Archive for June, 2009

7/7 conspiracy madness – the ripple effect

June 30, 2009
But thats what the government want you to think...

But that's what the government want you to think...

As tonight’s excellent BBC2 documentary demonstrated, there really isn’t any way to describe the 7/7 conspiracy brigade other than ‘bunch of nutters’.

There is a film available on the internet entitled ‘7/7 Ripple Effect’. Apparently it is quite popular. I had never heard of it. But then again, I don’t go looking for this sort of thing.

Some run-of-the-mill conspiracy geeks can be expected to simply ask pedantic questions about every detail of an event and then take smug self-satisfaction in doubting the ‘official’ line on the matter, as if such an act demonstrates great independence of mind and intellectual superiority over everyone else.  

‘7/7 Ripple Effect’, however, goes so far as to label the London bombings of July 7th 2005 a MI5-Mossad operation and accuses several individuals (who aren’t even connected to the government or security services) of being involved in the mass murder. Some of these people have been receiving death threats from conspiracy loons as a result.

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Cuts, cuts and more cuts

June 30, 2009

Our regular visitors (not seeking Lily Allen) will have noticed my absence from this blog for some while. On the domestic politics front, the period of my absence has been filled exclusively with an extremely dull story which is rapidly becoming the tactical equivalent of the Charge of the Light Brigade for the Labour Party. Ever since Andrew Lansley carelessly made mention of cuts in a typically off-message interview, Gordon has clung to this diamond as his way out of electoral oblivion.

Indeed this initially seemed like a great strategy. After all, Labour has long thrived on the image as the party of public services by portraying the Tories as ruthless cutters of all things virtuous. As any Wimbledon champion will tell you, however, if you play to your opponent’s weakness for long enough, it soon becomes their strength. And so it is with this story. Every interview with a Government minister now appears like the latest round in a form of Cabinet bingo. Each interviewee attempts to include the phrase “10% Tory cuts” in interviews barely related at all to public spending levels. Better still, nobody seems to make the connection between 10% spending cuts and out very own disastrous abolition of the 10% tax rate. Genius!

Meanwhile, the Tories are able to appear as the party which is being honest with the electorate about the state of the economy. We all know cuts are coming, so attempting to create a false distinction between us and the Tories about the extent of those cuts offends the intelligence of the public. Lets front us and shift the debate to the balance of spending between the departments and objectives. This is a debate where we have a good story to tell and can expose the dangerous and regressive cuts which the Tories are planning.

Pick’n’mix

June 30, 2009

I like Paul Cotterill’s post on ‘Michael Jackson and the Unions‘. Guess who he is talking about here:

“One voice from the 1970s, which tailed off in the 1980s and 1990s as it came to be dominated by the overbearing weight of commercial exploitation, and sought to transform itself into something it could not be, may now be gone. 

The other one, still true to itself after all these years, looks like it might just make a scintillating return to a venue near you, with an even bigger fan base than ever.”

I would consider Donal Blaney to be a figure of good comedy value if it wasn’t for him putting these sorts of opinions into the impressionable minds of his Blaney Youth corps, otherwise known as the Young Briton’s Foundation

I agree with much of what Don Paskini says in his reply to questions from NEC member Ann Black. There are even some interesting points being made in the comments thread amongst all the usual Labour-bashing.

Want to know which recent news story prompted angry atheist Richard Dawkins to declare “Nothing, for me, more eloquently conveys the total, utter, fatuous, fuckwittedness or religion“? It was this one. Well, and the Blakemore story that he refers to in that comment. All absolute lunacy, as far as I’m concerned.

Monarchy: a radical proposal

June 29, 2009

I don’t envy the Royal accountants at the moment – by all accounts things are going a bit Pete Tong down at Buck House. The Queen is apparently going to run out of money by 2012, and Prince Charles has already started making cutbacks in the running of his household – presumably, he’s going to have to start putting his own toothpaste on his toothbrush, the poor mite.

I think there’s an obvious analogy with the Royal Mail privatization debate: if the Monarchy is so inefficiently managed as a monopoly that it will – barring a huge injection of public cash – go bust within the next three years, why don’t we seek a private sector solution?

Think about it: we could put The Crown out to tender, maybe at 10-year intervals. Businesses, indivuduals or families could make bids to operate the Monarchy (which, as far as I can see, means wearing a lot of bling and waving), and the government could consider them on a cost-basis.

I think there is much to be said for this approach. I see that the current contractor (known now as the Windsor family, after a successful rebranding from the unfashionable “Saxe-Coburg-Gotha” label in 1917) costs £41.5m per year. I reckon that the Paintbrush collective could put in a bid for at least half  that.

Speeches I wish Gordon Brown had made (number 94)

June 29, 2009

I’ve been thinking recently about the comparisions between the Credit Crunch and the post-9/11 crisis in foreign policy, mostly in terms of how leaders have chosen to respond to the emergent situation.

In 2001, the US/UK consensus on foreign policy came to an abrupt end, and leaders – foremost among them Tony Blair – were keen to expound new doctrines to guide the formation of the post-9/11 policy on diplomacy, allies and security.

Surveying the scene less than a month after 9/11, Tony told the Labour Party conference on 2nd October 2001:

This is a moment to seize. The Kaleidoscope has been shaken. The pieces are in flux. Soon they will settle again. Before they do, let us re-order this world around us.

Today, humankind has the science and technology to destroy itself or to provide prosperity to all. Yet science can’t make that choice for us. Only the moral power of a world acting as a community, can.

“By the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more together than we can alone”.

For those people who lost their lives on September 11 and those that mourn them; now is the time for the strength to build that community. Let that be their memorial.

Whatever his faults and whatever the flaws in this “re-ordering” process, this is Tony’s raw leadership quality shining through.

The world needed a new foreign policy for a new age: Tony sought, within a month, to establish its case, to demonstrate that this posed an opportunity and not just a threat, and to establish some clear moral principles around which the new way would be ordered.

So how does Gordon compare?

Personally, I think Gordon has handled the technical detail of holding back the worst of the recession well. I also think that a lot of the blame being laid at his door for the recession happening is unfair.

But all of this assesses Gordon as if he were a mechanic, called in to fix a broken machine. He’s not: he’s a leader. What is really lacking – and is is particularly lacking in comparison to Blair’s approach post-9/11 – is the vision for what is to come next. Indeed, it’s the analysis of what got us here in the first place too.

I’m no speechwriter, but I’d like to have heard something along these lines: (more…)

Iran for Freedom – Michael Jackson – They don’t really care about us

June 28, 2009

Conservative Future – yuk

June 28, 2009

Good work from the ‘Don’t Panic’ team. Go watch this video.

“Conservatives offer more to the people on council estates than the Labour Party ever did”.

Repealing the ban on fox hunting and cutting inheritance tax > increasing investment in education, the NHS, etc?

“I think one of the reasons Labour hammered us so hard in ’97 was that they successfully stereotyped the Conservative brand as ‘The Tories’…ohh…you know…the negative connotations of that hit us for quite a few years”.

And here was me thinking the Tories have been known as the Tories for a few hundred years now.

“I’m 15…the person who probably most attracted me to the Conservatives is William Hague…The same with Major”.

*Guffaw*.

“Lots of students now have posters of Boris Johnson on their wall whereas twenty years ago it was posters of Che Guevara”.

I am sceptical of this claim, being a student and all. Talking of scepticism: 

“What’s your proof that there is global warming?”

Um, well surely you should be directing that question at your party leader. David Cameron wouldn’t have gone to have all those photos taken in the snow with the huskies if he didn’t believe that global warming is a real problem?

“Personally, I want to be a mother. Every woman in society should try to achieve that…It sounds really old-fashioned but it’s true you know”.

Oh lord.

“The Conservative Party is pretty rock’n’roll”.

The Phil Collins’ variety rather than anything good.

No amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party.”

That final quote is not from the video, of course, but it seems appropriate.

R.I.P the original ‘Wacko Jacko’

June 26, 2009

On BNP membership (redux)

June 26, 2009

Not to bang on about this issue of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s action against the BNP’s whites-only membership and employment policy – but further to my post the other day, and to Captain Jako’s yesterday, it seems that Joseph Harker at the Guardian agrees with us (in no uncertain terms).

What if Ken was onto something?

June 25, 2009
Ken - just having a laugh?

Ken - just having a laugh?

Perhaps as a result of spending the entire day terrifying myself by reading about Terror Management Theory, I’ve been having some crazy thoughts.

In 2006 the ever-diplomatic Ken Livingstone said that Trevor Phillips’ questioning of multiculturalism indicated that he would soon be “joining the BNP“. Most reasonable people dismissed Ken’s ravings.

Hmmm...whats he up to?

Hmmm...what's he up to?

A few days ago the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, of which Phillips is the chief honcho, warned the BNP that it could get in trouble for its ‘indigenous Caucasians only’ membership policy.

The BNP may be forced to change its rules so that ethnic minorities could become eligible to join its ranks.

Is this all part of a cunning plan devised by Phillips to clear the way for his own membership of the BNP? Is Ken’s mad prophecy coming true? I think we should be told!

(Please read my good friend and comrade VoteRedGoGreen’s much more sensible post on this subject.)