Thursday, December 29, 2011

A couple of pieces of news.

i) The NHS wants more sick old people to be cared for (or neglected by the NHS) in their homes, "freeing up" hospital beds.

ii) The government is going to allow to NHS hospitals to assign 49 percent of their beds to private patients.

No connection of course.

Still more than half of beds will be reserved for NHS patients, so don't call it privatisation, not even creeping privatisation. And I'm sure there'll be quango created to ensure that the Hospitals don't go above the 49 percent "freeing up" (Christ! I hate that stupid expression), Only like all the Of---s (Ofsted, Ofcom, etc.), it will turn out to be toothless, even an arm of the privatisation as non-privatisation flim-flam. Later the 49 percent will turn out to be a "target", and not to be taken too seriously.
'Twas Christmas Day in the harem
The eunuchs were sitting on chairs
Watching the Vestal Virgins
Combing their pubic hairs.
When suddenly Father Christmas
Came striding through the halls,
And said, "What do you want for Christmas?"
And the eunuchs cried out "BALLS!"

An old army song,sung to the tune of the "Eton Boating Song". There is another verse about the sexual proclivities of the camel, but we'll draw a veil over that one.
A little seasonal ribaldry to get me back in the mood for blogging.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Recently Alan Hansen got in hot water when he talked on the telly of 'coloured' footballers. When his faux pas was pointed out he apologised immediately.
A couple of black players wondered out loud what colour Mr. Hansen imagined them to be.
I don't know who wrote the following lines. They are in French and not too serious, but the sense probably comes through. If I find an English version I'll add it later. No title -

Quand je suis né, j'étais noir.
Quand j'ai grandi, j'étais noir.
Quand j'ai peur, je suis noir.
Quand je vais au soleil, je suis noir.
Quand je suis malade, je suis noir.
Quand je me blesse, je reste noir.

Tandis que toi homme blanc,
quand tu es né, tu étais rose,
quand tu as grandi, tu es devenu blanc,
quand tu vas au soleil, tu deviens rouge,
quand tu as froid, tu deviens bleu,
quand tu as peur, tu deviens vert,
quand tu es malade, tu deviens jaune,
quand tu te blesses, tu deviens violet à cet endroit

et après ça, tu m'appeles homme de couleur.

I have some sympathy for Hansen. When I was young - he too, probably - 'coloured' was the accepted term, 'black' considered in bad taste. Even since black has replaced 'coloured' I've heard black West Indians use the latter term. And the NAACP in the United States retains its original title.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The following poem is by Michael Rosen. It is from a collection called "Fighters for Life" (2007), and has no title. I would refer to it by the title "Promised Land".

A family arrived and said that they had papers
to prove that his house was theirs.
- No, no, said the man, my people have always lived here.
My father, grandfather ... and look in the garden,
My great-grandfather planted that.
- No, no, said the family, look at the documents.

There was a stack of them.

- Where do I start? said the man.
- No need to read the beginning, they said,
Turn to the page marked 'Promised Land'.
- Are they legal? he said. Who wrote them?
-God, they said, God wrote them, look
here come his tanks.
"Eventually, just as we were getting restless and starting to tut-tut, in they trooped to a shambling step, a picture of latter-day bohemianism, a gang, I felt, with little respect for the great literature and fine art housed at The Huntington, protected by locks and alarms and earthquake stabilizers. I recognized at once (from his many appearances on television current affairs programmes) Christopher Hitchens, the transatlantic pundit. A red hot poker in print, in the flesh he seemed a pathetic creature, as he struggled past us, a person you needed to stay clear of in case he might suddenly lash out. His long floppy corduroy jacket could not conceal the shirt tail hanging down over the seat of his jeans. His bullet eyes, piercing through a film of blood, darted around the half-empty room, giving our little group a curl of the upper lip and a glance as if to acknowledge that he recognized the land of the crass but at least there might perhaps be some potential customers present.
"He was part of a shaky line of literary lions but I recognized none of the others. Where was Martin Amis? I continued to fix on Hitchens, a loathing enveloping me like a nasty cold. Led onto the dais by an official, he flopped down into a chair, his belly parting his jacket, his eyes closing contentedly, a hand shaking noticeably as it was raised to push back a stray lock of greasy hair."

"... I attacked with my follow-up question (something you're allowed to do in America): 'You have made no mention of the finest of all modern British comic novelists'. Hitchens performed his lip-curling:'And who might that be, in your opinion?' 'Julian McLaren Ross', I answered loudly and with relish. "I've heard the name but never read a word of him. Next..........'"
(Ian Whitcomb)

Cavalier dismissal of the work of Julian MacLaren-Ross - one more reason to despise Hitchens.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

(I can't help messing with this post. Sort of a work in progress.)

House of Commons public accounts committee: You gave Goldmann Sachs £20 million of our money.

Her Majesty's Tax Avoidance Facilitators: No we didn't, your conclusion is based on incomplete information.

HoCPAC: Then give us all the information.

HMTAF: We can't do that, it's confidential.

HoCPAC: So how can we know what you're up to?

HMTAF: You'll just have to trust us.

Jackals of the Press:What is The Government going to do about this, Mr Spokesman?

Government Spokesman: HMTAF has the Prime Minister's full support.

JotP: Based on what, Mr. Spokesman?

GS: Based on our just having to trust them.

First Goldmann Sachs Oligarch: Anybody know the current price of a Public Accounts Committee?

Second Goldmann Sachs Oligarch: You can ignore them, we already bought the government.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The name of the poem Mná na hÉireann became well known after the release of Stanley Kubrick's film "Barry Lyndon", released in 1975. An air, composed by Seán Ó Riada and recorded by the Chieftans, was part of the musical score. The air was the setting for the words of the 18th century Ulster poet, Peadar Ó Doirnín. Later these original lyrics were recorded by a variety of singers, mainly female, though the sentiments expressed are clearly those of a male.
The following English language version is by the poet Michael Davitt. It does not appear to be literal; but who am I to criticise the work of a Gaeilgeoir?


There's a woman in Erin who'd give me shelter and my fill of ale;
There's a woman in Erin who'd prefer my strains to strings being played;
There's a woman in Erin and nothing would please her more
Than to see me burning or in a grave lying cold.

There's a woman in Eirinn who'd be mad with envy if I was kissed
By another on fair-day, they have strange ways, but I love them all;
There are women I'll always adore, battalions of women and more
And there's this sensuous beauty but she's shackled to an ugly boar.

There's a woman who promised if I'd wander with her I'd find some gold
A woman in night dress with a loveliness worth more than the woman
Who vexed Ballymoyer and the plain of Tyrone;
And the only cure for my pain I'm sure is the ale-house down the road.

(Sean Ó Doirnín, d.1769)

Tá bean in Éirinn a phronnfadh séad damh is mo sháith le n-ól
Is tá bean in Éirinn is ba binne léithe mo ráfla ceoil
Nó seinm théid; atá bean in Éirinn is níorbh fhearr léi beo
Mise ag léimnigh nó leagtha i gcré is mo tharr faoi fhód.

Tá bean in Éirinn a bheadh ag éad liom mur bhfaighinn ach póg
Ó bhean ar aonach, nach ait an scéala, is mo dháimh féin leo;
Tá bean ab fhearr liom nó cath is céad dhíobh nach bhfagham go deo
Is tá cailín spéiriúil ag fear gan Bhéarla, dubhghránna cróin

Tá bean a déarfadh dá siúlainn léithe go bhfaighinn an t-ór
Is tá bean 'na léine is is fearr a méin nó na táinte bó
Le bean a bhuairfeadh Baile an Mhaoir agus clár Thír Eoghain,
Is ní fhaicim leigheas ar mo ghalar féin ach scáird a dh'ól

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Latest News: Salah Hamouri to be released today.

Update 2053 hours: according to the latest bulletin Salah is free and with his parents. Only a few thousand more hostages to liberate.
Professor AbuKhalil on the Barstool Bombardier.
The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: Hitchens: I debated whether to write about someone who agitated for war and for racism against Arabs/Muslims.  I never met this man, and never liked ...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

What has happened to Thankgodimatheist's blog, 'Angry Arab's Comments Section'? When I try to log in I get a message that it has been removed.
If you read this, TG, leave a message.

Friday, December 16, 2011

(Jonathan Swift)

Let me thy Properties explain,
A rotten Cabbin, dropping Rain;
Chimnies with Scorn rejecting Smoak;
Stools, Tables, Chairs, and Bed-stede broke:
Here Elements have lost their Uses,
Air ripens not, nor Earth produces:
In vain we make poor Sheelah toil,
Fire will not roast, nor Water boil.
Thro' all the Vallies, Hills, and Plains,
The Goddess Want in Triumph reigns;
And her chief Officers of State,
Sloth, Dirt, and Theft around her wait.

Full title, "To Quilca, a Country House in no very good Repair, where the supposed Author, and some of his Friends, spent a Summer, in the Year 1725"
Quilca, or Cuilcagh, was the home of Swift's friend, Thomas Sheridan, grandfather of the playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Thomas S. was described by one who knew him as, "ill-starred, good natured, improvident ... a punster, a quibbler, a diffler and a wit ... his pen and his fiddlestick were in continual motion, and yet to little or no purpose." He was a clergyman, too outspoken to retain any position in the church. When he obtained any money he found himself "besheridaned" (his own coinage), that is, surrounded by importunate kinsfolk. County Cavan is Sheridan territory.
'Sheelah', the name suggests, would have been a household servant, Catholic, peasant, and in language a Gael. The Sheridan family had Protestant and Catholic branches, the latter having to remove to the Continent in order to avoid descent into extreme poverty. Their landowning cousin did not prosper in spite of conforming to the established religion.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"It's dark out, Jack, the stations out there don't identify themselves, we're in it raw — blind like burned rats, it's running out all around us, the footprints of the beast, one nobody has any notion of. The white & vacant eyes of something above there, something that doesn't know we exist. I smell heartbreak up there, Jack, a heartbreak at the center of things, & in which we don't figure at all."
Kenneth Patchen, poet, born 100 years ago today.
"Mingus Ah Um", powerful back-up there.

Photograph and poem lifted from "anti-CopyRite" Daily Bleed.
Norman Mailer on Gore Vidal's homosexuality*: "As a homosexual he's very much a man ... in sex, he does it ... No one does anything to him."

When I read Mark Thompson's fulsome, and spewsome, praise of Dirty Harry Clarkson and his juvenile killing spree fantasies I wonder what hold Clarkson has on Thompson and his managerial coterie. I also wonder at times if one of them's doing it and the other's having it done.
The search for an explanation goes on.

*Or, as Vidal himself would insist, homosexualism.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Some unconfirmed news on political prisoner Salah Hamouri, whose original release date was the 28th of last month -

Benjamin Netanyahu was contacted by French President Sarkozy (Salah is a French citizen), and informed him that everything depended on the Grand Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and his agreement to the release of Salah at the second exchange of prisoners linked to the release of Gilad Shalit (Salah was accused of plotting the Rabbi's assassination).
Sarkozy wrote to the Rabbi, and the French Ambassador to Israel, Christophe Bigot, met Salah, then Rabbi Yosef. The latter expressed his agreement. This agreement has been confirmed by the Israeli Minister of the Interior. The final decision on Salah will be made by Netanyahu and the Israeli cabinet, and should be known by the 18th December.
"It is not an exaggeration to say Cameron's priorities lay with the City of London, not the mass of the British people he was placed in office to serve. Although it is worse than that alone, as it was the casino and tax dodging end of the city which the British prime minister tried to protect. The very people who wrecked the world economy. Cameron, and his closest colleague George Osborne should forever be known as the the first, and deputy first minister of the ‘city’ of London, which incidentally despite what the rightwing media claims, makes up only 7.5% of the UK’s GDP."
(Mick Hall)
Dave Hartnett, the man who gave £20 million* of our money to Goldman Sachs, is to retire.
That's Dave Hartnett who gave £5 million of our money to Vodaphone.

I wonder what he'll be doing now.
Going to work for Goldman Sachs - 3/1
Going to work for Vodaphone - 5/1
Going to work for some other firm he helped - 7/1
Taking up post as advisor** to George (tax dodger) Osbourne 9/1
Cultivating his garden - 50/1

*Apparently he only admits to giving them £8 million of our money.

** Alongside Philip Green the billionaire who pays no tax at all.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

(Hugh MacDiarmid)

It is a God-damned lie to say that these
Saved, or knew, anything worth any man's pride.
They were professional murderers and they took
Their blood money and impious risks and died.
In spite of all their kind some elements of worth
With difficulty persist here and there on earth.

A reply to A.E.Housman's "Epitaph ..." (here)

MacDiarmid served, as a conscript, in World War I. Housman was too old.

(Hugh MacDiarmid)

A war to save civilization you say
Then what have you to do with it, pray?
Some attempt to acquire it would show truer love
Than fighting for something you know nothing of.

Today's wars are fought for freedom, democracy, human rights.
Killing people to civilise them is no longer fashionable; we find other reasons.

Friday, December 09, 2011

(Boris Vian)

Mr. President
I'm writing you a letter
that perhaps you will read
If you have the time.
I've just received
my call-up papers
to leave for the front
Before Wednesday night.
Mr. President
I do not want to go
I am not on this earth
to kill wretched people.
It's not to make you mad
I must tell you
my decision is made
I am going to desert.

Since I was born
I have seen my father die
I have seen my brothers leave
and my children cry.
My mother has suffered so,
that she is in her grave
and she laughs at the bombs
and she laughs at the worms.
When I was a prisoner
they stole my wife
they stole my soul
and all my dear past.
Early tomorrow morning
I will shut my door
on these dead years
I will take to the road.

I will beg my way along
on the roads of France
from Brittany to Provence
and I will cry out to the people:
Refuse to obey
refuse to do it
don't go to war
refuse to go.
If blood must be given
go give your own
you are a good apostle
Mr. President.
If you go after me
warn your police
that I'll be unarmed
and that they can shoot.
(English version by Gilles D'Ayméry
and Jan Baughman)


Monsieur le Président
Je vous fais une lettre
Que vous lirez peut-être
Si vous avez le temps
Je viens de recevoir
Mes papiers militaires
Pour partir à la guerre
Avant mercredi soir
Monsieur le Président
Je ne veux pas la faire
Je ne suis pas sur terre
Pour tuer des pauvres gens
C'est pas pour vous fâcher
Il faut que je vous dise
Ma décision est prise
Je m'en vais déserter

Depuis que je suis né
J'ai vu mourir mon père
J'ai vu partir mes frères
Et pleurer mes enfants
Ma mère a tant souffert
Elle est dedans sa tombe
Et se moque des bombes
Et se moque des vers
Quand j'étais prisonnier
On m'a volé ma femme
On m'a volé mon âme
Et tout mon cher passé
Demain de bon matin
Je fermerai ma porte
Au nez des années mortes
J'irai sur les chemins

Je mendierai ma vie
Sur les routes de France
De Bretagne en Provence
Et je dirai aux gens:
Refusez d'obéir
Refusez de la faire
N'allez pas à la guerre
Refusez de partir
S'il faut donner son sang
Allez donner le vôtre
Vous êtes bon apôtre
Monsieur le Président
Si vous me poursuivez
Prévenez vos gendarmes
Que je n'aurai pas d'armes
Et qu'ils pourront tirer.

One of the best anti-war poems/songs. There are plenty of sung versions online, including Vian's own (corny arrangement). A singable English version given a British context is here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

My old comrade John T., alias "Homebrew", who died a year ago today. I posted a poem in his memory at the time. I post it again.

If sadly thinking, with spirits sinking,
Could more than drinking my cares compose,
A cure for sorrow from sighs I'd borrow
And hope tomorrow would end my woes.
But as in wailing there's nought availing
And Death unfailing will strike the blow
Then for that reason, and for a season,
Let us be merry before we go.

To joy a stranger, a way-worn ranger,
In every danger my course I've run;
Now hope all ending, and death befriending,
His last aid lending, my cares are done.
No more a rover, or hapless lover,
My griefs are over - my glass runs low;
Then for that reason, and for a season,
Let us be merry before we go.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Goodbye, Sócrates.

"Até já, Doutor. Tá confirmada aquela próxima cerveja. Vai na paz."
"At a time when most people were still afraid to speak out against the regime, he politicised football in a way no other player has even attempted, before or since. And he was as proud of his team's valiant contribution in helping dismantle the dictatorship as he was his considerable football achievements. At the end of 1982, Corinthians won the São Paulo state championship with "Democracia" printed on the back of their black shirts. Sócrates said it was "perhaps the most perfect moment I ever lived. And I'm sure it was for 95% of [my teammates] too".

Saturday, December 03, 2011

A poem by a Fellow Worker -

(Richard Myers)
Friend, have ya heard the corporate lies--
They vow to double your dough?
They solemnly swear the stock will rise,
You'll watch it climb before your eyes
As your savings grow and grow?

Have you learned too late the corporate rule:
The boss already cashed?
Have ya felt just like a bloody fool
'Cause ya bought him that new swimming pool
While all your dreams are trashed?

Have you watched him haul away the loot
And ya know that you've been had?
Have they given you the golden boot
While the boss straps on his parachute
And it leaves you fightin' mad?

If you're sick to death of corporate lies
But ya don't know how to approach it,
Then fellow worker, organize.
Prepare the boss a big surprise
And stop ingesting bullshit.

No more the thief, the parasite!
No more of this abuse.
When workers everywhere unite
The bosses we shall disinvite,
We'll keep what we produce!
"... we might observe that there are two kinds of jokes about incitement to violence. There's the kind you make on The One Show, which sells your DVD, and there's the kind you make on your obscure little Facebook page that gets you a four-year sentence, as happened during the summer unrest with a pair in Northwich who didn't even turn up to their own "riot" (nor did anybody except the police). Or perhaps you prefer the chap convicted for a joke tweet about Doncaster airport."
(Marina Hyde)

Friday, December 02, 2011

I feel a poetry season coming on.
I just bought a book described as collected poems of Sorley MacLean. We've sampled the great man before on these pages (here and here) and I'm happy to have access to more of his work, some previously unpublished. Here's a short, angry assault on a deserving target -

To the Pope who offered thanks to God for the fall of Barcelona
Deceitful pious whore of a bitch
who carries Christ's tiara,
around this time last year you were wallowing
in children's blood and holiness.

Don Phàp a thug buidheachas do Dhia airson tuiteam Bharsalòna
A ghalla shiùrsaich shlìom, dhiadhiadh,
's tu giùlan tiara Chrìosda,
mun àm seo 'n-uiridh bha thu blianadh
am fuil naoidhean 's nad dhiadhachd.

The English language version is by Christopher Whyte, editor, along with Emma Dymock, of this collection.
I'm assuming that the Pope referred to is Pius xii, later known as Hitler's Pope. Pius xi was on his last legs when Barcelona was taken by Franco and his rebel forces, and died a couple of weeks later.

Another poem, this time translated by the Emma Dymock -

Scotus Erigena
Did you hear the tale
about Scotus Erigena
who spoke out against the Election
for two days, without tiring;
and who also abolished Hell
and Sin with the unfailing vehemence
and subtlety of his argument
before he was forced to fall silent?
Pity a voice like his was not heard
among the flock of seceders.

Scotus Erigena
An cuala sibh an sgeulachd
mun Scotach Erigena
a labhair an aghaidh an Taghaidh
dà latha, gun sgìths air;
's a chuir às do Ifrinn cuideachd
's don Pheacadh aig dìorras
is eagnaighachd a labhairt
mun deach a stad chum sìthe?
Nach bochd nach cualas a leithid
am badaibh nan Sisìdear

I take it that 'Election' refers to predestination.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

So Shithead apologised - well no, he didn't. He said IF people were offended by his repetition of the Cameron dinner party table talk, he'd be happy to apologise. So he hasn't apologised, has he?
There is, of course, no chance of the BBC's unofficial spokesman on industrial relations getting the push. The ONE Show (one's enough) is live, according to the BBC. Live shows, we all know, go out with a minute or more's delay, in case anyone says anything reprehensible. So the BBC OK'd this incitement to violence.
Later, when asked if the corporation would apologise for offending millions, spokesperson stated that no comment would be made.
Then the manure started to pile up, and a mealy-mouthed semi-apology slithered out.
Let's try to imagine what would have happened if a statement of this nature had been made by a Muslim about Christians or Jews. I believe there's a law against such inflammatory speech.

The talking turd is on a million quid a year, and, as has been pointed out he works in the public sector, i.e., at the BBC. But his job's safe, unlike those of hundreds of thousands of the poorly-paid people he wants to kill.

Addendum (2nd December): I knew it -
But Clarkson told the Times that he had informed the One Show's production team of the details of his joke. A BBC spokeswoman said last night: "Jeremy had a meeting with a One Show producer before appearing, as is standard for all guests. The meeting is to cover the topics that will be discussed and the expectations the show has around issues such as tone and balance, and it was made clear where those boundaries lay."

So, passed for tone and balance by the BBC.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Over 5,000 people marched through Hull city centre today to show their opposition to pension theft being perpetrated by the millionaire clique in Whitehall. I believe it was the biggest demonstration in Hull that I've ever taken part in. As we made our way through the streets bystanders applauded us. I don't recall that ever happening before.
Many people were filming and taking photographs. I hope someone filmed the whole march from start to finish, and that they'll post it on the net. I saw one acquaintance with a camera on the roadside, and hoped he was filming, but it seems, looking at his website, that he was only taking photographs.
In the meantime, a short burst from the local paper.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I wonder if Malaysia is on Tone's money-spinning lecture tour itinerary.

I found this on facebook. Seems appropriate.
British companies targeted for investment in Israeli agricultural export companies

Monday, November 28, 2011

"The government of Goldman Sachs is getting a grip on one European country after another. On Wednesday we will get a glimpse of an alternative – not on paper or a petition, but when millions stand up for themselves."
According to a BBC poll 61 percent of the population support Wednesday's public sector workers' strike. So all the government lies are not working.
A missing figure from this survey is the percentage of the population opposed to the strike. It can't be high, as the BBC tells us that the strongest opposition is among the over-65s, but then tells us that just under half of that group support the strike.
The survey results, which must have come as a disappointment to the BBC, don't get a big splash. Slithy Gove's attack on the unions is higher up the running order. That's the little chap formerly known as 'Red Mike' Gove. The BBC's diffidence won't prevent the "Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation" tomfoolery being aired by the hominids on the government benches.
The Conservatives are making noises about increasing the restrictions applied to the legally most restricted unions in Europe. Personally I hope they make unions illegal. Then we'll be forced to build working class organisations that cannot get into bed with the class enemy.

Another statistic: people admitted to hospital at the weekend have a ten percent higher chance of dying. This is being blamed on lack of staff on duty.
The government's going to have to come out fighting on this one if it wants the NHS to continue shedding workers and closing down hospitals.
We may soon hear that the research that led to this result is based on out of date figures, and matters have improved markedly.
Or we may be informed that the research was flawed.
Or someone at the Department of Health will declare that these figures are intolerable and action must be taken to bring them down.
Apart from a search for a method of massaging the figures nothing will be done.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Conservative MP Richard Ottaway said strikes should be banned unless at least 50% of members voted for them. The prime minister replied: "Just one quarter of Unison members voted to strike, just 23% of those balloted at Unite voted in favour."
Unison and Unite only balloted members who belonged to the affected pensions schemes. Unison had a 30% turnout for its members in local government who voted 75% in favour of a strike and a 25% turnout for its NHS workers, 82% of whom backed strikes.
Unite workers voted 75% in favour of strikes - on a turnout of 31%.
Downing Street aides said the prospect of banning strikes which did not get the backing of at least 50% of a union's members was never "off the table" but added: "We are not at that stage."

Let's see now. General election 2010 - turnout, 65%; Conservative share of the vote, 36%: Percentage of electorate voting for Cameron's Conservatives, 12-. Post-Liberal share of the vote, 23%: percentage of electorate voting for Clegg's clique, 8.5-. Combined percentage of electorate electing (though not voting for) the Con-Dem conspiracy, circa 20%.
Not at the 50%+ stage yet.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Every time I've gone to wikipedia recently there's that unshaven, needy face giving me the Evil Eye. I was going to boycott the site for a while until I learned that there's an unobtrusive x in the upper right-hand corner. Press that and the bad screws are gone for good (I pray).
I've been trying to find out how much the randroid Wales is worth. No luck so far, apart from his claim that he's only worth $1 million. Nobody believes him.

While searching for the information I found this site, and learned that I'm the 655,895,612th richest person in the world. This places me in the top 11% globally. Still, Cameron and Osbourne are working on that. Third World, here we come!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I've just discovered the works of a lady who goes by the name 'Sedulia Scott' on the internet - very informative. I had to copy these definitions of French nouns (she is only responsible for the English translation) -

* Un gars : a young man
* Une garce : a whore

* Un courtisan : someone close to the king
* Une courtisane : a whore

* Un masseur : a masseur
* Une masseuse : a whore

* Un coureur : a jogger [someone who runs]
* Une coureuse : a whore

* Un rouleur : a cyclist [someone who rolls]
* Une roulure : a whore

* Un professionnel : a top athlete [a professional]
* Une professionnelle : a whore

* Un homme sans moralité : a politician [a man with no morals]
* Une femme sans moralité : a whore

* Un entraîneur : a man who trains a sports team
* Une entraîneuse : a whore

* Un homme à femmes : a ladies' man
* Une femme à hommes : a whore

* Un homme public : a well-known man [a public man]
* Une femme publique : a whore

* Un homme facile : a man easy to live with [an easy man]
* Une femme facile : a whore

* Un homme qui fait le trottoir : a paver [a man who does the sidewalk]
* Une femme qui fait le trottoir : a whore

* Un péripatéticien: a pupil of Aristotle
* Une péripatéticienne: a whore

The mother of Guillaume Apollinaire was described as an 'entraîneuse' when she was thrown out of Monte Carlo. I thought it meant 'hostess'.

Afterthought (24th November): 'coureur' can have a meaning other than 'jogger', which might be considered disapproving. I would consider it at best a euphemism.

After-after: I neglected to add a link. Rectified below.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I've had a couple of messages from my cyberstalker, who uses two IP addresses.
Just read your debate with vza on aacs. She destroyed you. Haha Yessss sure, business is evil.....Jemmy, do you have a brain the same size as a rabbit's? Meanwhile he can't explain why capitalism has worked so much better than anything else in building wealth the world over. But damnit, common sense and logical thinking never held much sway for Jemmy Whemmy! LMAO!

As I should have expected you misrepresented, mostly, my post here to vza. Deception being your hallmark, it comes as no surprise. But let me affirm her denunciation. I have always confirmed caitalisms flaws. It has many, some that are hard to stomach, perhaps. But that is just like mother nature. Even at it's worst capitalism is 10000 times better than any other system. As "bad" as you potray capitalism, you have no examples of where your preferred system has produced anything besides misery and decay. Cuba? N korea? The USSR? Pathetic. The tiny country of Sweden, with it's homogeneous populstion and singular culture, is the classic choice of all who defend your philosophy. Tell us, why not implement that system in Hatii and expect wondrous prosperity to ensue?

"Why not implement that system in Haiti ..." Haiti is capitalist country, also a country occupied by capitalism's most enthusiastic missionaries. This fool thinks that any other economic system would make it worse. To borrow from his vocabulary, hahaha. Of course, the fool could fall back on another of his arguments, that he deploys with care - the Haitian people are not white, so it will take them a thousand years (I think that's his usual figure) to attain the standards of the white man.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

More on the name Emily, and its saintly bearers.
Aemilia (yes there were some), two virgins, both martyred at Lyon (Lugdunum) anno 177. Their joint feast day, 2nd June.

Émilie de Rodat, born 1778 at Druelle near Rodez France. This lady founded an order called the Sisters of the Holy Family, apparently an offshoot of the Ursuline nuns. She died 1852, and was buried at the convent she founded. Feast day, 19th September.

Émilie de Vialar, born Gaillac, near Albi in the Pyrenean Midi, 1797. Founded, 1832, the Order of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Apparition (?). Died at Marseille, 1856; canonised 1951. Her feast day, 24th August.

The above was taken from this site.

Emilia Bicheria, reliever of headaches and gout, appears to be this lady, Emilia Bicchieri. Born Vercelli, in the Piemonte region, circa 1238. The obit, 1314, is the same for both Emilias. However this Emilia is only a 'beata', Blessed Emilia, not Saint Emilia, which wouldn't preclude her from effecting those cures; continue your devotions, cephalalgics and hyperuraemics.
This is another nun, and founder of a convent - "Beata Aemilia de Bicheriis de Poenitentia Sancti Dominici, fundatrix monasterii Sanctae Margarethae de Vercellis extra muros." She was beatified in 1769. Who knows? Maybe she's been canonised recently.

Friday, November 18, 2011

(Lifted from Uruknet)

"If you miss me at the back of the bus
You can't find me nowhere",
That's because I'm banged up in an Israeli cell.
(Apologies to Pete Seeger)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Is there a neo-con cell of senior ministers and officials, co-ordinating with Israel and the United States, and keeping their designs hidden from the Conservatives' coalition partners?"

We-ell ... neo-con cell, yes. Keeping the Post-Liberals out of the loop, maybe. But why would the Post-Liberal leadership have a problem with zionism or warmongering?
Clegg called the Iraq war illegal. His party, under a different leader, opposed that war. That leader paid the price for breaking ranks with his Privy Council colleagues.
One assumes that Clegg doesn't consider the Libyan adventure illegal, as he was part of the government responsible for that war. Personally I also assume that if Clegg had been party leader before the Iraq invasion and occupation he would not have paused for one minute to question its legality. He is a Conservative in Lib-Dem clothing.

The quote is from "Matthew Gould and the Plot to Attack Iran" by Craig Murray. This is an article that no British newspaper wants to publish.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Some thoughts of Professor Richard Falk on blogging and an approaching birthday (the (the internal quotations are from Yeats' poem "The Second Coming") -

"Overall, doing a blog reminds us of the art of amateurship (affirming the French root meaning of ‘lover of’), almost lost in our age caught between the mind of the specialist and the nihilistic effects of various cynical brands of postmodernism. The specialist impact on language exhibited by its impoverishment of the word ‘amateur’ to mean dabbler, or superficial idler who should never be taken seriously, and of the nihilist postmodern success in discrediting all forms of belief in a better tomorrow."

"Yes, ‘the center cannot hold,’ but that might, if true, be welcomed rather than lamented as it is the center that is mainly responsible for ‘the blood-dimmed tide’ that has been ‘loosed upon the world.’ Instead of (re)constructing centers, especially governmental centers, more responsive to our needs and desires, maybe we should think more about revitalizing peripheries or finding ways to dispense with or at least all centers of hard power for a while."

"My most abiding lifelong political commitment is to side emotionally and actively with the underdog in conflict situations without attention to ethnic, religious, and class differences."

"It is strange how we never manage to move much beyond the shadows cast by our parents ...

"I do wish that a year from now the lines from the Yeats poem will seem quaint and obsolescent so far as the surrounding world situation is concerned, and will be replaced in 2012 by a more life-affirming lyric that thanks time’s angel for spreading its joy to the world. Maybe by then we will think about people as much as we now dwell on the perils of the Euro! Of course, happily, life didn’t begin or end for me at 80, and so I can only become 81 in a state of expectant bemusement!"

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Europe, as viewed from Hopetoun -

The Masters of the Universe are getting anxious about pseudo-democracy. Everything was hunky-dory until the subservient political class, once "intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich", could no longer hold the line. The people are on the streets demanding that their elected "representatives" take control of the economy, start taxing the filthy rich and super-rich, and put a stop to the depredations of the the crooks and privateers.
The politicians are turning to the people they sold their souls to and asking, "What do we do now?"
The crooks, the financiers and bankers, seeing their frontmen wavering, some making sympathetic noises to the masses rising from their knees, turned to their trade union, the IMF.
Now the kleptocrapts' "beards" (the politicians) are being discarded. Time for the experts to take over, govrnments are resigning to be replaced by the so-called technocrats, who turn out to be bankers and financiers. These latter may co-opt some of the more docile representatives of the people to be thrown to the wolves when the sans-culottes bay for blood.
A bloodless coup, one might say, or the end of the puppet show.

Cameron knows what he must do to stay in Downing Street. He may have to increase police numbers instead of cutting them. There are streets to be cleared of riff-raff; banks and finance houses to be defended; scabs to be escorted through picket lines.

Addenda (14th November)
The new Greek Prime Minister - "A former ECB vice president (2002 - 2010), he earlier served as Governor of the Bank of Greece from 1994 - 2002. In 1980, he was Federal Reserve Bank of Boston senior economist. Afterwards, he became Bank of Greece's chief economist.
"Since 1998, he's also been a Rockefeller-controlled Trilateral Commission member."

The new Italian Prime Minister - "Earlier he served as European Commissioner for Internal Market Services, Customs and Taxation. He also chairs the Breugel think tank, is Trilateral Commission European chairman, and leading Bilderberger Group member close to Goldman Sachs."
(Stephen Lendeman)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

R.I.P. Joe Frazier - maybe now they'll put up that statue.
"Not that most people would know, however. Philadelphia is the birthplace of American independence, yet its biggest tourist draw is probably the Rocky Balboa statue at the foot of the art museum steps. What makes the statue so depressing is that not only is it a tribute to a fictional boxer, but that Sylvester Stallone burgled Joseph William "Smokin' Joe" Frazier's life story for his Rocky movies. It was Frazier who worked in a Philly slaughterhouse, pounding the huge sides of beef in his down-time; it was Frazier who trained by running up those steps; and it was Frazier who went head-to-head with Muhammad Ali in the 1970s in a trilogy of fights now known as the pyramids of boxing."
(John Dower)
"City of London shame on you."

Film of IWW cleaners' protest on BBC website.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Cameron's al-qa'ida allies
"Remembrance Day is not long off and the period of poppy wearing will start in a few weeks. It is normal for the BBC to agree dates between which, for those wishing to do so, poppies may be worn on screen.
"This year, David Jordan (Director, Editorial Policy and Standards) suggests that poppies may be worn on screen from 06.00 am on Saturday 29th October to 23.59 on Sunday 13th November - Remembrance Sunday."
(from the BBC's Director of Editorial Policy and Standards)

So now we know, poppy wearing is "for those wishing to wear them". Now the BBC is going to have to designate a token non-poppy wearer, in order to garner some credibility for this line.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

A more legible version here.

Reminiscent of Wu Ming's declaration -
"They say that they are new, they christen themselves by acronyms: G8, IMF, WB, WTO, NAFTA, FTAA… They cannot fool us, they are the same as those who have come before them: the écorcheurs that plundered our villages, the oligarchs that reconquered Florence, the court of Emperor Sigismund that beguiled Ian Hus, the diet of Tuebingen that obeyed Ulrich and refused to admit Poor Konrad, the princes that sent the lansquenets to Frankenhausen, the impious that roasted Dozsa, the landlords that tormented the Diggers, the autocrats that defeated Pugachev, the government whom Byron cursed, the old world that stopped our assaults and destroyed all stairways to heaven.
"Nowadays they have a new empire, they impose new servitudes on the whole globe, they still play the lords and masters of the land and the sea.
Once again, we the multitudes rise up against them."
"Historian" Sebag-Montefiore, at it again -
"Montefiore reminds us, Yasir Arafat 'shocked the Americans and the Israelis when he insisted that Jerusalem had never been the site of the Jewish Temple.' He also forbade Palestinian historians to mention the fact."

No he didn't -
"Who on earth believes that Arafat--as much as I detest him--has ever forbade Palestinian historians from writing on anything, and who but an idiot would believe that Palestinian historian would ever take orders from Yasser Arafat. Imagine if Anis Sayigh, for example, received an order from Arafat along that line. But this reveals the extent to which those Zionists are so ignorant of the nature of Palestinian society and of the political dynamics of the PLO. Arafat never ever had the power to forbid any Palestinian academic from saying or doing anything."
(Angry Arab)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Admirers of Gadhafi - Cameron's allies decree that they must die.
" I have met these people while on mission in Tripoli. I talked with some of them. Contrary to what the media and the rebels proclaimed, they were in no way ' mercenaries '. Some were black skinned Libyans - as a matter of fact, a major part of the population in Libya is composed of Black African people - the others were civilians who came from sub-Saharan African countries and who had been living in Libya for a long time. They all supported Gaddafi for the very reason that he opposed racism and treated Arabs and Africans as equals. Unlike the « rebels » of Benghazi, who are well-known for their anti-Black racism and who made themselves guilty of dreadful and systematic atrocities from the very first days of the war. What is paradoxical is that NATO says it wants to bring democracy but allies itself with a Libyan branch of Al Qaeda and with a group of KKK-like racists ! "

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Emily, a name I'm going to have to get used to, as it's the name of my latest grandchild, born 48 hours ago.
All I knew about the name is that it comes from the name of a Roman clan, the Gens Aemilia. I don't understand how this type of name enters the modern European name store, Claudia, Julia, etc. Unless it's the name of some early Christian martyr.
I searched the net for a Saint Aemilia - no dice. Santa Emilia - nope; Sainte Émilie? I drew a pair, Émilie de Rodat, and Émilie de Vialar. So that's OK, part of the Frankish tradition, a name recognised by the universal church. Strange how reactionary an old heathen can be with regard to some things, in my case given names.
I'm not keen on Germanic names, Old Testament names, or surnames as forenames. Surnames as middle names pass muster, a common Scottish custom. My Old Man had a belter of a middle name , which he hated, partly because some people thought he had a double-barrelled name and addressed him accordingly. Highly embarrassing for a staunch proletarian.
Later searches have turned up a Saint Emilia Bicheria (d.1314) who, it seems, will come to the aid of sufferers from gout or headaches (Michael Gibson, "Saints of Patronage and Invocation", 1982). I've also learned that Emily was the third commonest girl's name been handed out by parents last year; so nothing adventurous for my progeny.
I note that this year's poppy crop is as abundant as ever at the BBC. I continue to scan my the TV screen in hope of seeing someone in a BBC studio not wearing a poppy. It's as if reporters, newsreaders, interviewers, guests, had given up their freedom to choose in return for the monetary favours of the voice of the Establishment.
I expect that I'll see Nick Robinson on screen sans trousers before I see him sans poppy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Let me say this to my readers: the NATO intervention in Libya will bring you a Bin Ladenite republic the likes of which we have not seen since the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan. A monster is about to be born there. And some of those armed factions will be engaging in a war against Western targets. I have seen this movie before."

Is the Professor exaggerating? Nothing is settled in Natostan except that the Europeans are back in charge of oil production and distribution (i.e., to Europe). On the BBC News channel this morning the question that was skirted round but was almost expressed was, "When does the bloodbath start?" For black-skinned Fezzanis and other 'abid', it has started already.
If and when the power struggle develops into civil war Cameron-Sarkozy-Merkel will shrug their shoulders and say "Tut-tut, but none of our business." As long as the oil keeps flowing, that is. Oil is the ace all the factions will want to hold.
The IMF will turn up and demand that the welfare system Gadhafi introduced be dismantled and the privateers be allowed to gorge themselves on the remains.
During the rising that western media insist on calling a revolution* the only slogan I heard from the fighters was "allahu akbar". I don't recall hearing any reference from the rebels to freedom, democracy, human rights. So maybe a theocracy is on the cards. Allah rules, through his venal, shifty representatives on earth.
Then there's the ubiquitous flag. The Natostanis have more flags than the Yanks, and that's going some. It is the flag of the Sanusi monarchy, another pseudo-theocratic mob. Are they going to make a comeback? Maybe in an alliance with those oxymoronic 'Wahhabi moderates'.
So, whatever bullshit we hear from Cameron and Mme. Clinton, no democracy, no human rights. Probably a rigged election which UN observers will find to be 'flawed', but somehow acceptable.
Like the professor we've all seen this movie before. Some of us may be old enough to remember the version featuring the arch-villain, Mossadegh; or the one in which Iraq was saved from the red menace by the more acceptable Baath party "riding to power on the CIA train". That's the Baath Party of Saddam Hussein and Bashshar al-Asad.
"History repeats itself , first as tragedy, then as farce." (K. Marx) History is one long tragedy for the wretched of the earth (J. Hope)

*Perhaps in the sense that a revolution means a 360 degree turn with everything ending up in the same place.

Friday, October 21, 2011

All hail the freedom fighters of Natostan, allies of Cameron, Hague, and Liam Fox.

The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: Qadhdhafi's last minutes: This is a clearer video .  I was thinking: if he was a Gulf potentate being tortured to death, I could have seen Arab liberals and Western ...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New to me -
"ricky gervais", meaning a person who shares the language of people who bully the disabled, while denying any intention of encouraging the bullies.

More loosely, a sick gobshite.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I won't be at this important event, but I wish them every success. Someone has to take on the welfare bullies, they're getting away with murder (well, manslaughter) at the moment.
Hi there,

Really hope you might be able to make it to the Defend Welfare Gathering
on Sunday 23rd October in London. It should be a great chance to share
information, meet in person and strategise together.

There’ll be workshops on the Boycott Workfare campaign, Stopping Atos &
the work capability assessment, Cuts to Housing and Human Rights, Data and
Privacy. The afternoon will be an open space session where everyone
present sets the agenda.

Please let us know if you can make it, or would like to feed in ideas for
the day! We’ll send round an update afterwards!

Here’s the details:

>>>> Please forward to lists and friends, post on blogs, etc >>>>

Defend Welfare Gathering
Sunday 23rd October, 11am-5pm
Somers Town Community Centre, 150 Ossulston Street, London, NW1 1EE
(5 minutes walk from Euston, St Pancras and Kings Cross stations)
Wheelchair accessible

Join us for a meeting with like-minded people to share ideas and
strategise to stop the government's attacks on welfare.

Welfare is being systematically attacked:
• Unemployed people are being forced to work without pay.
• Disabled people are being deprived of their entitlement to benefits
through the devastating Work Capability Assessment process.
• People can now be left destitute for up to two years through benefit
• The right to housing is under attack: Housing benefit cuts are set to
make thousands homeless. The right-wing called for evictions in response
to the riots, even before courts had found people guilty.
• Private companies stand to make millions through bullying claimants on
the Work Programme.
• Legal aid cuts make it harder to challenge bad treatment.
• The only benefit that was available to people under 18 – EMA – has been
abolished by this government.
• Single mothers are being forced to be job-seekers when their children
are at an even younger age.
• Asylum seekers are forced to survive on incomes far below benefit
levels, which are already set at subsistence level.
• The full impact that the Universal Credit will have is yet to be

But people across the UK are organising to defend welfare. The Boycott
Workfare campaign recently forced the “Making Work Pay” conference to
relocate at short notice. Atos, the private company responsible for
depriving hundreds of thousands of people of sickness benefits, has had
many of its offices occupied, costing it thousands of pounds. Claimants
are sharing information on how to challenge the bullying and
discrimination that is rife in the new set-up.

This gathering is open to everyone who wants to take action to defend
welfare. We are a claimant-led network - our response to welfare reforms
is led by people who feel their effects the most – but the attacks on
welfare will affect us all whether we are in work or may need welfare as
parents, if we become unemployed, due to sickness or disability, or as
We plan to run the day with lots of discussion and chances to share ideas
and information in workshops and an open space session where we can set
the agenda on the day. If you can offer a workshop or would like to
propose something for the agenda, please get in touch.

Please help make the day happen!

• Let us know you can make it!
• The network does not have any funding, so if your group or union branch
can make a contribution to the costs of the room or participants' travel,
please help raise funds for it. Groups and individuals may want to
approach union branches or organise fundraisers to raise funds for your
• Let us know if you can help with food, childcare or facilitation on the
• Forward this invite to anyone else you know who might be interested,
post it on your blog or social media; mention it at meetings, and help
spread the word!

Here’s the agenda for the day:
11am Tea & Coffee
11.15am Introductions and who else is here?
11.35am Workshops from Boycott Workfare & The Anti-Atos Campaign
12.35-1.15pm Lunch – get open space agenda ideas
1.15pm Workshop on Attacks on Housing & Human Rights, Data and Privacy
2.15pm Feedback from workshops
2.30pm Quick break – set open space agenda
2.45pm Open Space Discussions – participants set the agenda and run
parallel discussions (can get tea and coffee throughout as no more breaks
3.45pm Feedback
4pm Next steps
5pm Finish

Facebook event:!/event.php?eid=258554577519629

Hope to see you there.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sorry! I couldn't resist it. Cloned from Larry Gambone's blog.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Will he be released in the prisoner exchange? Probably not. Salah has been moved to a new prison and his whereabouts are now known only to his captors.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Tapping into the energy surrounding November 30th and supporting a Xmas No 1 would expose trade unionism to millions of new people . . . but why stop there?
(by Donnacha DeLong - 24th September 2011)

The now annual fight between the X-Factor winner and people with taste for the Christmas No.1 spot in the UK charts was something of a damp squib last year.
Following the first failed mobilisation in 2008 (the battle of the Hallelujahs) and the glorious RATM victory in 2009, the uncoordinated multiple attempts last year failed badly.
So, I’d like to suggest something different for Christmas 2011 – how about some solidarity? The end of this year will either mark a period of victory for the trade union movement in the UK after the N30 day of action, or will be a period for reflection and rebuilding as we enter further battles in 2012. More than that, 2012 will mark the centenary of the highpoint of the Great Unrest, a period of radical trade union action in the UK that lasted from 1910 to 1914.
If there’s one song that best mobilises and celebrates the potential power of the trade union movement, it’s got to be the Wobbly anthem Solidarity Forever.
Imagine a new version of Solidarity Forever, bringing together a range of musicians and singers who want change and support solidarity amongst all working people. Imagine a version of this great song recorded like the BBC reworked Perfect Day a few years ago.
Like the idea? Well, I’m just a mere writer – I don’t own a label, or a recording studio or anything else that would be necessary to put this together. I’m just putting the idea out there, if you’re interested in getting involved, let’s see if we can pull people together and make it happen.
If you think this isn’t ambitious enough, how about following it with an album of radical trade union songs performed by contemporary artists? Selections from the IWW Little Red Songbook along with other songs from around the world, including the tribute to the executed writer of many of the Wobbly songs, Joe Hill, the CNT’s A Las Barricadas, Patrick Galvin’s James Connolly and many, many more.
It’s time for trade unions to celebrate our history and remind people how much our predecessors and forefathers achieved in their time. Without the radical unions of 100 years ago, we wouldn’t have weekends!
Aiming for the Christmas No. 1 is a chance to get a bit of publicity in an area where we’re normally absent – on radio, on iTunes, in the music press. Alongside the strikes and the battles with government, let’s get our songs out there as well and maybe encourage more people to get involved and join a union.
If you want to get involved, particularly if you know any musicians who might be interested, check out the Facebook page:
or comment on the original blog post

(Cloned from Union News)
Amitiés Particulières

There is a proverb I've been trying to remember, something like - Though the fox is cunning you can always buy its coat. Something along those lines.
"I'm sorry I broke the law, now let's move on." If only all lawbreakers could enter that plea; no overcrowded prisons, no backlog of cases to come to trial. I wonder what the Adam Smith Institute and the Taxdodgers Alliance think.
Teresa May should commission a report.

Monday, October 10, 2011

From the Angry Arab -

The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: Hitchens: In my first decade in the US, in the 1980s, Christopher Hitchens  was a leftist anti-Zionist writer.  The mainstream press strictly ignored...

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Paintings by Alasdair Gray, who I have adopted as my painter in absence.

Saturday, October 08, 2011


Friday, October 07, 2011

Yesterday was National Poetry Day; late again.

I was browsing in a bookshop today and picked up a book of poetry, by Seán O'Brien. £12.99 for the proverbial slim volume, no danger of my acquiring a copy. I'll look for it in the library.
One of the poems listed was called 'Cahiers du cinéma', a phrase of some weight to one with a predilection for the Nouvelle Vague of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
In fact the poem was about afternoons spent at the cinema in younger days. As Professor O'Brien's boyhood and youth were spent in Hull ( I knew his dad, we didn't get on), references to the city are sometimes found in his work, and so it was in this case. A mention of the Criterion picture house, 'Cri', in this case.

"Above the gulfs and Thrones and Dominations of the grim Criterion
I wondered at the vast occluded system of the secondary stars,"


"Arriving in the middle I could always leave when I came in,
Collapsing time into the image of an arrow shower
Curving out of sight, as in The Charge at Feather River –
Modernism, yes, but this was Hull: no 3-D specs for us."

Yep, nothing but the second best for us second-class citizens.

The whole poem is here on the net, the source of these quoted lines.
Pete Paphides writes on Bert Jansch in the Guardian 'Film and Music' section, with a video of the Pentangle's "Light Flight" thrown in -

"The Scottish folk singer Archie Fisher said it took him two lessons to teach Bert everything he knew. It would have taken one, but on the first lesson they went out and got drunk."

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Sad, sad news, the death of Bert Jansch.
He has been ill for some time but still the blow falls hard upon an admirer, particularly one who's older than his 67 years.
Now there remains only one of the "Three Kings", Davy Graham having passed away a couple of years ago. The accompanying video features Davy's "Angie", as played by Bert on his first, eponymous, album.

"... and yet he will continue to be, without doubt, the legendary Bert Jansch." (Colin Harper, "Dazzling Stranger")

Monday, October 03, 2011

"Libya's new rulers have named a new Cabinet, AP reports"
(from today's Guardian)
When was the election? I missed the news reports.

Demos - 'people', krateia - 'rule, government'; some people are governing Natostan, let's call it democracy.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

I don't know the provenance of this artwork. I came across it on facebook.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Reading through a book of Gaelic proverbs* I took a liking to these two -

A' chuiseag a dh'fhàsas anns an otrach 's i as àirde a thogas a ceann.
"The weed that grows on the dunghill lifts its head the highest."
(I know them, I know them.)

Is sona iadsann a chumas o lagh is o léigh.
"Happy are they who have no dealings with lawyers and doctors."

An old favourite of mine is Is cliùtach an onair no 'n t-òr.
"Honour is more commendable than gold."
(The poor man's consolation)

"Gaelic Proverbs", Babi Nic Leòid.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I did not believe what I heard, it sounded as if the Palestinians were occupying Israel. There was no empathy for the Palestinians, he only spoke of the Israeli problems.
He told us that it isn’t easy to achieve peace, thanks, we know this. He spoke about universal rights – Good, those same rights apply to Palestinians.
[The Americans] are applying enormous pressure on everybody at the UN, they are using threats and coercion. I wish they would invest the same energy in an attempt to promote peace, not threats.
(Hanan Ashrawi, lifted from Angry Arab2)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"What I will not do is provide cover for the ideological descendants of those who sent children up chimneys". (Chris Huhne)
Well, not during conference week anyway.
How the impartial BBC gathers "news" on Israel/Palestine -

Bicom is the British Israel Communications and Research Centre.
Sophie Long, whoever she is, must be in line for promotion.

(via Jews sans frontieres)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Who owns the Gleision mine?
Where is the management?
Has there been a statement about the deaths from either board or management?
If there has, I haven't seen or heard it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

<<¡Permanece la escucha!>>

Interview with Manu Chao (audio), plus videos.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Train of Thought

A bout de souffle 1959 by lesamisdejob

I have habit of bursting into song, blurting out snatches of lyrics that seem to come out of nowhere (cue for a song). "Where did that come form?" My Missus asks and I track back through the thought process that led to the lyric. There's always an explanation - a word spoken, an ad on the TV, something in the paper. If the reaction is immediate, no problem, but sometimes there's been an incubation period between reception and translation.
This morning I followed the process forward instead of retracing my steps. I saw the word dégueulasse in print. This word always reminds me of the end of the film "Breathless". "T'es vraiment dégueulasse" says the dying Belmondo to his betrayer. "Qu'est-ce que c'est, dégueulasse?" asks Jean Seberg of the onlooking crowd. Fade out.
So now I'm thinking about the picture, and a puzzle. I read somewhere that the director Truffaut had a walk-on part in the film, but I've never seen him. That leads me to another puzzle. The poet and scénariste Jacques Prévert is supposed to be among the wedding party in the film "Atalante". I've yet to catch sight of the bloke.
Then there's a head-scratcher that was answered eventually. The first time I saw Scorsese's "Mean Streets" I'm reading through the credits and I see among the musical acknowledgements "Maruzzella" by Renato Carosone.
Eh? My favourite song and I didn't hear it. Next time the picture's on the telly I'm watching and listening carefully, but nothing. OK, a third chance to see it and there it is, only just.
I'm not a fan of the film, but there are some good bits. One is played out by two of the Carradine brothers. A drunken David C. is in this club, pissed out of his skull. He gets up and staggers across to the jakes to relieve himself. A young fellow (Robert C.) gets up and follows him. What's this? A rent-boy scene, a drunk about to get rolled? No, the young fellow pulls out a pistol shoots your man dead. It's a professional killing. The victim gets it while he's having a hit-and-miss, the fate of Dutch Schultz.
What I missed first and second times of seeing "Mean Streets" was the very faint music in the background, I think from a juke box in another room. There it was, case closed.
But I'm still on the lookout for Truffaut and Prévert.

More about "Maruzzella" another time (Ricordi di una Genovesa bionda).

So all that's gone through my head because I saw a word, though I've reshuffled it, and put the solved case last instead of in between the other two. As the saying goes, I do love a happy ending. I'm keep telling myself that I'll keep a record of those Proustian processes from trigger to song, but I tell myself a lot of

[Tidying up: I got the names of the Carradines wrong originally and have since corrected them.]

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Concerning Clancy Sigal, to whom* I referred in my last post, and whose surname I managed to misspell.
I first encountered the gent's writing in the Guardian in 1959 0r 60. He had an article in the paper about London youth gangs. It was a piece of participant observation, he driving around with some gang members looking for bit of action. He claimed that he'd been accepted by the young blackguards because he had the right hairstyle, known in those days as the French schoolboy cut.
From the article I learned the the gangs were divided ethnically between 'Turks' (Irish), 'Spades' (Blacks) and 'Bubbles' (Greek Cypriot); fascinating stuff.
A couple of years later I came across a book bearing the Sigal name, "Weekend in Dinlock". This is a great yarn, probably a fictionalised account of a real person and his community. He is a miner who is also a talented painter. The narrator tries to persuade him to turn professional, without success, because real men hew coal.
"Weekend in Dinlock" is a story of northern working class life and attitudes that rings true, and it was written by an American. Funny that.
The next work of Sigal's that I encountered was "Going Away", seemingly fictionalised autobiography. The narrator, a fugitive from the McCarthy bloodhounds, crosses the United States from California to New York with the intention of emigrating. He looks up old comrades on the way and meets one person whose conversation induces a paranoid reaction; our narrator is close to breakdown.
I also got a copy of another autobiographical novel, "Zone of the Interior" which I have yet to read. This features a fictionalised version of Sigal's friend R.D.Laing, the unorthodox psychiatrist and hip guru of the 1960s. Laing's "Bird of Paradise" was an essential feature of every "progressive" student's bookshelf in the sixties, along with Marcuse's "One-Dimensional Man". Add a poster of Che, and one's trendy-lefty credentials were assured.
I've never seen the film "Frida", whose screenplay Sigal had a hand in, and, with luck, I never will. But I do enjoy reading articles etc., by the old class warrior.
Strange that neither the linked article or C.S's wikipedia entry mention the association with Doris Lessing.
Interesting to learn that 'Clancy' stands in for his real name, Clarence, his mother having named him for Clarence Darrow. I've always thought Clancy+Sigal an exotic hybrid.

*There's posh!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Good old Clancy Segal on good old Joe Hill, in the Guardian.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Can it be? That PM Cameron has joined his role model, Blair, on the list of British war criminals?

And, yes, this is a war. This has never been the enforcement of a No Fly Zone UN . resolution 1973 with the clause 'all necessary measures'Let's be real here. 'all necessary measures' falls beneath the No Fly Zone' edict and does not allow a situation of war. The NATO allies immediately when beyond the UN resolution and began an areal war and they began killing civilians almost immediately. This was, quite obviously, never meant to be a humanitarian effort.

Everything that NATO has done in Libya has been illegal.

Kellogg-Briand Pact, 1928, Art. I. The High Contracting Parties solemnly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another. Art. II. The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means.

Convention on Duties and Rights of States in the Event of Civil Strife, 1928, Art. 1. To forbid the traffic in arms and war material, except when intended for the Government, while the belligerency of the rebels has not been recognized, in which latter case the rules of neutrality shall be applied.

Nuremberg Charter, 1945. Crimes against peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy the accomplishment of any of the foregoing . . .

Civil & Political Rights Covenant, 1966, Art. 20. (1). Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.

SECRET CONTRACT AWARDS tolls imposed for the benefit of the State, he shall do it, as far as possible, in accordance with the rules in existence and the assessment in force, and will in consequence be bound to defray the expenses of the administration of the occupied territory on the same scale as that by which the legitimate Government was bound.

Mercenaries Convention, 1993, Art. 5. (1). States Parties shall not recruit, use, finance or train mercenaries and shall prohibit such activities.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

I see that David (or Dave) Cameron has described critics of his Libyan adventure as "armchair warriors". I should think so too, when the man's been out there in the desert, ducking bullets and leading from the front. More appreciation please.
I think he should have a medal struck for himself. His place in our military history is assured; Gordon of Khartoum, Lawrence of Arabia, Montgomery of Alamein, Cameron of ... NATO HQ.
A helpful hint to a searcher -
Addendum (5th Sept.) more Latin (and other) texts at -

Thursday, September 01, 2011

"So a UK minister has used a video on a government website to express government policy on Palestine and the Board of Deputies of British Jews has told him not to do that. And he has dutifully removed the video from the site.
"We now have two front page articles in the most recent edition of the Jewish Chronicle boasting of a Jewish lobby group's ability to effect government behaviour and policy. Next week perhaps there will be a couple of front pages telling us that it is antisemitic to speak of a Jewish lobby.
"In fairness to Jews like me, it should be called the zionist lobby and the Board of Deputies should make it clear it only represents a zionist perspective. But of course honesty has never been the best policy for zionists and honesty is certainly not going to be the policy of either the Board of Deputies or the Jewish Chronicle any time soon."
"I'm back and I'm proud." (Gene Vincent)

Not proud really, not humble either, but the above is the only quote I know containing the words "I'm back".
I suppose it's symptomatic of a lack of confidence in one's own writing that it's found necessary to quote others. I quote, with no sense of irony; " ... as judges shelter their knavery by precedents, so do scholars their ignorance by authority: and when they cannot reason, it is safer and less disgraceful to repeat that nonsense at second hand which they would be ashamed to give originally as their own." (John Horne Tooke, "Epea petroenta or the Diversions of Purley", 1829, though I found it in R. H. Harris's "A Short History of Linguistics", 3rd ed., 1990)
Gene Vincent was playing on the Black Power Movement's slogan about being black and proud.

I've been communing with the shades of my ancestors in the Kingdom of Fife. Or more prosaically, visiting birthplaces and trying to enter locked graveyards. I pointed out places of import to my grandchildren; "our ancestors once lived and worked on the land where those posh houses stand", etc. The response, "Can we go to the shops?" (Granddaughter). "Can we go to the beach?" (Grandson). Never mind, I tried. God loves a trier, as the old folks say.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

AWOL, but, like Dugout Doug MacArthur, I shall return.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


The IWW has reached an agreement which has secured full-payment of the London Living Wage with back pay until May 2011, the staff shortage to be filled and confirmation of the trade union rights of workers. Further discussions are underway on a recognition agreement with the IWW.
As result the IWW Cleaners Branch and London Delegates Committee has cancelled the demonstration called for tonight at the Heron Tower. We thank all trade unionists and fellow workers for their solidarity and support.
Once again the independent workers union the IWW has shown that direct action and solidarity of all union members in support of each other achieves results in the interests of our members.

Friday, August 19, 2011

My granddaughter told me about the dyslexic devil-worshipper who sold his soul to Santa, so I told her about the dyslexic, agnostic insomniac who lay awake all night wondering if there's a Dog.
Turns out she doesn't know what an agnostic is and my incoherent attempts at a definition were of no help.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

In fact the demonstration is at 5pm tomorrow, ‎110 Bishopsgate.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I liked the headline on Russia Today about the US embargo on* Cuba -
"Close but no cigar"

*(Thinks: should that be "embargo of Cuba"?)

Friday, August 12, 2011

(Image via Lansbuy's Lido, ex Ian Bone)

Workers Solidarity interviewed Hackney local and education worker, Alex Carver, about the roots of the London riots. Alex is a long standing activist in the IWW union, housing struggles in the East End, and the big left events since the start of the recession, most recently the M26 Militant Workers Block and the J30 Strike project. He was a direct witness to the rioting on Monday. Here he tells Workers Solidarity why he thinks that the riots are best understood by looking at class rather than race.

You went down to have a look at the riots, were you not afraid of being beaten and mugged? From media scare-mongering that's what would be expected by most people.

Well, I had no idea what to expect exactly, which is why I went, but no, I wasn’t – and I'm not scared by the riots now. I'm not about to glorify them either, but this is not the start of a new dark age.
What's happened in the rioting is an understandable reaction to the way things are set up – I’m reminded of the famous bank robber Willie Sutton answering the question ‘why do you rob banks?’ with ‘because that’s where the money is’. The kids robbed the shops because that's where the stuff is. They attacked the cops because they'd stop them. It was simultaneous, it was not two groups of people, one with a beef against the cops and another with light fingers – it was one group of mainly young people. They didn't attack each other, rape people, mug people - I was able to walk freely amongst them in my shirt and slacks straight from work; lots of people who were obviously not rioting walked with the crowd in daylight – many have said the mood turned later on but actually I stayed with it with a friend, who was also not dressed to fit in, until after midnight.
I understand things have been much nastier in other places; in Hackney at least, enough of the community were unafraid to go out and talk to the youth, even being supportive and sympathetic, to stop its total destruction.

Many were quick to say the rioting was not political – what did you think from what you saw?

When I went through Hackney on the bus the next morning, the damage visible told an interesting tale along with what I already know: Opticians with £100+ glasses, betting shops, estate agents, JD sports, Barclays, pawn shop/crack converters, electrical goods shop, M&S, a small police outpost and a Spar garage. On the other hand we know a local independent shop was thoroughly looted (the one we stopped being torched) and at least 5 cars were grilled.
The first list of targets was done by a mobile mob who left all other shops and buildings in between - very clearly targeting places with instant value goods, impersonal chain shops - or places they had a beef with. Then the second list of targets that are more obviously anti social happened mostly when the rioting had stagnated on Clarence Road next to the Pembury estate. Choices were being made about what to hit and what not to. If we look at who rioted and how they rioted, we can find political aspects to all this, just not a political motivation.

Do you think those on the left have any useful role to play in relation to the riots?

Along with lots of other leftists I have been watching and engaging, and it has been worthwhile: and I have got a really useful idea of what the atmosphere was like - in Hackney at least – and that’s so, so important. I can’t imagine how differently people who only saw this on TV or from miles down the road feel. We have also been advising on police tactics without encouraging the rioting – it is far worse for the area, in my mind, that any kid gets sent down; dealing with someone who has done a stretch is far harder than finding a directionless rudeboy focus. We have also stopped some bad things, like friendly fire incidents with bricks, and I helped my friend put out a fire in the shop on Clarence Road – again, we didn’t get stopped, lots of the crowd ran in and helped; it was almost as if they were making up their minds. I'm terrified I'll be done for going into the shop though, I can’t imagine a judge believing I was putting out the fire whilst everyone else was pilfering the drinks.

What do you see as the main reasons people are rioting? The left, at least, is identifying racism as a major cause.

I feel quite strongly on this. It is not about race, and it’s not about the shooting either. Those are only elements in an overall economic situation. Up and down the country a racial mix of youth have been taking advantage of the chaos - together. I saw this mix personally, but you can see it on the news and internet too. People are looting because they want things. That’s economic and social, that's not some kind of misguided protest at police racism.
In fact the whole narrative of police racism is useless here. You don't nick shoes'n'brews and run from the police 'cos you feel harassed by Stop and Search, and certainly not these kids - they're scallies, rudeboys, they get stopped 'cos they're the kind of kids who do naughty things - like they're doing now. They feel harassed certainly, but they also feel fully excluded from far more than polite treatment by the cops; otherwise their behaviour is inexplicable.
Things have moved on from the early 1990s in terms of policing, but also, things were never really primarily about race rather than poverty in many of the previous famous riots. The people at the bottom of the heap are there because they came to the UK as poor migrants and have been slotted into their new society at the same level at best, or even lower most of the time. This isn’t because all half-decent jobs bar ethnic minorities; look at the difference between Bangladeshi migrants and Indian migrants in terms of earnings and social position; is white English peoples’ racism so complex that they manage to exclude Banglas but allow Indians a foot on the ladder? Of course not.
Social outcomes are primarily set by economic background, your class. Of course that ties in with ethnic groups, but it is that way round. Not the other. Some ethnic communities are poor, their poverty leads to exclusion, which leads to a disregard for the law, which leads to police attention, which leads to grievances. Of course this is also true for completely native white communities too – indeed, poverty is generally shared in mixed race communities. A legion of liars will now come out of the woodwork to try and make this about race and policing, not capitalism. Ignore them and their false 'community' - they are the problem, not the solution.
I know that saying this is considered racist by a whole range of people on the left, in education, in community organisations, in the unions. Even people with a class analysis seem to be obsessed with racism being the core oppression in the UK. I can just see how badly attempting to express what I have just said to a colleague at my school would go.
"Racism man. It's so bad. That shit's like, gotta stop? You know you cross the road sometimes: feel guilty. Police - of course they're racist, especially the coconuts who are ashamed of their blackness (that's not racist 'cos its anti police and the police are racist, see, so it's not). We need to have a long hard talk about racism, lots of awareness training, more black role models, less England flags, more Carnival; we need to kill the racist inside us. The crime figures, unemployment figures, academic figures, homelessness stats - how can you look at them and not see how racist this country is? What do you mean, class is an easily more significant factor? You definitely need to go on a course about this. I bet you don’t even like spicy food."
A lot of my parents’ generation take 'institutional racism' as a given, due to the recent history of colonialism for them and the experience of the early days of mass migration to this country. They see it as a huge issue, and are encouraged to do so by both the right and the left of every stripe, television and print media, historians and authors alike. Very few people think it is actually an easier issue than class, very few realise it is actually an easy excuse for the powers that be. We aren’t confronting the establishment with their racism, we’re letting their economic system off the hook. If they can say the riots are about racism, and they can racialise the obviously economic elements, they can muddy the water and keep public opinion divided and divisive. The right will be bolstered by indignant white people and the left will throw itself into
1) attacking the right,
2) more pointless race initiatives that actually stigmatise and divide our communities as opposed to uniting them.
What visibly unites the rioters is not race, but from up and down the country - dress code. The police see people like that and make the probably very accurate assumption about where that person is from and the kind of attitude they have - and they harass them, they stop them, they give them grief; cos they are think they are from a poor, dispossessed place both literally and psychologically - and are likelier to have committed some street crime.
Why am I not allowed to say that? That crime is linked to poverty? Are we not the left any more, and now have some kind of oppression - lead analysis of everything?

What about the argument that the riot is primarily caused by poor policing and in particular police harassment?

Police visibly target visible crimes, because not only are these easier to solve but they are under pressure from the public: the kind of person who writes to their local paper cannot see fraud and rape, they see street robbery and vandalism. This means police spend most of their time focussing on kids in sportswear; what I'm saying is that this isn't the police being massively prejudiced, it's them going to where the kind of crimes they are told to deal with are.
Police harassment leads to a dislike of the police, but the explosion of disregard for the law over the last few days needs to be seen a broader phenomenon with many factors playing a role in creating the character of the riots. This is actually a far more rewarding way to look at things from a left perspective because it suggests that there are systemic problems that 'better policing' will never address.
The police are slammed again and again about the racism that must be endemic in the Force due to the figures for Stop and Search and the prison population; if they alone could do something about it, they would have. I think the truth is that demanding the figures change is just a game politicians play to complicate a straightforward class and poverty issue - that the geographic areas the prison population and kids who get regularly stopped come from, are poor areas abandoned by the political class, with demands unmet by the economy.
To say whether we think the police unfairly target people of a certain age, race, or appearance is to pointlessly put ourselves in their shoes rather than focus on the bigger issue of why crime happens. I think the important thing about police harassment here is to understand that it exists as a concept in its own right – it has a life of its own.
What matters is that we accept people in many ethnic communities, areas, and age groups, discuss police harassment and are encouraged to do so by politicians and the race industry (all the dodgy think tanks, campaign groups, 'race advisers' etc.) and the ‘community leaders’ that rub shoulders with the race industry and MPs. This is convenient for the political class, as it gets people into a proper tizzy over who is harassed and who is not, why they are harassed, who can be in the oppressed group, who has a legitimate grievance, who gets the funding for their project – etc.
Coming to this situation as someone who wants everyone to be in the same community organisations reveals just how clever the move to special interest groups by the last four governments has been. Until now it has kept a lid on things as our traditional support networks at work and at home have been destroyed along with our job and housing security. People will often yell ‘police harassment’ as a battle cry – the war is over our entire quality of life and sense of belonging.

What do you think will be the consequences after the riots?

Well I can only speak about Hackney, where no one lost their home or died. But if the looting continues nightly and Primark and M&S close down forever, what of it? What will make us happy is a choice of jobs, homes, places to spend time with our friends - not a choice of groceries and underwear. Perhaps this will help more people see that. From the flames comes clarity. The obvious inability of the cops to gain control in the last week means that hopefully we won’t talk endlessly about better policing of poverty, but address this violence by looking at what the answer really is; a society where
1) we feel included, all of us, as many as possible, and
2) where what we want isn't behind glass.