and doing all they can to replace it because it holds the opinion that Israel should not exist. Its not as if Hamas can actually erase Israel, what with all those nukes and tanks and everything. To make matters more hypocritical the Israelis cabinet is stuffed with men who think the Palestinian nation should not exist, and they actually are attempting to wipe it off the map.
Anyway all these actions are doing is making Hamas more popular the eyes of the people for standing up to Israel and the west, making fatah look like israel’s soldiers on the grund (which is what thy have been many times before, indeed the whole reason for israel wanting Arafat in the 90’s, is that he’d restrain the natives much better than anyone else). It also means that the only people who can get actual money through into Palestine are Iranian sources. Give it six months and you’ve created the situation in Lebanon in Gaza, if the country isn’t torn apart first by civil war, which as with Iraq will just suck in other nations.
Well done Isreal and the west, your plan is utter shite. Much like Iraq and in Somalia you make things much worse, by backing any old bastard so long as they’re against Islamic fundamentalism, not realising that just makes them more popular.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Mr Olmert said the destruction of Gaza's only power station and three of its bridges was meant to pressure, not punish, ordinary Palestinians. "Our aim is not to mete out punishment, but to apply pressure so the soldier will be freed. We want to create a new equation - freeing the abducted soldier in return for lessening the pressure on the Palestinians."
That’s utterly and completely against all the rules of engagement, international law and the Geneva convention. You can’t collectively punish civilians, you can’t go around blowing up civilian infrastructure. Especially you can’t just cut off water supplies. Although America did similar things in Vietnam the last group pf people to happily commit such brazen acts were the third reich and stalin’s boys. Not good company to be in.
Although I suspect their justification would be that by voting for Hamas they were all complicit in the abduction, which is the kind of logic I bet US right wing pundits will use, not realising the same logic could be applied to them. In that the whole of the US could be held responsible for America’s actions abroad, which was the justification used by Al qaida on September 11th. Again, not good company to be in. Perhaps bin laden sought to pressure, not punish Americans.
The whole situation stinks, plus it will not work. Think of the blitz, did that make Londoners think they should welcome Hitler? Did 9/11 make most Americans want to join alqaida, or even pressure their leaders to be more lenient in the middle east? This will only make support for Hamas grow, and will raise the tide of fury in the middle east.
Interesting little coda to the Guardian article –
Gazans have not begun to think how they are going to get through the coming weeks and months without electricity. The wrecked plant was only fully on line for three years and it will cost about £8m to buy and install new transformers.
There may be an interim solution. Israel provides about 40% of electricity in the Gaza Strip. It used to supply it all and may do so again, meaning that Israel's electricity company could make a handsome profit from the army's destruction.
Nice to see they’re learning from the Americans.
Oh and they’ve just arrested the Palestinian cabinet. Tell me now how Hamas recognising Israel would help things? Israel wants to destroy the idea of Palestine, it wants at most a captive prison population of cheap migrant workers, at worst it would settle for Genocide and forced deportation. It has not and never will recognise a Palestinian state, though you’ll hear fuck all about that on the BBC.