Monday, December 30, 2013

A true story - but, you know, the jobless figures are falling.
(Ralph Chaplin)

Go fight, you fools! Tear up the earth with strife
And spill each other's guts upon the field;
Serve unto death the men you served in life
So that their wide dominions may not yield.

Stand by the flag, the lie that still allures;
Lay down your lives for land you do not own,
And give unto a war that is not yours
Your gory tithe of mangled flesh and bone.

But whether in the fray to fall or kill
You must not pause to question why nor where.
You see the tiny crosses on that hill?
It took all those to make one millionaire.

It was for him the seas of blood were shed,
That fields were razed and cities lit the sky;
That he might come to chortle o'er the dead;
The condor thing for whom the millions die!

The bugle screams, the cannons cease to roar,
Enough! enough! God give us peace again.
The rats, the maggots and the Lords of War
Are fat to bursting from their meal of men.

So stagger back, you stupid dupes, back to
Your stricken towns to toil anew,
For there your dismal tasks are still undone
And grim starvation gropes again for you.

What matters now your flag, your race, the skill
Of scattered legions - what has been the gain?
Once more beneath the lash you must distil
Your lives to glut a glory wrought of pain.

In peace they starve you to your loathsome toil,
In war they drive you to the teeth of Death;
And when your life-blood soaks into their soil
They give you lies to choke your dying breath.

So they will smite your blind eyes till you see
And lash your naked backs until you know
That wasted blood can never set you free
From fettered thrall unto the Common Foe.

Then you will find that nation is a name
And boundaries are things that don't exist
That labor's bondage, worldwide, is the same
And ONE the enemy it must resist.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Comment from David C., of Hull -

On Christmas eve I think it was, two headlines caught my eye. The first one was:

"Hull Council axes hundreds of jobs"

This means nearly 400 people are to lose their jobs at Hull Council as part of wider
efforts to reduce spending. Services across the board face cuts, including everything from adult social care to Streetscene and children's services. The mobile library service also faces the axe, while opening times are under review at libraries, leisure services and museums across the city.

The second headline was:

"Hull ‘among worst places to find work‘"

Employment website's UK Job Market Report found there were 31.57 jobseekers for each vacancy, which meant the city was with Salford, Sunderland and Wirral as among the worst places on both lists. Not much hope then for the nearly 400 people sacked by Hull City Council. But Adzuna co-founder Andrew Hunter said Hull had a "great opportunity" to become the next UK City of Culture and this could see large benefits.
His predictions don't make much sense when it has been known for weeks that Hull has already been awarded UK City of Culture status. Methinks however that this dubious honour is something of a poisoned chalice, as this fanciful extravagance is going to cost the citizens of Hull £15,000,000.
The bunch of Scrooges which comprises Hull's business fraternity has offered a
miserly £17,000 each to the pot. While Hull City Council has donated £3million. Now
it tells 400 of its workers that it cannot afford to employ them. Will they, now facing a miserable future of long term unemployment, be happy in the knowledge that their jobs were sacrificed so that the city fathers can bask in the glow of this dubious honour, the status of city of culture?
And where is the remainder of the £15 million to come from? Increased council tax
no doubt. I hope all those who where whooping and partying when the result was
announced will now take stock because they, along with the rest of us, will be
paying through their noses.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

"Zionist propaganda may be the very mother of invention but it cannot plug up the massive holes in its own narrative. The holes are big enough to drive one of their bombers through but before the Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israeli apartheid policies most people couldn’t make sense of Israel’s conflict with Palestinians & believed Palestinians were all terrorists. That propaganda coup led to decades of unspeakable crimes, treacheries, & the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

"Some who oppose the BDS movement do so precisely because it is proving so effective against Zionist lies. Others who oppose BDS claim it would put undue pressure on Israeli citizens rather than the government. Is there a problem with that!? If Israelis do not face the facts & consequences of their government’s apartheid policies & stand up to resist them, they become accomplices--whether they know it or not. And they pay a price for it whether they know it or not since money needed for housing within Israel goes for building settlements in the West Bank & for maintaining Israel’s bloated military arsenal.

"In one short piece you can’t deconstruct every damn Zionist lie but there are some too egregious to ignore. This photo is a Gazan man holding the body of his 3-year-old niece, Hala Abu Sebakha who was killed by shrapnel from one of several Israeli air strikes on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day. The Israeli military claimed the bombing across Gaza targeted a weapons manufacturing facility, a concealed rocket launcher, & Gaza’s “terror infrastructure” & were retaliation for the fatal shooting by a Palestinian sniper of an Israeli civilian doing maintenance on the barrier wall. Of course Israel & media neglect to mention that the shooting of the maintenance man on December 24th followed the murder of Gazan, Odeh Hamad by Israeli soldiers on December 20th. More importantly, doesn't it constitute criminal insanity when you bomb an entire population for the alleged act of one rogue sniper?

"A whole host of Israeli spokespersons defended the barbaric attacks by pointing to an alleged spate of Palestinian attacks on Israel. Israel’s Shin Bet security service reported a rise in incidents of Palestinian violence in Jerusalem & the West Bank. Are they speaking of Palestinian resistance to Israeli land expropriations by Zionist settlers? Because there is considerable photojournalist documentation of Israeli crimes against Palestinians but there isn’t a shred of proof for Israel’s allegations of increased violence by Palestinians--either by Hamas or individual operatives. Netanyahu’s spokesperson, the national police chief, & a cabinet minister all said the increased violence was to derail current peace negotiations between Israel & the Palestinian Authority. Are they for real!? Only Zionists could treat such sarcasms with respect.

"The good news is that BDS is indeed beginning to have an impact on Israeli citizens. A group of Israeli actors who oppose Israel’s settlement policy refused to perform in a play at the state-funded performance center in the West Bank settlement of Ariel. Previously, when the center opened in 2010, 60 Israeli actors boycotted the inaugural performances. Ariel was founded as a Zionist settlement in 1978 when Israel handed over land expropriated from Palestinians for Israeli military purposes (a confiscation method still used today); it now has 20,000 residents."

(Photo by Adel Hana/AP)

To make honoring BDS easier, these links list products & companies to be boycotted:

(Copyleft, Mary Scully)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

(Killed at Mims, Florida, on Christmas night, 1951)

(Langston Hughes)

Florida means land of flowers.
It was on Christmas night
In the state named for the flowers
Men came bearing dynamite.

Men came stealing through the orange groves
Bearing hate instead of love,
While the Star of Bethlehem
Was in the sky above.

Oh, memories of a Christmas evening
When Wise Men traveled from afar
Seeking out a lowly manger
Guided by a Holy Star!

Oh, memories of a Christmas evening
When to Bethlehem there came
"Peace on earth, good will to men"--
Jesus was His name.

But they must've forgotten Jesus
Down in Florida that night
Stealing through the orange groves
Bearing hate and dynamite.

It was a little cottage,
A family, name of Moore.
In the windows wreaths of holly,
And a pine wreath on the door.

Christmas, 1951,
The family prayers were said
When father, mother, daughter,
And grandmother went to bed.

The father's name was Harry Moore.
The N.A.A.C.P.
Told him to carry out its work
That Negroes might be free.

So it was that Harry Moore
(So deeply did he care)
Sought the right for men to live
With their heads up everywhere.

Because of that, white killers,
Who like Negroes "in their place,"
Came stealing through the orange groves
On that night of dark disgrace.

It could not be in Jesus' name,
Beneath the bedroom floor,
On Christmas night the killers
Hid the bomb for Harry Moore.

It could not be in Jesus' name
The killers took his life,
Blew his home to pieces
And killed his faithful wife.

It could not be for the sake of love
They did this awful thing--
For when the bomb exploded
No hearts were heard to sing.

And certainly no angels cried,
"Peace on earth, good will to men"--
But around the world an echo hurled
A question: When?...When?....When?

When will men for sake of peace
And for democracy
Learn no bombs a man can make
Keep men from being free?

It seems that I hear Harry Moore.
From the earth his voice cries,
No bomb can kill the dreams I hold--
For freedom never dies!

I will not stop! I will not stop--
For freedom never dies!
I will not stop! I will not stop!
Freedom never dies!

So should you see our Harry Moore
Walking on a Christmas night,
Don't run and hide, you killers,
He has no dynamite.

In his heart is only love
For all the human race,
And all he wants is for every man
To have his rightful place.

And this he says, our Harry Moore,
As from the grave he cries:
No bomb can kill the dreams I hold
For freedom never dies!

Freedom never dies, I say!
Freedom never dies!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Dylan Jeavons again.

Monday, December 23, 2013

(Louis Aragon)

Vous n'avez réclamé la gloire ni les larmes
Ni l'orgue, ni la prière aux agonisants
Onze ans déjà, que cela passe vite onze ans
Vous vous étiez servi simplement de vos armes
La mort n'éblouit pas les yeux des partisans.

Vous aviez vos portraits sur les murs de nos villes
Noirs de barbe et de nuit, hirsutes, menaçants
L'affiche qui semblait une tache de sang
Parce qu'à prononcer vos noms sont difficiles
Y cherchait un effet de peur sur les passants.

Nul ne semblait vous voir Français de préférence
Les gens allaient sans yeux pour vous le jour durant
Mais à l'heure du couvre-feu des doigts errants
Avaient écrit sous vos photos " Morts pour la France "
Et les mornes matins en étaient différents.

Tout avait la couleur uniforme du givre
À la fin février pour vos derniers moments
Et c'est alors que l'un de vous dit calmement :
"Bonheur à tous, bonheur à ceux qui vont survivre
Je meurs sans haine en moi pour le peuple allemand."

"Adieu la peine et le plaisir. Adieu les roses
Adieu la vie. Adieu la lumière et le vent
Marie-toi, sois heureuse et pense à moi souvent
Toi qui vas demeurer dans la beauté des choses
Quand tout sera fini plus tard en Erevan."

"Un grand soleil d'hiver éclaire la colline
Que la nature est belle et que le coeur me fend
La justice viendra sur nos pas triomphants
Ma Mélinée, ô mon amour, mon orpheline
Et je te dis de vivre et d'avoir un enfant."

Ils étaient vingt et trois quand les fusils fleurirent
Vingt et trois qui donnaient le coeur avant le temps
Vingt et trois étrangers et nos frères pourtant
Vingt et trois amoureux de vivre à en mourir
Vingt et trois qui criaient "la France!" en s'abattant.


You demanded neither glory nor tears
Nor organ music, nor last rites
Eleven years already, how quickly eleven years go by,
You made use simply of your weapons
Death does not dazzle the eyes of partisans.

You had your pictures on the walls of our cities
Black with beard and night, hirsute, threatening
The poster, that seemed like a bloodstain,
Using your names that are hard to pronounce,
Sought to sow fear in the passers-by.

No one seemed to see you French by choice
People went by all day without eyes for you,
But at curfew wandering fingers
Wrote under your photos "Fallen for France"
And it made the dismal mornings different.

Everything had the unvarying colour of frost
In late February for your last moments
And that's when one of you said calmly:
"Happiness to all, happiness to those who survive,
I die with no hate in me for the German people.

"Goodbye to pain, goodbye to pleasure. Farewell the roses,
Farewell life, the light and the wind.
Marry, be happy and think of me often
You who will remain in the beauty of things
When it's all over one day in Erevan.

"A broad winter sun lights up the hill
How nature is beautiful and how my heart breaks
Justice will come on our triumphant footsteps,
My Mélinée, o my love, my orphan girl,
And I tell you to live and to have a child."

There were twenty-three of them when the guns flowered
Twenty-three who gave their hearts before it was time,
Twenty-three foreigners and yet our brothers
Twenty-three in love with life to the point of losing it
Twenty-three who cried "France!" as they fell.

Memorial to the executed partisans of the Manouchian Network, men who fought and died for the country that gave them refuge from the Nazis, Mussolini's Fascists, Franco's murderers and torturers. Their killers sought to make propaganda from their alien identities, and failed.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Copyleft FW D.J. Alperowitz
"Previously undisclosed evidence held by the US intelligence authorities backs up long-held suspicions that a Palestinian militant group, rather than a single Libyan national, masterminded the Lockerbie bombing, according to a new investigation broadcast by Channel 4."

"Undisclosed", not "fresh", as described elsewhere.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Many years ago I saw a photograph of a painting by Jack Yeats entitled "My Beautiful, My Beautiful", which I thought a strange title. It was sometime later in a copy of "Ireland's Own" (my mother's favourite read) I read the poem by Caroline Norton which gave the painting its name (and its subject?). The author was the daughter of Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Apparently a much wronged woman in her marriage she became a radical campaigner for reform of marriage law. She appears also to have used her talents to highlight to treatment of children in the workplace.
The poem is not really one I'd find to my taste. It's just that painting and its title that drew my attention.
Jack Butler Yeats has a poetic connection through his brother, William B., and I remember reading that he encouraged the English poet John Masefield to pen verse of an Irish Nationalist sentiment under the pseudonym "Wolfe Tone MacGowan" (or was it "O'Gowan"? Memory fails).

(Caroline Norton)

MY beautiful! my beautiful! that standest meekly by
With thy proudly arched and glossy neck, and dark and fiery eye;
Fret not to roam the desert now, with all thy winged speed—
I may not mount on thee again—thou’rt sold, my Arab steed!
Fret not with that impatient hoof—snuff not the breezy wind—
The further that thou fliest now, so far am I behind;
The stranger hath thy bridle rein—thy master hath his gold—
Fleet‐limbed and beautiful! farewell!—thou’rt sold, my steed—thou’rt sold!

Farewell! those free untired limbs, full many a mile must roam,
To reach the chill and wintry sky, which clouds the stranger’s home;
Some other hand, less fond, must now thy corn and bed prepare;
The silky mane I braided once, must be another’s care!
The morning sun shall dawn again, but never more with thee
Shall I gallop through the desert paths, where we were wont to be:
Evening shall darken on the earth; and o’er the sandy plain
Some other steed, with slower step, shall bear me home again.

Yes, thou must go! the wild free breeze, the brilliant sun and sky,
Thy master’s home—from all of these, my exiled one must fly.
Thy proud dark eye will grow less proud, thy step become less fleet,
And vainly shalt thou arch thy neck, thy master’s hand to meet.
Only in sleep shall I behold that dark eye, glancing bright
Only in sleep shall hear again that step so firm and light:
And when I raise my dreaming arm to check or cheer thy speed,
Then must I starting wake, to feel—thou’rt sold, my Arab steed!

Ah! rudely then, unseen by me, some cruel hand may chide,
Till foam‐wreaths lie, like crested waves, along thy panting side:
And the rich blood, that is in thee swells, in thy indignant pain,
Till careless eyes, which rest on thee, may count each started vein.
Will they ill‐use thee? If I thought—but no, it cannot be—
Thou art so swift, yet easy curbed; so gentle, yet so free.
And yet, if haply when thou’rt gone, my lonely heart should yearn—
Can the hand which casts thee from it now, command thee to return?

Return!—alas! my Arab steed! what shall thy master do,
When thou who wert his all of joy, hast vanished from his view?
When the dim distance cheats mine eye, and through the gath’ring tears
Thy bright form, for a moment, like the false mirâge appears.
Slow and unmounted will I roam, with weary foot alone,
Where with fleet step, and joyous bound, thou oft hast borne me on;
And, sitting down by that green well, I‘ll pause and sadly think,
“It was here he bowed his glossy neck, when last I saw him drink!”

When last I saw thee drink!—away! the fevered dream is o’er—
I could not live a day, and know, that we should meet no more!
They tempted me, my beautiful! for hunger’s power is strong—
They tempted me, my beautiful! but I have loved too long.
Who said that I had given thee up? Who said that thou wert sold?
’Tis false—’tis false, my Arab steed! I fling them back their gold!
Thus, thus, I leap upon thy back, and scour the distant plains;
Away! who overtakes us now, shall claim thee for his pains!

Season's greetings from UK City of Culture 2017

Also called 'Ull, John Bull (rhyming slang), Cod City, Bridgetown (CB radio), Kingston upon Hull, Villa Regia (Latin version).

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wayhay! The Cameronian desperadoes have publish an "educational aid" to be distributed to schools. It's probably illegal, but so is slavery, and the Tories are reintroducing that under a variety of euphemistic titles. A few quotes -

“Regardless of our political affiliation, almost all teenagers of the 80′s are Margaret Thatcher’s children. By applying Conservative principles and values, she was able to achieve a real, lasting legacy for this country.”

“The Conservative Party is the party of fairness. Under the last Labour Government, people got paid more to stay out of work, top pay got out of control and bankers’ bonuses ballooned.”

“What is the most important thing the Conservative Party has accomplished whilst in government?” [Asked four times with responses from different MPs]

“The modern Conservative Party is on the side of those who want to work hard and get on in life.”

Monday, December 16, 2013

"Who are the winners in the new situation? One is Assad because the opposition to him – which started as a popular uprising against a cruel, corrupt and oppressive dictatorship in 2011 – has become a fragmented movement dominated by al-Qa’ida umbrella organisation the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil); the other al-Qa’ida franchisee, the al-Nusra Front; and the Islamic Front, consisting of six or seven large rebel military formations numbering an estimated 50,000 fighters, whose uniting factor is Saudi money and an extreme Sunni ideology similar to Saudi Arabia’s version of Islam.
The Saudis see this alliance as capable of fighting pro-Assad forces as well as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, but Riyadh’s objections to the latter appears to be based on its independence of Saudi control rather than revulsion at its record of slaughtering Shia, Alawi, Christians, Armenians, Kurds, Turkomans or any dissenting Sunni."
Patrick Cockburn

Sunday, December 15, 2013

There is a degree of logic in Allam’s plan. Overspending linked to Hull’s last flirtation with the Premier League, 2008-10, ended with bankruptcy looming before Allam rescued them. Through Allamhouse Ltd he has since loaned (not given) £72m (at five per cent interest), bankrolling losses of £20m, £9m and £26m in successive seasons. Allam, notes the current Private Eye, can use these losses to reduce tax on profits by Allam Marine, but would rather turn a profit and cut that debt. Premier League TV income will help, but there may not be much left with a mushrooming wage bill to meet.
It is not just the club that is in the red. There is a reason Hull’s shirt sponsors are a company specialising in pawnbroking and payday loans. Last month the government’s Money Advice Service identified Hull as Britain’s most heavily indebted area, with 43 per cent of the population enduring serious financial problems. Clearly there is a limit to how much money, either individual or corporate, can be leveraged from this supporter base, especially as the KC Stadium is council-owned (another source of contention with Allam).
(Glenn Moore, The Independent)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

(William Butler Yeats)

Although I shelter from the rain
Under a broken tree
My chair was nearest to the fire
In every company
That talked of love or politics,
Ere Time transfigured me.

Though lads are making pikes again
For some conspiracy,
And crazy rascals rage their fill
At human tyranny,
My contemplations are of Time
That has transfigured me.

There’s not a woman turns her face
Upon a broken tree,
And yet the beauties that I loved
Are in my memory;
I spit into the face of Time
That has transfigured me.

Well, I don't spit in Time's face, but I do pull faces behind its back.
"The Alzheimer's Society has called for a sevenfold increase in research funding into dementia as health bosses gather for Wednesday's G8 summit in London on the issue.
David Cameron, who is hosting the summit has pledged to double funding for dementia research from between 2015 and 2025 to £122m"
(The Guardian)
Which reminds me -
"Brazilian physician Drauzio Varella has calculated that the world invests five times as much in male sex stimulants and female silicone implants as in finding a cure for Alzheimer's.
"' In a few years', he prophesied, 'we will have old women with huge tits and old men with stiff cocks, but none of them will remember what they are for.'"
Eduardo Galeano (tr. Mark Fried)

Friday, December 13, 2013

A POETRY SEASON I think this is my fourth. Nothing planned, I'll set the blog to random.
Here's a gent whose work has featured before, Idris Davies, and here's another poem about striking miners, also about their enemies in their own communities.


Mrs. Evans fach, you want butter again.
How will you pay for it now, little woman
With your husband out on strike, and full
Of the fiery language? Ay, I know him,
His head is full of fire and brimstone
And a lot of palaver about communism,
And me, little Dan the Grocer
Depending so much on private enterprise.

What, depending on the miners and their
Money too? O yes, in a way, Mrs. Evans,
Come tomorrow, little woman, and I'll tell you then
What I have decided overnight.
Go home now and tell that rash red husband of yours
That your grocer cannot afford to go on strike
Or what would happen to the butter from Carmarthen?
Good day for now, Mrs. Evans fach.

'Fach', in case it's not clear, is a Welsh form of address, literally meaning 'little'. It might be taken as a term of affection. But here it could be interpreted as an intimation of superiority, from the big man to the little woman.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

No, you can't have the stadium. The banks want their money. Will you be declaring bankruptcy? When you are gone the City of Hull will still be here, and its football club will be called Hull City.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Yesterday marked three years since our old comrade and drinking crony, John T., alias Homebrew, died. The poem below was read out at his funeral mass and created an emotional moment. The gaps represent the names of John's friends mentioned in the poem, who I would not name here without their permission. Other proper names are mostly pubs.

(for John Tempest)


In the Trades Council Club, Beverley Road,
sucking stout from his Shavian yellow beard,
a sparkling mischievousness made me welcome in
Humberside, Land of Green Ginger, Polar Bear,
and picketing anti-union Wilberforce.

Down a dark passage in Saint Hilda Street,
opened a world of sulphurous parrots, giant
poodles and backyard rotationally stacked with
home-brewed India Pale, a brown, muddy stout
parlour ay brimming with step dance and song.

The Station, Sandringham, Star and Garter -
weekend paper rounds with United Irishman
and Rosc Catha, pricking consciences, organising
action by those who folded their politics neatly into
jacket pockets, building a gentle subversion.

After I left, from corner hides, outcasts from Kerry
Reek and Black Sod, ---------------------------------
built a piece of home with you as Architect, Site Agent
and Steward who would never evict for lacking rent.

------------------------------------- Dick Whittington,
Airlie Birds and Hessle Bank, smell of smoked cod
on hot summer days mowing grass in Pearson Park'
but most of all, decades later on Howth Hill, when

I think of Hull, I think of Home-Brew -
laughing company, generous friend, courageous comrade,
ever youthful, minding me of great, fearless days when -
no matter how high the wall we ran along - we never
ever glanced down, our eyes set firmly on the stars.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Portrait by Xavier Ghazi

"We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians"
"The Palestinian state cannot be the by-product of the Jewish state, just in order to keep the Jewish purity of Israel. Israel’s racial discrimination is daily life of most Palestinians. Since Israel is a Jewish state, Israeli Jews are able to accrue special rights which non-Jews cannot do. Palestinian Arabs have no place in a “Jewish” state.
Apartheid is a crime against humanity. Israel has deprived millions of Palestinians of their liberty and property. It has perpetuated a system of gross racial discrimination and inequality. It has systematically incarcerated and tortured thousands of Palestinians, contrary to the rules of international law. It has, in particular, waged a war against a civilian population, in particular children."

"Israel should withdraw from all the areas which it won from the Arabs in 1967, and in particular Israel should withdraw completely from the Golan Heights, from south Lebanon and from the West Bank."

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

Farewell, Madiba, the fight against apartheid will go on.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Dershowitz v. Chomsky

"Dershowitz is presented, again accurately and on the basis of abundant documentation, as a dirty fighter with a readiness to twist the truth to serve his Zionist predilections, which include support for the post-9/11 drift toward authoritarian governance, and an outrageous willingness to play the anti-Semitic card even against someone of Chomsky’s extraordinary academic achievements in the field of linguistics and of global stature as the world’s leading public intellectual, who has an impeccable lifelong record of moral courage and fidelity to the truth. Dershowitz has devoted his destructive energies to derailing tenure appointments for critics of Israel and for using his leverage to badger publishers to refrain from taking on books, however meritorious, if they present either himself or Israel in what he views to be a negative light.

(Richard Falk reviews Howard Friel's "Chomsky and Dershowitz: on endless war and the end of civil liberties"

The bad old days will end: Why Oh why can't we be more Korean?

"Fewer teenage pregnancies and more teenage suicides is clearly the way to go ..."

The bad old days will end: Why Oh why can't we be more Korean?: Why are we so crap? Our national football team is a waste of space, cricket wise we are being shafted by the Aussies and now we find that ou...

(Continues here, link at the end of the post does not work)

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Brace yourselves men - incoming headscarf!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Author of bookie-wookie sticks it to the Dirty Digger and all who sail in him.
I used to dislike Russell Brand intensely (cf. "bookie-wookie"), but no more. The scum he's offended will even now be raking through his dustbins, waving cheques at his ex-girlfriends, and perhaps, hacking into his phone. After all, as he points out, they appear to have learned nothing from the revelations of their criminal activities.

"More importantly these corporations, whether they're selling information or consumer goods, collude in a pervasive myth and toil to keep us uninformed on important matters such as the environment, economic inequality, and distracted by vapid celebrity claptrap. The Sun don't want an informed populace rejecting their bigoted dogma and daily objectification of women. Tescos don't want engaged and educated consumers recognising the damage that their corporate marauding does to communities, agriculture and local businesses. Their agenda is the same."

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Hull is ranked number one debt hot spot in country
(Hull daily Mail)

Welcome to Hull - city of culture 2017; city of poverty 2013 (or any year you choose). The town that gets its priorities right.
And please! None of that cobblers about creating thousands of jobs; or hundreds of jobs; or jobs.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Some confused thinking here -
Domestic slavery is wrong, perhaps even a crime. Commercial and industrial slavery, however, are not only acceptable, they are to be encouraged. So we have zero hour contracts and workfare.
Where, I wonder, does the trafficking of sex slaves lie in this contradictory situation. It is, after all, a business. Perhaps Mrs. Thatcher's tutor, Sir Keith Joseph, could our guide: "We must teach the young that there is nothing immoral in making a profit". Or Milton Friedman: "a corporation cannot be ethical; its only responsibility is to turn a profit". These gentlemen would surely have approved of slavery in all its forms if it was profitable.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Someone whose appearance is almost as cadaverous as mine, but a great singer and songwriter. This is called "Avec le temps", about love that doesn't last. "Avec le temps ... vraiment ... on n'aime plus." I just bought a CD with this song on, and I'm playing it all the time.

I almost forgot to name the gent, the great Léo Ferré.
If the video isn't working, and it isn't for me, then here's the link.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

This is Clancy Sigal's tribute to his old friend Doris Lessing. She took him in when he was an illegal immigrant in this country, a fugitive from the McCarthy bloodhounds in the USA.

Thanks to all of you who offered condolences. The New Republic magazine asked me for this.

The Doris Lessing I Knew: Young, Passionate, and Struggling to Keep It Together


From her obituaries, and the serious critical assessments of her work, I hardly recognize the Doris Lessing I knew. I don’t fault the obit writers (I used to be one) or critics and admirers for attempting the tricky job of collating into a coherent narrative the Bunyanesque episodes and human contradictions in Lessing’s life and work. Indeed, it was not the later “Great Author” who I knew, but a young, romantic, passionate, fiercely ambitious single mother pounding away at a portable typewriter trying—as we all did—to keep it together. For her, that meant raising an adolescent son on her own, coping with England’s male-dominated literary establishment, and splitting her loyalties between an old-fashioned, collapsing communism and taking in the gritty gray sooty messy life in post-Blitz London.
Lest we get too solemn, she also had a wonderful sense of humor. Nothing pleased her more than to be dragged unwillingly to the local Odeon cinema showing the latest double-entendre “Carry On” low-class comedy (try Carry On Up The Khyber in cockney slang and you’ll get it) and then fall about laughing. Her famous waspishness and judgmentalism I’ll leave to others; we just had a lot of fun.
The “other” Doris I knew was a fabulous improvisational cook, a good friend, wryly skeptical comrade, temperamental lover (she had lots to be temperamental about!), a sturdy anti-racialist (without illusions about the black nationalist comrades), a fighter against the Left’s inherited philistinism and its fear of deviating artists. And—like me—a born protester.
I came to England not yet a writer. She tried to calm my fears, sternly telling me it was all “writing pains.” At the time, she claimed to be blocked on the novel that would become The Golden Notebook; I was struggling with a first book. We may have helped each other through a log jam.
It was fascinating at first to see my new, adopted country through her eyes: wary, open, generous, unillusioned, at all points sexual even more than political. What a pity The New York Times and some other newspapers, no doubt out of misguided respect, chose to illustrate their obituaries with those ghastly photos of Doris in her late “Mother Earth” incarnation! Last time we met, for a semi-date, I said I’d supervise a makeover—a new haircut for starters—which once she would have agreed to. But, sadly, she confessed she was “through with all that”, meaning sex, it was so much trouble and for what? As always, we argued. She won.
Others are more competent to deal with her work. Let me quote a friend who read Lessing in his last semester in college. “I read The Golden Notebook at age 20 & it had some huge & eerie effect on me…Out there was a writer who understood far better than I what a political life was like & what it was like to be overwhelmed by doubt & fear, but more, what grown-ups were like when they loved & hated each other. The Golden Notebook was full of the dirt & mess & craziness of everyday life, the back-&-forth of working out politics & lostness & honor on the run…the passion & wildness of it.”

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Not much on the civil war in Libya in the UK media, even though the oil supply has virtually dried up.

Yet another example of Israeli heroism in the face of fearful odds.

Friday, November 15, 2013

At the beginning of the month I quoted the Wobbly slogan, "In November we remember", and the current edition of the 'Industrial Worker' has a list of Wobs who lost their lives in the class struggle. Also remembered are some non-members killed by trigger-happy cops and deputies as they fired on our Comrades.
The list starts with an unidentified IWW picket killed in explosion in 1907, and ends with FW Frank Gould who disappeared in the Philippines in 1974. There are certainly some names missing from the list, and others were unidentified. Then there were those who couldn't even be numbered as no records were kept. There were Wobblies who died at Kronstadt, men who had returned to Russia to play their part in the revolution. Likewise the Wobbly miners who worked in the Kuzbass mines until their independence became a nuisance to the Soviet authorities. Officially some stayed on in the "workers' state" and others returned to the USA. The IWW claims that an unknown number were liquidated.
How many died in the militias in Spain is also unknown, not all died fighting the Fascists. Stalin's hit squads were at work on the Republican side. A particularly chilling example of their methods is reported in the list -
September 1938, Ivan Silverman and two unknown IWWs were "forced by commies onto a bare field to face fascist machine guns".
Wobblies were killed in Canada, Mexico, the USA, and Australia. December 1916, Frank Franz and Nicholas Roland Kennedy, "framed for murder and executed during a time of IWW hysteria, New South Wales."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tom Courtenay, son of Hessle Road, grandson of Killaloe, County Limerick, introduces us to a would-be City of Culture.
His dad was a good dancer, according to my old lady.
According to my missus this is not representative of Hull because nobody uttered the f-word.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lifted from Martin Deane.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Who knew - eh?

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Untitled poem by Ms. Margaret Rooney -

A woman in here just shouted on her son.
That's his name.
I thought I misheard, but she shouted again.
Still Jay-Z.
She's talking to him.
Still Jay-Z.
This wean is called Jay-Z.
She called her wean Jay-Z.
Even Jay-Z's maw didn't do that.

The meaning of 'wean' should be obvious from the context - right?

Addendum: I've been informed by the author that this is not a poem. Well it reads like a poem to me.
Another offense to add to the BBC's rap sheet - theft.
Once more they are caught misusing film for propaganda purposes, but this time with stolen property.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Poor old BBC - a worldwide Million Mask March on the 5th November. Cops "kettling" marchers in London; Buckingham Palace a protesters' target. And the poor old Beeb knew nothing about it. Or did it suppress all news of the event?

I just checked the BBC News website; it gets a mention there. But the thousands who blocked Parliament Square have been whittled down to a "few hundred", and no mention of the march being a worldwide event. Well done, thou good and faithful servant of the ruling class.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Then he stopped wearing his poppy. I asked him why, and he said that he didn't want to see "so many damn fools" wearing it – he was a provocative man and, sadly, I fell out with him in his old age. What he meant was that all kinds of people who had no idea of the suffering of the Great War – or the Second, for that matter – were now ostentatiously wearing a poppy for social or work-related reasons, to look patriotic and British when it suited them, to keep in with their friends and betters and employers. These people, he said to me once, had no idea what the trenches of France were like, what it felt like to have your friends die beside you and then to confront their brothers and wives and lovers and parents. At home, I still have a box of photographs of his mates, all of them killed in 1918.
(Robert Fisk)

The poppy crop was early this year. Usually it's the 1st November that the BBC orders its well-trained employees to sport the symbol of dead soldiery, and none dare disobey. But this year the last week of October was the starting point for unthinking and uncaring commemoration. Sky News too heard the bugle call to go over the top and adorn suits and dresses with the free handout. If only one individual demurred and appeared onscreen without a poppy we might believe that some thought had gone into the wearing. But no, verboten
I walked round town today and saw not one person sporting a poppy, only some old geezers in berets, medals on chests, manning a stall full of poppies and collecting boxes, but devoid of customers.
The hard sell isn't working in this burg.

Friday, November 01, 2013

"In November we remember" is a saying of the Wobblies. Here's a poem by FW Ralph Chaplin, best known for the anthem of organised labour, "Solidarity Forever". I hadn't seen or heard it before FW Viola posted it online -

Red November, black November,
Bleak November, black and red.
Hallowed month of labour’s martyrs,
Labour’s heroes, labour’s dead.

Labour’s wrath and hope and sorrow,
Red the promise, black the threat,
Who are we not to remember?
Who are we to dare forget?

Black and red the colors blended,
Black and red the pledge we made,
Red until the fight is ended,
Black until the debt is paid.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

BBC Trust promotes then demotes (almost) the Working Definition of Antisemitism
Jews sans frontieres

Friday, October 25, 2013

I like Simon Kelner's belated suggestion for a title for Alex Ferguson's autobiography -
"Adding Insult to Injury Time".

Monday, October 21, 2013

Last week, the energy giants came under criticism after independent supplier Co-operative Energy said it was take on half the extra costs itself, presenting customers with a 4.5 per cent rise in January.
The mutual’s boss Ramsay Dunning, told The Independent: “The profitability level we require is less than, for instance, British Gas’s 5 per cent.”
It looks like the Co-op's 4.5 per cent rise is going to be the best there's going to be.

Friday, October 18, 2013

... and neither does the government.

Here's a comment from Dylan Jeavons' "Photoshop Politics" -

The government's reaction, Switch suppliers, but not to the one which has signalled its intention to slap on an even bigger increase. Try to find one that's only going to raise prices by eight per cent. There's sure to be one. That will be less out of your zero per cent pay increase.
Keep voting for the Global Capitalism Party folks. It's the only one allowed in our democracy.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

As I zip through the television stations, moving quickly from unwatchable programme to unwatchable programme, my eyes sometimes light for a second or two on the talentless Keith Lemon, and I'm reminded of ... Jimmy Savile.
The facebook group called Republicans Against Biased BBC Coverage Of Royal News And Trivia
has written a letter of complaint to the BBC, viz. -
There are an estimated 15 million supporters of the UK republican movement, hardly a fringe group/audience I am sure you would agree ?!!! Bearing this in mind the Public Accounts Committee will be asking senior Buckingham Palace aides questions about royal spending. Just recently you covered quite substantially on your main TV news bulletins the fact that Prince Charles read out one of his favourite poems, you even went to the cringeworthy lengths of showing him reading it out. As you will appreciate the majority of the UK population (not just republicans) would find this royal trivia not newsworthy in anyway whatsoever. As you may (or may not as it would seem !!!!) be aware there are a number of ongoing issues with the royal finances, in particular the tax dodging that both the Queen and Prince Charles engage in and also the creaming off of profits from public assets (the Duchies) that they also engage in, however the main issue being the overall cost of the upkeep of the monarch and her taxpayer funded family. The BBC are quite clearly in the pockets of the palace PR machine because never are the more negative news items about the royal finances featured in your main news bulletins, they are usually (if at all) hidden away on your online news pages. Could you kindly explain why the BBC favour giving coverage to royal trivia as opposed to the more negative real news items about these royals? Will you also be covering the PAC questioning and findings?

Monday, October 14, 2013

The One Big Union, now open for business in Iceland.
Welcome to the IWW, Fellow Workers.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

There's this kid called Adnan Januzai; born Belgium, Kosovan Albanan father, Turkish mother. Apparently he qualifies to play for England under the desperation rule. As there are less and less English-born Premier League players, and nobody in the England set-up can be bothered to do anything about it, it seems that a new rule is needed - play in England, qualify for England.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Carlos Latuff pinxit

Saturday, October 05, 2013

"... the pondlife who own the Mail are in no position to slag off anybody's ancestors."
Quite so, Ray.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Here's a literal translation of a poem called I nGarrán na Bhile (In Garnavilla), by one 'Pleasant' Ned Lysaght. I don't know the author of the original, I've seen a name, but will settle for 'Anon.' until convinced. The point is that a literal translation can stand against a fancy reworking.

(Edward Lysaght)

Have you ever been in Garnavilla,
Or have you seen in Garnavilla
The gay young girl of the golden locks,
My sweetheart, Kate of Garnavilla?

She's whiter than the swan on the pool,
Or the snow on the crest of the bending bow;
Her kiss is sweeter than the dew on the rose,
My sweetheart, Kate of Garnavilla.

Her song is more tuneful than the blackbird or thrush,
Or the nightingale on the willow bough;
Like a ship in sail on the mistless wave
I see my sweet in Garnavilla.

The original with another English version is here.

Monday, September 30, 2013

... and today is International Translation Day. I learned this fact from a book by Eduardo Galeano which was translated into English by Mark Fried.
Vladimir Nabokov wrote that "The clumsiest literal translation is a thousand times more useful than the prettiest paraphrase", and he may be right. Personally, in the case of poetry in translation I like to have the literal AND the pretty paraphrase. Nabokov should have known something about translation. He did write some of his works in German originally, then took responsibility for producing the English language versions of the same works.
He also translated the Russian epic "Prince Igor" into English. I read it many years ago, and now can't remember a thing about it.
I suppose that the international auxiliary language, Esperanto, has too many powerful enemies to be considered as a solution to the problem of international communications, spoken or written. Enemies in the tradition of Hitler and Stalin who saw Esperanto is a threat to their ambitions of world domination. Today it is not necessary to imprison Esperantists and burn their books. Who reads books when there is the lobotomy box? How much Esperanto is heard on the airwaves? I can't recall when I last heard the E-word on radio or on TV.
I still think that one day, when all communication is oral, the world's population will converse in a form of pidgin English.
"... l'avenir m'épouvante", words from the tattooed bodies of French convicts in Cayenne. Somebody's going to have to translate that.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Today is "European Day of Languages", which I've never heard of before. Apparently its purpose is to encourage the learning of languages other than one's own. I heard of this on the radio this morning ,from a newsreader who went on to pronounce the term laissez-faire as "lassez-faire".
Well, I've never been one to miss the opportunity to throw some exotica into the mix. So here are some examples of less well known European languages. The English version will come at the end, in case the meaning isn't clear already.

Tuots umans naschan libers ed eguals in dignità e drets.
Els sun dotats cun intellet e conscienza e dessan agir tanter per in uin spiert da fraternità .
(Romantsch, Switzerland's fourth language, in terms of speakers)

Wšykne luźe su lichotne roźone a jadnake po dostojnosći a pšawach.
Woni maju rozym a wědobnosć a maju ze sobu w duchu bratšojstwa wobchadaś.
(Lower Sorbian, a Slavic language of Eastern Germany, once banned by the Nazis)

Totu sos èsseres umanos naschint lìberos e eguales in dinnidade e in deretos.
Issos tenent sa resone e sa cussèntzia e depent operare s'unu cun s'àteru cun ispìritu de fraternidade.
(Sardinian, or Sardu, which Mussolini claimed to be an Italian dialect)

Ситe чoвeчки суштeствa сe рaѓaaт слoбoдни и eднaкви пo дoстoинствo и прaвa.
Tиe сe oбдaрeни сo рaзум и сoвeст и трeбa дa сe oднeсувaaт eдeн кoн друг вo дуxoт нa oпштo чoвeчкaтa припaднoст.
(Macedonian, not popular with Greek fascists)

Sa e manushikane strukture bijandzhona tromane thaj jekhutne ko digniteti thaj chapipa. Von si baxtarde em barvale gndaja thaj godzhaja thaj trubun jekh avereja te kherjakeren ko vodzhi pralipaja.
(Romani, though what version thereof I couldn't guess)

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Most of the above is lifted from the website, a language website with French and English versions. Dictionaries for many languages, plus useful phrases, proverbs, poems, songs, are all to be found there.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Some people take a little longer to catch on. Interesting rogues' gallery though.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Having time for little else at the moment I post a poem by Austin Clarke about some famous Irishwomen.


Over the hills the loose clouds rambled
From rock to gully where goat or ram
Might shelter. Below, the battering-ram
Broke in more cottages. Hope was gone
Until the legendary Maud Gonne,
for whom a poet lingered, sighed,
Drove out of mist upon a side-car,
Led back the homeless to broken fence,
Potato plot, their one defence,
And there, despite the threat of Peelers,
With risky shovel, barrow, peeling
Their coats off, eager young men
Jumped over bog-drain, stone to mend or
Restore the walls of clay; the police
Taking down names without a lease.
O she confronted the evictors
In Donegal, our victory.
When she was old and I was quickened
By syllables, I met her. Quickens
Stirred leafily in Glenmalure
Where story of Tudor battle had lured me.
I looked with wonder at the sheen
Of her golden eyes as though the Sidhe
Had sent a flame-woman up from ground
Where danger went, carbines were grounded.

Old now, by luck, I try to count
Those years. I never saw the Countess
Markievicz in her green uniform,
Cock-feathered slouched hat, her Fianna form
Fours. Form the railings of Dublin slums,
On the ricketty stairs the ragged slumped
At night. She knew what their poverty meant
In dirty laneway, tenement,
And fought for new conditions, welfare
When all was cruel, all unfair.
With speeches, raging as strong liquor,
Our big employers, bad Catholics,
Incited by Martin Murphy, waged
War on the poor and unwaged them.
Hundreds of earners were batoned, benighted,
When power and capital united.
Soon Connolly founded the Citizen Army
And taught the workers to drill, to arm.
Half-starving children were brought by ship
To Liverpool from lock-out, hardship.
"innocent souls are seized by kidnappers,
And proselytisers. Send back our kids!"
Religion guffed.
The Countess colled
With death at sandbags in the College
Of Surgeons. How many did she shoot
When she kicked off her satin shoes?

Women rose out after the Rebellion
When smoke of buildings hid the churchbells,
Helena Maloney, Louie Bennett
Unioned the women workers bent
At sewing machines in the by-rooms
Of Dublin, with little money to buy
A meal, dress-makers, milliners,
Tired hands in factories.

In Lancashire were organized,
Employers forced to recognize them:
This was the cause of Eva Gore-Booth,
Who spoke on platform, at polling-booth
In the campaign for Women's Suffrage,
That put our double-beds in a rage,
Disturbed the candle-lighted tonsure.
Here Mrs. Sheehy-Skeffington
And other marched. On a May day
In the Phoenix Park, I watched, amazed,
A lovely woman speak in public
While crowding fellows from office, public
House, jeered. I heard that sweet voice ring
And saw the gleam of wedding ring
As she denounced political craft,
Tall, proud as Mary Wollenstonecraft.
Still discontented, our country prays
To private enterprise. Few praise
Now Dr. Kathleen Lynn, who founded
A hospital for sick babies, foundlings,
Saved them with lay hands. How could we
Look down on infants, prattling, cooing,
When wealth had emptied so many cradles?
Better than ours, her simple Credo.

Women, who cast off all we want,
Are now despised, their names unwanted,
For patriots in party statement
And act make worse our Ill-fare State.
The soul is profit. Money claims us.
Heroes are valuable clay.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"When a team from the BBC Panorama programme visited Chile in November 1973, staff at the British embassy secured them 'maximum co-operation from the junta'.
"The embassy was optimistic about the slant of the documentary, which included interviews with members of the Anglo-Chilean business community speaking approvingly about the coup. A British embassy official wrote: 'The balance of the programme should be 60 to 75% favourable to the new regime.' The embassy was not so pleased with a World in Action Granada TV team that arrived at the same time. The same official wrote: 'I gathered that the WIA producer … came to cover torture and shootings … Granada's activities were certainly known to the junta whose press secretary told me that they had been seeing 'things they should not see'.' An FCO official back in London scrawled on the letter: 'Ominous news about the World in Action film'."

Good old "World in Action"; same old right-wing BBC.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Shout this from the rooftops – high hopes after Crossrail blacklisting campaign
(Pete Murray, Union News)

“Nothing will ever be given for free. This shows that it happens when we fight.”

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: BBC Middle East website

The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: BBC Middle East website: "Raffi Berg was promoted to head the BBC website's Middle East desk earlier this month, having already worked as a journalist wit...

I'm having a clearout at the moment, old books, old newspapers. I came across a Guardian film and music section and wondered why I kept it. I opened it and read this article on the French New Wave. I'm guessing that it's why I held on to the paper. Joe Q. enthuses about some of my favourite films here, and so I quote -

"Not all the new wave films were good, and not all have stood the test of time, but the ratio of good to bad and great to good was high enough to make it an unprecedented moment in the history of cinema. No one in the year 2009 will make a better film than Les Quatre Cents Coups (The 400 Blows), Hiroshima, Mon Amour, or Jules et Jim. No one will make a more daring film than Pierrot le Fou, Alphaville or Weekend. No one will make a more adventurous film than Paris Nous Appartient (Paris Belongs to Us) or a more influential film than A Bout de Souffle (Breathless). No one will make a more anachronistic, stranger film than Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg). And no one will make a nuttier film than La Chinoise or Le Gai Savoir (Joy of Learning). This was not a wave, it was a tsunami."

A Bout de Souffle was an influential film, though Joe Q's hindsight opinion of it as "dull and sophomoric is not far off the mark. I would add pretentious. And yet there is one (at least) saving grace, the pairing of Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg - perfection.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

BBC editor urged colleagues to downplay Israel’s siege of Gaza
(Amena Saleem)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Remember Frank Muir's description of Joan Bakewell as "the thinking man's crumpet"? That sort of language would not be acceptable in polite circles today, but it was meant as a compliment, and I'm sure Ms. Bakewell didn't object too strongly at the time. Autres temps, autres moeurs, as they say.
So how would I describe Ms. Abby Martin? Her "Breaking the Set" is a regular feature on "Russia Today". She doesn't pull her punches. I'll just call her the angry leftie's commentator of choice.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sunday, August 25, 2013


25th August

At dawn on this day in 1944, Paris went crazy.
The Nazi occupation was over.
The first tanks and armoured cars had entered the city a few hours before. "Is it the Americans?" people asked.
The names scrawled in white paint on those tanks and armoured cars were: 'Guadalajara', 'Ebro', 'Teruel', 'Brunete', 'Madrid', 'Don Quijote', 'Durruti' ...
The first liberators of Paris were the Spanish republicans.
Defeated in their own land they fought for France.
They were convinced that Spain's rescue would follow.
They were wrong.

(Eduardo Galeano, "Children of the Days: a calendar of human history")

Friday, August 23, 2013

That parcel of rogues known as the Adam Smith Institute are demanding the abolition of the minimum (and minimal) wage. They make the preposterous claim that lower wages will mean that employers who object to paying the minimum wage would take on more workers if they were not burdened by these outrageous wage bills.
Come off it! Wages are falling year upon year; is there any sign of growth in employment or a steady fall in the number of people out of work?
And yet people like the BBC give these thimble-riggers a hearing, a chance to air their propaganda, even refer to them as a "think-tank". Lower taxes, lower wages, no protection for the workforce. Yet no mention of the handouts and subsidies being thrown at the tax-dodging profiteers. That's a bit of the old Adam that doesn't suit the thimble-riggers or their paymasters.

"We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate: [When workers combine,] masters: never cease to call aloud for the assistance of the civil magistrate, and the rigorous execution of those laws which have been enacted with so much severity against the combinations of servants, labourers, and journeymen."
Adam Smith

"People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary."

"We have no acts of parliament against combining to lower the price of wages but many against combining to heighten it."

"The master can hold out longer than the man ... in the long run, the workman may be as necessary to the master as the master is to him. But the necessity is not so imminent."

In my opinion Adam Smith was an honest man whose ideas have fallen among thieves.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Last night I watched a documentary on BBC4 about John Cooper Clarke. One of the poems he read was called "Things are going to get worse", about growing old. It was funny, and a little poignant*. I wanted to link to it online; couldn't find the whole thing, only a few lines. There is film of him reciting the poem. And the gent has a website on which some of his verse is published.
When I first saw JCC on the telly I suspected him of being a phoney. I thought he must be some Oxford product putting on the Mancunian accent. People with accents like that don't do poetry, I thought, but no, he's the genuine article, Northern Urban Working Class.

When I was at school I hated poetry, couldn't see the point. I changed schools when I was nine and went to a primary that could only be described as "dog-rough". The kids weren't interested in learning. Their education took place outside of the school, mostly thieving. Yet there was one thing they loved - poetry. I just didn't get it. "Can we do a poem, sir?" Was a regular cry. If permission was granted they would recite the stuff they'd memorised, sometimes in unison. I remember a favourite was called 'The Lion-Tamer' and they'd give it the full strength.
"I CRACK my pistol, LASH my whip
to quell the angry lion"
Great emphasis was put on 'crack' and 'lash'. I don't remember any more of the poem, except 'cage of iron' which was the rhyme with 'lion'. I was bemused and couldn't remember any of the poetry. Another favourite began with the words "I sprang to the stirrup ...", and 'sprang' got the treatment in that one.
Then there was the kid who sat next to me. Every now and then he'd hand me a book of poems, and say "See if I've remembered that right". He'd reel off some poem he'd memorised and I checked that he was word-perfect. Why? What did he do with those poems after he'd learned them? Where did he deliver them? Who listened? He came from a family that always had at least one member doing time.
Not all poems were acceptable however. I remember a teacher was reading "The Highwayman" to the class. That poem contains an attempt to represent the sound of horses' hooves [hoofs?] with the word 'tlot'. Now this was near enough to 'plop' to cause some mirth.

"Tlot, tlot upon the highway"
(read the teacher)
"Tlot, tlot in the echoing night.
Tlot tlot upon the highway..."

"The, horse was having a shite"
came a suggested rhyme from the back of the class.
The teacher tore down the room, dragged some poor kid out to the front, and beat him about the head. The lad protested his innocence, "It wasn't me, sir." To no avail, the teacher had to reassert his authority, and quick; no time for investigation.
I don't think we 'did' that poem again.

Just to show that poetry can appeal to young working-class males, but the subject has to be right. Plenty of action, and it's got to rhyme. At least it did in my schooldays. Even then there were those who didn't get it - me for instance.

*Afterthought: 'poignant' may not be the word I wanted. 'Disturbing'?

Friday, August 09, 2013

"Hull City is is common. I want the club to be special. It is about identity. City is a lousy identity. 'Hull City Association Football Club' is so long."
Thus spake Assem Allam, owner of Hull City AFC, but not the owner of the KC Stadium, and there's the rub. Allam doesn't give a fiddler's fart about Hull City, or the City of Hull. His takeover of the club was, he thought, a step towards acquiring the stadium. The city council wouldn't sell, and Allam has turned nasty.
"City is a lousy identity." Tell that to Manchester City, Leicester City, Birmingham City. Maybe we should call our town Madinat-al-Allam, and the self-serving little creep will be happy with that.
I'm not a supporter of Hull City, but I am a supporter of the City of Hull, and if some money grubber runs it down there is a solution. There's always Cairo, but it seems he wasn't happy there. So why not go and live among the Asian Tigers whose largesse he craves.
Some people talk of Allam as a saviour, I see him as an opportunist.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

A few years ago I predicted that slavery would become legal in the UK. My thinking was that the government (any government, any party) would legislate to allow people in debt and unable to extricate themselves to undertake unpaid work for their creditor(s) until the debt was paid off.
I was right about the return of slavery, but wrong about the reason for its return.

We have just learned that there are about one million workers in this country on zero-hours contracts. This means that those workers are bound to a company but guaranteed no earnings. It means that their main income is provided by the taxpayer in the form of benefits. It means that their employer has no responsibility toward them, but has total control of their allotted work time whether they work or not.
The government has being pretending that there are 250,000 zero-hour slaves nationally, which would be enough of a disgrace for anyone with a social conscience. The fact that they were lying about the numbers tells us that even those soulless rats know that this is an abominable state of affairs.
The zero-hours slavery puts the "welfare to work" form of slavery in the shade, but let's not forget those hundreds of thousands of slaves also working for dole money.
In addition to the Sklavarbeiter there's something like 2.5 million on the dole and yet to be enslaved. Is anybody working in this country, whose economy, according to our criminally insane Chancellor of the Exchequer, is recovering nicely, thank you, from the great bank rip-off? Well, there are who are keeping a lot of slaves from starvation while the slavers pay little or no taxes on the vast profits they are removing from this sceptred isle.
In the immortal words of the loathsome Hughie Green, "Wake up, Britain!"

I still haven't written off the slavery as debt repayment idea. It could come. Another money-saving scheme I'm predicting is euthanasia for the no longer productive aged. Thanasia really, as there's nothing 'eu-' about killing people off.

Qatar’s Bay’ah to the Saudi King » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Qatar’s Bay’ah to the Saudi King » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Sunday, August 04, 2013

"At a recent meeting of the Association of Orthodox Jewish scientists and the Columbia Center for the Study of Science and Religion, it became clear that Jewish curiosity has provided sufficient genetic material to give a perfectly clear negative answer: There is no support in the genomes of today’s Jews for the calumnious and calamitous model of biological Judaism. Though there are many deleterious versions of genes shared within the Ashkenazic community, there are no DNA sequences common to all Jews and absent from all non-Jews. There is nothing in the human genome that makes or diagnoses a person as a Jew."
Robert Pollack, "The Fallacy of Biological Judaism"

No doubt I've written this before on these pages: Jew is a religion, Israeli is a nationality, Zionist is a an adherent of a political movement. One can be a Jew without being an Israeli or a Zionist. One can be an Israeli without being a Jew or a Zionist, one can be a Zionist without being a Jew or an Israeli. It may be possible to be a Zionist without being an apologist for genocide or ethnic cleansing, but it must be difficult, like being a socialist in the Labour Party.
When I was young to speak of a Jewish race was anathema. It was to parrot the propaganda of the recently defeated Nazis. But the necessity of justifying the creation of the zionist state has resulted in the kindred of Nazism's chief victims adopting the Nazis' discredited ideas on race.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

The Preamble to the Constitution of the Industrial Workers of the World - in Welsh

Nid oes gan y dosbarth gweithiol na’r dosbarth cyflogi unrhyw beth yn gyffredin. Ni all fod dim heddwch tra fod newyn ac angen ymysg miliynau o bobl sy’n gweithio, a bod elit bychan; y dosbarth cyflogi, yn cael yr holl bethau da mewn bywyd.

Mi fydd rhaid i’r frwydr barhau rhwng y ddau ddosbarth yma nes bod y gweithwyr y byd yn trefnu fel dosbarth, yn cymryd meddiant o’r dulliau o gynhyrchu, yn diddymu’r system cyflog, ac yn byw mewn cytgord â’r Ddaear.

Gwelwn fod y canoli o rheolaeth diwydiannau gan llai a llai o bobl yn gwneud hi’n anoddach i’r undebau llafur ymdopi gyda grym cynyddol y dosbarth cyflogi. Mae’r undebau llafur yn meithrin sefyllfa sy’n caniatáu i un set o weithwyr gael eu ddefnyddio yn erbyn set arall o weithwyr yn yr un diwydiant, a thrwy hynny helpu trechu ei gilydd mewn rhyfeloedd cyflog. Ar ben hynny, mae’r undebau llafur yn helpu y dosbarth cyflogi i gamarwain y gweithwyr yn y gred bod gan y dosbarth gweithiol buddiannau sy’n gyffredin gyda’u cyflogwyr.

Gall yr amodau hyn cael eu newid a gall ddiddordeb y dosbarth gweithiol cael eu cadarnhau dim ond gan sefydliad a ffurfiwyd yn y fath fodd bod ei holl aelodau mewn unrhyw un diwydiant, neu yn yr holl ddiwydiannau os oes rhaid, yn pallu gweithio pryd bynnag fod streic neu cloi allan sy’n digwydd o fewn unrhyw adran ohono, felly mae’n golygu bod anaf i un yn anaf i bawb.

Yn lle yr arwyddair ceidwadol, ”Ddiwrnod o gyflog teg am ddiwrnod o waith teg”, mae’n rhaid i ni ysgrifennu ar ein baner yr arwyddair chwyldroadol, “Diddymu’r system cyflog.” Cenhadaeth hanesyddol y dosbarth gweithiol yw i ddinistrio cyfalafiaeth. Mae’n rhaid i’r fyddin o gynhyrchu gael eu trefnu, nid yn unig y frwydr bob dydd gyda cyfalafwyr, ond hefyd i barhau i gynhyrchu pan fydd cyfalafiaeth wedi cael eu diddymu. Drwy drefnu diwydiant, rydym yn ffurfio strwythur y gymdeithas newydd o fewn cragen yr hen.

"Safe in our hands".

Monday, July 29, 2013

Copyleft Gerald Ack

I heard on the Radio that on the day the new-born Windsor was brought out of the hospital*, the BBC 24 news channel had a camera filming the hospital door for two hours, and that's what viewers saw on their screens for two hours. As I avoided all news programmes that day I cannot confirm the story, but, knowing the BBC, and its current off the scale sycophancy level, I'm prepared to believe it.

*£1,000 a night, courtesy of the British taxpayer.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

There's an article in today's Guardian by someone from Hull attempting to dispel the "myths and half-myths" about our town. I won't link to it as I don't think much of it. The article is pushing for Hull's bid to become 'city of culture'. I pray that the bid fails (I'm sure it will) because the cost to the ordinary citizen will just add to our woes.
The comments to the article include a plug by a Hull blogger for his site. I took the bait and liked what I saw. So here it is.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

For my cyberstalker. It'll give him an erection.
Kad Achouri, Liberté a poem of Paul Eluard -

Saturday, July 13, 2013

" ... pour la première fois dans l'histoire du monde, proposé aux hommes ce qui est l'une des conditions essentielles du bonheur, la liberté."

Friday, July 12, 2013

I don't know who's responsible for this. I lifted it from Gerald Somers.
I wonder if John Inverdale's old man told him, "Listen son, you're not very intelligent and you'll never get a job where tact and diplomacy are required, but you did go to a public school. You'll have no trouble getting a job at the BBC"?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

"I've been to Liverpool, and compared to Liverpool Hull is Paradise."

Hull boxer Tommy Coyle, in response to the badmouthing of our beloved city by Derry Matthews of Liverpool, who is Tommy's opponent this weekend. The fight is for the Commonwealth Lightweight title, and is on a bill topped by Hull's golden boy, Luke Campbell. This will be Luke's first professional fight.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Looking for my eyebrows.
They are disappearing. I was warned that the treatment I'm getting for the Bengal Lancer would cause me to lose my body hair, but not the hair on my scalp. Well, the underarm hair has gone; that on arms and legs has virtually disappeared; and the hair surrounding the family jewels is looking sparse. Still as long as I keep my clothes on I won't frighten the horses.
What the consultant, nurses, didn't mention was facial hair, but it appears to me that the brows are disappearing, lashes too may be getting thinner.
I'm no body fascist but I have to admit that men without eyebrows and eyelashes look rather sinister to me. Am I going to end up fearing to look in a mirror (never a morale boosting experience)? Add that worry to the misery of increased weight, and I feel entitled to a heavy bout of self-pity. Who knows, maybe depression is on the cards. It seems at the moment that the only way is down.
Last week I made it to 75 years, three-quarters of a century, but I didn't feel well enough for a good piss-up, just shared a few beers with my elder son who had a day off work. This weekend I'm going to cop for a bottle of eau-de-vie, turn on the music, and get rat-arsed.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

I repeat -

Friday, June 28, 2013

"I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker." Barack Obama.
Lying bastard. If Edward Snowden takes a flight from Moscow, or wherever he is, US warplanes will be shadowing that flight. They will probably buzz it, and attempt to divert it and force it to land on US territory, or on some US helot state territory (EU, Baltic, etc.).
He was a hacker when he worked for the surveillance state, so some hackers good, some hackers bad. Who decides? Why, Barrack Obama - who else?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

"Corsica non avrai mai bene." Old Napoleon is supposed to have said this as the ship carrying him to Elba passed the island of his birth. Did he still use Italian, or Corsu, at this time in his life? I doubt it. I wonder who was there to hear his utterance.
Bene or male (Don't Corsicans say ?) the island is going to be in the news at the weekend.
Cavendish for the first yellow jersey - of the competition and of Cavendish - sprint finish. That's the plan. "Vedremo che vedremo", as, I'm sure, Napoleon never said.

Monday, June 24, 2013

UK media are informing us that the nine climbers murdered in Gilgit-Baltistan were killed by Islamic militants. What a relief it must be for their families to know that they weren't the victims of terrorists.
It turns out that 'militants' were Taliban, who are about to engage in negotiations with the Frankish invaders of Afghanistan. Well no, these were Pakistani Taliban, not those gentlefolk of the Afghan Taliban.
No negotiations with terrorists, but they can talk with militants.
The Taliban know that the Franks are going to scuttle off anyway, but being gentlemen (as we've just learned) they're giving them a chance to save face.
So what of al-Qa'ida? Now that they are allies of the Frankish infidels in Syria, do we stop calling them terrorists? At the moment, it seems, the "accepted terminology", Dude, is "units of the Free Syrian Army".

Correction, 25.6.13: I've done it again, misquoting. Walter Sobchak's phrase was "preferred nomenclature", not "accepted terminology". I should take my deteriorating memory into account and check before "quoting".
"I don't bloody BELIEVE it!" (Victor Meldrew)

This morning I got my free TV licence through the post, a little perk for those who reach the age of 75 years, as I do in a few days. I'm covered for three years.

This morning I opened my paper and read the headline, "Pensioners face losing free TV licences".

Friday, June 21, 2013

Media reports today that 18 independent experts investigating a 10-year period (2002-2012) for the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child accuse Israel of routinely abusing Palestinian children, including torturing those in police custody & using some as human shields. Most of the estimated 7,000 Palestinian children arrested, interrogated, & incarcerated were charged with throwing rocks which can get a child up to 20 years in jail.
According to the report, many children in custody are brought before military courts in leg shackles; others are held in solitary confinement for months. It also reported that between January 2010 & March 2013 alone there were 14 cases of Israeli soldiers using Palestinian children as human shields to enter potentially dangerous buildings or stand in front of military vehicles to deter rock throwing. Soldiers convicted of forcing a 9-year-old child at gunpoint to search bags suspected of containing explosives received a suspended sentence of 3 months & were demoted.
The report also calls attention to the hundreds of children killed & thousands injured by Israel’s periodic murderous bombing assaults on Gaza as well as the violence of Israeli land confiscations, unlawful settlements on Palestinian lands, construction of the barrier wall, & destruction of Palestinian homes & livelihoods which “constitute severe & continuous violations of the rights of Palestinian children & their families.”
The UN agency may be just catching up to what Palestinians have been alleging & photojournalism has been documenting for nearly 65 years but it has handed the Palestinian solidarity movement a mighty weapon against the violence of the Zionist monstrosity called Israel. Nothing could more powerfully damn the Zionist project than the torture of children.
Zionists of all persuasions & their supporters need to ask themselves if this is the kind of thing they want to be identified with, if there is anything salvageable in such a state, if it’s possible to save some aspects of Zionism & trash the worst aspects. In fact, this utter debasement is the political logic of Zionism & the entire edifice on which the state was built. Support Palestinian solidarity by boycotting all Israeli products (barcode beginning 729)!

(Copyleft Mary Scully)
A handy piece of information I picked up listening to the news on my local BBC station -
People with diabetes were once twice as likely to die of the disease than people without diabetes.

"Shome mishtake here shurely." (Private Eye)*

*Corrected. In spite of being a regular reader of the magazine for decades I managed to get this supposed editorial comment wrong.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"I'm going to tell you something. I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria.
"This was in Britain not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer minister for foreign affairs, if I would like to participate."
Roland Dumas, former French Foreign Minister

Monday, June 17, 2013

Two stories about my native city on the Yorkshire TV news today.
First, a big increase in shoplifting resulting from people stealing basic foodstuffs in order to feed themselves.
Second, Hull's determination to throw away millions in a futile attempt to become 'city of culture'.
Turning on the state broadcasting service this morning I heard the man Humphreys declare the situation in Syria is "the worst human tragedy of our time". What time is that, Humphreys - this week?
In my time there was World War 2, and millions dead. Suharto's coup in Indonesia, a million dead. The Iraq war goes on, though the slaughter is now perpetrated by locals instead of invaders. We know the Yanks and the Brits didn't keep count of the dead but others did, and the number was higher than in Syria. The children dying of hunger and disease in a disaster created by the oil-grabbers - who's counting? No 'human tragedy' there. NATO brings freedom and democracy by the same methods as the Assad regime's dealing of death and destruction. Funny that.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Does this mean I'm safe from the surveillance state snoopers? One never knows.

Giant US government Internet spying scandal revealed

The Washington Post and The Guardian have revealed a US government mass Internet surveillance program code-named "PRISM". They report that the NSA and the FBI have been tapping directly into the servers of nine US service providers, including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple, Yahoo, YouTube, AOL and Skype, and began this surveillance program at least seven years ago.
These revelations are shaking up an international debate.
StartPage has always been very outspoken when it comes to protecting people's privacy and civil liberties. So it won't surprise you that we are a strong opponent of overreaching, unaccountable spy programs like PRISM. In the past, even government surveillance programs that were begun with good intentions have become tools for abuse, for example tracking civil rights and anti-war protesters.
Programs like PRISM undermine our Privacy, disrupt faith in governments, and are a danger to the free Internet.
StartPage and its sister search engine Ixquick have in their 14-year history never provided a single byte of user data to the US government, or any other government or agency. Not under PRISM, nor under any other program in the US, nor under any program anywhere in the world. We are not like Yahoo, Facebook, Google, Apple, Skype, or the other US companies who got caught up in the web of PRISM surveillance.

Here's how we are different:

•StartPage does not store any user data. We make this perfectly clear to everyone, including any governmental agencies. We do not record the IP addresses of our users and we don't use tracking cookies, so there is literally no data about you on our servers to access. Since we don't even know who our customers are, we can't share anything with Big Brother. In fact, we've never gotten even a single request from a governmental authority to supply user data in the fourteen years we've been in business.

•StartPage uses encryption (HTTPS) by default. Encryption prevents snooping. Your searches are encrypted, so others can't "tap" the Internet connection to snoop what you're searching for. This combination of not storing data together with using strong encryption for the connections is key in protecting your Privacy.

•Our company is based in The Netherlands, Europe. US jurisdiction does not apply to us, at least not directly. Any request or demand from ANY government (including the US) to deliver user data, will be thoroughly checked by our lawyers, and we will not comply unless the law which actually applies to us would undeniably require it from us. And even in that hypothetical situation, we refer to our first point; we don't even have any user data to give. We will never cooperate with voluntary spying programs like PRISM.

•StartPage cannot be forced to start spying. Given the strong protection of the Right to Privacy in Europe , European governments cannot just start forcing service providers like us to implement a blanket spying program on their users. And if that ever changed, we would fight this to the end.


It's not just our policy - it's our business.

We are working hard to offer you an encrypted email service later this year called StartMail. We have to stand up and protect our freedoms from increasing overreach from data gatherers. You've made the right choice by using Now is the time to tell others!


Robert E.G. Beens
CEO and