2014 in first lines

I've done this every year for the last few years, recalling a habit of the late, great Norman Geras, to recall the year through the first line of every month's blogging.

January: 2014 will mostly be shit, more or less everywhere.

February: They said he was like Castro, they said he was like Mao, but he stuck up for the workin' man, don't even ask me how.

March: Yesterday was Budget Day, and our Tory government gave us a penny of a pint of beer and reduced tax on Bingo, claiming this was "to help hardworking people [note how "hardworking" has become a single word under the Tories, their austerity policy even extending to dashes and spaces] do more of the things they enjoy", the keyword being "they". Meanwhile, in London, Mayor Boris Johnson approved the use of watercannon against disorder in the capital, presumably for when us hardworkingpeople are no longer sufficiently distracted by beer and bingo.

April: Displaying our own liberal cleverness is always a worse strategy than sharing human stories; the left-liberal intelligentsia's masturbatory performances of smartness are bad politics in a human world, and such performances won't win people over even when the facts are on our side, as with welfare reform and migration.
May: The main reason not to vote for Duwayne Brooks is that he is a candidate of the Liberal Democrats.

June: There is a war of words going on in the West over Ukraine. A shocking number of people have been taken in by the narratives and outright lies circulating from the Kremlin and its propaganda outlets. The Kremlin's totally unreliable Russia Today (RT.com), which regularly gives airtime to antisemites, UKIP, Holocaust deniers, 9/11 truth cultists and Bilderberg conspiracy nutcases, is somehow seen as the fount of "truth" about Ukraine.

July: Auschwitz wasn’t any kind of positive learning experience, and the overwhelmingly majority of the Jews who had anything to do with the Holocaust learned nothing from it because they were killed by it.

August: Ray Woolford of Lewisham People Before Profit is a colourful character and prolific tweeter.

September: As a resident of England, on one level this is none of my business: Scotland has the right to self-determination without interference from South London.

October: Still seething at @martjacques' vacuous apologia for Chinese state capitalism & scorning of #OccupyCentral movement.

November: The enormity and complexity of what's going in Syria, in Iraq, in Israel/Palestine and in the wider region makes it hard for me to begin to take sides or recommend courses of action. Rather, I will say something about how all this is refracted here in the West: in the leftish scene I move among, in the South London neighbourhood I live in, in the newspapers I read.

December: Quite a few Western leftists still think Assad is some kind of anti-imperialist hero and that we need to "stop the war" against him. As it happens, fascist ex-leader Nick Griffin (who this week endorsed both UKIP and Putin's RT.com) is in Syria doing some PR for Assad, along with Polish far right MEP Korwin-Mikke (whose party is allied to UKIP in the European parliament).

Confession: I've been a little liberal in interpreting "first lines" in a few of the less interesting months. I didn't actually blog once in August so I've stolen the first line of the last post of July for that slot. I didn't blog in October either, so I used my first tweet of that month instead.


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