Politics & Current Affairs

Get Your Face Out for The Lads

burqas-or-bikinis-l-fq9zzdJim’s not keen on the burka. He thinks – the verb ‘thinks’ is used very loosely here, you understand –  and I quote: “ I have nothing against Muslim religion but feel wearing burka is very wrong it is demeaning of women.”

His attitude toward the burqa is most instructive. One that seems to be shared by a number of non-Muslim, white anglo-saxon men.

For example, one was most amused to see a number of anti-burka posts on the Facebook page of a rugby club. Again, these paragons of radical feminism, as rugby clubs are wont to be, were greatly offended by the oppression of their sisters in struggle that the burqa, clearly, represented. I’m sure we can all take comfort, not least campaigners against the sexual harassment of women, that in between rousing beer-fuelled choruses of ‘get your tits out for the lads’  that stout fellows in rugby clubs nationwide are doing their bit for female emancipation.

Similarly, the cream of British manhood I observed outside a hostelry in Kingston, recently, would surely have earned tears of gratitude from oppressed women everywhere – Muslim and non-Muslim alike – with their oh-so post-modern take on a traditional expression of female solidarity. Clutching pints and sporting red faces as a burku-adorned woman hurried by, these delightful specimens chanted, ‘get your face out, get your face out, get your face out for the lads.’

Equally, those implacable opponents of Islam, and that faith’s suppression of its female adherents, in the English Defence League (or what’s left of it) see no contradiction in boasting a membership comprising rapists and child abusers.

Britain First, too, while standing valiantly against the misogyny and sexism of the Islamic faith would be offended if the anti-women antics of its leader were pointed out. After all, it would be churlish to mention that the most fundamental aspect of women’s freedom would be the freedom to control their own bodies, sexuality and fertility. So intimidating and harassing women outside abortion clinics is fine as long as it’s BF Fuhrer Paul Golding doing so and not those dodgy brown Muslim types.

Yes, even the most right-wing troglodyte seems compelled to channel their inner Julie Bindel when it comes to the burqa. It’s not Islamophobia, though, is it? No, perish the thought. Nor racism, either. Of course not; they’re not racist but…

Men are men all over the world, though. And one thing a religious lunatic, of whatever faith, has in common with his white, Western, secular counterpart is a desire to control women. The song remains the same; men telling women what they can and can’t wear. Men telling rape victims that they asked for it because of the length of their skirts and then telling Muslim women that their traditional garb is an offensive symbol of reactionary oppression. White western men defending page 3 topless models because it’s ‘their choice, innit?’ but denying even the possibility that Muslim women can decide to make an entirely different choice. Patriarchal white men critiquing their daughters’ outfits for a night on the town, while railing against poor downtrodden Muslim women forced into covering up by controlling fundamentalist nutters.

The emancipation of women is not best achieved by states imposing bans on what women may or may not wear. Still less will it be won by racist, sexist men covering their Islamophobia with a wafer-thin veneer of ‘feminism.’

Don’t you just love the smell of hypocrisy that floats in on the breeze whenever Islam becomes the topic of conversation?

Politics & Current Affairs

God Save the Queen: Corbyn versus the State

jezzaSo the republican, atheist Leader of – irony on the way – Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition didn’t sing the national anthem. Oh very dear. Really, this should have been as controversial as discovering David Cameron dislikes income tax and poor people. Colour us surprised indeed.

Reactions were to be expected. It was “disrespectful”, it “hurt and offended” some and “angered” others.  However, those of us urging Corbyn on and who welcomed his election as Labour leader – however cautiously and with whatever caveats attached – were left feeling frustrated at his handling of the criticism.

There were any number of ways in which he could have responded. He could have stated that one of the main reasons he appealed to people was that he was honest. That it would be an odd way to show respect for anyone, or anything, by turning himself into a hypocrite and tipping his hat to an institution everyone knows he opposes.

He could have applied simple logic and said that respect for the victims of fascism has nothing whatsoever to do with tugging the forelock to an unaccountable, unelected Monarch. Especially one whose anthem says nothing at all about the very people to whom Corbyn was supposed to pay tribute.

He might even have gone on the offensive. He could have insisted that he, a left-winger, would brook no lectures about honouring those who fell fighting fascism; especially those from an establishment with very dodgy form in this regard. The left, republicans, communists, trade unionists etc, were dying in the fight against fascism long before it was trendy. If they weren’t getting shot by Franco’s fascists, as members of the International Brigade, then they risked jail when they arrived home. Because the UK’s ruling class had agreed a non-intervention treaty with Spain and were actually quite happy with fascism in Europe – until it threatened their own imperial interests. The British monarchy, for example, was besotted with Hitler’s Nazis. As recent tabloid photographs have only confirmed.

There was an open goal just begging for a shot into the top left (natch) corner where his press critics are concerned. After all, The Daily Mail not only supported fascism in the 30s but as recently as 2012 called for a vote for Le Pen’s National Front. The Mail’s Richard Waghorne told readers, “Despite her flaws, the only responsible vote in France next Sunday is one for Marine Le Pen.”

We can only hope he maintains his position and refuses to sing the imperial homage on future occasions, despite hints from “sources” and “insiders” that he will cave in and do just that.

Sadly, the miserable economism and myopia, regarding the really big class questions, with which the English left is infected are intact. Some have suggested now is not the time to have this fight. That it’s a trivial issue and not as important as unemployment/housing/jobs/add your own sect’s current hobby-horse here. That it will only cost Corbyn votes from sycophantic royalists and lumpen, lager-soaked, solider-worshippers.

Such people couldn’t be more wrong. This issue goes right to the heart of power in the UK; the Monarchy, House of Lords, Parliament and so on. Issues of this type address the very nature of democracy; about how we are ruled and by whom. These are fundamental questions that can’t simply be avoided by a serious politician, intent on radical change. ‘Ah yes, but now is not the time to ask those questions!’ say some. But if not now when? And if not by the most left-wing leader of the Labour party ever, then by whom?

As Jeremy Corbyn stares across the despatch box at David Cameron, he knows that while his opponents are in front of him, his enemies are behind him. His only real defence against the impending treachery from within his own ranks is to build on the support of the hundreds of thousands outside parliament. Those people who supported his leadership bid because he was a republican, because they believed he was a different breed of politician. Because they believed Corbyn was a man prepared to, finally, take on the powerful vested interests that really run the UK.

Capitulation now will win him no support from monarchists but could easily cost him support from others. From those who really believed he was a man who meant what he said and said what he meant. He must ignore both those in his own ranks and also an opportunist and cowardly left who tell him to back down.

It’s never the wrong time to say the right thing.

Politics & Current Affairs

Jeremy Corbyn’s Women Problem

Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn attends the Fabian Women's Society annual summer gathering at the Fabian Societies offices in London Credit: Euan Cherry/Photoshot
Photograph: Euan Cherry/Photoshoot

Attacks on Corbyn were obviously going to redouble the very minute he won the leadership contest on Saturday. And they will come from many different places but, so far, it seems to be the Labour leader’s stance on women that’s coming under sustained attack.

We’ve seen some truly appalling nonsense on the question of women around the Labour leadership election and still more now the new leader has announced his shadow cabinet. And most of it from that doyen of middle-class ‘feminism’ The Guardian.

The issue of working class women being excluded from politics (and let’s be honest; everywhere else) isn’t what concerns Suzanne Moore here, nor her fellow-Guardianistas like Yvonne Roberts here. It’s the exclusion of women. Period. Irrespective of how dreadful and actually anti-women their politics might be.

This sort of thinking reaches reaches its nadir with truly risible nonsense like this from the The Independent’s Daisy Benson where she, in all seriousness, presumably, writes, “that’s why the only truly progressive thing for Labour to do would be to elect a female leader this time around – no matter what her policies are.” Incredible stuff.

This isn’t feminism. This is insanity. It means we should’ve voted for Thatcher. Because she had a vagina. It’s that whining, middle-class sense of entitlement  which will do nothing for working class women except to ensure their continued exclusion. Because they aren’t the right type of women. They are not the women with which the Guardianistas of this world are concerned.

Labour had two men and two women contesting the leadership. The women’s politics were wholly without merit (as were Andy Burnham’s). Indeed, possibly Cooper and certainly Kendal would look perfectly at home on the wetter wing of the Conservative Party. Their respective politics, had either been elected,  would have done nothing for emancipating working-class women. Quite the reverse; their victory would only have ensured more women bearing the brunt of neoliberal austerity.

It’s a shuddering irony that the candidate best representing women from a neoliberal majority was a white, middle-class man but hey; them’s the breaks. The answer wasn’t and isn’t to ditch Corbyn and choose Kendal or Cooper; the onus is on Cooper and Kendal to stop having nasty anti-women politics and start really representing women; not just the privileged, middle-class, white ones.

BBC News, earlier this evening, continued the theme started by The Guardian. An alliance of ‘feminists’ covering MPs, broadcast media and, from that bastion of women’s liberation, The Spectator, attacked Corbyn on the gender balance of his Shadow Cabinet. There still weren’t sufficient women; those who made the final cut were token appointments; no woman had one of the ‘top jobs’ and so on.

Now many of these are the same women who remained silent or supported and/or voted for austerity measures, welfare sanctions and cuts. You know; those things overwhelmingly borne by women. Of course, these are largely working-class, BAME and disabled women so who cares, right? Sisters doing it for themselves? Well, yes; but only themselves. Working class women need not apply.

Brit media – suddenly giving a damn about women since around 11.30am Saturday, September 12th, 2015…

Politics & Current Affairs


refphotozzzzzzPaul doesn’t “believe in refugees” (Aye, I know. Like Santa? Or fairies?) He insists they’re all “economic migrants.”

Firstly, let’s assume that’s true, and that’ll be easy as many of you, like Paul, clearly believe it is, despite any evidence to the contrary. OK, it’s true. So what?

Imagine a father wanting to shift his family to a place where his kids don’t need to sleep on a dirt floor, under the open sky, where a family of five share 3000 calories a day. What a bastard, eh?

Imagine he schleps across borders and sails dangerous seas on the nautical equivalent of a beer-mat, for the enormous privilege of mopping piss and shit from toilet floors in bus stations, for fifty hrs a week on minimum wage. What a bastard eh?

Imagine he and his people have had rammed down their collective throats how superior this mean-spirited, nasty-minded, racist, feudal, little shit-hole we call Britain is? Ruled by Old Etonian crooks and bent money-men with stock options for souls, who arrogantly pontificate about the UK being the best place in the world, after centuries of invading, murdering and destroying other peoples, lands, cultures and economies. Imagine people actually believing that and wanting a piece for themselves? What bastards eh?

Imagine wanting to live in a place where the natives are ignorant sycophants who fawn and scrape and debase themselves before an unelected, hereditary and wholly parasitical monarchy; who allow their government to sell the houses from beneath their feet; who watch their NHS carved up ready for the sell-off and can only shrug in indifference. Who passively accept the destruction of free education and the slow death of their schools. Until someone with a brown face dares to send their child to your child’s school. Until someone in a hijab, niqab or burka  wants to use your hospital. Imagine caring not one iota about the freedom of capital to cross continents at the stroke of a banker’s keyboard – leaving mass unemployment and poverty in its wake – but stirring in anger when labour dares to exercise the same freedom. Ooh, you care then, don’t you?

Imagine turning your life upside down just for that: for a miserable, pitiful existence, only to have racist, bigoted scum – smug and secure in their white Western privilege – sneering at you and looking down their noses because, instead of sitting on your arse, you actually got off it and tried to make a better life for your kids through sheer, grinding, hard-graft? Just like we’re always urged to. Wow, what a bastard eh?

But, no. The bastards are already here. They are the government, they are they people who vote for them, they are the people who can’t be arsed to vote for them, they are the people who are supposed to be the opposition, they are think the people who laugh at revolution. They are the people too docile, too indolent and too stupid to stop themselves being ripped-off, stitched-up and walked over. Until someone with a brown face and an empty belly moves in next door. Ooh, and suddenly there isn’t enough to go round.

Imagine such bastards eh?

Life Politics & Current Affairs

Charity Begins at Home

refswelcome“Charity begins at home, mate. We gotta look after our own first.”


“Yeah, mate. We’ve got our own homeless people to worry about. Our own kids in poverty who need help and look at all the foodbanks we’ve got! Who’s helping all the people who can’t afford food?”

“Er, the people who opened all the foodbanks in the first place?”

“Don’t be a twat, H. You know what I mean.”

“Aye, I think I do. Let’s see if I’ve got this right… you think before any help is offered to Libyan, Iraqi and/or Syrian refugees, we ought to help all those British people suffering deprivation and all their kids who are mired in poverty and can’t afford three decent squares a day?”

Exactly, H!”

“There’s just one problem with that… you reckon no one needs to be unemployed; they choose to be. It’s a lifestyle choice. You said that. You reckon we should cut benefits even more because  most unemployed people are just ‘playing the system,’ your words; not mine. You refuse to believe disabled people are dying via sanctions, you think they’re just taking the piss and sponging off the tax-payer. You also reckon food-banks create a demand for food, just by existing in the first place. What was it you said, a month or two back, when we discussed this very thing? Oh, I remember. You said, ‘If someone offers free stuff there will always be folks queuing up to take it just because it’s there to be had.’ That was your take.”

“So what? I’m not wrong.”

“You are because it isn’t an either/or choice. Both could and should be done and not via charity, either. And where, then, exactly, does your charity begin? Where and how does this ‘helping our own’ manifest itself in your life? You think every deprived person is a scrounger, fiddler and chancer; living a life of Riley ripping off us decent hardworking people. You even told me, quite proudly, that the reason you voted Tory for the first time ever, back in May, was because they were going to roll out more cuts and ‘hit the lazy fuckers where it hurts them most; right in their benefits-scrounging bollocks.’ You said all that. So, to sum up, you don’t want to help anyone. You don’t think anyone deserves or needs help. Either here or oversees. In fact, your contribution to helping ‘our own’ i.e. white, non-Muslim folks, revolves around posting bullshit Britain First memes on social media, comprised of outright lies and made-up ‘facts.’ You are, in fact, a hypocrite and a racist. That’s the nature of your charity!”

“Fuck off! I’m not racist but…”


Politics & Current Affairs

Dave Takes a Meeting


The nightingales sang in Berkeley Square. Clock-faces wilted and then melted, folding themselves gracefully over the branches of chestnut trees. From the Prime Minister’s Private Office the sound of Big Ben striking thirteen could be heard. Reginald, the PM’s consigliere, faced the Great Man and braced himself.

“So, Reg. How are we looking now?”

“Well, Dave, as you know, the photo was a major ball-ache”

“Tell me about it! And now we’ve bloody well u-turned!”

“With respect, Dave, we haven’t. All you’ve done is say we’ll take a few thousand more. There is absolutely no substantive change on the policy.”

“But it looks like it, damn it. Those 1922 Committee fucks are gonna tear me a new one!”

“Relax. It’s cool. We’re on top of it. A nine-day wonder. Besides, until that bastard Corbyn gets in Labour are with us. Plus, on the bright side, the BBC are still calling them migrants, not refugees”


“Yeah. Peter Allen on 5 Live was awesome, today. He was very grudging about these people being refugees and fleeing war and then he said – you’re gonna love this – he just kinda brushed it all aside and said that the whole issue had now become ‘entrenched behaviour’ among the darkies”

“He actually said that? Really?”

“Yup. Well not the ‘darkies’ bit, obvs, but the rest of. Absolutely”

“Top man. Have we got him down for a gong?”

“Dunno. I’d need to check with Bernard”

OK, what else do we have?”

“Twitter’s a bit bleak. Lots of proles moaning. Lots of the great unwashed calling you a ‘silver spoon-faced bastard.’ ‘cunt’ ‘wanker.’ The usual, really”

“Fucking Twitter. Tell me again why I can’t just close the fucking thing down, Rupert doesn’t own it, does he?”

“No, but it’s complex with social media”

“Whatever. We’ll come back to it later. What else?”

“Well, this is a bit awkward, really…”

“Spit it out, Reg”

“Well, you remember that intern you were looking for? We’ve got a candidate but it’s a bit awkward”

“Go on…”

“Well, he’s Muslim, for starters…”

“For fuck’s sake!”

“And he’s Syrian. An actual migrant”

“How the fuck did he get in?”

“Home Office twats, again. Another clusterfuck. To be fair Theresa’s got a lot on, currently, as you know; what with the peados and everything”

“This just gets better. Tell me the worst”

“A proper cheeky little shit, he is. He came on with all this ‘shirker striver’ bollocks that Ian started and a lot of nonsense about our ‘core values’ and ‘aspiration’ and  ‘hard-working families’ and so on. Basically, his pitch was that if he’d managed to cross entire war-torn continents, using none of the official channels, with those IS nutters chasing his arse, dragging his missus and brats with him, then he’d proved in spades a couple of things. One, that he was clearly resourceful, good at thinking outside the box and was a man who could work well under pressure and relished a challenge. Two, that if he could do all that it didn’t even matter if we rejected his claim for asylum. He was as ‘aspirational’ as fuck and wanted to ‘get on’ like no cunt we’ve ever seen”

“I see. A fucking chancer then?”

“And then some but, again, it could work well. We spin it as the PM giving a sand-wog a job near the seat of power. Good old British fair play and all that. All those diversity points etc. It’s win/win, Dave”

“Christ on a bike, fucking immigrants, immigrants, immigrants! Everything’s about fucking immigrants!”

“Yes, but it does shift the spotlight from our kiddy-fiddlers for a bit so, you know, not all bad, is it?”

“Fine, OK, whatever, but I want people back where they were; hating the brown-faced fucking freaks. In fact, there’s an idea; can’t we get Katie to do another ‘cockroaches and gunships’ thing? To help get things back on track?”

“No, ‘fraid not. She’s got her head well down and, in the current climate, it would backfire badly. Defo. Trust me. Besides, she’s more into Nigel than you, these days, mate”

“Fucking Farage. Treacherous wanker”

“But he and his mates are shooting their own feet off left, right and centre on this one so, again, like I keep saying, not all bad”

“If you say so. We done now?”

“We are”

Waves lapped against the sand. The white cliffs of Dover, craggy sentinels of empire, glared at Calais. From a nearby guest house the muffled thwack of willow on a young boy’s buttocks could be heard.

Culture Politics & Current Affairs

Down By the Seaside

shoeIf they’re black send them back
If they’re brown let them drown
If they’re white then they’re alright
‘British values’ shining bright

One dead child upon a beach
Now forever out of reach
Of castles built upon the sand
Of a warm and welcome hand

Lorries steal their last breath
Exchanging dignity for death
Fortress Europe keeps them out
While politicians scream and shout

Of migrant hordes swarming here
Feed the hatred, feed the fear
Of losing all you that you have got
So stuff the darkies, fuck the lot

You need your telly and your ‘phone
So why don’t you just call home
To where humanity once did dwell
Instead of living in this hell

Where you’d deny a child his life
A son, a father, mother, wife
Eton toffs stand coldly by
While people queue up just to die

Terror, death, their stock in trade
The awful sandcastles they have made

Politics & Current Affairs

Holidays in the Sun

ZA'ATARI, JORDAN - FEBRUARY 01: Children pose for a picture as Syrian refugees go about their daily business in the Za'atari refugee camp on February 1, 2013 in Za'atari, Jordan. Record numbers of refugees are fleeing the violence and bombings in Syria to cross the borders to safety in northern Jordan and overwhelming the Za'atari camp. The Jordanian government are appealing for help with the influx of refugees as they struggle to cope with the sheer numbers arriving in the country. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 160600686

Pete asks, “Is it actually possible to go any lower than to post pictures of dead children to make a political point?” Well, yeah, it is. I mean the bottom of the Mediterranean is considerably lower, right? Or maybe Pete was speaking figuratively. Again, yeah. It’s probably lower to bomb the shit out of another country, topple its regime, leave destabilised chaos in its place and then whine when forced to confront the human cost of such actions.

Steve piously opined, “It’s awful, really heart-breaking, but we can’t afford to take in any more.” No argument with Steve regarding Aylan Kurdi. None. But we can’t afford to take any more, Steve? Really? Actually we can. Easily.

JJ, bless him, asks, “Is it not more productive to assist in removing the “terror” they are fleeing from?” Auld cynic that I can be, I struggle a wee bit with this. What with how well that line of approach worked in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya…

And then there’s UKIP. Their prospective parliamentary candidate for Wimbledon, Peter Bucklitsch, Tweeted, “The little Syrian boy was well clothed & well fed. He died because his parents were greedy for the good life in Europe. Queue jumping costs.” Well, to answer the first question posed by Pete. Here you go, pal. I think we have a winner in the how-low-can-you-go inhumanity limbo championship.

My mate Nicki takes a different view. She reckons current events aren’t a migrant crisis. Or a refugee crisis. Not even a humanitarian crisis or all the other labels people wish to attach; which help them avoid facing the real cause of the obscenity of dead children washing up on European beaches. Or seventy-one human beings suffocating to death in the back of a sealed lorry in Austria. Or dozens of people risking death to breach the barricades of Calais and make it to the UK. It is, instead, says Nicki, “a crisis of imperialist warmongering.”

Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, to name just three horror stories from the West’s centuries-old catalogue of imperialist adventures, have, you might reasonably have thought, proved the case against Western ‘intervention’ beyond doubt. And yet still, as thousands of terrified people flee Syrian killing fields, British politicians agitate for the RAF to officially commence bombing raids in the region.

In the meantime, the unicorns-and-rainbows tendency bleat about ‘British values’ and how the UK’s current response to dead brown people is an affront to those values. It’s certainly an affront, alright, but to ‘British values’? What, do tell, are they, exactly?

This? “Show me bodies, floating in the water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad. I still don’t care”
– Sun columnist Katie Hopkins

This? “The problem we’ve got now if you look at the definition of the EU’s common asylum policy if includes anyone fleeing from a war torn country and it even includes people fleeing extreme poverty”
– Nigel Farage

Or this? “…you have got a swarm of people coming across the Mediterranean, seeking a better life, wanting to come to Britain because Britain has got jobs…”
– David Cameron

Or maybe it’s the British media who best define ‘British values.’ Values which appear to be indivisibly synonymous with the virulent racism, bigotry and xenophobia which can be discerned from even the most cursory glance at any one of our national rags. They include immigrant-bashing, unquestioning obsequiousness regarding the Monarchy, a pathological hatred of the poor, a love of British-English nationalism and woman-hating all mixed up with a creepy and disturbing obsession with adolescent and pre-adolescent celebrity sexuality.

Aye, ‘British values’ eh? Springing bloody and filthy from the legacy of imperialism. A centuries-old global campaign of invasion, subjugation, genocide, land and resource-theft. Britannia ruling the waves and never, ever being slaves while enslaving over half the world.

Most of what we in the UK enjoy today was paid for by the blood of those in the Colonies, as a huge post-war transfer of wealth from abroad to the UK was overseen. The tab was picked up by those at the sharp end of British imperialism. For all Labour’s claims to socialism at home, overseas the Attlee government was as reactionary as any other, overseeing the founding of NATO and enthusiastically prosecuting anti-communist and pro-colonial anti-insurgency campaigns all over the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The empire is gone but the old imperialist mindset lives on. In the arrogance and stupidity of those who really believe Aylan Kurdi drowned because his parents wanted subsistence-level benefits. Benefits to which they wouldn’t be entitled and wouldn’t receive anyway.

It rears its vile head when a patrician millionaire old Etonian Prime Minister worries more about white, British holiday-makers suffering some inconvenience by brown people dying and fleeing in fear and dread.

So what’s the solution? We start by saying stuff their money smoke-screen. Stuff it up hill, down dale, doon the brae and round the corner. And then all the way back again. We have all the money we need. Over a hundred billion to renew weapons of mass destruction and countless millions spent on maintaining an unelected, unaccountable feudal relic, to give just two examples.

Our starting point should be that no child dies fleeing in terror while we stand coldly and idly by. Not one. Not ever. Let’s start there and then and only then we – in the sixth-richest nation on earth and the cause of much of the horror from which these people are fleeing – can have a chat about the cash. Maybe, then, we’ll be forced to make the choices too many of us are too greedy, too selfish and too scared of making…

All that’s required is to find the moral will and political integrity. And while I’m not a big fan of rainbows-and-unicorns left-reformism, Tony Benn did at least get it right when he said if we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to feed them.

If we can find £380 billion to save greedy, criminally negligent and corrupt banks, we can find the money to save children from washing up on European beaches.