Our own little corner of Stewart
Hmmm...everyone still in bed?
Nope, looking at Bidisha's Thought for the Day and for once I am too aghast even to comment.Apart from that I am backing up my walk photos which is taking ages as there are thousands of them.
Dammit. I seem to have lost lots of photos. I had a computer crash after the first few days of the walk and lost a whole bunch them but there are some sets from after that that must be around somewhere!
OK spencer I bit the bullit and read Biddies thoughts - someone left the link below in the comments which is hilarious. Is Biddie a female version of this do you think?The charming and intelligent Dimitry Only in New York!
Quite a Bidashit kicking going on.
Think I've been spam binned, could someone rescue me?
FlatPackHampster is a right wing git who often annoys me, but this post deserves preserving (from the Bidisha one) "Could I just say to the person who's going through moderating this thread - you're a po-faced cunt."
I wonder if this one from Shoenenberger will survive the mods:'"I've been single all my life."No feckin shit!'
She could basically reduce the article to something which could serve every week and they could just put increasingly implausible headings over it, like gravestones, to match the new and unimproved deletion markers:Will this do?It is clear that no thought whatsoever goes into writing these, er, "thoughts" for the day.It would be cheaper and probably produce better articles to just knock up a bit of code to generate 250 random words.
Strewth that Bidisha piece is outstanding even by her standards. Phew.I've heard it rumoured that SpeakdForBoskone is the old MrPikeBishop/Frank Fisher, but even if it is, that poster nailed it with this "And another thing - I really must do some work shortly, but there's just so much in here that needs to be reeled at. "I wonder what she's doing on Valentine's Day? Working, I'd guess" Yes, Bidisha, most of us work, most of the time. Have you not noticed? Did you think Valentine's Day was some auxillary bank holiday or something? Have you ever actually had a 9-5 five day a week job? Do you begin to graps what daily life is for nine tenths of humanity? Do you for one second begin to understand how, just like all of us, just like everyone here, just how fucking lucky you are? How trivial and transient your problems and concerns are when there are five year old kids looking forward to an entire fucking life doing nothing more than stumbling knee-deep in shit, trawling a landfill site picking out scrap to resell so they eat?I'm angry, you're angry, we're all bloody angry, we're all looking for something different. But keeeeeerist woman! You live in a fucking paradise, and you refuse to even consider being happy. You reject even the concept. You are shameful.1nn1t had a neatly waspish line, more widely applicable to the Guardian:Each week brings news of yet another way in which reality, much like Julie Myerson's son, fails to satisfy the author's aspirations for it.Quite liked DavidCruise, too Let's get this 'thought' straight.You don't like the commercial sickly tat that comes out this time of year to cash in on the bogus/invented shtick of Valentine's Day. Fair enough.A leap from that to how your own love-life has been a series of disasters (never thought I'd read Bidisha turning into Bridget Jones crossed with Liz Jones...). Not mundane incompatibilities but betrayals by glamorous folk, mark you.Nothing you did or said could in any way have contributed.They were all bastards: jet-setting, hipster/high-society ones,though.From that comes the almighty leap to the borderline insane assertion that love and coupledom is bad,evil,wrong.And the icing on the solipsistic, Bidisha-centric world view comes with the batshit demolition of the character of "friends" for not merely being lovingly together, but for having a gender-imbalanced book and DVD collection (n.b. it is virtually impossible to have a collection with no females, as you assert. Not even mythical Mr Malevolent Misogynist of Patriarchy Towers would have an entirely female-free collection).Not a single voice saying it is a good piece, no intervention from Guardian staffers, and not even B's bestest buddy Natalie Hamman could mount a defence for such tat.
AlisdairThanks for the roundup.I used to read CiF avidly, addictedly, like most people here, perhaps.I now find it a struggle to even manage small doses.I used to find it variously embarrassing, outrageous, toe-curling, infuriating and flabbergasting.Now, almost too boring for words.Apart from these, obviously, for the sake of company.
Unbinned you, Sheff.Happy yesterdaybirfday, Peter!rugbyrugbyrugbyrugby
@Sheff. Euurgh, Dmitry is fantastic.
Sorry I missed your birthday,yesterday, Peter.@AB. Have to say, even by iddlebiddle standards that is one fecking crazy article.@ thauma. Your boys will win, but what d'you reckon to your full back?
Actually I used to know a guy who Dmitry sort of reminds me of. I didn't know his name.It was when I was much more involved in the SM scene. He was a good looking, well dressed young guy with a sort of impenetrable self-regard. He came up to me at some event once and started talking about something (sorry, I forget what) but it was like with this element of intimacy that was completely weird. As if we had known each other for years.I got away and it happened once more, I think then I forgot about it.But a bit later my girlfriend was working in the Sunset Strip club in Soho and I went to pick her up. Just as we were leaving we bumped into him. He was with a girl.It was all. "Oh wow, Spencer, fancy meeting you here. This is amazing! We must go and do something..." And I am thinking, who the fuck is this guy? I didn't know him from Adam and he is acting as if I am a long lost friend. And it was harder to say, look I don't really know who you are and we are not going anywhere together because there was this girl who seemed quite unaware that she was going out with a nutter.Or borderline nutter. It might not sound that similar but there is something about that level of confidence and sense of entitlement that is way out of whack with the level of acquaintance, that made me think about that guy.Shivers.
This comment has been removed by the author.
Apart from being the Graun's identitical politics unicorn ("Look! A gay Asian Oxbridge feminist novelist. Can we keep it, Alan?"), I've got this strange feeling that there's a belief in Grauniad Towers that she's A Major Talent. Only this would explain why (a) they pay her for comments chum and (b) they make the paper look ludicrous by putting it in the deadwood version. TFTD is like an intellectual crumb from the feast that is Biddy's imagination and wit. The fact that it's imagination and wit free doesn't seem to bother them.On the other hand, Biddy seems bored. The articles increasingly read like the anecdotes are fictional, the rants half-hearted. It's the sound of a woman taking the piss out of her employers and waiting to see at what point the dullards pull her up on it. I sometimes wonder if the early success has turned sour on her. From literary wunderkind with the potential to rip up the world to 30-something hack and arts show gabfest regular, whose books are very largely unread. It seems nothing stings more than mediocre success.
The first lists of names of protesters and others arrested in Egypt are beginning to filter through. Here's the first one I've seen (from the groan). Might be an idea to drop an email to the Egyptian embassy asking them about their whereabouts and to let them know that we will follow what happens to them.Hisham Mubarak Legal Centre and the Centre for Economic and Social RightsAhmad Seif el-Islam abd el-FattahAhmad TaherEl-Sayyed el-FekkiFatma AbedKamal SamirMona el-MasriMuhamma Hamdi MahmoudMuhsin BashirMustafa el-HasanNadiaNadine Abu-ShadiShahdanTamer HaginaAmnesty InternationalMona el-KakhiSaeed HaddadiHuman Rights WatchDaniel WillamsYouth ActivistsAhmad DoumaAmre EzzAmre SalahMichael NabilMustafa ShawqiNaser And el-HamidShadi el-Ghazali HarbWael GhoneimYaser HawwariEgyptian ConsulateNo. 2 Lowndes St.London, SW1X 9ETUnited Kingdom.Tel: 020 7235 9777Fax:020 7235 email@example.com@egyptianconsulate.co.uk
Eddie "On the other hand, Biddy seems bored. The articles increasingly read like the anecdotes are fictional, the rants half-hearted... ...I sometimes wonder if the early success has turned sour on her. From literary wunderkind with the potential to rip up the world to 30-something hack and arts show gabfest regular, whose books are very largely unread. It seems nothing stings more than mediocre success."I think you are probably right. There is something half-hearted about it. Even though I ended up contributing to the thread my comments are more aimed at the Guardian (yeah, I know, like they care) than Bidisha herself.And I think she probably has suffered from being seized upon at the age of 14 as the voice of a generation.That is going to go to any 14 year old's head, and then to have a book contract at 16. To discover that your best days were in your early teenage years must be pretty soul destroying. Never having to work at it. Never having to wait for it. There it is bang, as good as it gets by 17.Zadie Smith has a very similar profile. Female, ethnically exotic so that the literary establishment can pride themselves on how diverse they are, but Oxford educated so not at all threatening or hard to understand. But she seems to have weathered it much better as a person (though she was not fourteen when she became famous). I think White Teeth is an absurdly over-hyped and not very good book, but then so, apparently does Smith, herself. One of the few people not to have got sucked into her own hyper-hype.But Bidisha seems to have got stuck with this mediocre career. She forever bangs on about how "top" the producers or artists she mixes with are, as if she is attempting to validate herself. "Look, I hang around with the beautiful and successful people," even as she slags that world off for being more misogynist than the Saudi religious police.
Here's a little taster from the first page of Bidisha's 2008 blockbuster, 'Venetian Masters: Under the Skin of the City of Love'. At a crossing I spot a young man on a bicycle, a brown-haired angel beamed down from Planet Chic: dark brown slim trousers, a slightly lighter brown fitted jacket, an olive-green shirt buttoned up to the top, charcoal grey waistcoast, leather satchel. Slim, lovely face and abundant dark, wavy hair, straight out of a cigar advert. I'm visting Venice for the first time, staying at a palazzo owned by the family of my best friend, Stefania. Ginerva's very pretty, big-handed and tall and slender, caramel- coloured long hair with a fringe, tortoiseshell-framed glasses and pale, dry skin. Marvel at the elegance: her clothes match her colouring perfectly, fawn cord trousers, caramel fitted laether jacket, green silk scarf.If you deperately want to read any more of this literary tour de force, it's available on Amazon for £0.01, as is her out-of print debut novel, 'Seahorses' at the same competitive price.
badpennyI suppose that offer at "One New Penny" - no relation, I take it? - is quite appealing, if they offer change or some other incentive.It's not entirely that the writing is appalling, although it is, but I always prefer to separate reading advertising copywriting for colour supplements and clothing catalogues from, you know, novels and stuff.Apart from that, Stefania and Ginerva sound like a couple of wilted pot-plants and you cannot take anyone seriously who lusts after beige corduroy trousers, unless they are tottering behind a zimmer.So, is that a fair sample of her output?What a load of fucking shite!PS I will post this but imagine I have just been taken in hook, line and sinker.This is your own pastiche, isn't it?This is surely not a sample of current literary genius...
No pastiche, Atomboy. Link is here
BP, there is of course a measure of shared identity between Laurie and Biddy. Both are from privileged backgrounds, both were feted young and both were set up as the Voice of a Generation. As Spencer suggests, it's the hack equivalent of child movie stars. 99 times out of 100, the only way is down. That the likes of Burchill and Parsons were able to sustain income and profile as they hurtled into middle-age is down the fact that they developed their schtick and framed it for a different audience.What they didn't do - as Penny and Biddy are wont to - is search for the victimhood in their privilege. That plays well in the Guardian ghetto, but outside of it, it just comes across as a truculent teenager wandering around, looking for a cross to nail themselves to. Penny appears more media-savvy. Biddy looks engaged in a measure of petulant self-destruction. She seems intent on trashing her middling media profile with Biddy-parody. We all thought we were going to dazzle the world when we were 15. We didn't all roar with a sense of injustice when it didn't happen as our thirties rolled up.
badpennyThere has been some talk over the last few days about angry wanking.I am going for a spot of angry vomiting.RapidEddieI have not followed any of their careers but I am sure there is a lot of truth in what you say.I remember someone commenting quite some years ago that Burchill was still trying to exploit the idea of being a child prodigy when pushing forty.I also remember a play by a teenage girl being advertised, puffed and promoted ad nauseam on, I think, the BBC - again, years ago. Another child prodigy was being released into the wild.The play was embarrassingly awful.The child was the daughter of a BBC producer or sumfink.Media whores, media pimps, media incest.
"That plays well in the Guardian ghetto, but outside of it, it just comes across as a truculent teenager wandering around, looking for a cross to nail themselves to."Indeed. I have asked Jessica for an explanation on Waddya but don't expect to get one. So thanks for filling in the void.I think they like her and cannot see how ludicrous it is for a woman who got given a book contract at 16 and has been in well paid meedja work ever since to complain about the exclusion of women because it gives them validation too.Even Bella can feel victimised as a woman if it is established that that media world is irredeemably sexist and misogynistic. Rather than privileged and mostly wealthy white people they become downtrodden and discriminated against women, shoulder to shoulder with all the other oppressed groups.They need people like Bidisha. But even so I think they need people like Bidisha with a bit more subtlety and she has become a caricature of herself. And surely they cannot all be so dim that they cannot see that?
Has anyone seen Dave C’s comments on ‘muscular liberalism’ today? He says “Instead of encouraging people [read: Muslims] to live apart, we need a clear sense of shared national identity, open to everyone."Interesting one - it was a furore when Sarkozy made this sort of comment over in France, but then Merkel followed suit and now we’re at it. The question it raises is how to encourage people to integrate - is it a case of making that shared national identity ‘open’ to everyone, or actively requiring communities to subscribe to it? You could argue that it’s fairly ‘open’ now, and that the problem is that many migrants prefer to give social liberalism a miss. How do you steer away from that without infringing on their EU-enshrined right to live however they like within the law?
I've been spammed...
Okay, so I had a look at the Bidisha thingie again. I have to admit that, last week, I didn't find it nearly as odious as everyone else seemed to think it was. She did actually have a whiff of a valid point in there last week. This week, she's fully lived down to expectations. What a load of miserable crap.I won't pretend that I will ever understand this working class/middle class thing you've got going in the UK -- everyone in the US thinks they're middle class, whether they really are or not. The closest we come to the WC/MC thing is that we sometimes refer to blue collar vs. white collar workers. However, income has fuck all to do with it. There are blue collar workers who make considerably more than many white collar workers. Tradesmen, for example, can be pretty highly-paid. And I really don't think too many Americans get hung-up about whether someone is classified as blue or white collar.Take this into consideration when I say that I think a lot of you are grossly unfair to Bella Mackie. I don't recall ever seeing her make any comments that gave the impression that she considers herself oppressed/victimised. I don't recall ever seeing her say anything that indicated that she is ignorant of the plight of others.As for the nepotism thing -- what the fuck? If a plumber gave his son (or daughter) a job as an apprentice or assistant, would any of you condemn him for it? She's a pretty low-level grunt there, FFS. It's not like she was swanned into a star columnist gig or even a mid-level behind the scenes position. From what I understand, Jessica Reed is higher up on the Cif food chain than Bella, and Jessica really isn't all that high up. I think some of you might be confusing visibility with power and I'm pretty sure that neither of them has much of the latter. She had no more control over the fact that she's Rusbridger's daughter than I had over the fact that I was born into a lower middle-class family in Iowa, despite the fact that I clearly should have been born into Danish aristocracy. (big :-) here, in case there's any doubt)I don't know what qualifications she has, where or even if she went to university, etc., but I have no reason to believe that she isn't qualified to do this pretty low-level grunt job that she's got. In exchanges that I had with her while I was doing the two ATL bits that I did, she was great. Very nice, very supportive.What I do see in her BTL comments is someone who makes no pretensions of being a great intellectual, who is happy to make fun of herself and who never, ever mentions her "connections". We don't all have to be po-faced intellectual heavyweights with rock-solid working class credentials to be decent human beings who don't deserve the ridicule of complete strangers.Now: would anyone care to explain to me what she did that's such a fucking sin?
The thing about youth prodigies in that they have to develop substantially or they'll be spat out by art circles with the attention spans of gnats. For some reason, musicians seem to fare better. Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell may wince at the sounds of their juvenilia, but the talent and the seeds of later success are apparent. Literary sensations, not so much. If you take the Biddy stuff BP links to, it's remarkably poised and assured. It's also remarkably over-ripe. A good editor could safely have shot every 2nd adjective and 3 out of 4 descriptions of clothes and had a much better book. But when a writer's been hyped up so much, there's trepidation from the editor that they might be bastardizing and bowdlerizing the next 'The Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man'.I think what Oxbridge has given many young writers is the sense of confidence that runs through their writing. The fact that such swagger existed in Biddy pre-Oxford and Burchill sans Oxbridge is what made them remarkable.But every decent artist develops. Look at the distance between "Meet The Beatles" and "The White Album". That a 2 year old has stopped eating its poo may be remarkable, but it's not such an astonishing achievement for a 32 year-old.The Guardian itself has descended into caricature and that's played back and the process accelerated by their contributors. Successful writers know their markets. Penny knows that they want someone on the Twatter bleeding edge, wired into the yoof. So that's what she gives them. Biddy carries the heavy sadness of great promise unfulfilled and spits back 3 paragraphs of nonsense along with the bill to signal her contempt. She knows the game and it annoys her that she has to play it.Does the Guardian not detect all this? Probably not. As far as they're concerned, they have the musings of a literary giant to be thankful for and well, she seems so pleasant and engaging when you go out to lunch with her. Either that or they know it's bollocks, but fuck does it ever get the page hits rolling.
Yo, Petkovski, thanks for the book recommends you gave me on my blog. Like I said I'm quite interested in the Balkans, although I don't have much time to indulge in it. Linguistically, it is very interesting too. The south slav languages are obviously different from Russian, but they seem to have strong links.Hilarious post by the Duke on Biddy thread- seriously, first class.BB, excellent reply to English Hermit on the 'EDF' thread. Laters.
Evening AllAdvice or some thoughts requested please.In a moths time Wales has a referedum on granting more powers to Assembly.Much talk of local accountability, rule by the Welsh for the Welsh, local knowledge etc. etc.My problem is with the nature of our democracy. It all comes down to the WHO is in power, their ideology and their understanding and intelligence. there is no guarantee - or indeed evidence - that Welsh politicians are any less slithery than the Westminster lot. Once voted in they look after themselves and start worrying about the next election ; their own power rather than the wellbeing of the people. What to do ?
Great picture of a someone with real gutsBloody but unbowed
CAIRO: Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak Saturday stepped down as chairman of the country's ruling party , bowing to the protesters' demand for the end of his 30-year rule. Mubarak stepped down along with the rest of the National Democratic Party's (NDP) top leadership, as tens of thousands of protesters are standing their ground in Cairo's Tahrir Square, Al Jazeera reported citing state television. Hossam Badrawi has been appointed the new secretary-general of the party, according to state television. He replaces Safwat El-Sherif, a Mubarak loyalist, in that post. Badrawi will also replace Gamal Mubarak, Mubarak's son, as head of the party's political bureau. ----------------And this means what exactly ?
Montana "Take this into consideration when I say that I think a lot of you are grossly unfair to Bella Mackie. I don't recall ever seeing her make any comments that gave the impression that she considers herself oppressed/victimised"Well, that is fair comment except that I have seen her defend writers like Bidisha and Julie Bindel so at least some of her politics must agree with at least some of theirs. But I agree that I was making a leap in seeing that support for unreasonable uber-feminist screed, with huge generalisations as due to the fact that she might feel a bit guilty about the nepotism thing.Maybe she doesn't. Maybe she was a bad example. But the point is that this kind of divisive, man bashing feminism is given a home in the Guardian long after it has become almost an endangered species elsewhere.And identity politics do work like this. Your opinion is worth more according to how many oppression points you have. This includes class identity politics, btw. So you get so many points for being "working class," so many for being female, so many for being disabled, so many for being black or a member of some other "BME" group, another ten for being gay.The more oppression points you can tot up the more correct your opinion is in this game, and it is a game that the sort of left that the Guardian has long represented is very committed to.But they are mostly white and nearly all not just middle class but public school and Oxbridge educated. Upper middle class, basically.So the only place that they can get oppression points to validate their opinions is through being women.Maybe that is not why they publish Bidisha, Bindel and Bea Campbell on a regular basis. Undoubtedly it is more complex than simply being about that.But if there is another main reason I don't know what it might be.I agree entirely that Bella is not far enough up the food chain to have any real say on who gets commissioned though.
The question it raises is how to encourage people to integrate - is it a case of making that shared national identity ‘open’ to everyone, or actively requiring communities to subscribe to it?Another thing about Britain/Europe that I don't really understand. One thing that all of the waves of immigration to the US had in common was a desire in most of the new arrivals to integrate as quickly as possible. (I'm sure I've told about my friend who could barely communicate with his own parents because their English was minimal but they wouldn't allow him to speak Polish. He mostly communicated via his older siblings, who'd all been born in Poland). But most immigrants realised that it would be their children and grandchildren who would be fully "American" (and I think they'd probably be quite disappointed that their descendants feel the need to hyphenate their nationality.)There's nothing racist in expecting that immigrants should accept certain prevailing cultural values, like not slicing up your daughter's genitals (I don't think you should be allowed to slice up your son's genitals, either, frankly) or forcing a child to marry someone they've never met.On the other hand, it is unrealistic to expect that integration will happen immediately and there is nothing wrong with, or unreasonable about, accomodating first generation needs like interpreters and access to information in their first language. I get the feeling from reading Cif that a big part of the "problem" in much of Europe is that there are too many Nigels, Etiennes & Johans expecting all the Tankuts, Kahlids and Anandas to be fully integrated within a month of arriving.(Incredibly sexist of me to use all male names, of course. I do realise that there are Sharons, Mariannes and Ulrikes harbouring the same expectations of the Çigdems, Ayeshas and Sangeetas.)
Oh, and what about the men at the Guardian then? You ask. Well, they have no oppression points at all and so have to accede to the opinion of the women who at least have a few for being female.
An interesting article from Suzanne Moore on cif today.Quite rightly she argues that if the Left is to rise again the official silence on race and culture has got to be lifted.To deny that bigotry exists is quite clearly ridiculous.But to throw around accusations of bigotry like confetti actually does more harm than good.And increases the likelihood of driving frustrated ordinary people into the arms of extremists.
LeniThat weasel Wisner has just said "I believe that President Mubarak's continued leadership is crucial it's his chance to write his own legacy."And that he's needed to steer the transition process.
SheffI sense an abandonment and betrayal of the Egyptian people through the usual 'window dressing' tactics. Hope I am wrong.
@Spencer:Wasn't having a go at you, in particular. You're just the person who made the most recent comment.I guess I've never seen Bella defend BiBuBiBuBea.I don't agree with much, if anything, BiBuBiBuBea have to say, but I also find it amusing just how put upon (mostly white) men seem to feel by the simple fact that they've suffered being asked to treat people who aren't white and male as equals for nigh on 40 years now after how many centuries of not having to?Yes, identity politics is bullshit. But the resentment and whingeing that so many white men do about it is just hilarious.
"I also find it amusing just how put upon (mostly white) men seem to feel by the simple fact that they've suffered being asked to treat people who aren't white and male as equals for nigh on 40 years now after how many centuries of not having to?"Well, it certainly can be. But I would suggest that you have not had the experience of being a white man on the feminist left in the UK for the last 30 years.If you are getting crap for everything you do the fact that other men have done crappy things to women for thousands of years is neither consolation nor justification.I am not getting crap for everything I do and have not for the past two decades, to be fair. But I certainly came in for my share in the 1980s when the sort of views represented by Julie Bindel in particular were very common in the circles I moved in.In fact I was talking to MsChin the other night and she mentioned Liz Kelly as a baleful influence and someone who was a mentor to Julie Bindel, I knew Liz and her husband (who seems to have been airbrushed out of her bios) in Norwich in the 1980s. And a lot of my women friends in Camden at the time were if anything even more extreme in their views.What changed for me was Spanner campaign (against the criminalisation of consensual SM) through that I met a lot of feminists with very different views, particularly about sexuality, SM dykes, Feminists Against Censorship and others, and you will not catch me dismissing feminism as a whole. Unfortunately as I discovered talking to MsChin the other night there is no generally agreed catch all term to describe the feminism of Julie Bindel, Sheila Jeffreys, Liz Kelly et all, of which Bidisha is really a two dimensional cartoon version. At least they have a political analysis even if I think it is completely misguided and destructive. Whereas Bidisha just seems to have bitterness.
Montana + SpencerThe main problem is that there is not woman to woman equality any more than there is man to man equality. Some women are more privileged and have more personal autonomy and choice than many men. the arguments have all splintered - we have overall too much inequality between people herein UK and elsewhere. Perhaps we all need to take stock and think about just which battles are worth fighting and which of them are geared towards more equality - of everything - for all.
Sensible words, Leni. But I am not fighting a battle here, just trying to explain where I am coming from.I basically agree that men whining about how hard they have it because of a few oddballs like Bidisha is risible and I hope I have not come over like that.
I also find it amusing just how put upon (mostly white) men seem to feel by the simple fact that they've suffered being asked to treat people who aren't white and male as equals for nigh on 40 years nowThis is complete nonsense. Most white men don't complain about this at all. Those who do complain are likely to be white because about 90% of Cif commenters are white, as is 90% of the UK population. Just because a very few, very vocal idiots with axes to grind (and you know who they are on Cif) happen to post prolifically and idiotically on gender threads doesn't warrant you being 'amused' by this or to draw ridiculous conclusions. Your comment 'But the resentment and whingeing that so many white men do about it is just hilarious.' could come straight from a Bidisha article. What sort of white men do you know? And are the non-white men you know somehow more 'feminist'?Leni's last comment on inequality (of all kinds) is much more on the mark.
Re the referendum, Leni. Dunno. It seems to me that it is generally a good thing for power to be devolved. Though it can be easier for particular groups to become entrenched in smaller units.Labour in Glasgow, the Tories when they ran the GLC pre-Ken Livingstone etc. It seems to me when any group gains power that is long term and predictable then corruption inevitably becomes more entrenched.For example, only idealists (or zealots) will fight for a party or cause when there is minimal chance of winning. But if you wanted to enrich yourself in 80s England then it was obvious that the Tory party, or contacts with the Tory party was the route. Ditto Labour in Glasgow.So what is the political map like in Wales? Will you get an impregnable Labour party in charge (assuming that the LibDems will reap the proper rewards for their folly) is Plaid a big enough force to make it less of a sure thing?Much as I hate Tories, I think a sure thing is the worst thing of all. And though everyone goes on about stable governments the two most stable governments in my lifetime have been Margaret Thatcher's and Tony Blair's.I know bugger all about the strength of the parties in Wales, but I would be inclined to worry about giving too much power to any government/assembly if it looked like it would be entrenched for decades.
SpencerWe currently have a Lab-Plaid coalition. Plaid's power is concentrated in Welsh speaking areas - they currently present as further Left than Labour. They are united by support for the Welsh language and present a united front but amongst the members that I know there is a l/R split. Currently any legislation is scrutinised by Westminster - more powers would deprive us of secondary scrutiny as there is no second house here. Current assembly has protected Welsh students from fees hike and is not reorganising NHS so comprehensively - but there are those among us who understand both could be temporary ploys and could be changed should enhanced powers be won. Like you I support local democracy but lack faith in our 'elected representatives' who have a habit of turning into power crazed lunatics post election.
Leni, so what do you think will happen if the Lib Dem vote collapses? Will Labour be able to govern without Plaid?
SpencerIt depends I think on showing made by Lab in Westminster to counter conDem policies. People may well flock back to labour - they have seen support eroded in last 2-3 years - if they think Lab can stop the cuts gallop. We have deep rooted problems within education, several PFI hospitals etc. Trouble here , as elsewhere is that many people do not fully understand implications. LibDems lost a lot of ground over past 5 years - with Plaid picking up and some move towards conservatives. In times of hardship people vote for whoever promises the best outcome. Promises are easy. Future voting patterns impossible to call.I am watching Scotland with interest - it seems from here that the Nats are losing ground.As an aside I saw your comment about Eglish/Basque dictionary - I know Plaid guy who wrote and published Welsh/Catalan dictionary - he belongs to pan Celtic branch of Plaid. We also have Welsh Republicans - small but vocal group of enthusiasts.
Ha, I really don't speak Basque, Leni. I tried to learn it many years ago and at the time there was no English/Basque dictionary. I have a little Spanish/Basque one (the Hiztegia that I referred to). But my Spanish is very limited too so it was not much use.So I just started noting down the English for Basque words.Calling it a "dictionary" was perhaps a bit of a stretch. I did learn to sing a song in Basque though. Not in tune, but I knew all the words. Our teacher was very keen on singing and got us all to sing this song at Christmas. It is rather beautiful actually, about the sea. Though not a thing of beauty when I sang it.I really just wanted to learn Basque because it is so strange. It is not related to any other known language.Even now decades later that amazes me. How can there be a language surviving in Western Europe that has no relation to any other known language?
Good 19.30pm post Leni. Tip hat to you !
Good piece by Suzanne Moore in the Gaurdian hard-copy today. Well, half good; she shys away from taking a simple one sided view, which, as we all know, is another term for "turncoat weakling bullshit."Ben Goldacre also on form. Evidence my arse. Although he too eventually sat on the fence.Fence my arse.
"Yes, identity politics is bullshit. But the resentment and whingeing that so many white men do about it is just hilarious."Tend to agree. Well except about the hilarious bit. "Laughable". Maybe:: "an irritatingly universal and therefore meaningless catch-all with about as much clout as Grumpy Old... tv series...It's taking the politics out of politics.Further, anyone who reads CiF and takes it seriously these days is lacking a limb of some sort.Pin the donkey.
BittersI'll see your Spikeand raise you More Spike
Oops, just got invited out to the pub, back later medve ! x
Cheers Bitters, will join you virtually.
Here is a thought. Is the fact that Cameron came out with his burbling twaddle against multiculturalism on the day of the big EDL demo in Luton the first sign of the PR wheels coming off his operation since the departure of Andy Coulson?If you were inclined you could see it as a sinister attempt to recruit xenophobes to the Conservative party.But my guess is that he is just too dim to have noticed that the stories would come out on the same day without Coulson, who would have realised and got him to deliver the tub thumping stuff on a different day.
Spenceri read the "burbling Twaddle" twice - still don't understand what he intends to do other than cut funding to what he sees as 'special interest' groups which are antipathetic to 'Britishness'. He certainly has Inayat exercised and bothered about his funding.
badpenny"And are the non-white men you know somehow more 'feminist'?"Erm, well...It is nothing to do with the colour of your skin, it does make it a little easier to understand the effects of oppression when you've been subjected to them, though. And I'm not just talking about disdain or name-calling.I welcome any response and promise not to be nasty.It is Saturday night, though... so here's a song.
Leni/SpencerI refer back to my post relating to Suzanne Moore's article on cif today.The Left needs to have a full and frank debate about race,culture, immigration,multiculturalisn etc without making knee jerk accusations of bigotry .I despise the Tories and am instinctively suspicious when they make statements like the one Cameron made today.BUT there are real issues that need to be addressed at grass roots level in those mainly working class communities which have in effect had multi culturalism imposed on them.And i'm not just talking about working class White British people here.For in London there is real palpable tension between many established Black and Asian British working class communities and some of the new immigrants.For instance there are large numbers of Somalis who gained citizenship in Holland,Denmark and Sweden and who are exercising their right to come here under EU law.Fair enough but realtively few are actually working,there are a high % of lone mothers and family size is much greater than the British average.Consequently they are competing and perceived to be getting priority for scarce resources with the established communities.And are causing resntment because they're not actually contributing to the British economy.So isn't it reasonable to suggest that they long with any EU migrants who have never worked here should be sent back to the EU country they came from rather than acting as a drain on the British taxpayer?
....that they ALONG with any other EU migrants....
Evening all!Just back in and all on my own cos His Highness is in Canada and the lad is staying round a friend's. So weird not having to fight with anyone to get hold of the TV remote... :p£800k on policing a bunch of football casuals, as well as various imported hate-merchants in Luton. How many libraries would that money have managed to keep open? How many hospital beds? How many Citizens Advice Bureaux? Pah. And no wonder Cameron aligned himself with the Far Right groups in the EU... what the fuck is he bloody on about...Montana has it spot on when she says you can't expect people to integrate into a host society after one or even two decades. It has taken three generations for people of Afro-Caribbean origin, whose grandparents arrived in the 50s, to be fully integrated and fully accepted. It has taken nearly three decades for Hindus and Sikhs to be considered as "normal" in our society - and then there are still those who will never accept people of a different creed or colour. It is still all smoke and mirrors, though. Get the working class fighting among themselves and you distract them for long enough while you keep on leeching them dry, as well as giving them a ready-made scapegoat. It stinks.
PaulRe EU citizens (and those who have obtained citizenship in another EU country) - they have to be exercising treaty rights i.e. working, in business, etc, to remain in the UK. If they have worked here for 5 years, they are entitled to a permanent residence card and can only be sent back for public interest reasons, but I would be very surprised to find that it is the case that these somali women gained EU citizenship in other countries then came over here and are living on the dole.
PaulNot living in a town or city I do not experience these things first hand. It seems to me that we have several problems all tangled together.we have housing shortages, poor services and high unemployment with individuals competing. the failure of individuals builds anger in their 'own group or community' - this is directed at other identifiable groups and leads to social breakdown. All in fact have the same problems and seek solutions from the same very limited resources.Which came first - the seperated and self identifying groups or the lack of resources ? i am not disputing your observations within your own area. It must be possible to build a cohesive society in which we can also follow different paths ? Uniformity of behaviour is not a desirable outcome.
Good evening.Just read the Suzanne Moore piece and had a shufty at the EDL mission statement - both equally misinformed, imho.
The Somali community is quite big in Camden. It does seem to be one of the least integrated groups.For example, my scheme has no Somali members. Not surprising really because we have relatively few non-white members and most of those are West Indian. But I have also never had a Somali volunteer. There are far fewer Eritreans and Ethiopians but I have volunteers from both countries.I suspect that part of the problem is that there was a sudden influx of a lot of Somali's few of whom spoke English, because of the complete collapse of civil society there. So enough came to form their own society and that reduced the need for them to deal with members of the host community. And unlike West Indians or at least some Indians, few spoke English. Of course, because of the large families and the kids going to school, that will change. But older Somali's do seem to often live within their own communities.And some of the kids get into gangs. Some of the worst gang violence in Camden has involved Somali gangs of teenagers.I was hoping to organise a day trip for some older Somali women but so far have not been successful (mostly because the grant funding the woman I working with ran out!)
Hear what you are saying about Somali gang violence, Spencer. Depressingly common in North and North East London in particular.
It was a real pity that this woman lost her funding. I never found out her story but she spoke perfect elegant English and looked like a fashion model.And she worked with older Somali women who had pretty much no contact with the English speaking world. I went to an event that they had organised, they all brought food which was excellent.But we decided that there was little point in trying to get individuals to join our scheme so instead I proposed to organise a special trip for them. As I said, it never happened, but I met her boss again recently and suggested we do it. I would really like to do it if possible before my funding goes.We have an Eritrean lady who, until she joined the scheme, had seen almost nothing of England since she arrived as a refugee over a decade ago. She absolutely loved it when we went to Windsor Castle.Well, if you thought England was all like dull bits of North London, you would, wouldn't you? She has been on lots of trips since, and has even learned a bit of English. I reckon if I can get a minibus or two of elderly Somali ladies to come for a picnic somewhere nice in the country they would really enjoy it. The boss lady has not got in touch though.
Woe unto ye O thou Bitters and thou Medve, for there is only one true Spike and I am his prophet (if that's OK with his agent). So bow ye down before the Lord lest there be a whole shitload of wailing and gnashing of teeth.
SpencerTime for the BS !Are there any businesses in your area which might contribute ?Perhaps even minimal funding could allow you to include a couple of Somali women with your members' day outs - you wouldn't be using your funding 'inappropriately' if they were seperately funded.
"So bow ye down before the Lord lest there be a whole shitload of wailing and gnashing of teeth."'sup, Spike, are the wolves at the door? (sorry, couldn't resist)
I'd like to add that I have no problem whatsoever with Bella (she seems very pleasant and has a GSOH) and not really with Jess either. When I did my one effort ATL, Jess was fine, although I had to fight like fuck to get an edited version I could live with (my fault for sending in a first draft of 1,400 words when I'd been told 800 max).I just think there's only so many hours a day I can spend being angry and Bella and Jess are not even approaching the head of the queue of suitable objects for my ire.And you're listening to a man who has spent a second afternoon in 4 days going round Ikea and doesn't know how he can possibly be chilled out. Perhaps just because it's over. Oh yes, and the wine too.
BB,"Montana has it spot on when she says you can't expect people to integrate into a host society after one or even two decades."Integration... pff!Happy to be British, I was born here and love a lot about my country. But yous can fuck off if you think I want to be integrated into a society that values the bullshit TV music on offer every Saturday night, or the bullshit elections that see rich people win power, or the bullshit deference that the royal family receive. Basically, I'm saying that being borg-like assimilated into British "culture" is not necessarily a good thing.
Leni, Oh I can sort out the funding. I can do out out of our funding. What I need is for the Somali people to get back on board.Warsan, the woman I was liaising with was keen but I don't think her boss really sees the point. Or perhaps she is just too busy with more pressing things (like trying to keep her own project going in the face of the cuts).
HabibI also refuse to be integrated into that community - I see that more as drowning.
@habib:-) One of my best mates is a Wolves fan, so at least he's happy. We still had a long way to go to achieve an unbeaten season and we're still top of the Premiership, so fuck it, never mind.As a United stalwart, I can't abide McCarthy though.
Sorry SpencerI misunderstood.
BBbut I would be very surprised to find that it is the case that these somali women gained EU citizenship in other countries then came over here and are living on the dole.My understanding is that about 20,000 Somalis have come to this country since 2001 after gaining citizenship in the Netherlands,Denmark and Sweden.I'm not disputing their right to come here.My point is that as part of the immigration debate people have a right to ask whether it is right that EU nationals can live here indefinitely claiming benefits.I used the Somalis as an example because of what's going on in my own neighbourhood.And from what i gather there are a number of unemployed Dutch,Danish and Swedish Somails who've never worked and include a high% of lone mothers with large numbers of children.Obviously the more settled the kids are the more unacceptable it is,imo, to send them back to their own countries.BUT surely it's reasonable to ask whether there should be a cut off point at which EU nationals who've either never worked or only worked a short time return home rather than being a drain on the British taxpayer.
Habib, when I am prime minister I am going to make it law that any foreigners who want citizenship have to prove that they can stand in a bus queue in freezing rain for half an hour with out trying to talk to any of their fellow sufferers.And sit through an entire Christmas day which includes: badly cooked, possibly salmonella infested Bernard Mathews turkey, soggy sprouts a dodgy uncle. A drunk auntie. Tight lipped teetotal disapproving in-laws and at least three over-excited kids, with an East Enders endless special on the tv. Meanwhile I shall fuck of to Barbados as the guest of some rock star or billionaire.
"Basically, I'm saying that being borg-like assimilated into British "culture" is not necessarily a good thing".Completely agree, habib. Home rule for Yorkshire! ;-)
Leni, not at all. Funding is usually a problem but I did clear this with my boss already. And this is the sort of thing I could find the money for easily enough. As you probably know, charities like one off things.Fact is my boss would like me to do a trip every week but I got it down to once a fortnight when I took over.I do believe that doing one a week had given my predecessor a nervous breakdown.But also you end up doing nothing else. We had virtually no befriending volunteers when I took over, and we have a lot of members who don't come on the trips, so spending too much time on them means neglecting other, often more isolated, people.
"surely it's reasonable to ask whether there should be a cut off point at which EU nationals who've either never worked or only worked a short time return home rather than being a drain on the British taxpayer."Perfectly reasonable, Paul, once we've dealt with the ones who take up so much space in this country, gain money from it and dodge taxes. They're ironically called the upper classes.
@HabibPerfectly reasonable, Paul, once we've dealt with the ones who take up so much space in this country, gain money from it and dodge taxes. They're ironically called the upper classes.That's a totally different issue my friend as well you know:-)
SpikeI have never even seen an IKEA let alone visited one. I seem to be missing out on an exciting experience. I demand a visit to IKEA.
Leni, I have seen one but I have never been in one. Just a couple of bus rides away and yet I have managed to avoid the temptation. Iqueer it is also known as, or Dykea, I understand, in certain circles.
The other day, another British couple in France were found guilty of claiming benefits they weren't entitled to. I imagine these things tend to balance out over Europe.Anyway, for me, the whole point of the EU is for it not to be a problem where people come from. I hope we can ultimately be at home wherever we live in the EU.If I ever got deported back to the UK, I'd refuse to work out of spite and you UK taxpayers would have to feed me and wipe my arse in my dotage.
Ikea is a curious phenomenon. It has every household product at impossibly cheap prices but the design is generally impeccable. You shudder to think what someone must be getting paid somewhere down the line for you to buy a reasonably elegant kitchen clock for €1.50 or 6 stylish tumblers for €0.99, but then you think to yourself that Habitat are probably paying the same to their suppliers but adding many times the markup.
Right back from pubSpikeWoe unto ye O thou Bitters and thou Medve, for there is only one true SpikeIf you think that listening to your linky constitutes Woe, then i would respectfully suggest that your metaphors may have gone slightly awry.
Or maybe i need some English comprehension lessons.
Right, I shall get to bed and continue with the third volume of Scarrow's page-turner tetralogy on the lives of Napoleon and Wellington. - SPOILER ALERT -Apparently Napoleon and Wellngton were both complete shits.
@medveGlad you enjoyed it if that's what you meant. :-)
Luton is another unknown to me - why would the EDL choose it as a battle ground ?
LeniLuton is another unknown to me - why would the EDL choose it as a battle ground ?I think Luton was where there was a protest by a very small number of Muslims against the war in Afghanistan at the same time British soldiers-including Muslims- were parading through the towm after serving there.I think Luton has a large Muslim population but i wasn't aware there were any serious tensions between Muslim and non-Muslim in that town.It does however have some pockets of serious deprivation which may or may be a factor in people looking for scapegoats etc.
navrothanks. So a would be bomber hailed from Luton ? Some very nasty comments below that article. Is hatred so firmly entrenched in our society ? Seems it is.
PaulYes the article mentioned deprivation - this is the real enemy of us all.
PaulPressed button too soon. All this 'defence' of our soldiers and expressions of concern for those killed doesn't stretch to decent pensions for thei wives and children or financial support for the injured - though this has improved slightly in terms of compensation since the adverse publicity. If the EDL are so patriotic why don't they join up and face real danger ?
LeniThis is where i suspect i'm in a minority here on the UT.Because whilst i despise the EDL and what they stand for i do nevertheless agree with Suzanne Moore that those of us on the Left need to start addressing some of the issues that may be contributory factors in explaining why some people are driven into the arms of extremists.Poverty and social alienation in Britain's Muslim communities may well be a factor in increasing the numbers embracing radical Islam.And for Whites in the same situation it's the EDL they turn too.
@LeniI'm sure they're convinced that they have already joined up.
Paul"That's a totally different issue my friend as well you know:-)"It is and montana taught me the meaning of "whataboutery"I guess I was guilty of that. I still say good luck to any Somalis who get to live here, though.
Paul, while you wonder about why dickheads are dickheads, can I just suggest that they are in fact dickheads?
Sorry Leni i'm not explaining myself very well at the moment.What i meant to say was we need to address what it means to be British and debate whether that can actually be compatible with a being multi cultural.The fact is that most White Britsh middle class people actually have little to do with those of us from an ethnic minority.So they can in fact patronize us with their talk of multi culturalism without actually living with it.Multi culturalism in Britain is a largely English phenomenon as Scotland,Wales and Northern Ireland still have largely homogenous populations.So there really aren't enough ethnic minority communites to exert much of an upward pressure on the powers that be in those constituent countries.Parts of England are very different however.And in England the frontline of multi culturalism is firmly rooted in working class communities in the large towns and cities.And as i've repeatedly said on these threads the reality of multi culturalism doesn't always match the White middle class fantasy of multi culturalism.Most of us jog along reasonably well with each other most of the time but imo the bonds that tie us together are pretty fragile.Really tired right now so it's probably best to continue this discussion another time.Hope you're well.Nite x
PaulLast for tonight - Multiculturism can be seen in a positive light - the melding of cultures; the acceptance of both other and their ways. Other people - them furriners - are not threatening per se. We share music, festivals , culture, learn languages and new recipes. This is the good side. Yes, it needs open debate - but not about 'acceptance'. Poverty and marginalisation drive people from all origins to extremes - the extremes vary from despair through poltical activism to disruption, crime and violence. The debate needs to be about quality of life - not about place of worship we do or dot visit or what we wear on our heads. NNx
NavroI suspect you are right - they probably do believe they are 'doing their bit' and fantasize about their bravery. I am imagining their down the pub conversation - much of it prefaced with " Did you see/hear me when I did/said ...?" - looking for adulation and imaginary Victoria Cross.
HabibI never think of you as anything other than English -though sometimes I admit I do see you as a Scouser . My Indian born friends I see as 'villagers' not as something seperate from us . Must say I love the food S cooks but despair of R's driving technique and some of the films he watches. There are times when R and S need recognition of their Indian origins. Festivals and family occasions in particular. i think it is - perhaps , and I stress perhaps - more difficult for first generation immigrants to integrate. Their children can be torn 2 ways and ,I imagine, can turn towards their family culture and tradition if they feel marginalised or rejected. When I worked with inner London boys many expressed a desire to be themselves and were torn between the pull sometimes exerted by parents and their desire to simply be. It must be shit if you feel you are not fully accepted - by family and the wider society. Difficult to write about without sounding patronising. Sorry if it comes across that way. I realise I am writing about an experience not my own.
Some noise please.Er..right.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Dz0wc3uH1k
Not Nice Noise Navro
@lenieloquence will git jew know hair
You bloody philistine.More NNN.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJCsmO7-12g&feature=fvw
I roll with this nav-starhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKgj1FNToWY
And this Bittershttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAtH0RJzaN4&feature=related
Memphis bound. Are you doing Graceland?
This one for me.Easily great.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNNYFdklVJI&feature=related
Fascinating programme on BBC4 which I'm sure you could catch on IPlayer: "The Secret Life of Waves"It's written and narrated by David Malone who if I'm not mistaken is "Golem"!
.MrsB on CiF:And in the distance we hear the tinkle of glass as windows are smashed, the smell of woodsmoke as a religious building goes up in flames, the violence and hatred, the chants and the abuse of innocent members of society, and the leader of our great nation making public declarations on the international stage about an entire sector of our population who follow a faith different from "ours" being a source of unrest...Sieg Heil.Yesterday we had Spencer equating Blair with Pincochet and today we have Mrs B equating Cameron with Adolf Hitler. Has someone got inside you skulls and stolen your critical faculties?
NavroDepthBreadth.I saw these guys live a few nights ago with a very, very good pal of mine who lost his wife a couple of months ago out of the blue...Sad, fucking sad beauty...Big fucking society my arse.PS parallax: if you want interjections to count base them on something real; cocking off from 12,000 miles away while everyone else is asleep doesn't fucking work; unless you is happy to be a fucking gobshite tool.
"Has someone got inside you skulls and stolen your critical faculties? "Yes it's me: Cecil Airllne and his Jazz Reoproduction Orchestra !!!
@BiteyChck my links. Proper music right there. Ok.
Oops. No spellcheck = doom.
The Mahler piece has all three to me. Fuckin wonderful BW.
It replaces my dad. Nearly.
This kinda replaces me dad..from Newcastle.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNrVkDqPsbM&feature=related
Check out the Allison Moorer. None of the carpers on here can *do* that.My mates: Montana, and a few others, stand proud. They stand proud because they have resolve and integrity, because they already understand sacrifice; because they put someone ailing or unlucky or too stupid to function before themself... I'll tear your fucking hearts out one by one if you come for them; or else I will die trying. ok.
fucking glorious navro
Regional navro ?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt2Svy-e0x4
And if you can bear the criticism MrsB and your fellow appeasers, read Nick Cohen's excellent At last, Islam's appeasers may be on the run in Today's Observer.
BitterweedThe Lakes of Pontchartrain - Paul Brady 1977 I can live with but it sounds much like The Chieftains & Mark Knopfler's "The Lily Of The West" and probably a dozen other 'folk' songs. So not really to my liking. The Mahler on the other hand is sublime and reminds me why European musical culture is so superb compared to the screaming and wailing that the Chinese have inherited from theirs.
Oh piss on someones toes. Na-night.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMWUa-IoQoA
BitterweedFrom CiFMontana, and a few others, stand proud. They stand proud because they have resolve and integrity, because they already understand sacrifice; because they put someone ailing or unlucky or too stupid to function before themself... I'll tear your fucking hearts out one by one if you come for them; or else I will die trying. ok.MontanaWildhackThere are no UT raiding parties, periodic or otherwise. What there are are individuals who post regularly on the UT who also post regularly here. It's amazing how many allegedly intelligent human beings have such difficulty understanding so simple a concept as individual agency. There is no grand conspiracy and there are no behind-the-scenes plots to victimise certain people.From The Untrusted site:SpikeDo you think we could muster enough people to vote SMM commenter of the year? And if we did, would CiF doctor the results?I mean it would be terribly embarrassing if we elected an unperson, wouldn't it?Montana Wildhack said...I think that's an excellent idea.SelfmadeMan for Poster of the Year!So maybe not a raiding party but maybe a conspiracy to skirmish?And interestingly enough this piece of innocence was removed by the moderators. Montana has plenty of resolve but as much integrity as Tricky Dicky.