Archive | November 2020

Christmas sweeties for the idiots.

Batten down the hatches, my fellow writers, readers and friends. This one is political and I’m writing it for two reasons.

The first is because of the Prime Mendaciter’s asinine announcement that we can all get together with our friends and families over Christmas and have a jolly old time. This is Johnson handing out sweeties to the idiots, so that we all think what a jolly, cuddly old buffoon he is and fail to notice that this decision is foolhardy and extremely dangerous. Pandemics don’t shut down for Christmas. But after all, as Cummings said, it doesn’t matter if a few thousands of us die. We’re just plebs and we need culling.

But there is a second reason too and this one is equally dangerous and even more alarming. Yesterday I read an article in the Guardian written by George Monbiot, a journalist for whom I have great respect. It was headed ”There is a civil war in Capitalism, and we’re the collateral damage” and what it examined was the profound and largely unnoticed change that has taken place in our society. He describes it succinctly.

Broadly speaking,’ he writes, ‘there are two dominant forms of capitalist enterprise. The first could be described as housetrained capitalism. It seeks an accommodation with the administrative state … and can coexist with a tame and feeble form of democracy.”

But the second form is another matter altogether. He calls it warlord capitalism and it’s an accurate description, for it is run by rapacious billionaires who have money and bases all over the world. Their greed for money and the power it brings is absolutely boundless. The more they have, the more they want and they will use any means, however damaging they are to the rest of us, in order to get their own way. They are dangerous and ruthless people. To his lasting credit, George Monbiot names a lot of them.

He starts off by writing about two books that described the process, one written by Friedrich Hayek and the other by Ayn Rand (and no I hadn’t heard of her either so I looked her up. She was a Russian American born in 1905 so she was seeing capitalism in its infancy and was very impressed by it. Many of us have a different view.) But then the article continues and he names the men who are influencing events now and how they are doing it, starting with Trump’s friend and ally, Steve Bannon, who has recently been banned from Twitter for calling for the beheading of Dr Antony Fauci, and was one of the massive backers of the Leave Campaign. Then he goes on to name the other massive supporters of the campaign, all of them billionaires and all of them warlords, Peter Hargreaves, another billionaire who backed the Leave campaign with another massive donation, Robert Mercer from the USA, Christopher Harborne who is based in Thailand, Jeremy Hosking who has business interests in Dublin and Delaware. The gang is worldwide, obscenely rich and hideously powerful. And they don’t care what happens to the rest of us as a result of their machinations.

And let there be no doubt about this either. The Brexit campaign was not run to give ordinary men and women ‘freedom’, whatever that means now, and a better chance in life, or to keep immigrants out of the country, as the gullible were told, it was run solely to ensure that the warlord billionaires didn’t get forced to pay the taxes they owed.

As George Monbiot puts it. ‘We are just caught in the crossfire of capitalism’s civil war.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Much loved toys

I’m giving you a gentle blog today, because it makes a nice change and because I’m too much of a coward at the moment to offer a tough one. I’ll adjust my protective shell and get back to work on those later.

This one is about much loved toys and it was my younger daughter Caroline who set me thinking about it.

She has had a toy seal since she was a baby. She called him Dodo and loved him dearly and he went everywhere with her, as is the way with much loved toys. But at 61 years old he was rather the worse for wear, no longer his original snow-white, cuddly self, but grey and grubby, totally eyeless and decidedly flat. So, as she is temporarily off work and has some time to spare, she decided to resuscitate the poor thing He’s been washed and dried and all his elderly stuffing has been taken out of him and replaced by new, (Oh how I wish someone would do me that service!) he’s got one new eye (she stitched one in with brown wool but didn’t have enough left for the other, which will have to wait until she can get out and buy some) and he’s now quite his old cuddly self. She brought him round to see me today, trailing lovely memories with him. It was like meeting an old friend.

The second loved toy is the bear in the red bow. He is called Jingles because he had bells in his paws. and he belonged to my first daughter Mary and was another much loved animal and omnipresent animal who went everywhere with her. Now like Dodo he is very old – 64 to be exact – and the bells have long since fallen silent, but like Dodo, he has been brushed clean and lovingly repaired with a new muzzle and new paws and a brand new red ribbon, as a final admiring touch.

The third is the very elderly and hairless bear sitting in the middle between the other two. He needs very tender care these days, because he belonged to Larry and was the first special toy in the family doing service as a bed-mate and pillow when they were both very young, and continuing in office from then on, presiding over his workroom from the top shelf, above all the books, when his master was a six-foot much loved teacher. He can’t be repaired now because his fur is so worn and he’s been flattened by so much wear but he is still an object of great affection. because of the man he belonged too. Ah my dear Larry, we do miss you.

And here’s the final much loved ‘toy’ (if books count as toys). I found it in the library in our house in Longley Road And took it with me when I left. It’s on my library shelves still and it’s so old it’s an antique. Printed in 1915. I wrote the poem about it when I was in my thirties when I’d begun to understand how poetry worked.

‘Jack Bruin or love-lies-bleeding.’
My favourite fairy story as a child
Was cruel and frightening and little known
And so absorbed with triplefold delight.
The hero was a hairy commoner
Called Bruin for he looked so like a bear.

Newly arrived at manhood, off he set
To seek his fortune. And he found a well
Both Freudian and deep, which he descended
(Such the intrepid folly of our youth) and once below
Fought dogs and dragons wading in their blood,
And won a bride, willing and beautiful
(Such the simplicity and ease of dreams).
There seemed one problem only in his way
How to ascend the tunnel with his love
And find again the common world of day.

New friends and knowledgeable offered aid.
There was an eagle made a daily flight
Straight up the tunnel, and if he were paid
With hourly slices of some tender meat –
Two sheep were quite sufficient in this case –
Would carry passengers. The deal waas made
His shoulders firmly in the eagle’s claws
Bruin departed carrying his mate.

His friends were helpful, but Arithmetic
Was quite beyond their fairy story minds.
Bering the weight of two instead of one
The trip took longer and the meat ran out.
The carcases were clean. The eagle shrieked.
Without his pay, he’d cast them down to die.
Jack Bruin hesitated, kissed his girl
And carved the next slice from his quivering thigh.
And so throughout the rest of the ascent
He fed the heedless eagle with himself
Emerging to the world a bloody wreck
Unconscious, with his bride about his neck.

But wait, read on, the story isn’t done.
There’s more to come and it’s miraculous.

Out of the Forest, bearing magic salves
A goblin came to heal our hero’s wounds
And grow a covering of new young flesh
Without a hair in sight, a perfect mend.
So love and ointment conquered in the end.

This entry was posted on November 24, 2020. 4 Comments

One for amusement!

This map strikes me as rather amusing, because it shows where my blog followers and readers have come from, and it tickles me to think that it’s travelled so widely. I’d love to know who all these people are, they feel like friends although of course some of them could read me and be very disapproving.

The table below analyses the number of people from each place and that’s interesting too – or at least it is to me. Who on earth knows me enough to follow me in Kyrgyzstan, Gambia, Haiti? Can you see my mind boggling? Perhaps it’s a travelling salesman who follows me from all the places he/she visits.

Greetings to you all though, whoever and wherever you are!!

United Kingdom22703
United States3107
New Zealand170
Hong Kong SAR China74
South Africa34
Isle of Man12
European Union12
United Arab Emirates5
South Korea5
Czech Republic4
Saudi Arabia4
Dominican Republic2
Côte d’Ivoire2
Cape Verde1
Sri Lanka1
Trinidad & Tobago1
St. Lucia1
Myanmar (Burma)1
Faroe Islands1
Costa Rica1
This entry was posted on November 18, 2020. 2 Comments

Welcome back Jeremy!

The Labour party has reinstated Jeremy Corbyn after suspending him 19 days ago. At the time of writing they haven’t made up their minds whether to restore the Labour whip, which is interesting because that is a decision that needs to be made by the leader (Keir Starmer) and the Chief Whip (Nick Brown), which would put them right in the spotlight.

All sorts of reasons are being offered by the media for this sudden change of heart, but interestingly the one that seems most obvious to me nobody has mentioned at all. And that is the fact that the party is now haemorrhaging members. And that bit of information is being kept secret too, but in my cynical way I suspect that it is because there are rather a lot of them. I don’t think we ought to forget – although the press would prefer if we did – that Mr Corbyn attracted around 400,000 new members. And again interestingly, it’s not possible to find out from the press how many there actually were, but you’ve only got to look at the crowds who gathered to hear what he had to say.

Margaret Hodge must be spitting feathers today, poor baby. She was so sure that she and her friends had dealt the death blow to Corbyn’s political career. Do you remember how triumphalist she was? ‘He’s yesterday’s man…’ she said. ‘He is absolutely irrelevant… as we’re looking to the future.’ 

In fact a lot of us would say, he’s the most ‘relevant’ man in the whole of the Labour party, although thankfully there are one or two like Andy Burnham and Ed Miliband who come very close second. We are not all Corbyn-baiters thank god and most of us are ardently in favour of government for the many and not government for the obscenely wealthy few.

Watch this space.

This entry was posted on November 18, 2020. 4 Comments

One down, one to go!

Like millions of others all over the world, I followed the nail biting count after the Presidential Election in America very closely, sometimes with aching impatience, sometimes fluctuating between a flickering hope and an anguish of despair. I felt the democrats had to get rid of this impossible man and yet I was afraid that his incessant propaganda would win him a second term. The final result made me weep with relief. Now and at last the orange man baby had been given the sack by the electorate.

But sadly, that isn’t the end of it. By his very warped nature, he was bound to deny the result so it was no surprise that the propaganda coming out of his office in the days that followed, shrieked that the result had been ‘cooked’ and that it was all the fault of voting by mail. He went so far as to suggest that 50,000 people in Ohio who had voted by mail, had voted illegally. “This” he said was evidence of a “rigged election”. The director of the FBI countered by saying there was no evidence of widespread fraud but the man-baby ignored him and started to post pictures of garbage bags which he claimed contained votes for him that had been deliberately thrown away. As if that weren’t bad and petty enough, less than a week after the results were out and early in the morning, the White House North lawn was dug up, a fact reported by Betzy Klein, who covered The White House with the CNN team and pictured here.

Pictures have been a great help to us over this whole affair. This excellent photoshopped cartoon-come-picture made me laugh and was certainly a comfort. But the plain blunt truth is that the American’s have yet to get this dangerous man out of the White House and out of power. At the moment he is still there. He has his finger on the nuclear trigger and having sacked his attorney general Mark Esper, there is no-one around with the power to prevent it and he also has access to all sorts of private information that could be very damaging to a lot of people and which he would have no compunction at all in using. For this is a man without a conscience and without morals. He couldn’t even bring himself to write the customary letter of congratulation to the man who is going to succeed him. This is an unheard of thing, for every other ex-President has accepted defeat gracefully and written a congratulatory note to the new incoming President, as one American to another.

The President elect has got his work cut out.

But then so have we. For the man in power in this country is just such another as man-baby Trump. Like Trump, he tells lies as easily as he breathes, like Trump he uses propaganda very skilfully – remember the red bus and its fraudulent claim? and all those ‘Turks’ on the other infamous poster supposedly queueing up to invade our country – he is a racist and a womanising misogynist, his speeches are not just untruthful but alarmingly illiterate, piffle paffle, wiffle waffle, one grindingly unsuitable metaphor after another. And he is still firmly ensconced in power with most of the media backing him and, like his role model, means to stay there. He is going to be very difficult indeed to dislodge. I don’t know which of us, the millions of democrats in America and the millions of socialists in this country, have the most difficult job.

But the democrats who voted Trump out have shown us the way to start.

One down and one to go.

This entry was posted on November 11, 2020. 3 Comments