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.