Posts Tagged ‘Bertolt Brecht’

Huff Post’s Satirical Song: Farage the Snowman

December 17, 2014

Farage Snowman

I found this highly amusing, and very seasonal song about UKIP’s Fuehrer posted on the We’re Still Laughing at the United Kingdom Independence Party Slatukip page on Facebook. It’s from the Huffington Post, and is a bitter attack on Farage and his party’s racism, done very much as the kind of jolly Christmas jingle popular in the 1970s. It opens with the words

Farage the Snowman
Was a jolly happy soul
With a full strength tab
And a runny nose,
and a heart as black as coal.

Farage the Snowman,
Was a vile as he could be
Says we don’t need a fair society
If we just blame refugees.

It’s entitled ‘Farage The Snowman’ Is Our Christmas Message For Ukippers, and it’s at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/12/16/farage-the-snowman_n_6332170.html?utm_hp_ref=tw. Go there if you want a good laugh and enjoy the kind of satirical song that has real bite. We don’t have Brecht and Weil writing cabaret songs about the Nazis, but this is pretty much the modern equivalent.

Coalition Priorities: War before the Poor

December 17, 2014

War poor poster

This picture was posted on The Poor Side of Life’s post about the Ashton-Under-Lyne sanctioning a pregnant woman, simply for being pregnant, and the death of a homeless man from cold on the streets after he’d had his benefit removed by them. It’s entitled, Pregnant and sanctioned just in time for christmas… Sanctioned and frozen to death….The latest news from Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre, and is at http://thepoorsideoflife.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/pregnant-and-sanctioned-just-in-time-for-christmas-sanctioned-and-frozen-to-death-the-latest-news-from-ashton-under-lyne-jobcentre/. As the article makes clear, The Poor Side of Life is part of a group that actively demonstrates outside the jobcentre, and I’m assuming that’s one of their posters.

It does, however, show the priorities of the government, both Blair’s and now Cameron’s. The government supported Bush’s invasion of Iraq as they saw it as a cynical opportunity to seize Iraq’s resources – its state industries, which would be privatised and sold to Western, chiefly American companies. Bush was particularly keen to control of Iraq’s oil industry, as the country is believed to have the largest oil reserves outside Saudi Arabia. And the Neo-Cons saw it as an opportunity to turn Iraq into their low tax, free trade, minimal state utopia. Well, they succeeded, with the result that every other country in the world dumped their goods in Iraq. The result has been that the country’s own native industries have gone bankrupt due to their inability to compete, and unemployment reached 60 per cent. With that kind of economic devastation, it isn’t surprising that sectarian and ethnic conflicts and terrorism has become acute.

But states have always placed a very high priority on military power. Much of American politics is funded, one way or the other, by the defence industries, who fund the election campaigns of individual politicians in return for lucrative government contracts. It’s been responsible for a lot of the ‘pork barrel’ politics in the US, and firms the core of the military-industrial complex.

Over here, the aristocracy always has been heavily connected with the armed forces since the Middle Ages, when the nobility truly were a warrior elite. Before the reforms of the 19th century and the introduction of competitive exams, which Gilbert and Sullivan parodied with their ditty, ‘I am the very model of a modern major-general’, commissions were bought, and the officer corps were almost overwhelmingly drawn from the upper classes. Even now, my guess is that despite a scandal in the 1980s when one major drew attention to how heavily upper class the officer elite were, the upper ranks of the armed forces is still very much the preserve of the aristocracy. Despite the current cuts to the armed forces, which have left the full time army almost decimated, war and military leadership still form part and parcel of the public school, aristocratic outlook.

In Britain’s case, this has been compounded by several decades of Tory and then Labour policy under Blair, in which arms exports were heavily promoted by the British government, partly through ministers’ own connections with the merchants of death, but also as a way to break in to foreign markets. It was believed that if foreign nations bought British weapons, they would open up to other, more peaceful goods. This has not happened. The countries that buy our guns, tanks and planes buy only those, and not buses, cement or whatever.

And as Bertolt Brecht remarked in his play, Mother Courage, ‘War is good for business’.

The poor count for little. Their lack of any kind of economic or political power, plus the fact that Neo-Liberal orthodoxy considers poverty to be the person’s own fault, not that of society, means that the Tories and their Lib Dem enablers feel they can safely ignore or persecute them.

And so we are back to the same view as Heinrich Himmler, or was it Hermann Goring?, who said, ‘Guns will make us powerful. Butter will make us fat.’

Nigel Farage and Clyde the Orangutan: Who Would Make a Better Job of Sorting Out UKIP?

January 28, 2014

NigelFarage

UKIP Supremo Nigel Farage: Sound Policies for a Happier Britain

UKIP is once more in the news. After a series of scandals by UKIP councillors and politicians, Nigel Farage has responded with a few scathing comments on his party’s membership. In an interview with the Times today (28th January 2014), Farage declared that the ‘wrong kind of people are in UKIP’ and urged the party not to elect Walter Mittys. This follows a series of highly offensive comments by UKIP councillors, such as asking a group of children from care homes how it feels to be ‘takers from society’. If that weren’t enough, another stalwart of the party of Eurosceptics declared that the recent floods in Somerset was God’s punishment for gay marriage. This last comment produced mixed cries of scorn and amusement all over the country. A female friend of mine told me that one of her gay friends had said about this prize piece of Right-wing idiocy, ‘They’re blaming me for the floods! I’ve never had such power before!’

In fact, this particular attitude to the floods is pretty much in line with some of the more ridiculous comments about pro-gay movements and legislation that have come out of the American Right over the past few decades. Way back in the 1990s Private Eye in their ‘Funny Old World’ column printed a piece from one of the local American papers covering Jerry Falwell’s attack on a gay pride march in Orlando, Florida. This most notorious of the Right-wing televangelists attacked the planned march with the statement that if the gay community continued ‘shaking their fists’ at the Almighty, then He would punish them with an earthquake, tsunami or perhaps even wipe the place out with an asteroid. The paper then asked the Bishop of Florida for his comment on Falwell’s diatribe. This man of God put the religious situation in his city into a broader perspective. Overall, he declared, ‘Orlando was a pretty god-fearing place. You’d think if he was going to wipe anywhere out, He’d start with Vegas’.

Yesterday the news revealed that one of UKIP’s MEPs for Somerset had the worst voting record in the European parliament. In a TV interview, the politico acknowledged in response to one of the questions put to him, that the allowance paid to him for attending the sessions were a factor in his turning up at sessions at all, thus adding idleness and venality to the party’s record of bigotry and contempt for the poor and vulnerable.

Hence Farage’s comments about the party having the wrong people in it.

This is a bit rich coming Farage. It reminds me of the proverb ‘A fish rots from the neck down’. Going further back a decade or so ago, Farage himself was also several time in Private Eye himself, after he was spotted having lunch with ‘Nasty’ Nick Griffin of the BNP. Farage has always tried to distance his party from racism and xenophobia, not entirely successfully, so perhaps the two were instead not discussing the politics of race, but the expanding power of the centralist state and the growing threat of Bolshevism in British society.

In fact, Farage’s remarks about his own people strongly reminds me of a comment the Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht made about the East German authorities’ absolute contempt for their own people. There had been a popular uprising, and Honegger, or whoever was in charge at the time, responded by sending in the tanks. The man responsible for such masterpieces of Weimar theatre as Mother Courage, The Caucasian Chalk Circle and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui drily remarked, ‘The politburo has unanimously decided to dissolve the people and elect another’.

It also parallels another disparaging comment by an exasperated leader on the quality of his on a rather less elevated cultural level: ‘Clint Eastwood’s Any Which Way But Loose. In this flick, Eastwood stars as a trucker, who falls foul of an outlaw biker gang. After a fight in which the motorcycle maniacs are thoroughly done over by the star of Dirty Harry and his orang-utan companion, Clyde, their leader cries in despair ‘Oh, Lord! Other men you made of clay! Why did you make mine of sh*t!’ It’s a question Farage is clearly asking himself today, though with a less earthy vocabulary. Perhaps he should be a bit stricter in who the party recruits, and needs a better PR department. All the party’s now have extensive spin machines and press officers. Maggie, of course, had Bernard Ingham. From the way UKIP’s politicos act, I think Clyde would be a better choice for them. After all, in the film he had an excellent sense of humour, charisma, and never said anything embarrassing, unlike UKIP’s hordes of blunt Right-wingers.

clyde Eastwood

Clyde the orang-utan expressing his penetrating analysis of UKIP’s grasp of EU economics and the question of the Britain’s position within it during filming with Clint Eastwood.