A rare case of a man deceased who needs no whitewashing. Whenever his “lover, comrade and friend”, his beloved “Feminist Avenger”, has to sit down and talk to someone about the ‘arrangements’ there will be no awkwardness, no embarrassment as imaginations are deployed; desperately searching for something nice, something worthwhile, to say. We need only tell the truth. A blunt – like him – plain recounting of the facts will be all the tribute required.
The integrity in the face of adversity; the wisdom to watch this Island’s most successful left project rise and then burn at the hands of… well… someone unfit to share his oxygen and yet not succumb to despair and an abandonment of the class he loved and for which he tirelessly fought.
The crabbit irascibility; the rapier-like humour that would often leave you gasping; the sheer force of character that saw him navigate foul, dangerous and treacherous waters with dignity and resolve.
And, for me, the enduring memory of that lanky frame, which dwarfed my own considerably smaller form and yes; considerably smaller character. Memories of texts swapped after a Hibs win or a H*ns defeat; of arranging hurried catch-ups in coffee shops and retail parks on the outskirts of Auld Reekie; all cobbled around which granddaughter was being picked up, dropped off or otherwise placed right at the centre of his universe.
Christ, he schooled me on the national question, Islamophobia waaaay before it was a thing and how to accurately assess the balance of class forces. But he saved his greatest gift till near the end. After near twenty-five years as friends and comrades, he welcomed me as a fellow grandfather. And that was undoubtedly an area where his expertise was unsurpassed. A flash of humour here, a seemingly off-hand remark there, all that wisdom, humanity and love distilled. I only had to reach out and take it. And I did.
As is always the case, he was different things to all of us. But this was the Eddie Truman I knew. And loved.
As a potential Prime Minister, BoJo was a truly frightening prospect. A mendacious, unscrupulous and venal chancer, even by the current low standards we seem to accept from our politicians.
A privileged posh boy smirking his way up to the potential break-up of the United Kingdom, the shared destiny of some 63,000,000 human beings reduced to the geo-political equivalent of the Eton Wall Game; larks, a jolly jape in the common room.
Privilege is protection and now he’s finished smashing up the tuck shop, all to steal his mate’s job, the chubby clown can decamp to anywhere else he feels like. We, on the other hand…
Meanwhile, knives have sharpened for Corbyn. A bumbling, unpolished man with a modicum of some integrity. Whose biggest failing in the eyes of the V.E. Day tribute act now comprising half our electorate, is not his weak politics growing ever weaker, but that he actually cares about people. What an out-of-touch, metropolitan, lefty wanker, eh? Burn him. Burn him now.
Those of us (by which I mean me) who actually thought that this mood might now be channelled into addressing the ‘unaccountable and unelected bureaucrats’ here at home; the patronage, the privilege, the sneering contempt with which the political class view us, are terminally damaged by our own unreality. There is no revolt. It’s over. The war is won. As long as patrician public school-boys and faceless English mandarins rule over us in perpetuity, that’s fine. Just as long as they aren’t Frogs, Krauts, Spics or Wops. Half the country can’t see the fucking wood for the bulldogs and spitfires. And they don’t want to. They’ve got their country back.
Instead, the only thing passing for revolution are tens of thousands of indignant Remainers marching in the Imperial Capital. Demanding that their country is taken back from the Brexiteers. For those of us crippled by ambivalence, there is little chance of recovery. Sympathy for people trying to overturn a democratically-decided referendum is hard to muster. For all the decent folks involved, many of whom are good friends, it’s difficult not to smell a passing whiff of middle-class entitlement; fury that, for once, things didn’t go their way. Instead, those uppity proles smashed the pub up. “But they lied!” wail the Remainers. Christ, where to even start with that? Perhaps best not to bother. Perhaps a curt “no shit?” with all the scorn one could possibly amass is all the response required.
We chose between European bankers and racists and British bankers and racists. Fortress Europe or Little Britain. Put like that, if I’m surprised at all it’s only that the space between the numbers wasn’t the width of the Atlantic. While it certainly was a working class rebellion, it sure as shit aint no working class victory.
My mate Mick Connole, former striking miner and thoughtful observer of current events, was saying for weeks before the vote that there is no way we’d leave the EU. Even if Brexit won. He was joined in that prediction by Comrade Wife. As we watch the Eton Rifles back-peddling furiously, talking about there being ‘no rush’ and urging themselves to ‘take our time’ and to make sure ‘the best possible deal for Britain’ is secured before pulling the Article 50 trigger, you can only gape in amazement. They’re actually going for it. They’re actually going to try robbing 17,000,000 Brexiteers of their win. Mick now looks far less like a tinfoil-hatted conspiracy enthusiast and considerably more like a modern sage of no mean perspicacity. Comrade Wife, too, is on course to shatter her personal best of fifty I Told You Sos in a single day.
So, to summarise… a sitting Tory PM campaigns openly on a policy of brutal austerity. In an unprecedented display of political honesty he actually tells you, up front, that cuts, shortages and pain are on the way.
You either sit on your arse and vote for no one or you vote for him. He wins the election and, again in a hitherto unmatched display of consistency, implements his election pledges.
You then vote to leave the EU which you blame for austerity while pretending you’re also voting against the PM who actually did give you austerity and who you really hate now but not enough then, evidently, to ensure he didn’t get elected in the first place.
Meanwhile, every opinion poll bar none tells you the number 1 concern around the EU is immigration, you tell me that it’s your number 1 concern but if I raise this then you get offended because you’re not racist but and I’m told I’m a sneering member of some metropolitan elite that hates the working class and you just care about ‘democracy’ and ‘austerity.’
At the same time half the left is celebrating because this is a progressive workers’ revolt; they just forgot to send that memo to Marine Le Pen, Britain First, UKIP and National Action. Now, after throwing immigrants under the bus, that same half of the left is busily and sanctimoniously, patronisingly, organising ‘solidarity’ activities for immigrants.
Those of us actually living in working class communities where all twenty-seven of our pits disappeared because of non-immigrant white-British scabs working hand-in-glove with a Tory government, and have had zero-hrs contracts for our kids as the replacement, can no longer look forward to an influx of funds destined for our public services. Because they lied. And you believed them. And we’re now going to end up with Theresa May as Prime Minister.
First of all, apologies in advance if anyone’s delicate sensibilities are disturbed by the following.
However, as much as some may find it distasteful, opportunistic and/or an act of callous point-scoring, many of you fragile little flowers have shown no such reticence in rushing to condemn Muslims for Lee Rigby’s murder, immigrants for the near-collapse of the NHS and forecasting a Turkish rape-apocalypse by 75 million, brown-skinned savages, in the highly unlikely event that that country ever qualifies for admission to the EU. As I remarked previously, we are way past matters of taste; the high-horse upon which you precariously sit resembles ever-more a Blackpool nag with broken knees. Your moral high-ground is a straw on the edge of a precipice. We are where we are so let’s deal with that.
With depressing predictability, people have rushed to explain Thomas Mair as, variously, “A lone nutter” “a deviant paranoid personality” and “an individual with mental-health issues.” Some have gone further and in acts of unintentional intelligence-shattering irony have begged we do not tar all far-right, neo-Nazis and white supremacists with the same brush. You simply couldn’t, as the cliché has it, make it up.
Let’s cut to the chase. This act of far-right terrorism is the logical, and entirely predictable, outcome of the nation’s direction of political travel. This is an unavoidable truth and it shames us to try and pretend otherwise. No, Jo Cox’s murder isn’t the fault of the Brexit campaign, per se. After all, our truly toxic and poisonous political atmosphere precedes the EU referendum by many years. Cameron, Osborne and co cannot claim any purity of word or deed simply because Farage, Johnson and co have recently managed to out-racist them. The rhetoric of the OUT campaign is merely the national consensus turned up to 11. They are all culpable; they are all guilty.
If Mair does turn out to have mental issues – as racist apologists and mealy-mouthed right-wingers are desperately scrambling to prove – this doesn’t, in any way, mean his shocking act wasn’t also an act of fascist terrorism. Make no mistake; it was. This terrorist atrocity, by a man with proven links to neo-Nazi organisations, was the inevitable, direct and unavoidable culmination of years and years of racist demonising; of hate-mongering by an inhumane establishment, presiding over a decaying, backward, semi-feudal society, blinded by Empire nostalgia, imperialist arrogance and nothing but utter contempt for the Other.
And no accusations of opportunism or point-scoring can alter that. No cowardly denials, no sophistry, no injured innocence can wash away the simple truth that while Mair plunged in the knife and pulled the trigger, the entire British state, its apparatus, media and representatives are all equally guilty of her murder.
“I find it in poor taste to use the death of an MP to try to score political points in the EU referendum debate.” I was rebuked thus, earlier.
We’re way past taste, though. Brown people and Muslims, dead babies on beaches, immigrants and the damned have been political capital, just so much collateral damage, for years. The new British currency. ‘Daily Mail, mate? Cheers, that’ll be ten dead darkies, please. Lovely. ‘ave a good day, guv.’
My, but don’t we get prissy and self-righteous, though, when it’s on our own sparkling-white doorstep? When the bodies aren’t Syrian infants but white, privileged British ones? Bit too close to home now, eh? Easier to deny there’s any connection between the murder of an MP by a fascist screaming ‘Britain first/First’ and the sort of politics that have consciously and deliberately fostered that act. Isn’t it?
But relax. Chill. This will be a “lone nutter” as someone said to me, earlier. Because, as we know, Muslim/brown person equals terrorist, savage etc. Because ‘they hate our values,’ don’t they?
White person, though, even a fascist with a gun and a knife, for God’s sake, well, he’ll be a ‘lone nutter.’ Not a product of those ‘values’ eh? Not our ‘values.’ Which is fortunate. Because then we’d have to take a long, hard look at those ‘values’ and the society spawned by them. Wouldn’t we?
So now you know. Stir the racist swamp and monsters emerge. Drip, drip, drip racism, spread anti-immigrant poison, demonise terrified refugees as as “swarm”, dehumanise the Other, do it every day, year in, year out. In the media, from the mouths of politicians. Buy into yourself with your mates down the pub. Until Jo Cox is murdered. Will you stop now?
Have you got your country back now?
… Cheers for the card and the leaving present. Not too sure what we’re gonna do with an electronic garlic press, mind; probably just stick it in the pantry with Auntie Mabel’s signed photo of Nigel Farage.
We’re gonna end up with Boris fucking Johnson, Michael Gove or Theresa May as PM and the far right will be celebrating their biggest propaganda victory since the BNP won its first council seat on the Isle of Dogs. UKIP will surge on the back of it and little Ingerlunders will be jizzing so hard, the country will look like a plasterer’s radio.
We might get a Corbyn government, eventually, when the racists run out of immigrants and the EU to blame for the state of our feudal, bankrupt, little backwater. Thankfully, though, as Jezza lacks balls, at least you fuckers won’t be able to do a Greece on our asses if he implements anything vaguely social democratic! Ho ho ho. Not so smug now, are you, you cheese-eating surrender monkeys?
Mind you, by then the natives will have moved on from immigrants as the Tories take us full-retro. We’ll be back to scouring the land for unemployed shirkers, pitchforks in hand. Or working-class teenagers in tracksuits. We’ll be burning single mums from council estates. Or whoever the latest hate figure is that we’ve been spoon-fed by the establishment and media. And Peter Lilly, complete in Salem-style Puritan garb, will come out of retirement to host the new prime time TV sensation ‘Britain’s Got Whores.’ And, of course, Corbyn will be ‘soft’ on the new enemy of England anyway, whoever or whatever that turns out to be, so he’ll be booted into the long grass while we continue to turn on each other with increasing ferocity.
Plus ca change etc, eh?
The Jocks will finally say ‘fuck it, we’re off’ only as they wield a giant saw and try hacking themselves off at Gretna Green, the Geordies, Scousers and Mancs – and anyone else with an iota of humanity and hope still desperately flickering – will beg them to cut lower. Eventually the island will be sawn in two, somewhere around Watford Gap.
Muslims will finally be so beaten down that they’ll almost be part of the establishment. Those not in jail or not deported, that is. There will be plastic Muslim theme-pubs and every Ramadan hordes of pissed-up Brits will roam the streets singing the call to prayer. While bemused Irish look on, thankful, at least, for their loss as England’s favourite ethnics to patronise.
Still, looking a bit shit for you, too, aint it? The French are next in line to fuck off or will die rioting while they try. You’re shitting yourselves at the gains by Nazi parties in the latest EU elections and austerity has finally bitten you on the arse as everyone sees your project for what it always was – a giant shell game with the working class as the marks.
Not all bad, though. Poverty is the mother of revolution and we’re getting there. Yeah, you can laugh. I know it sounds ridiculous but, you know, we are the world’s oldest imperialist nation. It just takes a few centuries to shake off all that internalised oppression.
Yeah, we’ve got mixed feelings. Who wouldn’t after so long together? But there’s hope. And if there is hope it lies with the proles.
Brexit will triumph. Forget the perfectly reasonable left argument for leaving; don’t even waste your time with the plausible left case for remaining. This is now (as if it has ever been anything else) a referendum on immigration. And the racists and bigots are winning (Lord Ashcroft’s latest poll gives the leave campaign a 3% lead).
Some of things I’ve learned this weekend, conversing with working-class Brexiters:-
All the nation’s ills are the fault of the EU. All of them. Because immigration.
The end of the post-war boom and the victory of Thatcherism over traditional social democracy – irrelevant.
The collapse of the USSR and its satellites and the resulting triumph of neoliberalism on a global scale – irrelevant.
An international banking crisis of truly historic proportions – irrelevant.
All our problems only started when “Tony Blair and Gordon Brown introduced a benefits and mass immigration culture.” Yes, really.
I’ve also encountered former striking miners and residents of former pit villages who *genuinely believe that the EU and migrant labour are the reasons we no longer have a mining industry in the UK.* Seriously. You want to punch yourself in the face now, don’t you? Unfuckingbelievable. I know.
This is where we are. Reason, sanity and logic have absolutely no fucking chance in this ‘debate.’
I honestly believe these people would happily shoulder pay cuts across the board and the sale of their first-born sons to slave traders if it meant no immigrant was ever allowed to set foot on UK soil again.
I watched your exchange at PMQs with Jeremy Corbyn, earlier today, and I must confess to ending up a bit confused. Of course, I’m not a sophisticated, Eton-educated politician, holding the reins of state power like your own fine self, so I thought you could help me out a wee bit.
Firstly, Corbyn and his “friends from Hamas”, who you described as a “terrorist group.” Well, I did a bit of research and was surprised to learn that Hamas were actually elected, with over 70% of the vote (over double the size of your own mandate, by the way, Dave, lol!), by the Palestinian people, in a free and fair election, overseen by neutral and impartial international observers. So doesn’t that make them, well, the government, Dave? Like your own, in fact, only with shit-loads more votes?
Secondly, I get that these are violent guys, what with all those rockets and whatnot fired into Israel, but I’m given to understand that the Geneva Convention, the International Criminal Court and the Treaty of Rome all permit armed resistance by an oppressed people whose land is illegally occupied by a foreign military power, no? If so, then Palestinian rockets are the legitimate resistance of an oppressed people, fighting a recognised and permitted national liberation struggle, no?
Also, even if you disregard international law (surely not, Dave?) and you class the few poxy home-made rockets desultorily fired into Israel as ‘terrorism’ then I assume, surely, that dropping white phosphorous onto kids, blowing up hospitals, bombing schools, shooting children playing football on beaches, evicting people from their homes so the illegal occupiers can move their folks in, surely, Dave, all that must count as ‘terrorism’? Surely the Israeli state and the IDF are the terrorists? (also, what about Saudi Arabia? Some pretty dodgy links with Daesh, Dave. And they even – get this! – execute women who have been unfortunate enough to get themselves raped. Seems to me, Dave, you’d at least be critical of their dodgy approach to human rights, rather than selling them weapons of mass destruction).
I also think you need to be a tad cautious, mate, banging on all the time about Jezza saying “our friends from Hamas.” You know, what your Maggie being an actual personal pal of General Pinochet. You remember him, Dave? Mass-murdering fascist dictator? Didn’t even get as many votes as you, mate, never mind Hamas. Nope, he just toppled the democratically-elected government in a bloody coup, then unleashed his infamous ‘Caravan of Death’ to tour the country massacring civilians. “A true friend” was how your Maggie described him, as she went to bat to prevent his extradition to face justice for his reign of terror.
You see my point, Dave? Hamas: democratically-elected, fighting a legitimate war of national liberation = bad guys.
Pinochet: unelected dictator, topples democratically-elected government at gunpoint, murders his own people = “true friend.”
Maybe, it’s because he wasn’t a Muslim, Dave? Is that it? Aye, it’s all a bit confusing to a state-educated working class lad, I must admit.
Maybe it’s the anti-Semitic thing with Hamas, then, Dave? That’s shit’s not on at all. I’ve heard about the infamous Charter with all it’s truly vile anti-Semitic filth. I’ve even read it myself. Real horrowshow. Mind you, it turns out, I’m told, that it was written by one geezer and distributed by him without the knowledge or permission of the leadership and so doesn’t represent Hamas’s official position. Instead, I was directed to their official position on the question, which reads as follows:
“What is Hamas’ position on Anti-Semitism? Charges of Anti-Semitism is a most convenient and handy argument Israel’s apologists often throw out when they are basically run out of arguments. They use such an accusation in order to intimidate Israel’s critics or to sterilize discussion and divert attention from the real issues.
The scourge of Anti-Semitism is an abhorrent form of racism that discriminates against all Jews for who they are, and therefore, much like all other forms of racism targeting other decent human beings, it must confronted and eliminated.
There is a clear distinction between Anti-Semitism on the one hand, and legitimate criticisms of Israel’s degrading and oppressive policies against the Palestinian people. We have nothing against Jews for who they are. We are not against Jews as a religion or an ethnicity.
There are many conscientious Jews and Israelis who are ashamed and sickened by what Israel has been doing in their name. These principled Jews have consistently condemned Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights and its settler colonialism
Hamas is against Israel as a settler colonial state that occupies Palestine and subjects the Palestinian people to war, colonization and displacement. The conflict with Israel is fundamentally political and the Palestinians are fighting for freedom and self-determination. Had Palestine been occupied by another people holding a similar or different religion, Hamas and the Palestinian people would have fought against it with all their force. (See Hamas’ Conceptualization of the Other: Its stance towards Judaism, Jews, Zionism, Zionists and Israel)”
Seems pretty clear, that, Dave, no? The sort of unequivocal rejection of anti-Semitism that’s all the rage, these days.
Now, I’m a bit confused with all this stuff about racism anyway. I totally get one absolutely shouldn’t say, for example, that Jews control the banks and the media; clearly anti-Semitic, no question. But Boris came out with all that guff about “Pickaninnies” and “watermelon smiles.” Surely that’s well racist, Dave? No? And the stuff about refugees being a “swarm”? The constant Muslim-baiting of Sadiq Khan? Then there’s the less recent stuff like leaflets mentioning having “… a nigger for a neighbour.” Seems like you might have a race problem in your party, Dave. Why, it’s almost like it’s institutionalised in the Conservative Party. Why don’t you set up one of those enquiry thingies that Corbyn’s got going on, currently?
Anyway, I appreciate you’re a busy guy so, you know, no rush to reply. I would’ve asked Jezza for some help but he’s even busier than you, currently. What with retreating at full speed in the face of all this relentless bullshit and throwing his most loyal supporters under the bus you’re driving, so whenever you can get to me, Dave.