Saturday, May 29, 2010

Shorter than the last couple

First of all, Gita Sahgal's excellent "Amnesty: working against oblivion", happily one of the most-read articles at OpenDemocracy. [via Mod]

OpenDemocracy also has a very good section on migration, People on the Move. On that topic, Mark Easton from the BBC has two posts I'd strongly recommend: a review of the latest released immigration figures, showing more people are now leaving Britain for Eastern Europe than arriving from there (contra Gilllian Duffy) and a piece on the maths of the Con/Dem immigration cap.

Soundtrack: Indépendance Cha-Cha.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nothing to do with Brockley today

I have been meaning for some time to write a post about why you should be reading the blog radicalarchives. In the meantime, read this post, which extracts from A History of Zionism by Walter Laqueur, on the assassination of Arab advocates of binationalism in the late 1940s, a particularly tragic episode for those of my political orientation.

I feel that this post by Michael Berube on the rhetorical styles of the left says something important, but I found it too long and dense to work out exactly what. However, I did enjoy the addendum at the end on Chomsky and 9/11. [UPDATE: Linked to the wrong post; have amended to the right one.]

Alan Johnson's post on Zizek heavily references his hero and mine, Hal Draper.

Kellie Strøm makes some fascinating points about the glibness and insularity of the British "purple" voting reform movement, and also links to some interesting and important posts about Iran, Egypt, Afghanistan and voting reform. He has more must-click links on Iran, Islamism, dissidence and asylum here, including Johan Hari and Francis Sedgemore.

I often find Yasmin Alibhai-Brown irritating, but this piece is pretty good. Extract:
For me, the overwhelming argument against the burka (and various coverings for children, another growing abomination) is that there is such a thing as society. Community fetishes cannot override social communication, connection, obligations, equality, duties and understanding. Security and safety-measures too require facial identification. Politicians need to get assertive and argue that they believe in non-racist, universal human development. Effective policies to halt the spreading habit (in both senses) will then naturally follow.

And reformist Muslims too should speak up more frankly without fear or favour. A traditional Pakistani friend of mine – who always wears the shalwar kameez – recently refused service from a burka-ed librarian in one of our big libraries. The next time she went in, the face was no longer hidden. Maybe our new government should consult her. She could teach them how resistance, not acquiescence, gave us our past freedoms and will preserve our present ones.
A number of bloggers and commentators are looking at the topic of immigration and Labour party policy, including this strongly recommended two-parter (1, 2) from Paul in Lancashire*, John Harris, Andy Newman, Don Flynn (and also here), Sunny H, Enemies of Reason, and Left Futures.

Like me (maybe), Oliver Kamm is endorsing Oona King for Mayor of London, and explains exactly why she is excellent. (Although I like John Cruddas too.)

File under Jewish music: How an American saxophonist came to cut a record with a group of Ugandan Jews.

Lots more from TNC.

And finally here are some news items via New Politics Review, which between them give a good account of the state of the world today: Strikes Hit Venezuela’s Oil Industry; Arab Bank sacks 70 pct of its Gaza Strip employees; West Bank Fuel Stations Union threaten to strike; Palestinians working in settlements risk jail: minister; Histadrut signs up Thai workers - in Thailand; Internationally Recognised Core Labour Standards in China-ITUC report for the WTO General Council Review of the trade policies of the People’s Republic of China; Bangladesh: Over 150,000 River Vessel Workers Go On Strike Demanding Better WagesUprising in Cairo: A New Labor Movement Takes Shape; Chinese workers link sickness to n-hexane and Apple iPhone screens.

*And certainly not in Lincolnshire.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mid-week

Here in South East London, few items of news trump the triumphant re-opening of the East London Line, but here are some things which are jostling at the edge of my consciousness.


Life in London under the Con/Dems

Oona King, of whom I'm a bit of a fan, is challenging Ken Livingstone for the Labour nomination for London - should be interesting. More from Adam Bienkov.

Meanwhile, it seems as if Nick Griffin is standing down from the BNP leadership. It's hard to see any other contender consolidating the transformation of the BNP from a large small party to a small large party.

Part of the Labour Party's response to the BNP's shift to being a small large party has been to re-brand itself as an anti-immigration party, a policy started by Phil Woolas in response to the rise of the BNP in the Northwest and then taken up by Margaret Hodge in her bid to keep her Barking seat. In other words, the BNP helped drive Labour Party policy, and this looks set to deepen with Ed Balls, Andy Burnham and Alan Johnson, for example, talking tough on immigration. Will Straw has a good post on this.

Israel-hatred

Ben Gidley on what are not the reasons the British left hates Israel (see also Engage).
Eric Lee on UNISON's disgraceful banning of TUFI from its conference.

Other miscellanies

At Engage, Poumista, Antigerman Translation, New Politics Review.
 
Bob's beats

The theme tune meme is making slow progress, but Flesh is Grass, Jams and Modernity have all come up with some great responses.

Filed under "Jewish music" - Jim D on jazz legend Artie Shaw.

Musical accompaniment from Mira Awad.

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's still all bad

London

Dave Hill on why both Jon Cruddas and Boris Johnson are right about London and about immigration. And on how Labour held Eltham, which also touches on the immigration issue and draws on Raven and Darryl.

UK

Duncan's sober analysis of the BNP election results. The IWCA's even more sober analysis.

I've already posted too much about Gillian Duffy, and I don't want readers to gag on an overdose of Spiked, but this piece by Frank Furedi on the varieties of bigotry is worth reading. Related, I totally missed this peice in the (middle class Guardian) on the war on working class culture. The authors' full report, "The War on Working Class Culture", can be read in pdf here.

Global

Brendan O'Neill, ex-RCPer, has always erred too far on the side of "free speech" for my liking, so I was surprised to agree with him in drawing back from the current free speech fundamentalism: Muhammad-baiting is a shallow, theatrical performance of Enlightenment values. Another Spikester, Natalie Rothschild, shows how liberal anti-fascism gave birth to the BNP's self-image as free speech martyrs.

And here she is on a related issue - Gil Scott Heron in Israel - "The revolution will not be Tel Aviv'ed". Moving away from Spiked but staying with that topic: a highly recommended post by Mira at Engage on ethical consumerism and the boycott tool. Essential reading for those trying to form an opinion on the boycott of Israel: Contentious Centrist on some of the things going on in Palestine that are under-reported - the destruction of supposedly "illegal" Arab homes, and the extension of the heavily fortified "apartheid wall". Also, Martin on Noam Chomsky getting banned from Israel.

Also Middle East relevant, but a lot more too: Important interview with Paul Berman by Michael Totten.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's all bad

UK politics

First, a few blogs that have caught my eye, of both local and non-local interest.

London Masala and Chips is the blog of a Labour-supporting British Asian mum who lives in South East London. Her election coverage has been good, and touches on lots of the same issues as we have here.

Michael Harris is one of the new Labour councillors in Lewisham Central and Hither Green, but he also blogs occasionally at the highly recommended Arguing the World.

Not local, here is election analysis from Datacide: The “Radical Left” in the British General Elections.

Good analysis of the new intake of MPs from LFF

Other issues

Two from Terry Glavin: Marg Bar Diktator: General Strike In Iranian Kurdistan, Silence In The West; Speaking Truth To Power In Palestine.

Lots more from Modernity.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Orwell in South London

George Orwell, today in 1939:
London: Weather for the most part showery, with fine intervals. In Greenwich Park, chestnuts, pink chestnuts (but not Spanish ones) in flower, also lilac, hawthorn. Some of the wild ducks have ducklings. Some roses in bud. Tulips & wallflowers about at their best. Noted the following named tulips, all good kinds: Venus (cerise rose), Louis XIV (brownish mauve), Pride of Harlem (bright pink), Remembrance (pale mauve), Ambrosia (Daily Mail rose), Bartigon (sealing wax red), Nauticus (magenta), Rev. Ewbank (very pale mauve), Sultan (very dark brown, almost black).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bob From Brockley: The theme tunes

Dave at Though Cowards Flinch tagged me with this theme tune meme, and then lovely Carl reminded me. They both picked two tunes (Carl's included one of my favourite songs, and a song I really love): opening and closing credits I guess. I found it almost impossible to narrow down from my mental longlist of about 20, but finally managed.

I aimed for songs that capture the effect I aim for at Bob From Brockley: to recreate the feeling of reading Hannah Arendt while eating greasy southern fried chicken bought in a Turkish Cypriot takeaway on the top deck of the 171 bus listening to Johnny Cash on your iPod but unable to hear it because the kids next to you is playing tinny grime music on his mobile phone. Here they are:

Calexico - Guns of Brixton

This epic spaghetti western cover of the Clash classic about police brutality is beautiful to listen to, but also somehow transposes the landscape of urban Sarf London to the American west, and so nicely chimes with my trans-Atlantic sensibility. (It's the reverse move to Alabama 3, who featured in my longlist.)

Oi Va Voi  - S'Brent

I've already written about this anti-fascist anthem: It's by Mordechai Gebirtig, who died in 1942 in the Kracow Ghetto. "S'Brent" tells the story of the burning of a shtetl, Przytyk, in 1936; rather than being simply a cry of agony, it is a call to action ("Di hilf iz nor in aykh aleyn gevendt" - help is in your hands alone) , and it was adopted as the anthem of the Kracow underground resistance during Nazi occupation. (Gebertig, incidentally, was a socialist, a member of Henryk Grossman's Jewish Social Democratic Party, which became part of the Bund.) You can listen to several other versions here (my recommendation is probably the one by Argentinian/Mexican cantor Leibele Jinich). Oi Va Voi's version features the gorgeous voice of Agi Szaloki, a young Hungarian folk and jazz singer who specialises in Gypsy traditions. You can listen to some clips of her music at her website. I've seen Oi Va Voi live a number of times, and they rock. When I first heard of them, as "a drum & bass klezmer band", I thought it was a comedy gimick, but I was so wrong.


Carl tagged six people, so I'll follow his example. I'm tagging Jams, Roland, Flesh, Steve, Rosie and Graeme. I'm overdue on another music meme or two, so other friends be expecting other tags soon!

P.S.  I know this is cheating, but here's some items from the longlist: Chumbawamba and Credit to the Nation "Enough is Enough"; Alabama 3 "The Old Purple Tin (9% of Pure Heaven)"; Woody Guthrie "Deportees"; Apachi UK "Original Nuttah"; Ewan MacColl "Sweet Thames Flow Softly"; Junior Murvin "Police and Thieves"; Massive Attack "Be Thankful"; Johnny Cash "Man in Black".

Saturday, May 08, 2010

The left, the right, and local democracy (my last election post I promise)

I think this is the last I have to say about the election. Three things, first on the left, then the far right, and at the bottom on the situation in my local area, Lewisham, and what it means. (In fact, nothing to do with the picture which I took from here.)

The BNP
I was wrong to say that the BNP performed abysmally. Half a million votes in the General Elections alone. They may have lost deposits in a fair few places, and been kicked off Barking council,.but they have become a significant force in the political scene. Nick Griffin is now treated by the media as more or less a regular, mainstream figure, despite his increasingly obvious wackiness. This is a real cause for concern. The struggle continues.


The left
As I wrote last night, the far left have performed terribly, far worse than the fash. The Greens got half the vote of the BNP, and the socialist parties didn't even get close to that. I suggested last night that the low vote is for two reasons. First, the reason I voted Labour: the tribal instinct when the chips are really down brought a lot of socialist voters back to the fold. Second, because the hard left is totally and utterly out of touch with its original core constituency, ordinary working class people.

The left desperately needs major surgery. For example, it needs to learn to articulate the arguments on immigration, not assume that the Gillian Duffies are bigots, but clearly argue exactly why they are wrong, and what we need to do about it. And, again just for example, it needs to abandon identity politics and the perverse obsession with the national liberation of particular faraway peoples to the exclusion of the issues that affect people like Gillian Duffy here. There's lots more examples I could give, but those will do for now.

A few postson this issue worth reading: Chris Dillow - Cameron's failure: the left's problem; Harry Barnes - The Future For Socialists; David Osler - Gillian Duffy: welcome to the core vote, Mr Brown; David Osler - The far left and the general election.

Lewisham 
Labour have done extraordinarily well in the local and mayoral elections in Lewisham. Despite the national swing away from Labour. Despite the utter disregard of Mayor Steve Bullock's new Labour administration for local democracy and its disasterous policy on key issues like schools.

The Liberal Democrats put up an extremely impressive fight here. They were extemely visible on the streets, and their placards dominated the landscape. While I was very un-impressed by mayoral candidate Chris Maines and by yummy mummy parliamentary candidate Tamara Langley, they had some other strong and credible candidates, such as Lewisham East's Pete Pattison in the Generals and Max Calo in the locals - popular local figures of known integrity.

Similarly, the Greens have been excellent councillors in Brockley and Ladywell. The Greens put up a strong fight in Crofton Park, where I voted for Jim Jepps and his colleagues. The Socialists in Telegraph Hill have also been great councillors, both for their local areas and for the borough as a whole (personally, I think the Greens should not have stood against them). I think the picture was fairly similar in Greenwich, and in some other inner London boroughs. For what it is worth, I offer my commiserations to Jim, Sue, Max, Jess Leech and Ian Page in particular, as well as my appreciation of Andrew Milton who did not stand for re-election.

I think that the Labour domination of Lewisham and Greenwich has been increasingly unhealthy in recent years, and have no explanation for why Labour did so well this year, despite doing not so well in the General elections, where the stakes are surely higher.

(More local results analysis at Brockley Central. Added: and more.)

Friday, May 07, 2010

The evening after

[Last update 23:09]

Checking back into the post-election situation. Despite the overall bad picture, there are a few reasons to be chearful.

1. The BNP have done abysmally, not least in their key seat Barking, where they have lost all of their councillors and the entire council is Labour. Credit mainly to Hope Not Hate I'd say.

2. The horrific George Galloway did abysmally too, getting a smaller vote than the utterly un-charismatic, non-celebrity Lindsey German got in the last election. In fact, Jim FitzPatrick increased the Labour vote in Poplar and Limehouse, despite Ken Livingstone and the Islamists spreading all kinds of lies and rumours about him.

3. Rushanara Ali also retook Bethnal Green and Bow from Respect. Brockley Central: "We can offer this exclusive insight on the new MP - she is very nice."

4. The Conservatives failed to capture London.The Boriswatch analysis:
Inner London stuck with Old Labour, basically, who fought a good campaign (which, since it was led by Ken’s old Chief of Staff Simon Fletcher will annoy the tits off Andrew Gilligan).  Karen Buck holding on in Westminster North and Andy Slaughter in Hammersmith (beating high-profile Look-the-Tories-aren’t-racists Shaun Bailey and his gang of PR merchants, no less) were indicators to me that good local Labour MPs with a personal following were resistant to the Boris charm.  Conversely our Brownite MP Ann Keen lost, a victim of expenses and, if truth be told, not a great constituency record, and Tony McNulty suffered the same fate again due presumably to expenses. [...] Jon Cruddas was safely returned and John McDonnell in Harlington too. The two Islington constituencies remained Labour, crushingly so.
So where does this leave Boris?  Well, when elected he was supposed to use his charisma to deliver London to Cameron, which would have won him the Premiership.  Instead Boris has been decidedly low-profile, after being opportunistically beaten up by Labour over the East London Line opening (which was then delayed) he rather skulked – apart from that he’s done walkabouts in key areas, which don’t seem to have produced much – where Labour seats were lost there appear to have been extraneous factors like an undefendably low majority or expenses scandals rather than a Boris Halo – even then his walkabout in Feltham doesn’t seem to have damaged Alan Keen much while high profile visits to Hampstead nearly pulled it off, but Jackson held on by 42 votes with the Lib Dems a very close third.
Perhaps, then, he spread himself too thickly in the West – Angie Bray in Ealing Central & Acton won fairly comfortably, while the real damage was being done out east where a string of supposedly wobbly Labour seats returned a red rosette; Eltham, Erith, Poplar, Dagenham.  Perhaps pissing off the entire South East London area by scrapping transport schemes and reneging on the impossible promises over tidal flow in the Blackwall Tunnel may have lost Boris’s old mate Cameron the chance of power and paradoxically opened the way for a Boris-led right-wing coup?  It’ll be interesting to see where the ambitious Mayor goes from here, particularly with the borough election results.
OK. I'm going to look at the Lewisham Council results and then return.

Update 1: The Lewisham Mayoral results are in. John Hamilton got a respectable 6000 in the first round but Steve Bullock won comfortably. I think he has been a very poor mayor, but he is clearly preferable to Chris Maines. The council results don't seem to have appeared yet.

Update 2: Lewisham council elections are likely to come in after I go to bed, so in the meantime here's some analysis of the Greenwich council results. Congratulations to Darryl Chamberlain, gracious in defeat, who got a very creditable vote and would have made a great councillor. Hopefully next time. As with Bullock keeping Lewisham, Labour total domination in Greenwich is not a good thing, but it is good to see the Tories routed there. (See the Boris factor above.)

Update 3: What my favourite bloggers are saying: More on the BNP in Barking from Barkingside's Flesh is Grass. Here's George S's morning after. Francis with some George G schadenfreude. And I just caught up with Martin, who appears to have had more or less exactly the same thoughts as me at more or less exactly the same moments. Here are some extracts:
Great to see so many women and young candidates (re-)elected for Labour. It struck me that, on the whole, Labour's candidates look like modern Britain - generally, the Tories (viz. Zac Goldsmith) don't.
I'd been wondering what ordinary Lib Dems would make of the prospect of shoring up the Tories - and especially those who joined the SDP from Labour. But I've just heard David Owen on the BBC insisting in his usual abrasive and pompous way (a fair match, then, for his interviewer, Paxman) that Cameron has the best claim to govern...confirming the Labour prejudice that, for many, the SDP was just a stopping-off point on the way to Conservatism, and that Lib Dems have always been more viscerally anti-Labour than anti-Tory.

Oliver Kamm's take on the 'result' is worth reading. On this morning of disappointments, he shares my consolatory delight that the Guardian got it wrong.

Update 4: Starting to go through Modernity's long list of links. Here's his take on Galloway: "I imagine George will now embark on another fund raising tour of the Middle East or make more of an effort to push his media career at Press TV. Either way expect more inflammatory language from him."

Update 5: One striking thing about the election results is the absolutely disasterous vote for the hard left parties. Apart from Respect, whose vote was, I believe, a vote for communalism and identity politics rather than a vote for socialism, socialist candidates did very badly. Looking at the numbers which Phil lays out, almost none get four figure votes - starkly contrasting to the four figures BNP candidates were getting. Dave Nellist - unusual in that he is both a well-known, highly respected, hard working man locally with some national profile - was one of the slightly better performances, and his share of the vote went down. I guess the low vote is for two reasons. First, the reason I voted Labour: the tribal instinct when the chips are really down brought a lot of socialist voters back to the fold. Second, because the hard left is totally and utterly out of touch with its original core constituency, ordinary working class people.

Update 6: OK, I'm going to bed. The Lewisham Council results are not yet in, although indications are of Labour success. My last link of the night is to Max Calo, on his way to the count, gracious towards Heidi Alexander.

The morning after

[Last update 9:49]

Tired, depressed, hungover. I stayed up until: couldn't take the idiotic commentary on the TV any longer. (Poor Armando Ianucci, having to stand next to Joan Collins all that time.) Nothing had improved when I got up early this morning.

Starting to look at the results in more detail. Pleased to see that the BNP failed to win any seats and that Nick Griffin himself was decisely rejected in Barking. Depressing though that over half a million people voted for them nationally, twice as many as voted for the Greens in the general elections.

The Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, after a poor campaign, achieved 12,007 votes, not very impressive.

The Lewisham Deptford results are still not in, but I was pleased to see Heidi Alexander, one of the best examples of Labour in Lewisham, comfortably take Lewisham East. Labour's Jim Dowd has kept Lewisham West.

update 1: Top commentary from: Sir Alex Ferguson.

update 2: Apparently, the count hasn't even begun in Poplar and Limehouse or Bethnal Green and Bow, so we will have to wait to see if the odious George Galloway has won the latter or the excellent Rushanara Ali the former.

I am also pleased to see Jon Cruddas, one of my favourite MPs, retain his seat. Other MPs I like did who retained their seats include Denis MacShane, with a somewhat reduced majority, John Mann and Jim Murphy, with increased majorities. Cruddas, according to the commentariat, is now poised to play a key role in the Labour leadership issue...

update 3: Got to go and do some job work. Keep your eye on Brockley Central for local results.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Vote!

If you haven't already: Vote. And vote Labour. (At least in the General election, unless you live somewhere where a vote for Labour is utterly wasted.) (In the local elections, I don't mind you voting SocialistGreen or even possibly Lib Dem.) Oh, and don't vote BNP by accident!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Don't let Cameron or Clegg be the next prime minister

I went to my local Starburger cafe in Crofton Park for my lunch (liver and bacon if you're interested). I was pleasantly suprised to see a Socialist Party poster in the window. Until I saw they had ecumenically put up Lib Dem, Green, Labour and Tory posters too. Then I was cheered further when I went across the road to get my hair cut at George the barber's. He's voting Labour and told me 8 out of 10 of his customers are. A rather unrepresentative sample however: a cheap working class men's barber in a sea of gentrification and apathy... Then the depression set in when I crossed back over the road to the Co-op and saw the row of newspapers, almost all sporting pictures of the sickening features of David Cameron.

Apart from the Independent, which is now all out for Clegg, because this is our chance to change the voting system - which seems trivial to me, considering the Liberal Democrats will harshly cut public services resulting in massive public sector redundancy and increased poverty for the most vulnerable. But, hey, the poor will have the chance under Proportional Representation to vote for the BNP to express their rage. (The Guardian, moral swamp, scuttled over to Clegg too, but they seem to have backed off a bit.)

And apart from the honourable Mirror, which is making a big deal of the useless toffs who will sweep into parliament if the polls are correct, people like old Etonian Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax, who seeks to inherit the seat his pater held, along with the Elizabethan mansion he lives in. As for Norm, for me and the Mirror social justice trumps PR, trumps everything else. Or, as Nick Cohen puts it, "The cant and bourgeois hypocrisy of Nick Clegg and his party won't be of any use to those who are dirt poor."

David Major Cameron (Pic:Mirror)It seems to me that Tony Blair genuinely forsook the socialist ideology of the political party he joined, to become a post-ideological figure. David Cameron is mini-Blair: the same bland, chappy, fresh-faced post-ideological image of Blair ca.1997. But the difference is that Blair actually meant it. Cameron is actually, inside the bland exterior, an ideological Thatcherite. We know this because he has promised to restore fox-hunting, despite the opposition of 75% of the electorate, because it is his class and ideological instinct. We know this because he wants to cut inheritance tax at a time of deficit, even though it benefits a tiny number of rich people, because it is his class and ideological instinct. We know this because he took his party out of an alliance with Merkel and Sarkozy in favour of people who make Nick Griffin appear mainstream.

Nick Clegg, however, is mini-Cameron. I can't work out whether it is an advantage or a disadvantage over Cameron that he is genuine rather than cynical in his lack of conviction behind his lack of ideology, that beneath his bland meaningless exterior is a bland meaningless interior. Never have I seen on television a political performer so contrived, so staged, so airbrushed and coached, so vacuous. In the age of Nick Clegg, Tony Blair appears like a statesman.

---

Read Kellie. And not just because he agrees with me, but because he's right.

ADDED: Read Francis' reply.

MORE LINKS:
General: Mirror anti-Tory tactical voting guide; Jim Denham reads between the lines. More psephology from the incredibly clever John Lanchester.
Local: Brockley Central virtual hustings.
Lib Dems: More on the big oil funding scandal. Which is helps frame this sort of racism.
Greens: I am not voting Green in Canterbury.

Conservatives: Why business backs the Tories. The opposition isn't working. Cameron’s Merrie England fantasy. Power and irresponsibility: the rottenness at the heart of Tory government
Labour: Trival loyalty, voting and signalling. Oliver Kamm's half-hearted endorsement. And his defence of the economic record. The state we may be in.

The immigration issue: History is Made at Night, responding to some of the things I linked to here and here. Here are the facts from Chris Dillow. I already linked to Flesh is Grass on DuffyGate, but please do read her. And George Szirtes is, as always, wise on this issue. As is Martin. And Rosie. And Chris Dillow.


Gordon Brown at his best:



Note to Gregor: not that your reasons for voting Lib Dem are trivial. Or, as Dave Semple says, "Not that I’m saying anything about sandal-wearing, muesli eating Guardianista types, you understand. Some of my best friends wear sandals, eat muesli and read the Guardian. Fact."

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Election quick links

BNP: Via Mod:
Left Foot Forward has how an Essex newspaper has become the mouthpiece of the BNP. From Kirklees Unity, BNP lies outrage campaigners and Liverpool BNP Campaign in Disarray. At Lancaster Unity, On the front line of the war against the BNP and Police probe after the BNP parades fake soldier Walker. Finally, Norfolk Unity has BNP council candidate denies assault charges and Second rate and stupid – BNP’s East Anglian clowns rise to new lows. That last bit sounds about right.
Not forgetting Hope Not Hate have produced a good election guide.

Liberal Democrats: Don’t Upset The Money (on Clegg's corrupt Big Oil funders); The truth about tactical voting; Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives; The Lib Dems' "Canadian model".


Socialist Party: Campaign hots up in Lewisham; Vote Chris Flood, Jess Leech and Ian Page in Lewisham; Lewisham councillors' record.

Green Party: An Interview With Matt Selwood - Green Candidate For Hackney North and Stoke Newington; Exemplary Green Party foreign policy.


The immigration issue:  Locally: General election in Lewisham - racism rears its head
Duffygate: On the one hand: Dissent's Alan Johnson in Arguing the World, the IPPR's Sarah Mulley in the Guardian, and Paul Stott at his blog. On the other hand: History is Made at Night, who wants to vote for Amerie, Flesh is Grass, and Vince Cable in the Mail.

More Lewisham: Mayoral election: second preferences; Fantasy school places found!

Alliance for Workers Liberty: Camberwell and Peckham: housing, jobs and pay on people's minds in election.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Gnome Chomsky 6: The button

Brits say "badge"; Americans say "button". Clear in this case who is superior. This month's effort is rather amateurish. I'm posting it a day late so as not to demean the working class, whose holiday 1 May of course is.

From Zazzle, by Sunnypilgrim.
Noam Chomsky Button by sunnypilgrim
"Play on words." [sic]
The late, great Fred Halliday on Noam Chomsky in 2001: "He's become the guru of the new anti-capitalist and Third World movements. They take his views very uncritically; it's part of the Seattle mood - whatever America does is wrong. He confronts orthodoxy but he's becoming a big simplifier. What he can't see is Third World and other regimes that are oppressive and not controlled by America."

On the other hand, the increasingly wacky John Mearsheimer calls him a "righteous Jew" - the category he distinguishes from the Jews he calls "the New Afrikaners"... There's two phrases to conjure with.

And other current fans of this supposed libertarian socialist include the post-totalitarian disinfromation outlet Pravda and the totalitarian regime in Iran, whose peace-loving qualities he praised in a recent interview (they haven't been aggressive "for centuries" he says, neglecting the proxy wars Iran has fought in Lebannon, Gaza, Iraq and elsewhere, following a pattern of arm's-length combat Chomsky has been so vigorous in condemning when America does it). Oddly, however, Press.TV does not quote Chomsky when he correctly describes Iran as being ruled by "a loathsome regime".

Added bonus links: Modernity on Fred Halliday; Ron Radosh on John Mearsheimer.