“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

It's grim up North London alright.

Fuck me! You really could not make it up.  Some wealthy Hampstead residents are seriously suggesting that Labour's timid proposal for a Mansion Tax will so devastate their cosseted lives that the whole thing is actually a humanitarian issue. Has anyone alerted Valerie Amos? Drop what you're doing in West Africa girl and get yourself up to Hampstead.
Top marks to Political Scrapbook for alerting the world to this imminent crisis.
And now this. I don't know how they cope.

Monday, 20 October 2014

The rich, the rich. We wanna be one of the rich.

Apparently the recently reincarnated Rock Against The Rich has not been the runaway success with the yoof that the organisers had hoped for. One suggestion for the lack of enthusiasm has been a generational misunderstanding of modern popular culture and that the project should be re-named Rap Against The Rich. Senior Class War members are rumoured to be trashing all their old Bill Haley records and are asking about beatboxes in their local electrical goods stores.
Another possibility is that most young people do not in fact want to get rid of the rich. They want to join 'em not smash 'em.  They want to be rich themselves and will aspire to achieve this state of grace by means of art, football, drug dealing, corporate law or commodities trading depending on background and talent. Just saying like.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Were City meets the fringe I believe.

It should never have come to this of course. Social housing should never have been sidelined as a planning gain concession from developers of luxury investment apartments for the international rich. The issue of one door for the rich and one for the poor should never have arisen in the first place. But we are were we are and that means an increasingly polarised and segregated capital city and truly, if we put up with poor doors we will put up with anything.
The weekly poor door picket of One Commercial Street has been running for the last three months and largely because of the efforts of a handful of activists some of whom are not in the first flush of youth or in the best of health. At last night's picket, with some 80, 000 at the earlier TUC march and a couple of thousand supposed anarchist just up the road at the bookfair, a large turnout had been expected. Well, perhaps a hundred and fifty of us did turn up. It could have been bigger but was lively, spontaneous affair with  a couple of bands, the Durham Miners Association and the irrepressible Women's Death Brigade keeping the coppers on their toes. Well done all.

Friday, 17 October 2014

A garden bridge too far.

Man cannot live by bread alone and deciding spending priorities between, for example, arts and music projects or schools and hospitals is never going to be easy. There are however some total no brainers and the proposed "garden bridge" spanning the Thames between Temple and the Southbank is one such. The estimated £175 million that the bridge would cost would be far better spent  alleviating some of London's chronic social housing shortage. The further greening of London, one of the greenest cities in the world incidentally, is best achieved by a number of small community based initiatives rather than mega vanity projects. The bridge has the backing of Joanna Lumley apparently. Well the old trooper was on the money when it came to the Gurkhas but seems to be talking out of her bottom this time. A case perhaps of the old maxim about never taking any notice of what actors say unless someone else has written it for them holding true.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Bookfairs and Poor Doors.

Don't time fly? No sooner have you polished of the last of the Easter Eggs and the Anarchist Bookfair is upon us again. As usual there are plenty of interesting meetings and talks to go to and the usual plethora of literature on everything from veganism to Vaneigem by way of anarcho-syndicalism and radical anthropology. How many of the couple of thousand comrades who usually attend will find their way from Mile End to Aldgate for the Poor Doors Picket is open to question but the poster looks a tad optimistic. See you there.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Deep cover and other deceptions.

A new HMIC report reveals that there are now no less than 1200 undercover cops operating in this country but that these wannabee players of The Great Game are headed up by senior officers who are woefully lacking in knowledge and expertise. Moles led by donkeys I suppose. We can only hope that at least some of these operatives are doing something useful other than spying on peaceniks and getting their leg over at every opportunity. Truth be told I have always been fascinated by those who are capable of leading a double life. Burgess, Maclean, Philby and the rest. How did they hold it all together? The fiction of John le Carre remains a favourite of mine for the same reason.

 I suppose in a way there is little difference between the undercover cops who are deceiving their lovers and those men that we occasionally hear about who manage to keep two families hidden from each other, sometimes for years. Well, apart from the fact that the cops are doing it at taxpayers expense.
A few years ago some of us had gatecrashed the media village on St Stephen's Green opposite Parliament. Eventually we must have tired of baiting politicians and my mate Rik and I decamped to the Red Lion. We were followed by a somewhat the worse for wear and clearly disturbed bloke who, recognising Rik as a kindly soul, had attached himself. On the way to the pub our new friend repeatedly asked if we thought he was an undercover cop. Once in the boozer he downed the pint that Rik had bought him and wandered off to the Gents that was conveniently close to our table. On his return our friend hovered hopefully next to Rik and said, " But how do you know that I'm not an undercover policeman."
" 'Cos you've still got your trousers round yer ankles" replied Rik. "Now pull 'em up before you get us all chucked out".
Deep cover or what?

Monday, 13 October 2014

The curse of the Kippers?

Have UKIP really broken the mold of British politics or will it all come to nothing after some initial success? The history of fringe parties in UK politics should not inspire confidence among the Kippers   but nothing is quite as optimistic as the party activist on a roll and every time that Farage's troops get a media mention party morale is given a boost.
Remember the Social Democrat Party. The Gang of Four? Remember the election pact between the SDP and the Liberals? The two Davids? There was Liberal leader David Steele and the other one. The SDP leader. Used to be a doctor. Child Foreign Secretary. Departed Labour due to a surfeit of socialism. What was his name? That's it! David Owen. The Two Davids were supposed to be breaking the mold but in the end the merging of the two parties and the re-branding of the Liberals as Liberal Democrats was just the Liberals hoovering up a small (but vocal) fringe party. Owen and a handful of diehards rejected the merger and soldiered on as a rump (real?) SDP until the final indignity of the Bootle by-election when they secured fewer votes than the Monster Raving Loonies. In all probability such will be the fate of UKIP. There will be much slinking off back to the Tories. Much disillusioned licking of wounds and many tears before bedtime.
What should be of concern is what UKIP are able to achieve between now and their probable peak at next years General Election. I don't just mean how well they do in electoral terms but how the party is able to reaffirm and give legitimacy to the long held belief of many people that everything would be OK if only there were fewer foreigners; in the world in general and in this country in particular.
UKIP will not break the grip that the major parties have on the levers of power. They may however, before they depart the stage of history, leave us a more xenophobic and mean spirited nation than we were before. That may prove to be the curse of the Kippers.

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