Saturday, 1 October 2011

The True Enemies Of Democracy; Libertarians.

 You probably have not heard of libertarianism or libertarians. They are a strange breed who live solely on the internet, or behind corporate machinations. To find them you only need go on a politics forum to find their opposition to all forms of 'statism' being yelled out, often in capital letters. In fact, some would say they do not actually exist but are a product of mass propaganda called astro-turfing. I do not go that far, because I understand that Libertarians are genuine people with their hearts in the right place. Unfortunately their ideology is highly misguided and represents a threat to 21st century democracy itself. They advocate extreme liberalism, verging on anarchy. Any form of government regulation is seen as 'getting in the way'. Those who can succeed, should be allowed to, regardless of their affect on others. They treat the state like rebellious teenagers, whining when it does not give them what they want. Socially, they have some decent ideas on equality, free speech and the discouragement of militarism. However, it is their economic views that are most dangerous.

Libertarians demand full economic deregulation, allowing corporations an even freer hand when it comes to controlling and manipulating the global marketplace. They blame the economic crisis, not on too little regulation, as is agreed by nearly all sound thinkers, but on too much regulation. Developing countries should be forced away from protecting their own markets and instead have to enter into trade with the developed west, which has so many advantages, that the third world is all but annihilated. Perhaps most chilling they oppose all forms of state welfare. In the recent republican debates, the self styled libertarian candidate Ron Paul, insinuated that those who don’t have medical insurance should be left to die. Earlier in the year some of their number demanded a US debt default so that the rest of the world would have their ideals forced upon them.

Though few in number, and thankfully still limited here in Europe, they are growing. Their endangering of democracy arises from their totalitarian belief in the undeniable worth of their own values. I often change my political views when finding new ideas or facts, and generally respect the views of others. They do not. It seems that they have a scientific view of politics, much like the equally dangerous Marxists had before them. They see free market economics as a science rather than a art, and thus all those that oppose them are not of a differing opinion but simply wrong. In their eyes to disagree with them is to deny gravity or evolution. Thus they are profoundly undemocratic supporting principles above practicality, whilst the social liberals put people above ideology. The roles have reversed. Where once the left blindly followed ideology, today it is the right.

In the most extreme forms, such as the UK magazine, ironically titled 'Living Marxism' they said that genocidal regimes and malignant corporations should be allowed to carry out atrocities, 'because they could'. Key to this movement was Martin Durkin, the 'scourge of the greens' a producer who made the infamous 'great global warming swindle' film based on false evidence, as can be seen here;

Libertarians appear to have an army of trolls at their disposal. Any critical article is attacked immediately, by a multitude of posters who suspiciously joined only recently. Any slight against them is part of a nonsensical 'welfare-corporate' conspiracy, which does not make sense as corporations largely discourage welfare growth.

Do not be fooled by their talk of freedoms. Their freedom is the freedom to die without dignity and care, the freedom to go without work, and freedom to go without an education you cannot afford. It is time to stand up to these internet cultists and create our own view of liberty, formed when good people work together to help each other. Where the government ensures a fairer spread of liberty for all. In the end we can never be equal, so those with any shred of morality, must fight against libertarians who would allow these inequalities to fester.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Fixing the Vote?

We all dislike politicians and so many would have found little sympathy for bereaved MPs who lost a seat at the recent boundary changes implemented by the government, cutting the number of MPs from 650 to 600. Such a call has long been advocated, allowing a re-allocation of resources so the fewer MPs have a much greater chance to do their jobs more effectively. Much attention has been focused on high profile MPs under threat like Tim Farron, the Lib Dem president, or Nadine Dorries, the anti-abortion activist. Moreover Labourites have attacked the proposals for cutting slightly more Labour seats than Tory ones, though this is largely insignificant. Indeed, some would say the losses in terms of actual seats are a smokescreen to the much more concerning reforms that come with it, namely the proposal to make it no longer compulsory to co-operate with electoral registration officers. Thus many less politically interested voters will simply forget to register and be unable to vote. Leaving registration to the individual is more likely to lead to less representation in working class areas, whereas Tory strongholds will do better. In marginal seats this could tip the balance for generations to come towards the Blue. 

It may seem cynical to say that poorer people are less inclined to sort out their voting registration and will never vote conservative, or that richer people will always vote Tory and are more likely to understand and act on the system, whilst you may think that if someone cannot be bothered to register individually, then why should we care? But the problem is that just because many people are disinterested in politics, does not mean that we should give up on their vote. Just because they need a nudge in the correct direction does not mean their vote is any less valuable, on the contrary, it is worth more as it represents the average citizen, whereas more politically interested voters, like myself, tend to be abnormalities in that regard. Were this to occur, than elections would be dominated by something of an unrepresentative extreme, with the views of many ordinary folk left out. How could such an election claim to represent us, and thus legitimately govern, us all, if so many of its citizens did not vote at all. In fact such a system is yet another Americanisation on behalf of the Coalition, and helped George W. Bush to his infamous Florida win in 2000.

I have long advocated compulsory voting, along with several other measures, to truly maximise our democratic output, but this is a step in completely the wrong direction. Not realising how to vote will put many more people off politics all together, and the representatives of the Southern, White, Upper Middle Classes, shall rule over us all. It is true to the Conservative plan. Offer increased 'involvement' in government whilst ensuring that such involvement is dictated by party loyalists. Perhaps an even greater irony is that this goes directly against the new Conservative fad, nudge theory, whereby little encouragements and reminders help people achieve greater levels of civic duty. For instance, when renewing driving licenses, we can now, thanks to the Coalition, apply to be organ donors, a good idea in my opinion. So that this is removing a pre-existing 'nudge' can, in my view, only serve to underline the political gamesmanship on show by the government.Many people simply do not understand the system, even as it is.

I would like to renew my call for compulsory voting, with a 'none of the above' option. It would not really harm our liberties, as it a small, yet vastly important civic duty, more important than paying tax. It doesn’t take long and would ensure that our elected leaders really are true representatives of the nation. In fact it'd make sure that politicians were telling the truth about their roles, for once.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Americanisation of Britain

Currently many nationalists speak of Islamic influences as the main threat to our national and political identity as a Northern European country. This is profoundly wrong, such groups make up just over 3% of the population and despite getting a lot of media attention, their views are simply too incompatible with liberal Britain to succeed. Their threat is overplayed and used as an excuse for racism. No, true nationalists will understand that American influence is a greater danger.

Of course, the USA is the world's leading power so inevitably her culture will largely govern the global agenda. However, I have increasingly noticed, how the current Coalition seems bent on executing ideological policy to make us become increasingly like America as a political entity. Firstly, out attitudes to money and wealth have become very Americanised, as we don’t feel that privilege matters in selecting our leaders. Hence the large portion of privately educated politicians. Compare this to the American presidency whose many incumbents have come from wealthy backgrounds. Bush bought his way into Harvard, Kennedy was a millionaire and current potential leader, Mitt Romney finances his campaign via his personal wealth. This is worrying, as it creates an assumption that the wealthy are the best for the job, despite their innate advantages, and so a need for a wider class background is not needed. Consider Neil Kinnock's speech about his family, which I have always treasured, his argument is simple yet potent, his ancestors were not rich and hence not powerful, they had no education and little influence. Yet did this mean they were less clever or had less drive. No. “It was because their was no platform upon which they could stand.” I am sure David Cameron is very bright and deserving of his high calibre of education. But I am pretty sure that any who had his opportunities at Eton and Oxford, could have done equally well.

Culturally, Sky now bases its major output almost entirely on US shows, schools now have 'proms', and the rioters feared the 'feds' (FFS). We've also got the obsession with material happiness and the classic 'horizon culture' By this I mean that we always see good things/happiness as just over the horizon, for instance, we work hard in the week and relax at weekends, as many of us are not happy at work.

In terms of actual policy there are decent examples of this desire to be more like the US;

- We now have the world's third most expensive university education, just below the US, while we are showing equal disdain for any 'useless' arts subjects.

-The NHS is being privatised by the back door, like the US.

-We are stripping back help for the weakest in our society, akin to America's very basic welfare system.

-The attitude towards the BBC is increasingly in favour of private broadcasting, with many rightist commentators seeing it as somehow 'bias' for not blindly representing their interests.

-Internationally, despite failures in Iraq and Afghanistan we continue to support US hawks in intervening in Libya.

-Though theocratic influences have thankfully be diminished in the UK due to having a state church that can be neutralised, we are beginning to see more evangelical groups getting a say in day to day administration. Hence the religious groups involved in free schooling and the delegation of human trafficking duties from a secular charity to the Salvation Army, a cabal of Christian fundamentalism.

-Finally, as is plane for all to see, the corrupt, economic libertarianism that infests America so, is gaining hold here. Indeed, many Republicans see Britain’s failing austerity plan as the ideal blueprint for their own. Essentially the very American idea prevails that making money is all that matters. Profit above people.

Media commentators are even worse culprits. Calling for the re-introduction of capital punishment, demanding harsh sentences, especially after the riots (6 months for stealing a bottle of water, really Britain, really?), as well as a hatred of the EU and ECHR on behalf of many, preferring the conservative-minded US. Hence the rejection of humane European laws on prisoner voting by many a right wing commentator.

Is this a good aim? After all, the US is a superpower, surely these values could help us? Such an assumption is, in my view, incorrect, as Britain is too historically different from America for these values to work in the same way, and secondly, as I feel there are several problems in the US that should not be replicated in the UK. Though we may envy their increased liberties and codified constitution, this is really just an appearance. Outside the Supreme Court, the US has undermined its reputation for liberty. The PATRIOT act allowed wire tapping of US citizens. In many states LGBT members are continually discriminated against, the poor are forced to accept religious help, people lose their jobs for exercising free speech. In many ways the rich elite still rules, as they have since Independence, which was of course directed by the colonial rich men. For instance the Koch millionaires have largely directed the political movement called the tea party. You only need to look at US conservatism to see that it will be a disaster if British conservatism goes down that route. Just watch Fox News; a parade of ignorance, disinformation, no alternatives are allowed, and politics is reduced to the form of mass market propaganda.

Think Fox is too obvious an example, well then read the British and American versions of “The Spectator”. It is quite easily to infer that the British Spectator is conservative, but this is achieved tacitly and coverage is rather balanced. In contrast the US form is just ridiculously one sided. This leading article on UK politics is not ( even trying to be balanced. Not only is Cameron seen as 'centre left' but this ideology is merely “The path to power for murderers” because Britain has become “godless”. I mean what the fuck, what the actual fuck. That's what passes for intelligent comment in America. Accusing adherents of any shade of social democracy of being 'murderers' and then claiming that the rise of such murderousness is because of a lack of christianity, it is something to be feared. And this is what will become of our nation, unless we act against it. Small town America here we come.

Such a rabid worship of these American gods- blind consumerism, 'rugged individualism' and a 'greed is good' attitude are not true to Britain's heritage,that has always been more collectivist. Instead we should look to our European neighbours for inspiration and embrace their ideals of social liberalism and mixed economics, whilst retaining features of our own, that are neither European nor American. It is time to distinguish ourselves, and create a nation that we can truly call our own.

Monday, 12 September 2011

On Schools

 Free schools are back on the agenda this week, with Cameron calling their critics 'defenders of failure'. For me free schools are a terrible idea because;
-allow more religious nutters to make schools like the "Everyday champions" school (shudders) and thus corrupt the minds of our younglings
-are innately middle class. Poorer parents are less likely to give a damn and thus most free schools will be set up by middle class parents, who will engineer ways in which to defraud more common pupils from entry, via area selection, or esoteric subjects like Latin. Infamously, Toby Young (Simon Pegg's character in "How to lose friends and alienate people) wants to set one up and wants to introduce Latin. I fail to see why any child should do Latin in the 2010s, unless of course you are a yuppie sycophant. Beggars belief.

Schools are a classic case of NIMBYism. Some people will loudly advocate the idealism behind comprehensives, that every child has an equal opportunity at such schools, yet then will send their own children to selective schools as they fear for them at ordinary comprehensives. Indeed, many so called 'leftists' have done so, such as Diane Abbott. Most middle class liberal parents will also do the same, and frankly, im glad my parents encouraged me to choose a grammar school, over the local comp.

  Problem is selective schools are hardly the answer either. Religious and private schools are purely randomly based on essentially innate background characteristics and hence not meritocractic. As I said before these should be banned. Grammar schools do work of course, but they can also be unfair. The 11+, used to decide who goes to grammar schools is frankly complete and utter bullshit. It has a section called 'non-verbal' reasoning in which candidates essentially have to find patterns in shapes. Never before and never since in my education, in any subject, did i have to utilise this 'skill', as an educational indicator its about as relevant as an internet IQ test, ie not very, unless you pass and use it as infalliable proof of your eternal greatness. Though the English and Maths sections are more pertinent, it is only a snapshot of pupil ability at years 7 or 9 and only in a handful of subjects. Essentially the 11+ is another money test, to see if you can afford the tutors to coach the kids into shape. Not fair.

Therefore, I feel the solution lies in more open grammar schools. Perhaps, you could make massive comps where everyone went, with 2 tiers of school, one to serve the more academic and studious pupils and one for those who want a more vocational path or dont want to learn (as these twats cause most of the problems in schools). Pupils could switch between the schools at any time in their school career, based on choice, or if the teacher thinks they are working hard enough/not enough. This avoids the danger of dividing pupils too soon or too late. When I was in year 9 I got pretty bad reports as i always tried and failed to be funny. In year 13 i got A* A* A in my A levels. Go figure.

Monday, 5 September 2011

On Privatisations

 A popular criticism of socialism is that it relies on the finite source of 'other people's money'. Yet today we can easily reverse this, and accuse neo-liberals of selling off what does not belong to them, but to us all, and degrading civic values, both of which are just as finite as money, through their insatiable need to privatise public assets, and their obsession with 'choice' and 'competition'. I write this having recently been given an advert for a new NHS hospital in my area. Clearly recent Coalition emphasis on 'competition' in the NHS has induced the apparent for a hospital to sell itself, no doubt to attract private funding. The NHS is an incomplete example as it will still be free at the point of use, yet the introduction and celebration of private sector competition on the part of Andrew Lansley suggests the health service has started on the road to some form of privatisation. Moreover, the NHS is a popular state body and, unlike many, people are, more or less, happy to pay taxes to uphold it, so, even from the government's viewpoint, such policies are politically dangerous, especially given the furore over the forests earlier in the year, whilst similar policies, such as in education focus on private provision, essentially, 'privatisation lite'. There can thus be no greater illustration of the government's motivation to privatise; ideology. Just as it has always been since the 1980s, state assets will be sold off religiously, while private sector vultures are given first pickings at the weaker limbs of public bodies.

There are both practical and moral arguments at hand;

Firstly, such policies are hardly proven successes. Major's privatisation of the railways in the 1990s has merely created inefficient, overpriced services that have put many people off public transport and back onto roads, creating more congestion and pollution. With price rises of up to 12% in places, contractors now demand even more money from the public, despite falling efficiency, for a service that should be accountable to them. Private healthcare in the US has created a huge economic problem as many corporations are crippled by hefty insurance payments. Furthermore, a great deal of covert privatisation has occurred in recent decades, such as over CRB checking, which costs the police £60 simply to 'check' the forms, that could, and should, be done by the services themselves. Contrary to its supporters' claims, privatisation has hardly promoted a sense of economic efficiency.

Equally, there are severe moral issues relating to such agendas. We were all shocked by the inhumane treatment of patients at private care homes, and this is a more obvious expression of the problem with putting profit above people in the public sector, where money is not so much of an issue. Yet, in a general sense, private involvement is alien to the very nature of the state. By law, companies must do all they can to pursue greater profits for their shareholders, whereas the state must protect and provide for its citizens, with notably less importance placed on monetary matters. 

This conflict cannot be resolved as it was not meant to. By privatising, we simply devolve all the joys and nobilities of our existence into marketing tools, convert our children into economic units
and cast off our vulnerable brethren into the uncertain seas of the free market. Despite the association with liberalism such policies are also less democratic as they reduce accountability. Only the wealthy can truly influence the provision of private services, whilst all voters can manipulate that of public service.

Private involvement was always beneficial where commodities and luxuries were concerned, providing a self-regulating system of incentives. Yet where the very character of our lives are at stake, their involvement should not be welcomed. Like everything in politics, the solution lies in a compromise. Let the democratic accountability of the state control areas such as health, transport, education, areas that affect us all and to each of which, we are born with a fundamental right to. Then we can watch as the limitless possibilities for human life that capitalism can create, colour the very fabric of existence.

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Grey Sands of Libya

Much like the comic book character Mr. A, our view of law and justice has grown increasingly black and white over recent months. While the riots are the obvious stem of this simplification of morality, we must also look at the Western intervention in Libya. As I write, Gaddafi is making his last stand and will soon be deposed. This is hardly a bad development, of course, Gaddafi had total rule and unleashed a brutal mercenary force upon his own people. However, I simply fear that throughout this whole intervention, too much has been focused on the notion that Gaddafi is somehow 'evil' and the Rebels are 'good', and thus military intervention is justified. Just as the rioters are, in the media's eyes, the embodiment of moral decline, Gaddafi is the evil ruler, the irredeemable force. Just as Mr. A says, “There is black and there is white, there is good and there is evil. And there is nothing in between.” This view is profoundly wrong, both morally and historically. It may well be a good thing that Gaddafi is about to fall, but I lament the portrayal of the circumstances.

Anyone with a good memory will know that the Western nations' sudden vilification of Gaddafi, is hypocritical seeing as he and other dictators like Mubarak or Assad, were recently seen as allies against Islamic Fundamentalism. They were supported by our governments and given weapons, some of which are now used to kill their own peoples. For the developed democracies to suddenly portray him as 'bad', suggests that they saw his rule as legitimate beforehand, and only jumped on the rebel bandwagon when it was viable to do so, not to support the pre-2011, opposition to Gaddafi. Hence, the situation is something of a farce of UK and US diplomacy. Moreover, there is the classic argument. If we truly went into Libya to uphold democracy, why not invade North Korea, Myanmar/Burma, Zimbabwe and all these other oppressed nations. The argument that such adventures would destabilise regional relations makes no sense, given that Libya is in the Middle East, arguably the least stable region on the planet. At the risk of cynicism, the presence of oil in Libya, Earth's 9th largest reserves. being the main motivator should not be ruled out.

Equally, there are no good guys or bad guys in Libya, only shades of grey. Supporting the rebels could still become a regrettable action for the West, as was supporting the Mujahideen in the 1980s.
I mean, who are the rebels? Currently their leading Council consists of either ex-Gaddafi men, who could create an akin despotism or elite intellectuals who may not fully understand the leanings of ordinary Libyans. Indeed, would we support democracy if Islamic Fundamentalists were elected, I certainly would not.

Intervention always has unintended consequences. We may well have perverted the natural course of democracy in Libya which will now become associated with divisiveness and Western allegiances. Many of our past kings were worse than Gaddafi yet we celebrate them or at least portray them as farcical villains. What if foreign intervention had supported the peasant's revolt or the continuation of the English Commonwealth in the 1600s? William the Conqueror, was far worse than the Gaddafis of this world, yet few historians doubt the meaning of his rule in creating the prosperous nation of today. See democracy as the maturity of a country. It must be reached on its own terms, not supporting one half over another.

Besides, our ideals are hardly perfect. In our 'liberal democracy' you can only really have a say in government if you vote for one of two very similar parties. Everything becomes a financial issue, facts become opinions, all that is worthy in life is reduced to a marketing exercise. Obviously we are better than Gaddafi, but we are not so great that we can pontificate to the 'lesser' nations.

Mr. A was wrong. Anyone who knows their fellow humans can tell that there is no black or white, only shades of grey. All we can do is pick the lighter shade of grey and hope that it works out in the long term.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The American Malaise

Much like the football season, US elections seem to be almost constant, with minimal breaks in between. Unfortunately this means we will now get a deluge of articles and commentaries in British publications about the American election. This is mainly because it is easy to criticise foreign systems, to hide our own failings, but also because, current US politics is increasingly extraordinary. Their elections have always been more exciting, see 2000, but recently it has attracted the interest of the idle pontiffs of political commentary, for different reasons, namely the rise of tea party extremism in the Republican party. It intrigues us as it is so bizarre. In Britain, ultra libertarians, theocrats, and rabid anti-abortion campaigners, are often pushed to the sidelines, but there we have them in control of the main opposition party. Of course, such things are hardly new for the US right. The Moral Majority was key to Reaganite success in the 1980s, while Pat Buchanan gained some attention in leading a 'paleo-conservative' movement in the 1990s. Yet only today do we have such a total and extreme manifestation that has even turned against its own party in a bid for power. One that has no goal, no aim, no vision, save for stagnation and the profiteering of its puppeteers.

The movement itself is muddied by many contradictions and even paradoxes, at least, for European eyes. Most obvious of which is the notion that lower-middle class workers would campaign for an economic package stressing the lowering of taxes for high earning 'wealth creators' at the cost of extreme budget cuts that only really hurt them. The weird statements of its leaders (Herman Cain said he'd not appoint any Muslim terrorists to the cabinet if elected, no doubt a blow to Al Qaeda's plans), esoteric policy, such as the 'free light-bulbs' campaign and the return of plastic cups to the canteen at Congress to cement their disbelief in global warming, along with the ill though out philosophies that guide it, such as the claim to be 'libertarian' whilst profusely attacking rights of LGBT groups and abortion-seeking women. If anything this would be funny, were it not for its tragic nature and ominous signs of potential success in upcoming elections. Instead the tea party is a threat to the very system it is meant to stand for; Anglo-Saxon liberal democracy.

Clearly, the main danger comes from its purely ideological stance, believing in 'no compromise' and trashing any conciliatory conservatives as 'RINOs' (Republicans in Name Only). In the past, the left was always seen as favouring ideology while conservatism and liberalism marketed themselves as 'practical'. Today, in the US at least, the roles are reversed. I was shocked to see many of them demanding a US default and in the primary debates saying abortion was a closed issue. This is not politics, there is no pretence of conciliation, they are simply trying to force their views on the rest of the country, if not the world, given the key role played by Wall Street. Yet these are the people that refuse to believe in issues backed by scientific consensuses such as anthropogenic climate change and fluoridation of water. We let them have their 'debates' on these issues, but they refuse to even allow alternatives to their ideas. In this way their reactionary anarchism threatens to undermine the 'freedom' that they claim to uphold.

In 1979, President Carter, perfectly summed up the American Malaise, arguing that her problems lay in the fact that “In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in god, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns.”. Such a perceptive view really applies to the West as a whole now. The capitalist system was supposed to work so that anyone could become rich and wealthy but has now, for many, become a case of 'everyone will'. In the 1980s, television showing wealth, like Dallas, highlighted how it was undermined by the lack of happiness that could not be merely purchased via consumerism. Today such shows, particularly for the young, link happiness to social, not economic factors, while many characters live in vast wealth. Thus the message implied is that all that is meaningful in life is played out in the arena of wealth and consumption.

At the end of the day this is an internal issue within democracy. The leaders of the tea party are simply creatures of the populi, merely trying to corroborate their own views with those of the right wing masses. The public faces; Bachmann, Palin and the like are not really the driving force here. During the Wisconsisin Unions standoff earlier You've probably heard of the Koch brothers, they bankroll, and even influence the tea party movement, while Fox News acts as a voice of propaganda for it. Why? Because the interests of rich business leaders, the men of money, are the same of the tea party and other right wing groups, who are engineered to support principles expounded by the elites. Often this is done through actual public manipulation, but occasionally, tactics called 'astroturfing' are resorted to, whereby activists are targeted at certain internet comment sites to create the impression of mass support for an opinion when in reality opinion is more balanced and divided. Such fabrication of opinion is clearly a substantial threat to democracy, which relies solely on voluntary expression of opinion.

I am not trying to insult the ordinary people in the party or call them dupes, but judging from their comments and beliefs ('Obama is a communist', refusal to even consider raising taxes etc) they are being corrupted and misled by a cabal of men who are connected purely via their ideals. Their aims are merely to perpetrate the great malaise in the US and abroad, to stagnate via economic laissez faire. Such libertarians have more in common with Marx than we like to think. They both rely solely on unproven ideology, claim that practical failures of their ideas are 'not really Marxism/Libertarian economics' and they both believe in a world without progress.

We risk sleepwalking into a confused and misguided imitation of democracy. To prevent this, those in America and elsewhere must root out the fabricators of opinion and have a real debate on politics, based on fact not fallacy. I'll let Carter continue;

“I want to talk to you right now about a fundamental threat to American democracy.

I do not mean our political and civil liberties. They will endure. And I do not refer to the outward strength of America, a nation that is at peace tonight everywhere in the world, with unmatched economic power and military might.

The threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways. It is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our Nation.”

When push comes to shove I do not really care for the details of your politics, conservative, socialist, it no longer matters when we face threats such as this. There is always a redeeming feature in even the worst ideologies, as there is always a vision to carry the species onward. The 'cabal' I discussed before do not care. They are criminals of the mind. Their serve only their personal economic and hedonistic agendas. They must be stopped.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Cultural Stuff 1.0

Seeing as apart from the riots there is very little to discuss in popular politics, I thought I'd offer words of cultural wisdom, ie what I have been doing culturally, the past few weeks.

Book-'100 years of solitude' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
This is like no book I’ve ever read, it makes me hate it and enjoy it at the same time. Its about a mystical village in Post-Columbian South America full of 'insomnia outbreaks' and esoteric references to 'flying carpets'. Considerably, Marquez has a great talent for managing to involve multiple themes and storylines whilst keeping the whole novel in the same village and 'Buendia' family. The imagery is also brilliant, especially the thought of a Spanish vessel marooned deep in jungle, which I can't seem to get out of my head. Only drawback here is that Marquez takes many pages to explain seemingly minor developments, obviously this only further cements his literary skill, but in my opinion it does start to make some sections a chore. Moreover, the book, for the most part, is almost entirely direction-less, until one reaches the end. Nonetheless, it is a book that will not leave for long.

Music-The Miserable Rich
For the last year or so, I have been religiously listening to this band with a weird mix of indie-folk and rejigged classical music. Though recent attempts to make classical 'cool' are rather tiresome, these guys have really pulled it off. Highly recommended, especially 'Pisshead' and 'The barmaid's canon'.