14 August 2010


Repentent Magdalene - Caravaggio

Virtue and genuine graces in themselves speak what no words can utter.
-William Shakespeare


  1. Sat down with a coffee and Jimmy Reid´s Glasgow Uni speech this morning.

    Astonishing not only in its prescience but in the way Reid identifies the values which the political and business elite hold dear have always been the driving force.

    The major difference today to when Reid made his speech is that the political and business elite have little if any checks and balances to their power within civil society with the smashing of organised labour in the 1980´s.

    Reid says

    Government by the people for the people becomes meaningless unless it includes major economic decision-making by the people for the people. This is not simply an economic matter. In essence it is an ethical and moral question, for whoever takes the important economic decisions in society ipso facto determines the social priorities of that society

    Unbelievable. Philip Green anyone? Cameron Beveridge´s Scottish budget report?

    If there is one most important passage in Reid´s speech it is that. We´ve handed over the economic control to unelected businessmen. And when the people lost economic control, we lose the fundamental democratic control of our own civil society.

    Recently on television I saw an advert. The scene is a banquet. A gentleman is on his feet proposing a toast. His speech is full of phrases like "this full-bodied specimen". Sitting beside him is a young, buxom woman. The image she projects is not pompous but foolish. She is visibly preening herself, believing that she is the object of the bloke's eulogy. Then he concludes – "and now I give...", then a brand name of what used to be described as Empire sherry. Then the laughter. Derisive and cruel laughter. The real point, of course, is this. In this charade, the viewers were obviously expected to identify not with the victim but with her tormentors.

    Reality television, Jeremy Kyle, exploitative media both in programming and advertising.

    From the Olympian heights of an executive suite, in an atmosphere where your success is judged by the extent to which you can maximise profits, the overwhelming tendency must be to see people as units of production, as indices in your accountants' books. To appreciate fully the inhumanity of this situation, you have to see the hurt and despair in the eyes of a man suddenly told he is redundant, without provision made for suitable alternative employment, with the prospect in the West of Scotland, if he is in his late forties or fifties, of spending the rest of his life in the Labour Exchange. Someone, somewhere has decided he is unwanted, unneeded, and is to be thrown on the industrial scrap heap. From the very depth of my being, I challenge the right of any man or any group of men, in business or in government, to tell a fellow human being that he or she is expendable.

    Neoliberalism- we are all productive units at the mercy of the market regardless of personal circumstances.

    It stretches from Oban to Girvan and eastwards to include most of the Glasgow conurbation. As in other matters, I must ask the politicians who favour these proposals – where and how in your calculations did you quantify the value of a community? Of community life? Of a sense of belonging? Of the feeling of identification? These are rhetorical questions. I know the answer. Such human considerations do not feature in their thought processes.

    Today´s Governmental thinking does not allow for community.

  2. And I´ll leave the final paragraphs on here with no further commentary

    Even this is not enough. To measure social progress purely by material advance is not enough. Our aim must be the enrichment of the whole quality of life. It requires a social and cultural, or if you wish, a spiritual transformation of our country. A necessary part of this must be the restructuring of the institutions of government and, where necessary, the evolution of additional structures so as to involve the people in the decision-making processes of our society. The so-called experts will tell you that this would be cumbersome or marginally inefficient. I am prepared to sacrifice a margin of efficiency for the value of the people's participation. Anyway, in the longer term, I reject this argument.

    To unleash the latent potential of our people requires that we give them responsibility. The untapped resources of the North Sea are as nothing compared to the untapped resources of our people. I am convinced that the great mass of our people go through life without even a glimmer of what they could have contributed to their fellow human beings. This is a personal tragedy. It's a social crime. The flowering of each individual's personality and talents is the pre-condition for everyone's development.

    In this context education has a vital role to play. If automation and technology is accompanied as it must be with a full employment, then the leisure time available to man will be enormously increased. If that is so, then our whole concept of education must change. The whole object must be to equip and educate people for life, not solely for work or a profession. The creative use of leisure, in communion with and in service to our fellow human beings, can and must become an important element in self-fulfilment.

  3. The Class War is reaching its paroxysm and the great problem facing us is that the official propaganda organs of the rich and powerful - the media and even educational systems - have managed to persuade so many people that there is, in fact, no Class War, even as the bombs of exploitation, privilege and unaccountability rain down on them.

    How can we mobilise the huge majority of citizens who are losing out, show them what is being done to them and convince them to react?

    I'm becoming increasingly convinced that very little can now be done on the nation-state level, and that continent-wide action is indispensable.

    In short, the question is how can we begin to turn the European Union into a democracy? The EU has a large enough population and sufficient economic clout to make its own rules and ignore any outside pressure that goes against its interests if the political will is there.

    So what's the strategy, Kenneth?

  4. Ratboy,

    From yesterday. Said I would get back to you.

    Never mind the loss to the study of archaeology that losing such a good department would be. But then knowledge for knowledge sake alone has no monetary worth and so it is understandable how most businessmen would see no problem in cutting it.

    The old neutral, bland technocratic words were used in a Glasgow Uni press release to justify the cuts- ““a limited and targeted programme of downsizing in some non-core university business, as well as a small number of academic areas where costs are currently exceeding income”.

    In the neo-liberal environment, anything which cannot be justified economically in terms of targets etc is useless and should be culled. Branches of education which do not produce individuals as economic units (engineering etc) are deemed of no value.

    There is no room for consideration of the impact closing a world renowned department has for the history and culture of the country as well as the international recognition such a department gives. We saw it with the closing of Middlesex University’s world renowned philosophy department. The Government doesn’t want thinkers, it wants economic units.

    Maastricht University produced a report a couple of months ago which found that for every €1 invested in education, the State gains €3 back in the long term. Indicators included impact of a higher educated population on healthcare (higher educated people tend to look after themselves better), crime and policing (lower), higher wages = higher tax revenues etc.

    Nothing can persuade me that neo-liberalism isn’t an anti-intellectual belief system in the extreme. We see it with savage cuts to the arts and culture also. Because the enjoyment of arts and culture cannot be measured in a narrow economic sense it is useless.

    In charge of the report on Scotland’s Education cuts implementation is Dr Andrew Goudie. Goudie is a former World Bank and OECD economist. Which tells you all you need to know.

    Any idea on what action we could take to at least attempt to resist this noxious imposition of idiotic ideaology? I'm at a point where just talking about it is almost tiresome and I get angry at the fact that I'm not taking any action to walk the walk.

    There’s a school of thought that believes Tony Benn’s ‘coalition of resistance’ is a fraudulent move designed to take the pressure off the Unions to show they are ‘doing something’. The main Unions are spineless- Brendan Barber of the TUC told the Independent he accepts public sector job losses, it is the timing and absorption of them he has a problem with! Derek Simpson of Unite (UK’s biggest Union) told Andrew Marr he didn’t think there should be any strikes to protest!

    If there is to be any opposition to the austerity cuts, it won’t come from the Unions. The Unions are a busted flush and as much a part of the problem. They continue to support a Labour Party still in the hands of the right, where the real (if any) opposition is going to come from I do not know. One thing I do know is that things are going to get a whole lot worse first before any protests are seen.

  5. thanks for that, your grace - great stuff from reid.

    head hurts.

    (unconnected to the reid speech)

    (mainly connected to wine)

  6. Yr Grace

    There’s a school of thought that believes Tony Benn’s ‘coalition of resistance’ is a fraudulent move designed to take the pressure off the Unions to show they are ‘doing something’

    Very depressing if correct.

    Mark Serwotka on R4 at moment - talking about planning coordinated industrial action with other unions. Also talking about encouraging people to take action their communities against the cuts.

    MS insisting that the rich must be made to pay their way before cuts made in public services. Great idea but its not going to happen without a bloody revolution.

    He also seems to think the situation is so bad that it will unite the union movement and propel them into action - whereas people can accept the idea of the necessity for 'cuts' in the abstract, when it's their job, school, hospital, library etc they feel very differently about it.

    A winter of discontent approaching do you think?

  7. @Phil

    We can hope so. Two major demos planned for early September in France: one to denounce Sarko's "security" measures, another on pension reform.

    I'm hoping we can build up the same sort of social movement as we did in 1995 against the Juppé reform.

  8. Damn. I meant @Sheff, rather than @Phil, to whom I'd simply say "ibuprofen".

  9. Wybourne

    Nothing can persuade me that neo-liberalism isn’t an anti-intellectual belief system in the extreme.

    In the neo-liberal environment, anything which cannot be justified economically in terms of targets etc is useless and should be culled. Branches of education which do not produce individuals as economic units (engineering etc) are deemed of no value.

    This is why neo-liberalism has won and the opposition to it will always lose.

    Everyone thinks that if they win the moral and intellectual arguments, the system will somehow collapse. It won't.

    You can keep winning those arguments until you are blue in the face and they will forever be ignored for the simple reason that they do not achieve power or control.

    If you get your hands on the levers of power and either caress them or yank them with white-knuckled fury and the corridors of power behind you are populated with your mates stomping up and down pilfering the public purse with impunity, why would an argument stop you in your reckless achievement of grabbing anything and everything you can?

    You would see yourself as operating in the real world, where real money, perks and privilege fulfil every toddlerish desire you have ever had.

    Why would whispered, mumbled reasoning stop you?

    It is like imagining that some old men playing chess in the back-room of a bar are going to prevent the wild party which is going on in another country, with drugs and booze and girls and money for everyone invited to attend.

    This is clearly not intended as a criticism of you and your excellent posts or anyone else here who wonders what can be done.

    It is more an explanation of why I no longer think internet debate gets anyone anywhere.

    The rich and those in power operate in unison and we are the ones cut out of the loop.

    As they spin and spiral out of sight and out of reach into the lovely blue firmament which they now own, we are still sneakily idolising their wonderfulness, just as we secretly wonder whether the lifestyles of the rich and famous really do make them better than us.

    They know they have won and always will.

    We are still arguing about why we have lost and whether it was right that we should have done so with such miserable certainty and how we might have achieved it with more dignity.

    They couldn't care less for the simple reason that they have everything they want.

    They never wanted a debate or to operate on an intellectual level.

    It was only ever a cult of me.

  10. Hi Atomboy

    Whilst i agree internet debate won't win any battles on it's own, it does have the virtue of keeping people connected and talking, feeling less alone, and perhaps helping to keep the spirits up a bit. No small thing in bad times. I also think the net will help us organise ourselves and build social movements.

    we are still sneakily idolising their wonderfulness, just as we secretly wonder whether the lifestyles of the rich and famous really do make them better than us.

    If you've ever met any of these people and I've known a few, any 'sneaky idolising' and wondering whether they are better than us doesn't last long I promise you, if it existed in the first place.

    Anyway am going to hang on to a bit of hope...if only for the sake of our grandchildren.

  11. @Atomboy

    But over the whole sweep of human history, we've made gains in terms of democracy and rights.

    In many places, the lord of the manor can no longer rape your daughter with impunity.

    In many places, the powerful can no longer kill you for going on strike or being "subversive".

    In many places, the sick, penniless and friendless are no longer left to die.

    Things may be going downhill at the moment, but human history is a story of progress, albeit one that often involves two steps forward then one step back.

    If you don't believe that, you might as well give up.

  12. Sheff and Spike

    I actually agree with what you each say but I think that the possibility for the scale and scope for the rich to abuse the poor on an industrial and global scale has never existed in the manner it does now, so the game has changed.

    I also think that the internet has provided us with a plausible sham of democracy and empowerment at the same time as reducing the ways in which people used to connect with other, large-as-life people in the real world.

    I also think that we are going to arrive at a point where the means and methods of getting back to where we are now, after our lives have been made very much worse, in a manner similar to previous ages, will also be withdrawn and destroyed.

    Or I could just be a bit moody.

  13. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/aug/13/plan-sell-nature-reserves-austerity-countryside

    Even the Met Office must now be privatised, along with flogging off the nature reserves.

  14. Olly

    I read that....but can't comment on it as I couldn't trust myself not to explode and is one of the reasons I'm oiling my (metaphorical) kalashnikov.

    I also think that the internet has provided us with a plausible sham of democracy and empowerment at the same time as reducing the ways in which people used to connect with other, large-as-life people in the real world.

    Yes I agree AB, it has that aspect to it but it's also a useful tool and we should be using it creatively to organise - I hope we will.

    Right, am off to meet some solid bodies in the real world to hatch plots....Laters.

  15. Ratboy and Olly (hi there) that article about Nature Reserves being sold is shocking. I actually didn't expect that - the NHS, schools and welfare shit I did but not that.

    I should probably stay off Cif for a while actually because I want to physically bitch slap Diane-FuckingToryStudentTwit-Drinkwater across her smug face and SteveHill too for that matter.

    Although Stevehill - who ALWAYS uses the Mail to accentuate his nonsense told someone on the breast feeding thread the other day that you 'couldn't argue with someone who uses the Daily Mail to make a point against proper stats'. Words that I intend to throw back in his face on a regular basis!

    And whats with Hermione coming over all Guido Fawkes like on Toynbee with the 'what about Gordon' jibes - I despair of Cif sometimes I really do - just wish I weren't so damned addicted!

    This nature reserves plan is a disgrace - but it has been fought succesfully in some local areas where Tories tried to sell land off so maybe there is hope that this one can be fought?

  16. Hello

    Just put shout on waddya asking people to email Rusbridger to get G to campaign seriously against ATOS - .

    There is loads of evidence there - we need to collect it together in one section and to splash it across front pages. We need names, places and dates - personal stories, everything.

    I am sick of twiddling my thumbs.

    Guardian readership would double.

  17. Leni

    Agree completely, despite my earlier posts perhaps giving the impression otherwise.

    I would even suggest those people who are now allergic to CiF might do a Polly Jackson and put on surgical masks and venture into its world of tinkly air-kissery and mutual masturbation.

    Try to make it something which is simply plugged and shouted and sledgehammered all the time.

    You know, like the Jaffa Cake Munchkins have been managing so successfully for the last year or two.

    If they can overrun the site with vapid spitefulness, surely we can use it for something important.

  18. Afternoon all

    Just been reading the full speech too, funnily enough, Your Grace. Could only find it on the Inde and not in the Graun, which is a bloody disgrace.

    "The working class can kiss my arse, I've got the sub-ed's job at last..."?

    Anyhoo, good idea, Leni. I will do so forthwith.

    Philippa - fruit juice and water 50:50 and a good cooked brunch and you will be right as rain. x

  19. Buddha on a bike, that depressed me Olly. But was it not ever thus?

    World Turned Upside Down (Diggers)
    (Leon Rosselson)
    Recorded by Dick Gaughan

    In 1649
    To St George's Hill
    A ragged band they called the Diggers
    Came to show the people' s will
    They defied the landlords
    They defied the laws
    They were the dispossessed
    Reclaiming what was theirs

    We come in peace, they said
    To dig and sow
    We come to work the land in common
    And to make the waste land grow
    This earth divided
    We will make whole
    So it can be
    A common treasury for all.

    The sin of property
    We do disdain
    No one has any right to buy and sell
    The earth for private gain
    By theft and murder
    They took the land
    Now everywhere the walls
    Rise up at their command.

    They make the laws
    To chain us well
    The clergy dazzle us with heaven
    Or they damn us into hell
    We will not worship
    The God they serve
    The God of greed who feeds the rich
    While poor men starve

    We work, we eat together
    We need no swords
    We will not bow to masters
    Or pay rent to the lords
    We are free men
    Though we are poor
    You Diggers all stand up for glory

    Stand up now
    From the men of property
    The orders came
    They sent the hired men and troopers
    To wipe out the Diggers' claim
    Tear down their cottages
    Destroy their corn
    They were dispersed -
    Only the vision lingers on

    You poor take courage
    You rich take care
    The earth was made a common treasury
    For everyone to share
    All things in common
    All people one
    We come in peace
    The order came to cut them down

  20. The bank just withdrew my OD! It's only £50, but I do use it. No explanation, just, from 1/9/10 we are canceling your OD.

    Kick a man on the way down, you might get a foothold on his face.

    We should form our own party, small autonomous cells, call it ATL. All T,hat's Left.

  21. Turminder

    Sorry to hear that - things can only get worse.

    Can I use your ATL? I am trying to find a slogan to tag on to all cif posts - a rallying call.

  22. Leni, please do! ATL on A.T.L! Oh, I like it with the dots! House style? 72point Gill Sans?

  23. Hi Leni/Turm

    Sorry to hear about the withdrawel of your OD facility Turm.Once you've got the employment situation sorted out it should be re-instated.It,s a bastard though cos it does feel like being kicked when you're down.Same happened to me when i was unemployed some years ago.Like your ATL idea.

    Good posts on waddya Leni!

  24. @Turminder

    The OD thing is bad. I had the same a while back - while I was using it, giving me 7 days to pay it all off or suffer vile penalties.

    And when I was unemployed, the bank hurried to make things so much worse with penalties etc that I had to close the account.

  25. Cheers guys! Not the end of the world, just feels like it... Can 13thDuke write our manifesto? Some ideas

    1] Renationalisation of ALL public transport, (it took me two and a half hours to go 13 miles this morning, and cost £4.80!)

    2] Scrap trident
    3] Scrap PFI
    4] Let teachers set the curiculum.
    5] Trades and manufacturing apprenticeships
    6] Citizens wage - paid automaticly or deducted from tax.

  26. Turm

    We need to prepare for launch.

    Manifesto - then we flood the boards.

    Many of us will be able to print leaflets for distribution locally. Bring back the pamphleteer.

    Waddya - a small speck but we can annex it.

  27. Leni

    Would suggest something short and pithy with about half a dozen short points concerning Atos/A4E which people can easily email on.

    RatBoy - anything quickly available there?

    Also, do not forget that a Google of any blogs (separate Google search facility) mentioning Atos etc or the mistreatment of poor, unemployed etc is another vast audience.

    They are mainly looking for comments and wanting involvement - even if you have to point them to CiF in your comment to swell the ranks and demands there.

  28. I'm liking it Leni, with that rumor that the Tony Benn gig could be a sop, it's about time we stuck our heads over the parapet.

    we must all hang together or we shall most assuredly all hang separately Ben Franklin 02.08.1776

  29. Atom - never is a long time, opposition will only come from below. The current leadership of what passes for the left is indeed a busted flush.

    But new leaderships can and do arise when people get angry enough there will be pressure from below in the labour party, in the unions, in working class communities. At the moment the cuts have just been announced they will take time to bed down then things may start happening -

    I fear it will get nasty though!

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. Grr typo!

    No Anne, I can't go back to Labour. The unions are complicit, 'nessacery cuts' ffs.

    Time for a grassroots campaign! Bloggers, dossers, tokers and boakers unite! Up with this we will not put!

  32. I see the right wing nutters have started on The Spirit Level. No suprises there I suppose.

    The Spirit Level: how 'ideas wreckers' turned book into political punchbag">

  33. Sheff - there is a fantastic post on that thread someone called Rojak that I clipped this morning.

    It explains really well how it is that the right-wing no brainers seem to be winning the argument at the moment.

  34. BeautifulBurnout

    I will quote the full text to which you link because it is basically what I was getting at further up today's thread.

    It is also why there is no point in trying to argue against propaganda. All you can do is use better counter-propaganda.

    There are links in the post which do not come out below.

    In his book The Political Mind : Why You Can't Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain, George Lakoff, cognitive linguist and professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, offers an intriguing analysis of the reasons why right-wing "ideas wreckers" make disproportionate impact in public debate, while left-leaning thinkers arguing with logic don't. At the risk of over-simplifying a thorough argument backed by evidence: Republicans respond to political propositions with emotion while Democrats are moved by logic based on an enlightenment view of society.

    Lakoff's ideas are intriguing in the context of experimental findings published Drew Westen, Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. In January 2006, Westen et al released a study based on functional magnetic resonance imaging brain scans. It showed that both self-described Democrats and Republicans responded to negative remarks about their political candidate of choice in systematically biased ways. Areas of the brain responsible for reasoning did not respond while areas of the brain controlling emotions showed increased activity.

    We may criticise media for dumbing down public debate on politics and failing to cover the issues but the evidence appears to be mounting that much of politics is ultimately governed by unreason. Rather like the debate on nature versus nurture, where egalitarian ideals about each child being born with similar potential are being eclipsed by mounting evidence that much of our potential is determined at birth, we may need to face some uncomfortable truths about logic and evidence being forever less effective than rabble-rousing. It appears that's not a question of education ... it's a function of the way our brains evolved to cope with the conditions that prevailed for the first 100,000 years or so of our species' life on this planet.

  35. BB/AB

    we may need to face some uncomfortable truths about logic and evidence being forever less effective than rabble-rousing. It appears that's not a question of education ... it's a function of the way our brains evolved to cope with the conditions that prevailed for the first 100,000 years or so of our species' life on this planet.

    I think we could manage some rabble rousing, don't you?? In fact there are people on the UT who would be very good at it!!

  36. It's an interesting premise, isn't it AB?

    People of the Right are more likely to give a shit about something that is said loudly and passionately, however big the fallacy embedded within it, than they are to listen to sane, rational reason.

    Which is why Littlejohn and their ilk manage to earn so much money I guess.

    So which comes first? The inability to empathise with enlightened argument or the right-wingery? Is being right-wing actually a mental deficiency in and of itself?

    (Before P-Brax comes on here and calls me a fuckwit again, that was a joke...)

  37. BeautifulBurnout

    I have often compared those on the Right with toddlers, which has not been entirely for the chance to poke fun at them.

    The inability to share, the inability to socialise properly, the tantrums, the sulks and the imperviousness to reason are all part of it.

    Again, nobody tries to reason with a toddler because their minds are not equipped to follow our lines of thought.

    You can cajole and plant ideas which they take on as their own and you can set boundaries and ultimately simply say: "Because I said so."

    You will never be able to have a reasoned, logical and coherent argument with them, however, and if you try you will waste your time at best or drive yourself mad.

    You will not change the minds of the Right because ultimately they are toddlers blown up to occupy grown-up bodies.

  38. You will not change the minds of the Right because ultimately they are toddlers blown up to occupy grown-up bodies

    'Blown up' is an apposite phrase AB.

  39. Thanks, Sheff.

    I do actually try to use words for fun and to convey layers of meaning, despite the fact that I also just sling them together as quickly as my blurred typing fingers will allow.

  40. Will be packing the computer tomorrow - should be able to get on here from daughter's laptop

    House is still a mess will I get ready in time?

    Going for a rest now - totally shattered!

  41. Heh - nice description, AB. And an accurate one.

    You forgot their propensity to stick their fingers in their ears and go "Lalalalala! I'm not listening¬" too, which we see all to often in one form or another on CiF.

    Interesting Editorial on Green that successfully avoids libelling him for his tax avoidance shenanigans while pulling no punches.

    Also, in other fascist news... Far right pays tribute to Japanese war heroes.

    It's not an insult to our own WW2 veterans, you understand, because the Japanese war heroes were just fighting to saved their country.

    See what they did there?

    Reminds me of Collett from the BNP saying that Churchill was a traitor for fighting the Nazis, who were only trying to get rid of the Jews or some such errant nonsense.


  42. annetan

    I don't envy you moving, but I am glad you have found somewhere.

    I am still dealing with the debris of just moving stuff from one room to the next for decorating - and chucking out junk in the process - and just looking at it all makes me exhausted!

    Hope it all goes well. x

  43. turminder don't confuse leadership with membership - leaderships can change and with enough pressure from below they will!

    Creating another party doesn't seem to work others have tried they got very few votes in the election.

    If enough genuine lefts join/rejoin the party they can make a difference either by forcing a change from below or by a mass left exit into a new party (Real Labour?). People who still want to vote labour (and many still did in last election can't think why!)would be likely to follow.

    Granted you have to get your hands dirty dealing with the Nu Labour lot but they could end up leaving themselves - that's happened before too!

    I rather relish the thought of driving the sleazeballs out frankly!

  44. Philip Green's Arcadia group apparently owns:

    Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Topman, Topshop, and Wallis.

    As someone who does not shop, there is little I can do personally but others might like to withdraw their custom.

    Do we still do boycotts?

  45. Good luck with that Anne. But all i see in politicians of any hue is Oxbridge careerists, who have gone straight from uni to a research post, to central office, to a parachute seat.

    I don't want to be one of them, I want to be something different.

    >>Creating another party doesn't seem to work
    >>others have tried they got very few votes
    >>in the election.

    The Scottish socialists got a fair few in the first parliament, but the Cava and Prawn Vol au Vonts went to their heads and their failure has soured the pitch for a generation. We should drag candidates from roles where they have achieved something, and empower them to do more, not just sit back and let the next round of center right bastards grub about to see what's left to sell in order to secure a nice little non exec directorship after 5-10 years in the house.

    I should thank P-Br4x, his blatant angling for a slice of the pie is part of what's making me want to throw some (metaphorical) grenades.

  46. ''Time for a grassroots campaign! Bloggers, dossers, tokers and boakers unite! Up with this we will not put!'' Like it Turm.

    Leni - good idea on Waddya re emailing etc. Some friends were wondering about doing something like you said - pamphleteering etc - locally. Basically a kind of 'get Clegg out' type thing - writing down his admitted lies, the dodgy aspects of the cancelling of Forgemasters etc - then getting it given out somehow in Sheffield.

    Re what was said above about us not being reasoning when it comes to politics. That is precisely the problem I think with the left. They try to be and they try to use positive politics not negative, or they try to be bi-partisan like Obama and basically time and time again they get fucked over.

    The left needs to start being as angry and as nasty and as downright devious as the right. It needs to fight the rights lies. For example the whole 'New Lab spent all the money on a bloated public sector' is a downright lie. New Lab spent less of GDP on public sector than Thatch or Maj and ran a small deficit right up until 2008. But it sticks - it has become accepted fact by most people. Where are Labour on the news, in the media etc getting there message out - presenting the facts?.

    The right create myths and then repeat them ad-nauseum over and over again - the left don't do that so well. When the left do get angry or creat memes of their own they can be effective. Just look at Camerons u-turn over milk as soon as the 'milk snatcher' phrase was uttered.

    But the lies of the right are so powerful and so widespread they become part of popular culture - so everyone talks about 'the winter of discontent' or Labour always mismanaging the economy due to Healey going to the IMF -whereas it was due to a big Tory deficit from a false boom and tax give away that Healey had to do so.

    The left needs to start to really fight back and it needs to get down and dirty to do so effectively.

  47. Princess

    We can do rabble rousing and I'm sure we can get down and dirty too! Happy to help get a leaflet together. Plenty of ways we can get it spread around the city. I've done it often enough in the past.

    We should get together and start plotting.....

  48. >>We should get together and start plotting.....

    Oh yes! PCC has the right idea

    >> Basically a kind of 'get Clegg out' type thing
    >>- writing down his admitted lies, the dodgy
    >>aspects of the cancelling of Forgemasters
    >>etc - then getting it given out somehow
    >>in Sheffield.

    How do we eat an elephant? One bite at a time, and there are a lot of us, the effing visitors counter doesn't work on the Mac, but it cant be 20 of us posting 10 times a day? We have a readership, no? So can they tell us, are we pissing in the wind?

  49. What looks like a rally good read for the historians amongst us - especially those interested in the aftermath of WW2

    The Long Road Homeby Ben Shephard. Reviewed by Peter Preston

    In the months after the end of the first world war, some 40 million people died amid a worldwide flu pandemic. Three million perished from typhus; five million Ukrainians starved to death. No more battles, but no food, no medicine, no shelter, no resistance, either: just milling chaos. The fighting had ended, but its baleful, destructive legacy lingered on. And the question for the western allies, immersed in another world war some 25 years later and brooding on consequences long before Hitler admitted defeat, was whether they could do better second time round.

    Ben Shephard sets out to provide the answers of formidably researched history. He can't pull every strand together: there were millions of human stories. The challenge to the embryo "world community" of allied concern and its chosen solution, UNRRA – the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration – was likewise immense and infernally complex. For not everybody wanted to go home – or even knew where their true homes were.

    Full of awful warnings according to Preston.

  50. Sounds like a plan to me Sheff - we should have a meeting and put our minds to it!

    Great comment on the privatising the countryside thread by the way Sheff.

    Right off to walk my dog and then eat some gruel (well rice and chicken actually!) Hope the stomach is feeling a bit better sheff?

  51. princess

    Doc put me on something called lanzoprazole that seems to be working. Even managing red wine as long as I don't drink to much of it.

  52. Sheff I'm on Omeprazole sounds like the same family of drugs to me they are proton pump inhibitors which means that they reduce the production of stomach acid rather than neutralising it as indigestion tabs do.

    Mine is to stop the effects of the aspirin I was on for 3 years. Not on aspirin now so may come off the omeprazole soon.

    Yay one less pill to take! I take 5 a day (one of them 2 x a day!)

    But they keep me alive so I hope the NHS continue to give them to me free.

    That is actually quite a worry here in Wales everyone gets it free - research has shown that people who can't afford the levy 'stretch' their pills by taking them every other day and so on, The result is of course that they end up in hospital which costs much more than the levy saves.

    So by giving everyone their meds free NHS Wales saves money!

    So many so called expenditure cuts have the same effect, the unforseen or ignored effects often cause an increase in expenditure. The proposed job losses will have 2 effects - a lower tax take and an increased benefit bill.

    The only realistic way forward within capitalism is to invest in manufacturing and get people back to work in jobs that pay decent wages. But that might mean cameroon & his pals paying a bit more tax to fund it.

    Can't have that!

  53. The leaflet idea is a good one - we could produce a diferent one every week - countering the latest right wing lies.

    Some sort of discussion group is also a good idea - eventually you will get some new people and the more leaflets can be distributed.

    Might suggest this to the socialist grouo I belong to.

  54. @Anne

    I'm on 13 a day, so I really do hope they don't start fiddling with my charge exemption card...

  55. Blimey Peter how to keep track of that! Five is enough!

    There must be a lot of people really worried about how cuts will effect the NHS. Its life and death for many of us.

  56. Hah!

    Just gave the ratty half a jaffa cake and he snatched it out of my hand and disappeared back into his cage with it faster than you can say "knife".

    Does this make him a CiF rat? :o)

  57. Evening all

    @Anne/PeterJ-FWIW i,d bet my life that even the ConDems wouldn,t be so callous as to affect the exemptions from prescription charges for people who have health problems that require the degree of medication you both need.I think what will be even more difficult is getting NHS funding for new treatments.And even that will probably be even more of a postcode lottery than it already is.

    psPeter J- I knew Anne had serious health problems but i,m sorry to hear you do as well.

  58. >> immense and infernally complex.

    Like every thing we have to deal with. There could be a simpler system. Benefits, tax, CT, we're in the 21st C ffs, can these bastards not talk to each other? Banks are just trying to squeeze the last £ out of who ever they can, My partner has an on going dispute with RBS since 2007! The time is now, stop this shite. Tax, benefits, student loans, IB, CT. It can all go on one system, it is not beyond the wit of man.

    Then we can kick the non dom's oot, 4 wks in the UK if you don't pay tax or fuck off. You don't want to pay 50% over £100k, well fuck off then...

    I love Rory Bremner. But I met a guy in the pub tonight who is painting his house. he said, RB said, "who isn't quite as good as you,who could paint the basement?" The premier champion of right thinking is also ready to "economize". My pal told him to do a deal or F. Off. Good on Ally.

  59. Bloody hell Peter - 13 a day? Well don't lose track we need you for the revolution.


    When I used to distribute subversive literature about the town I found that putting them where people wait and hang about was useful. Stuff them into the mags that people read in doctors/dentists surgeries, library books, in leaflet racks in shops/galleries, students unions, cafes and bars amongst all the other blurb they have lying about etc etc. Bus shelters are good for pasting up poster versions.

  60. Hello everyone, I hate to piss on any left wing parade and I'm more than willing to pitch in and do my bit to spread the word but I'm afraid we have been well and truly stitched up.

    The right wingnuts just ain't listening.

    In fact I think all politicians of whatever flavour know they have been rumbled and they are just going to carry on regardless 'cos they know they can.

    I'm all for local pamphlets and such like but how about a call for a mass demonstration with a difference?

    Instead of marching to Westminster chanting "what do we want and when do we want it" we could just assemble outside the Houses of Parliament and hold a vigil of complete silence.

    It's time for a bit of ridicule. Let's shame the bastards for taking piss and holding us all to ransom.

    BTW: you are no doubt aware that some Youtube clips go "viral"...if we could compose something to make an impact on there who knows what might happen?

  61. Good Checkov, good. Have you seen 'V for Vendetta?' That's the head space I'm in the now..

  62. Cekhov

    I believe in silent demos - particularly if there are big numbers of people. No declaration of intent - keep 'em guessing - just a show of solidarity.

    Youtube - we need a really good idea - funny or horrifying ?

  63. Both Leni, I'm seing a figure slumped in a chair, wrists bleeding, a letter on the table, "benefits rejected" the strapline,


    btw now is a good time to get in on threads, we could all become goalhangers and post stuff on threads at this hour to promote our message...

  64. @Leni: preferably funny but with a horrifying subtext!
    And, yes Turminder I have seen "V for Vendetta"; I used the speech to the television as an audition pitch once!

  65. My thinking at the moment. Tackling privatisation and sell offs. Common theme beneath many problems.

    Need collection of key words and phrases.

    Looking at gvt. strategy - they are using some heavy handed 'nudge' techniques.

    The 'drawn curtains' statement - almost a throw away comment - but powerful.

    Suggested stay-a-beds are all lazy scroungers who live off the backs of the good working chap. Just not the kind of people you would want to associate with! Aimed at strengthening attitudes and altering behavior as well as opening gates to demonisation.

    we need some snappy phrases - not necessarily old left words - which will 'nudge' people away from supporting the gvt. - words like 'rich + powerful' make people want to associate with them. Such expressions give feeling of safety and are aspirational.

    Feckless scrounger says - I don't want to be seen with that lot.

    Rich + powerful says - me too please.

    Need to turn the language against them as well as using facts.

  66. Turm

    The shock approach - wake people up.

    I.m using historical reminders a bit at the mo - Poor laws - Enclosures Acts. Not modern , new thinking but regressive and repressive.

    We need a hard hitting but unifying lexicon.

  67. How about we won't try to buy or sell dignity?

  68. Hi Leni and Co

    It took the experience of the Great Depression and WW2 to get the British people to elect a radically reforming Labour government in 1945.And even that was thrown out of office in 1951.Yet throughout the 50,s and 60,s there was a degree of consensus between Labour and the Tories over upholding the Welfare State etc.As we know that degree of consensus broke down in the 70,s and the rest is history.

    I think there will have to be some terrible shared trauma in this country before people unite and demand radical change like they did in 1945.But until then there is a lot we can do.Fighting for change from within the Labour Party.And also addressing single issues like the privatisation of welfare.Earlier i was thinking that we could maybe hold peaceful protests outside the ATOS examination centres ,lobby the GMC over the role of medical personnel doing the governments dirty work for them plus continue the fight to get more of the media onside.

    Anyway i heard this tune earlier for the first time.See what you all think of it.I liked it.

  69. Evening all,

    I nice Saturday, spent most of it in bed nursing a hangover then drunk good rum and had excellent discourse with friends.

    Duke - Very good points, cheers for replying.

    We really do need to start fighting back, and more importantly coming up with alternatives. No mainstream political party atm offers anything different, just variations of the same neo-liberal policies. But does this actually represent the wishes of the electorate? Duke posted some interesting sources yesterday that suggest this is not the case. So what went wrong? Why are we forced to vote for the party that we disagree with less? I'd suggest that the neo-liberal ideologues outflanked us some time ago. I expect it's obvious to all of us here that once you control the capital it'easy to control the political process. It helps when not burdened by morality or the weakness of intellect.

    I'm reminded of a discussion about game theory I had earlier. The most advantageous decision in a zero sum game is to adopt the tactics of your opponents. It is no good trying to counter the right with appeals to morality or logical arguments. As stated previously up the thread we need to start appealing to emotions and not pretending we can overcome the opposition with reasoned debate. They aint listening.

    I like the ATL idea. Maybe creat an All That's Left site containing info? We could use it as a hyperlink at the end of each comment on Cif for a start.

    Idea for the youtube idea. We could adopt the language of the coalition and apply it to the right people. So an elderly widow relates her story of despite trying to follow the rules she was prosecuted for fraud. There's many stories relating to ESA. Give the story of someone with terminal cancer or who has just had heart surgery. After an emotive vid label them a scrounger in an overblown brass eye style.

    Leni - I'll come up with succinct facts about ATOS and ESA medicals suitable for email and use in any discussion about 'benefit scroungers.'

  70. Ratboy

    I am all for adopting their own language and turning it round. A purely oppositional stance just begets the same repetitive arguements thrown back at us. This leaves them in charge.

    The tit for tat often works - in this case they are unlikely to change their move - too rooted in ideology and therefore restricted thinking.

    An appeal to the emotions is good.

    look forward to facts and figures.


    Please enlarge on your idea.

    Hello Paul.

    We need to attack the kernel of their ideas. Not diffuse our efforts too widely. To gain support we need to plant ideas , recount experiences etc - give people confidence and enable them to come up with own ideas and methods.

  71. chekhov

    I once did a very successful presentation - on behalf of emotionaklly deprived children. Very simple. Left a brick on some grass until the grass yellowed. Took pics of it and of healty green grass.

    The theme was about the denial of everything which gave life meaning - the brick deprived the grass of light, inhibited its growth, However the grass still struggled to reach the light , still grew as it reached out for life. Remove the brick - the grass grows green and tall.

    We need to start by lifting some bricks.

  72. There's a nauseous piece by Clegg that's gone up tonight. And so far, he's getting a righteous and thorough kicking without a single deleted comment. You might almost think there'd been a change of heart at the Observer.

  73. @Leni Should have said'your dignity'.

    I know it sounds like a credit card commercial, sad to say if you want/need a slogan it probably has to.

  74. navro

    that is an important point as we want to collect personal stories as evidence and to use for info purposes.

  75. PeterJ - Yes that is a nauseous article. Maybe it's a display of my over optimistic nature but I do think Nick Clegg is a good man who thinks he can contain the worst excesses of the Tory party. That just makes him a stupid good amn, and until he has a 'Damascus Moment' he is part of the problem not the solution.

    I'm currently listening to this to cheer myself up a little.

  76. @Ratboy

    You're possibly being too kind to Clegg there, but we'll see. Interesting to read that Rawnsley's holiday relief, Raphael Behr, is taking a (rather half-hearted, but still welcome) swipe at the Tories' anti-scrounger jihad.

  77. Nick Clegg is a cunt and I'm a cunt for voting for him. I fell for a sap and I'm sorry I was wrong.
    It's ok to admit you are wrong isn't it?

  78. It's perfectly OK, chekhov. You'll never make a politician that way, though.

  79. Hi Chekhov

    Of course it's OK to make mistakes.Even a perfect specimen like yours truly makes the odd one.It's only a problem when people don't learn from their mistakes and keep repeating them.

    In the meantime an uplifting tune


  80. Go and say what you feel on that thread, Checkhov. Remember the A.T.L at the end, if you want to.

  81. Hi to all the people lurking from Thailand.

    Nite all.

  82. Sorry, good music Paul. Hope you sleep well. Been trying to think of a good one, to reflect how I feel right now.

  83. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5T4gVRlbGBk

  84. Hello to Thailand from me.

    Night + bless all x

  85. Some gobsmacking words going on earlier...

  86. Paul 03:32 was sweet.


  87. Morning all.

    In case you're wondering, Montana's fine, she just has internet connection problems at the moment - I'm sure that some good soul will take up the mantle to post a new thread, soon.

  88. Nap - hang on in here young UT. There may be a deal of truth in this:

    Indy Article: Route to Happiness?

    The thought occurred to me that if, as many expect, the job market gets even more difficult you would be ill advised to exhaust your modest gift from your late Gran before claiming any benefits.

    Are you well informed about the benefit system, as it applies to you, and what you will have to do to claim? I guess you will know that the benefits you will finally become eligible for are pretty shit but that doesn't mean that all your modest assets have to be gone before you get anything.

    I join with the others in sending good wishes.

  89. Some really stimulating reading here on UT over the last couple of days. Thank you all.

    Hope the net connection is soon sorted Montana

  90. deano - agreed with that, and was very practical !

    Sheffpixie repeated what she wrote several weeks ago -

    -When I used to distribute subversive literature about the town I found that putting them where people wait and hang about was useful. Stuff them into the mags that people read in doctors/dentists surgeries, library books, in leaflet racks in shops/galleries, students unions, cafes and bars amongst all the other blurb they have lying about etc etc. Bus shelters are good for pasting up poster versions.

    ATOS ones could use a phrase someone coined on Waddya two days ago " Disability Denial Factories"; or at least the '"Disability Denial'" part. And they could get people to the "peaceful demonstrations outside ATOS centres" Paul sugggested. Enough of those happen at once, and there aren't enough police to stop it . Photograph, film and record the ATOS mercenaries. And gettem to the GMC !

    Going viral on Youtube (chekhov) has great possibilities too.

    Going by the waddya this weekend Jessica will be inundated tomorrow.

    @Spike - I did a kilometer yesterday, working on my walking to be out there in september, either in a local town or Caen where there will as usual be our friends of the CRS !

  91. It's good to see that people are now looking at adopting tactics of simple savagery and propaganda rather than thinking that we have the luxury of pleasant engagement over geological time.

    Promote dissent within the ranks, expose tensions and failures and pick off the weakest first.

    This would seem to be a list of LibDem MPs.

    Start writing to them to explain why this will be their last and only time in office and how they have betrayed those who put them there.

    Make it plain that they are, both as a party and individually, now finished because they have shown themselves to be Tory rent-boys and arse-lickers.

    On the Nick Clegg thread, Burntfaceman writes:

    Er..if it's OK with you Nick we'll judge you on the fact that you have killed the Lib Dems stone dead...Take a look at the recent polls, the Lib Dem vote is now in single figures. You should be deeply ashamed of yourself, there was a genuine opportunity to re-assemble UK politics away from the destructive tribalism which has prevented genuine progress for decades, you put personal naked ambition above that....

    But you have your fame, your brief *glory*, that's all that really matters to you and your common purpose narrative speaking chums in high places. The shallow arrogance you've shown in this article is truly breath-taking and isn't fooling anyone....

    Clegg seems to be sensing already that things could so easily unravel.

    Why did they try to ensure that they could not be ousted for five years?

    Everyone hated New Labour and just hummed and whistled until the time came round to install the next shower of abusers.

    Will people really give the ConDems five years of Tory wrecking with a clear field and no resistance?

    Highly unlikely.

    They got in on the glamour and sheen of "We are all in this together" and the fact that, like under Thatcher, people like the idea of a stern government and something like the spirit of the Blitz.

    The problem is people only like it as an abstract idea when the knife and axe are cutting other people to pieces.

    Once they get cut themselves, the screaming will start and the loudest, most stunned and unstoppable shrieks will come from the middle-classes who never thought it could possibly happen to them.

  92. ......I couldn't possibly disagree with that... AB

    Glad you decided to do a little more blogging here on UT.

  93. Sheff - you any good at lettering on hardboard/plywood?

    A scaled version of "Arbeit Macht Frei" (cut out with a jigsaw) and mounted between a couple of poles would look good in the background in a photo-shoot of a demo outside an ATOS place

    Wouldn't be bad on a leaflet to stick on staff cars either!

    Anybody know the German for "abandon hope all who enter here"?

    Good to hear that nowt too bad with your stomach.

    You should take the opportunity to stop smoking. Then one day, a long time down the road, if you ever get bad news from a medic (as we all will probably will one day) you can have the pleasure of starting again!

    That's part of the method I used to stop after 50 years on the fags..

  94. Thank you for that article Deano.It says...

    "Even more remarkably, they suggest that these things are making us happier than the conspicuous consumption and hedonism of the boom years."

    I had always rejected the conspicuos consumption of the boom years anyway, as I rightly equate it with Nihilism. Of course I am not saying that the current recession is a good thing either, what with broken lives etc. I have also been recommended to read novels by JG Ballard, he has even spawned an adjective 'Ballardian', meaning according to Wiktionary....

    "typified by dystopian modernity, bleak artificial landscapes, and the psychological effects of technological, societal, and environmental developments."

    Amen to that. Ever since I was about 16/17 I new there was something seriously wrong with our soicety, it just seemed so bland and soulless.

    Other than that. I am okayish, just getting by. Been somewhat down, but not too bad. I have occasionally been lurking here and thanks for any support/advice given. It is a nice sunny day here in Glasgow at least.

  95. I also have a rough ideas for two mini articles, well arguements really..

    1. Neoliberalism and Neoconservatism
    How most people were too focused on George Bush and the Neocons to notice the creeping neoliberal ideology in Britain. Be honest, how many of you were talking about Neoliberalism between 2000-2008?

    2. Neoliberalism and the family.
    Essentially family structures (and friends) are the best protection we have against neoloberalism, as people can help each other out. However due to the fragmented situation of family/social life in the developed world, many of us have dysfunctional family structures. Is it neoliberal ideology which causes dysfunctional family structures, or is it the result of them.

    I'm too busy to write anything more detailed, but they are two points worht considering.

  96. Thanks Deano.

    I think I may have had some kind of religious experience when sleeping in the back of the car.

    These epiphanies come so unexpectedly, don't they?

    Anyway, a couple of further thoughts.

    2 000 jobs lost with the scrapping of the audit commission. 2 000 people's lives wrecked. 2 000 people with stories to tell. 2 000 people who must know other people.

    This will be happening more and more.

    It is not as if all these people will be put on some kind of witness protection scheme and shielded from the media and prevented from speaking out.

    Six degrees of separation means that it should be easy to start making networks which include the casualties and catastrophes of government action in the real world.

    You know, like the rich and famous network on aSmallWorld.

    Just for the ordinary poor.

    The other 61 million of us here in Broken Britain or the 6.8 billion of us scattered across the world, for whom life never quite seems to be the perfection portrayed in the adverts and the media.

    The other point is people saying what they can do and offering whatever they feel comfortable with within the constraints of time and ability.

    We need publicly available documents and lists.

    Lists of media outlets - local paper editors and national press and the same for television. Lists of MPs which are easily accessible in bulk.

    It is all very obvious but will not get done without being organised.

  97. @Atomboy

    I just had an epiphany too - a vision of a local paper, say, printing lists of the newly-unemployed or benefit-cut victims as they used to print casualties in the Great War. It was shocking then, and I think it would be shocking now, but it needs to be individualised rather than '58 jobs lost at local firm' in a news piece.

  98. @frog

    Glad to hear it. There's contradictory news on support for Sarko's "security" measures, with polls contradicting each other.

    The good news is that the initial poll showing massive support seems to have been a total exaggeration. It all depends how you phrase the questions. If you ask:

    Do you want to see the police crack down on illegal Roma camps or would you rather they were given licence to break the law?

    you're going to get the answer you're angling for.

    * * *

    An idea for a bit of agitprop.

    One one side, a picture of Fred Goodwin, with a brief summary of what he did, how much it cost the taxpayer and how much he was given in return.

    On the other, someone with a long record of (poorly-paid) work, now seriously ill, who's had their benefits withdrawn to pay for Goodwin's pension package, etc.

  99. @deano

    I gave up smoking for six years, put on 3 1/2 stone and got type-II diabetes. At a stressful time, I relapsed, am now back on the cigs and have lost most of the weight.

    Not really sure what the moral of that is. Probably "if you give up smoking, seek help from your doctor to avoid overeating, especially since without nicotine, you'll burn fewer calories".

  100. The message the left needs to send out strong and clear is that we have been conned.

    No one likes to be took for a mug and let's face it we have been taken to the cleaners by a bunch of snake oil selling charlatans.

    However the politicians can't really do very much.
    It's big business that's running the show.

  101. Good old Vicky Coren!

    From her latest column:

    We know what's going on behind the conjuror's back. The banks were bailed out with a trillion pounds of our money, which the government is now recouping by taking more of our money while the banks privatise their fat new profits. All public services cut. We're losing everything. It's like the Poe story about the murder weapon hidden in plain view: we can all see it, but we're simultaneously blind. We're sitting here talking about whether or not we like Ken Loach. If we keep on, we're actually going to start believing in this imaginary "waste".

    Clint, Michael: they are DELIGHTED for us to argue the specific toss on the Film Council. All the time we're doing that, we're not pointing out that the only "waste" is what the banks did with our money, and are doing again, while we somehow, inexplicably, fail to launch a revolution in the street.

  102. That second paragraph should have been in italics too.