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Justin McKeating on the “Brown Doctrine”

23 Feb

Justin isn’t impressed by Gordon Brown’s attempt to preempt his appearance at the Chilcot inquiry:

And isn’t it fortunate that Gordon now reveals he didn’t regard Saddam an imminent threat, just as that argument is shown (once again) to be a stinking pile of mendacious horseshit. If only Brown had had a quiet word in Alastair Campbell’s ear back in 2002, all of this unpleasantness might have been avoided. Brown seems to have had no consideration of Iraqi human rights (as Blair later tried to twist it) and admits Saddam could have stayed in power if only he’d come clean about the weapons he didn’t have.

If anything, Brown’s case for cluster-bombing children is even weaker than Blair’s. At least Blair tried to convince us of some threat that needed countering. Brown makes the deaths of – at the very least – 100,000 people, the destruction of a country, and the debasement of UK foreign policy sound like an early bed time for disobedience. I have children who have a ‘persistent disregard’ for what they’re told. God help them if I take up the Brown Doctrine.

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Andrew Sullivan on the increasing intolerance of the G.O.P.

21 Feb

On one panel for the under-thirties, Jason Mattera, a rising conservative star, brought the house down. His new book is called Obama Zombies: How the Liberal Machine Brainwashed My Generation, and in his speech, adopting a black accent, he mocked what he called “diversity”, including college classes on “what it means to be a feminist new black man. Think of a crossover between RuPaul and Barney Frank”. RuPaul is a black drag queen and Barney Frank is the openly gay chairman of the banking committee in the House of Representatives and one of only three openly gay members of Congress (all of whom are Democrats). At the same conference three years ago, Ann Coulter, the bestselling conservative author of her generation, called former vice-presidential candidate John Edwards “a faggot” to rowdy applause.

This is a new kind of Republican party. It is not Goldwater’s Arizona libertarianism or Reagan’s California tolerance. It is getting whiter and whiter, and straighter and straighter. And among the heterosexuals, the hostility towards gay equality is becoming an intense and defining shibboleth of what the party means.

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If the Republican Party no longer stands for tolerance and individualism, then it exists as a mere conduit for a holier-than-thou religious tyranny that will suffocate the thin-stream of libertarian intellectual creativity, which is the only thing that makes the party interesting.

Sadly, Sullivan is right

Seriously, why not just vote with your heart?

14 Feb

You should vote. Millions of people on the planet don’t enjoy the rights you have. Many are prepared to spill their blood for the chance of self-determination. You should definitely vote.

But who should you vote for?

You’re probably thinking that they’re all a shower, and why should you vote for any of them. I’m inclined to agree which is why I’m saying just vote with your heart. Take a single-issue – be it climate change, taxes, copyright reform or whatever – and vote for the party that best represents your views.

It’s not a wasted vote. That’s what the big parties want you to believe. If enough people vote for fringe parties, others will follow. At this rate, we’ll be stuck with Labour, Conservatives and the Lib Dems forever – locked into a future of mediocre politics, led by the likes of David Cameron: a man whose soul is barely deep enough to sustain a single goldfish.

So why not frivolously blow your vote? What, really, would be the difference between any of the three major parties? Cameron is as slippery as a sack of eels, Gordon Brown is so desperate he’d probably show you his cock if you promised to vote for him, and Nick Clegg is simply beyond pointless.

When Labour supporters attack Cameron for being lightweight, it works because they’re right. And when Tories call Brown an incompetent clown, they have a point too.

There are, believe it or not, a lot of good constituency parliamentarians. If you have a good MP, vote for him or her. If you just like your MP, why not send them some electoral love? It really will not make much difference. A bunch of arse will run the country regardless.

So if you care passionately about the environment, don’t compromise, vote Green. If like me it’s the surveillance state and corporate influence on politics that animates you, vote for the Pirate Party. If you’re concerned about protecting your welfare, or your MP is Tom Watson, vote Labour.

Just whatever you do, vote with your heart. This country is cursed with second-rate politics, so it really doesn’t matter.

New episode of “so it goes…” is up: Boss

11 Oct

So against all odds, Jack and I finally managed to get together and record another episode of our so it goes… podcast. It took me a week to edit (such is my life/time management skills), so ignore Jack’s ignorance to the whole Letterman creepiness.

So in this episode we discuss Obama and healthcare (again), Letterman’s sexy indiscretions and what it means for his career, a future [*spits*] Tory government, and the good (and bad) bosses we’ve worked under.

“Boss” can be listened to at the Mevio site here, or you can subscribe via iTunes, here.

Our Afghanistan Problem

18 Aug

The War in Afghanistan: what exactly is the plan?

I’ve always had issues with invading Afghanistan. Yeah, I hated the Taliban as much as the next person (and yeah, I knew about them before 2001), but I couldn’t see the sense in a ground-war in a country so completely conditioned for decentralised guerrilla combat.

The plan, if it was to be violent (let’s face it, military retaliation was exactly what 9/11 was intended to provoke), should have been intelligence-gathering, air-strikes and hardware support for anti-Taliban forces. Not that I’m a military expert of course.

The one thing democratic governments can’t suffer is an endless war of attrition in a faraway land. Any conflict in Afghanistan, that involved regular infantry on the ground, was always going to be one.

Now it seems, the British public are starting to turn against continued intervention in Afghanistan.

The thing is, I’m not sure how I should feel about it all. We’ve encouraged the Afghani people to get involved in democracy. We’ve empowered women to risk their lives to take a stake in the process. We promised these people a better future. Are we to now cash in our chips and leave them to it?

Whether you agreed with the war or not, it was conducted in our name. We voted in our leaders, we share the collective responsibility for their actions.

So what now? Do we continue to support the deeply flawed and fragile Afghani project, or do we pull our troops out? I’ve not got the answer, if that’s why you’re here.

What bothers me though, is that we’re not taking a shared responsibility. We’re not risking our lives by going to school, or having to take a different route to the office every day. We’re not all, like many hundreds of Military families, dreading the phone call that tells them that a loved one has been killed in a hostile land thousands of miles away. What contribution is the majority making?

I’m sorry, but a rich nation sending soldiers into battle without adequate hardware is unforgivable. Bob Ainsworth, the defence secretary, insists that the war is “winnable”. Is it? Is it really?

We have no strategy to win. There is no half-arsed strategy to win a war where the enemy dissolves into the landscape, able to pick and choose its fights. So how much blood do we spill before the inevitable humiliating withdrawal?

We have two choices. We can leave now, and send our troops back to their families alive. Or we put the many more thousands of boots on the ground it will take to lock-down the violence. And we give them the helicopters, body-armor, and weapons needed to do the job.

A war cannot be won on the cheap. We are selling-out our troops, and we should demand every politician in the land answers for that.

Griffin is finally legitimised. Thanks New Labour!

8 Jun

And so finally, fascist flabby arse-wipe Nick Griffin has achieved national political legitimacy by winning a seat at the European Parliament.

And guess what?

We put him there. The progressives. Or so-called progressives, anyway.

The New Labour project, that brave centre-left experiment to bring Clintonian Third-Way politics to a post-Thatcherite Britain, is over.

Yeah, Slippery Dave promises us pragmatic politics without “isms”, but we know that’s a crock to triangulate the Tories for the maximum haul of MPs at the next general election. Cameron will use his majority to remind us what a bunch of twat-necks the Tories are, and always have been.

I’m not a socialist. I’m a centre-left liberal. I believe in robust markets and social liberalism. Labour’s failure is not its adoption of Ordoliberalism, but its failure to deliver it.

The State has spent millions on management consultants, yet it has been proven incompetent at improving systems and controlling costs — two pillars of good management.

Look at the colossal clusterfuck that is tax-credits. Hard working families have found themselves repaying thousands back, because the system is convoluted, over-complicated and utterly mismanaged. Brown’s gargantuan tax-system is an operational catastrophe that has ultimately failed the working poor.

Then there is Labour’s abject failure to communicate to the working classes. New Labour’s kowtowing to the Murdoch press and its rabid commitment to spinning a narrative to the bloated middle classes, have ensured it no longer speaks directly to the poor and disenfranchised. Whenever a section of society is ignored and marginalised, the predatory fascist right move in to fill the vacuum. I predicted this years ago, as did many writers and commentators.

The final nail was the expenses scandal, which was a plague on all their houses. But it was Labour, with its huge majorities, which could have reformed the system — had they not been abusing it like alcoholics at a free-bar.

Our politics is broken, but the Labour Party is shattered. It’s on life-support and few people actually want to see it pull-through. If we forget tribalism for a second, wouldn’t the progressive cause actually be helped by the quick suffocation of The Labour Party?

We need to reclaim the conversation from the far-right. We need to address, both rhetorically and practically, the concerns of the working poor.

Progressive politics must have a carnival of ideas. We need to experiment with proven policies that have been successful across Europe and the world, and we must remain focussed on efficiency and delivery. These are lean times, but it doesn’t mean we can’t work towards better times.

Labour will lose the next general election, but it lost a commitment to progressive politics a long time ago.

People are jealous of my house!

21 May

Conservative MP Anthony Steen is a cock-munch.

He’s a fucking moron.

He should be bum-raped by an angry donkey.

You have to listen to this. You have to. Seriously.

Grrrrr! I’m fucking livid. I hope his thieving hands fall off.

And his dick. I hope that drops off too.