Antisemitism and the left

One of the things about now living in Scotland that looking in on what happens politically in England  makes the utter insanity of Scottish politics seem sane and sensible, well, as sane as politics can be in this world dominated by Brexit and the aftermath of that. In this case the Jeremy Corbyn antisemitism row is one I look upon with interest as it seems most everyone involved in this are at some level, an arsehole.

It’s clear that some of those attacking Corbyn are doing so not because they’re fighting antisemitism, but they’re doing so to land lumps upon Corbyn. This of course isn’t true for all of Corbyn’s accusers as a number of people have very clear concerns with how Labour’s failed to deal with an issue that shouldn’t arise in a supposed party of the people like Labour. However as those of us in Scotland know, Labour are peachy with the like of Hugh Gaffney in their party and although it’s fair to say all parties have eye-popping racists and bigots in them, it is how they deal with them that’s the mark of a party. I can see that if I were Jewish that a party I’d normally consider safe refuge seems to be not treating bigotry aimed at my people as seriously as they should.

But the problem is that instead of an informed debate about antisemitism we now have a polarised shouting session where the decreasing voices of sanity are being drowned out by folk on all sides of this debate.

Do Labour, and the left as a whole, have an issue with antisemitism? Yes. This Guardian article provides some context for Labour, but parts of the left need to address this head on and no, that doesn’t mean turning the subject to Israel or mentioning Zionism. The comedian David Schneider make a wee test for those of us on the left and I think he’s nailed it.

I’ve been at Stop the War meetings not long after the second Iraq War where Tony Benn would agonisingly spell things out for people along similar lines to Schneider and when the floor was thrown open to questions, it would be guaranteed one of the first would be mindbogglingly antisemitic. At one in London around 2003 myself and my then partner (who was Jewish) left raging after folk ignored Benn’s message which meant she left before getting into a fight, and in Bristol a few years later myself and a mate left because we couldn’t be arsed arguing with people about ‘THE JEWS’ with spittle-flecked anger.

A section of people on the left have a blind spot for Jews. Do I think Corbyn antisemitic? No, he’s trying to protect his party and in doing so he’s fucked up because he’s never confronted the problem head on as it’d mean tackling allies, just as Gaffney isn’t tackled as it means he loses an ally here. It isn’t all Corbyn’s fault as no Labour leader in my lifetime had truly tackled the issue head-on but the issue sits within Labour and needs sorted. The left as a whole has the same issue and this leaves a massive open goal the Tories are only too glad to take advantage of. Of course the Tories have issues with every sort of bigotry going but the difference between us on the left and them is we’re supposed to care about people as people rather than find ways to get round this. Basically, we’re supposed to be better but I think some folk just have a blind spot which is why they need called out if they can’t be educated as Tony Benn used to try to do.

We have the worst government in a succession of awful governments which has wallowed in lies and corruption. A Prime Minister in Theresa May unfit for the job leading us to a Brexit nobody with sanity and compassion backs and yet the official Westminster opposition can’t break a lead because they can’t keep their own house in order. It’s a sad, pitiful and hopeless situation but if the left learns something from this then at least it may just have been worth it.

It won’t of course.

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What has Doctor Who in common with conspiracy theories, Russia and hats?

Ever since 2001 and 911, the conspiracy theory has entered political debate so with Russia strongly suspected of poisoning the Skripal’s in Sailisbury, tinfoil hats are being passed out left, right and centre.

On the subject of hats, we have #hatgate in which some of the more rabid supporters of Jeremy Corbyn are saying the BBC are making Corbyn seem ‘more Russian‘ by digitally altering the Lenin cap he wears which is so called thanks to Lenin adopting it as I assume he hung around with a load of Greek fishermen. Meanwhile, various Tory figures are avoiding discussing the rather large sums of money many of them have been given by various Russian oligarchs. Then there’s the frantic cry and rush to war from much of the UK media who seem to forget that a war between the UK and Russia wouldn’t even last as long as the career of an X Factor winner. We also have people on the left leaping instinctively to defend Russia even though Russia is now a hyper-capitalist tyranny, while some on the right leap to the defence of some on the left. All the time Putin and the Russians are simply taking the piss and watch this further destabilise the UK, while Putin gets to send a message to his dissidents that you can’t ever escape.

So it would be hilarious if it weren’t so serious but then wading into this quagmire of insanity comes former Doctor Who actor John Levene who played Sergeant Benton of UNIT during mainly the Jon Pertwee era who is on the case in Salisbury in this, well, quite unique video that touches international crime and feeding the ducks.

In this era of fake news and hats, who best to get to the root of the problem but a retired actor? It sort of sums up how we appear to be living in a world where nothing at all makes any sense and we’re so desperate for simple answers that we’ll throw our hat on anything that fits our own personal bias’s.

Snowmageddon and Brexit

As Brexit slowly shambles towards us like a drunk with his cock hanging out, the realities of this colossal act of self-mutilation becomes clear. The last few days many of us in the UK have endured dreadful weather with the snow,ice and gales disrupting the supply chain so most supermarkets look like this.

Now eventually things will return to normal and we’ll be fine. The supply chain will be restored and we’ll be able to avoid the hellish dilemma of whether to buy powdered or soy milk. What Brexit threatens is the possibility of this happening regularly as it is quite clear Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Brexiters on the right, and on the left, have an unrealistic vision of how systems built up over decades seem robust but are in fact, astonishing fragile as this week has shown.

With Brexit a year away maybe it is an idea to stock up on bread and milk now just in case we end up with permanent food shortages?

The road to Brexit

By Monday we should know whether the UK has pulled its head out its arse, agreed on compromises with the EU and saved the prospect of the UK walking away from Brexit negotiations with a ‘no deal’; an outcome Brexiters like Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg want as it delivers their free trade, unregulated dream. For the rest of us it’ll be a nightmare, and as we now know, the Tories have no plans to sail us through the biggest thing the UK has done in its history in peacetime which leaves us a bleak future.

The EU isn’t just about trade. It intertwines so much of what we do that if the UK walks it means we’d have to organise things like when planes fly, radioactive isotopes for cancer patients, the shipping of food and tens of thousands of other things overnight and like any disaster, the most vulnerable will be hurt the hardest and first.

Bizarrely both main UK political parties are hell-bent on Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn of Labour seems to think that we’re in for a socialist Year Zero upon leaving the EU, and yes, the idea of an ‘internationalist’ party choosing to take a protectionist route is not lost on people. But compared to the clusterfuck which is the Tories, Labour seem vaguely sane. Simply put the Tories are taking us into a recession mixed with a collapse in social decency as ethnic nationalism and imperialism mixed with a hard, rigid form on Unionism drives them towards dooming hundreds of thousands of people to a harder life than they have now.

Brexit makes no sense though. Not unless you think the UK ‘gave away’ itself to the EUSSR and those bloody Polish and Somalians on buses should go back where they came from. Essentially Brexit is based upon irrational madness and we’ve got 72 hours to save the country. Wish us luck, we’ll need it…

”Dad, have we taken back control back yet?”

Why the United Kingdom needs to die

The New York Times has an interesting take on the state of the UK in 2017. Titled No One Knows What Britain Is Anymore, the NYT goes in for the kill with this brutally true paragraph;

The ambitious Mr. Johnson was crucial to the victory of Brexit in the June 2016 referendum. But for many, the blusterings of Boris have lost their charm. The “great ship” he loves to cite is a nationalist fantasy, a remnant of Britain’s persistent post-imperial confusion about its proper place in the world, hanging on to expensive symbols like a nuclear deterrent while its once glorious navy is often incapable of patrolling its own coastline.

The point made that the UK can’t patrol its own coastline came up during the Scottish independence referendum, but during the Brexit campaign was never mentioned as all the supporters of leaving the EU had this vision of the UK that was rooted in the past where a ”British Empire” was still a thing.

The UK is seen as an international joke. A bit like the mate who’s broke up with every girlfriend but never blames himself while living off past glories.but the UK, or to be more exact, England, hasn’t gotten over the loss of empire and that’s something that needs to be dealt with at some point but that isn’t going to happen soon.

The Empire is dead. True we live still with the trappings of Empire, but as some have pointed out, we don’t have to endorse such things and before anyone says anything about Corbyn’s Labour changing things all they’ll do is tweak down the edges of the British state. and the entire Brexit process is about regaining central power from the devolution process.

So what to do if the state won’t change and the establishment won’t let it naturally die? Well, if the series of scandals we’re seeing now continue the entire thing might collapse anyhow, but it’ll survive this as until we realise that Unionism has become one of the last defenders of neoliberalism, even fascism, in the mainstream then we won’t change anything.

The UK needs to be broken down so something can come out of it which benefits all of us, not just an increasingly distant elite because what the UK is mutating into isn’t something to be proud of. Hopefully the dark times that are coming lead us into real reform rather than a more extreme version of what we have right now.

The ongoing farce of Theresa May

It was the final day of the Tory Party conference in Manchester today, and Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech was without doubt the most memorable political speech of the year. Sadly for May it was for all the wrong reasons First of all comedian Simon Brodkin handed her a fake P45 in a speech which by this point was going down as well as calling a snap general election and losing your majority.

Coupled with May’s cough due to her cold, and the fact nobody in that hall believed a word being said it really couldn’t get worse? It could. This happened.

If you wrote a political comedy and included that moment the script editor would say something like ‘mate, that’s just taking it a wee bit too far‘. Even Armando Ianucci didn’t go that far.

On a human level one has to feel sympathy for May, except I’m not going to feel a fucking yoctogram for her as she had no sympathy for the people her policies have hurt, even killed since her government came to power in 2010. I could not care less for those commentators mumbling about feeling sorry for someone who is taking us off the edge of a cliff thanks to Brexit and has encouraged all the racists in the UK in her time in government.

This isn’t to say the alternative is appetising, it isn’t. But May’s speech summed up not just the state of British politics but the UK as a whole. Holding itself together for seconds before falling apart and becoming the laughing stock of anyone caring to pay attention. Still, if we’re all going to be fucked at least we’re still able to laugh right?

Three years on from the Scottish Independence referendum

On the 18th September 2014 the people of Scotland went to the polls to decide their future. The choice was between being an independent country or remaining part of the UK, though the vote itself was never a vote on things staying stagnant as politicians on the Better Together side defending the Union promised real, defined change.

Near federalism was promised. Scotland’s voice would be heard like never before in the Union. Powers would be devolved. The UK’s entire structure would be changed for the good of all and the democratic deficit closed forever as we enter a new Golden Age.  This lie died a horrible death in the early hours of the 19th September 2014 when David Cameron brushed everything said and done over the long referendum campaign to one side and announced plans for EVEL-English votes for English laws. That demoted Scottish based MP’s to second class MP’s, bodyswerved the democratic deficit and all of Gordon Brown’s promises of ‘near federalism’ were seen as the bollocks they always were.

Three years later all those party leaders are now yesterday’s men having all left and been replaced. Brexit threatens he devolution settlement itself and the UK of 2014 which at least had a semblance of sanity has been replaced with a country full of people who think Brexit will work because the EU ‘needs us more than them’, and that is one of the saner opinions on Brexit out there.

The UK is being pulled to the edge of a cliff gleefully by Theresa May’s Tories, and more insanely, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party even though Brexit isn’t really about trade or democracy, its about ethnic nationalism and British exceptionalism. Basically everything independence supporters are accused of.

So on this third anniversary of the vote we have David Mundell saying Indyref 2 must be ‘decoupled’ from Brexit while the Labour Party put party first in propping up the Tories on Brexit. A second independence vote could well be the only way for Scotland to have a voice about where Brexit is going and both main Westminster parties are fighting to deny that chance. The UK today is not the UK of 2014. Things have changed for the worst and things will get much, much worse, so remember all the promises of 2014 and how they were unfulfilled as we enter the next phase of Brexit as promises are made which will never be executed and realise the only thing left is independence.

It won’t be easy. It’ll be hard but we need to ask people what sort of country and what sort of people they want to be in the future.