Saturday, January 31, 2015

An archaic nonsense

Is there no more compelling argument to end the "right" (actually an archaic nonsense) that Commonwealth immigrants have an automatic ability to vote in British elections and decide British policies:

These people (immigrants voting in elections in which they have no moral right to participate) are corrupt.

Ironically they are bringing to this country the corrupt practises that they are running away from in their own countries.

Let me speak directly to these foreign-born people:  if you vote in elections where you have no moral entitlement to vote you cannot complain if society turns against you.

You don't need the law to change to know what you are doing is wrong.

Labour is probably finished - it would take a generation to replace the sycophants

As if things could not get any worse for the Labour Party one of their former supporters George Monbiot launches a blistering attack on the "hold your nose and vote for Labour" strategy:

"Labour is probably finished. It would take a generation to replace the sycophants who let Tony Blair and Gordon Brown rip their party’s values to shreds. By then it will be history."

My goodness, we are only at the beginning of the election campaign and already leading commentators have given the Labour Party up for dead and talk as if the funereal procession is already on its way to the graveyard for the final obsequations.

Friday, January 30, 2015

"The state will have to learn to let go"

On Daily Politics earlier today Steve Reed MP was interviewed about Labour's policy on the NHS and refused to support Ed Miliband's line ("The state will have to learn to let go"):

Lord Prescott has called Labour MPs who criticise Ed Miliband "Tory collaborators".

Does this mean that in the event of a Labour victory in May individuals such as Steve Reed and Liz Kendall will have their heads shaved and be paraded through the streets spat at and jeered by a mob?

Left wing hypocrisy is just as odious as right wing hypocrisy

Why does the New Statesman cover on privilege in public life omit Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt?

Are we supposed to believe that his Old Etonian status is neither here nor there and that he is really a horny-handed son of the soil?

Are we meant to take away the message that there is no privilege in the Labour Party?

Left wing hypocrisy is just as odious as right wing hypocrisy you know.

There is a Blairite plot to bring down Ed Miliband

Journalist Owen Jones writes a piece today that is ostensibly in support of Ed Miliband:

And yet...

If one looks at the photograph and subheading, they seem subliminally to be saying the opposite of the Jones text:

Owen Jones is saying Ed Miliband is basically a decent bloke but the photograph shows him giving the most withering look to a black member of an audience.  It is the sort of look Nick Griffin might give to David Lammy.  The caption below the image says "we are all in it for base motives" - the opposite meaning of the Jones argument.

Who took this photograph?

It is credited to Stefan Rousseau and the Press Association.

Who is Stefan Rousseau?

It appears that for several years he photographed Tony Blair in adulatory images of near-hagiographication:

NOW will you believe there is a Blairite plot to bring down Ed Miliband.

Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they are not out to get you!
If Russian military aircraft violate United Kingdom air space I think we are justified in shooting them down.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Newsnight excellent this evening.

There is no unity on the left

This is a left-ish writer (John Rentoul) writing in a leftish newspaper (the Independent) about a left-wing party (Labour) 97 days before the general election:

(Prime Minister's Questions yesterday) "Miliband failed to respond and looked lost. He has played politics with the NHS and Cameron has played politics with Miliband’s playing politics, and the Labour leader has been completely out-played".

"Andy Burnham's interview about the NHS with Kirsty Wark on Newsnight on Tuesday was a “car crash” "

There is no unity on the left.  There is no loyalty.  They would rather see their colleagues fail than have a leftish faction gain power of which they disapprove.

Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead

Have just finished reading Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead.

It is a novel set in 1980s Long Island, and is about black yuppies in the holiday resort of Sag Harbor.

Nothing in particular happens, but the recreation of that nothingness has a Proustian quality in the way minutiae is assembled into eternal themes.

"I was appalled, but you know me.  I was nostalgic for everything, big and small.  Nostalgic for what never happened and nostalgic about what will be, looking forward to looking back on a time when things got easier."

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Is there no-one who is willing to fight for Ed Miliband?

Very harsh of the Guardian to illustrate a Rafael Behr article on the future of the Labour Party with a picture of Ed Miliband already the other side of the Exit door:

"The perpetually betrayed left craves Syriza-style Marxist revivalism and the aristocracy of New Labour complain that their legacy has been traduced."

"They no longer look to Miliband as the author of Labour’s intellectual future."

"The essential analysis is that New Labour simultaneously failed to tame excesses of the market and placed too much faith in the centralised bureaucratic state as a mechanism for effecting social change. The Blair-Brown years were, in this view, a missed opportunity to regenerate an older tradition of Labour politics that was more explicit in its attachment to values of cooperation, community, faith and identity. From that weakness, it is argued, flow many of the party’s current difficulties connecting with and inspiring disillusioned voters.

My goodness are we going to have 99 days of watching the Labour party self-destruct?

Lefty populist Owen Jones is threatening secession and the foundation of a new party (like that worked in 1931).

And the Blairite rump is attacking the very cornerstone of Labour's electoral strategy:

Is there no-one who is willing to fight for Ed Miliband?

It's like that moment in the film Troy when the hero Achilles (David Cameron) kills the hulking great brute (Ed Balls) and all the opposition army cowers in fear:

Although this is a hectic period for me, and there is little time to stop and think, still I know that I have to look for another job as the Institute is moving back to London in June.

Alec Nussbaum has hinted I could have a part-time role working from home, but I am undecided whether this would be a good idea.

The Reading Room is already being packed up.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The ordination of Libby Lane as first Anglican woman bishop in the Church of England

The more I think about the ordination of Libby Lane as first Anglican woman bishop in the Church of England the more depressing it becomes.

Will all the rigmarole yesterday (and the decades of in-fighting and manoeuvring and backstairs fixing that led up to it) have led to the salvation of even one soul?

I doubt it.

It is just the priests fighting among themselves over where they are in the order of precedence and hierarchy over a church where the ordinary people are turning their backs and walking away.

And in an odd cod-Shakespearean poem the ginger group Women And The Church ("Watch") compares Libby Lane to Richard III  - who was by any serious historical analysis a usurper:

Monday, January 26, 2015

1970s kitsch socialism

In an item this evening on the death of Demis Roussos on Channel 4 News they had the Greek singer performing Forever and Ever over film of Alexis Tsipras acknowledging the adulation of the crowds in Athens.

It had a surreal feel of 1970s kitsch socialism.

The gender might change but the same oppressive class stays in power

Was it not wholly predictable that the first Anglican woman bishop was from a private school background?

And of course she went to Oxford.

And what's the betting that she will go straight into the House of Lords?

The gender might change but the same oppressive class stays in power.

Note also that she wants to be a "role model for girls"

If you step into ANY Anglican parish congregation you will see that it is over 70% female (often 80% or 90%).

The correct response of this gender imbalance according to Libby Lane is to attract more girls.

How callously stupid the Anglican hierarchy has become.

They are obsessed with their own internal politics and talking to themselves.

No wonder the ordinary people (80% self identifying as Christian according to the Census) think these priests have nothing relevant to say.  Sermons are mostly just politically correct lectures.  Parish priests (with some exceptions) are mostly just wannabe social workers.

Protesting about the weak neo-liberal-running-dog bourgeois-appeasing manifesto of Ed Miliband

Inspired no doubt by the success of Syriza in the Greek election sixteen Labour MPs have just published a manifesto of their own, protesting about the weak neo-liberal-running-dog bourgeois-appeasing manifesto of Ed Miliband.  The Labour rebels are Diane Abbott, Dave Anderson, Katy Clark, Jeremy Corbyn, John Cryer, Fabian Hamilton, Kelvin Hopkins, Ian Lavery, John McDonnell, Michael Meacher, Ian Mearns, Grahame Morris, Linda Riordan, Steve Rotherham, Jim Sheridan, Chris Williamson.  Among several demands they insist that the railways are taken back into public ownership (conveniently forgetting that it was a publicly-owned section of the railways that was responsible for the closure and chaos at Kings Cross station over the Christmas holiday - nationalised organisations are always contemptuous of their customers)

We are of course fourteen weeks away from the general election.

That's about 84 campaign days (I am assuming the parties are going to give it a rest on Sundays).

What are we to make of such disloyalty at the very moment when Labour needs unity and commitment?

Presumably large sections of the Labour party have given up on May 2015.

They know they are going down, and the landing is going to be hard.

They also know that in the wake of defeat, among the resignations and recriminations and bitter internecine in-fighting, there will be an opportunity for a charismatic faction to seize control of the Labour Party.  They fear the return of David Miliband and the neo-Blairites.  Therefore they are getting their offering in first.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Syriza party winning a majority in the Greek elections

With the Syriza party winning a majority in the Greek elections it is interesting to extrapolate what impact they will have on the United Kingdom's renegotiation with the EU.

One of the most urgent issues in Greece is immigration - Syriza must address the problem.

The Syriza policy is to renegotiate the whole of the EU's asylum policy (see Alexis Tsipras interviewed by Yiannis Baboulias and Daniel Trilling 19th March 2013 ).

That provides an opportunity for the United Kingdom to renegotiate the issue of free movement within the EU.

And if Syriza fails to solve the problem of immigration they will be out, and a different sort of radical party will presumably take their place.