24 July 2009

Daily Chat 24/07/09

The good citizens of Leeuwarden demonstrated that they had their priorities in order by going on strike on this date in 1487 to protest a ban on foreign beer. In 1567, Mary, Queen of Scots, was deposed in favour of her one year-old son, James VI. What do you want to bet his first statement as king was, "Kitty!"? In 1847, after a 17 month-long journey, Brigham Young and 148 Mormons arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. The SS Eastland capsized in the Chicago River in 1915, killing 845 passengers and crew. And in 1948, Marvin the Martian made his cinematic debut in Haredevil Hare. Celebrating birthdays today: Ruth Buzzi, Lynda Carter, Gus VanSant, Jennifer Lopez and Anna Paquin. It is Simón Bolívar Day in Ecuador.


  1. elementary_watson24 July, 2009 08:46

    Just saw the brilliant word "genderalisaton" on the Libby-thread. Did Ally invent it yesterday in a flash of genius, or does this word have a longer history?

    I am *so* loving it!

  2. Well I promised you spam - here's the begining. A little something on my site in response to this week's unpleasantness.

  3. Frank: it has been pointed out to me by others here that I may have over-reacted to your comment about hating socialists, and that it may have been some kind of “joke”.

    (I wonder if they’ll think the same after reading the latest posting on your blog...)

    After the revolution, for which I strive daily after worshipping at the shrines of Marx, Lenin, Mao and many other great socialist thinkers whose names I currently forget, there will be no room for petit bourgeois distractions such as jokes.

    The workers will toil happily in the fields by day, under the guidance of the commissar from the local branch of the vanguard party leading the dictatorship of the proletariat.

    Then, in the evening, we will gather to sing innumerable choruses of “The Red Flag”, before settling down to listen to an inspiring report of tractor production statistics, followed by sessions of revolutionary self-criticism led by the commissar referred to above.

    Obviously, you won’t be able to join us, because you’ll be off in a re-education camp somewhere being forced to make shoes for the orphans of the glorious revolution out of the guts of deposed capitalists.

    So although you’re as welcome as anyone to come here and express your opinions, please read and digest the little blurb at the top of the page.

    And please, no jokes. We socialists don’t have ANY sense of humour...

  4. I never said it was a joke. Although I did over-egg my own pudding slightly; I think on CiF I said I hated socialism which is a fairer representation of my views, although I do hate *some* socialists, most notably Polly the Evil Scum Queen. My brother in law is a kind of semi-lapsing socialist, and he's alright. Apart from the socialism anyway.

    BTW, if my site makes you hot, this will cool you down.

  5. Fair play Frank: I never thought you were joking.

    It’s just that some of the more naive people round here seemed to make that mistake. Thanks for putting them right, as I suspected you eventually would.

    I’ve added my voice to those expressing concern about your departure from CiF on WDYWTTA? (under a different name, obviously. I resigned once I was put in pre-mod too. At least we’ve got that in common).

    The fact that you stood up for those who were banned on CiF, regardless of political allegiance, suggests you’re not a complete cunt (that’s my one use of that word here this month, and I’m glad to have used it to Frank).

    And as far as I’m concerned, you’re welcome to post here whenever and about whatever. But if you come out with anymore of that hating socialists (or anyone else) shit here again, you’ll have andysays to deal with...

  6. Frank - Polly isn't a socialist!! Anyone so completely fooled by Nulabour for so long cannot possibly be one!

    Her recent apparently damascene moment over a certain G Brown just makes her risible.

    In short she drives me NUTS!!!!!!!.

    There has been no society on earth that fulfills my definition of socialist EVER. Unfortunately all social groups political or otherwise have their control freaks. To date attempts at socialism have fallen foul of these individuals. But thats not just a problem for socialism is it?

    I want a society where people are free to live their lives free from interference from the state which would be reduced to organising things not people. This is impossible in a society where a small number of very wealthy (and therefore powerful) people can buy influence and makes sure any government serves their interests and shafts the rest of us (viz the bailing out of banks MP's expenses etc etc).

    And do you know what in a lot of ways I don't give a tinker's cuss what you call it. But I resent the fact that the word socialism has been hi-jacked by the likes of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot oh and what's his name - ah yes Ceauşescu!

    My feelings about the hi-jacking of the Labour Party by Nulabour are even more 'colourful' tbh.

    For me Marxism explains how capitalism works and explains why the ordinary people are regularly cheated by governments of all colours.

    I want a society made of self governing communities based on real democracy (which we don't have) and the eradication of poverty, worklessness and despair (which we have in abundance - especially globally).

    But then I also believe that most people are actually OK - given half a chance. Now,a lot of people don't have a prayer and none of us have a real say in how society is organised.

    In fact the status quo (and the status quo ante for that matter) STINKS.

  7. Great post Anne, but as far as addressing it to Pikey, Pearls before Swine comes to mind :-)

  8. I take all of your points annetan, but don't you think it's curious that whenever this experimental policy of socialism has been implemented... the same occurs? And, until it all fails, until the corpses mount up, fellow socialists overseas seem quite happy to say, "yes, this is socialism"? The USSR had plenty of supporters. So did Ceaucescu. So did Mao. So did Pol Pot. So did/does Castro. It was only *afterwards* that the refrain, "ah yes, but this wasnt' really socialism" started. Seems to me that once socialism is seen to fail, an excuse needs to be found, and the usual one is, well, they didnt' do it right.

    Now, seperately, is Polly a socialist? Well she says she is. The policies she'd like to implement - they sound pretty socialist to me. The nosepegging, okay, that wasn't very democratic was it, but in *favour* of labour.

    So please, tell me in what way she isnt' a socialist - and make sure you include all the other who thus fall outside the definition too.

  9. Polly, a socialist?

    Sophie Goodchild: What does it mean to be a socialist in today's materialistic society?
    Pplly Toynbee: Ah. It's not a word I bother using any more. In the early days I was regarded by my colleagues [at The Guardian] as a 'moderate', but now I'm classed as on the Left. Not that I've moved. For a long time now I've defined myself as a social democrat. We stopped calling ourselves socialists because that implied there was an egalitarian nirvana that you were inevitably heading towards. But the point about being a social democrat is that you follow the Scandinavian model, which is based on a very sound economy and where people live much more equal lives".

    So says Polly in an interview for a research council mag.

    There's also a photo of the atheist bus, but absolutely no mention of the important role played by Ciffers in the atheist bus campaign - particularly one WML.


  10. MsChin: Nice come back!

    The real debate on what socialism is all about is currently going on HERE

    Why don’t we ALL continue it there.

    Oh sorry, Frank, you can’t can you ;-)

  11. Thx, andysays, especially for not pulling me on the Pplly typo ..

  12. Evening Untrusted Ones

    Chloe Smith won Norwich North - pah. I wanted Craig Murray to win (even if he does share names with an ex-bf of mine who was a psycho)

    This evening I will mostly be drinking Philippe de Rothschild Pinot Noir. Ithangyou.

  13. Polly is not and never has been a socialist. She stood as SDP candidate in 1983, got her arse kicked in Lewisham, and since then she has divided her precious time between writing vacuous and ill-informed articles and holidaying in Tuscany. (The Guardian pays her £106,000 a year btw. Don't know how much else she earns from other gigs.) If New Labour ever were even vaguely socialist, then Polly wouldn't have touched them with a barge-pole.

  14. She's a Lib Dem alright - slightly to the left of the party in general, I'd say.

    What is scary is the principle that when she joined the Graun she was a "moderate" and now she is considered to be "to the left". Proves my theory that the LibDems are way to the left of NuLabour and have been for some time.

    Werry scarwy.

  15. Nice link, MsChin. Anyone want to deconstruct this prime quote from Polly?

    'Monkeys could do these jobs. For me, it felt very comfortable writing on these issues.'

  16. scherf

    Bloody hell! In what context was she saying that?

  17. MsChin's link to Pol interview. See above.

  18. Yeah, the whole notion that Polly is a socialist is just bonkers. As for the USSR, China or Cuba, how the hell could anyone have foreseen Stalin, Mao or Castro? Most of my knowledge is about Russia/USSR, so that's what I'll address -- Annetan is much more knowledgeable than I and she can correct me if I'm wrong. Russia was a hell-hole for about 94% of the people who lived there. Serfdom had only been abolished in 1864 and a tiny aristocracy still pretty much had a stranglehold on all power in the early 20th Century. Nicholas II wasn't a figurehead, you know. There would have been no way to make such a radical change in society without some period of more-or-less a dictatorship of the new regime. (Also, I think it would be fairly safe to say that agrarian Russia would have been one of the last places Marx would have seen as a potential starting point for socialism.) I think early support for the Russian Revolution/Bolsheviks was probably predicated on the understanding that there would have to be some bloodshed and difficulties as the new society was being built. Our own societies have come about with no small amount of bloodshed -- how intensely hypocritical it is for any Westerner to try to condemn the Bolsheviks for that! Lenin knew that Stalin was power-mad and warned the Central Committee against allowing him anywhere near a position of real power. There is nothing hypocritical in saying that what ended up happening in the USSR (or anywhere else on Earth so far) wasn't socialism because IT SIMPLY WASN'T SOCIALISM. People may well have hoped in 1917 or 1924 that it would become socialism. There may well have been people as late as the 1970s/80s who were still hoping that it could become socialism -- but it never did.

  19. Soz - my brain has turned to mashed potato, which I am slowly macerating in red wine in the vain hope of some hint of resucitation of the little grey cells.

    Can you give me a clue as to where to find the Polly article cos I don't see it on that link...

    Montana - spot on.

  20. BB -- no new Polly right now. I think most people are on Libby Brooks over on Cif.

  21. MsChin: I didn’t even notice that one.

    Are you suggesting I’m obsessed with typos? I only point them out as part of a wider, er, point, and I didn’t want to pick any nits on your Polly comment.

    BB: just for me, cos I haven’t been following the by-election and I can’t be arsed to look now, which parties were those candidates representing?

  22. andysays
    Moi? No, only pulling your plonker on the typo thing!

    I was saving the monkey line til later. Breathtaking as it was, so was the line on how she listens to what real people say. But she didn't mention that she's not noted for engaging BTL on CiF. Obviously we're not 'real people' worthy of being listened to.
    Also interesting that the Today prog this morning was in Copenhagen, talking about cohesion, wellbeing & happiness as outcomes of policy, but these are now being undermined by differences emerging within Danish society.

  23. Frank

    Calling Polly a socialist really won't do you know - there is no way that nulab cheerleader can be described as such

  24. andy - chloe thingy is a tory, craig murray was representing himself, pretty much. "Vote an honest man to parliament" was his strap-line - a white-suiter, in other words.

    He is the ex-diplomat who blew the whistle on Straw being complicit in torture in Uzbekistan (do I need to add an allegedly? )

  25. BB: yeah, I’ve heard of Craig Murray, now you mention his background.

    Did you say you used to go out with him? ;-)

    Anyway the Conservative won?

    Probably no real surprise all things considered. At least it wasn’t the fucking BNP.

  26. No mention of the bnp getting anywhere on the news. Anyone know what they polled?

  27. MsChin - yeah, Polly came across badly in that interview - no surprise there. Typical self-serving 'economy with the truth'. There are many comedy nuggets there, but I also particularly liked 'The jobs I took were in a car parts factory in Birmingham, in the Lyons cake factory, as an orderly.' Oxbridge drop-out takes low-wage jobs for a few months (no doubt comfortably bolstered from reality by Mummy and Daddy's considerable wealth) and then writes a book about it - 'A Working Life'! I'd laugh if it didn't make me so angry. George Orwell would turn in his grave.

    I'll check out the Today programme - might be interesting but probably bollocks, I would predict. It has nearly always been my experience that there tends to be a serious disconnect between such reportage and the reality on the ground (if you happen to personally know what that 'reality' is). Hence my scepticism and distrust of the media, Guardian included.

  28. Sheff, BNP got 941 votes - 2.7% of a 45% turnout. And assuming there was no apathy from the BNP voters (as opposed to Labour), you could maybe translate this into maybe 1% at a general election. I've always said that they are not a threat, and are better ignored than engaged with. Oxygen of publicity and all that.

  29. Re. The Toynbee interview

    "Well, I had a scholarship to Oxford but left half way through"

    for which read...

    "I only actually managed to pass one A level but luckily I won a scholarship to study history. The persistent rumours that my grandfather, a prominent history professor might have exerted some influence on my behalf are a scurrilous slur on my academic brilliance. As would the suggestion that my "leaving half way through" was due to my near negligible chances of passing a degree."


    "After that, I got a temporary job at the Observer."

    Just like that. I was passing the offices one day on my way to pawn my last pair of shoes and I heard they were looking for a temporary gossip columnist. The sixties was like that...I suppose I just got lucky...again nothing to do with family connections.

  30. Lord Summerisle24 July, 2009 19:59

    Pikey, I'd urge you to recall the words you said to me when I threatened to leave CiF forever. Stick around and be a thorn in their side.

    For what it's worth, I've just had a post removed for saying referring to Dennis McShane as a "dangerous and divisive individual who I can't wait to see the back of" so you're not the only one getting rear-ended by trigger happy mods.

  31. LordS

    I can't help thinking that the weekend/evening mods are students or other part-timers and, as such, are over zealous because they don't have a supervisor to call on to make a judgment call. They prefer to zap a post rather than run the risk of being criticised for not doing their job properly, imo.

    Not to excuse their over-active delete finger, but I wonder if that is the problem...

  32. LordS: glad you made it over.

    It was me that invited you on Sunday night (maybe you don’t remember as you said you’d been on the business end of a bottle of something I’d never heard of).

    Obviously I’m posting here under an alias. Please don’t let anyone else know my real name is traneroundthebanned.

  33. Oh, shit, I let the cat out of the bag, didn't I.

    Never mind, no one here will be able to remember such a complex name anyway, will they MsChin?

  34. *points at andy and laughs*

    silly bugger :o)

  35. Thanks Scherfig - good to see they polled so poorly. I'm a bit conflicted about the engaging/not engaging thing. Tend to feel that when they put their heads above the parapet they should be lopped off pronto, (metaphorically, of course). But I don't think there is a substantial constituency in the UK that would support them - outside of protest voting.

    Lord S - good to see you - perfectly reasonable description of the Mcshane person; cif modding policies seem to be all over the place these days.

  36. Lord Summerisle24 July, 2009 20:12

    I'm sure you're right, BB. The increase in the 'sensitivity' of the mods is quite noticable at weekends/evenings. I've tended to think it's more the ideological certainty of youth though, they've yet to realise that nice people can actually be on the other side of the argument without becoming bad people.

    Shochu, Andy. A Japanese rice spirit that sits somewhere inbetween saki and vodka for strength. I was testing my newly stitched stomach's tolerance for booze after my operation for a perforated ulcer. I've pleased to report that it passed all tests! Your secret's safe with me ;-)

  37. Yo, yer Lordship! Would you e-mail me via my profile here? Click on my name over in the 'Contributor' section in the right-hand column. Thanks.

  38. Lord Summerisle24 July, 2009 20:18

    Your wish is my command, Montana!

  39. Hey deano - How're you diddling? You and Mungo okay?

  40. Calm down, you lot - it's Friday!

    Frank knocked down a lovely straw man in his piece and, yes, anyone who thinks New Labour and its supporters have anything to do with socialism is bonkers.

    However, it's important to note that New Labour refer to themselves as Left and that a few even use the s-word. And it's also important to listen to what your enemies (that's you, Frank) are saying about you - there's always a kernel of truth in it.

    So let's face it: New Labour are the most authoritarian government we've had in a good long while, and they're calling themselves Leftists. Easy target.

  41. Hi thauma: maybe I should repeat a question I asked earlier today on CiF.

    If I call myself a fish, does that help me to breathe underwater?

    Splish splash...

  42. Haven't seen deano for a day or two, but I seem to recall him saying that he was shaping up for a big family reunion this weekend and not around much.

  43. Framk - Have you thought on a little bit yet? Coz I'm starting to get rather cross and you really don't want to get me angry.. It won't be pleasant... I have teapots!

  44. *expect Kiz is now nekkid with tungsten teapots poised*

    Andy - my point is that NL, by *calling* themselves Leftists, are making the Left an easy target to hit. And I blame every bastard who voted for them after the Iraq invasion.

  45. thauma: good point, (eventually) well made ;-)

    I last voted for them in ’97; never again.

  46. I'm damned near nekid! It really is terribly terribly hot here.. Gonna have to sleep on the balcony. And don't tell Frank, but I don't think I have the energy to sling a teapot in this heat...

  47. thaum

    I voted labour all my life. 97 was the last year I voted for them too. I feel disenfranchised. :o(

  48. Frank

    Others have covered your question about Polly I think.


    I am a Revolutionary Democratic Socialist.

    Revolutionary because I believe that the capitalist system has to be replaced because it is inherently undemocratic - people need economic and as well as political freedom.

    Democratic - meaning completely democratic at every level with safeguards to prevent the take over by people like Stalin. One of the tragedies of the Russian Revolution was the death of Lenin and the failure of the party to oust Stalin as Montana has explained.

    Socialist because it has to be the whole of society that makes the decisions and organises itself, leaving what is left of the state to be responsible for the organisation of things.

    On the role of the state:

    Engels said (in the origin of the family private property and the state)
    “The state is, therefore, by no means a power forced on society from without; ... Rather, it is a product of society at a certain stage of development; it is the admission that this society has ... split into irreconcilable antagonisms which it is powerless to dispel. But in order that these ... classes with conflicting economic interests, might not consume themselves and society in fruitless struggle, it became necessary to have a power, seemingly standing above society, that would alleviate the conflict and keep it within the bounds of 'order'; and this power, arisen out of society but placing itself above it, and alienating itself more and more from it, is the state." (Pp.177-78, sixth edition)[1] (my emphasis)

    So to remove the state it is necessary to remove the reason for its existence- class society which is currently capitalism.

    NB the state does not have the function of a referee it will inevitably support the class that pays it - the capitalist class.

    There is always a danger that an individual or clique will prevent the proletariat (which simply means the ordinary people) from taking power.

    The dictaorship of the proletariat is a much misunderstood term - it was Marx's way of describing a situation where as everyone was a dictator - no-one was.

    A concept that came very easily to a member of the !kung san tribe of Botswana, when still living as primitive communist hunter gatherers.

    When asked who was the head man they replied 'each of us is a head man over himself' they thought it was a highly amusing question.

  49. On the whole Socialism thing, only a few hardcore weirdos will try and justify Stalin and the like but it is interesting that in a recent poll carried out in Poland, 44% had a positive opinion of the old Communist Poland, compared to 43% who hold a negative opinion.

    The people who have a positive view are generally older so you could say that it is just rose-tinted nostalgia. On the other hand, the younger people who have a negative opinion don't really know what they're talking about as they were either very young or unborn at the time.

    Either way, the Western view (shared by myself not so long ago) that the Eastern Bloc suffered 50 years of unremitting grey misery before 1989 is extremely simplistic. Not that it was a real worker's paradise either, mind.

  50. Annetan - I deeply, deeply admire your convictions. But (you knew that was coming) I am a bit too cynical to believe that most of the population will put society's needs above their own immediate ones.

    Just look at the US to see how people will vote against their own self-interest because they think that one day, they will be one of the privileged ones by winning the bloody lottery or something.

    So I'm looking for a government that recognises these things but also works to improve the lot of the working classes. I ain't found it yet.

    Andy - tonight I think you need to find the Love Supreme.

  51. thauma
    I like this one:

  52. Hmm, two things only 'cus I'm in the middle of something. Socialism - are they or aren't they? Is she or isn't she? The policies that Labour are foisting on us are socialist. Nationalising banks FFS, imposing a legal duty on local authorities to act to counter social/gender/racial disadvantage with every policy? To recognise in law class disadvantage? That is the kind of law that would come from a right wing party is it? harriet's equalities bill? Okay, they invaded Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan - but look at the doctrine that backs it: "liberal interventionism". Sheesh.

    LordSummerIsle, I was lurking watching that today, and you're being too nice to CiF. You're giving them the benefit of the doubt, you're suggesting inexperienced Mods, the passions of youth. Uhuh. Matt Seaton called you on that post minutes after you'd put it up. A perfectly reasonable post btw - Denis is dangerous ( a censorious amoral thug who's aiming to lock people up for disagreeing with his opinions), and divisive (that goes without saying) - but Matt was *right* in there, attacking you by name for having the wrong opinion and daring to state it. And your post was deleted shortly afterwards.

    Me, I whip out Occam's razor at that point.

    There's clearly an intensifying policy at CiF these days to protect certain writers from assualts on their integrity, ability, and their *facts*. I'm not happy associating with that any more. No grudge against anyone who does though!

  53. Frank - I'm going to leave a proper response to more qualified posters like Annetan, but the banks haven't been properly nationalised at all - it's just us eejits who have paid for their latest round of bonuses. What are we getting out of it? Nothing.

    Just more proof that NL is anything but a leftist party: they're in it for the rich.

    And the invasion of various countries is far from leftist too: they're not exactly encouraging the workers, now, are they? No, it's about controlling the means of production for the rich.

    So there. :-P

  54. I must confess that I'm not convinced by this theory that weekend/evening mods are students, part-timers, inexperienced etc etc. I think that Cif take their moderation policy much too seriously for that eg. shutting contentious threads down overnight, premoderating some threads and so on. And I do not believe the constant protestations from Matt and others that the moderation department is functionally separate and not influenced by the editorial staff. They may be stupid but they're not that fucking stupid.

  55. Thauma -- I think you said that pretty well.

  56. thauma: thanks for that.

    I first found A Love Supreme about 15 years ago, and if I were into any kind of religious or spiritual observance, that would be the “theme tune”.

    I was born exactly two weeks (on one East Coast) after it was recorded (on another), and in my more mystical moments, I like to think that some of the sound waves arrived in Skegness General Hospital just as I emerged into the world.

    Obviously complete bollocks, but a nice thought.

    MsChin: what was your tune?

    I can’t seem to copy it to paste. Can’t you sort out a proper link?

  57. thauma: agree with Montana.

    All that heavy duty socialist shit we’ve been force feeding you is obviously having an effect ;-)

  58. andysays
    It's John McLaughlin & Carlos Santana's 'A Love Supreme'. I saw McLaughlin play it years ago. That man can play guitar.

    And I know, I should learn the linky thing & you've told me how to do it, but y'all talk in techno riddles, so I'm waiting till a passing 5 year old's available to teach me.

  59. As if by magic to prove my point! New Polly thread just up - not open to comments. It's a cracker though; Shakespeare, The Bible, a Greek chorus and Bosworth Field all in one short paragraph. She really is an appalling woman.

  60. Lurve both Santana & McLaughlin. Andy, I just pasted the link into a browser & it worked.

    And thanks for the socialist credentials! ;-)

  61. andysays
    Try this one too (Mahavishnu Orchestra, 'Birds of Fire'):

  62. Scherfig

    Can't bear to look, but the immediate Greek chorus bit that comes to mind is:

    Chorus: Why do you cry out thus, as if at some vision of blood?
    Cassandra: The house reeks of death and dripping blood.
    Chorus: How so? 'Tis but the odour of the altar sacrifice.
    Cassandra: The stench is like a breath from the tomb.

    (from memory so probably mis-quoted)

  63. scherfig
    And you can't post bloody comments on it either. Bah!

  64. Gah - no, it's *vision of horror*.

  65. Frank

    I have to agree with Thaum too - this isn't nationalisation in the true sense at all. I am not quite sure what the word for it is, but what benefits are we seeing from it? All the banks have done is to take our money to fill the black holes in their balance sheets - those mysterious black holes that suddenly appeared from nowhere all in one financial year, too, which stinks to high heaven.

    They were supposed to be given the money so they could start lending again. The problem was a) they were being lent the money themselves at something approaching 16% interest, yet the minimum lending rate plummetted to virtually nowt - who in their right mind would lend on those terms? And b) there is nothing to force them to do anything with out money that they don't want to - including refraining from paying more bonuses, should they choose.

    So no -nationalisation it isn't. Corporatism it surely is.

  66. MsChin: I’ve heard (probably own) everything McLauglin (just noticed that his name is almost Mc Laugh Line; I’ve been sitting at this computer too long) did with Miles and it’s all great.

    Haven’t listened to much of his own stuff though, that Mahavishnu stuff struck me as being a little too hippy mystical for my taste, but that must just be the old punk that never dies, but just keeps putting up links to The Pistols and The Clash in me.

  67. It's nationalisation - the state owns 70% of those banks. Rather than letting them fail - as they should have done - the state walked in and bought them. Walked in and compulsoraily purchased them, more like in fact.

    Now, Polly - what an idiot that woman is. Our debt can be serviced at low interest rates? Who sets the rates you daft woman - Gordon? Are you *mental*? What's the rate in 2022 Poll? I bet that one single A level wasn't in economics. Nor history I reckon - Richard III died fighting at Bosworth, Gordon might die running away, but fighting? I ain't seen it yet. And no comments for Polly.

    Frit. Polly's frit and the Guardian's crumbling.

  68. I'm swayed by Frank's erudite definition of socialism and his pointing to 'nationalisation' of the banks. Brown? Obama? THEY'RE BOTH FUCKING COMMUNISTS! (I hear on the grapevine that Barack is going to force General Motors to build nothing but tractors.)

  69. andysays
    Well, yes true, all a bit hippy mystical but very much of its time. And I like punk, a lot.
    What about this:

  70. Frank - it looks like the capitalist project saving itself to me - then what do I know? the fact that 'technically' we own the banks is irrelevant. We certainly aren't going to benefit. I notice they've already reinstated their bonuses.

  71. LordSummerisle

    Sochu/Soju is more popular in Korea than Japan, and IIRC it's not rice based (will check).
    The "Jinro" brand of Soju was until a few years ago the biggest selling spirits brand in the world, until Stolichnaya started making up its own figures again (experience of tractor production stats you see).

  72. Doesn't 70% ownership mean the govt is the majority shareholder in some of the banks, as opposed to the outright owner, which is the case in nationalisation?

  73. You can't call the bank bail ots socialist Frank... Unless you're gonna twist the nu lab shit in the same way they do... come on!

  74. Hmm. We never "benefitted" from British Leyland either - are we now saying that if the taxpayer doesn't earn, it wasn't nationalised? Eh?

    The state bought a private company - under duress. That's a nationalisation. No matter what they might like to call it.

  75. LordS

    Checked. It is often made with rice but can be made with pretty much anything.

    COMPLETE change of subject. Can anyone recommend a good, basic, general history of the American Civil War for me? I've developed an interest in the subject recently and would appreciate any pointers. Ta.

  76. Frank - Sheffpixie has hid the nail on the head.

    Just ask 'who benefits?'

    It sure as hell isn't ordinary people. The people benefiting are bankers. Remember its not us getting those bonuses!

    NuLab the party thats very relaxed about people getting stinking rich. Says it all!

    The banks mess up and we are forced to pay for their mistakes. If I mess up I pay for my own. You can call that socialism if you like after all I can call the sky green if I want to they are both just words.

    But if we are to have a meaningful discussion we have to agree about the meanings of those words surely?

  77. 'The state bought a private company - under duress.'

    Leaving aside the 70% aspect, can you explain exactly what you mean by 'under duress', Frank? Was it 'nationalization', a 'bail-out', a 'hostile take-over' or something else? Who forced who to do exactly what?

  78. Frank: I’ve just been having a fascinating discussion on CiF with someone called YaBasta.

    He was trying to argue that the Nazis were socialists, and it reminded me of your wonderful “The BNP are Socialist” routine. Do you get much call for that on the Right-wing libertarian comedy circuit?

    As I explained to him, Nazism was the method the ruling class in Germany used to rebuild capitalism after the Depression; check out who funded the Nazi Party in its early years, and the class composition of the Party leaders, as I suggested he did.

    It must be comforting to think that everything you hate and fear can be wrapped up in one little word “socialism”, but it really doesn’t stand up. There are authoritarian socialists, just as there are authoritarian right wingers, but we're not all identikit commissars.

    Your view of the world appears to be far too one dimensional. There are at least three dimensions out there Frank – why restrict yourself to only one? It’s so limiting.

    I’m not a great admirer of the state myself, but that’s largely because I see how it legitimises and enforces the power of the ruling class to exploit the rest of us. I’m actually a libertarian socialist, because I believe that only through co-operation can we throw off the twin yokes of the state and the capitalist class.

    Your distrust of the state is a good start Frank, but you’ve still got a long way to go. Stick around now that you’re not busy at CiF, and maybe we can point you in the right direction.

    Anyway, all this heavy duty philosophising has worn me out. See you all next time round.

  79. Yeah...no comments on the latest Toynbee POS.
    What is the point of that woman? What the Guardian needs is a left wing Littlejohn or Clarkson...a "he says what we're all thinking" type. What we get is Polly "she says what ...er...well..sorta ...hmm?" Toynbee.

    Who the fuck listens to her? Why is she on every vaguely liberal committee imaginable? Why does the Guardian pay her what they do? I'm genuinely perplexed. Everything she's ever written is a random concoction of predictable liberal platitudes and vulgar sixth form economics. And yet she's a friggin institution. Who is it she represents...and what kinda smug, fucked up, reality challenged demographic does she allegedly speak for?

    And why,FFS, does such a supposedly intelligent, politically aware commentator require such protection from her critics?

  80. Monkeyfish

    I saw her speak at a SureStart conference in Brum in 2005. It was an unendurable avalanche of platitudinous, glutinous slop. She just threw huge, brimming buckets full of cliche, wishful thinking and buzzwordy niceness in all directions. What the hell she was actually getting at was anyone's guess.

    I think Lola Adesioye(sp?) is some kind of demonic apprentice of hers.

  81. Mind you she always speaks well of you...

  82. Frank -

    The nationalisation of the banks was the opposite of socialist, it was using taxpayers money to prop up failing private institutions - they are continuing as we speak with business as usual, bonuses and all. Labour very clearly stated it wouldnt be "hands on" nationalisation - ie working in the public interest, it purely provided the capital. Look how much it pained them to nationalise northern rock - they tried impossibly hard to find a private buyer. The nationalisations have benefitted the banks, enormously, not the people - the government could have guaranteed retail savings at a fraction of the cost.

    Their social policies regarding "equality" are a poor attempt at socialism, yes, but you cant chuck in eocnomic and social policies into one whole. On balance they are =extremely right wing, an unashamed party of business - they've managed to outdo Thatcher on inequality.

    As for "liberal interventionism" explaining Kosovo, irag and Afgh, madness. Kosovo was largely a strategic game of re-establishing Nato's (US/UK) power, flexing its muscles. The main ethnic cleansing followed our bombing campaign, as a number of senior officials are on record as saying they knew would happen - bombing was a key driver of the cleansing, not a response to it. By the time we started bombing the death toll was relatively small. And as for Iraq and Afgh, the reasons for our involvement there are pretty plain for all to see, and the last thing in the world it has to do with is any sort of lofty liberal ideals. We are in the ME for commercial reasons, as we have been for decades.

    The meaningful sense of "nationalisation" is a state owned entity run for the public good not for profit maximisation. The bank bailout has maintained the private ethos, the money making, the bonuses, but simply asked the man on the street to plug the holes in the book because the greed of the banks finally brought the lot crashing down.

  83. monkeyfish Soros25 July, 2009 00:11

    Bank Nationalisation...Socialism?
    Today...RBS bailed out...tomorrow the dictatorship of the proletariat.QED

    It all makes sense now. It was the will of the people.

    Well a few people...mainly incompetent, overpaid bankers...but they're people too.

  84. Great days posting(s) team UT.

    It was a great pleasure to read my comrades/friends on here today - comments aplenty to delight me. I'm cheered and pleased to be in the same room as most of you.

    As noted by a kind soul above - big family party this w/e - son back from 11 month sabbatical (unpaid "fuck em dad I'm gonna do it" trip around the backpacking world with his beautiful Fijian/Yorks wife of 2 years - them both 32) and youngest son's 30th birthday thrash.

    We shall be poorly.

    A camping weekend in my Poppy Field for about 36 kids and I'll be much respected elder but piss taken out of Deano30 - I should be so lucky. Me married boy invited me on his stag do so as things go between the generations these days I'm surviving.

    Mungo lives and continues to delight. And I deano continue to be in love with life.

    Annetan - as ever a delightful post here - and Montana *** too

    Kind regards and thanks for your tolerance

    Soon to be falling over happy and poorly - I think my recent training won/t get me last man standing, but I won't be far short. Them boys catch up quick!

    Regards Deano30

  85. My conclusion about this is that if all self-alleged socialists united there wouldn't be any capitalism.

    But Capitalism there exists and every day stronger whatever the colour of the incumbent government. Which I don't forget is elected by those very same self-alleged socialists.

    By the way where is Marx in all this? I think he is there forgotten in the bottom of a forgotten drawer or shelf.