Author Archive

Jody McIntyre at ‘Progressive London’

January 13, 2011

Ken Livingstone’s fan club has organised a gettogether. The electic mix of leftie speakers ranges from mainstream, sensible Labour politicians (Emily Thornberry and Len Duvall) through to politicians who stand against Labour candidates  (Salma Yaqoob and Darren Johnson).

I’m sure it all makes perfect sense in Ken’s head!

Progressive London has also invited Jody McIntyre to speak. He is the political activist who has cerebral palsy and came to prominence when he was badly treated by the police at one of the tuition fees protests.

Now I don’t like coppers dragging people out of wheelchairs at protests, but I also don’t think that Jody McIntyre wants to be patronised because of his disability when he is very capable at expressing his passionate political views.

I therefore have no qualms in saying that, having looked at McIntyre’s blog and read some of his articles, his politics are thoroughly moronic. Whilst everyone knows that Ken has a soft spot for obsessive Israel-bashers, it’s hard to tell how McIntyre’s standard Trot views can contribute to the campaign to get Boris Johnson out of City Hall.

Is it ok for Labour Party General Secretaries to have simple-minded politics?

January 13, 2011

I guess the answer to the question could be ‘yes’, as long as the simple-minded politics were based on loyalty to the party, its values (broadly defined) and appreciation of its history.There’s no need for a General Secretary to be an original political thinker or any type of genius.

But there’s still something a bit disheartening about the former Labour General Secretary’s article for Labour Uncut entitled ‘Is it ok for socialists to pay for private education and healthcare?‘. It is a fine example of simple-minded Labour politics, except minus the Labourism.

Strike vote turnouts

January 12, 2011

So Boris Johnson wants to annoy the trade unions by calling for a change in the law so that they can only go on strike when at least 50% of members take part in the ballot. Friend/enemy David Cameron has signalled sympathy for this view.

I suppose I might also agree with the position as logical and reasonable as long as the Government additionally legislates to make sure that MPs and councillors cannot take their seats unless at least 50% of their electorates participated in the poll.

Gabrielle Giffords the target of Sarah Palin

January 9, 2011

As much as I detest Sarah Palin and her politics it is undoubtedly crass of her opponents in the US to immediately use the Giffords shooting as an excuse to criticise her.

Just as it is ridiculous to blame high school shootings on Marilyn Manson, it’s unfair for Palin to blamed for the actions of someone who was clearly deranged. Who gets violently upset about a currency not being backed by gold or silver other than a total headcase?

However, I do agree that this is a good opportunity to call for an end to hardline political rhetoric (i.e. all the Tea Party goons labelling politicians traitors and threats to the constitution) and a collective re-commitment to the peaceful democratic process.

 

Jack Straw versus the paedo gangs and lots of other people

January 9, 2011

Jack Straw sparks controversy again for ‘telling it like it is’.

Case against Straw:

  • Any decent politician should avoid  inflaming racial tensions through stereotyping and other simplistic analyses
  • I slightly suspect Straw’s motives when this seems to have been a longstanding problem he didn’t focus on whilst a senior figure in government

However, case against his critics:

  • Is there any way of identifying a phenomenon being prevalent amongst a certain demographic group without being labeled a racist by self-righteous morons who would apparently prefer these instances of criminal activity to be ignored rather than addressed?
  • The sensitivities of vaguely defined ‘communities’ should not trump the needs of the very real victims of the sexual grooming being organised by gangs.

 

 

Arise ye bloggers from your slumbers!

January 9, 2011

I hereby declare this blog brought back to life, in a miracle-like way.

Apologies for the lack of posts whilst I visited Japan, changed jobs, relocated Jako Towers, and got depressed about the misdeeds of the Coalition Government.

However, I’ve felt guilty about the blog’s descent into inactivity, especially since I’ve got so many things to whinge about.

Expect the resumption of service to include a greater focus on south London and happenings in local government.

Edith-ing history

September 12, 2010

La Vie en Rose is a French film about Edith Piaf. Though a tad miserabilist to qualify for a ‘Two Jako Thumbs Up’ rating, it was still fairly good.

My chief complaint, however, was that Edith Piaf lived 1915 and 1963 and yet La Vie en Rose totally missed out the Second World War.

Piaf’s conduct during WW2 is controversial. She remained in occupied France and entertained German troops. A whiff of collaboration, for sure, but Piaf later argued that she had used her position to aid Jewish friends and the resistance.

Whatever the truth of the matter, the film regrettably avoided the issue altogether. This was surprising in some ways as it was happy to portray Piaf as a complex, flawed heroine. So why not look at what she got up to during WW2 – a vital period in French history?

Drug abuse and a child being raised in a brothel is apparently manageable but perhaps French history between 1940 and 1944 cannot be stomached. Whilst there was of course some admirable resistance to the Nazis, there is no denying that many accepted the occupation and their conduct does not leave them smelling of roses.

Better to face up to this than pretend it did not happen, IMO.

French dressing

September 4, 2010

In France at the mo. President Sarko is getting tough on gypsies and the left has been organising some protests against this.

Whilst I dislike Sarkozy and his crude populism, I’m not sure how successful these marches will be. Sure, they are a welcome opportunity for the Socialist Party to unite together on an issue, but there is little correlation between the French left enjoying energetic demonstrations in the streets and electoral success.

Opinion polls suggest that although Sarko is not personally popular most people agree with his anti-Roma policies. The President’s stance appeals to people who are convinced that all gypsies are criminals and who dislike the idea that foreigners can come to their country to claim benefits.

Sarkozy’s indiscriminate anti-Roma measures should be opposed. However, instead of simply decrying Sarko’s ‘racism’ the left must also formulate a message on this specific issue and on the wider question of immigration that simultaneously i) upholds socialist values and rejects prejudice and ii) addresses people’s concerns rather than dismissing them.

Useful fact: Anti-ziganism = Hatred of gypsies.

Andy Burnham’s ‘Aspirational Socialism’ should aspire to greater socialism

August 25, 2010

As I’ve said before, I like Andy Burnham. The leadership campaign has reinforced his ‘nice’ image and he’s also emerged as a bit more politically interesting than expected.

However, he still emphasises social mobility too much. The idea that aspirational people should be able to ‘succeed’ and ‘get on in life’ however poor their background is naturally appealing but my problems with it are:

  • Surely a truly socially mobile society would also see lots of people born to wealthy backgrounds fail due to their laziness or other personal inadequacy and end up becoming poor. None of the proponents of social mobility ever discuss this, which seems dishonest to me. No-one mentions removing the safety nets for the rich.
  • The focus on individual success makes me slightly uncomfortable as it reinforces too many right-wing political narratives. I understand that we have to utilise ‘common sense’ arguments in order to maintain widespread political appeal, but we shouldn’t forget that we are collectivists not individualists.
  • Social mobility is not inspiring as a long-term vision for the left because it assumes the retention of wealth inequalities in society. We can be more ambitious than simply helping ‘talented’ poor people escape poverty. We should commit ourselves to seeking the abolition of poverty altogether. Sincere egalitarianism should seek to remove class divisions rather than make them a bit more fluid.

Musical elite

August 25, 2010

I was at a music festival at the weekend expanding my musical consciousness. Not being very aware of what the yoof of today listen to, I conducted lots of wiki research into the various bands I ended up listening to. It appeared that lots of them met at school and were members of a certain social circle. There was something a bit depressing about how many of these up-and-coming musical figures were privately-educated. Granted, they were all extremely talented, but it’s obviously easier for that talent to emerge when you’re being supplied with musical instruments and lessons from a young age.


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