Archive for the ‘Space’ Category

The Amazing Art of Stuart Cowley’s ‘Spacewreck’

October 5, 2022

More utterly amazing space art from Sci-Fi Art’s channel on YouTube. In this very short video, he flips through Stuart Cowley’s Spacewreck: Ghostships and Derelicts of Space. Cowley took the art for various Science Fiction paperbacks and then wrote stories around them, publishing them as guidebooks to the spacecraft of the future produced by a global trade organisation, the Terran Trade Authority. I bought one of these when I was a schoolkid, Spacecraft 2000-2100, which pretended to be a guide to the spacecraft of the 21st century and with a story about humanity’s contact with two species of aliens from Alpha and Proxima Centauri respectively, and humanity’s and the Alpha Centaurian’s war with the latter. I can remember being absolutely amazed by the astonishingly beautiful art of these imaginary worlds and spaceships. Cowley published a series of such books and didn’t confine himself just to Science Fiction. He also created one from the cover art for a number of Horror novels as The Tourist’s Guide to Transylvania. Another book he produced was the alarmingly named Home Brain Surgery and Other Household Skills. I’ve seen a copy for sale in some secondhand book shops and left it meaning to buy it later. When I came back it had vanished. Which just shows that somehow you have to get something while you can. The artists featured in Spacewreck, according to Sci-Fi Art, include Angus McKie, Tony Roberts, Fred Gambino, Bob Layzell, Colin Hay, Jim Burns, Alan Daniels and the music is by All India Radio. I think some of their music has also been used for a video someone made of the spacecraft from Spacecraft 2000-2100 zooming around in CGI animation.

The Art of Bono and Gatland’s ‘The Frontiers of Space’

October 5, 2022

More space art for anyone who’s interested. This is a fascinating look at the great art in the 1971 book, Frontiers of Space by Philip Bono and Kenneth Gatland, taken from Sci-Fi Art’s channel on YouTube. Gatland was, I think, one of the leading members of the British Interplanetary Society, set up in the late 1930s to promote spaceflight and whose alumni includes Arthur C. Clarke and David A. Hardy. They’re still going, and I was a member for a few years. They have two magazines – a newsstand magazine, Spaceflight, and a technical Journal, which is far more academic. Looking through the art, I recognise some of the concepts. Several of the pictures show what looks like three space shuttles fixed together before flying off separately into space. That was the British Project MUSTARD concept for a spaceplane. If built, it would undoubtedly have made us a leading space power. But I think it was too advanced and too expensive, and so went the way of a number of similar British ideas. Earlier in the book there’s a German design for a spaceplane, in which the orbital spacecraft rides piggy-back on an air-breathing plane. It’s similar to the Sanger spaceplane concept which the Germans also developed in the 90s.

But aside from the interest in looking at visions of a spacefaring tomorrow that never happened, the artwork is brilliant.

More Conspiracy Nuttery After the Queen’s Death: Ickian Reptoids

September 13, 2022

Okay, I put up a couple of posts at the weekend talking about some of the conspiracy theories that have emerged on various right-wing websites and organisations following the death of Her Maj. These include attacks on the Queen for supposing depriving us of our ancient liberties and suggesting that King Charles is somehow part of the old Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. Correct, Not Political, were at it again yesterday. They were predicting that he would be an absolute monarch, ruling by decree, who would bring about the infamous Great Reset and turn Britain into a green communist state. But something like the nadir of these conspiracy theories was reached by one YouTuber, who put up a 33 minute-long video about ‘Queen E-Lizard-beth and the coming Reptoid Civil War’. Yes, we’re back to David Icke’s conspiracy theory that the royal family and other prominent people, like politicians and so on, are really reptoid aliiens secretly oppressing and manipulating us.

Muse Video Channelling Quentin Tarantino and Max Headroom

September 10, 2022

I’m a kind-of fan of Bournemouth band Muse, whose music and videos include space rock and Science Fiction. They put up this video for their track, ‘Dig Down’ on their YouTube channel, and its video seems to partake very strongly of Quentin Tarantino and the computer-generated video-jockey, Max Headroom. The video is about a woman with an artificial leg and a big gun fighting her way through various goons before she blows them all up and enters the threshold of a room with a pillar of TV screens. This looks to me like an homage to a film Tarantino released a few years ago, in which a woman with a gun barrel for a leg seeks violent revenge. The film was deliberately treated so that it looked like the cheap and violent grindhouse flicks that Tarantino had enjoyed as a sprog. As the woman fights her way through the bad guys’ lair, the band plays on various TV screens, hair slicked back and wearing suits like Headroom, but with the addition of X-Ray specs style goggles. They are cut so they have the same jumpy movements as Headroom, while behind them are computer generated landscapes. Very 1980s computer generated landscapes. I was a real fan of Max Headroom all those years ago, and I think it’s brilliant that his digital self is still inspiring video directors and producers forty or so years later.

Vangelis’ Theme from Carl Sagan’s ‘Cosmos’

September 10, 2022

Here’s something which I hope will be a bit lighter after the last two day’s solemnity. It’s a video of the theme music to the 1980s blockbuster science and space documentary series, Cosmos, presented by Carl Sagan, which I’ve taken from Nedsrubiquitous’ channel on YouTube. Cosmos was one of the great space and science fact shows of the 1980s, and its accompanying book became a bestseller. Sagan himself was a Humanist and an opponent of militarism, imperialism and nuclear weapons, as well as sexism and racism. Later in the decade he presented evidence to the international authorities that a nuclear war would result in a global winter that would destroy life on this planet. Well, whatever survived the nuclear holocaust, I suppose. When NASA was holding its inquiry into the causes of the Challenger disaster, Sagan stated that the design of the Space Shuttle had been severely compromised in the interests of the military. He said that initially the Shuttle was to be smaller and completely reusable, but the armed forces objected as they wanted something big enough to put military spy satellites into space. Hence the Shuttle was only partly reusable through the addition of a fuel tank that was jettisoned and left to burn up. He also wrote a Science Fiction book, Contact, about a female scientist who establishes contact with aliens. It was later filmed with Jodie Foster. I don’t agree with Sagan’s atheism, but he was an inspirational science communicator. I wasn’t surprised when Prof Brian Cox said that he had been inspired by Sagan, because after all the space and science series Cox had done it seemed to be glaringly obvious.

The music for the series was composed and performed by the awesome Vangelis, responsible for the theme to Chariots of Fire, The Conquest of Paradise and Blade Runner. I think the music was an important element in the show’s popularity and was one of a number of themes collected in the album Space Invaded. If I remember correctly, that is. Sagan died a few years ago of prostate cancer, but still remains one of the giants of astronomy and explaining difficult concepts to a mass audience.

The video features pictures and quotes from the man himself and NASA, as well as beautiful photographs of space and the space telescopes that capture them.

Trailer for UFO Film ‘Above Top Secret’

September 4, 2022

Here’s something that’s a bit more fun. It’s a trailer for the forthcoming UFO movie, Above Top Secret, presented by Dr. Stephen Greer with retired FBI agent John DeSouza alongside aerospace historians and others. The blurb for it on its YouTube page runs

‘We’re at a tipping point in history, the hidden technology that could change everything has been suppressed for decades. Dr. Steven Greer presents mind-blowing information along with never before seen access into the crusade behind disclosure. Retired FBI special agent John Desouza, Aerospace Historians James C, Goodall along with Michael Schratt breakdown the implications of the cover-up, and the false UFO narrative created by the major media. How much does the President of the United States really know about the UFO phenomenon, and the Above Top Secret projects involved with exotic technology? Billy Carson presents the real motivation behind the major media, and the U.S. Military role out of the UAP phenomenon. Multi award filmmakers Blake and Brent Cousins travel across the country to find the real answers to everyone’s questions whether we are alone in the universe, and expose the above top secret projects involved with ET recovered craft not of this world. Is they’re an Alien threat among us, or is the real threat human in nature? Above Top Secret the technology behind disclosure will change the way you think about UFOs, and the world of suppressed technology. Cast: Dr. Steven Greer, James Goodall, John Desouza, Billy Carson, Michael Schratt, Brent Cousins, Blake Cousins.’

The people featured in the trailer claim that the American government and aerospace industry are creating radical new air- and spacecraft using technology taken from crashed UFO, such as that at Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. These have given scientific secrets such as Zero Point energy and gravitics, and that the spacecraft are thought actuated, moving through the ‘thought field’. The American government is also responsible for pushing a non-existent alien threat.

It looks fun, but I’m sceptical of all of this. The title seems to come from Tim Good’s book published in the 1980s, which contained all the conspiracy theory rubbish about alien abductions, the Majestic 12 group of scientists and senior military officers responsible for keeping it all under wraps, whose chief was called His Cerebral Phosphorescence. In short, pretty much the stuff that ended up in the X-Files in the 1990s. Good was, I believe, entirely genuine, but some of the material he published consisted of hoaxes, and misremembered or misidentified incidents. I do believe, however, that there are secret air- and spacecraft that have been developed that very much look and behave like alien spacecraft and are responsible for many UFO sightings.

Peru Using Incan Engineering to Solve Water Crisis

August 16, 2022

I found this little snippet in today’s Independent fascinating. I’m a fan, sort-of, of Frank Herbert’s classic SF epic, Dune. This is set on Arrakis, a desert planet, whose sandworms are the only known source of the drug Spice, whose mind-expanding effects allow the mutated human navigators to guide their spacecraft across the galaxy without the use of computers. The planet’s original settlers, the Fremen, use stillsuits, technological body suits that harvest water from their sweat and body fluids to produce drinkable water, enabling them to survive for weeks even in the deep desert. And the Fremen have also established a network of cisterns to gather water as part of a project to turn their arid world green.

That type of technology and engineering, used to reclaim and channel water in desert areas, fascinates me. There are ingenious machines now that collect water from the humidity in the atmosphere, to produce drinking water. Nearly 2,000 years ago, a Greek engineer created a huge moisture-gatherer in one of the ancient Greek colonies on the Black Sea to provide the town with water despite the absence of rain or rivers. Now, according to the Independent, Peruvian engineers are renovating the ancient system of canals the Incas used to irrigate their land. The article by Samuel Webb, ‘Ancient Incan technology being used to harvest water to combat Peru’s crisis’, begins

Techniques used by servants of the Inca empire to build canals 500 years ago are being resurrected in Peru to funnel much-needed water to remote mountain communities and the city of Lima below.

Gregorio Rios, 74, oversaw the renovation of the vast network of canals above San Pedro de Casta, a town 3,000 metres above sea level in the South American country’s Huarochiri district.

The canals were built centuries ago by the Yapani ethnic group, using clay and rocks ingeniously compressed over a long period of time.

The local municipality previously used concrete to build new modern canals, but it stifled plant growth, affecting the local ecosystem, and crumbled after just 10 years.

The Yapani canals, by contrast, are more than 500 years old. New canals built with the ancient techniques could last for more than 100 years if built correctly. They are also permeable, so the water is filtered and plant roots help anchor the structure in place.

Mr Rios, whose work is supported by Warwickshire-based charity Practical Action, said: “Our ancestors built the canals with rock and clay. That knowledge is being lost and it’s in our interest to recover it.

“We have got to take control of the management of water for the crops. This is all being done thanks to the knowledge of our ancestors.”

See: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/ancient-incan-technology-being-used-to-harvest-water-to-combat-peru-s-crisis/ar-AA10DXaP?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=17e09ff4479f425caad8d64f8d71ad6d

In Chile, farmers use networks of string placed across their fields to collect moisture from the sea mists for their crops despite the lack of rainfall in that part of the country.

And over in Iran and Afghanistan, there’s an ancient system of subterranean canals, the qanats, irrigating those countries deserts and arid regions.

I find it absolutely fascinating that such ancient methods and modern technology are together being used to combat the desert and the contemporary water shortage caused by climate change.

Why Did British Public Opinion Turn Against the Empire?

August 10, 2022

The British empire and its history is once again the topic of intense controversy with claims that its responsible for racism, the continuing poverty and lack of development of Commonwealth nations and calls for the decolonisation of British museums and the educational curriculum. On the internet news page just this morning is a report that Tom Daley has claimed that homophobia is a legacy of the British empire. He has a point, as when the British government was reforming the Jamaican legal code in the late 19th century, one of the clauses they inserted criminalised homosexuality.,

In fact this is just the latest wave of controversy and debate over the empire and its legacy. There were similar debates in the ’90s and in the early years of this century. And the right regularly laments popular hostility to British imperialism. For right-wing commenters like Niall Ferguson and the Black American Conservative economist Thomas Sowell, British imperialism also had positive benefits in spreading democracy, property rights, properly administered law and modern technology and industrial organisation around the world. These are fair points, and it must be said that neither of these two writers ignore the fact that terrible atrocities were committed under British imperialism either. Sowell states that the enforced labour imposed on indigenous Africans was bitterly resented and that casualties among African porters could be extremely high.

But I got the impression that at the level of the Heil, there’s a nostalgia for the empire as something deeply integral to British identity and that hostility or indifference to it counts as a serious lack of patriotism.

But what did turn popular British opinion against the empire, after generations when official attitudes, education and the popular media held it up as something of which Britons should be immensely proud, as extolled in music hall songs, holidays like Empire Day and books like The Baby Patriot’s ABC, looked through a few years ago by one of the Dimblebys on a history programme a few years ago.

T.O. Lloyd in his academic history book, Empire to Welfare State, connects it to a general feeling of self hatred in the early 1970s, directed not just against the empire, but also against businessmen and politicians:

”Further to the left, opinion was even less tolerant; when Heath in 1973 referred to some exploits of adroit businessmen in avoiding tax as ‘the unacceptable face of capitalism’, the phase was taken up and repeated as though he had intended it to apply to the whole of capitalism, which was certainly not what he meant.

‘Perhaps it was surprising that his remark attracted so much attention, for it was not a period in which politicians received much respect. Allowing for the demands of caricature, a good deal of the public mood was caught by the cartoons of Gerald Scarfe, who drew in a style of brilliant distortion which made it impossible to speak well of anyone. The hatred of all men holding authority that was to be seen in his work enabled him to hold up a mirror to his times, and the current of self hatred that ran so close to the surface also matched an important part of his readers’ feelings. Politicians were blamed for not bringing peace, prosperity, and happiness, even though they probably had at this time less power – because of the weakness of the British economy and the relative decline in Britain’s international position – to bring peace and prosperity than they had had earlier in the century; blaming them for this did no good, and made people happier only in the shortest of short runs.

‘A civil was in Nigeria illustrated a good many features of British life, including a hostility to the British Empire which might have made sense while the struggle for colonial freedom was going on but, after decolonization had taken place so quickly and so amicably, felt rather as though people needed something to hate.’ (pp. 420-1).

The Conservative academic historian, Jeremy Black, laments that the positive aspects of British imperialism has been lost in his book The British Empire: A History and a Debate (Farnham: Ashgate 2015):

‘Thus, the multi-faceted nature of the British imperial past and its impact has been largely lost. This was a multi-faceted nature that contributed to the pluralistic character of the empire. Instead, a politics of rejection ensures that the imperial past serves for themes and images as part of an empowerment through real, remembered, or, sometimes, constructed grievance. This approach provides not only the recovery of terrible episodes, but also ready reflexes of anger and newsworthy copy, as with the harsh treatment of rebels, rebel sympathisers , and innocent bystanders in the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya, an issue that took on new energy as demands for compensation were fuelled by revelations of harsh British policy from 2011’. (p. 235).

He also states that there’s a feeling in Britain that the empire, and now the Commonwealth, are largely irrelevant:

‘Similarly, there has been a significant change in tone and content in the discussion of the imperial past in Britain. A sense of irrelevance was captured in the Al Stewart song ‘On the Border’ (1976).

‘On my wall the colours of the map are running

From Africa the winds they talk of changes of coming

In the islands where I grew up

Noting seems the same

It’s just the patterns that remain

An empty shell.’

For most of the public, the Commonwealth has followed the empire into irrelevance. the patriotic glow that accompanied and followed the Falklands War in 1982, a war fought to regain a part of the empire inhabited by settlers of British descent, was essentially nationalistic, not imperial. This glow was not matched for the most recent, and very different, conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. These have led to a marked disinclination for further expeditionary warfare’. (pp. 421-2).

In fact the whole of the last chapter of Black’s book is about changing attitudes to the empire and the imperial past, which Black feels has been distorted. The British empire is seen through the lens of atrocities, although its rule was less harsh than the Germans or Italians. In India the view is coloured by the Amritsar massacre and ignores the long periods of peace imposed by British rule in India. He also notes that the cultural and international dominance of America has also affected British ideas of exceptionalism, distinctiveness and pride, and that interest in America has superseded interest in the other countries of the former empire.

Attitudes to the empire have also changed as Britain has become more multicultural., and states that ‘increasingly multicultural Britain sees myriad tensions and alliance in which place, ethnicity, religion, class and other factors both class and coexist. This is not an easy background for a positive depiction of the imperial past’ (p. 239). He also mentions the Parekh Report of the Commission on the Future Multi-Ethnic Britain, which ‘pressed for a sense of heritage adapted to the views of recent immigrants. This aspect of the report’ he writes, ‘very much attracted comment. At times, the consequences were somewhat fanciful and there was disproportionate emphasis both on a multi-ethnic legacy and on a positive account of it’. (p. 239). Hence the concern to rename monuments and streets connected with the imperial past, as well as making museums and other parts of the heritage sector more accessible to Black and Asians visitors and representative of their experience.

I wonder how far this lack of interest in the Commonwealth goes, at least in the immediate present following the Commonwealth games. There’s talk on the Beeb and elsewhere that it has inspired a new interest and optimism about it. And my guess is that much of popular hostility to the empire probably comes from the sympathy from parts of the British public for the various independence movements and horror at the brutality with which the government attempted to suppress some of them,, like the Mau Mau in Kenya. But it also seems to me that a powerful influence has also been the psychological link between its dissolution and general British decline, and its replacement in British popular consciousness by America. And Black and Asian immigration has also played a role. I’ve a very strong impression that some anti-imperial sentiment comes from the battles against real racism in the 1970s and 1980s. One of the Fascist organisations that founded the National Front in the 1960s was the League of Empire Loyalists.

This popular critique on British imperialism was a part of the ‘Nemesis the Warlock’ strip in 2000AD. This was about a future in which Earth had become the centre of a brutally racist, genocidal galactic empire ruled by a quasi-religious order, the Terminators. They, and their leader, Torquemada, were based on the writer’s own experience as a pupil of an abusive teacher at a Roman Catholic school. The Terminators wore armour, and the title of their leader, grand master, recalls the crusading orders like the Knights Templars in the Middle Ages. One of the stories mentions a book, published by the Terminators to justify their cleansing of the galaxy’s aliens, Our Empire Story. Which is the title of a real book that glamorised the British empire. Elsewhere the strip described Torquemada as ‘the supreme Fascist’ and there were explicit comparisons and links between him, Hitler, extreme right-wing Tory politicos like Enoch Powell, and US generals responsible for the atrocities against the Amerindians. It’s a good question whether strips like ‘Nemesis’ shape public opinion or simply follow it. I think they may well do a bit of both.

But it seems to me that, rather than being a recent phenomenon, a popular hostility to the British empire has been around since the 1970s and that recent, radical attacks on imperial history and its legacy are in many cases simply an extension of this, rather than anything completely new.

Uri Geller Loses His Temper with the Spoon Council

August 8, 2022

This is hilarious, and nothing to do with politics. I gather that Uri Geller has raised his head again, threatening to use his psychic powers against Vladimir Putin. Or at least his spoons. I found this video from 2012 on YouTube in which the great psychic loses his temper during an interview with a man from the Spoon Council. Geller wants to talk about his great achievements, while his interviewer keeps reminding him that he became successful in Britain through appearing on TV and bending people’s spoons. Geller gets very irate at this, and throws him out, threatening to call his lawyer. But there’s a shot of his car outside, decorated with bent spoons.

Geller’s amusing, but I seriously doubt that he has any genuine psychic powers. The spoon bending trick, for example, goes back to the 18th century where it can be found in the book Rational Recreations. Which sounds like the kind of book Mr Spock would read for fun. And back in the ’70s, an Israeli judge found against him in a court case brought by a dissatisfied customer at one of his cabaret performances. Geller was at the time Israel’s foremost nightclub stage magician. He advertised his performances as showing undeniable proof of the existence of psychic powers. But an engineering student who went to one said that all he saw was stage magic, and sued. I think it was under the Israeli version of the trades descriptions act. The beak was not impressed with Geller either, and found in the student’s favour.

At his height in the ’70s Geller was working with scientific psychic researchers like Andrija Puharich. He once claimed to have teleported from Israel to the US, although someone punctured this by producing his airplane ticket. He appeared on one American TV show with one of the American astronauts, who had played golf on the Moon. Geller produced the golf ball he claimed the astronaut had hit and lost up there. And back in the ’90s the Mexican government paid him to use his psychic powers to find lost Aztec gold. He looked for it by flying about over the land of the ancient Mexica in a helicopter waving his hand out the window in the hope of getting the vibrations or whatever. Nice work if you can get it!

Back to the spoons, one of Private Eye’s spoof columns for a long time was ‘Me and My Spoon’, in which the magazine spoofed interviews with celebs and politicians with fictional interviews asking them what their opinions on spoons were. These satirical pieces usually ended with the celeb throwing a strop. Geller’s interview here seems straight out of it.

Labour Party Invite Me to Anti-Semitic Awareness Event Run by Sectarian, Fanatically Zionist Witch-Hunters Jewish Labour Movement

July 2, 2022

I got this email yesterday from Southwest Labour

‘Dear David James,

We are pleased to be inviting members in the South West to attend anti-semitism awareness training from the Jewish Labour Movement. It will take place over Zoom on Wednesday 6th July at 7pm. 

Please email’ ————–‘to register and the meeting link will be sent closer to the date.

Best wishes,

Labour South West’

I should cocoa! The very cheek! Just in case you need reminding, the Jewish Labour Movement was one of the Jewish organisations deeply involved in the witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in the Labour party for alleged ‘anti-Semitism’. I put ‘anti-Semitism’ inverted commas because these organisations, including those outside the party like the Chief Rabbinate and the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism were not, in my opinion, genuinely concerned with anti-Semitism in its true and original sense. This is a hatred of Jews, simply for being Jews, regardless of political or religious opinions on their part. I have made this point again and again on this blog, citing some of the 19th century founders and leaders of modern organised anti-Semitism in Wilhelm Marr’s Bund Antisemiten or League of Anti-Semites. The Jewish Labour Movement used to be Paole Zion, Workers of Zion, and was virtually moribund until a decade or so ago when in received an injection of cash from person or persons unknown. The Labour Party has always had Jewish members and the parliamentary party has, or used to have, slightly more than the Tories. There are a number of other Jewish organisations in the Labour party and on the left, such as Jewish Voice for Labour and the Jewish Socialist Group, not to mention Jewdas, with whom Jeremy Corbyn spent a Passover Seder. Corbyn also received strong backing from the Haredi Jews, who believe it is their duty to stay in galut, exile, until they are called back to Israel by the Messiah. In the meantime, they are to cooperate with the peoples in whose lands they reside to build better societies and to ‘pray for the health of the city’ as commanded by the Prophet in the Hebrew Bible. And I’ve no doubt there are many other Jews in the Labour party, who are not party of any Jewish organisation, because, like Dr. Jonathan Miller, they consider themselves Brits, who happen to be Jewish, and don’t want to be part of a minority.

But these Jews and their organisations are not recognised as properly Jewish and are actively opposed and maligned by the Jewish Labour Movement. The JLM’s focus, like the other organisations behind the witch-hunt, is to combat anti-Zionism and silence any criticism of Israel’s barbarous treatment of the Palestinians. And they do this by smearing their enemies as anti-Semites. And very many of their victims are Jews, which make their claims to be tackling anti-Semitism risible.

Mike was told by the Labour party that he would be allowed to remain in it after he was smeared as an anti-Semite if he attended anti-Semitism training by the JLM. Mike’s only crime was to point out that Ken Livingstone was entirely correct when he said that Adolf Hitler initially supported Zionism. He did. It was the Ha’avara Agreement, a shameful pact with the German Zionists to smuggle German Jews into British mandate Palestine. It was done as a way to cleanse Germany of Jews. The pact was short-lived, but it happened. Mike refused, as he is not and has never been and never will be an anti-Semite and attendance would have been taken as a tacit admission of guilt.

Jackie Walker is another of their victims. They secretly recorded her at workshop to discuss the best ways to commemorate the Holocaust. Holocaust Memorial Day not only commemorates the Jewish Holocaust, but also the many other genocides that have disfigured human history. Walker is a Jew by faith and blood. Her father was a Russian Jews, and so she knows from family experience more than most about real anti-Semitic persecution. Her mother was a Black American civil rights activist, and so was deeply concerned about another form of racial persecution against her people. Walker’s crime was to ask what the event would do about commemorating other holocausts, such as those against Black people. Since the great Black activist and scholar W.E.B. DuBois, many Blacks and White sympathisers have regarded the slave trade and slavery as a Black holocaust. Walker asked a decent question. But for some reason this was regarded as ‘anti-Semitic’ and she was smeared and purged.

I think most severely normal Brits are aware of the dangers of anti-Semitism. The documentaries about the Second World War and the Nazis shown on television necessarily include the Nazi persecution of the Jews and the Shoah. There have been a number of award-winning Hollywood films about the Holocaust and the heroes who rescued Jews, like Schindler’s List, which came out in the ’90s. I also remember the outrage and campaigning on the left in the 70s and 80s against the NF and BNP when they were marching about trying to get votes, and similar fears and disgust when the BNP briefly revived and its noxious leader, Nick Griffin, was invited onto Question Time. There are very many excellent books about the Holocaust, and some of the late Clive James’ best TV criticism is from the 70s when Fascist and Nazi scumbags like Oswald Mosley, Albert Speer and Baldur von Schirach were interviewed on British TV. James expertly took apart their lies and false protestations of innocence to reveal the real malignity underneath.

Part of my undergraduate course in history was on the rise of Fascist and Communist regimes in Europe, and I still have the books I bought during then. I’ve also done some reading on Fascism since then, including on its post-War varieties. I’m also interested in conspiracy theories, the most infamous of which are those about some secret Jewish conspiracy which controls both capitalism, socialism and communism to enslave the White race. These theories became prominent again in the ’90s when they were incorporated into the UFO mythology and the right-wing conspiracy theories about the Illuminati, another group who are supposed to be controlling world events, the economy and politics from behind the scenes. David Icke believed that the world is secretly run by Reptoid aliens. He caused alarm and outrage because he used quotations from the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a Tsarist anti-Semitic forgery, to support his crank ideas. Icke isn’t an anti-Semite, and genuinely seemed to believe that the world was run by extraterrestrials rather than Jews. Other UFO researchers, like the late Bill English, did the same, though when they cited the Protocols they claimed they should be read as talking about the Illuminati, rather than the Jews. Nevertheless these quotations were in danger of making the Protocols seem respectable to the point where a branch of Waterstones in one of the northern towns stocked them.

I totally accept that respectable scholars and lay people have to be very careful when it comes to some of the material on topics like the Nazis and Holocaust. Real anti-Semites and Nazis try to disguise their awful views and attempts to deny or minimise the Holocaust by setting up respectable-sounding magazines. Often they use coded language. For example, a very respectable folklorist wrote a piece in one of the urban folklore magazines back in the ’90s to tell how he’d been taken in by such tactics and to warn other to be on the guard. He had been researching tales of atrocities committed by the Germans during the First World War. He came to the conclusion that one of these, the story that the Kaiser’s troops had crucified a Canadian soldier, was bogus and may have been just allied propaganda. He was then approached by a history magazine with a respectable-sounding title, who asked him if they could reprint his article. He innocently agreed, only to find out later it was a Nazi rag. Its editors were using stories of allied propaganda to suggest that the Holocaust was also nothing but fiction. But as an American judge has ruled, the Holocaust is so well documented that its existence cannot be sanely denied. The scholar was shocked and disgusted, and so wrote the article to let others know about the deception and to be on their guard about similar tactics and approaches.

As for coded language, the believers in a world-wide conspiracy to enslave humanity talk about the globalists, the Illuminati, or the global elite. Sometimes this is innocent of anti-Semitism, and they really are talking about a secretive group of leading politicos, capitalists and so on, which isn’t some Jewish conspiracy. But sometimes it isn’t, and is code for ‘Jews’. I’ve also noticed that while Simon Webb of History Debunked isn’t an anti-Semite or anti-Zionist by any stretch of the imagination, some of his commenters do seem to be. There’s a lot of talk by them about the Great Replacement, the idea that the Jews are trying to destroy the White race with non-White immigrate. There’s also comments about ‘small hatted people’, or ‘people with small hats’, which sounds very much like its about the Jews, referring to the kippa skullcaps many observant Jews wear.

Sometimes you really do need to be careful and be informed so you’re not taken in by such language and deceit. But the Jewish Labour Movement won’t help you.

They’re concerned to discredit criticism of Israel using literary criticism and citing entirely bogus conspiracy theories about the Jews from the past. Remember when Shai Masot was caught plotting with a senior British civil servant to decide who should or shouldn’t be in the cabinet? This could rightly be called a conspiracy. But if you called it that, or described the two as plotting, you were the using an anti-Semitic trope because of all the genuinely stupid, poisonous and entirely mythical anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in the past. The same if you report the atrocities committed by the Israeli state and IDF against Palestinians, especially if they can get in a reference to the Blood Libel, that Jews sacrificed Christian children to use their blood in the matzoh bread at Passover. This vile medieval smear has been responsible for numerous anti-Semitic pogroms. However, the Israeli state now is manipulating its memory to close down reasonable criticism. When the IDF shot a Palestinian woman a few years ago, one of the respectable newspaper cartoonists produced picture of her burning in the fireplace while Netanyahu, the-then president of Israel, hobnobbed with the US president. This was promptly denounced by the Israelis as anti-Semitic, because the fire recalled the gas ovens of the Holocaust. Similarly, when Gerald Scarfe drew a cartoon of the Israelis building their wretched wall to keep the Palestinians out using Arab blood, the Israelis again demanded a retraction and an apology because the blood supposedly referred to the infamous Blood Libel. And so another piece of entirely reasoned, reasonable and absolutely not anti-Semitic criticism and comment was again silenced. And this is what the Jewish Labour Movement also does in its events about anti-Semitism. They have nothing to do with making people genuinely aware of the threat of anti-Semitism and the way it is coded. They are all about discrediting justifiable criticism of Israel through using literary devices to make them apparently connected to past anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and innuendo.

I have absolutely no intention of going to this monstrous charade. If I want information and guidance on genuine anti-Semitism, I’d try to consult the JLM’s Jewish victims – Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Martin Odoni and others, self-respecting decent people, who have been smeared by the anti-Semitism witch-hunters as self-hating. Even though these people are Jewish and have fought against anti-Semitism and other forms of racism. Or I would contact Marc Wadsworth, the Black anti-racism activist. He was smeared as an anti-Semite, again using literary tropes, because he caught a Jewish Labour MP passing on a party brochure to a Torygraph hack. Oh, it was the trope of the disloyal Jew, they claimed. This was despite the fact that Wadsworth didn’t know the politico was Jewish, and had in the 1980s worked with the Board of Deputies about passing legislation to protect Jews against genuine anti-Semitic violence by the NF or BNP. Or I’d go to someone like Mike, who can tell fact from fiction, well-researches his stories and who was asked by a Jewish friend at College to be one of the readers in her performance commemorating the Holocaust’s victims.

All of the above have a far better understanding of anti-Semitism, or a more honest one than the Jewish Labour Movement and its highly ideological, distorted view of what counts as Jew hatred.

I’ve said it before: Judaism is a religion. The Jews are a people. Zionism is an ideology. Israel is a state. Judaism and its people are not synonymous with the modern state of Israel. Under a free society, all ideologies should be able to be examined and criticised, including Zionism. States can and do commit horrible atrocities, for which they should criticised. Israel should not be an exception merely because its people are Jews. Only hatred of Jews, simply for being Jews, should count as anti-Semitism.

Fight racism! Fight anti-Semitism! And don’t be taken in by bogus propaganda like that of the Jewish Labour Movement.