Politics & Current Affairs

Win £100.00 With H’s Christmas Muslim Challenge

fbcovntryOf course this didn’t happen. At all. In any way. Anywhere. Ever. Darren Slater is a liar. Aye, I’m talking to you, son.

Being charitable, this is nothing more than fevered conjecture, rumour, lies and the sadly now-traditional Muslim-baiting Christmas urban myth.

Apart from anything if Dazzer the ignorant bigot actually knew anything at all about Islam then he’d know that in Islam Jesus is revered as an important prophet. Given that, it’s hard to see any Muslim mortally offended by a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

But I tell you what; I’ll make it easy for you racist quarter-wits to earn yourselves an easy oner for Christmas. Just think; a free ton for more Stella or those chunky easy-to-hold crayons. Or, in Darren’s case, the cash would clearly be better spent taking some English lessons.

I’ll give a £100.00 to the first person that provides documented, verifiable proof from any bodies/organisations – not just Lloyd’s Bank – that any of them anywhere banned decorations, trees, nativity plays, Christmas trees, Santa fucking Clause, mince pies or Rudolph because any Muslim anywhere in the UK – not just Coventry – ever complained.

If anyone actually does chance their arm (and I’m expecting at least 768 applicants from the cerebral flatliners who ‘liked’ and/or ‘shared’ Darren’s gibbering nonsense, with Darren himself leading the pack) then once I’ve debunked your rubbish and left your laughable claim in tatters, then you make just a £25.00 donation on my behalf to the Newcastle Islamic Diversity Centre.

Off you go…

Politics & Current Affairs

Nick Cohen and Corbyn’s ‘New Politics’

Labour Party leader Jeremy CorbynMozart’s inarguable genius often obscures the fact that he was also a debt-ridden hack; a jobbing muso who took on many commissions simply for the money. To that end, like many of the great composers, he was a skilled re-cycler of his own work. You don’t need to listen to a lot of his music to spot the re-used motifs, phrases and – in more contemporary parlance – riffs that constantly reappear. There’s no shame in that, of course. We’ve all got to earn a living. Even Nick Cohen.

However, that’s where the comparisons end. I offer the premise, with no expectation of controversy, that Nick NeoCohen is not a genius. Like Wolfgang Amadeus, though, Nick also re-cycles his own work. As many, with even the most casual acquaintance with his oeuvre, will know, Nick has, at most, two articles in him and merely offers seemingly endless variations on their themes. In fact, scratch the Mozart analogy; Nick NeoCohen is the Status Quo of contemporary political commentators. Double denim at the ready; again, again, again, again; why don’t you do it? Why don’t you do it ag-ain?

The first article concerns his obsession with Islam and how nasty it is; how reactionary and how little it differs from fascism in its applied form.

The second concerns how appalling the British left is and how it aligns itself with the aforementioned reactionary Islamic creed. As a result the left has degenerated to such dreadful form that Nick cannot, any longer, be sullied by it and must, therefore, ‘resign’.

With such a limited palette from which to paint – and always with the broadest of broad brush strokes – Nick must be eternally gratefully to Jeremy Corbyn. The rise of Corbyn has provided our anti-hero with the opportunity of combining both his articles, as his latest polemic shows.

Nick ignores, though, the fact that any left organisation is as much a product of the capitalism it aspires to oppose. It will contain exactly the same kind of flawed human beings as any other organisation. It’s only as dysfunctional, incompetent and unpleasant as any other organisation that comprises human beings. Yet far from being quiet, or complicit, in the crimes of which Nick accuses it, one factor in the weakness of the left is that it often tears itself apart in a principled refusal to accept some of the foul infections with which it finds itself assailed.

The Socialist Workers Party is now merely a shadow, numerically speaking, of its former self. The ‘Comrade Delta’ scandal saw the organisation explode into a bitter internal war as huge chunks of the membership refused to stand idly by and be a party to the leadership’s attempted cover-up. There are now scores of lefties who will never again associate, in any way, with the SWP in protest at its gasp-inducing misogyny.

Similarly, the most successful socialist initiative ever seen on these shores in modern times – the Scottish Socialist Party – destroyed itself rather than accept misogyny, perjury and corruption as the price for proletarian glory.

To give just two examples.

And so to Corbyn. Nick has no words for the extensively documented ‘bullying’ and ‘intimidation’ by his Blairite heroes. Still fewer for the contempt with which whatever passed for democracy in New Labour was held. No, Corbyn’s ‘new politics’ is mere apologia for racism, intimidation and violence, according to the NeoCohen gospel. As with all the current attacks on the Labour leader, in this regard, there is no, none, nada, zero evidence presented to establish Corbyn’s culpability; simply the wearily familiar device of smear by association.

Two wrongs rarely make a right and the ah-yeah-but-what-about tactics of most political partisans is distasteful. And, to be fair to Nick, he has ‘resigned’ from the left so cannot reasonably be expected to examine it any more fairly or rationally than previously. Nevertheless, it’s instructive that NeoCohen chooses to aim his fire at the non-existent campaign of Corbyn-inspired bullying and yet utters not a word about a case of genuine bullying that led to an actual death…

Elliott Johnson was a Conservative, though, so it doesn’t fit the popular anti-Corbyn narrative. Still; give Nick some time and he’ll no doubt devise another variation on his riff that blames Corbyn for the unfortunate Johnson’s demise.

After all, those bills won’t pay themselves, right?

Politics & Current Affairs

Bomber Benn and Corbyn’s Anti-War Bullies

Hilary-BennI tweeted Hilary Benn, following the Commons debate on Wednesday. The tweet read: Let’s plug your auld man’s corpse into the National Grid. It’s now spinning so fast we could power the nation. You in? @hilarybennmp

As most British people know, ‘spinning (or ‘burling’ in Scotland) in the grave’  is a widely-used and accepted saying; intended to indicate disapproval by a departed loved-one. I merely stretched the metaphor for greater impact. Well, it certainly had impact…

I was surprised to see the channelling of my inner Frankie Boyle reproduced in The Daily Mail, as part of an article concerned with ‘Corbyn’s anti-war bullies.’ The Daily Mail, it isn’t unfair to suggest, has a certain form of its own regarding bullying and intimidation. The rag was quickly followed by The Metro, Russia Today and then BBC’s Newsnight, for which I did a twenty-three minute interview (Newsnight didn’t use any of the footage on the program but, instead, posted forty-nine seconds of it on Twitter).

Many people found the tweet offensive; a roughly equal number did not. And that’s all we really need to say on the question. The most important aspect of the affair is its tiny and inconsequential place in the wider narrative of pro-war MPs being ‘bullied’ ‘abused’ and ‘threatened.’

At this point, given my status – along with millions of others who oppose the bombing of Syria – as a “terrorist sympathiser,” allow me clear up a few things before we attend to the substantive issue. Firstly, I oppose Daesh with no qualification, hesitation or mental reservation of any kind. I am not even opposed, in principle, to the use of force in dealing with it. I’d just like that force to be effective instead of it simply killing children, handing Daesh the propaganda coup for which it desperately yearns and ensuring yet more recruits and martyrs to its cause.

I also deplore threats of violence, including those directed towards MPs. I even condemn threats of violence toward those who see no hypocrisy in cheering and applauding, alongside their Tory colleagues (I use the word ‘colleagues’ deliberately), following a successful vote to kill people, while whinging that they are being ‘bullied.’

However, lobbying one’s MP is not ‘bullying.’ Sending angry Tweets to one’s MP, expressing disagreement with their stance, is not ‘intimidation.’ Neither is it ‘abuse’ to promise one’s MP that one will take all possible measures to ensure said MP’s de-selection As for holding a candlelight vigil outside an MP’s surgery, the suggestion that such an action is  ‘offensive’ is derisory.

What all these things are, though, is applied democracy. It is demanding MPs be accountable for the actions they take, on behalf of those that they purport to represent. It is the public, and constituency party members, exercising their right to choose who they want to be their elected representatives.

Calling a Labour MP a ‘red Tory’ isn’t, in any playground I’ve ever spent time, ‘harassment.’ In fact, if one’s ideological world-view is so similar to that of the Conservatives (yes, I’m looking at you, Liz Kendall), then suggestions that such people simply complete their natural trajectory and join the Tories seems not unreasonable.

Interestingly, among those Labour MPs who were enthusiastically Je Suis-ing away, post-Charlie Hebdo, are some who seem to have rather forgotten their fierce commitment to free speech. It’s almost as if free speech is acceptable when it provides a cover for mocking and taunting Muslims, but unacceptable if one exercises it to ask MPs to stop killing them.

Regarding the sending of photographs of dead children to MPs, I wouldn’t do it myself; but not for any concern regarding the feelings of MPs who vote to bomb Syrians. After all, when a politician makes a decision that will result in the deaths of children, then he or she should, at the very least, have the spine, the integrity and the moral fibre to face, unflinchingly, the consequences of that decision.

If you vote to drop bombs on people then you have forfeited the right to be offended at angry people Tweeting or emailing you photographs of the victims. What’s your problem? No big deal killing kids, but your delicate sensibilities quiver in disgust and offence when you’re forced to confront the inevitable horror of your own actions? Stiffen your spine and own your choices. Take responsibility for what you do.

No, my reluctance to the sending of such photographs is that I could not be sure that this wouldn’t cause yet further pain and grief to the victims’ loved ones. These are the people who really are suffering from ‘bullying’ ‘abuse’ ‘intimidation’ and ‘harassment.’ Along with death, heartache and a fear we cannot even imagine. Not privileged and arrogant MPs whose sense of entitlement has now grown to such obscene proportions that they object to the little people daring to question them.

It’s all part of the anti-Corbyn media offensive, though, isn’t? To tie in the threats from a random collection of disturbed individuals to the legitimate and quite proper anger of voters and party members. As if there is a sinister plot afoot to do down these hapless and vulnerable right-wingers. There isn’t, of course. It’s ridiculous. In fact, many people feel a growing sense of frustration with Corbyn precisely because he doesn’t take disciplinary action against these people.

Today, on Radio Four’s lunchtime news, the report of a, presumably authentic, death threat received by expert self-publicist Simon Danczuk, was linked seamlessly with “… over a hundred complaints received by his office.” See? A death threat and legitimate “complaints” are to be conflated. All orchestrated by the controlling hand of Corbyn and his malevolent outriders, of course. Telling us the Andrex puppy was really a serial killer would be more plausible.

Those who know me offline will testify; I never say anything on social media that I haven’t already said in real life or wouldn’t be quite happy to say, given the opportunity (as my nose will testify. Trust me; you don’t get one like mine hiding behind a keyboard). I think that’s only right. It’s just one of the many values my mam and dad instilled in me; never say anything about anyone if you’re not prepared to say it to their face. With that in mind, I’d be delighted to discuss my Tweet in person with Bomber Benn.

Another parental lesson concerned personal responsibility. The idea that I should bear the weight, suffer the consequences, of any decisions I made. What a shame so many of today’s pro-bombing, privileged and pampered MPs didn’t have a similar upbringing.

Politics & Current Affairs

War, Again: Labour’s Syrian Shame

So Corbyn bottled it. All the desperate spin and plaintive self-justification by his acolytes cannot obscure this simple truth.

Their arguments are spurious and mendacious. At best. Even if the alleged strategy – to avoid a split in the party – had been successful then the unity of the Labour Party has been prioritised over saving the lives of Syrian infants.

But, to pile tragedy upon contempt, the strategy has not and will not be successful. Corbyn has been hounded and monstered from day one. At least half the shadow Cabinet and a majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party have been in open revolt from the very moment he ascended to the leadership. Their contempt for him has been astonishing. Their disobedience, their disloyalty and the disdain in which they hold their leader has been there for all to see. There is no unity. None.

Instead, there is – cruel pun, perhaps – a civil war raging inside the PLP. It cannot be avoided. It’s happening now. To continue the martial metaphors, it is a universal truth of military warfare that if one must fight a war, then one should always seek to do so on terrain of ones own choosing. Corbyn should have taken the fight to his enemies. He should have whipped his MPs and sacked the pro-war dissenters. He has the overwhelming support of the membership and even official Conference policy on his side. Yes, the split would have widened but it’s here already and is set only to accelerate anyway with, possibly, Corbyn ousted from his post. And such an act would have been in the service of nothing less than humanity and he, at least, would have acted with courage and principle.

Let’s stick with war aphorisms and remind the Labour leader that weakness only invites aggression. His right-wing will not be deterred from their plotting; the media will not cease its assassinations. There is nothing Corbyn can do to appease these people. All his current trajectory will do is weaken his powerbase in the CLPs. As Tolkien wrote, “A man who flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it.”

As it is, he has chosen the coward’s exit; the Pontius Pilate option of washing his hands and preserving his own sainted purity while allowing his MPs a free vote to massacre brown babies.

His supporters mutter darkly about deselecting the pro-war MPs in their constituencies; allowing the rank-and-fail to dole out the punishment they so richly deserve but that Corbyn lacks the guts to deliver himself. This, though, is a ridiculous double-standard. Corbyn apologists defend the free vote as ‘a matter of conscience.’ Yet now they wish to punish MPs for… voting with their consciences? (or at least that which passes for conscience among these people) So a free vote is fine for Corbyn but not those who disagree with him? In fact, the sixty-six MPs who voted for war can’t even be termed rebels. After all, what were they rebelling against? There was no party line. Such is the unavoidable outcome, the inevitable logic, of Corbyn’s tactical cowardice.

And what of those MPs? On the one hand there are those who genuinely believe that murdering Syrian civilians in an utterly futile and doomed attempt to bomb an ideology into submission is the right thing to do. It says so much of Labour, ‘a party fit for imperialism,’ that these worthies are the good guys. Relatively speaking. At least such people have the dubious honour of being up-front and honest in their idiocy and callousness.

Worse, though, than even these creatures are those Labour MPs cynically exploiting the impending massacre for personal career advantage; and to settle scores with the leader they despise. Terrified of the growing wrath of their local party members and the prospect of losing the perks and trappings of Westminster, they plot, they scheme and they betray in a concerted bid to bring down Corbyn to save their own careers. Imagine that; pursuing the killing of other human beings solely to shore-up your ambition.

In both cases, these specimens have lined up with the Tories and condemned Syrians to death. And so it is that another murderous folly is now unleashed. The UK’s fourth in fewer than twenty years. Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; close the wall up with Muslim dead.

Tonight, there are Labour MPs that never deserved less than they do now the prefix ‘honourable.’ But, as always, they’ve certainly done their best to ensure Labour remains Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition…