Monday, 16 September 2019

Chris Trotter on the BFD

I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.

Now, I don't know if Trotter is actually providing specific content for The BFD.  I don't know if he is allowing them to recycle stuff from his Bowalley Road blog.  I don't know if he is completely unaware that he has been listed as an 'author' at The BFD and they are simply using him to give their website some heft or the illusion of balance.

(I do know I alerted Chris to his association with The BFD a few weeks ago, via a comment on Bowalley road that he did not deign to publish; and he's still listed as an auther there as of today. Draw what conclusions you will from that.)

I publically exhort Chris to explain how this has come about, and why he is allowing his name to be associated with a cameron Slater linked website.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Trump: "Where's my favourite dictator?"

From the Wall Street Journal:
Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi.

Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in a loud voice: ‘Where’s my favorite dictator?’ Several people who were in the room at the time said they heard the question.
The report DOES NOT continue:
At least half a dozen dictators put their hands up, provoking angry and occasionally tearful scenes as the assembled autocrats realised Mr Trump had been seeing them all behind their various totalitarian backs.

"I thought he only loved me!" wailed Xi Jinping, who had just emerged victorious from a scrap with love rival Kim Jong-Un.  "He always told me I was his only dictator."
 Tearful Kim pledged that he still loved his "Donny" in spite of the the President's disloyalty.
"He's a hard dog to keep on the porch," complained Kim.
 "But he'll always be my favourite dictator, even if I am not his."
When it was pointed out to Mr Kim that Mr Trump was not actually a dictator but a more-or-less democratically elected leader, he replied, "Just you wait and see." 
I made that up.  But it could almost be true in these strange and perverted times.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election

There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:

  1. The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves to pieces. They've rejected Cameronite phoney One Nation consensus centrism for extremism. They've managed to make everyone apart from the Telegraph and the Mail hate them. 

  2. They've been in power for almost a decade now, people are tired of them. New Labour made it to 13 years, but only because they started from a much better position.

  3. The right wing vote is going to be split. Either it is going to be split between Conservatives and Brexit (if Brexit isn't delivered) or Conservative and Lib Dem (if it is).

  4. A lot of Conservative voters might not be able to vote for another party but will simply stay home, as happened in 1997. 

  5. Austerity still matters and many people are still struggling. After 9 years in power, what have the Tories got to show for it? At least New Labour could point to some real achievements in the early years. 

  6. An election this year will be the third in five years. That might be normal in Italy, but we didn't win the war to behave like Italians. People will be royally pissed off with being asked to vote again. So the Conservative reputation for managerial competence is shredded. 

  7. An early election favours Corbyn - if the Tories could hang on until 2022 then he'd probably look too old. But having another pop now, on this side of seventy, he still has time on his side. 

  8. Corbyn is a very good campaigner. Say what you like about his policies and his leadership, but put him on the campaign trail and he's happy as can be, and people respond to him. Whereas the Conservatives have put an absolute klutz at the helm who can't get through a speech without prompting commentators to speculate that he's on drugs.  Even the stuff Johnson was meant to be good at - PMQs and insults - he's been bad at. 

  9. There is nothing left to use against Corbyn. Remember how some people were salivating about how the media would reveal all his dark secrets and murky stories from his past? That barrel was scraped dry in 2017 and it turned out to be a rather small and pathetic barrel; now the Murdochite papers are reduced to putting his head on a chicken.

  10. Labour will run on a crowd pleasing manifesto, while the Conservatives will run on a stupid manifesto, again. People think they will have learned from 2017's mistakes, but they will simply make new ones. They just don't get it.
That's my branes, anyway.

Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges

Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. 
The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime minister’s political decision to prorogue parliament.
Tom Watson will be livid. His latest attempt at undermining Corbyn has been bumped off the front page of the Guardian.

Am I right in thinking that Boris Johnson has ...
  • Lost six votes in the House of commons
  • Broken the law twice
  • Been dumped by his brother
  • Lost a cabinet minister
  • Lost a couple of dozen MPs as a result of a particularly ill-judged show of political machismo
  • Lied to the Queen
... All within his first week in the job?

Did I miss anything?

The brazen uselessness of the Johnson administration beggars belief. I always anticipated that Johnson would be a disaster; but I was also anticipating he would have some sort of a plan and try to disguise his incompetence with shows of bon homie , 'infectious confidence' and general bluster.

I was expecting him to trounce Corbyn at PMQs and deliver lots of well received speeches, as these were the sort of things this 'acclaimed orator' would be good at, even if it was just sound and fury concealing the vacuum of his policy.

So I was expecting useless, but making a good show of being not-useless.

Instead we got useless and obviously useless.

What a difference a week makes, eh?

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Anti-Semitism and Tommy Robinson = views

The views-per-page for some of my recent postings:

Depressing, isn't it?  Provide thoughtful and wise commentary on the mainstream of British politics and no-one notices.  Make a passing reference to Tommy DICKHEAD Robinson in a thread title and you get hundreds of views.  Write something about anti-Semitism and you get another tonne.

What is wrong with the interwebs?

Can't wait to see how this baitishly titled post fares.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Brecon and Radnor by-election

I'm glad to see the Lib Dems won.

I had a moment of terror yesterday thinking that the Conservatives might cling on, due to a combination of Johnson's elevation to the premiership, the apparent uselessness of the Lib Dem candidate (who had failed to be elected in other constituencies) and the fading of the Brexit Party.

But ...
  • with the explicit support of the Greens and PC,
  • with the tacit support of Labour,
  • with the advantage of facing a candidate who had been recalled - by his own constituents - for corruption,
  • a candidate, no less, who represented one of the most disliked governments in recent memory,
  • a government, you'll recall, that had nailed its colours to decisively to the Brexit-or-Death mast,
  • and with the Leave vote split between the Conservatives and the Brexit Party,
  • and fighting a by-election in an area they have traditionally done well in,
  • and with an experienced local candidate to represent them,

... shouldn't they have done a bit better?

(A bit of payback for all those deriding Labour for not doing better because yadahyadahyahdah.)

As for new Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson's proclamation that her party will not support a Labour Government - it is a bizarre move if they then expect Labour to co-operate and help them win target seats from the Tories.

Unless, of course, you view the Lib Dems as part of the 'Centrist' war against Corbyn. Then it makes perfect sense.

They'd rather see another Conservative government than offer any succor to the Labour Left.

Even when they aren't in coalition, they are still helping the Tories.

In other news, the latest Com Res poll brings grim tidings for the Lib Dems:

LAB: 30% (+3)
CON: 29% (+1)
LDEM: 16% (-3)
BREX: 15% (-1)
GRN: 5% (+1)

via @ComRes, 26 - 28 Jul
Chgs. w/ 25 Jul

After the giddy thrills of the local and Euro elections the the Lib-Dem and Brexit surge is receding and both main parties are gradually recovering to the semi-respectable terrain of the low to mid 30s.

Sadly, Lib Dems, the party is over. It was a good one, but you've got nothing to show for it other than a splitting head ache, a foul taste in your mouth and the vague memory of attempting to do a strip-tease, only to fall over as you tried to remove your trousers. You've woken up in a stranger's bed and it is time for you all to be sensible and pretend that none of this ever happened.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Anti-Semitic images considered: the 'facehugger' on the Statue of Liberty

An occasional series where I will ponder allegations of anti-Semitism directed at the British Labour Party and its members.

In this case, we are thinking about an allegedly anti-Semitic image shared by a Labour Party member. Its origins appear to be a far right site which revels in anti-Semitism. Rather than reproduce the image itself, I will link to it. For those not wanting to sully their browser, it shows the Statue of Liberty with one of the 'facehugger' aliens from Alien attached to it's face. The alien has a Star of David on its back.

The image was shared by a Labour Party member. It's origins appear to be a far right site which revels in anti-Semitism.

It has been described as anti-Semitic because the Star of David identifies the alien with Jews, and thus Jews with the alien. Anti-Semitic discourse regularly describes Jews as sub-human, alien and parasitical. The idea that Jews are corrupting their 'host' culture (just as the alien implants an embryo in the host) is very common. The reading here is that Jews are the enemies of freedom (hence the host is Lady Liberty).

BUT there are two factors that have to be taken into consideration. First, the Star of David is blue, associating it with the Israeli flag rather than Jews in general. This could change the message slightly - it is probably more about free speech and the perception that Israel is trying to stop criticism of it (ironically by claiming anti-Semitism at every opportunity!).

That's a 'legitimate' message, though I find the image abhorrent for the reasons outlined above. it is to crude and easily read as applying to all Jews rather than a political criticism of Israel.  It is far worse than the mural in that regard.

I think the mural was intended as a critique of capitalism that was too easily interpreted as anti-Semitic due to the crudity of its execution; whereas this image seems too much like it is an anti-Semitic dog whistle - an image that is essentially anti-Semitic but which is trying to give itself a veneer of acceptability which fools people into thinking it is not poisonous. The woman who re-posted it probably naively saw it as a legitimate criticism of Israel, but it is far more than that.   She should have known better.

Also, it is not clear if the woman who posted it knew it was from a far right site. These images slosh around the internet, are passed on from one person to another, or show up in Google searches and the provenance may not be clear.  On this aspect, I am willing to give the woman in question the benefit of the doubt in that regard.  Of course, if it could be proven she visited the site and was aware of the sort of place it was, that would be another matter.

The woman in question was suspended and investigated.  The investigation concluded the image depicted "a monster with the Star of David printed on it on the face of the Statue of Liberty suggesting that Jewish people control America.” and that, though distasteful "these are generally distasteful cartoons about the perceived relationship [between] Israel and the US." I think they were probably a bit generous in their interpretation there.  I think she was very thoughtless and foolish.

She was given a formal warning about her posting; hoepfully, she shows better sense in the future.

Chris Trotter on the BFD

I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit li...