17 May 2010


Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette began exploring the Mississippi River in 1673.  TSV 1860 München was founded in 1860, oddly enough.  Thor Heyerdahl set out from Morocco to cross the Atlantic in the papyrus boat Ra II in 1970.

Born today:  Edward Jenner (1749-1823), Erik Satie (1866-1925), Maureen O'Sullivan (1911-1998), Dennis Hopper (1936), Taj Mahal (1942), Enya (1961) and Trent Reznor (1965).

Today is Syttende Mai in Norway and wherever Americans with Norwegian ancestry live in any numbers.


  1. Oh, dear, deleted twice for having a pop at the Guardian's new Golden Boy Julian Glover! he who shall not be touched!!!

  2. Go Montana! Well said. This place is just what we make it, and 4wiw, I think It's made pretty good!

  3. Oh FFS, who's attacking the UT now? This site is great, but in no way necessary for anyone's livelihood, ability to access news etc. etc. therefore: if you don't like it a little bit: politely suggest a change, if you don't like it a lot: stop being such a masochist and leave!

  4. Montana you say:

    "But you can come along and spout shit whenever you feel like it and accuse me of not being as authentic as you are. You are no better than Parallax or Bitey or Billp, Hank. You're nothing but a fucking troll anymore."

    Well excuse me about putting right the historical record, but there had been over 400 posts about me on your site Montana, many of them derogatory, before I posted my first one. And until various members of your group succeeded in getting banned from CiF, I was quite happy to watch you self-explode here and continue to post there.

  5. Napoleon,

    apologies for not getting back to you last night, I went to bed after I posted.

    The community you observe where you live is a community now into its third generation of deprivation. As countless reports, investigations and surveys have shown, deprivation is cyclical.

    According to its own figures, around 20% of the population (12 million people) is, in its own dry civil service speak, "at risk of social exclusion".

    The statistics speak for themselves. Only 15% of children of poor families go on to tertiary education compared to 79% from professional families. Teenage girls from poor families are six times more likely to be teenage mothers than their middle class counterparts. If you have unemployed parents, you are twice as likely to become unemployed, 60% of boys with convicted fathers then go on to commit crime themselves.

    Individuals are a product of their socio-economic background. A right winger will argue that this is not the case, but overwhelming evidence of which the above is just a taste shows this clearly to be so.

    A quick anecdote. When my father was thrown out of his shipbuilding job in the mid 70's he was unskilled to do anything else, he had a wife and 4 kids to feed.

    However, because my Father, Grandfather, Family and friends had worked all their lives, there was a strong family bond, work ethic and support structure.

    Throughout this time, familial standards remained strong. I was encouraged to work hard at school etc etc.

    Things were tough but because there was this bond, strength and support from the community, my Father eventually found a job and things worked out fine, but my family were the luck ones.

    The personal dignity, strength and community developed through working in at least a decent paid job creates a set of values.

    Since 1979 these values have been corroded, utterly corroded by Thatcherism, Blairism, neo-liberalism.

    The people you see in your local community have been born into a society with extremely narrow life prospects, very little hope for the future and appalling socio-economic circumstances. Thus the cycle continues.

    If you were to go around Dennistoun, asking what people want, guaranteed they will want the same things in life as your middle, professional classes. That's all.

    And if all they want is to lead a happy productive life, should they not also have the same life chances at birth as someone born into a professional family?

    I don't want this to sound like a romantic view of everyone in the cycle of deprivation. Like anything in life, you will have good uns and bad uns. Some people do make it, despite their background. I would never say otherwise.

    What I'm trying to say is that before judging the people you see, try and understand the life they have been born into.

    Let down by Government after Government, made scapegoat for all economic ills caused by those at the top by Government and the rest of society and fated to live the same narrow, unproductive and unhealthy lives of their mothers and fathers.

    This is 20% of the popualtion- 12 million people, not some splinter percentage of UK society.

  6. Your Grace,

    I agree, I'd argue that the single biggest thing we need to do to change this is fight this ridiculous "you have to have a degree to get anywhere" culture: no one can "work their way up" anymore, which leaves those who's parents can't afford university stuck at the bottom for the rest of their lives.

  7. And the hyper inflation of qualifications means that a PhD today is equivalent to a degree from 30 years ago. An what precious few can afford to do all the post grad..? 10,000+ MBAs coming from UK unis every year that's just what the country needs...

    From BBC news

    Liberal Democrat David Laws, the chief secretary to the Treasury, said the task ahead was "colossal" and that Labour had left the public finances in an "unacceptable" state.

    The reductions would amount to about 1% of government spending, he added.

    Mr Laws said his predecessor, Liam Byrne, had left him a letter saying simply: "Dear chief secretary, There's no money left."

  8. And even where unecessary qualifications aren't required, fewer and fewer companies are offering paid apprenticeships/internships, so everyone has to be able to fund their own education.

  9. Turminder - do you reckon that is true that Liam Brynes left that note?! That would be political suicide by Labour for the next ten years wouldn't it?

    I think there is a plan - really I do. The plan is get the nice 'soft' lib dems talking about cuts and get them talking about the little 'grenades' left all over whitehall by Labour. Then they can swing the axe so harshly yet blame it on Labour.

    If the cuts are as extreme as the IFS believes then they have calculated that we won't be going back to the fifties but back to the twenties! Now that is very, very scary indeed.

    Great post Duke. I agree completely. Nap the thing is that the people you think need to get some self respect etc had it kicked out of them - not that long ago. Its not as if the steel works and mines all shut eighty years ago - it was my fathers generation that lost their jobs and livelihoods and it is my generation - in pit villages all over Yorkshire who have no hope. They saw there fathers in long term unemployment and then they themselves suffered the same fate.

    Britain still has as large a manufacturing sector now as it had then but it is mostly small scale and doesn't employ people. The traditional manufacturing sectors were allowed to die and with them the jobs they provided.

    I actually think this is bigger than New Lab or the Tories - I think it is the phase of capital we are in. A very destructive phase - its never really got this far before due to wars or internal unrest within nations stopping the process and then we need to rebuild again.

    But what is happenning is the hollowing out of the economy. Capitalism is in a dire bind - it needs to outsource jobs to the cheapest places possible yet it also needs a consumer base in the West and the two are contradictory in the long term. Hence the reason debt took up the slack for falling wages in real terms and lack of jobs. Now that debt is causing massive problems.

    And the even bigger issue is that in this destructive phase of capitalism the economy still needs hollowing out - labour intensive areas have to go - well what labour intensive areas are left?
    Public services - thats what. This is going to be an all out assault on the public sector and on public services. And if the powers that be win - we really might be living in conditions we never thought we would see again. People might be living ten to a three bed house and living hand to mouth.

    A return to the 1920's would mean a return to great poverty for most - the decade was only 'roaring' for a select few and that was in the US. The UK had a horrible twenties (the thirties were actually less harsh) as did many other parts of Europe - there was starvation in Russia and hyper inflation in Germany etc. Not good at all.

    Don't judge those people who have no hope harshly napK - they have seen communities torn apart and they fought long and hard to save those communities and lost. If they are all irresponsible how come their populations went from ones of hard working repsonsibility where there was nearly full male employment to ones where there is seventy percent male unemployment - within the space of months?

    Hank - I hate the moderation on Cif too and seeing the casual hatred of their fellow man constantly parroted - consequence free - by MAM and Breaking3 etc is hideous to behold.

    But as far as this place goes - it is not moderated and so it is up to us to decide what to make it. There is no overarching modding policy and we do have lots of political discussions it is not always discussions of bland things - although in these horrible times that can be nice sometimes.

    Montana is not responsible for setting the tone - we are.
    And in my opinion it aint a bad tone and it ain't a bad place at all and I think we are going to need it more and more in the coming weeks and months as things turn really nasty, really quickly. I hope you do end up coming to Sheffield and that Deano and Thauma can make it too be nice to finally all meet up in person.

  10. Morning all

    Great comments as ever from Duke and Princess and
    it,s not even mid-day.Tip hat to you both.I,d like
    to join discussion but am a bit pushed for time at the

    @Napoleon you got a bit of a 'kicking' last night
    but don,t let that put you off posting on UT.I don,t
    agree with many of your views but i put that down to the fact that you,re young with a lot of living to do.Sorry if that sounds a bit patronising but we,ve
    all been their in our youth.Thinking we know much
    more than we actually do.And some sadly go through
    their whole lives thinking they know more than they
    actually do.You take care mate,good luck with the
    job hunting and i expect you to start posting again
    very soon -THAT,S AN ORDER!!!!

  11. Don't ken the veracity of the story, but it was up on the BBC... Agree whole heartedly about 'these' communities 13th & PCC. If Nap meets a nice 'intelectual' Working class playmate, who would show him some of the other side of the tracks he has to date been unaware of I'm sure his tune would modulate, if not change..

    Hang around Nap, we need some certainty and idealism, keep sharing it, until it's all kicked out of you by the brew.. ; )

    To all the whiners, what are you doing, and what would you have us do? The change has to begin with the individual, as and when they are ready. Telling us we are all lost causes don't really help...

  12. Capitalism is in a dire bind - it needs to outsource jobs to the cheapest places possible yet it also needs a consumer base in the West and the two are contradictory in the long term.


    According to Mind one in eleven workers have been to their GPs because of stress due work pressure, excacerbatd by the financial squeeze already. What is it going to be like in a couple of years as it all gradually gets worse.

    A lot of employers are giving less support to their staff and piling on the pressure, on the basis that if someone leaves there are plenty more out there desperate for a job.

    I dread what we might be up for in the next few years. There is unlikely to be coherent resistance to increasing impoverishment because communities are atomised and concepts of solidarity destroyed.


    Agree with the Paul and turminder when he says "we need some idealism". So please keep posting. We're not always going to agree but so what. We never stop working out our ideas and the best way to do it is talking to other people. And keeping our eyes and ears peeled and noticing what's going on around us. From what you say there is plenty to notice where you are.

  13. ...meant to mention the G article on Greece is good today, Ireland, Portugal & Spain tommorow? The UK soon after? What is the answer, as the system is unsustainable? This has been a theme in my own existence, I can hold the situation together for a year or two, but it is very precariously ballanced. Job goes, despair! And digging out of the hole gets harder and harder. The personal experience mirrors the national one?

  14. Paul

    Didn't mean to say 'the Paul' in the above post - I know you're not an object!


    And digging out of the hole gets harder and harder.

    I know how you feel. Everything does feel very precarious these days. I'm lucky enough to have a job that (I think) is reasonably secure, although there are going to be massive cuts in the civil service very soon. I was hoping I'd be able to leave or even cut down my hours a bit (as I'm now an old bag) but don't think I can risk it.

    Its worse for my kids as they both (and their partners) work in areas that are notoriously insecure. As long as I have a few quid they don't have to worry about me and I can help out if needed.


    You like reading don't you? I've just finished a book by Pat Barker called Liza's England - it traces the life of a woman who was born in 1900 until her death in 1984. It gives a great sense of working class life and the huge struggles people went through in the north east steel communities. A great read if you fancy it and you should be able to get it in the library.

  15. I'm getting ready for work, so I don't have much time, but I want to make it clear that I don't think anyone should, nor do I want, anyone to stop posting here because I disagree with their views.

    I am, frankly, a bit torn as to whether or not I owe Napoleon an apology for the language I used. I've never been one to be particularly offended by words like 'fuck' or 'bullshit', myself -- I find the view that people are poor because they are lazy or immoral to be far more offensive than someone calling me a cunt. But I realise I'm in a minority.

    Still, there's no reason for anyone to stop posting here just because I don't agree with their views.

  16. Chin up Anne, enjoy the work while we have it eh? I love my job, half decent £, easy enough work, shame it's only 7/12 months.. But being council funded I can see two or perhaps 3 redundancies in the next 12-24 months (on a staff of 6 FT equiv.), reliance on zero hours staff, cuts, cuts, cuts...

  17. @Napoleon

    My last post was a bit rushed so possibly didn,t
    reflect accurately what i was trying to say.The fact
    that i,m older than you doesn,t necessarily mean i,m
    always right,that i know better.What it does mean
    is that my life experiences too date combined
    with coming from a different background to you probably mean our perspectives on many issues are
    fundamentally different.I wasn,t actually saying there
    was anything wrong with you just because we may disagree.And just think how boring UT would be if
    everyone was always in agreement with each other!

    @Sheff-being the hunk of a man i am i have had to get
    used to being treated like an object by women.It,s
    tough and i cope-although in protest at the injustice
    of it all i have been driven to burning the odd pair
    of boxer shorts! :-)

  18. afternoon all.........just catching up....see yas later

  19. Paul - if you want to come to the Sheffield meet and burn your boxers in front of us ladies we wont objectify you - honest!

    Montana - I am the same as you I don't find swearing etc particularly offensive - I don't use the C word on here or on Cif because I know others hate it but I do use it myself - sparingly - and only apply it to those who fully deserve it such as James Purnell hee hee.
    Fuck doesn't even bother me one iota - not one bit. I quite like swearing though and have shamed the other half (a posh Harrogate boy) many a time and he once called me a fishwife when I swore at some stupid cow who nearly ran me over on Eccy road - which is quite posh. Ha ha ha.

    I agree with you re swearing being less offensive than some views - and in fact that is what I was saying on Cif last night - to me someone like breaking3 who views poor people as scum and the welfare state as something that should be removed fortwhith is much more offensive than someone who swears.

    It made me think about the discussion re violence on here and if it is right ever - my view is that it is in certain situations - I am not a violent person and have never been in a situation where I have just kicked off for no reason but the state uses violence against us all the time. Economic and social violence. And I find views like MAM's and breaking3's etc to be both violent and offensive.

    Because the views of these people make life harder all the time for those on the bottom - in their incessant drip, drip dripping into the conscience and building of a narrative of hate against certain groups - often the most vulnerable; immigrants, the unemployed, disabled, mentally ill etc.

    I don't know if the above makes any sense - I am so tired as I didn't sleep all night due to my stomach being bad again. I am gonna go have a shower as I feel like I am posting half asleep - sorry for the ramble!!

  20. Montana - re: yesterday
    The difficult thing about arguing on the net is that what can just sound like 'a bit of swearing' looks so much worse in print! (it does to me anyway). Its also difficult to interpret what someone says as we do face to face - for example if an old person says something highly judgement we might react differently than we would to a young person?

    I think Nap's 'heart is in the right place' and with encouragement his brain (and his posts show he has a good one)will follow.

    It would be a pity if he was discouraged in his search for truth. My rule is 'take a deep breath and then patiently explain why I think they are wrong'!

    I believe that as Socialists we have an absolute duty to encourage others to see the rightness of our arguement.

    At my age (and I spent most of my early childhood under the most humane government this country has ever seen, when things really did get better) I sometimes find it hard to understand reality as it appears to today's young.

    So keep on posting so I can keep on learning:), hopefully we have something to teach you too.

    I too await hearing some good news from you on the job front. Good luck

  21. Folks am I right in thinking you've set a date for the Sheffield meet?

    Can you post it again please? think you might have arranged it while I was in hospital.

  22. I said I was gone, and yes, here I am back again.

    I have had an extremly stressful day, with more stress to come, jsut popped home for a cup of tea to calm me down before I go out again. BTW, the stress is nothing do with the 'events' here.

    I will also be writing some emails to my local MSP, MP, and the work and pensions secreatry, and the Scottish equivalent, to tell them the idoicy of the labour system in this country.

    I will publish the contents (and hopefully responses) of these letter here and on my blog.

    I will post a lenghy post tonight ont he general debate in the past 24 hours, but Montana, I have never said that the 'poor are poor becuase they are lazy and immoral'. I am just saying individual responsibilty has to be taken into account. This individual responsibiltiy is universal, it also extends to recruitment consultants and marketing exexutives etc, they often act irresponsibly.

  23. Nap I am glad you came back, I doubt that you and I will ever have much in common but in terms of internet forums I honestly don't feel that it is all that important to be reading from the same page.

    I don't get out much and if I didn't get online sometimes and interact with people who have different life experiences and therefore different views my life would be very dull.

    It can be a shock to the system when you first come across people who challenge your views but in the long run it is a good thing, it makes you really think about what you believe.

    The swearing is just something that some people do, you have to get used to it.

  24. Hello All

    "...There is no money left." Possibly true - could explain Brown's air of relief after he resigned.

    The cycle has reached crash point. We discussed not buying goods we know are made by overworked and underpaid people - this has always been a dilimma. Don't buy and people starve, do buy and you support a morally unsupportable system.

    The Fair trade movement has also crashed - the extra profits going to companies not workers in many cases.

    Trade has determined the success or failure of communities since the Bronze Age at least and drove the spirit of exploration and innovation across the world. Cultures met , exchanged goods and ideas. For some this resulted in developed societies and for some slavery. Morality developed within each tribal community but failed to become universal - each society lived within ethical structures geared towards self survival - the rich and powerful always triumphed until their society was overtaken by a stronger one.

    We are faced with the same choices - scrabble to the top, hang on by our finger nails while kicking others of the cliff? I.m for offering the helping hand but am very aware that most will kick me down if needs be.

    The war of words on Cif exemplifies this. We are back in the 1880s - societies at war within and against each other. The 'surplus population' can no longer be shipped off to the colonies - the movement of people looking for a better life increases as resources dwindle.

    It is now no longer possible to live within small , closed self protective societies. We have to think globally - in the real sense while at the same time fighting on behalf of the weak and disowned living within our own boundaries.

    One question - HOW?

  25. Duke/PCC/Montana et al - Class pure fucking class.

    BB/A42/PeterJ - glad to read your still alive and going forward.

    I am posting here when my dongle has expired by putting my mobile SIM into my dongle a business I find tedious. I usually only just read UT on my phone when my 3Gb is gone ............but the comments of the last 24 move me to post....

    Nap - you arrogant misguided verbose insensitive little bastard - since you claim to be a son of Yorkshire folk, I will with affection, cut you a little slack. Your honesty about your age, passions and reality entitles you to my repsect and I give it.

    The greatest gift that Dostov can give you is not just a desire to read and think, but also to think and then read what you are `about to write.

    That said be clear - the only thing I owe you is a responsibility (and a crude Yorks tribal loyality) to contribute what little I can to your continuing education. By the same token you owe me nothing different.

    You plainly have a capacity to teach me things of which I was unaware and even ignorant. That should then constitute a fair exchange. This is after all the Uni of the UT.

    You may, or may not be, confused as to exactly where on the spectrum of leftness you fall. Am I a right wing lefty or a left wing lefty etc etc

    I'm pretty sure that at 62 I've worked out that personally I'm a left off left lefty. Good that neither of us are really right right. There is within the UT hope for all who will take the time to read and think.

    Be double clear - all serious would be teachers want and desire to contribute to the learning of someone who can ultimately teach them, and put them in the shade, and illuminate the world afresh. Sharing with you what someone once shared with me for nothing is a matter of no great expense or effort.

    Despised or admired I am primarily the sum of my exposure to the experience and wisdom of others.

    I must say that I was pleased to see that you had stopped peppering every other consideration with the word 'feckless' and might even have given some consideration to the word 'hapless'. I would never wish to patronise but I thought the recent non use either a happystance or an idle undeserved pleasure. Either way I thought it good news.

    I intend at some time down the page going to let you know what I think about 'intellectualism' and various other things of which you often write, but there is no rush.

    Suffice it here to say I consider you wrong about lots but I also now consider my old-self equally wrong about many things too.

    I join the chorus in hoping that you will not jump ship simply cos you were told you appeared inadvisedly dressed or misguidedly spoken.

    To walk through dogshit on a pavement and trample it onto the carpet is if possible best avoided. If it can't be avoided it can, with a little wit and maturity, be be learned from.


  26. Folks am I right in thinking you've set a date for the Sheffield meet?

    Can you post it again please?

    Seconded - I must have missed it too?????

  27. I <3 Deanno. Watch the dongle Deanno, you hear about the stranded holiday maker charged £7k!!! by O2 for 5 days browsing at the airport?

  28. Scorpio Hank - my dear young sir I am beginning to despair of you. I know that you give not an ounce of shit about what I think............................no sweat comrade.

    You, your wit and erudition, to say nowt of your political and economic analysis, were the reason I took out a moniker on the Guard and then eventually came here to UT.................that said of late I fear that you are loosing the plot.

    I don't know if you know but acidic piss rots your Levis and then your shoes.

    You may be well advised to stop sniping at Montana and recognise that the UT is what, we the collective who take the time to contribute here, make it.

    It is vastly superior to CiF and that is with minimal effort and contribution from your sometimes sharp self of late.

    As others have reasonably observed it costs nothing to pack up and ship out if you are unhappy with our efforts. Plainly you can always open a Scorpio Blog if you think you can do better.

  29. Afternoon all,

    Not that anyone'll be interested, but here's my tuppence worth.

    I think the vast majority of us, exist in a state where we're caught between a 'big narrative', and our own experiences, (this isn't going to be a po-mo thing, don't worry)!!

    By this, I mean that we peg to something, left, right, socialism, liberalism, whatever, and most of the time, this is either a positive pegging (i.e., I saw/experienced the good that x did for me/us) or a negative one (i.e., I saw/experienced the bad that y did against me/us), or a combination of the two.

    The problem, is that this very rarely covers everything, so we either accept the stuff within the narrative that doesn't so easily fit with our experience, willfully ignore it, or reject it, and end up a bit all over the place as a result.

    Indeed, two people can experience almost exactly the same things, but draw different conclusions, or choose a different peg based on the most arbitrary of factors.

    This is why we have political difference in the first place, and the sad, sad truth, is that we're all equally right or wrong. And perhaps even worse, it's very likely that we're not going to be either wrong or right about everything.

    For me, this is why I have always had trouble with the left/right/whatever/whatever thing in general.

    It's sort of like religion, in that there seems a definite tendency to accept most/all of either, because to question just one aspect of it weakens the facade, and opens it up to attack by 'the other'.

    And while I will sometimes look at something that the uber-fuck MaM has written, and literally scream, 'how the fuck can you think that??', the fact is that he/she/it/they do, and for whatever reason, it is as likely to be as informed as whatever opinion we hold, just informed differently.

    And, like others have said, this is why I like/appreciate things like this blog.

    I frequently come across opinions that are different from my own, and if I don't change mine, I at least factor in the additional data/experience to my own equation, so it at least tempers the outcome (or whatever the technical term for the answer is in equations).

    So yeah, (if anyone's still with me) we don't have to agree on everything, and none of us are 'right', really, but only by scrapping it out with others, are we ever going to come close to consensus, or even solid disagreement, and I for one, would prefer that than to live with the certainty of my own views, and opinions, which, quite frankly, are usually rubbish!!
    (see above for exhibit A)

    (Also, I have no other 'friends' or social life, so I'd be really fucked if this place goes Pete Tong....)

  30. turm - thanks for timely warn Bro.

    No sweat - me dongle and phone are both Three.

    Daft tariff - a full stop over 3Gb on the dongle contract and it's 10p per comma etc but on the PAYG tarrif for me phone a £5 top up gives 150 Mgb free internet allowance.

    Fegging nuts - I don't normally post when me 3Gb allowance is gone 'cos I'm too idle to switch the SIMs I usually just read UT on me phone ( cant post from the phone and in any event too tedious without a keyboard)



  31. James D - fine post young friend.

    I have to differ only about MAM - MAM is not 'informed' at all. Herm draws herm words from some dark and uncomfortable place beneath a slug's toenail .

    I will not give MAM the benefit of any doubt( about anything less everything) herm is a cunt.

  32. Perhaps not beneath but 'within' a slugs toenail....I'll be damned if I'll be generous to that half baked partially filled condom of sterile spunkless slime.

    I'm sorry for my immoderate use of the Queens ladies, but I had to get away from CiF when MAM won wanker of the year award.

  33. Deano (Nice to see you again),

    Don't get me wrong, I think your language with regard to MaM is spot on (perhaps even a little kind...?), and more often than not, he is factually wrong in terms of specifics, but in terms of opinions/conclusions, we only have our opinion that his opinion is wrong*, and that's when you start getting into the murky areas.....

    *although, he is wrong, obviously.... :0)

  34. I find the view that people are poor because they are lazy or immoral to be far more offensive than someone calling me a cunt. But I realise I'm in a minority.

    Montana - you are not in a minority of one young miss.

    Nap - I ought to tell you why I could never, despite my lustful desire, put my hand up a ladies skirt if she gave me the wrong answers to my casual enquires about what she thought about people and:

    i) nature and nurture;


    ii) original sin (sins of father laid on son etc)

    A ladies answer/perspective on these two very old and fundamental questions gave me the clue on whether she be left or right wing.

    I'd like to tell you that as a youngster I wouldn't have spilled my seed for any right wing whore but lust being what it is I did engage a few of them in earnest conversation......

  35. Good to see you too James - a magnificent sunny late afternoon here in E Yorks with Kingston upon Hull on the far horizon.

  36. At the risk of being called for backslapping, great posts above.

    Napoleon, I hope you continue to post.

    James, yeah I've given your points a lot of thought in the past. What makes us come to the political opinions and outlook on life that we do? If CiF are going to do that people's panel then that would be a good topic.

    I'm undeniably left wing, it was an inescapable part of my growing up process. However, I do like to think I read, understand and listen before coming to my conclusions, rather than being a Dave Spart contrarian to everything a right winger posts or writes. If I actually do is another matter ;)

    The old adage that the older you get the more right wing you get has been completely lost on me. It's the opposite. When I observe the mendacious bullshit and hypocrisy of the Political and business elite combined with their daylight robbery, I really, really, really struggle to understand how anyone can defend the rotten system that keeps it afloat.

    And if that makes me "a Stalinist" then so be it. But I would prefer to be a "Robespierrist". Sounds much better.

  37. "...An independent forecast is designed to bring greater rigour to the public finances by ensuring that tax and spending plans are based on what Osborne says will be independent, rather than politically helpful, growth forecasts..."

    Don't be a cunt Osborne - your alleged independent is a toe sucking Thatcherite......

  38. deano,

    as you say, nature/nurture. When I said I embraced my left wing upbringing, I could as easily have rejected it as many have. So this then brings in personal experience and political views.

    It's a rich seam to mine.

  39. James


    i was raised in a Left wing family - encouraged and enabled to read all sorts and everything, to study and to value myself and others. My working life has confirmed the lefty views I grew up with . It becomes increasingly difficult to ignore the unfairness - and cruelty - around us.

    I was taught to listen to others - even if I disagreed with them - as this is the only way to understand. The Mams of this world have a world view which is often alien to my own but is , it seems, the prevailing one. I,m not keen on labels, I have yet to come across an ideology which does not exclude some truths .

    A blog which confirms all my views - and possible prejudices - would hold little interest I think. I am not an ideological lefty - I just hate cruelty, unfairness and the suffering of others. Suffering which is imposed by ideological systems - and is therefore avoidable with more exploration and tolerance - I loathe the most.

    Private education and health care typify for me everything I oppose - not from envy as some might suggest but because the vested interest and privilege of the view on the whole stops the more powerful members of any society supporting the weaker ones. Why would the privileged support the destruction of a system which guarantees their security and entitlement ? Can't have the masses competing on a level playing field - the privileged just might lose out.

  40. Deano

    a magnificent sunny late afternoon here in E Yorks with Kingston upon Hull on the far horizon.

    Sounds splendid. What I wouldn't give to be seeing that with a decent cheese sandwich and a brew....

  41. "I find the view that people are poor because they are lazy or immoral to be far more offensive than someone calling me a cunt. But I realise I'm in a minority

    Nap - seems to me Bro that the pontificating that goes on in deciding whether the poor are:

    i) deserving poor


    ii) undeserving poor;

    gives us a clue about the right and the left and the paucity of their cleverness of the judges.

    The right don't think. They simply extrapolate from the mouths of their assumed masters.

  42. James - one day, not too far away, we shall sit together throwing the ale and the finest of cheeses down our necks.

    And I shall explain to you, how how I came to convince the guy supping with us, (young Nap) despite my best endeavours, I never could find a link between the turnout of a ladies ankle and
    what lay between her ears.

    I look forward to our afternoon together. I have some tales to tell.

  43. "...And if that makes me "a Stalinist" then so be it. But I would prefer to be a "Robespierrist". Sounds much better..."

    Waht's in a label Comrade Duke - I enjoy reading you whatever your tag.

  44. james

    Can't you get decent cheese in Brazil? Nightmare! I send you a virtual mature cheddar and pickle sandwich on thick cut crunchy crust white bread, laden with slightly salted butter, together with a large mug of PG Tips.


    I just hate cruelty, unfairness and the suffering of others. Suffering which is imposed by ideological systems - and is therefore avoidable with more exploration and tolerance - I loathe the most.

    You just articulated my feelings perfectly.


    I agree about not understanding this getting old, getting more right wing thing, it hasn't been like that at all for me. I think what getting old has done though is make me much less comfortable with ideology and given me (I hope) a rather more nuanced understanding of the complexity of things.


    Its beautiful down here too, we're in for a lovely sunset. Have been trying to fix a puncture on my bike but the bloody levers are pathetic plastic ones and I can't get the tyre off. I'm going to have to get a man in....the shame of it!

  45. Sheff young lass is there a Sheff date sorted?

  46. Duke and Leni,

    I guess I was raised pretty left-wing too, although my mum did make a really concerted (and annoying) effort to not tell me who she actually voted for (and still won't), but when I look back, the general 'ethos' seemed to be a left-wingish one.

    And, therefore, I agree with your sentiments, in that I can't look at some of the views of the 'right' without a knee-jerk reaction along the lines of 'what the fuck?' because it is almost the polar opposite to the ideas of 'justice', equality etc that I hold, and of course, I consider mine to be 'better'.

    But, generally speaking, this is the problem, isn't it.
    It comes down to an opinion of what is better.

    For me, it's grossly unfair that some people, by luck of birth, etc, have certain advantages/disadvantages, but for others, it seems equally unfair that some people should be given 'advantages' that they (or their parents) haven't earned.

    And, when we're considering our own experience, or accumulated knowledge, we know on some level, that it isn't whole.
    For example, MaM quite often presents a flimsy case, based on rather dodgy 'evidence', which can easily be refuted, or taken apart by revealing a bigger picture than he is prepared to see.

    But in doing that, we also have to accept that there's an even bigger picture if we 'zoom out' from our own position, that our accumulated experience and learnings don't recognise x, y or z, or our own point of view/perspective fails to account for a, b or c.

    Having said that, however, I do strongly believe that the present 'system' is fubar, and that, by virtue of it being 'not right/fair/just' and because of the fact that it is causing 'active' harm, we have an (at least temporary) 'authority/rightness' with which to fight against it.

    Essentially, we don't necessarily have to be 'right' at this stage, we just need to know that the 'other' is wrong....

    (imho, obviously...)

  47. "..... mug of PG Tips......."

    Oh fuck that for a game of Somerset soldiers -even BB knows the finest of tea is Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire.

    If I wasn't a fan I might have wished a cyber stand on your tiny toe ( lightly) , perhaps even with a poem.

  48. Deano

    MsC, Princess and I have yet to get it together. We are being very dilatory I know - will get a move on.

    Can people who want to come let us have dates in the next month/six weeks that they can't make. Ta.

  49. Builders tea not good enough for you then Deano!

  50. james
    like leni and the Duke and I guess the majority of posters here I was dragged up by left wing parents....not forced down my throat though...
    I thank my parents for the views of the world that they had i.e one that should be based on equality, fairness, social and economic justice, respect and responsibility for self and others.
    Of course personal experiences effect how you perceive your world and the world of other people but I find that those experiences I had and later chose to have were never the less born out of my upbringing...e.g I chose to work in the public health care sector both in the UK and abroad because I believed, and still do, that it is a fundamental right for all regardless of their social, economic status to have access to it.

    For the last 10 years I have lived in Italy a society that has strong socialist traditions, that seemed to have disappeared into a cloud of corruption like the right, but also a fascist past that again seems to be rearing its head is the most pernicious of forms. I feel I'm reliving a more extreme form of Thatcherism...argh.. and I fear for the UK.
    My knowledge of contemporary UK politics is limited to what I read because I personally am not experiencing it, and in 10 years many things have changed, so I welcome UT and all the opinions expressed here.

    deano ,sheff BTW it's bloody miserable weather here!! and sheff could I have some "virtual" mature cheddar cheese and a pot of branston's pickle whilst you're at it...just parmesan down these parts!!!

  51. Deano

    I look forward to it my good man.


    Thanks for the virtual sandwich.
    The cheese situation here is dire.
    I once paid a considerable amount for something that claimed to be English Mature Cheddar.
    The next day, I had to be 'escorted' out of the Supermarket for colourfully pointing out the fraudulence of that claim....

  52. Sheff - can't make first weekend in July. All others are up for grabs but it looks like there'll be all sorts of weekend work this summer. :-(

  53. gandolpho

    I just read a review of of a new Italian film called 'Draquila: Italy trembles' directed by Sabina Guzzanti. Bradshaw describes it as
    a magnificently full-bloodied attack on the grotesque and scandalous misrule of Berlusconi

    Sounds very promising. Virtual sandwich and brew winging their way to you now!

  54. I can make owt save W/End 19th June (G'ds 21st). even then I could steal a pair of non drinking hours if necessary.

    I am not too good on several and even less than a few. Nonthe less I will be there.

    Any bed space in Sheffield for our new Yorks friend Jenn30 - if she not be busy and can find a coach fare to Sheffield??? - and she wish to join us.

  55. Gandolfo

    Absolutely. The older I get, the more I appreciate the 'lessons' instilled in me by my mum, (regardless of how 'unfair' etc I thought they were at the time).
    I think that they do inform mostly everything I do/think/feel now, and I don't think that's a bad thing, quite the contrary, but I also see that the strength of my convictions has been re-inforced because of them, etc, if you get what I mean!!

    With regards to Italy, I spent quite a bit of time in Milan a couple of years back, and, although my experience was limited, I have to say that generally, it made me feel quite uneasy.

  56. Sheff,

    I send you a virtual mature cheddar and pickle sandwich on thick cut crunchy crust white bread, laden with slightly salted butter, together with a large mug of PG Tips.

    Bloody hell, that sounds brilliant, can you send one of those over here as well? Thanks.

    One of the reasons I want Edwin back on board is that I wanted him to send me over a virtual takeaway from 'Mother India' in the west end of Glasgow. You can't get a decent ruby murray here at all. And Mother India does the best curries this side of New Delhi.


    it's interesting what you say about the right in Italy. I remember reading that up until the early 80's the fans of football teams such as Bologna, AS Roma, AC Milan, Livorno etc were staunchly left wing (probably influneced by the Brigate Ross), since then almost every teams fans have taken a hard right turn.

    The treatment of Inter's Mario Balotelli by opposing fans and the official reaction of the authorities is just jaw dropping.

  57. That should be 'Brigate Rosso' not 'Brigate Ross'.

  58. Deano

    Floor space at mine (I've got spare bedding etc) and could get a blow up mattress thingy. Oh, and there's a hammock on the balcony. If your old bones need a proper bed I'm sure we can sort something out.

  59. sheff

    yum! thanks went down a treat!

    Yes Draquila....I shall try to go this week it's on at the local cinema...Guzzanti is "controversial" she has done other films about Berlusconi, her brother is also a comedian both have been banned in the past for political reasons from TV their father was a MP for Berlusconi but resigned because he was disgusted by him......the Minister of Culture here refused to go to Cannes to see it because being the most pathetic individual in the current cabinet (a man who writes love poetry to berlusconi) he said that it put Italy in a bad light in the rest of the world...not that berlusconi has done anything like that ;0
    What is horrendous is that it exposes the government as using the camps inhabited by those left homeless by the earthquake as a social control experiment...no mobile connections, no public meetings, no alcohol and the most bizarre no coffee...italians without coffee is like brits with no tea or beer...the rationale it would agitate people...i think the fact that knowing that I was being used as a political stunt by the most abhorrent, scumbag, of a PM would "agitate" me a little more than an expresso......
    here's a link to the trailer in english

  60. Not my bones loved one.

    My beloved dogs are far too smelly to inflict on decent humans. May I remind you I am an indifferent tramp with a sno sense of smell. I can mentally recall the chemical disposition of urine from complete streets in Leeds 12.

    I grew up, avoiding but, being friends with kids from them streets. They never once robbed me or let me down. I will never see them called - without powerful and compelling cock draining evidence to the contrary, - if you know what your dad and me knew.

    Up your tits Bullingdon.

  61. Where is Dott when we need herm ?? - Chemical decay of piss gives rise to smell of ???+++=

  62. gandolpho

    Just watched the trailer - what an utter reptile Berlusconi is! Will def. see it as soon as we get it here. There's an excellent 4 screen independent cinema in Sheffield which is bound to show it.

  63. I am still busy writng what I have to say but in the meantime Deano, please STFU.

    "I find the view that people are poor because they are lazy or immoral to be far more offensive than someone calling me a cunt. But I realise I'm in a minority"

    This is what Montana said. I have never said 'that people are poor becuase they are lazy or immoral'.

    This is I believe a straw man. I am so amazed that you seem to have got so worked up about something I did not say. Go back and read my post from yesterday. The closest thing I say is about 'the collapse of working class intecclectualism', something which is largely true. Immorality, I did not mention. I siad the amount of teenage pregnancies is not good- and yes I maintain that, it is not good for mother and baby. No mention of morals.

    If I am a rightwing troll why I am in favour of the re nationalisation of the railways and utilities?

  64. A Virtual Cheese & Onion morning roll, Tea & Beers, and a carry oot from Kebab Mehal for you all. Because we're worth it!

    Seriously, I'm happy to post cheese/tea/irn bru to any UTrs in need...

  65. lol, and I can't even spell intellectualism properly (:<

  66. Come on in this Uni of UT between us we must know the chemical breakdown of urine it's =

  67. Deano,

    I've just read more than I ever wanted to on Wikepedia about urine, but no luck I'm afraid.

    The smell is ammonia though, isn't it?

  68. ....ammonia.

    I used to piss in a watering can and put it on my compost heap

  69. turminder,

    I'm good for cheese here (obviously!), can get tea no problem and Irn Bru in Amsterdam. BUT, it's not the bru out of a glass bottle. And we all know that Irn Bru not out a glass bottle is not really Irn Bru.

  70. Sheff as far as I can tell any time is ok unless the hospital decides to get me back in for a hysterectomy :(

    So barring that I should be OK Was thinking of staying in a Premier Inn. This would be preferable as I would be able to rest up in the afternoon and not be tired in the evening. Is there one near the city centre/station?

  71. Would quite like to see Sheffield again. I expect its changed a lot since 1991 (OMG thats nearly 20 years ago!)

  72. "....The closest thing I say is about 'the collapse of working class intecclectualism', something which is largely true..."

    Oh do tell me about the scale and the numerals involved in something which is largely true?

    Reasonable response to a row about the difference between Monday and Tuesday from a twat who had not worked out what Friday ment.

    Welcome fighting back young Nap

  73. And regarding the courts screwing the BA workers again, here's a brilliant post from 'jeroboam'.

    Any society that believes in the free market has no business with laws that prevent trade unionists from following their best interests like everybody else.
    I mean, you can stick your money in a tax haven and still use UK infrastructure for nothing, no law against that.
    You can sack people in the UK and ship their jobs out to sweatshops in Asia, no law against that.
    You can be a tax exile and still sit in the House of Lords and fund the Tory party in your own interest, no law against that.
    You can own the Daily Mail, live in the UK, sit in the House of Lords and pay tax in France, no law against that.
    You can own the Daily Telegraph, use it to attack MPs allegedly on behalf of the taxpayer and his burden, and yet live in a tax haven offshore and increase the burden on the taxpayer, no law against that.
    But if you work here, pay tax here, and wish to fight your employer as he tries to rubbish your terms and conditions at work........................time for a bit of civil disobedience I reckon.

  74. Anne

    Would be fantastic if you came over! There is a premier inn about 10/15 minutes walk from bus/train stations right in the middle of town.

    Yes, it has changed a lot. I was away for 10 years from 89-99 and could hardly recognise a lot of it.

  75. A42 I would be so very very pleased if you and Leni made it to Sheffield.

    I guarantee I would buy a drink and a meal or two. A bed if you can't. If encouraged I would buy you both thrice - no fuck it three+ of anything you might want.



    I don't mouthy off on empt

  76. Now let me write my crass:

    A42 I would be so very very pleased if you and Leni made it to Sheffield.

    I guarantee I would buy a drink and a meal or two. A bed if you can't. If encouraged I would buy you both thrice - no fuck it three+ of anything you might want.



    I don't mouthy off on empt
    17 May, 2010 19:50

  77. duke
    ...the treatment of Mario Balotelli was a fucking disgrace....racism in all forms here is intolerable...a friend of mine black british woman was waiting at a bus stop at 7am a car slowed down and asked here how much she charged......need i say more
    I could go on and on about the failings of the state to address this but they are actually the cause of the rising hatred...certain laws, control of the media etc etc....the right wing is thatcher x 10....

    peter: milan i don't know, what made you feel particularily uncomfortable, just my interest:).... but I worked a couple of months in trentino and never in my life have i encountered such racism against other italians from the south and some african colleagues...despicable...

  78. sheff
    reptile is too good for it (doesn't merit him).......ameoba is that the lowest form of life....? god independent cinemas they still exist...lucky you....

    dott, jennwhere are you two when we need you???

  79. gandolpho

    Its a brilliant cinema and is part of a European network of independent cinemas. I'm terrified we'll lose it with all these cuts - I adore the movies and its an absolute lifeline for me as they show the best of world cinema there.

  80. Gandolfo

    assuming you meant me, not peter...:0)

    It was pretty much that. There seemed to be a very definite air of racism/unrest hanging over the city at all times.

    Black people verbally abused in the street, and passers by laughing (FFS!?), people from outside the EU being subjected to the humiliation of their 'extra-community' status at every available opportunity, and, like you say, even Italians from the South being treated like little more than 'backward' slaves.

    And, to top it all off, the media and 'authorities' seemed to not only condone this, but actively encourage it......

    Consequently, I usually felt somewhere between uneasy and outraged...

    (I did go on Holiday to Positano (near Napoli) once though, and I loved it there, totally, totally different....)

  81. Sheff,

    Is that the cinema just across from the station (I forget the name, although my friend worked there for ages...)??

  82. Sheff - please may I ask get on with the sometime business of organisation.

    For the avoidance of doubt the lass is sharper than my last or next sentence. Tosser.

  83. James

    Yes - The Showroom - its the old Art Deco Kennings garage they refurbed.

  84. Deano

    Am in communication with MsC and we're deciding where the best place to meet up would be - both for ease of access from stations and congeniality of atmosphere.

    I can probably arrange to get hold of a car if people need ferrying about.

  85. Scorpio-

    have you finally seen the difference between yours and shit?

  86. sorry james :)
    infact the south is a bit better but remember the 2 roma girls that drowned on the beach last year and people just carried on basking in the sun walkingover their bodies...and earlier this year there was really nasty violent racism in southern Calabrian town of Rosarno here is an article from the grauniad

    don't laugh but 27 years ago I lived in a grotty part of islington, before it got gentrified...the "Screen on the Green" was a great independent cinema...my sister lives in derbyshire and the small towm where she lives there's an inde cinema which is so popular you have to book before you go...here in rome my favorite cinema closed about 5 years ago it was the only one that showed non dubbed films.... :(

  87. This comment has been removed by the author.

  88. Gandolfo et al - there was an article on Cif some time last week complaining that the American South isn't as racist as it's painted.

    Fucking bullshit.

    It's got all of the subtle undercurrents of racism that the north has AS WELL as outright, mind-blowingly overt racism.

    My old man lives in the South and I've told him I will not go back there to visit. I've been to Texas quite a few times too (not by choice, really) and it's just as bad.

  89. gandolpho

    Have you ever come across The Everyone Group based in Italy. They do some great work - particularly with asylum seekers and the Roma. They gave us massive support when we were campaigning to prevent a gay Iranian woman from being deported.

    I used to go to the Screen on the Green with my brother who lived in Hampstead for years. Actually, serious confession coming up - I grew up in Hampstead and then Golders Green so I know that neck of the woods very well.

  90. On exposure to air bacteria grow in urine. this gives rise to change (alkaline fermentation). During the process ammonium carbonate is formed.

  91. Why are we talking about pee?

  92. thauma
    I'll look up the article...

    the difference between north and south Italy is this: in the south they are racist to non white extra communitarios, eastern europeans and roma (many of whom are actually Italian citizens) in the north it's overt racism against anyone that isn't from there.....
    I try all the time to point out and explain to people what is racist, how for example crimes are reported in the media, the language used, how the law is racist etc etc but i must say it's an up hill struggle...

  93. Good for you, Gandolfo. Changing hearts and minds one person at a time....

  94. thanks sheff that looks great I'll look into it ....in fact just shows how badly information is disseminated here but i do remember the case of the Iranian women it briefly made the news here!!

    so you've outed yourself now sheff....;) or should we call you NW3...only joking!!!

  95. thauma
    so only 57,634,326 to go but hey last week it was 57,634,327 ;)

  96. Gandolpho,

    I remember reading that article when it was posted.

    Whenever I was there, it certainly seemed to me that the news/papers etc, went with some variation on the 'immigrants do bad thing' story most days, and the political/police response was to turn a blind eye to any subsequent retaliation.

    (If I remember correctly, there was one case where a 'clandestine' had, in cold-blood, 'murdered a decent, god-fearing Italian girl' on the subway, and then fled, leading to a few incidents of 'citizen justice' - as the story developed however, it turned out that said Italian girl had been robbing/attacking the immigrant to pay for her heroin habit, and in the process, had been impaled by an umbrella, or something, at which point, the story disappeared from the news to be replaced by another one which could not be easily refuted....)

    Again though, I was only there on and off for about a year and a half, so it was only a general impression.....

  97. Deadtired and away off now ... but it's worth wondering whether subtle racism is worse than the overt kind. The Detroit area is the most segregated in the US, with some of the most horrific inner-city conditions for ethnic minorities, but you don't hear the same kind of blatantly racist talk that you do in the South.

  98. Night Thaum.

    (The closest I ever came to being killed (that I know of) was when I stood in front of an Egyptian friend in Kentucky, who was wearing a headscarf, and being verbally abused/having stuff thrown at her by a bunch of rednecks in a pick-up truck (cliched, I know), but who then subsequently pointed a shotgun at us)!!

    Which was, you know, nice.....

  99. Whilst we're on the subject of inequality,
    this has just appeared on the Graun. Unbelievable figures.

  100. James
    the case of the subway murder is a prime example...the young woman Bulgarian was condemmed to the maximum 16 years for intentional murder, not manslaughter which it should have been....this is rare in italy for someone so young with 2 children.....

    another notable case was near where i live in a park where a 14 year old italian girl was raped...the case became a nationwide case against romanians...of course the crime was abhorent but the press had a field day...about 6 months later the body of a somalian man was found in the same park he'd been murdered at the time I struggled to find anything in the papers or on line....

    overt or covert equally bad just one is more "sophisticated", insidious and invisible to the "untrained" eye than the other....

    blimey that is pretty shocking but I'm not really that surprised......

  101. james.....
    nasty, very nasty

    the question has to be "what did you do next?"

  102. Sheffpixie
    I lived in Swiss Cottage for a while in my early twenties. It was good fun. Could walk to Camden, Kilburn for a night out; used to go the Horse and Grrom (Remorse and Doom) the Flasjk but mopstly the Holly Bush.

    Did you watch that film the otgher week ?

    I have just been watching a whole load of old Bill Hicks stuff on VHS last weekend. As much as he hated "the South" for its redneck stupidity he seemed to loved its mad individuality... and he grew up there too...

  103. I think that the real point here is that nobody actually disagrees with anybody else on UT any more. That wouldn't be 'nice'. Poor old 'Nap', as he is affectionately called, is a fucking idiot who has delusions of grandeur and an over-inflated sense of his own worth. He's never worked a day in his life and yet feels himself qualified to call himself an intellectual and slag off immigrants and chavs and single mothers and fat Scottish working class persons. And you people accept it as if his opinion was just as valid as anybody else's, and say 'don't go, Nap!',' you have something to offer!' Well, I beg to differ, Napoleon Karamazov has nothing to offer, and if you people can't differentiate between racist right-wing crap and heart-felt political views that come from life-experience and thought, then you're just as shallow as the people you profess to despise.

    You embrace a 'dissenting' voice like Nap's, but alienate an intelligent poster like Peter Bracken who understandably gave up on this place because presumably he found no intelligent arguments here. And that's a wider problem - the left cannot make a coherent intellectual argument any more. Here we have cut'n'paste rants against public service cuts and workfare, some rants more eloquent than others, but all just howling at the moon to get backslaps from each other.

    And a final word to montana, since she does not deem it necessary to reply to my Email, but feels it appropriate to publicly post insults and say that I have walked away (which I have), but also to try and tar me with the same brush as bth, billp, olching, hank etc. It is personally insulting to me to have my own views conflated with theirs. I publicly distance myself from these people and their views and their behaviour and would point out that i have been one of the few people on this blog who has consistently defended it and actually done something concrete and practical - putting up threads when montana couldn't do so, defending this place against trolls both here and on Cif, moderating comments here when unacceptable personal attacks were posted about montana nd beautifulburnout. But I guess that that's conveniently forgotten now. But then I can't do anything practical any more because montana very quickly removed my admin priveleges when I showed some dissent, without even doing me the courtesy of notifying me of her actions.

    I stand by everything I have said here in the last year, be it offensive, aggressive, ill-judged, conciliatory or trivial. I console myself with the fact that I don't consider myself a hypocrite.

    Good luck, people. You'll need it.

  104. Gandolfo,

    I didn't really do much, tbh.
    Just sort of stood there, I expect, looking like I was about to piss my pants, which, to be fair, I probably was.
    For whatever reason, they drove off.
    (I like to think it was cause I'm an imposing beast of a man, but, with hindsight, I suspect it was more to do with it being a 7/11 car-park in broad daylight...)

    Without wanting to make my life sound more exciting than it actually is (and hoping that my mum's not reading this), it wasn't the first or, given my current location, the last time I've been stood at the wrong end of a gun, but it was the time when I felt most like it would be fired....

    And, I seem to remember thinking, 'oh great, I'm going to be killed by someone with a mullet/mustache combo'....

  105. Scherf - Nap is young he has a lot of opinions that I deeply disagree with. BUT I prefer that he stay around and I do not feel that I have the luxury of being offensive to him. Because he is young he can learn to see the world differently if he is given a chance I think he will.

    I think many of his opinions especially those about the poor really offensive but I am aware that they are commonly held views today.

    If the working class does not have its own philosophy it has the philosophy of the ruling class

    Nap is a classic example of this he needs to find another world view, if those of us who hold that other view, the socialist view tell him to fuck of, who will he learn it from?

    I have a lot of anger in me but I am very careful where I direct it. I prefer to save it for people who are actually responsible for the present fate of the poor (I wont say what I would like to do on a public forum - don't know who is reading this I can be more use out of jail thanks!). Nap isn't one of those, he has simply been misled.

    We need to convince the misled if we are ever to achieve the critical mass necessary to actually change society. Calling them idiots wont do that it gets us nowhere, frankly its just 'prolier than thou' posturing and is no substitute for real debate.

    Finally no-one is going bring about the revolution by blogging alone we have to get out on the streets patiently explain the situation and the real socialist solution for it - namely that another world is possible but only if the working class takes power into its own hands. Swearing at people is NOT a revolutionary act.

    G'night all!

  106. Scherfig
    The only time I engaged with the boy I told him straight. Basically he's less than half my age and has some fucking issues.

    As I seem to be included in your catch all there; I'd just like to say I couldn't give a dead rats arse about political process anymore, not because it doesn't affect me but because it's all fucking over with. Gone. Dead. Finished. Bracken was ok, but his was basically a "thoughtful conservative" argument throughout and frankly one that didn't interest me at all. I can read "intelligent thoughtful conservative " blogs whenever I want, but that isn't the company I prefer.

    Now - as to why you had those rights removed - I simply have no concept. It's a shame that you did.

    So. Don't tar everyone with the same brush. Some people think you're better than most.

  107. This comment has been removed by the author.

  108. Swearing at people is NOT a revolutionary act.

    NOT swearing at people IS a revolutionary act.

  109. Depends what you are doing instead of swearing Scherf.

    Now I really am going to bed!

  110. Cussin just gives the other fella an excuse not to listen to your argument...

    One of Mr Vonnegut's

    NN all. X

  111. Montana, et al
    Where I stand.
    Let me start by acknowledging the social differences on each side of the Atlantic. On your side there is next to no welfare state, what there is goes largely to those of ex military background, free health education, accommodation, pension etc, all you have to do is blindly salute the flag. Perhaps you mistook me for being an American style conservative Montana?

    In Britain, as you know, things are different. We actually have a welfare state. So when you were hurling your abuse at me, were you thinking of the poor underclass of Americans, whose plight I have extreme sympathy? Is that why you attacked me, snarling and swearing at me? Because I am basing my views on my own observation and interpretations of what I see around me in my part of the world, not America. If I was magically transported to America, then yes, my politics would be more left wing.

    I am living in an area that has been solidly ‘socialist’ for over 50 years, and I can say, yes I believe full blown socialism doesn’t work, whilst also acknowledging that ‘left’ and ‘right’ are meaningless hangovers. The extent of the Labour Party’s ‘socialism’ in recent years is of course questionable.

    Yes, it remains my personal opinion that a fairly large proportion of people lead self destructive lives, and ignore the very easy access ways of bettering themselves . There is nothing stopping anyone reading Plato, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky or Marx for that matter......... except maybe ‘ poverty of ambition’. Duke had made some excellent posts on this about cycles and generations of poverty. Yes, this is true, but it is also true that conscious human beings have responsibility for their actions. We in Britain have more libraries per person than almost anywhere, we have things like radio 4 meaning the words of Oxbridge dons can be heard in any place in the land. There are very easy ways for people to educate themselves in Britain, and whether they do or not is up to them. No amount of victimhood dogma changes this People have individual responsibility and an independent consciousness, full stop. Or do they?

    What Duke says, is essentially people are products if their social circumstances, ‘products of our environment if you like. I generally agree with this up to a point, this Marxist strand that has been in left wing politics from the beginning. One quote of Marx I like is this...

    “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness”

    This is basically what Duke is saying, They are born into poor surroundings (their social being), which determines their consciousness. They are raised by someone who gives them fast food, therefore they will very likely eat fast food.

    However I also believe that blaming them on a poor social conditions can only extend to a point. Individual responsibility cannot really be applied to children (if at all), but once they attain adulthood we as humans have more responsibility, we develop more of a sense of ‘consciousness’.

  112. My own ‘being determined my consciousness’. In my family my mother and father spilt up when I was a baby and I don’t know where she’d be without access to a council house, provided of course by the welfare state. Then she had a violent partner who was a drunkard and did terrible things. This too affected me negatively in life. My mother was living in poverty. Although not poverty of intellect. When I started school I was the only person in my year able to read. Marx may be right, Marx may be wrong, but I still believe in individual responsibility and consciousness, and even if you believe the full blown Marxist approach of ‘being determines consciousness’ then we have to change their being/social conditions.

    This is where I may be described as conservative. Essentially, these people were not raised properly. We need to install civic values. No more verbal abuse of job centre staff, as I saw last Friday. No more shouting and screaming at kids or filling them with junk foods. We need to tell the absent fathers, look after your kids. Self discipline, since when was it okay to let people eat fast food ‘because they had a bad upbringing’. Have they no sense of civic duty that they cannot think they may be placing a burden on the NHS. Surely then we have to rectify that by offering skills, training schemes, and a sense of morality. Obviously not Jeremy Kyle responsibility, but an end to the dogma of ‘being determines consciousness’ as the be all and end all and teach manners, respect etc . No more to blaming it on a bad upbringing. I believe individuals have a capacity for change for the better. With a mixture of public and voluntary sector community work. Of course in all this, I heartedly oppose the Neo-liberal project.

    That’ll do for now.
    Part 2 to come. (These 2 poats are part 1)

  113. Napoleon

    Ok Napoleon but when/if people challenge you about
    your views be prepared to listen to them and be big
    enough to accept when you,re wrong.I don,t know you
    but you,re still a young man with a lot of living
    to do.And that living will almost certainly change
    the way you view certain things if you keep an open
    mind.Am glad you,re still posting!!

  114. And just to parody myself even more, I had a serious conversation today with a guy who was an aid worker in Mozambique in the 70's. Blimey! The things he told me! Heartbreaking, but not all that important really in the scheme of things. What is much more important is Nap's dreadful experiences down the jobcentre, and losing his buspass behind the radiator. That tugged at the heartstrings.

    I can't find the original shameless Dylan version of the tourist paean that was 'Mozambique', but here's a half decent cover. It talks about beaches and so on, but doesn't mention what the Portugese special forces were doing at the time. There's also some cool pics of sexy black chicks (and children too). It's a magical land!

  115. scherfig
    Even better
    Bill Hick's last ever gig. Enjoy


  116. Hi All

    I was approached today by someone who wants to sponsor a school in Bulgaria - small village, children 5 - 14. They have asked me to try to set up a link with a scool here and establish closed web site for kids to safely communicate.

    The school in question has no sports equipment - other than some footballs we bought them last year. Education - as we know - is important. In Bulgaria, any kid who does not progress onto high school (14+) cannot even hold a driving licence. Trying to inspire youngsters - and their parents - to pursue education is difficult.

    We also want to set up support group to send books, exercise books and basics such as pens etc. We have provided them with one computer - we being 3 of us. They are also short of chairs ! Anybody interested ?

    I am not a European ideologue - either way - but believe that if it to have any meaning at all we should be working towards a basic minimum of provision for all.

    I know many of you are already involved in local projects. Will keep you informed if you are interested.

  117. Napoleon: might I suggest you cast your net a bit wider in your thirst for knowledge and wisdom. Dostoyevski and Shakespeare are all well and good but there's plenty of good literature written by people you have never heard of which could inform how you make sense of, what is after all, the very complex world we all live in.
    You might like to try "Kiddars Luck" by Jack Common (a journalist's account of what working class life was like in Newcastle Upon Tyne during and after the 2nd world war)
    I have my own library which is a mixture of all sorts, including the frivolous, the "intellectual", the political and quite a few books that I haven't even got around to reading yet!
    If you want I'll compile a bibliography of books that might interest you.
    BTW:interesting to note that I'm not the only person whose political journey is the exact opposite of the conventional wisdom which assumes a left wing idealogue ends up "mellowing" into the right wing establishment club.
    That is not to say I was once a rabid Tory; I've always been more of a liberal sort of persuasion.(I'm a "live and let live" sort of guy)if that makes sense!

  118. Leni

    Sounds interesting. I'd like to talk more - Montana has my email address.


    I second chekhov re widening your reading list. You might try some James Kelman since you're in Glasgow.

    Am knackered so will say good night.

  119. Leni:I'm interested. Let me know how I can help.

  120. Here's that Hicks guy again on a more generalist tone.


    Good stuff.

  121. Scherfig --

    First, I have NOT revoked your admin privileges -- you are still on the admin list in the permissions and you have been since the day that I granted them to you.

    As far as the e-mail goes, I haven't responded yet because of a combination of lack of time, lack of energy and no small amount of bewilderment about quite how to respond.

    As far as the comment last night in which I referred to you, Hank, et al., walking away -- the entire comment was addressed to Hank and Hank alone. But just to clarify, here is that final paragraph again, with some emphasis added:

    But you can come along and spout shit whenever you feel like it and accuse me of not being as authentic as you are. You are no better than Parallax or Bitey or Billp, Hank. You're nothing but a fucking troll anymore.

    You see that? That was addressed solely to Hank.

    Your departure, as well as martillo's and Monkeyfish's, has been hurtful to me because I am still very fond of the three of you and I really wish that you were all still contributing every day. I realise that that wasn't clear from what I said yesterday, and for that I apologise. Frankly, it hurts my feelings any time anyone stops posting here.

    You talk above about what you've done for this place. You've said in the past that you care about the place -- and I don't doubt that. But stop and think about my feelings for a moment. I started this place. I've put more time and effort into maintaining it -- gathering material for posts, putting them up, etc. -- than probably everyone else combined. I don't do it for gratitude or ego strokes and I'm only mentioning it now to try to get you to understand how much more this place means to me.

    Every time I see people on Cif making nasty comments about the UT (or "Montana's blog", as some people say), it hurts me. Every time you and Hank come around and make blanket statements about how boring the place is, how hypocritical or shallow or whatever -- it hurts me. I cannot, for the life of me, understand how you could possibly think that it wouldn't.

  122. "I happen to live on an income that places me well below the poverty line for my area. I struggle to make ends meet every fucking month "

    So let's get fucking real people. This is the line. It's where it stops.

  123. Now, Napoleon:

    No, sweetheart. I was not referring to the US. Read this again:

    Fucking hell, Napoleon, the economies of the communities in the north of England, in Scotland, and in Wales have been devastated since before you were born. They were being devastated -- deliberately -- when I lived there in the mid 1980s and they've never seen much, if any, recovery. The economic upturn of the 90s never reached most of those areas.

    Believe it or not, I do actually know a fair bit about the UK. As I allude to above, I lived there for a couple of years in the mid-80s and I've kept abreast of things well enough to have some understanding of what I'm talking about. The fact that most of the British regulars here seem to largely agree with me would indicate so.

    I have no desire to rehash the comments you made yesterday that I found so odious, but it wasn't the first time that I have been offended by things that you've said.

    You've tried to defend yourself from the label of 'right-wing' by stating that you support re-nationalisation of the railroads. Hardly a glowing testimony of your progressive tendencies for a couple of reasons:

    1. FFS -- even here in the US, what little passenger rail service we have is nationalised.

    2. Re-nationalisation will benefit the middle class more than anyone else. Poor people just don't have the money to travel much -- regardless of whether the railroads are nationalised or private.

    The other way you've tried to deflect the right-wing label is to claim that 'right' and 'left' are meaningless labels nowadays. Bullshit. That is a neo-liberal meme that is solely intended to demean and deny validity to the left.

  124. Montana: For what it is worth, i've read all of UT since i found out about it when you had your second ATL about parenting. While i do not agree with the gist of some posts, there are a great many that provide excellent food for thought (including posts i don't actually agree with).

    So, as a forum for deeper thought about a number of important issues UT must be an unqualified success, at least as i see it. Anyone is free to think differently, or find it boring or frustrating even, but then what is the point of griping about that?

    There once was a conference about new media -- now old -- entitled The revolution won't be televised. Well, it won't be blogged either. So if anyone has any such aspirations, i think the most that they can hope for would be some indirect influence.

    Cracking good blog with many great contributors. You should be proud.

  125. Montana

    Everyone who posts here is responsible for the content. We seem to have a need of this place - to discuss politics and to communicate about all sorts of things. Some of it is certainly the trivia of everyday life but it is this very trivia that help reinforce who we are. If we cease to care about each other and all individuals our politics become meaningless.

    We don't have to agree on all points - we can easily see what is wrong with our societies , how we set about rectifying this is unclear - at least unclesr to me.

    Most of us seem to be doing our best. So, some find us wanting - this suggests they must be performing mighty deeds. I would like to hear about them rather than being told I am inadequate. I do play a very small part - I do not lead a movement and have ,as yet, failed to produce a blueprint for the perfect world. This I accept.

    I tend to steer around the rows here - i do not like direct and nasty attacks on people , here or on cif, there are a million things and more we could talk about. As far I as know the site does not have a 'mission statement' to which we all subscribe. I remember the original site - to continue conversations cut short on cif.

    Does anyone want to go back to this original idea ?

  126. This comment has been removed by the author.

  127. I don't know if this makes any sense but I tried to point out to "Napoleon" that "making sense" means making connections.
    I've said this before and make no apologies for repeating it; when Bertolt Brecht was asked; Isn't the theatre entirely superfluous (trivial with a nod to Leni)he replied: "Of course, the theatre is superfluous, but it must be understood that it is the superfluous for which we live!"

  128. Chekhov

    "Only connect" - discuss.

  129. So, I am a 'neo liberal meme'. I'm sorry that you can only see all debate as being in the straightjacket of right/left and class.

    I think your view of Britain is skewed, if you pardon me for saying so. Living here in the 1980s and all that. Remember a traditionally 'left wing' government continued Thatcher's policies in 1997, with ok, a very small trickle down.

    But your worldview is up to you, it is your website after all.

    I wish you all the best in your struggle for a decent wage and conditions. I wish your family the best.

    I wish all the other posters on here the best.

    This place has been helpful over the past few weeks as I have been settling in, and I would like to thank those who were understanding and offered support.

    But now I can stand on my own feet. I will be doing some volunteering in the community and training, as I can't really find a meaningful job right now. My ideal job would be one where I have an inherent sense of doing 'good'. I would rather be a hospital cleaner than a call centre worker, even with worse pay and conditions.


  130. Hi All--Just home from the city.

    medve, Leni, Paul.--Agree with your points above. I do not agree with everything posted here, but have learned a lot on this forum. Can't really understand why some continue to criticise the site. It is what we make of it.

    Napolean--Take care, hopefully we'll see you again.

    Leni--I have many books that are collecting dust. History, some educational stuff, etc., would be happy to see them put to good use.

  131. Boudican

    Thanks - will get back to you with address.

    Nap - Take care

  132. Napoleon, I'll reiterate:

    Most of the British posters here seem to be far more in line with my view of Britain today than with yours, so your attempt to dismiss my views as either being due to being an American who doesn't understand the UK or whose view of the UK is mired in the 80s is just not working.

    And -- if you think that the Blair/Brown governments were in any way "traditionally left wing", you are utterly delusional. It may say 'Labour' on the tin -- but it's pure corporatist dung inside.

    BW, Medve, Leni & Boudican:

    Sincere thanks.

  133. This comment has been removed by the author.

  134. This comment has been removed by the author.

  135. Paul

    You seem to be deletion happy.

    Nightnight all x

  136. Apologies for the deletions.Mainly lack of
    concentration on my part.

    @Montana-was just saying i think you,re doing a good
    job with UT.

    @Napoleon-take care and keep in touch-no one will
    think any less of you if you post again tomorrow!

    Hi Leni and Boudican-not deletion happy more not
    thinking straight!

    Right if this one disappears i ain,t doing it
    again-not that anyone will read it anyway!!!

  137. Paul

    A-Ha - caught that one.
    Night x