03 January 2011


Jacob Lawrence - And the Migrants Kept Coming

Wherever books will be burned, men also, in the end, are burned.
-Heinrich Heine


  1. A belated Happy New Year to all Untrustees

    the freedom of the press comes to an end in Hungary

    Apart from that all is well with me and mine.

  2. Happy New Year, medve. Good to see you again.

  3. Morning all

    Happy New Year to you too Medve!

  4. Morning all

    Is it just me, or is the funniest thing about Mitchell's spoof 'that was the year that was' column the idiot who corrected the year for him?

  5. morning all, happy new year medve!

    new 'book of the week' on r4 sounds like an audio version of an article from life and style - 'how i imposed a ban on tv in the house - and how i lived to tell the tale!'

    am waiting to discover names of safely rebellious teen children, who will no doubt amusingly resist this innovation.

    ah, here we go..."as a journalist and author..."

  6. Good to see you back, Medve, and Happy New Year.

    I haven't seen the article, Meerkatjie, but your comment made me think of how familiar everything is becoming under the Neo Nasty (with added yellow lumps) regime, after just seven short months.

    Poor bashing, rioting in the streets, strikes planned, corruption, influence peddling and backhanders, social engineering, people unable to afford to eat, education in disarray, hospitals unable to cope if more than two people catch a cold at once and grinning champagne Charlies with fawning flick-knife henchmen.

    It's the HD version of all those washed out re-runs of Thatcher maintaining her brittle ultra-perm and arduously learnt enunciation against a backdrop of smoke and sirens and faces smashed with truncheons when the police did not look like the delegates outside a Darth Vader convention.

    Thatcher maintained the delusion by pretending that everyone was going to get rich quick. McMillan's never had it so good was just going to get better and betterer, so there was some reason why the conned would want to think they could ride the downside to get themselves on to the top of the upside.

    David Cameron seems to have forgotten that imposing misery without the promise that everyone will become an X-Factor runner-up or sit on the reserve benches of Manchester United or appear weekly in a televised advertorial for an airline company is missing the point.

    People are happy to see any amount of misery inflicted on other people as long as they get the bedtime story and the kiss goodnight and they can snuggle and hug themselves to blissful, thoughtless sleep.

    The problem is, there are just not enough rich people to go round any more and the poor are becoming too poor to pay for the next wave of rich-ish to emerge.

    Added to which, we no longer want to wait. Everyone was happy to swap Gordon Brown, with his sudden, startling grins and mesmerising jaw-action for the man with the face of a backside, but lovely manners.

    The problem is, if all the Neo Nasties are going to provide is five years of misery, people will wonder whether that is what they had been persuaded to believe was the promise of their lovely lives.

    After all, life is all about getting richer, isn't it?

  7. Morning all.

    Happy New Year, Medve - glad to hear that you & yours are ok.




    Just listened to the R4 prog, what a sanctimonious cow!

    Meanwhile, over at the Telegraph, the latest from Nudge on how to reduce binge drinking is that instead of buying rounds, we Brits should run up a tab at the bar .. terrific, eh? So we can consume & spend exactly the same amount but divvying up the cost at the end of the night will somehow make us drink less. How much are we, the British taxpayer, paying for this policy advisor crap?

  8. More sad stuff; Pete Postlethwaite has died.

  9. Its fucking snowing here!!! :(( I think I'll go back to bed!

    Nice to see you Medve! Happy New Year!

    Sad about Pete Postlethwaite, good actor, not enough like him.

  10. Anne

    Apparently it snowed in North Yorkshire last night. People had to be rescued on the Whitby / Scarborough road.

  11. Pete Postlethwaite? Bugger. Worth the price of admission, he was...

  12. Just watched the Pilger documentary.

    I just want to slap that woman from the Beeb. At least the ITV equivalent director of news or whatever he is was prepared to admit they had made mistakes in their reporting of the Israeli attack on the aid flotilla - the woman from the Beeb was incapable of even seeing how having Regev at the top of the news item with his doctored "film footage" was in any way wrong at all, even in retrospect.

    And as for that smug bastard who is the asst secretary of defence for the US....

    Grrr. In a bad mood now.

  13. What a shame about Pete Postlethwaite. A superb actor.

  14. Sad about Postlethwaite. Not only a great actor, also something of a hell-raiser in his day.
    Season's greetings belatedly,everyone.

  15. A guid New Year til 'ee, Alisdair! :o)

  16. Hi Alisdair. Hope everything is well.

  17. Morning all.

    Strangely enough, for some reason, I thought Pete Postlethwaite was already dead, so I was surprised and pleased to see him in Inception the other night. So the pleasure didn't last long. :-(

    Have found the Pilger on YouTube and will watch (can't watch it on ITV player outside the UK).

  18. Very sad about Pete Postlethwaite - good actor and decent bloke too, so I hear.


    You might like this to add to your gloom

    Next years wars

    Was sent to me by a Palestinian friend who was amazed to discover the pundits hadn't included I/P.

  19. hi all
    that's work done for today!!

    medve and alisdair good to hear you both have got to 2011!!


    you can if you use a proxy server..! if i can sort it anyone can..have a look at this to follow how to do it if you're interested...


    you can also see itv but not channel 4

  20. pete postlewaite..shame damm good actor

  21. BB

    that BBC woman is the answer as to why the news isn't really news.....wouldn't it be great to have someone like pilger as chief editor of the beeb news......that'd stir things up....

    i also watched just to get me even more angry "Collateral Murder" horrendous and chilling a film released by wikileaks about the murder of Iraqi journalists..... and today I passed by the funeral of an Italian soldier killed a couple of days ago in afghanistan...24 years old....I thought if I were the parent of that boy not only would I be openly questioning his death but the deaths of 10s of thousands of afghanis but also tell all the politicos to fuck off from the funeral.......

  22. Re the Pilger thing...

    The thing that REALLY upset me was the US soldier ho tried to rescue some Iraqi children and was ordered to stop!

    It so obviously still preyed on his mind.

    Poor guy! A decent man faced with a nightmare that will probably haunt him forever.

    There must be thousands of them, just as much casualties of war as the wounded heroes, possibly more so.

    Dulce et Decorum Est

    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
    And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep.
    Many had lost their boots
    But limped on, blood-shod.
    All went lame; all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
    Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
    Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!
    An ecstasy of fumbling,
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
    And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
    Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
    As under a green sea,
    I saw him drowning.
    In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
    He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

    If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori.

    Wilfred Owen

  23. Good article by Stiglitz just up...

    Morning Speke, Sheff and Gandolfo

  24. anne

    the collateral murder film shows the whole event... it's one of the sickest things i've seen in recent years...the flippancy of those that treat people as nothing killing without any sense of regret but with blood lust and joy.......jesus....and they finish of with saying "nice"


  25. hi bb....

    completely forgot about that phone number, sorry, as soon as i get it will mail it to you!

  26. Hello BB!


    Thanks. I've been thinking about getting a fast VPN subscription but I'll check out that solution too.

  27. Thanks, gondolfo.

    Agree wholeheartedly about the "nice" comment. As Assange said in the video, I don't thinnk I can ever use that word again in its normal context.

  28. Anne


    And the smugness of the asst. secretary of defense when he is asked to account for how it is that so many veterans refer to acts like that as being normal everyday occurrances.

    "Well if these things were happening on a daily basis, we would know about them..."


    The whole point is that we know you know about them, and we know you are a lying little shit, and you can still sit there and say "move along now! nothiing to see here!"

    WTF? Do they really think we are that stupid? Really?

  29. spike
    it seems to work for me and it's free

    once you're connected and the programme is running you can just switch back to your normal connection...the chrome add-on makes it really easy...

    "WTF? Do they really think we are that stupid? Really?"

    ummmmmm stupid?.......most people don't want to know about their government's dirty wars because in some ways it makes us all complicit in those murders ("we" voted for them "we" sustain them etc etc) and, therefore, at the least people ignore the horror and at the most believe everything governments say to justify their actions. There is still this unquestioning belief (and hope)that so called democratic governments tell the truth..... and act in our name......
    so, yes, stupid "we" are.......

  30. For not much reason at all, here's a clip of Stephen Fry talking about language.

    It's not even so much the points that he makes, as the eloquence and obvious passion for his subject. Contrast it with the equivocation and word-weaselry of just about any politician (Cameron, Miliband and Clegg are all shining examples) using verbal dexterity to avoid saying anything at all.

  31. BB

    And the smugness of the asst. secretary of defense when he is asked to account for how it is that so many veterans refer to acts like that as being normal everyday occurrances.

    Just watched the doc again for some unfathomable reason, given how anguished and raging I felt the first time - and I just wanted to punch the fuckers lights out every time he opened his mouth and smiled that creepy little smile...

  32. Guardian Editorial Meeting, Monday 3/1/2011.

    "Pete Postlethwaite's just died. Anyone got anything? Something to mark his career, highlight his achievements, as an actor or as person?"

    "I could ask Prezza to do something, you know, write a couple of words about Pete's abilities, before then using them to highlight his own glorious political career, especially in relation to, *adopts serious face*, the fight against global warming!"

    "That, Tarquin, is the kind of thinking that'll get you far round here!"

    ("Cheers, Uncle -I'll get right on it!")

  33. James... no way...

    *scoots over to the Graun to check if James is making it up *

  34. God you were right! :O

    Funniest post so far from Unemcom, though:

    "It made me so angry and I thought we must do something. I then realised I was the minister in charge!

    It's a good thing you hadn't just watched "Star Wars" or you'd have launched a scheme to help Ewoks get better housing."

  35. Unfortunately not BB,

    It's another one for the 'couldn't make it up' column!!

    (It's more 'infinite scroll' than column now though, to be fair!)

  36. lol james......

    shall look later as having briefly skimmed the "will italians be able to give up plastic bags" article i feel i need to go and breathe some fresh air and walk my dog before i explode with "what a fucking patronising article" and it's not often i defend italians.........

  37. I wondered what people on here thought about nationalism?

    I recognise my own allergy to the concept is probably some kind of reaction formation, but I wondered what the more general perception is.

  38. Meerkatjie

    Will 'it's bollocks' do, or were you after something a bit more substantial!?

  39. And, for those keeping count, there's another entry for the 'how many different ways can we "entice" people to comment on CiF for the first time' tally.

    (This time, it's pegged to some survey about something or other. I wasn't really paying attention to be honest!!)

    So, thus far, Natalie 'Haircut' Hanmahanmanaman's role has been 'We're all brilliant, check it out, *jazz hands*' and 'Hey you, with the ginsters on your chin, yes you, come on, join in, we're brilliant, but we've still got time and room for the
    likes of you, *jazz hands*' type articles, in rotation, every week or so!!

    C'est la fucking change, indeed!!

  40. Or plus la change, even.

    Whatever. I'm not even bothered!!

  41. Who makes the best tea? How will Italians cope with this plastic bag ban thing? And John Prescott talks about himself again and tries to remember to shoehorn Pete Postlethwaite into the article at some point.

    Someone just shoot me now.

  42. Eddie,

    take a ticket and get in line, mate!!

  43. Meerkat - Nationalism?

    Well here is my Welsh perspective.

    First of all quite proud of being Welsh - I feel like there's something kinda special about belonging to a nation of 3 million souls. Daft but there it is;))

    But seriously I know lots of people who belong to Plaid Cymru, they all have quite left wing credentials, one youngster i know proudly showed me her father's copy of the Communist Manefesto - in Welsh, but, and it really is a big BUT, she was completely sidetracked by the Welsh Language, claoms ots 'the most important issue in Wales'.

    It isn't - the most important issues in Wales are the most important issues everywhere else - namely jobs, education, health, housing ...

    So whereas I am proud of being Welsh and I'm glad that the Welsh language is more prominent today, political nationalism isn't for me,for working people the issues are the same everywhere so I'm an Internationalist.

  44. Or on the other hand James' answer is short and totally to the point!


  45. Tomorrow on CiF. Noam Chomsky on Bagels. Timothy Garton Ash on Flossing or Toothpicks? Bea Campbell on Lighting Farts In Woodland. And Laurie Penny on Down & Out In Primrose Hill.

    Oh and the Lady Alice Douglas Intelligentsia & Brainella Cello Lessons Fund Appeal starts. Sod your aged mother and her hypothermia. Somewhere a child is being held back from following in the footsteps of Julian Lloyd Webber.

  46. Anne,

    I was just going to say 'or, what Anne said!'.

    (You do the eloquent, substantive thing, I'll go with the sweary one-liners, and, together, we'll take the world by storm....)


  47. Eddie,

    'The vanishing face of dressage - a victim of the patriarchal austerity programme'???

  48. Anyways, one of my resolutions was to stop hogging otherwise interesting blogs with my 'off-off-off broadway stand-up comedy stylings', so I'm off to do something productive!!

    Have a good afternoon everyone!!

  49. Meerkat
    If we had a moderate sense of nationalism then we would not have followed Geroge Bush and the neocons into Iraq and Afghanistan. This was totally against our national interest and has been one of the most pointless waste of men and resources, not to mention the civilians of these countries.

  50. Similarly in various countries which suffered under occupation by powers, like the Soviet Union in post war central/eastern europe or even countires under the British Empire. There are cranks like the Hungarian nationalists we saw yesterday, of course. But one can generally understand why there is nationalist sentiment in these countries, especially new ones like Slovakia, which in the 20th century was part of Austro Hungary, Czechoslovakia, the Nazis, communist Czechosolvakia then finally they got their chance of statehood in the 1990s. The issue is that they keep it toned down.

  51. au contraire Charles, if we were proper internationalists - remembered that we inhabit a planet, not simply tribal enclaves and/or nation states, we might also remember that what ever we do has repercussions that affect others in often very distant places - and usually, especially these days, to their detriment.

    I'm with Samuel Johnson on patriotism, or nationalism, whatever you want to call it - "the last refuge of the scoundrel."

    That doesn't mean not caring about where we come from - but simply not being preferential about it.

  52. Hello there, lurchers (Subs, please check vernacular-thanks. N.). I'm Natalie Hanamamanamamanamanamanamannna etc. and I'm here to urge you to stop lurching and dive in! You will be interacting wih some of the most interesting people on the internet!

    English Hairnet, for example, will engage you in gripping conversation about growing vegetables and how groovy it was being a drug-addled hippy back in the day.

    MervgriffinInEatmyshorts, the world's most multi-talented, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural radical feminist, cannot fail to enthrall.

    Brummiesexpest will charm you with tales of office-wallah high-jinks.

    Penishingy will have you gasping for more as his tale unfolds--how the world's most brilliant and talented man managed to live the dream and move in with his Mum.

    So lurch no more! Join the debate (Nat, we changed that; too many people thought 'debate' meant 'argue'-Jess)...or the conversation! And if you behave yourselves, you won't get banned!

  53. God - has the dreaded Lady Douglas struck again? Have so far stuck to my resolution to stay away from cif - not that she or Prezza are likely to tempt me back.

    Am weaning myself off the groan and taking up the Indie - its slightly painful as am still not comfortable with the crosswords.

  54. Fair enough Sheff. But the neolibs are internationalists, whether they are 'proper' or not doesn't matter because they hold the rains of power, and if Britain was more like France, at least under Chirac with their sense of Gaullist national soveregnty, we would not have got involved in this bloody mess. Or as BB continuosuly reminds teh Bracken, France is the most progressive welfare state in Europe.

  55. Charles

    But the neolibs are internationalists

    only insofar as it benefits themselves in terms of their wealth, privilege and advantage - they don't give two hoots whose backs they break in the process, in fact they actively exploit everyone else - that is not the meaning of internationalism as I understand it.

  56. I tend to be a sweary one liner kind of person myself, and I agree with the bollocksy view myself.

    I can see I suppose the value of a rallying cry around identities like welshness, particularly under circumstances of colonisation. But I guess I worry a bit that more important issues are obscured by the rhetoric of nationalism, even in liberation struggles. I think we've seen that happen in the many struggles for independence that have taken place in the post-colonial context.

    I'm interested to find so many of you are not particularly keen on the notion though - I find that heartening, as most British lefties I've met seem to view it as either a benign or a positive thing, which I find rather peculiar.

  57. o/

    Signing up for the bollocksy view as well.

    Nationalism rears its ugly head at times of economic depression in order to galvanise the people behing a government that is robbing everyone blind by encouraging a sense of "national purpose" and "national pride" to "see us through the hard times together".

    "We're all in this together" is one of the biggest PR scams of the 21st Century so far - up their with the 45 minute WMD attack.

  58. I just can't read the phrase 'we're all in this together' without imagining Cameron is a red and white wildcats cheerleader outfit.

    It's disturbing.

  59. Oooh

    On a completely different note, the Great St Trinians Train Robbery is on Gold right now.

    Sweet! :o)

  60. "I just can't read the phrase 'we're all in this together' without imagining Cameron is a red and white wildcats cheerleader outfit. "

    Do you mind?!

    I've not had me tea yet!!

  61. in, rather than is.

    Mind you, I guess both work.

  62. Having grown up in Belfast and the Land Of the Freely-Available Artillery, flag-waving makes me very, very nervous.

    HNY Medve - are you all right?

  63. Hi All

    medve,very good to see you back here. We were worried about you, glad you and family are well. Not a pleasant situation in Hungary and it seems some other countries have similar leanings.

    Meerkatjie,I'm with others here regarding nationalism. It stirs up unhealthy competition and xenophobia. That said, it's not that pervasive in Canada as yet but there is a growing element. Sad because the country's population consists of people from everywhere.

    gandolfo--I hear what you're saying regarding news. They want to produce the news rather than report it. No better example than Berlusconi and his various nefarious media vehicles.

  64. Hi Thaum and Boudican

    I am really not keen on anything disguising itself as nationalism in general, although I think the SNP has managed to position itself quite well in terms of being concerned about Scotland's national interests without discriminating against anyone who is not of Scottish birth and being inclusive of all races, ethnicities, religions etc as part of their manifesto.

  65. I find the flag waving more than a bit uncomfortable, having spent some of my youth in SA during the 70’s/80’s.

    I do wonder if Nationalism when it revolves around sport can be both a good and bad thing? It’s great when you see different colours supporting the SA football team now - Bafana Bafana! It’s depressing when one realises the EDL is mostly comprised of footie hooligans who are still up for a fight. I personally cannot think of Rugby, Cricket etc without also thinking of national teams.

    But what has been done in the name of Nationalism, mostly in the non-sporting world * is bad, having seen it up close it makes me very, very scared, like what Thaum said! The way the old SA regime could smash together Nationalism, Patriotism, State and stick some racist Politics and Sport in was very clever, and very scary. Mainly cos if that propaganda didn’t work, they’d smash you over the head.
    (*Though it crosses over, the key word is “mostly”.)

  66. Tim/Anne/BB: I'm not sure that the emotions around rëestablishing one's national identity after colonialism (Ireland/Scotland/Wales and, I'd imagine, SA) can exactly be described as nationalism - as we have come to understand the term. (Obviously it can be described as nationalism in the purest sense.)

    While it is often hijacked by extremists, I think those movements are about trying to rediscover *WARNING! thaumaturge about to sound very Guardianista!* the language and customs that were suppressed.

    Of course, many of the cultural revivals being brandished by the separatists are partly if not wholly made up, or are based on some sort of Utopian ideal that never existed.

    As far as sport-supporting goes, it's a different kettle of fish. If anything goes wrong for an Irish team, it's usually the fucking French ref's fault.

  67. While it is often hijacked by extremists, I think those movements are about trying to rediscover *WARNING! thaumaturge about to sound very Guardianista!* the language and customs that were suppressed.

    What Freire called cultural invasion?

  68. IMO especially british european nationalism is for all intents and purposes is insidious......strange that you know people from the left who spout nationalistic crap Meerkatjie what are they actually saying?

    however if we look at the latin american nationalism of castro, chavez,morales and lula who give a two fingered salute to the hegemonic US...it can, if interpreted justly be positive in being the liberating force of a collective group of nations from political, economic and socially exploitative forces...Jose Marti is often cited as the ideologue behind the left nationalism in Latin america, however, he is also cited by the right.......... problematic..no?

  69. Boudican

    yep berlusconi's chrones do a pretty good job as does murdoch...but seeing the pilger thang highlights how much the "internationally respected" BBC , (and less respected ITV and other networks that are out of the hands of media moguls) are just as adept at feeding blindly its viewers false news.......

    cites Michael white of the The Guardian as one example of blind ignorance......and that's just one........

  70. Sidetracking here, but as regards absent friends, where the fuck is deano?

  71. MsChin - probably! (Not being familiar with Freire.) The Celtic languages and many cultural practices were suppressed, as I'm sure you know.

    However I also strongly suspect that the languages etc as revived bear little resemblance to their ancestors - not because of natural evolution, but because they had practically died out and had to be more or less reinvented.

    Gandolfo - Latin American nationalism is a fascinating topic. The US has been taking their eyes off "their back yard" for the past ten years and the result es muy interesante.

    Again, though, I think it's a reaction to colonialism. The nationalism that really scares me is that of the victors.

    America - fuck yeah!

  72. If anything goes wrong for an Irish team, it's usually the fucking French ref's fault.

    And when it all goes tits-up for the English, it's generally Jonathan Kaplan wielding the ref's whistle...

  73. bloody hell mschin magical powers!!!

    Hi deano you ol' lurking goat!!!

  74. Thauma

    not only fuck US but fuck IMF and world bank.....I'm lovin' it.......as they say in the US obviously not in the UK cos we speak proper 'ere bleedin' philistines....

  75. Hi & HNY to you, deano!


    Good, aren't I?

  76. so i got a list mschin..... best to email it I guess.....;)!!

    but in the meantime can you magic all the bastard politicians and bankers away...or is that asking too much....

  77. Evening all

    @Ms Chin

    I always thought you had psychic powers:-)


    Good to see you.HNY and hope you're well!

  78. Hiya Deano!

    Gandolfo - yes indeed, a big Fuck You to the IMF too.

    Shaz - have you seen the French refs, particularly Romain Poîte? He misses everything that does happen, sees things that haven't happened, and stops the game every three seconds cos he missed blowing his wee whistle.

    Saw him reffing Saints/Cardiff a few weeks ago and both sides were solidly united in their utter contempt for him.

  79. The Latin American "nationalism" is quite an interesting phenomenomomenon, and I've been struggling to put my finger on what it actually consists of myself lately.

    fwiw, I think it's more of a regionalism/fuck this 'only game in town' malarky/we've had enough of this shit/indigenous rights thing than 'nationalism' per se.....

    Or something!

    0/ @ Deano

  80. can you magic all the bastard politicians and bankers away...or is that asking too much....

    I wish, gandolfo, I truly do!

  81. "Penishingy will have you gasping for more as his tale unfolds--how the world's most brilliant and talented man managed to live the dream and move in with his Mum."

    He's not the messiah...he's a very naughty boy

    ...also..who'd have ever guessed the number of previously unheard of timorous little souls piling in to announce.."I would probably comment if only everyone weren't so beastly to those highly trained professional journalists"?

    How fuckin dumb are we expected to be?

    2 most recommended in the first 50 comments appear to be..

    "Seriously, I don't usually post myself, partly because of the bile directed at the author/politicians/other commenters in question."


    "I regularly read CiF, but almost always avoid reading the comments. Why? Because the opinions of professional journalists bear reading and consideration. The comment section has too many ill-thought-out and/or knee-jerk reactions to be worth the time. Plus, in some sections, it's cliquey as hell."

    which seems to suggest that there is a large body of support for the notion that 'professional journalists' are the only ones worth reading and the only ones who make any sense...and since our future 'professional journalists' seem set to be drawn from the progeny of existing 'professional journalists', I think it fair to assume that journalistic excellence is almost entirely a genetic attribute..also there is, in fact, widespread support for taking ones opinions from a sort of hereditary Mafia of middle-class liberal gobshites...so that's OK then.

  82. (And, because I used 'per se', you can all, according to the rules of the interwebz, go ahead and disregard everything I said anyways.)

    *Homeric fail*, or whatever it is the kids say!!

  83. James (and Gandolfo)

    fwiw, I think it's more of a regionalism/fuck this 'only game in town' malarky/we've had enough of this shit/indigenous rights thing than 'nationalism' per se.....

    Yes, I think I've somewhat shifted my definition of 'nationalism' in this discussion from 'flag-waving loonies' to 'people who are protecting their nation from foreign influences who are only out to rob them of their resources'.

    Just not quite sure how to refer to the latter lot.

  84. seems quite simple to me james an assertion of latin america as an independent economic and social force that unites wealth independently of world systems and to prevent further exploitation of resources and people by foreign powers....

    but that's pretty simplistic.....

  85. Thaum/Gandolfo

    I think that about sums it up.

    I tend to refer to it as the 'no longer prepared to be America's gimp' position, although, for some reason, it's not really catching on in these 'ere parts!!


  86. thauma

    nationalism can really only be defined in the context of a country or a region....and therefore only be judged in that context.......a blanket definition of good or bad negates and ignores too many factors...

  87. Sorry, I'm getting a bit bemused by this discussion. It seemed to start at "all nationalism is bad", and then move along via "some nationalism is OK if it's anti-imperialist (including cultural imperialism)" and "some nationalism is OK if I agree with its politics" to "some nationalism is OK if it's anti-imperialist now, although the countries using it were colonies themselves and still (in some cases) have imperialist power structures in place, but they're anti-American", and by the way, "nationalism's OK in sport".

    So is nationalism good or bad, or what?

  88. peterj

    complex isn't it......i guess for me it's the nationalism that promotes zenophobia and hatred is bad and the nationalism that seeks to liberate people from an oppressive force is good........

  89. that's obviously simplistic a simplistic rationale....

  90. I don't think it's as simple as either/or, is it Peter, hence the discussion.

    (I think, even arriving at a definition is problematic, and then there's how it's expressed, and then whether it's reactive, or pro-active, whether it's used to highlight internal positives, or external negatives etc, etc!!)

  91. This comment has been removed by the author.

  92. For the most part, I do still think it's mostly bollocks though!!

    For the record and that!!

  93. and of course it depends what the ideological rationale base is...........

    and cope out clause what james said as well.....!

  94. Hi deano. You've been quiet lately mate.

    Gandolfo--Didn't mean to say that Berlusconi's and Italy's media were unique in driving real journalism in to the dirt. Far from it. As monkeyfish has alluded to above, 'professional journalists' of today have an agenda set out for them by their corporations/polical masters. As for latin American countries, one can understand a nationalistic bent in sticking a finger up at the US. They have caused many problems over the years in some of those countries. There's a lot of political traction to be gained from standing up to Uncle Sam.

    Anyway, lovely day here so off with the dog. Laters.

  95. boudican

    i didn't think you were saying berlusco was unique....if only....

    enjoy your walk!

  96. I think political nationalism is a bad idea - too often hi-jacked by right wing types who want to divert people from more internationalist ideas.

    Much of American Nationalism is like this e.g. the reaction of people who questioned the war in Iraq and the labelling of Socialism as 'anti American'.

    Cultural nationalism does have its place though, especially in those small nations where the language and culture have either been suppressed or just swamped by a more powerful neighbour.

    Both of these happened to Welsh, the 1536 Wales act meant a largely Welsh speaking population were forced to speak English in Court.

    But the language has been spoken by a minority especially in N Wales, so unlike Cornish for example it has never actually died.

    About 25% of the Welsh count as Welsh speakers today - that is an improvement. I'm pleased about this. But although the preservation of Welsh culture is important, issues like jobs, benefits, services, are much more important to working class people.

    That's why political Nationalism, however left wing it appears is not my cup of tea.

    Its a question of priorities.

  97. i was listening to frost interviewing assange....a great example...of politically motivated journalism......

    The Graun has a business agreement with wikileaks yet they also published and powers that be got a journalist who previously benefited professionally from writing articles about the war logs, and who later refused to use the cable logs, to write an article using dubious police reports to discredit assange......

    the guardian is a headless chicken........and so are most of their journos....

  98. Sorry James, I've been thinking about nationalism and trying to come up with a logical basis for deciding on its plus and minus points. This turns out to be a long job.

  99. peter i found these........

    Nationalism – progressive or reactionary? Liberal and anti-colonial nationalisms are seen as broadly progressive, rational, liberating and reformist or revolutionary. Conservative and chauvinist nationalisms are seen broadly as static, reactionary, irrational, illiberal or oppressive. Chauvinist nationalism, especially, is seen as inherently expansionist, violent and destructive. All forms may exhibit negative traits to some degrees.

    Cultural nationalism: it is associated with the defence of a nation’s cultural heritage, without any strong desire for political autonomy It places primary emphasis on the regeneration of the nation as a distinctive civilisation, rather than as a discrete political community. It often leans to conservatism. Cultural nationalism may also seek to defend or strengthen a national religion. Cultural nationalism may sometimes develop into political nationalism.
    Political nationalism: it is defined by the principle of self-determination, whether it is expressed by the desire for some measure of autonomy, in the form of devolution or federalism, or in the fully developed form of sovereign statehood. This is the most common of the two kinds of nationalism. It may be liberal, Communist, chauvinist, expansionist or anti-colonial.

  100. Peter,

    Yup! And that's probably why it's so easily and readily co-opted by just about anybody, for whatever agenda, good or bad, and why, as a rule, I'm wary of it!

  101. "..strange that you know people from the left who spout nationalistic crap Meerkatjie what are they actually saying?"

    Basically, the idea that we should align with the nation state. That transformation of the nation state will produce a shift in socio-economic conditions. That being proud of national roots is one way of galvinising worker identities. That kind of thing.

    I guess my concern is that it's not too many steps from Moseley's rather substantial wrong turn.

  102. @gandolfo

    Yes, that's the kind of stuff I've been thinking about. It's a minefield, and gets dodgier the closer you look. I think self-determination is basic, but can itself be problematic if it's defined against an 'other' and prescribes geographical separation along cultural, tribal or racial lines.

  103. meerkatjie

    mmmmmm sounds a bit dodgy to me.....surely treating people decently and not like scum is a much more practical and less convoluted way of galvanising people's *identities* (whatever that might mean)


    yep on nail knock head

    .....yep nationalism can be used by fascists, communists, liberals, conservatives and socialists anyone to justify a means to an end...flexible and transient when needs must....and so is its interpretation and use

  104. And because the idea of 'nation' is quite often so precarious (and artificial) anyway, it follows that nationalism will be so too.

  105. Gandolfo - yes, that's a bloody good description.

  106. (was replying to the 20:33...)

  107. James

    And because the idea of 'nation' is quite often so precarious (and artificial) anyway, it follows that nationalism will be so too.

    Yes ... wonder what the people of Alsace-Lorraine think? Would guess divided like the N Irish.

  108. Well, yeah, I think that's my issue with it James. When you look at the arbitrary national lines that were set up because some coloniser decided the border goes 'there', you do have to question what is quite so important about national identity per se.

    And I think perhaps that's quite different from the more cultural stuff Anne's talking about in relation to Welshness?

    I don't know. I understand the importance of provoking a response to colonisation, to the oppression of national identities. I just worry, I think, about trying to build a coherent left wing politics on that kind of foundation?

    And this stuff around celebrating a britishness that isn't the EDL / BNP kind of Britishness... well, I worry a lot about that, to be honest.

  109. yep james

    what is nation anyway?

    *puts student hat on..goes back twenty years to student bar with a pint in one hand and a smoke in the other*

  110. Meerkatjie - I suspect that very few Welsh or
    Scots are celebrating any kind of 'Britishness'. There is a sad sort of northern Irish person who does that, but what they are really celebrating is 'Englishness'.

    The same people have loads of Charlie/Di Royal Wedding Commemorative China.

    Would love to hear Scherfig's viewpoint on this. You about, mate?

  111. Meerkatjie/Gandolfo/Thaum,

    Exactly, and to paraphrase some comedian (Stewart Lee, maybe??):

    "The BNP claim that they're nationalists, and that they legitimately want to protect our 'Britishness', and the purity of our Norse/Norman/Celtic/English DNA!!"


    Good luck finding a student bar you can light up in!!


  112. oh, sorry, I didn't mean those paragraphs to be directly related to each other in quite that way, Thauma - sorry, I can see it reads that way.

  113. Gaaaaahhhhhhh. I give up on whaddya. It's doing my nut in. It's like trying to hold an intelligent conversation with a toilet tube.

    I'm off to bed before I start throwing furniture at dim right wing people.

  114. Meerkatjie - no worries, I thought you were just riffing around ideas and did the same myself!

    Song for Lib Dem voters. Just cos.

  115. @thauma

    Those are good examples of self-determination against the other; Welsh, Scottish, and the right kind of Northern Irish defined against the English (who are aligned as a group with mawkish royalism). Thanks a lot.

  116. Thanks, Peter - wasn't sure I was making myself clear!

    One for the Greens.

  117. Here, George Orwell does some clear thinking on nationalism.

  118. hehe thauma.....good choices!

  119. Petition that needs signing here

    As the new year starts, millions of hard-working men and women gather the money they have saved throughout the year, go to a local Western Union office and wire it to their relatives throughout the developing world. But up to 20% of these savings are taken in transfer fees, allowing companies to make billions of dollars in profit on the backs of the world's neediest

    Western Union: Stop the crippling fees!

  120. Thanks Gandolfo!

    MsChin - good choice! Beautiful and very apt pic for the vid.

    Sheff - will check out.

  121. thanks for that sheff....done,,,,,

  122. Right, off to my bed - back to work tomorrow :(

    On the plus side, still have a job to go to, even with pay cut & reduced hours to come ... all hail the ConDems & remember 'we're all in this together'. Bastards.

  123. Paul - what an excellent suggestion. See youse all later!

  124. Here's a dreamy one to send you early-birds off to bed...Air - All I Need

  125. monkeyfish

    I,ve been browsing in the archives and i came across your article entitled 'My Life on Cif.Not Really....' which appeared here on the 28 March 2009.

    Just wanted to say big hat tip to you sir.You nailed a whole load of things in it and expressed it in a far better way than i could ever do.

    I do however disagree in part with your views on identity politics .For whilst there is no question that ID politics have caused some major problems and undermined class solidarity where would those of us who already feel marginalised/excluded be without them? Or put another way isn't it the case that mainstream class based politics have largely failed those who already feel marginalised/excluded.And this has been a key driving force in the evolvement of ID politics.

    Guardianistas repeatedly refuse to acknowledge that many working class communities are fragmeting on ethnic/religious lines and this bodes ill for the future.And it isn't just a Black versus White phenomenon.In Handsworth in Birmingham a few years ago tensions between the Black and Asian communities exploded into violence.

    We desperately need a new politics on the Left which is not dominated by White middle class 'do as i say and not as i do' types,is all inclusive and which binds mixed communities together as being British.And for that to happen political correctness needs to be cast aside and certain realities faced up too on all sides.Until that happens i fear many Black and Asian people in particular will view ID politics as being the best way of POTENTIALLY giving them a voice.

  126. If anyone with admin rights is about could they rescue my post from the spam folder.Cheers!