Thursday, 14 July 2011

Stolypin's neck n neck tie

You know that bloke who's rehabilitated Stalin ? Well, he's just ordered a large memorial built to Peter stolypin, the scourge of communism.

Clever bloke that Putin. He's cunningly making it look like his efforts to 'rehabilitate Stalin' only exist in the minds of our pig-ignorant neo-con commentariat. Sayeth Te Graun:

'Analysts say Putin sees himself as a successful analogue to the former PM who will survive, suppress any protests by foreign-backed wreckers and ensure Russia is the glorious, strong state his mentor.'

Pop psychology? Check
Anonymous 'analysts' quoted? Check
Bad punctuation? Check*
Caricaturing Putin's politics by caricaturing someone else's politics? Check

Later on:

'Stolypin came second after the 13th-century warrior prince Alexander Nevsky in a state-sponsored nationwide poll to find Russia's greatest historical figure in 2008.

The organisers later admitted in private that Joseph Stalin had won, but the results were fixed to avoid the embarrassment of having a dictator in first place.

"I doubt Stolypin would have even come in the top 10 in a real poll," said Belkovsky. "He's not well known outside the elite."'

No source for the Stalin coming first quote? Check

'the organisers' are anonymous and admit stuff in private? Check

'A real poll'? In other words it wasn't a real poll that found Stalin numero uno? Eh?

Well, apparently not. Nothing about Uncle Joe winning the day here. Too bad for Te Graun.

I really won't miss Te Graun much when it finally has the plug pulled. Being a leftist and visiting Te Graun is like ordering haddock, chips and coffee and being handed a semi-raw mackerel (did you know I'm allergic to mackerel?) and a cup of stagnant pond-water. Then being told you can write down any complaints in a log book. Then seeing your complaint being crumpled up and thrown in the bin.

I feel really chuffed that it was the lefty blogosphere that owned Johann Hari: I hope it means we will move away from 'star columnists' and mainstream papers to a more open and democratic system. However, the only problem will be to support a genuinely objective media to report on current affairs. Not 'unbiased' as 'a compromise between left and right journalists'

*Yeah. probably a case of the pot calling the kettle black in my case, but they charge for this stuff.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Why I love my Country

I've never met one person dumb enough or crazy enough to enjoy reading Melanie Phillips.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Need a Heart of Stone Not to Laugh

One reason why I didn't write anything about Johann Hari's hilarious humiliation was because Splintered Sunrise wrote about it far better than I could. Not just about what did happen but what would happen. Thus spake SS:
'I think Hari will be all right in the end. Were he an actual jobbing hack this might kill off his career, but he’s high enough up the food chain to survive. He’ll go to ground for a while, perhaps claiming the criticism is all motivated by homophobia (thanks to Laurie Penny for rolling out that alibi early), then resurface with a tearful interview on Women’s Hour about how sorry he is, but now he’s learned from his mistakes and won’t ever do it again, honest guv. He certainly has a tribe of devoted fans who’ll forgive him anything, and will probably keep some kind of writing gig; but he’ll never live this down. Private Eye will be repeating the story for the rest of his natural life.'

Surely enough, the porky wunderkind (who seems to be morphing into Nick Clegg) has no sooner flagellated himself, than he's started banging on about 'the religious' again.

Afraid I found myself reaching for the cotton wool after five mins (sounds a good cause, if he's not speaking bullshit, but maybe someone less whiney can summarise the supposed document more precisely in a couple of hundred words) but his opening speech is comedy gold. He supports freedom of speech, doncha know. He supports people's rights to criticise him, if you please. My golly gosh, I bet the thought police were just about to round up his critics and feed them to starving rats before he spoke in favour of the right to criticise porky, z-grade Indy journalists.

Or so the people who rapturously applauded his mea culpa must have thought.

The ironic thing is that I regard myself as a humanist and generally a supporter of empiricism. Hari's combination of dishonest journalism and vitriolic hatred towards 'the religious' demonstrates he's neither. If he does survive then The Independent will be devoid of credibility.

Notice, incidentally, that there's no comments section under his self-aggrandising video? Very meaningful in itself.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Bronze Statue, Clay Feet

Interesting article by Ian Dunt. Regular readers of talking politics will know that Dunt is generally attacked for being 'left wing' by the same kind of crowd that turns up on CiF. But I'd say in this instance he's really caught the zeitgeist. A lot better than our neo-con corner. Who are running the country.

In some regards the level of hatred in this comments thread actually makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. As with so much else, friendship with America is harmed rather than helped by our grovelling leaders.

Mystery of the English speaking Weevils

In one columbo episode that din't quite make it into my top 10 there's a scene where he's invited to a podium to speak about being a police officer and admits he often liked the murderers he had to arrest. I think that being interested in politics, it's best to have a Columbo outlook, and not try to totally dehumanise your opponents.

And I am sorry that the Gipper had to go through Alzheimers. I get the impression he would be an affable and charming enough bloke to speak to.

But, really: what on earth is going on here? For Conservative Brits, Reagan was a supporter of the IRA and Argentina. For lefty Brits he was a friend of death squads throughout the American Continent.

He wasn't a friend to either of us. He charmed Mrs T, and through her the British nation.

It's debatable if he was even a friend to the American nation?

The Scottish writer Alasdair Gray wrote that the Scots are 'a nation of arselickers.' Maybe he's not far off, but I do like to think that we've learnt a few things over the centuries, like:
-Don't make out you like it too much
-Don't back the wrong horse
-Try to keep as much self-respect as possible

Of course, that advice would only be applicable to someone with an iota of pride in their own country. Which William Hague self-evidently doesn't feel.
"You may be sure that the people of London will take this statue to their hearts."

Why? did they ask for it or something? What was his full quote:

"On behalf of the British Government on this moving occasion, as a Briton, as a Conservative and as a passionate admirer of America, I am proud that we have made a home here in the centre of our city for President Ronald Reagan. It is a great honour for me personally to take part in a ceremony for a man who changed the political landscape at the time I first became involved in it He joins the ranks of great men and women whose statues adorn our London streets; Nelson, Wellington, Lincoln, Churchill, Roosevelt, Edith Cavell and Nelson Mandela. Statues bring us to face to face with our heroes long after they are gone. Ronald Reagan is without question a great American hero; one of America’s finest sons, and a giant of 20th Century history. You may be sure that the people of London will take his statue to their hearts."

Passionate admirer of what? The poor whites? The African Americans? The blue collar workers in Reagan's native Illinois? The homeless? The elderly? The Hispanic labourers? Herman Melville? Edgar Allan Poe? The large areas of public land?

Or of a political system with entrenched inequality? The ridiculous media? The banks that caused a global economic meltdown? The businesses that give billions to the Chinese dictatorship? The military industrial complex?

My feeling about this isn't outrage, so much as embarrassment. Reagan was a bad president, who should have been impeached over the Iran-Contras affair, who damaged the American economy and who empowered the Mujaheedin in Afghanistan. Yet he gets the fawning adoration of a tiny number of middle aged middle class Brits, most of whom have inherited their position and/or benefited from the post-war consensus. Most of these aging men feel virile by supporting bloodshed in any nation the USA decides to attack, yet are so fat and unfit they know they would never be allowed to serve even if they volunteered (which they wouldn't').

In coming centuries, people may very well walk past the Reagan statue and wonder 'what on earth were they thinking' installing this here.