Be sure your s(k)in will find you out

Those years sitting as a boy-chorister in the stalls of St Nicholas, Wells-next-the-Sea, laid their marks upon me. For one example, I know this is from the Book of Numbers. Admittedly, I had to check to find the precise reference:

Then Moses said to them: “If you do this thing, if you arm yourselves before the Lord for the war, and all your armed men cross over the Jordan before the Lord until He has driven out His enemies from before Him,  and the land is subdued before the Lord, then afterward you may return and be blameless before the Lord and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the LordBut if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out. Build cities for your little ones and folds for your sheep, and do what has proceeded out of your mouth.” [Numbers, 32, 20-24]

There’s some decent guidance there for a modern political campaign:

  • don’t go in too early, but choose your time;
  • but do strike when the opportunity is timely;
  • and then get on with exploiting your expected victory and building the new society.

Now let’s consider the current state of Trumpery

My, my: the man has some problems —

Conceivably, by the end of another day he will have added more to the charge sheet.

Meanwhile Hillary seems to have jumped at least five opinion-poll points, and even her “unfavourable” numbers aren’t significantly worsening. While Trump’s could and should well be.

Shameless?

Last Sunday’s Observer had a piece by Gaby Hinsliff, Twitter Wars. It includes this:

The chilling thing about Trump isn’t just the casual racism and sexism, the breathtaking indifference to whatever is stirred up. It’s the niggling worry that he’s lighting fires under American life not because he can’t stop himself, but as a coldly calculated means to an end. Lacking an established political machine behind him or a war chest for TV advertising, Trump has been reliant on saying ever more incendiary things to keep his name in the news – which may be why the real jaw droppers have a knack of surfacing when he most needs free publicity.

“The norms have completely gone,” says a US strategist who has worked on the last three Democrat campaigns. “I remember in 2012 we’d try and call Mitt Romney a liar for basically telling lies and David Axelrod [Barack Obama’s chief strategist] would say: ‘Change that to falsehood.’ Trump doesn’t have any of those rules whatsoever. I mean, ‘Delete your account’ was pretty much outside the limits of what Hillary would have done four years ago, but you can’t even compare that to someone who’s retweeting white supremacists and Nazi memes.

“To get free media, he has to say stuff that’s reportable, and the level of extreme language is directly linked back to that. They took a conscious decision to make a remark about Mexicans being rapists for his launch to throw a spanner in the works of the other launches. I suspect he doesn’t even particularly have a worldview; it’s driven by a need to feed this publicity machine.”

All true and good. But I note in that the even more “chilling thing”. The Trump campaign has gone beyond pushing the acceptable limits of political discourse out of “indifference”. There is a “coldly calculated” intent to coarsen the debate, in the same way an aerial bombing campaign deliberately demolishes, degenerates and dislocates enemy infrastructure before the land-based assault. If Trump can reduce the political dialogue to his gutter level, he has won.

News management

Tim Fenton, the Guru of zero-street, was yesterday puzzling over the last item of that above bulleted list: why has Melinda Trump’s “modelling” career come to the attention of the New York Post at this precise moment? Except Tim sees it in a broader perspective:

Has Murdoch Abandoned Trump?
Trump still has one formidable backer in the shape of Rupert Murdoch, who has stood by while Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) has been The Donald’s main cheerleader, with hosts such as professional loudmouth Sean Hannity falling over themselves in their efforts to grovel before The Great Man. Then came the forced resignation of Fox News head man Roger Ailes. And that may have changed things.
That Rupe may be experiencing buyer’s remorse is hinted at as the New York Post, a Murdoch tabloid with the same subtlety level as the Sun, splashed an old photo of Trump’s current wife Melania on its front page yesterday. She used to be a nude model. The caption could have come from Kelvin McFilth himself: “THE OGLE OFFICE … Exclusive Photos … You’ve never seen a potential First Lady like this!” Yeah, phwoar, eh?!?!?
One argument the other way is: that was then, this is now. After all, wannabe UK royal princesses can now be papped in degrees of déshabillé and the world keeps turning. The ubiquitous camera/mobile phone ensures that no public embarrassment, no “wardrobe malfunction” can escape the likes of a Daily Mail‘s “sidebar of shame”.
In the matter of Mrs Trump I noticed that, as the New York Post were unveiling the object of the Donald’s affection, the man himself was going all coy and demure. Betsy Woodruff made her play for The Daily Beast:
Playboy Cover Model Donald Trump Pivots On Porn, Signs Pledgetrump-playboy

Businessman Donald Trump posed on the cover of Playboy. GOP nominee Trump has a very different take on porn. 

A day after his team praised the nude photos of his wife that the New York Postpublished, Donald Trump promised to be tough on internet pornography.

The mogul signed a document called the Children’s Internet Safety Presidential Pledge, bemoaning “unfettered internet access by youth.” In signing the pledge, Trump also promised to “[g]ive serious consideration to appointing a Presidential Commission to examine the harmful public health impact of Internet pornography on youth, families and the American culture and the prevention of the sexual exploitation of children in the digital age.”

Wheels within wheels?

I find myself deploying a nano-second, factoring in the “other who and why”.

Who and why pointed the NY Post in this direction? After all, the Post — especially at week-ends — is not an obvious reserve of investigatory journalism.

So something very odd going on.

After the plagiarised speech, there was the sudden taking-off (there’s a lot of it going on, in this context) of the claim from the lady’s own web-site that she had a degree in design and architecture, earned in Slovenia. This claim appeared in the Republican National Convention program.

Whoops! On 19th July CBS demolished this, and asserted that Melania Knav (afterwards, that became “Knauss”) had dropped out after just one year of the course. The soft-core backstreet snappers of Milan and getting-her-kit-off offered a quicker a better, quicker deal for “Melania K”.

For a summary, I defer to Martha Ross, mross@bayareanewsgroup.com, and this — please note — in the “Local Sports” section:

Trump’s sanguine response raises more questions: notably, whether he or someone in his campaign helped make sure the photos were published.

After all, the photos were published in a newspaper that has endorsed him and might be inclined to gain some P.R. leverage.

And, what would Trump himself have to gain?

Gawker and the Huffington Post have some theories. A.M. Mitchell with the Huffington Post believes the publication of the photos was timed by Trump or his people to “plant a red herring into our political news cycle.”

Mitchell drills down on the timing. The photos went online after the Republicans had a pretty disastrous convention the week before and after Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination on Thursday … And after Trump this past week incited outrage over his various comments about NATO, Russian hackers sabotaging Clinton, Vladimir Putin and the Ukraine … And after he launched his controversial and lacerating criticism of the Muslim-American parents of a slain army captain.

What’s disturbing, Mitchell said, is that by publishing the photos, “Donald Trump and the Post are hanging Melania out to dry in a culture which is still, at its core, puritanical. … They are counting on her being retributively shamed by liberals who are hungry to avenge sexist slights against Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton in order to gain what? A couple of points in the polls?”

She continues: “Donald Trump is complicit in allowing a publication which has endorsed him to victimize his own wife. If there is any story worth talking about here, that is it.”

Trump’s sanguine response raises more questions: notably, whether he or someone in his campaign helped make sure the photos were published.

After all, the photos were published in a newspaper that has endorsed him and might be inclined to gain some P.R. leverage.

And, what would Trump himself have to gain?

Gawker and the Huffington Post have some theories. A.M. Mitchell with the Huffington Post believes the publication of the photos was timed by Trump or his people to “plant a red herring into our political news cycle.”

Mitchell drills down on the timing. The photos went online after the Republicans had a pretty disastrous convention the week before and after Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination on Thursday … And after Trump this past week incited outrage over his various comments about NATO, Russian hackers sabotaging Clinton, Vladimir Putin and the Ukraine … And after he launched his controversial and lacerating criticism of the Muslim-American parents of a slain army captain.

What’s disturbing, Mitchell said, is that by publishing the photos, “Donald Trump and the Post are hanging Melania out to dry in a culture which is still, at its core, puritanical. … They are counting on her being retributively shamed by liberals who are hungry to avenge sexist slights against Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton in order to gain what? A couple of points in the polls?”

She continues: “Donald Trump is complicit in allowing a publication which has endorsed him to victimize his own wife. If there is any story worth talking about here, that is it.”

Cue Mrs Merton:

You know what comes next:

Let’s imagine the aftermath of the Trump/Knauss encounter at the Kit Kat Club, 124 W 43rd StNew YorkNY 10036,  (no relation), in 1998:

  • “So, the Donald, what first attracted you to the pneumatic (and subsequently enhanced) Miss K?”
  • “So, Melinda, who first attracted you to a billionaire, a quarter of a century older than yourself?”

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Filed under New York City, sleaze., smut peddlers, US Elections, US politics

Persistent mondegreen

I had to check on the term’s origin. Sylvia Wright in Harper’s, November 1954, gets the credit (this by courtesy of the OED):

When I was a child, my mother used to read aloud to me from Percy’s Reliques, and one of my favorite poems began, as I remember:

Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl Amurray,
And Lady Mondegreen.

If you can’t get past the pay-wall for that, you’ll find it’s also related — very wittily — by  in a back-copy of the New Yorker. She notes that “mondegreen” is itself a recursive mondegreen.

Her definition continues:

Hearing is a two-step process. First, there is the auditory perception itself: the physics of sound waves making their way through your ear and into the auditory cortex of your brain. And then there is the meaning-making: the part where your brain takes the noise and imbues it with significance. That was a car alarm. That’s a bird. Mondegreens occur when, somewhere between the sound and the meaning, communication breaks down. You hear the same acoustic information as everyone else, but your brain doesn’t interpret it the same way. What’s less immediately clear is why, precisely, that happens.

The simplest cases occur when we just mishear something: it’s noisy, and we lack the visual cues to help us out (this can happen on the phone, on the radio, across cubicles—basically anytime we can’t see the mouth of the speaker). One of the reasons we often mishear song lyrics is that there’s a lot of noise to get through, and we usually can’t see the musicians’ faces. Other times, the misperceptions come from the nature of the speech itself, for example when someone speaks in an unfamiliar accent or when the usual structure of stresses and inflections changes, as it does in a poem or a song. What should be clear becomes ambiguous, and our brain must do its best to resolve the ambiguity.

I find that good stuff. My attempt would be a mondegreen is the acoustic equivalent of the way we bewilder ourselves with optical illusions:

image

The difference, of course, is that such images are deliberate, whereas the true, the blushful mondegreen is self-inflicted and unwitting embarrassment.

What prompted this today was — as so often — iTunes in the background. And I found myself grunting along and, five years later, doing it again.

My Irish Leaving Certificate French, barest Pass, and already a couple of years ossified, only ever parsed that lyric from AM radio or off the Dansette. So, back in days of starry-eyed romanticism, I sang along with Françoise Madeleine Hardy:

 Tous les garcons et les filles d’ Montmartre …

Only later (as a previous blog-post confessed), aided by modern technology and now a decent pair of AKGs, does the full truth re-emerge:

Tous les garcons et les filles de mon age
Se promenent dans la rue deux par deux.
Tous les garcons et les filles de mon age
Savent bien ce que c’est d’etre heureux,
Et les yeux dans les yeux,
Et la main dans la main —
Ils s’en vont amoureux.

What has got me —

(in a way that Salvador Dalí would understand, as a persistence of mistaken memory)

dali

— is I’m still mumbling along with the mondegreen.

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Filed under Music, New Yorker, Oxford English Dictionary

Cato-tonic economic sabotage

There are different ways to lose one’s head.

Shortly after 9/11 the Washington Post published a piece by Richard W. Rahn of the Cato Institute.

Sorry: did that sets off every fruitcake-warning klaxon? Cato describes itself as:

dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace. 

One of its main thrusts is to brief the Supreme Court on its view of what the Founding Fathers would have made of any modern dilemma. The Cato Institute doesn’t blush too deeply when identified as “libertarian” (which worries me none too much), but is a renaming of the erstwhile Charles Koch Foundation, which ought to re-charge and re-energise all those klaxons.

Joseph_Addison_by_Sir_Godfrey_Kneller,_Bt_cleanedMore positively, by the name-change the Foundation/Institute was wrapping itself in the toga of Joseph Addison, the supreme Whig essayist of the early eighteenth century.

When I was a student, working towards the Irish Department of Education Leaving Certificate, the essays of Addison, and his mate Richard Steele, were prescribed to us as models for comment, criticism and imitation. That was doubtless derived from the opinion of Doctor Samuel Johnson:

Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse, and elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the study of Addison.

There’s the “Kit-Kat” portrait of the man himself, by Godfrey Kneller, to the right here.

Addison’s five-act drama, eponymously on Cato the Younger, was the West End hit of 1713 — and went on to even greater success and longer-lasting fame in the American Colonies. So much so, it became a fave of George Washington, who had it performed for the delectation of his troops at Valley Forge, and serially cited it in his orations.

To the main point, Redfellow!

Much of Kahn’s argument could flow as easily from the Taxpayers’ Alliance (which are a styrofoam assemblage, merely right-wing fellow-travellers, without the intellect or clout of the Cato Institute). Let me focus, though, on Kahn’s punchline for that 2011 essay. It was:

Economic saboteurs can only succeed when the public is kept ignorant of their actions by a compliant press and timid foes. It is important that good people be as steadfast in defeating the economic saboteurs as they are with the terrorists.

The economic saboteurs of #Brexit were (and are) the ignoramuses of the Out! campaign who propagated arrant nonsense and deliberate untruths — none more grotesque than the “£50 million a week for the NHS”. That was so blatantly a lie its sponsors were denying it even as the votes were being counted. Beyond the BoJos, the Goves, the Farridges (English: rectè), it took the self-interests of the press lords and lords-in-waiting to perpetrate a stupendous, xenophobic fraud on the general populace. And they all got away with it.

By the way — no: I’m not suggesting the other side were without sin. However, the Remainers were singularly “timid” (Kahn’s word) in answering the excesses lobbed across by the Outers. Even the BBC, in the misguided pursuit of “balance” were reticent in calling the lies for what they objectively were — and are. To describe the Leader of the Opposition as “supine” is a slur on any horizontal human.

In the 1950s, East Germany (then under the jackboot of another ideological cadre) introduced the crime of “economic sabotage”, with the ultimate capital punishment of beheading. Just saying.

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Filed under Boris Johnson, Britain, economy, EU referendum, High School, History, Literature, Tories., Washington Post

Not seen, but getting heard

 has bragging rights to open threads on Slugger O’Toole, and kicked off a good one:

Ruth Taillon chaired a panel with Dawn Purvis, Martina Devlin and Bernadette McAliskey for a session entitled And where were the women when history was made? at the John Hewitt International Summer School in Armagh.

Note the names already in the frame there.

So I had to have my two cents’ worth, and here for the record it comes:

For a few examples from Easter Week:

  • Mollie Adrian, on her bicycle, shuttled orders and reports between Pearse in the GPO and the Fingal Battalion, so that Thomas Ashe would get the credit.
  • Maire Nic Shiubhlaigh was in command of the Cumann na mBan at Jacob’s factory, from where she had an excellent view of the pounding the GPO was getting.
  • The Cumann na mBan had to be ordered out of the GPO — it took Seán McDermott backing up Pearse before they would agree — late on the Friday morning of Easter week. The first shell arrived soon after their departure.
  • At the Department of Agriculture farm at Athenry, Mellows had about 500 men armed with a total of 35 rifles and 350 shotguns. The women of the Cumann had the local bullocks slaughtered, and made the stew to feed them all — which was about the most positive aspect of Mellows’ “campaign`”.
  • The Kilkenny Cumann were (later) more than tart in their comments about how the menfolk sat around debating, but not actually getting stuck in.
  • Marie Perolz of Inghinidhe na Éireann, on her motor-bike, all the way from Dublin to the brigade in Cork, brought MacCurtain and MacSwiney the orders for the Rising (how the other eight orders got through, I’m not sure).
  • Rose McManners of the Inghinidhe was in the Jameson distillery to observe how clueless MacDonagh was when it came to leadership. When the garrison of 44 men at the South Dublin Union surrendered, and dumped arms, Rose and the other twenty Cumann picked up the weapons and brazenly carted them into the Richmond Street barracks. They got away with it, because the British Army had no women searchers to hand.
  • Kathleen Lynn took command at City Hall after Seán Connolly was killed, and negotiated the surrender of the ICA garrison.
  • Elizabeth O’Farrell, nurse and midwife, of the Cumann na mBan, under fire took the white flag from the GPO to Moore Street, to open the surrender negotiations.

Then, of course, as Kathleen Clarke never stopped complaining, the women of 1916 were largely elided from the record. It’s not they weren’t there, but as Jessica Rabiit said, “I’m just drawn that way”.

KathleenClarke

As I was posting that, it came to my mind that once — around 1960 — I shook hands with Caitlín Bean Uí Chléirigh.

She was

  • a Sinn Féin TD in the Second Dáil (and spoke against the Treaty in the Great Debate),
  • was on the receiving end of attention (first from the British, then from the Free Staters),
  • was a Fianna Fáil TD for Mid Dublin in the Fifth Dáil, then in the Seanad,
  • then on Dublin Corporation — including being the first woman to be Lord Mayor.
  • To her credit, she was one of the women who despaired of de Valera after the 1937 Constitution re-defined the role of women, and then continued her shift to the left (or, rather, maintained her stand as Fianna Fáil became corporatist and shifted to the right).
  • So, in 1948 she was a candidate for Clann na Poblachta.

By the time I met her, she was definitely out in the leftist fringes. A Great Lady.

 

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Filed under Dublin., Ireland, politics, Republicanism, Sinn Fein, Slugger O'Toole

The world re-arranged (slightly)

Yesterday I had an appointment with the local GP (and would be seen, promptly, by a very personable young lady doctor). As I waited,  I was continuing re-reading Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, a text which requires a considerable degree of focus.

In the background there was a radio, tuned to BBC Radio 2, burbling MOR pop, which I could barely hear. Somehow my attention drifted from Stephenson to the radio. It took a moment to identify the track:


I can’t say I ever paid much attention to Terry Parsons, a.k.a. Matt Munro. Probably one of the few occasions he came to my 51D0MjaOdCLattention was as “Fred Flange” on Songs for Swingin’ Sellars. For some reason — probably because we were fans of The Goon Show (largely because we thought we spotted the dirty jokes smuggled past the BBC editorial blue pencil) — the LP was declared kosher among jazzers, as we were.

Yet this particular song resonated for me. As I recall, it appeared around 1970 — by which time I was well over the adolescent (and subsequent) music addiction.

The lyrics (apparently by Tim Harris) involve a list of Harris’s ex-girlfriends — hence Shirley Wood, Margaret Baty/Beatty and Annie Harris.

My guess: had the song appeared a decade earlier (at the height of the CND marching epidemic) it would have done a heck of a lot better.

Still: it has survived. It is as slick as anything that the London production line was churning out at that time. The sentiments aren’t too dusty, either.

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Filed under Britain, British Left, Music

All gloom and doom

Expressing what I feel about the state of the Labour Party comes easier vocally. Putting it into words here is more difficult, because a stream of blasphemies and obscenities doesn’t adequately suffice.

So let me start a distance back, and take a run at it.

First there was Peter Bradshaw on screen villains in today’s Guardian G2. This on Lotso-Huggin’-Bear from Toy Story 3:

… the “loveable” Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear, richly and warmly voiced by Ned Beatty. He is the senior prisoner and everyone appears to respect him as a sweet, grandfatherly figure — but, in fact, he is an insidious and creepy bully, almost like a cult leader, who rules with henchmen enforcers. That name, and the character’s bland cuddly teddybear face are both highly effective at putting across Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear’s parasitic villainy.

Remind you of anyone?

Meanwhile, the stiletto’ed arm of the Murdoch Empire, The Times, has been assiduous in rooting out the excesses of the Corbynist/Momentum Tendency. Anyone have any notion what that motive might be?

Sure enough, Lucy Fisher, “Senior Political Correspondent”, gets her by-line as the main item on today’s page 2. She starts by reporting that:

Jess Phillips, the MP for Birmingham Yardley, improved her security after an internet troll sent her pictures of a woman impaled by a spear upon which her face had been superimposed.

There’s a lot of that sort of thing around, but  — be assured — it’s absolutely nothing to do with the pro-Corbs lot. As they rarely desist from telling us.

Then Lucy Fisher, “Senior Political Correspondent”, comes up with something quite astounding:

Another Labour MP yesterday accused Momentum, the left-wing network of Mr Corbyn’s supporters, of planning to film constituents visiting his advice surgery in what he said was a bid to intimidate them.

Neil Coyle, the MP for Southwark, asked on social media why the group’s “cronies” were allegedly targeting his surgery. He said he had seen 50 per cent fewer constituents since Momentum protested outside his office several weeks ago.

On Wednesday night a left-wing activist posted on a Facebook group for Southwark Momentum details of the time and place of Mr Coyle’s next surgery. Another man on the thread, which was seen by The Times, wrote: “Be firm but polite and make sure someone is videoing.”

Mr Coyle said: “The intention to protest, the consequent police presence and the cameras outside stop people coming to see me. You don’t visit your MP unless you’ve got a significant problem — often it’s benefits issues, housing pressure, immigration concerns. People coming about these serious things are not in a mood to be filmed.”

Mr Coyle said that after he contacted Southwark Momentum, the post encouraging video cameras to be used outside his office was taken down. A Momentum spokesman said Mr Coyle’s claim that activists linked to the group were trying to intimidate his constituents was nonsense.

You see! As sure as night follows day, there’s the blanket Momentum denial. It’s nuttin’ to do wit’ us, guv! Honest!

And yet …

It all sounds terribly familiar.

My alter-ego (who must be well-identified by anyone in the know) has been there, and bears the political scars. I have mentioned them here in previous posts, and I don’t retract from them one iota.

In my case, in that lobby to Haringey Council Chamber, the push to the wall, the clenched fist waved in front of the face, the crude threat with the expletive, was made by one Councillor Ron Blanchard, a close acolyte of the Blessed Jeremy Redeemer. But, of course, there was no third-party witness. So it couldn’t have happened. Could it?

And here we are …

The whole Party mechanism has been put into cold storage, for fear of those regimented hordes of infiltrators, for fear of personal abuse, and worse. But it’s all  MI5 plotting against the Sainted Jeremy and his variant of “democracy”.

44 Labour women MPs (that’s out of a total of 99, with one murdered already) have complained of continuing on-line personal abuse. They put their grievances in a formal letter to the Party Leader:

Rape threats, death threats, smashed cars and bricks through windows are disgusting and totally unacceptable in any situation.

This is acknowledged by all factions, yet the simple words of condemnation offered in response are inadequate.

We expect swift and tangible action against those who commit such acts.

Response: oh, well, the abuse goes with the job. And anyway, it’s gotta be some other lot. It’s nuttin’ to do wit’ us, guv! Honest!

This way madness lies …

If ever there was proof positive that a point-of-view was plain wrong, it has come from the mouth of Diane “unsuitable blonde, blue-eyed Finnish nurses” Abbott.

Here she is, given her hat-stand and rope-to-hang-her-arguments-from by The Times:

… it is interesting to compare and contrast Corbyn and Sanders. Their political programmes are very similar. Like Sanders, Corbyn is proud to call himself a socialist. In fact Sanders calling himself a socialist is remarkable in a country where, in living memory, using such a term was enough to get you witch-hunted out of public life. Even in Britain, under New Labour, calling yourself a socialist was forbidden to anyone with serious political ambitions…

Both are treated with cool disdain by their political establishments. Email leaks this week revealed how antagonistic Democratic bigwigs were to the Sanders campaign. As a result the chairwoman of the Democratic national committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had to resign. Goodness knows what the leak of similar emails by the Labour Party would reveal. But it is easy to guess

But the big difference between the two is the way they have been treated by their respective country’s media. Mainstream media in the US has been very sceptical about Sanders’ policies, particularly his signature policies on healthcare. This has been bruising, but fair.

By contrast the British media has scarcely discussed the policies on which Corbyn campaigned. Instead they have concentrated on tearing him down as a man and delegitimising  him as a political actor.

For the record, as long ago as 1974, when my alter-ego put out an election address  and described myself as a “socialist”, eye-brows raised. Even Tribune, which was my spiritual home in many ways, felt the usage worth notice.

What we need to underline (as I do above) is the paranoia that Diane Julie, M.A. (Cantab) radiates. Len McCluskey knows it has to be MI5. Diane Julie sees pale-pinkos machinating against the Blessed Apostle in the National Executive.

Is it all hopeless?

Well, it’s going to be hard to drain the swamp while we are up to our arses with rabid alligators. But for the sake of having a real Opposition, delivering for the people (not just the mouthy student types) Labour has properly sought to represent these hundred years and more, it has to be done.

Owen Smith may not be the instant solution. He’s an improvement on the Corbs lot, and I’ll be doing my bit in the cause. And if Smith doesn’t hack his way through the swamp of Momentum dis- and mis-information, we’ll have to try again.

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Filed under British Left, Guardian, Labour Party, politics, Times

Boneheads

I don’t care if you can unscrew the inscrutable. I just don’t get it with these self-exculpatory ultra-Corbynistas:

Corbyn himself has received death threats, it seems that there are head de balls on both sides most of whom are probably hopping on the wagon just to stir it up.

Err, no.

The incoming nastiness is all from one direction.

There are a whole series of clues:

  • When you recall the various (and overlapping) trot factions (IMG, SLL, International Socialist, London Labour Briefing, Socialist Organiser) that clustered around the weirdos and with which Corbyn and co. were deeply involved, you wonder about motivation.
  • When you remember how those factions combined to take over Islington North, de-select Michael O’Halloran, block Keith Kyle, and enstool Jeremy Corbyn as their surrogate, you are entitled to see the germs of a familiar pattern.
  • When you notice the many, many Socialist Worker banner and placards at Momentum gatherings, you begin to wonder which party is involved.
  • When you’ve had a close associate of Corbyn thrust you to the Council Chamber wall, and tell you, “We’ll fuckin’ get you” (and that was 1982), you despair that we are going through the same intimidation and thuggery.
  • When you hear of foul-mouthed threats screeched down a blocked ‘phone at long-serving party stalwarts, at 2 a.m. in the morning …
  • When an individual is arrested in Paisley (Paisley!) for a death-threat to Angela Eagle, you wonder how such a cretin was inspired and why she/he bothered.
  • When you hear about the serial threats (death, rape) that women MPs have to endure, you marvel at their commitment.
  • When you have decent, not-front-line CLP officers having to change their telephone numbers because of the threat of abuse, you ask, “Why bother any more?”

Let’s get to the bottom-lines:

  1. It should never have started.
  2. It has got to stop.
  3. None too long ago, the Labour Party was a decent, principled place to be.

Heracles’ Fifth Labour: Cleaning the Augean Stables:

1992.11.0019

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