Some causes transcend political barriers. The plight of those trapped between the murderers of the Islamic State and the slaughter at the hands of Assad's forces is one of those issues.
On Saturday, 6 December, a band composed of bloggers, journalists and political activists from across the political spectrum will be playing a gig to support Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) and their vital work in the region.
Dubbed "The Half Decents", our ad-hoc band will perform a familiar blend of rock classics and blues standards, with a sprinkling of indie pop. The evening will be hosted at Theatre Delicatessen by 89Up, the public affairs agency (http://www.89up.org/), and will include guest speakers and a support act.
We're asking anybody who wants to attend to donate at least £10 to Medecins Sans Frontiers, via this special JustGiving Fundraising Page.
The Half Decents is made up of Davis Lewin (Henry Jackson Society), Paul Evans (Slugger O'Toole), David Osler (ex Tribune), David Toube (Harry's Place), Brett Lock (ex OutRage!) and Adam Barnett (East London Advertiser).Meanwhile, the Dead Bloggers Society (of which Paul Evans is co-chair) lurches on. Here are some selections:
- Sarah Brown has recently posted at Engage on how the BBC has circulated the myth of rich Jews pulling the UK's political strings.Talking of which, Citizen Sane last blogged in March on the topic of BBC bias, with possibly the only sensible piece of commentary ever on that subject.
- Anonymous Mugwump has written a long but must-read post refuting five myths about ISIS.
- Everything Kenan Malik writes is must-read. Here are two recent examples: On The Death of Klinghoffer and The wrong kind of panic (on populism). From the latter, this, on the drivers of rising populism across Europe (and not just across Europe), is spot on:
The key factors driving these changes have been economic and political. But many have come to see their marginalization primarily as a cultural loss. The same social and economic changes that have led to the marginalization of sections of the electorate have also made it far more difficult to view that marginalization in political terms. As the politics of ideology has given way to the politics of identity, as people have become disenchanted with politics, so culture has become more important as a lens through which to make sense of society and social relations.
- Here's two great pieces by Padraig Reidy: "The Soviet Union may be dead, but Soviet disinformation tactics remain" and "Collective outrage and imagined slights". The former is about the lies and conspiracy theories promoted by the Kremlin's propaganda machine, especially RT.com (formerly Russia Today). The latter (in Kenan Malikish territory?) is about Hilary Mantel, Margaret Thatcher, Salman Rushdie and Mazen Darwish. Read it.
- Carl Packman wrote a good piece about the quarter century since the Berlin Wall fell, arguing that capitalism did win, but that the left shouldn't worry because socialism still thrives in the cracks. This is an important piece on how the Tories are creating rogue landlords. Also, from the summer: what Philip Hammond should say to the Ecuadorian ambassador.
- Mr Kellie Strøm continues to draw (here's Justice with her axe) but online is mainly arguing hard for a no fly zone for Syria. While Western eyes focus on Kobane, Assad is dropping barrel bombs and rockets on Syrian civilians, and we do little or nothing to stop him. Check out Kellie's NFZ Syria website: this is important.
- "Euphemism, Dysphemism, and Masochism: On the Quarrel Over Lydda", Jamie Palmer (FKA Jacobinism), will enlarge your vocabulary, but is fascinating: on the historians debating Israel's 1948 War of Independence.
- Ben Cobley has a new very interesting (but mostly wrong) post on how social liberalism’s triumph is turning to defeat.
- Here's an interesting review by Michael Ezra of Bettina Stangneth's book about Eichmann.
- From the summer, an interesting article by Brockley's Sam Geall: "GM in China: ‘Paranoia’ and public opinion".
- Paul Evans had a good post on why referenda are crap: "Democracy is not the same as eating your greens".
- Daniel Trilling has been writing brilliantly for the last year or so about migration and refugees in Europe. He has collected his pieces on a really good Tumblr site here. You can also read him at the excellent New Humanist.
- Some non-blogging (at least as far as I know) tweeters you should follow: Jayne Egerton, Mark Lott, Melissa Higgsmith, Matilda Murday,