I have been accused (and not just on this blog) of being dogmatic, confrontational and unwilling/unable to see the other person’s point of view.
I have also been accused (libellously) of being, shall we say, intemperate with regard to alcoholic beverage.
The following should put all these myths and libels to rest:
I live in an area of Birmingham (Bournville) which, thanks to those patronising, religious (Quaker), anti-union scum, the Cadbury family, has long been ‘dry’. Those of us who like the occasional social drink have to plan well ahead, because there are no ‘offies’ in the vacinity.
So I was well pleased to hear that Tesco (who have a pretty rotten “sweetheart” deal with USDAW, by the way), planned to open a store selling – amongst other things – booze -within staggering distance of where I live.
Then I received this, from my local (Tory) councillors:
“You may already be aware that TESCO are currently converting the old petrol station on Linden road into a TESCO Express site. This will be a site that sells a full range of foodstuffs and petrol from 7am intil 10:30pm
“However, TESCO have also recently put in an application to the City Council for permission to sell alcohol once this site is reopened.
“This is something that your local councillors are opposed to. We believe that the selling of alcohol from such a site may lead to underage sales to young people and may lead to an increase in anti social behaviour in the area fuelled by alcohol from this site.
“We have organised a public meeting at the United Reform Church on Beaumont Road to hear the views of local residents.
“We look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
“Councillor Niger Dawkins”.
Well, I don’t mind telling you, I very nearly went along to tell Cllr. Dawkins and his fellow prohibitionists exactly what I thought of them. But I didn’t in the end. Because I was down the pub.
Then, a couple of days ago, my next-door neighbour came knocking at my door. She’s a lovely, kindly, public-spirited lady, who takes a great interest in all local matters, especially what’s happening on our road….she had a petition in her hand: it was from the Tory councillors, about Tesco’s application for an alcohol licence: what do you think I did?
Clue: I’m a natural-born coward : I mean, conciliator.
Another great moment in journalism from the British Guardian today. Stuart Jeffries (usually one of their less annoying journalists) has a piece on the “vicious and uncompromising battle between believers and non-believers”. It is admirably even-handed, in just the same way that, no doubt, a Guardian article discussing the “battle” between followers of Darwin and supporters of creationism would also be even-handed: after all, science and rationality should not be given preference over superstition and belief in the supernatural – that would be judgemental, wouldn’t it?
After quoting such profound thinkers as Colin Slee, the Dean of Southwark, saying things like “Atheists like the Richard Dawkins (sic) of this world are just as fundamentalist as the people setting off bombs on the tube”… (think about that statement for a moment, folks)…the article goes on to quote one Azzim Tamimi, billed as “director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought”, saying: “I refer to secular fundamentalism. The problem is that these people believe that they have the absolute truth. That means you have no room to talk to others so you end up having a physical fight“. So Mr Tamimi is some kind of peace-loving, liberal, pro-dialogue, anti-fundamentalist opponent of the idea of anyone having “the absolute truth”? Eh, well…perhaps not: what the Guardian article failed to mention is that Mr Tamini isn’t just the “director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought”. He’s rather better known as the representaive in Britain of Hamas. You know, those peace-loving anti-fundamentalist folk who’s charter explicitly rejects “so-called peaceful solutions“, who opposed the Oslo accords, who support suicide bombings against civilians and who seek the total destruction of Israel: all in the name of their faith, which they believe to be the absolute, irreducible and uncontestable Truth, and that all who disagree are infidels who should be conquered -or in the case of Jews, wiped off the face of the earth. And Tamini, whose membership of Hamas is not even mentioned by the Gruaniad, is quoted denouncing “secular fundamentalism” on the grounds that it leaves “no room to talk to others”…
What would we do without the good old Graun, eh?
I am still doing the 13th Carnival of Socialism, but I’m gonna put it up next weekend rather than this. I just got carried away with the Meacher stuff. Thanks to all who’ve sent contributions, I promise I haven’t forgotten you.
The plus side is that if you still want to send something in that works around the approximate topic area of “Why is the left obsessed with the Middle East?” , then you have a small extension time within which to do so. I’d particularly invite contributions from people who don’t come from the same traditions as me or share my gripes about the left. After all, it’s intended to be a provocative topic, and I know that some of you who read this blog enjoy a row. So here’s your chance to do exactly that, in a medium other than the comments boxes. Although those will doubtless be busy next weekend too!
Contributions and comments, as ever, to firstname.lastname@example.org
“There’s a company trying to find ways of marketing the pristine emptiness of Michael Meacher. So far, all they’ve come up with is having it said by the mechanical voice in lifts when the doors are opening but there’s no one there.”
You just know it could so easily be true!
Anyway do your own Google News search on “Meacher” and you’ll find about a squillion other mocking stories blossoming from journos both left and right. Meacher is sinking faster than the Titanic, and good riddance to him as well.
(Hat Tip: Dan in the comments)
I wonder if his campaign will be using this fascinating video? It’s in two parts; watch the top one first. Enjoy.
… To those of you who felt the word should simply be barred from general discourse (what the right would call “polite society”), I would only say to you that I’ve heard Michael Meacher is running for leader of the Labour Party. And V has something to say about it.
I don’t care what your views are on the word itself. Meacher is vilified by the vast majority of the left. The right think he’s a figure of fun. And yet he thinks he’s the man to challenge Gordon Brown. If ever any man richly deserved the accolade “Cunt of the Week”, ‘twould be he.
What the hell does Michael Meacher think he’s playing at? This fake-left poseur has announced that he’s standing for Labour leader on a supposedly “centre-left” platform. He claims to have more support from MP’s than the genuine left-winger, John McDonnell who announced his intention to stand months ago. In fact, neither of them has anywhere near the 44 nominations required to get onto the ballot paper, but there is simply no evidence that Meacher has more support than McDonnell, even amongst MP’s.
The most likely effect of Meacher’s campaign will be to damage John McDonnell sufficiently that neither of them get on the ballot paper, giving Brown a clear run.
As for Meacher’s claim that he is somehow “more credible” than McDonnell: well, this comes from someone who voted for the war in Iraq, foundation hospitals, cuts in lone parent benefit, tuition fees, etc, etc. He supports wacky conspiracy theories about 9/11 (the CIA was behind it!) and owns approximately a dozen homes. Crucially, he has virtually no rank and file support anywhere in the labour movement. McDonnell, on the other hand, has been endorsed by ASLEF, the RMT, FBU, Amicus Unity Gazette, the T&G, CWU and Unison Broad Lefts, Welsh Labour Grassroots, Scottish Campaign for Socialism and the Labour Representation Committee – not to mention CLP’s and union branches across the country.
What you can do:
1/ Write a letter to the Guardian and/or Mirror, explaining why you’re backing McDonnell and calling for Meacher to back off.
2/ Email Meacher at email@example.com – asking him to back off and / or to support McDonnell.
3/ Write to your local Labour MP – go to www.writetothem.com
4/ If you’ve got a blog, write what you think about Meacher and/or leave comments on other blogs. Do a search for “Michael Meacher” at search.blogger.com to find posts about this.
Meacher’s vainglorious act of conscious or unconscious sabotage against McDonnell must be stopped.
He was a rather sad, lonely man and his formal politics – even at their best – were pretty crap (he supported the Stalinist “popular front” movement in the thirties, then became a pacifist and anti-Marxist).
But his heart was in the right place: he was personally kind and generous, and he did his best in the Spanish civil war, despite being (by his own admission), a pretty useless soldier. Above all, he was a humanist.
Here’s one of his best:
Musee des Beaux Arts
About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position; how well it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the plowman may
Have heard the splash, the foresaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
…And here are some excerpts (lines 45-46, 89-93) from Spain 1937, about the civil war: he later tried to have this expunged from the record of his work:
And the life, if it answers at all, replies from the heart
And the eyes and the lungs, from the shops and squares of the city:
“O no, I am not the Mover,
not today, not to you. To you I’m the
“Yes-man, the bar-companion, the easily-duped:
I am whatever you do; I am your vow to be
Good, your humourous story;
I am your business voice; I am your marriage.
“What’s your proposal? To build the Just City? I will,
I agree. Or is it the suicide pact, the romantic
Death? Very well, I accept, for
I am your choice, your decision: yes, I am Spain.”
The stars are dead; the animals will not look:
We are left alone with our day, and the time is short and
History to the defeated
May say Alas but cannot help or pardon.
Terry Eagleton (John Edward Taylor Professor of English Literature at Manchester University), used to be a self-proclaimed Marxist of one variety or another. These days, he’s a pretentious purvayor of vacuous, dishonest excuses for moral and cultural relativism. His crass denunciation of Richard Dawkins’ brilliant “The God Delusion” is but one recent example of this buffoon’s ignorance and stupidity. But his offering in today’s Guardian takes the proverbial biscuit. In the course of completely misrepresenting the terms of the debate about multiculturalism, the learned Professor appears to call Tony Blair a “cultural supremacist” for objecting to the bombing of tube stations…I’m (nearly) sure that Eagleton doesn’t really mean this, but that is, indeed, what he appears to say. As one commentator, “Waltz” (about twenty comments down), says “This is the stupidist article I’ve ever read in the Guardian. It’s…it’s…it’s beyond stupid”.
Considering the pack of idiots and moral degenerates (including Madelaine Bunting, Andrew Murray and Osama bin Laden) that Seumus Milne has published over the years, to call an article “the stupidist” is quite something. But, in this case, I think, justified.
And folks, if you’re reading this on Wednesday 21st February, there’s still time to go onto the Guardian‘s “Comment is Free” website and tell the professor exactly what you think of him.
There are few things that raise my ire more than the 9-11 conspiracy crew. Most annoying is seeing them, seemingly getting a hearing, at every anti-war demo I have attended in Britain. They walk around with thier crap signs showing a poorly drawn plane and the towers with “9-11″ and “Truth” written somewhere on the signs.
They’ve approached me, and I’ve given it to them. I will continue to do so. What is most disturbing is that they seem shocked that I should have such a reaction to them. It is as though they truly believe that they are simply another group with a cause who does no harm by being there. However as Monbiot points out in his article in today’s Guardian nothing could be further from the truth. Monbiot makes the point that I have made all along with these people and that is that they discredit the left and the real movements that we are trying to build.
So this weekend, if you’re going to the demo, make sure to let them know how much they are not welcome. I usually find that saying “get that shit outta my face” in my best NY accent when they try to hand me a leaflet works. There really isn’t much point in an American who was there engaging them in conversation. They’d probably look on with wonder at someone who must be “in on it”……