Posts Tagged ‘blogs’

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.


Akehurst is an asset.

January 5, 2010

Luke Akehurst has sadly been very ill. Fingers crossed he’s getting better. His blogging has not been quite as regular as before. However, I was pleased to see that he has had time to put up some cracking posts recently.

Go check out Luke’s blog and read his criticisms of the Tories’ (vague) plans for marriage promotion through tax and his thoughts on the limits of e-campaigning.

Then there’s his post that rips into John Major. Former PM Major attacked former PM Blair the other day for his conduct of the war in Iraq. Luke is not letting Major get away with trying to take the moral high ground, and I think he needs to be quoted in full:

My top prize for New Year sanctimony goes to John Major for his pious little lecture about Iraq. Presumably he is proud that on his watch as PM he didn’t take the chance to topple Saddam at the end of the Gulf War, and instead allowed the Kurds and Marsh Arabs who had risen up in the expectation of liberation by US and British forces to be slaughtered, and in the case of the Marsh Arabs subjected to the destruction of the very environment they lived in. He must also be very proud of Britain’s “Unfinest Hour”, our refusal to act in Bosnia when the Serbs ethnically cleansed the Bosnian Muslims. To quote Nick Cohen on this “‘Pessimism’ doesn’t quite capture the malice of British policy. American attempts to lift the arms embargo on the Bosnian government were opposed by vehement mandarins. No-fly zones, relief for Bosnian enclaves, war-crimes tribunals and armed protection for humanitarian convoys were fought to the last ditches of the European Union and United Nations. ‘Any time there was a likelihood of effective action,’ said Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the Polish Prime Minister, ‘[Douglas Hurd, Major’s Foreign Secretary] intervened to prevent it.'” And equally proud of doing nothing to stop the deaths of over 1 million innocents in the Rwandan genocide. I know which one out of former PMs John Major and Tony Blair should be able to sleep at night and it isn’t the one who has been giving interviews about how carefully he followed legal advice.  

I don’t agree with some of Luke’s policy positions and I often find his views about the internal politics of the Labour Party to be a tad OTT, but posts like these confirm that the man’s no-nonsense thinking and unwavering committment to the cause make him a valuable political asset. Long may he continue to blog!

Quilliam foundation to sue Craig Murray.

November 12, 2009

Having just finished reading Ed Husain’s ‘The Islamist’, I hear that Husain’s counterextremism think tank the Quilliam Foundation is taking libel action against blogger and anti-war activist Craig Murray.

Craig Murray was the British ambassador to Uzbekistan until a big hooha about torture allegations a few years ago. Murray seemed to be a whistleblower standing up for human rights.

His behaviour since then has been fairly odd. He comes across as a conspiraloon who sees the dark forces of the neo-con agenda everywhere. He has stood as a “pretty rubbish” (his own words) independent candidate in a parliamentary by-election. Oh, and he’s “hypersexual” (again, his own words).

Murray bangs on about the Quilliam Foundation being a tool of New Labour and has described redeemed Islamist Ed Husain as someone who decided he could “make more money and career progress by turning traitor” on his former mad beliefs and mad Islamist colleagues. Some of us call it ‘seeing the light’; Murray considers it ‘treachery’.

Murray has also suggested public money handed over to the Quilliam Foundation has gone AWOL (in a blog post that has landed him in trouble with the Quilliam lawyers). 

Understandably Ed Husain and the Quilliam Foundation are pretty peeved at these allegations. Murray will now have to produce from underneath his tin foil hat lots of evidence to support his claims.

My instinct is to oppose well-funded organisations using libel law to shut up their badly funded opponents. However, considering the sensitive job they’re trying to do in winning the support of British Muslims and undermining the influence of Islamists, it’s clearly very important for Quilliam to safeguard its reputation. Therefore, I’m not sure what I feel about this case, but I will follow it with interest…

Solidarity with Dave Osler.

October 9, 2009

Let’s hope the courts do not allow his accuser to both have her cake and eat it.


August 28, 2009

Turns out we’ve been had! This story is a fake, according to the Dalemeister. It’s a hoax, a deception, a prank, a spoof, etc. Serves me right for trusting the link provided in an MP’s facebook status!

Neglecting to address inequality would be an admission of defeat.

August 18, 2009

I like the start of Tom Harris’ recent post on Labour’s attitude to wealth:

THERE’S a terrific scene in the TV adaptation of Chris Mullin’s A Very British Coup in which the newly-elected left wing prime minister, Harry Perkins, is catching the train to London and is asked by a journalist: “Do you intend to abolish first class, Mr Perkins?” To which Perkins replies: “No, I intend to abolish second class. I think everybody’s first class, don’t you?”

Unfortunately it’s pretty much downhill from there.

Admittedly it was obvious that Tom Harris MP was not going to be outlining his own ideas of how to bring about a classless society. The title of the post (“Capping private wealth would be an admission of defeat”) kind of gave the game away. Tom is writing in emphatically New Labourer-than-thou mode.

As Sunder Katwala points out in a brilliantly thorough reply, Tom is perhaps even being more ‘New Labour’ than New Labour itself.

I hope Tom reads it. It is disturbing to see a Labour MP using the sort of language that gives succour to those who oppose all efforts to reduce material inequality in this country.

Taxation of the wealthy is “a necessary evil”. Compass’ call for a High Pay Commission is “dog whistle politics”. Government intervention in the market to dictate wages will apparently start leading to mass nationalisations. The post is tagged with “the politics of envy”. Exactly the same sort of stuff was said of the government’s decision to introduce the 50% income tax rate.

I’m not a fan of Compass and I don’t know much about how this High Pay Commission would work. Saying that, I’m not convinced that Tom does either. Calls to reduce income inequality should not be so blithely dismissed – even if the proposed methods of accomplishing this are not totally convincing.

It’s nice to see Tom – whose blog is No 1 in the ‘blogging MP’ category according to Toryboy Iain Dale – discussing policy. But surely he isn’t comfortable when right-wing bloggers are singing the praises of his hyperbolic denunciation of an egalitarian proposal. Surely not.

Summer reading

August 10, 2009

Dave of Though Cowards Flinch has started a holiday reading meme and has tagged Frank Owen’s Paintbrush.

Because my fellow Paintbrushers seem to be spending their summer far away from this blog, I will take responsibility for answering Dave’s call.

By great coincidence, last night I finally finished David Marquand’s biography of Ramsay MacDonald, the book that has inspired a number of my posts over the last few months. My conclusion on MacDonald’s life and his significance in Labour history will appear here soon!

So what will be the next book to grace my bedside table? I’ll resist the opportunity to lie by claiming that I look forward to reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace in the original Russian (and French!) or something like that.

Eccentric aristocrats and Nazis! What more could you want for your bedtime reading?

Eccentric aristocrats and Nazis! What more could you want for your bedtime reading?

I’m actually going to be fairly busy over August and am not going to be relaxing on a beach or suchlike with extensive reading time. I want something accessible, yet nourishing for the ol’noggin, and preferably not as lengthy as Ramsay MacDonald.

Looking at my bookshelf I find a paperback with a massive swastika on the front cover. It is David Pryce-Jones’ Unity Mitford: A Quest. Some thoughtful soul must have bought it for me and I have not yet got around to reading it.

Unity Mitford it is then! A review will be posted in a few weeks (probably)!


June 17, 2009

Harry’s Place reports that the IDF is taking inspiration from anti-semitic images to bite Israel’s enemies on the ass. 

PZ Myers laments the lack of critical thinking in a recent BBC article on a cuckoo creationist museum in the US of A. 

More neo-fascist madness in Italy.

Paul Cotterill is asking Compass what happened to its (ludicrously named, IMO) ‘How to live in the 21st century’ competition and where his prize is?

Tom Harris on Tories apparently complaining that David Cameron is a “Stalinist” for punishing some (not all) of his MPs caught fiddling expenses.

And finally Hopi Sen is angry about the Times exposing the identity of Orwell prize-winning blogger Jack Night. What is it with the Murdoch press and this enthusiasm for naming anonymous bloggers? I remember a few years ago it was a Sunday Times hack who revealed the name of the woman behind the Girl With a One Track Mind blog. I wonder if these journalists take pride and pleasure in their work and the misery it can cause for bloggers.

Makes me feel a bit hammer and sickle

June 16, 2009
Carnival of Communism?

Carnival of USSR-style Communism? Surely not!

We are always very grateful to be included in the Carnival of Socialism– a “fortnightly round up of everything that is going on in the global socialist blogosphere”. Cheers to Comrade Miller for linking to the Paintbrush in his recent hosting.

However, I have to point out that I’m not a fan of the Carnival’s hammer and sickle-tastic accompanying picture (shown left).

It seems to me that the vast majority of blogs included in the Carnival do not subscribe to the authoritarian communism and USSR-apologising intrinsically associated with that symbol. Infact many of us democratic socialists consider the hammer and sickle to represent a hostile, enemy ideology.

I guess that instead of complaining we at the democratic socialist/social democratic Paintbrush collective should volunteer to host the Carnival in the future. We could then come up with an alternative image – one that doesn’t correlate socialist blogs with an oppressive, totalitarian regime!

Events in Iran…

June 15, 2009

…are getting heated. Let us hope things get resolved with minimal violence and that the end result is conducive to more democracy and freedom for the people of Iran. If you want an alternative to the mainstream media go have a look at Andrew Sullivan’s blog. He’s getting some amazing updates from people online in Iran.