Thursday, December 31, 2009

Soon we'll be hearing less of that cretin's coinage, "the noughties" (sound of teeth grinding). What was the matter with "the twenty hundreds", in the manner of the eighteen and nineteen hundreds? The next decade, one assumes, will be the twenty tens - or will it be "the teenies"?
We will continue to chop up time, to separate history into little parcels, which always have loose bits hanging out. Time is a continuum, it flows like Joyce's

riverrun past Eve and Adam's ...

which flowed from

A way a lone a last along the

A new year, if I'm honest with myself is just a new day followed by other day's; day/night - men didn't invent that duality, they just invented timepieces and calendars, the chopping tools.
We can hope that the cretinisation our language comes to a halt, and that the linguistic barrel-scrapers who saddle us with words like the "noughties" find themselves seeking gainful employment. Call that a new year's wish.

Amen. Sermon over.
And I swear I haven't touched a drop (yet).

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nice video -
I wonder who all this would belong to after we'd paid for it.

(Click on link)
... and talking of big Orson (as I was, sort of) -

I've been trying to find some written record of a story I heard recently. It was told by an English actor, I forget who.
This actor was a friend of the obnoxious restaurateur and piss-artist, Peter Langan. One evening he was sitting at the bar in Langan's place chatting to the owner, when Orson Welles came in and sat at a table. The ensuing conversation went as follows:-
Langan: "Is that Orson Welles?"
Actor: "Yes."
Langan: Do you know him?"
Actor: "Yes."
Langan: "Will you introduce me?"

The actor agreeing, they went over to Welles's table and the actor did the honours.

Langan (to Welles): "You're a big, fat, ugly bastard."

Then he walked off.

Langan later killed himself accidentally while trying to murder his girl friend by setting fire to her. She survived the attempt and "The dog it was that died."
I dare say that there would have been some who mourned the passing of a lovable character.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A jaundiced view of Christmas -

Merry Christmas
I hope you have a white one, but for me it's blue

Blue Christmas, that's the way you see it when you're feeling blue
Blue Xmas, when you're blue at Christmastime
you see right through,
All the waste, all the sham, all the haste
and plain old bad taste

Sidewalk Santy Clauses are much, much, much too thin
They're wearing fancy rented costumes, false beards and big fat phony grins
And nearly everybody's standing round holding out their empty hand or tin cup
Gimme gimme gimme gimme, gimme gimme gimme
Fill my stocking up
All the way up
It's a time when the greedy give a dime to the needy
Blue Christmas, all the paper, tinsel and the fal-de-ral
Blue Xmas, people trading gifts that matter not at all
What I call
Bitter gall.......Fal-de-ral

Written by a gent named Bob Dorough, who recorded the song with the Miles Davis Quintet; he could be the only vocalist to feature on a Miles Davis recording. Dorough's singing is something of an acquired taste and I haven't acquired it yet. Still, you can't knock a musician who worked with Allan Ginsberg, Lenny Bruce, Sugar Ray Robinson, Blossom Dearie, as well as miserable, miserly Miles. I would have thought that these lyrics would have appealed to the old ratbag, but, whatever his opinion of them, he is said to have dismissed Bob D. as "a silly singer". But then how many white Americans did Davis have a good word for?
I have to register an opinion that this potlatch cultural version of Christmas that's taken hold is not to my taste - the feast of the Happy Shopper. Almost makes you long for a little of that old time religion - almost.
I suppose a person would have to be at least 55 years old to remember a different kind of Christmas. Better? I don't know, but more to my taste.
Right, as soon as the soaps are out of the way it's back to the booze and the crappy telly. Well, one programme about big Orson Welles that's a must, even though I saw it years ago.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I don't know much about art, but I know I like this christmas card from a junior member of my clan.

Season's greetings to all who pass this way.
Peace on earth and goodwill to most men (no war but the class war). Come on you Christians, you know your Prince of Peace was talking sense.
UCATT website on the death of Ray Jessop;

and wikipedia on corporate manslaughter.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

« Être Français, c’est rester révolutionnaire. S’il faut y aller, je suis là. »
Eric Cantona,
but I can't find an English translation on l'Humanité.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

"This week, the winner of Cowell's X Factor, Joe McElderry, was the star guest at The Sun's Military Awards. According to the paper's report, Joe said "his debut was made even more 'special' because he was singing for the nation's very bravest". Among those who obediently trotted along to the bash were David Cameron, who then told radio listeners that he was backing Joe for Christmas No 1 and that politics has much to learn from Cowell, whom he evidently regards as having been added to the list of people too powerful not to fawn over."
(Marina Hyde, the Dean Swift of our times)
The Biter Bit

I don't know much about art but I know what I like.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I don't think I've got the hang of it yet, but this is what I think it says -
Tony Blair (you know, the war criminal) is a partner in a business that is also a registered charity. He has two other partners; they are Tony Blair, and Tony Blair. The declared income from this business is less than the expenditure on legal and accountancy fees. How long before the poor fellow is declared bankrupt?

Monday, December 14, 2009

When has a BBC journalist so much as raised an eyebrow while channelling US-UK propaganda about the "peace enforcement operation" in Afghanistan or Iraq? It is unimaginable that a Newsnight presenter would declare such claims "the kind of Newspeak that would make George Orwell proud".
Our book devotes two whole chapters to the BBC: the first, exposing the magnificent fiction of BBC "balance", and the second presenting a handy A-Z compendium of BBC propaganda.
"There are no representatives from the trade unions, green pressure groups, development charities, child poverty groups or other grass-root organisations. We are to believe there is no reason to doubt that these Trust members are independent from the government that appointed them, and from the elite corporate and other interests that employ them. We are to believe, instead, that these privileged individuals will uphold fair and balanced reporting which displays not a hint of bias towards state ideology or economic orthodoxy in a world of rampant corporate power." (Newspeak, p.27)

More on 'Medialens.
How could a man with a history of mental illness get so close to Berlusconi? By blending in with the nut jobs who form the Berlusconi fan club. It's said that support for the Prime Minister/Prime Suspect has fallen to fifty percent of the electorate. FIFTY PERCENT? What does this slime ball have to do to become unpopular, sodomise the Pope?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

"These bankers should be shown for what they really are to the public: vulgar robbers, thieves in ties, pickpockets and obstinate kleptomaniacs."
Gordon Brown? Alastair Darling? Lord Mynors? No, Hugo Chávez.
(via Angry Arab's Comments Section)
My native city - Kingston upon Hull - is making a bid to be European city of culture in 2013. I was surprised when I heard that and decided to look up the word 'culture' in my dictionary. I find that it means pretty much anything that people do, so we could qualify. Hull, the city where people do things. We could win that competition, but I discern a couple of obstacles:
i) so could any other European city
ii)Hull never wins anything.
Nothing daunted our representatives, elected and unelected, will take on this task with fervour. Millions will be spent on hiring 'consultants' to prepare our case; and people with southern accents will be all over the media bigging up their home town (i.e., the one that pays their large salaries). This is the equivalent of Premier League footballers kissing their club badges.
Eventually the winner will be declared and we, the much abused citizenry of Hull, will get on with our lives, while our councillors accuse one another of profligacy and lack of foresight.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ray Jessop died in a work accident on Sunday. Ray was a fellow wob (IWW member) and a mate. When I call him mate that doesn't make me part of an exclusive club. It seems that Ray was a mate of everyone he knew. If it is possible credibly to trot out the old cliché "he hadn't an enemy in the world" then Ray was one person of whom it could be said sincerely.
No doubt more will be written about Ray. He will surely have more eloquent obituarists than this poor soul. In the meantime here's a piece in the local paper.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

"Israeli barcode starts with 729"

so I'm informed.

Friday, December 04, 2009


"Silvio Berlusconi linked to mafia in court evidence"

Headline in today's Guardian.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

How do you define ethical? Is there an ethical method of starving people to death? The Ethical Tea Partnership seems to think so.

"On November 19, local government officials began distributing to workers and their families on the Nowera Nuddy tea estate in West Bengal coupons for emergency rations which are normally reserved only for those officially designated as below the poverty line or victims of natural disasters." (from the IUF website)

"The global union federation for food workers (IUF) has launched a new online campaign to tell the company -- the world famous Tetley Teas -- to end the lockout and to pay workers what they are owed.
"Incredibly, Tetley is a proud member of the Ethical Tea Partnership which, according to its website, 'aims to improve the lives of tea workers'.
"Starving workers into submission isn't ethical!" (Message from Eric Lee of LabourStart)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I just puchased Rachid Taha's latest offering and listened to it. Money down the drain. What was the man thinking of turning out inferior stuff like that? I have been a fan for some time, but if he carries on in this vein he's off my list.
If I want to listen to that electronic stuff I'll give the Spam Allstars a spin. If I want to listen to the same couple of lines repeated over I'll listen to football chants (example of lyrics above). 'Barbes', 'Abdelkader', 'Tékitoi', 'Bent Sahra'; that's Rachid Taha. The only song on this album that that approaches that level is 'Sélu'.
In addition the cover photograph of the man depicts him as a Tony Ferrino wannabe.
It has been suggested that this album is an attempt to crack the US market. Well if it doesn't succeed he'd better recover form quickly before he loses his existing fan base.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A couple of things I read recently that resonate -

"Between seventy and eighty, one is prey to a hundred diseases." Po Chü'i (or Bai Juyi) Chinese poet, 772-846, "On Being Sixty" (tr. Arthur Waley).
Don't I know it, Chü'i, old bean.

"Most of the Saatchi-type art actually is a form of self-advertisement by the second-rate." Roger Scruton.
I find myself in agreement with the mad professor; dangerous territory. Scruton versus Saatchi, divergent approaches to the undermining of civilised society.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I have to repost this comment on the Chilcot Inquiry which I read on Craig Murray's blog. It was made by one Mike Cobley -

As soon as I saw headline claiming that the new enquiry will be open and wide-ranging, I immediately recalled the old saying, 'Dont believe anything until its been officially denied', the corollary being in operation in this case. Also, it seems that Blair has agreed to give testimony at it, and that puts the seal on it. If that cheese merchant is happy to appear before it, then it aint worth a rancid toad fart. QED.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Some interesting snippets on Cameron's spin doctor, Andy Coulson, from Obsolete's blog -
"The tribunal decided back in December that Driscoll had been both unfairly dismissed and discriminated against on the grounds of disability, but only yesterday did the amount of compensation which Driscoll was awarded come to light. The tribunal decided upon a quite staggering £792,736, which with legal costs will probably amount to a total bill to News International of around a million. Adding in the costs of settling with Gordon Taylor and two others over the phone hacking allegations, Coulson has cost Murdoch in total around £2,000,000. For someone who despite being fabulously wealthy is remarkably parsimonious when it comes to others spending his money, Murdoch senior (and doubtless also junior) will be seething."

"few doubt that Coulson has been at the heart, not just of the discussions behind the Sun switching support to Cameron, but also at the far more significant negotiations concerning the almost wholesale adoption of policies to the benefit of News International, whether it be the quick abolition of Ofcom, one of the few quangos to be directly identified by Cameron as to be hurled onto the bonfire, the attacks on the BBC or the removal of the fuddy-duddy idea that television news has to be impartial, swiftly leading to the transformation of Sky News into a version of Fox News which America knows and loves and which Murdoch senior has long wanted to do. Also likely to be dismantled are the rules on media ownership, with Murdoch probably swallowing ITV whole, although the Sun seems to treat the channel as part of the family already regardless (although the Sky shareholding of 17.9% helps)."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

To return this man to his country with its dangerous human rights record “would be devastating for him, his family, indeed it could prove fatal”, pleaded Johnson. “There are few cases where we need our system to work more than this one.”
But last month the 35-year-old was returned to that very country, thanks to none other than Alan Johnson, home secretary and prize hypocrite – according to Labour activists in his constituency (where one has given up his lifelong Labour party membership in protest.)

From a piece in the current 'Private Eye' (1249) which can be read, along with additional information, here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Larry Gambone has published a collection of aphorisms that, he writes, are the result of his 64 years on this planet. Here's a few, just as a taster -

The word economics is a synonym for ideology.

The commandment says, “Thou shalt not kill.” It does not say “Thou shalt not kill except when some sleazy politician or greedy corporation boss says its OK to kill.

Everyone has heard of Beethoven. Who has heard of his critics?

If you think everything in government, the media and the economy is a racket, you will be correct in most cases.

( Note: "First Nations", the term Larry uses on occasion, is the name Canadians now use for their country's original inhabitants.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Survey in Le Monde
Did the French deserve their place in the World Cup competition?
Yes, 11.5%
No, 88.5%

My curse on you, Titi, you've given the English hacks the chance to whine on and on about the Hand of God. Talk about Victim Culture ...
We (the missus and me) got a letter this morning asking us what kind of country we want to live in. It came from Mr. Nick Clegg, a member of Her Majesty's secret, and unelected, government, the Privy Council.
Now I always assume that the role of a Privy Councillor is to maintain the status quo and defend it by any means necessary, so I expect nothing to my advantage form that direction.
Mr. Clegg always reminds me of a PR type, or someone out of an advertising agency, skilled in peddling detergent to the unwashed masses. So knowing nothing of his form I looked him up on wikipedia; he's not an adman after all.

"Nick Clegg was born in Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire in 1967, the third of four children. His half-Russian father, Nicholas, was a banker, and is a trustee (and former chairman) of The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation. His great-great-grandfather, the Russian nobleman Ignaty Zakrevsky, was Attorney General of Senate in Imperial Russia. His great-great aunt was the writer Baroness Moura Budberg."

"Clegg was educated at Caldicott in South Buckinghamshire, then Westminster School in London ..."

"In 2008 it was reported that while at university, Clegg had joined the Cambridge University Conservative Association between 1986 and 1987, with contemporary membership records citing an "N Clegg" of Robinson College. (At the time, Clegg was the only person of that name at Robinson.) However, Clegg himself later maintained he had 'no recollection of that whatsoever'." [The ubiquitous politian's amnesia]

A leaflet accompanying the Clegg communiqué shows a soldier in combat gear with the line "They are putting their lives on the line for us". No they're not Cleggie, they are fighting for the American Empire. So you think that by lying to us you'll garner votes - nothing changes at Westminster.

I wasn't crazy about Charlie Kennedy, a bit of a mountebank, but at least he wasn't a product of the Blair Academy for Lying Bastards. He had to go because he led his party in opposition to the Iraq misadventure. As you were - he had to go because he was overfond of the booze. Funny, so was Thatcher, so was Churchill; how come they didn't get the heave-ho? I think I'll stick to the Iraq line.
Thank you, Daisy McAndrew, you treacherous cow. Know any more drunken politicos? No? Old Chas must have been the only one.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This from Mick Hall's blog -
"East Enders ... is set in East London, an area which has tens of thousands of decent law abiding council and housing association tenants, yet not a single character portrayed in the show lives in a council or housing association property, they all either own their own home or rent from the private sector. (What worker could afford to buy a home in east London today?)
"This lack of reality is not a mere oversight, there has been a sea change in the BBC’s portrayal of working class people since East Enders first appeared on our screens, and today the show undoubtedly reflects this.
"When East Enders first hit the TV screens, out went the mockney middle class actors who portrayed working class people as stereotypes and spoke like Dick Van Dyke in the movie Mary Poppin’s. The producers of East Enders searched out actors who came from a working class background. Not anymore, if you look at any of the characters who have come into the programe in recent years they are almost exclusively played by middle class actors, this is especially true of the children. Market trader and fly by the seat of his pants businessman, Ian Beal’s, has kids who all speak as if they went to an English public school or County grammar, despite in the programe supposedly attending the local comp. The same is true of the Asian family in the programe, even the villains are now played by middle class actors.
"These days, the only time council tenants are portrayed on TV is as victims or villians, living on sink estates, surrounded by joy riders, lumpen drug dealers, violent hoodies, benefit fraudsters, and various other forms of supposed low life."
STS Bulletin no. 21

"If I become Prime Minister Israel will have a friend who will never turn his back on Israel" (David Cameron)
"Keep the money rolling in and we won't mention the war crimes."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

' ... what, after all, is "civilisation" but the superstitions that make you comfortable?' Todd McEwen, reviewing Wu Ming's "Manituana" in the Guardian.
Christopher Tayler interviews the Wu Ming crew in the same paper.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Surely a grovelling apology is called for. The Sun, making hay over the Janes/James ricket made by Gordon Brown, referred to the dead soldier's mother as "Jacqui Jones".
They've since changed the spelling on their website, but the original was already taken hostage and preserved as evidence of the Sun's inability to give a shit about the people it claims to speak for.
Still I suppose that, as the woman has sold her soul to Murdoch's mudslingers, she'll find it in her heart to forgive them. She'd better, or she'll get the treatment.

I learned of this gaffe from a comment by Matthew Stiles on Obsolete's blog.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Brown warns Karzai, plus analogies, from Craig Murray -

Brown Calls on Karzai to End Corruption
Brown calls on Taliban to join Methodist Conference
Brown calls on Mugabe to retire
Brown calls on Winehouse to join Temperance League
Brown calls on bears to use inside toilets
A super-rich rogue trader by the name of Lloyd Blankfine claims that he and his firm, Goldman Sachs, are doing God's work. This probably means that he believes himself to be the deity.
This joker's name and his calling on God for back-up make it clear that he's a septic tank. Had he been British he'd have said something like, "I'm rich, up yours!" Less hypocritical but equally obnoxious.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Today was a first for me. I walked the streets carrying an umbrella. I didn't change sex and I didn't start pronouncing my aitches. Still I probably won't repeat the experience, as I got pissing wet through anyway. It was a cheap effort from a pound shop.
Some of these cultural hangovers seem quite comical nowadays, even to me, reluctant as I am to discard them. When I was growing up only women and middle class males carried and used umbrellas. The same with drinking out of half-pint glasses. Men drank pints, men got soaked (outside and in, as they used to say).
I'd call it negative machismo - not trying to look like the cock of the walk, but just avoiding suspicious glances and deprecating remarks from peers.

By the way, that word 'machismo' - I consider it a middle class marker when somebody pronounces it 'm'kizmo'. How daft that sounds.

By the way, no.2; walking round town I counted eight poppy wearers out of hundreds. Only one of these looked under sixty.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Poppy Fascism
I learned this phrase yesterday reading Obsolete's blog. It appears that it was coined by Jon Snow back in 2006 when he refused to wear a poppy onscreen. Fair play to him.
I've chafed before about this business of everybody and their dog having to wear a poppy when appearing before television cameras in a studio. It's so false that it amounts to hypocrisy. It's obvious that they are handed out to people as the microphones are being fitted, and it's a knocking bet that the poppies are provided free of charge by the Haig Mob, as a promotional device.
At the moment it seems that charities purportedly supporting 'our boys' are springing up daily. Why? Isn't the Haig Fund doing the job it was set up to do (I don't mean keeping the Haig family in clover)?
As I walked around the town today and yesterday I checked for people wearing poppies - I reckon less than five percent. Still, early days.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Another petition, this one to register opposition to the war criminal Blair being appointed president of the EU -

Monday, October 26, 2009

A petition for those who believe in the effectiveness of petitions. To Brown, PM, on Gaza -

Friday, October 23, 2009

"Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell."
Edward Abbey.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

So the Crozier gang have got their way and forced the postal workers to walk out. Our spewsome Prime Minister and His Eminence Cardinal Mandarin have backed the fat cats, but Cameron thinks they're wimps because they haven't sent in the SAS.
Desperate dolies who have abandoned all self-respect are queuing up to scab, according to the (not very credible) Post Office management mouthpieces.The first casualty of war is the truth, as the old saying goes, and that goes for the class war. Are we being prepared for rerun of the Thatcher-Miners confrontation? Certainly Crozier has set his stall out to de-unionise his fiefdom and assume command of a cheap, short-term contract workforce. If it works he'll award himself a massive bonus. If it doesn't he'll take the golden handshake and move on to ruin some other business.

From the 'Private Eye's, Number Crunching feature -
3 Hundred and forty-six pounds was the average wage of a postman last year
3 Hundred and twenty-one million pounds was the profit of Royal Mail last year
3 Million pounds was the pay packet of chief executive Adam Crozier last year, including two bonuses

Mick Hall has more to say on this subject on his blog.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The journalist Sunny Hurndal has offered a list of twenty questions people might want to ask the one-eyed fuehrer on Thursday's 'Question Time' (BBC1). I'm particularly interested in hearing the following two questions asked and answered, or ducked.
Concentration on the BNP's racism tends to divert the spotlight from other policies which the party would prefer not to have to explain, though some of the mouthier members stray from the script occasionally. Their attitude towards the disabled and the chronically ill, the "unproductive", should be better known. With a little luck and a non-intervening chair we might learn something.
7. Does Griffin agree with the senior member of the BNP who is on record as stating that he supports forced euthanasia of people with disabilities and others deemed to be "a waste of time, money and resources", including the very old and (especially) newborn babies?

20. How will a BNP government ensure the safety and welfare of Britain's disabled, considering that a senior member of the BNP (Jeffrey Marshall) has been on record as stating that "We live in a country today which is unhealthily dominated by an excess of sentimentality towards the weak and unproductive. No good will come of it", in response to the death of David Cameron's baby in spring 2009?

Monday, October 19, 2009

The current issue of 'Private Eye' carries a letter from a member of the British Nazis, which includes the following -

"In 2005 the BNP were asked to send two members to the recording of Question Time to be part of the audience with the implication that they would be heard and allowed to ask questions."

The two members who attended were called on to contribute, and did so, identifying their affiliation. The correspondent continues -

"Certainly not the same as being on the panel, but the 'No Platform for the BNP' policy has been a dead-duck for many years now."

One is led to wonder if the policy ever existed at the BBC.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Browsing in Hull's sole remaining record store* this morning I came across a CD entitled "Gob Iron" (or perhaps "Gob-Iron, memory fails). It was a collection of blues harmonica recordings. I was surprised, I thought that this expression was peculiar to Hull. Clearly not. I like 'tin sandwich' but preferred what I thought was local slang. I must do some checking.

*No name, no publicity. It's one of those chain outfits that change their name every so often, but never get any better. I don't like patronising it, but the other options are second-hand 'specialist' shops that overcharge.
"It's a story from the dark political underbelly that makes you question the entire setup, rethink humanity, and lean out your window and scream: what the hell is wrong with these people? Who are they, really? Why do we give them power?
"You read that right. It's a can't-sue-us-if-you're-raped clause. In a U.S. government contract. Aimed squarely at Halliburton. Thanks, Dick Cheney!
"The most repellant part is the 30 U.S. senators -- Republicans each and every one -- who just stepped forth to vote against the Franken amendment, essentially saying no, women should have no right to sue if they are sexually abused or gang raped, Halliburton and its ilk must be protected at all costs, and by the way we hereby welcome Satan into our rancid souls forevermore. God bless America."
(Via Angry Arab)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

More on Kamiński's pro-semitism at Tony Greenstein's Blog.
"Though Blair spends only a week a month in the Middle East, he has managed to keep busy. He maintains a grueling, globe-trotting schedule of lectures, for which he receives up to $500,000. On top of this, he has been at work on his memoirs, for which he received a $7.3 million advance. Consulting work brought him $3.2 million (including a bonus) from J. P. Morgan Chase and $800,000 from Zurich Financial Services. By October 2008, he had amassed at least $19 million, far outdistancing even the enterprising Bill Clinton. He is thought to be the highest paid public speaker in the world."

There's more, there's worse. The war criminal dismisses the war crimes of others.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Catching up.
Racism on the BBC - so what's new? As Bruce Forsyth put it: "We used to poke dogshit through Pakis' letterboxes. People had a sense of humour in those days." I may not have got the quote exactly right but I think I've got the gist of it. Marina Hyde called it "Play Your Race Cards Right".
I'm grateful to Ms. Vanessa Feltz (there's a first time for everything) for the information that Anton Du Beke is really called Tony Beak.
So Beaky was just being humorous and not edgy like Moyles and Clarkson, the darlings of the BBC.

Still the corporation's resident nasties had better look to their laurels. Their employer's love affair with the BNP is not losing its lustre.
Radio 1's "Newsbeat" recently featured an interview with "two young guys who are members of the BNP", who have since been outed as leading members and office holders.
A spokesman for the Neo-Nazi party later commented, "We were surprised not to have faced more difficult questioning but Radio 1 is not a heavy-duty political organ like Radio 4." A lot of listeners were also surprised at the easy ride the racists got. The Mail on Sunday was outraged too, and identified the "young guys". Needless to say the Mail's readership were not so upset. They were generally in favour of the broadcast.

The British establishment's cosying up to the extreme right is further exemplified by the Conservative Party in Europe placing itself under the command of an ex-Nazi named Michał Kamiński. The party denies that this fellow is a racist, and anti-semite, and rationalises his homophobia as something he shares with many Polish Catholics (well that's OK then).
Unfortunately, while they are denying he said certain things he himself is confirming them to the press. So are the Tories lying, or have they been duped by this Kamiński? Clarification needed.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

My missus is out walking the dog this morning, and, passing one of those big commercial wheelie bins, she sees it start to move. She moves on quickly and looks back. A bloke climbs out covered in all kinds of detritus, shakes off some of the gunk and says, "Good morning, love." Missus responds in kind and listens while he complains of the lack of fruit among the bin's contents, then witnesses something really strange.
The bloke is staring up at a nearby roof for a while, then he shouts, "Come on, lads!" Three pigeons fly down from the roof and land at his feet. The bloke strolls off down the street and the three pigeons walk along behind him.

A disturbing coincidence -
I'm reading through the teletext news this morning, and there's a piece about a bloke sleeping in such a bin in Nottingham (I think it was). The binmen turn up, tip the bin into their vehicle, dosser still in, and the poor fellow's crushed to death.
According to the missus, our pigeon-fancier had been dossing in the bin, not just dumpster diving.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

On Saturday the Telegraph published an article, by Damien McElroy and Ahmad Vahdat, claiming that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran was of Jewish ancestry; that his original family name was Sabourjian "a well known Jewish name in Iran".
It turns out that this story is a fabrication, one that may have originated among Ahmadinejad's enemies in Iran. The Telegraph's source for this non-story was an unnnamed "expert on Iranian Jewry". This individual appears to have been an expert on Telegraph journalists, knowing that they wouldn't bother to check that the information given was credible.
Anyone with a knowledge of the Farsi language and of Iranian nomenclature would have dismissed the explanation of the surname out of hand. But who'd want to spoil a good yarn with the boring facts? Not the people at the Telegraph, not even Ahmad Vahdat. Hang on a minute! Isn't that an Iranian name? Presumably the name does not guarantee a knowledge of Farsi, but I'm beginning to wonder if it could belong to our "London-based expert on Iranian Jewry".
Since the article was published this falsehood has been disseminated across the internet, with Ahminejad haters crowing about his Jewish identity. It's strikes me as anti-semitic that one would want someone one hates to be Jewish.
Since the story was exposed as a phoney the Telegraph has made no attempt to correct its error. No need, it's only Ahmadinejad.

After reading the story, and reflecting on a recent Telegraph column in which birth statistics were misinterpreted to show that immigrants are breeding at a disproportionate rate, I googled the words 'Telegraph' and 'downmarket'. This is what I found -

"They've tried turning it into the Mail, now the Telegraph is going downmarket instead. Former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie was offered a lucrative contract to write for the comment pages. Sadly, he has refused as he's still tied to The Sun, where he writes a column. Next on Will Lewis's shopping list is MacKenzie's mate and former Sun colleague Nick Ferrari, who happily said yes and penned his first piece last week. Ferrari is perhaps best known for inventing topless darts."
(from the Independent)

The Telegraph, though right-wing, used to stick to the facts in its reporting, and was read by people who didn't agree with its politics. I wonder if this is still the case.

Caution: on rereading the offending article I see that the quoted expert/charlatan is described as Jewish. It strikes me as unlikely that an Iranian Jew would be called Ahmad, so perhaps Mr. Vahdat is not the 'expert'. On the other hand, if 'Jewish' was a false description it would fit neatly with the rest of the article.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I love it!
This one's by Alan Lowe; there are 16 more, some belters (Fergie watch, Fergie time).

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Gore Vidal interviewed by someone called Tim Teeman. My day is made.
Some quotes -
"One thing I have hated all my life are LIARS and I live in a nation of them."

"Obama would have been better off focusing on educating the American people. His problem is being over-educated. He doesn’t realise how dim-witted and ignorant his audience is. Benjamin Franklin said that the system would fail because of the corruption of the people and that happened under Bush."

[On Edmund White] "He’s a filthy, low writer. He likes to attack his betters, which means he has a big field to go after."

"Does anyone care what Americans think? They’re the worst-educated people in the First World. They don’t have any thoughts, they have emotional responses, which good advertisers know how to provoke."

[On Katherine Hepburn] "She had Parkinson’s. She shook like a leper in the wind."
Ms. Hepburn had the temerity to criticise his screenplay of 'Suddenly Last Summer'.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Straw to join BNP's Nick Griffin in Question Time debate
(Guardian headline)
I wonder if they'll find anything to disagree about.

'Straw said the BNP were defeated when Labour "fought them hard".' (same article)
and when was that?
They were defeated when anti-fascists took them on, not when politicians said "Both sides are the same."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

News report this morning; pre-nuptial agreements are on the increase. Or pre-nuptual, as one reporter insisted on calling them.
I suppose this means we'll be hearing more of that example of American Moronspeak, 'pre-nup'. It saves learning to spell I suppose, and mispronouncing the whole word. We can add it to celeb, limo, deli, physio, etc. But the one that really sets my teeth on edge can't be pinned on the Yanks - 'spag bol', a definite middle class marker.
So, "Swearing at the Telly"; that's working class in origin, honest! Universal now, of course. I also accept ID for identity, but only with 'card'. That's an old army expression, and so passes muster. ID for 'identification', even for 'identify'; that's a Yankee cop-show cliché, so thumbs down.
Sandi Toksvig on today's 'News Quiz', "I've got déja vu and amnesia. I keep thinking I'm sure I've forgotten that once before."

Me too.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I'm assuming that 'Banana Guy' is the bloke who claims that the shape of the banana is proof of intelligent design. If that is so surely all the other non-banana shaped fruits are proof that the deity kept getting it wrong, which contradicts my school catechism's assertion that God is "infinite in all perfections".

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said yesterday: "This is dismal news indeed. Why Britain should seek to laud such a nasty extremist is beyond me.
"We should not forget that his 'teachings' have resulted in the banning of condoms in countries where HIV is decimating the populations.
"He encourages population growth in places where starvation is common. He persecutes homosexuals, treats women as second-class citizens, has colluded in the large-scale cover-up of child abuse and his church interferes illegitimately in politics and undermines democracy.
"It siphons huge amounts of money out of poverty-stricken economies - what is there to celebrate about such a bigot?
"We will be joining other groups in protesting against the celebration of this ghastly man's presence here."
Amen, Brother.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

So farewell then, Irving Kristol
you lied
and lied
and lied.
Then you died.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I've just learned of the existence of a religion called Dudeism, promulgated by the Church of the Latter Day Dude. I'm an ardent fan of "The Big Lebowski", and can empathise with the Dude's weltanschauung, but I think I'll remain agnostic, for the time being anyway.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The BBC again.
WHO ARE THEY? The people who bought the Vera Lynn record and made it a number one hit. I'm 71 years old and I'm too young to remember Ms. Lynn in her heyday. Though she still featured on the radio in the days of my gilded youth, and sold records, she was to me and my coevals a relic of a bygone age. So who are these massed ranks of record buyers? When did they last buy a Vera Lynn record?
Are they the same people who were buying up Beatles records at some or other recent anniversary? Are they the same discriminating samplers of culture who hoovered up the Michael Jackson oeuvre after he slipped off the hook?

I bet they are.
And then there are the book sales. Apparently the biggest selling author in the country is Ms Katie Price, or the person who writes her books for her. Someone else provides plot and text and she provides her name. Who buys them? After buying do they read them? Or is it enough to possess the artefact, like people who never pray, don't believe in much, but have religious images about their living space?
Come to think of it, have the people who bought the Vera Lynn records listened to them?
"I say to those who reproach me: Do you know how many broken homes that shoe that I threw had entered because of the occupation? How many times it had trodden over the blood of innocent victims? And how many times it had entered homes in which free Iraqi women and their sanctity had been violated? Maybe that shoe was the appropriate response when all values were violated."
Muntazar az-Zaydi

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I've noticed that Roy Keane has started to smile occasionally at press conferences and interviews. He should discontinue this practice at once, it is disturbing, not at all natural. I'm reminded of Daniel O'Connell's description of the smile of Sir Robert "Orange" Peel, "like a silver plate on a coffin".

Sunday, September 13, 2009

... in the Faroes. I can't hold it back - BASTARDS!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"This rewriting of history is spreading Europe's poison." Seumas Milne

Another step towards the rehabilitation of Hitler; the right really has the bit between its teeth these days.
The Soviet Union entered the war only after being invaded in June 1941. The United States entered the war only after being attacked in December 1941. Bad Soviets, Good Americans - do I detect a modicum of hypocrisy in this stance?

"The real meaning of the attempt to equate Nazi genocide with Soviet repression is clearest in the Baltic republics, where collaboration with SS death squads and direct participation in the mass murder of Jews was at its most extreme, and politicians are at pains to turn perpetrators into victims."
Ah! So these are the people whose corner Professor Niall Ferguson is fighting.
And what can Mr. Milne mean by "the ostensibly more liberal Orlando Figes".

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

David Cameron pronounces on the SS Quangocrat -
"Recently the NHS brought a yacht and moored it in a Hull marina," he said, adding he thought it was a "completely crazy decision".
"If this extravagance had been published for all to see, the people who made this decision would either have had to justify it or scrap it."

Three points:
NHS Hull, not the NHS, bought the yacht.
The extravagance WAS published for all to see. The people of Hull protested vociferously. Nothing was done.
NHS Hull is a quango, and not answerable to us as voters, as taxpayers, or as the people they probably call "customers".

NHS quangos were set up by Thatcher as a step towards the privatisation of the health service. Cameron has declared his commitment to the National Health Service - don't they all? Any politician who was a genuine supporter of the NHS would set on record the intention to return the NHS to public accountability. Cameron won't do this, nor will Brown, or any of the others who fancy their chances as next leader of the Labour (sic) Party. The NHS is not safe in the hands of any politician or party.

Meanwhile Dave - does he still prefer the familiar form, or was that a passing phase? - has accepted a £1 million donation to his party from a certain David Rowland, UK citizen, non-UK taxpayer, non-UK resident (officially). This patriot is worried about "the economic future of Britain", or to put it another way, the possibility of "non-domiciles" having to pay UK tax. I think he has ensured that they won't under a Cameron-led government.

Monday, September 07, 2009

"The BNP's core support is derived from people who think the entire nation is under the control of a vast conspiracy against the honest people of Britain."
Sunny Hurndal

Well I believe that, but I don't support the BNP. I would perhaps exchange the word "vast" for "powerful". Capitalists conspire to exploit the working class.

"But the BBC is giving space to an organisation that itself is anti-democratic, authoritarian and averse to our liberal democratic traditions. It seeks to destroy the very basis of the nation it claims it's trying to protect. Why shouldn't it be treated with less support and respect than the other political parties?"

No surprise there then. I take it that "It seeks to destroy the very basis of the nation it claims it's trying to protect" refers to the BNP and not the BBC, though in my opinion it needn't. I've said it before, whenever the British Nazi movement is raising its profile the BBC is on hand to provide some free publicity.
I'm pleased to note that the Chevalier Wogan is allowing his wig to grow old gracefully. It is gradually turning grey.
The English knight has announced his retirement from the BBC2 morning job. I dread it when these giants of self-promotion "retire". I know that, like Slimy Parky and pompous old Trevor McDo, they are going to appear everywhere - in adverts, in newspaper columns, in bookstores and in one-off TV specials. At least pre-retirement they are corralled somewhere where we can avoid them. Once they are returned to the wild they can prey upon us at will.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Samuel Johnson referred, disparagingly, to this in his dictionary definition for oats: "A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people." His biographer, James Boswell, noted that Lord Elibank was said by Sir Walter Scott to have retorted, "Yes, and where else will you see such horses and such men?"

Tomorrow is the 300th anniversary of the birth of Samuel Johnson, a man who, by his own account, stank. The above quotation is lifted from wikipedia. Johnson's crack about oats and the Scots is often quoted; the noble lord's retort tends to be ignored, as it takes the shine off Johnson's putdown. Several remarks by Johnson antipathetic to the Scots are on record.
One might reply to Elibank's query with the single word "Ireland". After all, that nation's bloodstock is the most highly rated, and it has furnished more canon fodder for empire builders than even the Scots. But leave that aside, and savour a remark that deflates prejudice, albeit witty, with further wit. It has to be stated in Johnson's favour that he confessed that he always quitted Elibank's company a wiser man.
Johnson's stupid claim that the Highland Gaels had no real language, but communicated by means of a series of grunts, rather places his much vaunted erudition in perspective. That particular example of his ignorance served him in good stead when he challenged James MacPherson to produce the original copy of his Ossian "translations". Johnson was right, there was no original, the "translations" were MacPherson's own work. But his challenge was based on his own ignorance. He believed that no book had ever been written in the Gaelic language.
The Scottish Gaeltacht* held plenty of manuscripts, produced by learned families, though few were in bound book form. However such books did exist, so it was only a matter of luck that Johnson was able to succeed with his challenge based on a misconception.

Of the two frauds my preference is for "Ossian" MacPherson over the smelly doctor.

*Or "Gaidhealtachd"

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

15 Horrifying Reasons to Never Let Anyone You Love Near a McDonald's

Monday, August 31, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

I watched the programme "Benefit Busters" last night, mainly for a little local colour as it was set in Hull, but also on the lookout for a dollop of middle class piss-taking. There was some of the former, but little if any of the latter. Still I always feel uncomfortable watching the poor being patronised and exploited for the entertainment of a voyeuristic section of the population.
This was a little better than the usual reality crap. Nobody cried for a start, though there was plenty of despair about. What we got was a useful insight into the racket that is "Back to Work", or whatever it's called. Clearly what we were shown was a means of syphoning off and pocketing large amounts of public money with little accountability on display.
The programme concentrated on three jobseekers. One had no intention of taking the agency jobs he was being offered because he'd been stung before. He preferred to stay on a guaranteed pittance, rather than accept a slightly larger here-today-gone-tomorrow pittance. By the end of the show he was seen to have the correct attitude necessary to survive the system. A second jobseeker, ex-army, took a job he thought was right and was dumped back out on the street a month later, and waited three weeks to have his benefits restored. The third, a young girl full of enthusiasm, willingness and optimism, obtained a job that lasted three weeks. For both of these last two the service provider, A4e would have received a big bonus, with a guarantee that they'd be back to go through the wringer in the near future.
The whole thing stank to high heaven.

Hull's Liberal Democrat council has recently withdrawn financial support from the local Citizen's Advice Bureau forcing it to cease operating. It is to be replaced by this same A4e, so expert at milking the system. This decision will have been justified, no doubt, by the need to cut costs. It will end up, as all these privatisation fiascos end up, by costing us at damned sight more.

'On the 28th June 2009, The Guardian disclosed information regarding to a fraud investigation into A4E which was instigated after the Department for Work & Pensions uncovered discrepencies in its "confirmation of employment" forms - discrepencies which centred upon the falsifaction of employer's signatures by a number of recruiters. Further to this, as the largest New Deal scheme provider, A4E has a turnover of over £145 million and yet has only helped 19,725 people back to work (a figure which is almost impossible to qualify as the success of the applicant in actually keeping the job is not disclosed). Alongside the widespread corruption which has recently been uncovered in various recruitment companies, these statistics have called into question the actual necessity of spending tax payer's money on these schemes as their vast and lucrative turnovers as private businesses are in direct opposition to their limited public service. Regardless of the evident fraud of A4E the DWP currently have no plans of stopping Flexible New Deal contracts being awarded to the company in 2009.'

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Jack Straw today became the first British minister to raise questions about the handling of the release of the Lockerbie bomber." (Today's Guardian)
The coward who freed the wanted mass murderer Pinochet should be the last person in Britain to question the decision of Kenny MacAskill, a decision that no Labour minister would have had the courage to make.
"... young Palestinian men started to disappear from villages in the West Bank and Gaza. After five days Israeli soldiers would bring them back dead, with their bodies ripped open.
Talk of the bodies terrified the population of the occupied territories. There were rumors of a dramatic increase of young men disappearing, with ensuing nightly funerals of autopsied bodies.
I was in the area at the time, working on a book. On several occasions I was approached by UN staff concerned about the developments. The persons contacting me said that organ theft definitely occurred but that they were prevented from doing anything about it."
(Donald Boström)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

At the athletics world championships Ukrainian competitors wore the national name in English but with the letter N reversed, thus - Ukraiиe. Incredible! This is the cultural cringe made official. Not only in a foreign language, but with that comic spelling beloved of anglophone media types. They didn't quite get it right though; it should have been Ukяaiиe. Maybe for the London Olympics the Ukrainian male athletes will wear cossack hats and fake handlebar moustaches.
I have this nightmare that in the near future every human being will be communicating in English. It will have to be a debased sort of pidgin English with a limited vocabulary - something like we used to hear in North Africa: "You buy Johnny?" "Jig-jig Johnny?". Though there there was a trade-off, as we incorporated some of the host nation's language into our speech; "Mafeesh floos, mucker." "Shoofti bint!"
It is estimated that by the end of this century between half and three-quarters of the world's 6,000 or so languages will have disappeared. And what will replace them? From our present standpoint it looks like English, bad English. Not only will many of the world's peoples lose their mother tongues, but we will lose ours, insofar as it will become some bastardised lingua franca, or perhaps that should be lingua hollywoodiana.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"Show me a rich person and I'll show you an arse I want to lick clean" Says Tom Harris MP (Labour). "I want to take money from poor people and give it to rich people" He continues.
Not exactly in those words, you understand, he is a politician after all, and a piece of shit to boot.
Megrahi is going home to die and the Yanks are doing their pieces. Let's hope that wiser heads prevail and the drones are not heading for Edinburgh. All praise to the Scottish executive for not caving in to the bullies. Gordon Brownpants has distanced himself from the decision - of course.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

STS Bulletin, no.20

"He died doing the job he loved."
"Don't blame us, we didn't force him to sign on."
Right, time for a clear-out.
The British Army in Afghanistan is not defending the British people.
It is not even defending or advancing British interests overseas.
It is acting as an instrument of United States foreign policy.
British servicemen (I'm not aware of any female casualties) are dying for no good reason.
All British media eyes are on the coming Afghan elections, trying to reinforce the idea that the British presence is about the promotion of democracy. Unfortunately the reporters in situ, faced with a rat's nest, are failing to support this interpretation, hard as they try.
Public opinion in the UK, never convinced of the necessity of the Afghan adventure, is begin to turn against it more vocally. The attempt to rally support for "our boys" by making a public spectacle of the returning dead (but not the crippled and the maimed)will backfire as the body count rises. This was the lesson of the Vietnam war, and the reason why flag-draped coffins have been banished from US television screens.

Our Prime Minister was reported as saying that Afghanistan was the source of all British terror attacks and that's why we must "stay the course". A few months ago Pakistan was getting the blame for our home-grown terrorists*. I'm reminded of the bombing of Tripoli, carried out because the Reagan government had conclusive proof that Libya was behind the LaBelle disco bombing. Then a year later they had conclusive proof that Syria was behind the same bombing. Still, never mind.
So, are the spooks who have traced all our troubles back to Afghanistan the same people who gave us the weapons of mass destruction, the forty-five minute warning, the Walthamstow** terrorist cell, the ricin plot - or should that be the non-ricin non-plot?

*Neo-nazi bombers are not recognised as terrorists, they're just incompetent nutters. In some cases (cf. the Soho bomber) they're not even nazis, just loners with no connection to any organisation.

** I meant to write Forest Gate terrorist cell - but I don't think I'll bother to change it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Or maybe he'll die in prison. Everyone who doesn't automatically believe government spin knows that Megrahi and his fellow patsy were not involved in the Lockerbie bombing. Qadhafi was the "enemy of the month" (per Gore Vidal) at the time, and the CIA had the task of fitting Libya in the frame. Faked evidence and perjured testimony were duly produced, and the Valetta 2 were weighed off.
Fhimah was later released, it being concluded that he may have suffered a miscarriage of justice. (No kidding?)

A few pertinent phrases:
Iran Air Flight 655; trigger-happy Yanks; 290 dead Iranians; Ayatollah Khomeini; revenge; PFLP-GC for hire; Khaled Jafar, DEA asset; Ronald Reagan (There he goes again!).
From an interview with Lauren Laverne in yesterday's Guardian -
"... we're not allowed to talk about politics at the BBC."
Interviewer: "Are you a feminist?"
"Yes, of course."
I see, the politics of gender pass. Ms. Laverne must mean the politics of class.

From today's Guardian -
"Michael Crick, the political editor of Newsnight, has attacked the BBC for being 'barmy' and having 'utter contempt' for its viewers in its pursuit of younger audiences."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The sadistic paedophile who tortured and murdered a two-year old boy was a collector of nazi memorabilia. His equally evil and equally guilty brother was a member of the National Front.
It all makes sense. It is a basic tenet of nazism that the strong have every right to exploit the weak, which is bound to attract adults who wish to exploit and abuse vulnerable children. The NF was also an attraction for those who enjoyed being part of a pack that would attack and harm vulnerable individuals. Any target would do, but ethnic minorities can expect less sympathy and a weaker reaction, which is a bonus.
The BNP in its quest for respectability has tried to purge itself of such elements but it can never succeed completely. The stormtrooper element will keep surfacing and spoiling the image. A party that labels minorities the enemy, a threat, should not be surprised when its adherents go on the offensive against the perceived enemy. Nor should the dupes who vote for the hate party be allowed to forget the encouragement they gave it.
Not Very Serious About Fraud
The Serious Fraud Office will not prosecute the Phoenix Four looters. Now there's a turn up. What does 'Private Eye' call the SFO - Serious Farce Office?
I've referred before to a feature on my local BBC radio station called something like 'Mad World'. This involves in the main the undermining of health and safety legislation by ridicule. 'Political correctness gone mad' is another target.
This morning we were informed that royal protocol no longer requires people to leave the monarch's presence walking backwards, "for health and safety reasons". Someone might stumble and injure themselves, leading to a claim for compensation against the palace.
The mad world for the programme presenter is one in which health and safety considerations outweigh protocol. A world in which people are made to walk backwards for fear of offending an individual is quite sane.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Some favourite film quotes,
Starting with one that has featured on these pages before -

"Sitting Bull says history is nothing more than disrespect for the dead."
(Will Sampson in "Buffalo Bill and the Indians")

"Married? Of course I'm married. Am I not a man? Am I not a fool like all men?"
(Tony Quinn in "Zorba the Greek")

"It's a funny old world. A man's lucky if he gets out of it alive."
(W.C.Fields in "I'll Say She Does")

"I'm 56 years old, I can't blame anybody for anything I do."
(Robert Forster in "Jackie Brown")

"Your revolution's over Mr. Lebowski. Commiserations, the bums lost."
(David Huddleston in, and as, "The Big Lebowski".
In truth the whole screenplay of The Big L. is quotable, in spite of a ludicrous amount of foul language. It is shakespearian in its quotability.)

"I talked to a couple of yes-men at Paramount. To me they said no."
(William Holden in "Sunset Boulevard"; the authentic voice of Billy Wilder.)

"Monsieur le Professeur, je vous dis MERDE!"
(One of the kids in "Zéro de Conduite")
Earlier in the year Chiquita Brands International Inc. (formerly United Fruit) and Dole Food Co had severely criticized Zelaya for advocating an increase of 60% in Honduras’s minimum wage, claiming that the policy would cut into corporate profits. They were joined by a coalition of textile manufacturers and exporters, companies that rely on cheap labor to work in their sweatshops.

Memories are short in the US, but not in Central America. I kept hearing people who claimed that it was a matter of record that Chiquita (United Fruit) and the CIA had toppled Guatemala’s democratically-elected president Jacobo Arbenz in 1954 and that International Telephone & Telegraph (ITT), Henry Kissinger, and the CIA had brought down Chile’s Salvador Allende in 1973. These people were certain that Haiti’s president Jean-Bertrand Aristide had been ousted by the CIA in 2004 because he proposed a minimum wage increase, like Zelaya’s.

I was told by a Panamanian bank vice president, “Every multinational knows that if Honduras raises its hourly rate, the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean will have to follow. Haiti and Honduras have always set the bottom line for minimum wages.


President Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder had been a Covington partner and a defender of Chiquita when the company was accused of hiring “assassination squads” in Colombia (Chiquita was found guilty, admitting that it had paid organizations listed by the US government as terrorist groups “for protection” and agreeing in 2004 to a $25 million fine).

(via Angry Arab's Comments Section

The Fruit Company, Inc.
reserved for itself the most succulent,
the central coast of my own land,
the delicate waist of America.
It rechristened its territories
as the 'Banana Republics'
and over the sleeping dead,
over the restless heroes
who brought about the greatness,
the liberty and the flags,
it established the comic opera
(Pablo Neruda)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

There's a photograph of David Bailey in today's Guardian. Same age as me, he looks at least ten years older. That picture made me feel quite cheerful about my appearance.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

"Police learn Tomlinson officer could face manslaughter charge" (Guardian headline)
Could Mr. Lewis - but do you honestly think he will?
"I still feel genuinely angry about what the rich did to this country under Thatcher and I'm disgusted by the attempt to rehabilitate the old bag. I was aghast when Tony Blair said he admired her and Brown invited her to tea."

Thus spake Robb Johnson in an interview in a FREE magazine I picked up in my local library. The magazine is called 'Properganda', and it's really a big advertisement for something called 'Proper Music'. Well perhaps a bit more than that, certainly this issue contained some interesting stuff. Robb Johnson, a folkie type singer with a sense of humour, is, in fact, plugging a CD box set of his stuff. Still, fair play; Robb J. once did a benefit gig for the IWW's London branch, so he's OK with me.
I looked at his website, noting the presence of a rake of free MP3 downloads -

Also in the magazine was an article about Topic Records which is 70 years old - Many Happy Returns, Topic. I first patronised the label in the early 1960s, Dominic Behan and Stan Kelly were my artists of choice. I didn't realise that the label had such a long and radical history. A name I recognised from the article was that of Bill Leader, who recorded one of my favourite albums, 'Bert and John' in his front room. Did that record come out on Topic? I can't remember. I've still got my old vinyl copy stowed away, but I'm not going to do myself a mischief trying to drag it and a load of other old LPs out of their resting place. I listen to Jansch and Renbourn, together and separate, on CD and on media player these days. I've never understood the vinyl fetish.
'Properganda' has a website -
worth a look.

Unlike Robb J. I was not surprised by Blair and Brown's cosying up to Lady Gaga, just nauseated.

Corrigenda, 5th August: the 'Bert and John' album was recorded by Bill Leader at Bert Jansch's flat, not Bill L's gaff. The album was released on the Transatlantic label.
The other night, listening to a radio programme about new film releases, I heard the presenter call the French actress (or actor) Audrey Tautou, "Audrey Tattoo". I have yet to hear a speaker on British radio or TV pronounce this lady's name correctly; it's always "Tattoo". Why? Are they too lazy to pronounce it correctly, or do they think it funny to mispronounce it?
On the other hand, calling the late Serge Gainsbourg "Surge Gainsborough" doesn't bother me at all. I could think up a lot of worse names to call that sleazy article. I assume I'm in a minority here, considering the reverence with which the old degenerate is treated by our cultural arbiters.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


Seen today in a local supermarket; a middle-class shopper running a tape over packets of naan bread to make sure he scored the biggest.
This was in a formerly down-market store that is infested with greedy middle-class bargain hunters at the weekend. A few months ago most of them would have sneered at the mention of its name.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Is it a myth? The jury is still out. I named Cadell Evans as the overall winner - he finished 30th. I named Saxobank as the winning team - they came in third.
I didn't go on record, though, on another opinion; that neither Bradley Wiggins nor Mark Cavendish would make it to Paris. OOPS!
I no longer believe that what I say or write has any effect on any event - some of the time anyway.
This year's tour could have been a great disappointment for the British media; no doping scandals to rejoice over. But then British riders did spectacularly well, and the British media recognised the Tour de France as "the greatest bike race in the world". Without those successes it would have remained that French nonsense.

Friday, July 24, 2009


"Steven Gerrard cleared of Affray" (Guardian headline)
Who could have predicted that? Oh yes, everybody.

Drunken thug walks free after assault.
Millionaire leaves court without a stain on his character.

What a difference a few million quid can make.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Now that my younger son has returned my copy of "Bringing it All Back Home", by Ian Clayton, I can post a quote from it that I like -

"In 1974, Hull, once one of the giants of rugby league, were at a very low ebb near the bottom of the league. One mucky Wednesday night in mid-winter they were to play bottom club Huyton, the laughing stock of rugby league. Just seven hundred and twenty-one people turned up to watch. Some years later when Hull had reawoken from their slumber and were back at the top of the league, an entrepreneurial bright spark had the idea of printing a t-shirt. A simple white shirt with a simple message on the front. 'I was one of the 721.' He sold fifteen thousand."

Ian C. tells this yarn in relation to a Sex Pistols gig in Huddersfield that "Every punk rocker in the north of England who was born between 1959 and 1963 will tell you that they were at ..."
The book is a sort of autobiography set to music, all kinds of music. In the words of Val Wilmer it's "a music-powered helter-skelter of living and learning, as perceptive as a Bob Dylan lyric and as earthy as a Bessie Smith blues."
Quite so.
All the fuss about helicopters; the Taliban have none and they're winning. Whenever an unpopular military adventure turns into a fiasco the military start to blame the politicians. The politicians deny that they are at fault, thereby implying that the military aren't up to the job.
I've mentioned before that in this country we have a tradition that the military keeps out of politics. Turkey, Indonesia, Argentina, El Salvador - they're the countries with politicised, overbemedalled, military buffoons.

Sir Jock Strap
Shut your trap!
Agyness Deyn.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Britain's foreign office minister, Ivan Lewis, told MPs: "Israel should freeze all settlement activity, including the natural growth of existing settlements, and dismantle all outposts erected since March 2001."
Britain's foreign minister? I've never heard of him. Why isn't he telling the Israelis that they should stop the land grab?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"I'm an arsehole, not a racist," declares Mark Cavendish.

Addendum: here's an English language version.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A few days ago I posted a piece about collusion between the Murdoch mob, the police, and the judiciary in covering up crimes committed by Murdoch minions and their associates. This has since disappeared. I thought at first I'd been got at, but then I remembered an unsuccessful attempt to link to an article by 'Obsolete' on the same subject, so I probably pressed a wrong key while faffing about.
Being a technomoron I'm having a fair amount of trouble these days. I've recently been getting messages that if I don't update the internet explorer software al-Qa'ida will get me, something along those lines. So dutifully I uploaded the new IE, then stared in wonder at row upon row of pictograms that covered half of my monitor screen. I clicked on one toolbar to hide it, and thereby lost all contact with my music library.
Being one who learns by his mistakes I immediately consigned the IE crap to technological limbo and resumed nomal service, minus music library, which I've since managed to recover.

This whole blogging business is a bit of a hit and miss affair for me. Anyone visiting this blog will note its spartan appearance, the minimalism of the bewildered. However visitors are not a problem if the statistics of Technorati are to be believed. I stand at number 1,648,968 in their Hit Parade. But demurs; they assign me to slot number 19,179,827, which seems more credible.
When I kicked off with this project I was going to call it "Talking to Myself", but I decided that someone had surely beaten me to that one. I decided on "Swearing at the Telly" because that's something I do, and this method of letting off steam is in the same vein. "You bloody liar!" I shout at one politician, "Mealy-mouthed bastard!" to another. "They can't hear you", Our Lass informs me, as if a hearing was the object of my abuse.
Now I can carry out the same cathartic exercise by keyboard and not even the Missus and the dog are inconvenienced. Except that, having discovered that swearing is overdone in the blogosphere, I am loath to let go with the strong language. Maybe I should change the name to "Gently Chiding the Telly".

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


"When we wiped out the bosses and stormed through the wall
Of the prison they told us would outlast us all"

Just thought I'd mention it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

"He died doing a job he loved." Oh well, nobody else to blame, everybody's happy.

Everybody knows that the western invaders of Afghanistan can't win. They can carry on killing Afghans and Pakistanis, killing their own soldiery, issuing bullshit progress reports, and recruiting more Taliban, until saner mentalities prevail. Then they will leave a ruined country to the same criminals who were running the show before the invasion.

"Well, I'm not going to point any moral;
I'll leave that for yourself
Maybe you're still walking, you're still talking
You'd like to keep your health.
But every time I read the papers
That old feeling comes on;
We're waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on."

Pete Seeger

Thursday, July 09, 2009

"Michael Jackson touched a lot of young people in a lot of different ways."
Craig Brown in "Private Eye", after Germaine Greer (or so he claims).

Librairie Résistances agressée from chris den hond on Vimeo.

Judeo-fascists on the offensive.
The organisation LDJ, members of which committed this crime, is banned in Israel and the United States, but is legal in "Douce France".
"In this war books are weapons." (F.D.Roosevelt, 1942)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Now and again, but not often, one has to accept that all politicians are not self-serving, immoral rodents -
A couple of the students had met Cynthia during her recent visits to Lebanon. When they learned that as a Congresswoman, she had introduced articles of impeachment against Bush, was a consistent anti-war voter during her twelve years in Congress, and that no member in Congress had achieved a more consistent, principled, voting record of issues of civil and human rights, including Palestinian rights, they really connected with the subject of the Freegaza aid boat, the Spirit of Humanity and her travails. “Those supporters of Palestine should not accept a false confession and should stay in Jail if necessary. They are patriots” was a commonly expressed sentiment.

More on immoral rodents - I emailed our Foreign Secretary about this, asking what he was doing to effect the liberation of the British hostages from the Israeli pirates. His minions didn't bother to reply on his behalf, but I can guess that the answer is nothing.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Tony Blair was sporting a black eye as he accepted an award earlier, after a "gym-related accident".

... to match his heart and his soul.
As pirates attacks become a serious hazard in shipping lanes, Israeli security academy offers special maritime protection class.
Israeli security abilities are well known across the world, and are now extending to international waters as well, with the graduation of the first course of ship security staff who will attempt to protect vessels from pirate attacks.
No kidding! This from the pirates who seized a vessel in international waters earlier this week, kidnapped and illegally detained 21 people, and stole their cargo of medical supplies and building materials.
As the French lady remarked "Quelle chutzpah!" Or, as I'd put it, "You're taking the piss, surely."
Manchester United* signing Michael Owen; phew, what a relief! Saves Phil Brown throwing money away on another crock like Bullard, paying big wages for them to spend time with their physiotherapist**.
I liked the comment by a United supporter in an email to Sky Sport; if Owen were one of Fergie's racehorses he'd have been shot long ago.

* Never "Man U" on these pages.
** Never "physio" on these pages.
Right, deep breath, no blinking, I'm going for Cadell Evans to be wearing the yellow jersey on the podium on the 26th July.
The die is cast; may God be good to him and keep him upright.

Not that I believe that any deity (which may or may not exist) would take an interest in the Tour and its participants, but it's the old pishrogues creeping back.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

OK, Le Tour, a quick review. I've already ruled out Contador and Armstrong (yaaawn!), also Sastre. I have to choose between Cadell Evans and Andy Schleck. I would plump for Schleck, but I read on the Saxobank website that both Andy and brother Frank are described as "polyvalent", which suggests that some farting about as per last year may be on the cards.
The betting is -

Contador evens
Armstrong 11/2
Schleck A. 6/1
Evans 15/2

I've settled for Saxobank to win the team competition. Astana is favourite but I can't see Contador and Armstrong collaborating productively.

I've never liked predicting winners in anything (superstition, pishrogues) but, on reflection I've decided to make a stand against my own benighted mental processes. After all I wouldn't dream of saying "I only have to name my choice and he's guaranteed to win". How does that differ from "I only have to name my choice and he's doomed"? I'm ascribing to myself some praeternatural power. So I have to purge myself of this arrogance once and for all.
If my chosen rider has a fall and breaks a collar-bone ... Oh Jesus! How will I live with myself. Look out Cadell, Andy, one of you is a marked man. Tomorrow I hand over the black spot.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Cartoon time.
The first is by Carlos Latuff
The second by someone whose name I can't read.

Addendum, 2nd July -
Iv'e been informed that the second cartoon is the work of Bagley, of the Salt Lake Tribune.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Did somebody die?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

James Stephens (1882-1950) -


Let the man who has and doesn't give
Break his neck and cease to live.
Let him who gives without a care
Gather rubies from the air.

or was it "Let he who ..."? Easy to memorise so I didn't write it down. Now my memory and my grasp of grammar fail me. Ná bac leis.

Friday, June 26, 2009

" ... it seemed like the Astana team could face its biggest goal of the season, the Tour de France, without distraction. But the team that takes the start in Monaco could be a badly fractured squad, riven with trust issues and power struggles that, under the pressure of the Tour, could explode."

So that's Contador out of the running, and forget about Armstrong. Nobody seems to fancy Carlos Sastre and his team. The search for the Yellow Jersey goes on.
So what's the agreement in the Lindsey sackings dispute? According to the Guardian -
Union sources say it includes a commitment that the 51 staff who were made redundant would now return to work at the site. The 647 construction workers who were fired by Total for walking out in support will also be reinstated.
"We understand that the contractors and the unions reached a deal last night," said a spokeswoman for Total, who were not represented at the talks. "We hope that the workers will be back on site as soon as possible, and that construction work will be completed on time."

TV news reports mentioned an agreement that workers at other sites sacked for coming out in solidarity will be reinstated. Those reports made no mention of the original 51 redundancy victims.
What I'm asking is, how can an agreement between the unions and contractors at Lindsay be binding on employers elsewhere? It can't, and presumably relies on the goodwill of those employers. There is no goodwill, but there might be a fear of provoking more walkouts.
Just as there is no genuine agreement over workers sacked elsewhere, there is no agreement with Total, who were not involved in the talks and who are the puppetmasters behind the contractors. Perhaps this what the trainborne loudmouth in Stuart Bruce's tweet meant when he said, "If we dress it up as the Jacobs solution, we'll be OK with that." They can ignore an agreement that doesn't involve them.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What are we to make of this, one half of a telephone conversation? Is it a wind-up?

"... on Tuesday, an official, presumably from the French oil company Total, sat on a commuter service from Leeds to King's Cross discussing what tactics should be deployed in the dispute triggered by job losses at the Lindsey oil refinery in Lincolnshire. Passenger Stuart Bruce was kind enough, via Twitter, to relay the whole thing to the world.

"If we sit down with the union, what shall we ask for?"

"How could they stop us going down that road? So why are we talking to them at all. We don't need them."

"We'll just tell them we'll shut down the whole project with the loss of however many jobs."

"If we dress it up as the Jacobs solution, we'll be OK with that ... We don't want to tell the press but in another week the project might not be there."

From the Guardian Diary.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I've hesitated long, but I have to post it; Jacques Prévert's "Barbara", just about my favourite poem. The translation here is Ferlinghetti's, which I'm not crazy about. So I put the original first and the translation follows on. The translator's word, "shitstupidity" for "connerie" strikes me as particularly clumsy, but I suppose it's difficult to come up with a word that combines the meaning with the right level of vulgarity.
Gore Vidal called Prévert a bad poet but a good screenwriter.Well I like his poetry but I don't know what all the fuss is about over "Les Enfants du Paradis". Still, I hope to see "The Crime of M. Lange" one day.


Rappelle-toi Barbara
Il pleuvait sans cesse sur Brest ce jour-là
Et tu marchais souriante
Epanouie ravie ruisselante
Sous la pluie
Rappelle-toi Barbara
Il pleuvait sans cesse sur Brest
Et je t'ai croisée rue de Siam
Tu souriais
Et moi je souriais de même
Rappelle-toi Barbara
Toi que je ne connaissais pas
Toi qui ne me connaissais pas
Rappelle-toi quand même ce jour-là
N'oublie pas
Un homme sous un porche s'abritait
Et il a crié ton nom
Et tu as couru vers lui sous la pluie
Ruisselante ravie épanouie
Et tu t'es jetée dans ses bras
Rappelle-toi cela Barbara
Et ne m'en veux pas si je te tutoie
Je dis tu a tous ceux que j'aime
Meme si je ne les ai vus qu'une seule fois
Je dis tu a tous ceux qui s'aiment
Même si je ne les connais pas
Rappelle-toi Barbara
N'oublie pas
Cette pluie sage et heureuse
Sur ton visage heureux
Sur cette ville heureuse
Cette pluie sur la mer
Sur l'arsenal
Sur le bateau d'Ouessant
Oh Barbara
Quelle connerie la guerre
Qu'es-tu devenue maintenant
Sous cette pluie de fer
De feu d'acier de sang
Et celui qui te serrait dans ses bras
Est-il mort disparu ou bien encore vivant
Oh Barbara
Il pleut sans cesse sur Brest
Comme il pleuvait avant
Mais ce n'est plus pareil et tout est abîmé
C'est une pluie de deuil terrible et désolée
Ce n'est même plus l'orage
De fer d'acier de sang
Tout simplement des nuages
Qui crèvent comme des chiens
Des chiens qui disparaissent
Au fil de l'eau sur Brest
Et vont pourrir au loin
Au loin très loin de Brest
Dont il ne reste rien.

Remember Barbara
It rained all day on Brest that day
And you walked smiling
Flushed enraptured streaming-wet
In the rain
Remember Barbara
It rained all day on Brest that day
And I ran into you in Siam Street
You were smiling
And I smiled too
Remember Barbara
You whom I didn't know
You who didn't know me
Remember that day still
Don't forget
A man was taking cover on a porch
And he cried your name
And you ran to him in the rain
Streaming-wet enraptured flushed
And you threw yourself in his arms
Remember that Barbara
And don't be mad if I speak familiarly
I speak familiarly to everyone I love
Even if I've seen them only once
I speak familiarly to all who are in love
Even if I don't know them
Remember Barbara
Don't forget
That good and happy rain
On your happy face
On that happy town
That rain upon the sea
Upon the arsenal
Upon the Ushant boat
Oh Barbara
What shitstupidity the war
Now what's become of you
Under this iron rain
Of fire and steel and blood
And he who held you in his arms
Is he dead and gone or still so much alive
Oh Barbara
It's rained all day on Brest today
As it was raining before
But it isn't the same anymore
And everything is wrecked
It's a rain of mourning terrible and desolate
Nor is it still a storm
Of iron and steel and blood
But simply clouds
That die like dogs
Dogs that disappear
In the downpour drowning Brest
And float away to rot
A long way off
A long long way from Brest
Of which there's nothing left.
In a comment on an article in Today's Guardian a right-wingnut called "Sam Widges" writes -
The BBC has admitted there's a left-wing bias "ingrained" so deeply into the system that it's be "virtually impossible to eradicate". Does this mean they're not even going to bother?

I'd love to find the source of these quotes. I suspect they were first aired in a dream of the poster's.

Firstly, no BBC spokesperson would ever admit to such a bias.
Secondly, such an admission, I mean claim, would be an outright lie, admittedly not a new departure for the BBC.
Thirdly, the BBC, nolens volens, has a right-wing bias, a result of its craven submission to the British secret police in its news reporting. In the past all BBC news reporters, news readers and commentators had to be approved by a resident MI5 operative, whose office was in Room 105 at Broadcasting House.
The BBC claims that MI5 no longer vets their news staff - they would, wouldn't they. In fact, at the time in which we now know the vetting took place the corporation had a policy of "categorical denial". But even if that is true the people who now supervise the selection of news staff would themselves be the latest in a long line politically acceptable employees. The right-wing bias, having been carefully planted and nurtured over generations, would be self-perpetuating.
One disqualifying factor in MI5's selection process was membership of the Labour Party. Needless to state that anything to the left of Labour received the same short shrift, pacifists too.
I was interested to note that when the political reporter Nick Robinson left ITN for a berth at the BBC he felt free to reveal that he was a member of the Conservative Party, something he did not shout about when at ITN. In the same vein, the BBC Newsnight frontwoman, Emily Maitlis, is being openly touted as future star of the Conservative Parliamentary Party. In contrast to this mute acceptance of a potential Tory bias the BBC was horrified, and said so, when one of its radio presenters, Melvyn Bragg, was ennobled as a Labour peer. I seem to recall that Lord Bragg was immediately relieved of one of his broadcasting roles.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Round one to the Lindsey refinery workers. They stuck together against the intimidatory tactics of Total. Now the bully boys have to go to ACAS arbitration because the attempts to divide the sacked workers failed miserably.
If ACAS or the union bureaucrats (most likely both) demand that the men return to work while negotiations are in progress they should refuse. Once they are back at work a sellout can be agreed on.
Total was within its rights as an employer to sack the striking workers. Unofficial strikers forfeit legal protection. Add to that the fact that official strike action, to be within the law, can only be taken in a way that renders it ineffective, the gaffers can't lose. That is if the workers play by the rules. So an unofficial strike that's 100 percent solid, supported by other workers, is the only effective action under present conditions.
Interesting to see placards at the picket with the old slogan, "Workers of the World Unite", no doubt a message to the BNP who are trying to muscle in on the action.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What's happened to Mick Hall's blog (Organised Rage)? It's been AWOL for a few days now?
Yesterday's poem on John MacLean reminds me of the Matt McGinn song

"There was nane like John MacLean
The fighting dominie"

which can be heard here.

I wrote at the beginning of the poetry season that I'd met three real poets, meaning published poets. Well, if I add Matt McGinn, the singer songwriter, that's four.
I was introduced to Matt by a mutual friend who demanded (the right word) that Matt recite for me a poem about "The English Royal Family", and he did so. I later found out that Matt sang these lyrics to the tune of "An English Country Garden". Still, no harm, it was poetry when he spoke it.
The other poets I have Met; Ken Smith, as I already mentioned, John Heath-Stubbs, and Seán Hutton. Seán, to my knowledge, writes his verse exclusively in Irish, which makes his inclusion here ... What, unlikely? Maybe not, here's a very short one I've found -


Tá an chrois in áirithe
an sciúirse, an casúr is na tairní;
tá an choróin spíne fite.

seo chugainn Iúdas
chun póg an bhraite a bhronnadh.

(published 1986)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Back to the poetry, and once more to Sorley MacLean. The poet served in North Africa in World War II, and these verses commemorate a fallen comrade in arms. This is MacLean's own translation of his Gaelic original, "Curaidhean" -


I did not see Lannes at Ratisbon
nor MacLennan at Auldearn
nor Gillies MacBain at Culloden,
but I saw an Englishman in Egypt.

A poor little chap with chubby cheeks
and knees grinding each other,
pimply unattractive face -
garment of the bravest spirit.

He was not a hit 'in the pub
in the time of the fists being closed,'
but a lion against the breast of battle,
in the morose wounding showers.

His hour came with the shells,
with the notched iron splinters,
in the smoke and flame,
in the shaking and terror of the battlefield.

Word came to him in the bullet shower
that he should be a hero briskly,
and he was that while he lasted
but it wasn't much time he got.

He kept his guns to the tanks,
bucking with tearing crashing screech,
until he himself got, about the stomach,
that biff that put him to the ground,
mouth down in sand and gravel,
without a chirp from his ugly high-pitched voice.

No cross or medal was put to his
chest or to his name or to his family;
There were not many of his troop alive,
and if there were their word would not be strong.
And at any rate, if a battle post stands
many are knocked down because of him,
not expecting fame, not wanting a medal
or any froth from the mouth of the field of slaughter.

I saw a great warrior of England,
a poor manikin on whom no eye would rest;
no Alasdair of Glen Garry;
and he took a little weeping to my eyes.

Alasdair Ranaldson of Glengarry was the vainglorious coxcomb immortalised by Walter Scott as Fergus MacIvor in his novel "Waverley". In his poems "Two MacDonalds" Sorley compares Glengarry with his brother James, a hero at Waterloo. Of the former he writes -

"He cleared the tenants in Glengarry -
the few of them left-
and he cleared the tenants about Kinloch Nevis,
and he cleared the tenants in Knoydart.
He spoiled Clan Donald."

Which was not how the Tory snob Scott saw Glengarry.

Another poem by Sorley commemorates his fear cinnidh, John MacLean, the Red Clydesider. Again he uses the expression, battle-post (ursann-chatha), which I take to mean a brave, or perhaps a strong, champion and defender.


Not they who died
in the hauteur of Inverkeithing
in spite of valour and pride
the high head of our story;
but he who was in Glasgow
the battle-post of the poor,
great John MacLean,
the top and hem of our story.