Shameless Plug

May 30, 2006 at 7:17 am (Uncategorized)

Have a look at Jim’s Big Ego’s website. I don’t have anything to say about it, beyond that I think he’s fantastic. Funny, poignant and genuinely witty satirical music is such a rarity on the left, and it’s an unadulterated pleasure to give a plug to the man whose tunes could be the theme to this.

We salute you, Jim.

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Political Bloggers

May 29, 2006 at 3:35 pm (Uncategorized)

At some point in the past few years, there was a point when the internet stopped being the furtive habit of sweaty middle aged men who live with their mothers, and became socially acceptable. Shortly after that, it went political.

The net is now, it seems, a serious political phenomenon, especially in the USA where the right initially stole a march with sites like The Drudge Report, but where liberals swiftly caught up (especially in the aftermath of the Howard Dean campaign) and now MoveOn and the Daily Kos go toe to toe with the right-wingers.

In Britain, the “pro-war lefties” of Harry’s Place (with whose views on the war I don’t agree, but who are always a good read) punch well above their weight, often providing sources that print and broadcast journalists are now obliged to follow. They also did a lot of work towards the famous/infamous Euston Manifesto, which is now provoking praise and derision in equal measure across the political spectrum.

But… then when the hell did this happen? I mean, think about the idea of bloggers as a political force; has it occurred to you just how scary that is? Hell, it means even a shiraz quaffing curry buff like me can become a political writer…

And if I can do it, then so can anyone.

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Sign this. Now.

May 29, 2006 at 1:07 pm (Uncategorized)

Talking of freedom of speech, if you cherish it then you’ll take the necessary two seconds to sign this online petition against internet censorship. People get jailed and killed for bringining you information from some parts of the world, so it’s the least you can do.

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Religious fundamentalism, cartoons and stuff

May 29, 2006 at 12:53 pm (Uncategorized)

OK, this is now a bit retro, but I’ve gotta post my thoughts on it.

You know, I always was in two minds about those Danish Cartoons. On the one hand, it seems to me irrefutably true that if you want to criticise religion, you have the right to do so, without fear of intimidation, death threats (or, indeed, of someone burning down a KFC halfway across the world, in bizarre protest at your actions).

On the other hand, there’s something about Jyllands-Posten that gives me the creeps, and something about the general context of linking images of Muslims with terrorism that makes me vomit a bit, at the back of my throat. There was something that didn’t sit easily with me, about seeing right-wing newspaper editors across Europe lining up to republish the things “in defence of freedom of speech”. Where are they when the “oppressors” are vile regimes abroad, and not one of the most marginalised communities in Europe? Looking the other way and publishing other stories, that’s where. Not to mention publishing story after story about “the rise of Islamic terrorism” amid a raft of “enemy within” stories since 9/11.

In the context of such demonisation, the whole cartoon debate takes on a different look, it seems to me.

I’ve had many, many arguments with people who argued that liberals and leftists should line up four-square behind the people at Jyllands-Posten, even to the point of having leftist organisations republish the cartoons. But for all the arguments, that’s never seemed right to me. There’s no excuse for feeding a climate of racist backlash.

Defend freedom of speech? Yes of course. Insist on that right being exercised in all circumstances? No.

There is a right to publish. But a right is not the same as an obligation.

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Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3

May 29, 2006 at 12:16 pm (Uncategorized)

Right then, let’s see if this feller works.

This is a new blog from a moderately angry nouveau-middle-class leftwinger who could set the whole world to rights, if he only had a constant supply of quality red wine and Indian cuisine. A popinjay in search of popadums, if you will…

Watch this space for arguments, rants, sectariana, current affairs, and maybe even the odd bit of serious debate!

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