Friday, 30 December 2011
National Archive files released under the 30 Year Rule show just how worried the Thatcher cabinet were about the 1981 riots. CS gas used on the mainland for the first time, a partial evacuation of Liverpool considered and preparations made to combat further acts of rebellion. In the end everything quietened down and the next time that the masses hit the streets it was to cheer Charles and Di. The old royal wedding trick came up trumps again.
While all this was going on the present occupier of number 10 was refining the venerable arts of self-abuse and joint rolling. But those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it and it could be that this years royal nuptials have been a case of the worst kind of political premature ejaculation; that this time around when it comes to trouble at mill the best is yet to come.
Thursday, 29 December 2011
I have mixed feelings about charity. Well, not the actual act of being charitable which must surely be better than being un-charitable but I am very suspicious of millionaire philanthropy, corporate grand gestures and the whole industry of giving. That said, when people are in trouble they need help. They do not need a lecture on surplus value and the accumulation of capital and it's for that reason that I put my misgivings to one side and my hand in my pocket whenever I can.
I make no comment on the politics of Resolution Revolution, an initiative by the British Humanist Association. Make up your own minds. Happy New Year.
Friday, 23 December 2011
A rationalist/humanist variety show does not necessarily sound like what you might call a bundle of laughs. Could be a bit worthy you might think. In the case of Nine Lessons And Carrols For Godless People nothing could be further from the truth. It may come as a shock to some of you but I can tend to get a bit grumpy about Christmas. All that religion getting dragged into what ought to be a perfectly enjoyable festival of retail culture and drunken bad behaviour just gets right up my nose. However, this annual event at the Bloomsbury Theatre always cheers me up. You never know who is going to be on the bill over the six day run but I am always surprised at the acts who turn up. This year has been a cracker with top bananas from the world of entertainment and science coming on to explain string theory and take the piss out of religion. The line up last night was outstanding and included Robin Ince , Josie Long, Dr Ben Goldacre. Richard Herring and Al Murray. A great night out as them theatre critics say.
This blog will return after the festivities with the very best of cutting edge political comment, cultural analysis and 101 interesting things about wrestling. Have a good one!
Monday, 19 December 2011
Sometimes, OK most of the time actually, people wonder what this blog is supposed to be about. All this mishmash of stuff about wrestling (wrestling?) and allotments combined with my pedestrian (and mental) ramblings. I mean, what's all that got to do with the collapse of capitalism and the coming new dawn of libertarian socialism? Bugger all as it goes but there are shed loads of proper political blogs out there - some doing a grand job and others doing a grand job of boring the tits off anyone who stumbles across them. But one thing that this blog was never meant to be was a platform for a constant whine about what a terminal knob David Cameron is. Truth is I just don't seem to be able to stop myself. It's not even as if I feel all that bitter and twisted about Old Etonians. Of the Old Etonians that I have met (not all that many admittedly) some have indeed been over privileged wankers of the first water but some others have been pretty decent and at least good for a laugh. But Cameron just seems to be beyond the pale. Everytime he opens his mouth I seem to be motivated to acts of extreme violence. Now he has started to bang on about us as a Christian nation, the sanctity of marriage and suchlike drivel. I'm sorry, I'll just have to take one of my tablets. Lie down in a darkened room with a cold compress placed on my forehead. I'll write some stuff about the allotment tomorrow.
Friday, 16 December 2011
You take your life in your hands when you get involved with the mainstream media and many are the revolutionaries who have ended up being portrayed as Dave Spart figures or simply as not very bright; and perhaps not very well either. A nice exception to the above is in today's Guardian. The Deterritorial Support Group get a fair crack of the Dan Hancox whip but the main thing is that DSG come over as loads of fun. I just wish that their blog reflected this a bit more but it does prove that underneath the spoofery and tomfoolery this group are not short of an idea or two.
Thursday, 15 December 2011
Something quite remarkable is happening in Wukan. The 20,000 inhabitants of this South China fishing village have risen up in open revolt and sent the local Communist Party bureaucrats packing. Tired of Party corruption and the selling off of their land to speculative developers the villagers have taken matters into their own hands, seized control of their community and given Party bosses an object lesson in what real communism would look like. Sadly, common sense tells us that it is only a matter of time before the free market loving Stalinists crush this revolt but in the meantime the courageous people of Wukan remain a beacon to us all.
Tuesday, 13 December 2011
I'm not the worlds greatest ornithologist and the nearest I come to twitching is when her indoors raises her voice, but I do enjoy watching birds and do my best to encourage them into the garden. The past couple of winters we have been visited by large numbers of migratory blackbirds that apparently come over from Germany. So far this year these welcome Teutonic versions of turdus merula have not been seen at all. This could be due to the mild autumn, not putting the right food out for them (bratwurst and sauerkraut?) or possible them getting the knock about the increasing anti-European sentiment that is being whipped up over here. Is this avian mystery something else that we can blame Cameron for?
Sunday, 11 December 2011
The 2004 Olympics in Athens and a teenage Amir Khan is doing his best against one of the all time greats of amateur boxing, Mario Kindelan. Khan sits in his corner between rounds staring up at his coach and looking for all the world like Bambi, my daughter said , "I just want to give him a big cuddle". Yes, her and half the girls in the country no doubt. Gone is the innocent expression. These days Amir Khan has the look of a seasoned pro about him. The critics will be out in force after last night's split decision loss to a tough and determined Lamont Peterson and sure, a loss is a loss home town or otherwise, but it's the mark of a true champion to be able to take a loss, go back to the gym and just crack on. These days we place far too much emphasis on the unblemished record but when you look back at the really great fighters of the past, Henry Armstrong, Sugar Ray Robinson, Sandy Saddler and the rest, you find that a loss, albeit a rarity, was something taken in it's stride, by fighter and fans alike. It's not too late for Khan to be recognised as the best pound for pound fighter in the world and I imagine that Freddie Roach will be telling his protege as much right now.
Saturday, 10 December 2011
Of all the ideas to come out of the 19th century, you would be hard pressed to find one that has resulted in quite so as much human misery as has nationalism. To that extent, and because I favour inter-nationalism over the tired, spiteful world of the nationalist, I tend to be in favour of a united Europe rather than a disunited one. The EU, for all it's many faults, has at least prevented us from tearing each other apart. As the dust settles over a new relationship between Britain and mainland Europe we can ponder what kind of mess (or otherwise) Cameron has got us into. It might also be a time to ponder the nature of federalism and, perhaps more to the point, the nature of the opposition to federalism. America has far more experience of dealing with this than we do, yet even today, after all that history, the American Right can always guarantee votes by appealing to that powerful undertow of feeling that maintains , "those fat cats in Washington DC are telling us what to do again". Civil rights legislation imposed from Washington and kidney in pork chops directives from Brussels do not compare - but frequently the opposition to them does. Sarah Palin would fit right into UKIP.
So Cameron has traded on the goodwill of the Tory backwoodsmen, the rednecks of Surrey and the Yorkshire Dales, to save his chums in the City from regulation. So Britain is to be an offshore tax haven. A Bahamas without the balmy weather. All that regulation, all that health and safety, all that nonsense about working time, it's holding us back. Holding us back from our destiny as the next Dubai. On the run up to the festive season perhaps I can paraphrase Tiny Tim in Dickens' A Christmas Carol, "God help each and every one of us".
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
Toward the end of his career I had the privilege of sharing a dressing room with Jackie Pallo (it's a long story) and amongst the many pearls of wisdom he shared was the following comment on McManus, "Miserable bastard. Lovely worker though." No higher praise could be given to one old pro by another. Jack was also a lovely worker who enlivened many an otherwise dull Saturday afternoon by his appearances on ITV World Of Sport. A great performer in a more innocent age.
Tuesday, 6 December 2011
Sometimes it seems to me that the liberal left take a delight in nothing quite so much as revealing the bleeding obvious. I mean, top work by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism for taking Cameron at his word and shining the old light of transparency squarely up the arse of top lobbying firm Bell Pottinger but surely there is nothing up there that we should be surprised about. It's a shit industry, run by shits, for shits. Bell Pottinger top creeps Tim Collins and David Wilson were caught on camera boasting about who they know in government. Well they are hardly likely to say, "Oh! We don't know anyone. We usually watch Strictly and then toddle of to bed with a cup of cocoa." No reason not to hope that these revelations cause them the maximum embarrassment mind.
Sunday, 4 December 2011
It's not unusual for institutions and individuals alike to lash out when they sense that they are losing control of a situation. If the recently leaked Police Federation report on the failure of the Met during the first 48 hours of last summers riots are anything to go by we can expect some pretty volatile and unpredictable policing in future. The young activists of the Occupy Movement are in a vulnerable place right now and I fear that some hard lessons may be learnt before long.
Friday, 2 December 2011
Thursday, 1 December 2011
They can't have it both ways. Yesterdays strike was either a major disruption to the decent hard working general public (and ipso facto a shooting offence) or it was a damp squib; one or the other. Of one thing there can be no argument, yesterdays London march ranked as one of the more boring political events of the year. As for having a linear rally along the Embankment - words fail me. The choices were three in number. Storm through the stage and giant screen to Westminster, stay and listen to various union bosses urging us to fight the good fight (but not here, not now) or fuck off to the pub. Yeah! Me too. We did have the opportunity to inspect the new police control barriers. Blimey! I have seen the future and it looks hard to get over. Olympic lockdown? Can't wait.