Posts Tagged ‘Private Eye’

The Pretentious Prose of David Evans

August 13, 2022

I found this prize extract from a speech from the New Labour general secretary in Private Eye’s ‘Pseud’s Corner’ for 2nd – 16th September 2021.

‘… Labour will work ‘collaboratively’ in ‘multidisciplinary teams'[, which will ‘adopt a product-mindset using agile ceremonies, be empowered to make decisions and encouraged to focus on protyping, deployment and iteration.’

Labour List reporting on presentation made by the party’s general secretary DAVID EVANS’.

There used to be an award, the Gobbledygood Award, for awful writing of this sort. They were giving prizes for the worst examples of incomprehensible and meaningless verbiage in order to encourage organizations to writer more clearly. This extract says so much about the general mindset of New Labour. It uttered management-speak claptrap in order to make itself sound dynamic, language that had absolutely no connection to ordinary people and their fears and aspirations. Pretty much like New Labour itself.

Liz Truss Member of Pro-Privatisation Organisation against the NHS

August 10, 2022

Bog-eyed, pork and cheese promoting Brexiteer Liz Truss is this fortnight’s issue of Private Eye, dated 12th-25th of August 2022. And as any fule kno, that ain’t good. The satirical magazine has revealed she’s a member of a bonkers free trade organisation which wishes to have the NHS privatised and its funding replaced by social insurance, like what they have on the continent. The snippet about this, on page 9 of Ian Hislop’s mighty organ, runs

Health Threat

Would-be leader Liz Truss has offered little on how she would fix the crixix in the NHS, beyond soundbites on cutting management and installing a “strong” health secretary and withdrawing plans to “level down” health workers’ pay in regional rates.

Nor has she mentioned to the Tory faithful that she is on a six-strong board of parliamentary supporters for the obscure think-tank, 1828. Its mission? To “champion freedom and make the case for free markets and limited government.

1828’s advisory board includes Eurosceptic Julian Knight, climate “luke-warmer” Matt Ridley and other assorted right-wingers, including former Ukipper Douglas Carswell. In 2019 it published a “Neoliberal Manifesto for a freer and more prosperous Britain”. But for whom? Its health chapter condemns the NHS record as “deplorable” while ignoring years of Tory government underfundiing, and calls for “far-reaching reforms” – ie a new social health insurance scheme, ,similar to that used in “Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Israel, among others”.

In 2020 Truss said: “1828 is huge part of what’s happening to the right of politics, where a lot of new ideas are coming to fruition. There will always be a need to fight for the forces of freedom.” Is an expansion of NHS plc on her not-so-hidden agenda?’

It certainly looks like it, which is why she, nor Sunak nor indeed any other Tory should be allowed anywhere near the NHS.

Tories very definitely out!

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.

Saudi Arabia Plans 500 Metre Tall, 170 Km Long Mega-Skyscraper. Where’s Judge Dredd

July 27, 2022

Here’s a bit of light relief. Just this evening the internet news page put up a piece from Sky News, reporting that the Saudis are planning a massive megastructure called the Line. It’s going to be 170 km long by 1/2 km tall, for 9 million residents, all occupying separate communities. And their needs will be catered to by autonomous services, run by AI. The article begins

‘Revolution in civilisation’: Saudi Arabia previews 170km mirrored skyscraper offering ‘autonomous’ services

If it was the opening sequence of a science fiction movie, few would be surprised.

In a glossy video narrated by an American voiceover artist, Saudi Arabia has previewed The Line, a 170km long skyscraper standing 500m tall – higher than New York’s Empire State Building.

It is designed for nine million residents living in a “series of unique communities”.

Residents will have access to “all their daily needs” in “five-minute walk neighbourhoods”.

“Autonomous” services are being promised through the use of artificial intelligence, in what is being described as a “revolution in civilisation”.

The 200m wide linear structure, to be clad in mirrored glass, is the desert kingdom’s attempt to create a “healthier, more sustainable quality of life” with communities “organised in three dimensions” – as opposed to traditional cities which it says are “dysfunctional and polluted” and “ignore nature”.

Another video shows the resident of a grey urban jungle escaping to The Line, which is portrayed as an oasis.

To be built in the country’s northwest, it is planned to cover 34 square kilometres and travel from end to end is expected to take just 20 minutes.

There will be “no need for cars” and carbon emissions will be zero, the country said.

Energy and water supplies are described as “100% renewable”.

Inside, there will be a “year-round temperate micro climate with natural ventilation”.

The futuristic project is part of NEOM, a $500bn economic zone expected to be partly financed through a flotation expected in 2024.

NEOM was announced in 2017 as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 reform plan which is intended to help diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy away from oil.’

See the article by Andy Hayes athttps://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/revolution-in-civilisation-saudi-arabia-previews-170km-mirrored-skyscraper-offering-autonomous-services/ar-AAZZFXB?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=b5213d7d2e414ce0b7e4564c3eadcbb4

Okay, we’ve heard this stuff before Way back in the ’50s or 60s there were plans to construct a similar habitat, 50 miles or so long, stretching across America. There were also plans to enclose New York, or at least Manhattan beneath a giant geodesic dome. There have also been plans by the Japanese to build similar megastructures right out in Tokyo bay. These would also be ultra-high tech, and be built by robots, as shown in documentary about it on Channel 4 some time either in the ’90s or the early part of this century. And there were even plans to create an enclosed city in the Canadian arctic. This would shelter from the elements under a protective dome, in which its citizens would enjoy a mild climate despite the snow and ice floes outside. It would even have a moving artificial sun to give the illusion of daylight at temperate latitudes during the long, arctic winter.

The Lower Manhattan Expressway Project: a predecessor to Saudi Arabia’s the Line? From Reyner Banham, Megastructures: Urban Futures of the Recent Past (New York: Monacelli Press 2020) 19.

None of this was every built. They were far too ambitious, both financially and technologically. And I foresee that this will go the same way.

Which may not be a bad thing, as it really does remind me of various pieces of SF literature: Judge Dredd and J.G. Ballard’s dystopias, particularly High Rise.

In the long running 2000AD strip, Dredd is a member of the autocratic police force, the judges, trying to enforce law and order in Mega City 1. This is a gigantic city of massive tower blocks stretching across the entire east coast of America from the Canadian border down to Florida. On the other side of the continent is Mega City 2, while down south is Texas City. This hasn’t quite reached mega city status as it doesn’t have a billion inhabitants. Between them are the Cursed Earth, a radiation desert full of lawlessness, inhabited by mutants, created by the nuclear that destroyed America and democracy and which led to the rise of the judges. The city has a 95 per cent plus unemployment rate caused by massive automation. Crime is rampant with the judges trying to keep a lid on things.

It’s grim vision of the future but one with a sharp, satirical sense of humour. One of the strip’s writers and creators described Mega City One as a gigantic black comedy. Which it is, as the strip sent up contemporary pop music with inane rock bands like New Juves on the Block (a slight resemblance to New Kids on the Block, an ’80s band?), weird fashions, and totally bonkers game shows. In one of the very early Dredd strips, contestants were literally betting their lives. It’s satire, but the Russians nearly got there for real. After Communism fell, one of the Russian TV stations ran a game show in which contestants had to steal a car. For real. There were real cops chasing them. If the contestant escaped, the car was his. if they caught him, he really did go to the slammer. In another Dredd strip, they sent up World of Sport on ITV and some of the adverts then running on British television. The good lawman had landed on a planet inhabited by 12 different alien races, all of whom were at war, which was broadcast on their television as a form of entertainment. Among the adverts spoofed was one for the chocolate bar, Bounty. The real advert featured a group of young people running on to a desert isle while the voiceover announced ‘They came in search of paradise’. The parody advert had the same scene, but with aliens, followed by the line ‘they found – landmines’, accompanied by explosions and the slogan ‘protect your waterhole with Brax. Brax wipes them out – dead’. It was this sharp, satirical edge that has made Dredd and 2000AD one of the great British comics for nearly the last 50 years.

And added to all this mayhem and criminality, the occupants of the various mega blocks would develop block mania, a fanatical devotion to their own block, and start a war with the neighbouring blocks. Saudi Arabia’s the Line sounds like something of a trial run for all that craziness.

The future of urban civilisation? Dredd out looking for perps and muties from the cover of 2000AD Prog 409.

It also reminds me more than a little of Ballard’s works. Ballard was a member of Michael Moorcock’s team on the British SF magazine, New Worlds. This deliberately set out to break the established conventions of science fiction at the time. It was highly controversial, spurring a debate about its obscenity or otherwise in parliament in the 1970s. And Ballard was one of the writers shocking and provoking. His novellas were published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson, but Weidenfeld didn’t read them and so had no idea of just what kind of a literary monster he was publishing. That is, he didn’t, until one day he was in New York and went browsing on one of the news stands. Flicking through one of the magazines he found a piece by Ballard entitled ‘I Want To F**k Ronald Reagan’. This was in the 60s, nearly two decades before the former actor became president. A shocked Weidenfeld then sent a telegram to his secretary and staff in London saying ‘Do not publish!’

Ballard was also responsible for the novel Crash, about a secret society of perverts who get their jollies from car accidents. This was filmed in the ’90s by the Canadian film director, David Cronenberg, to the massive outrage of the Heil, which immediately started a campaign to have it banned. In the end it flopped, but nevertheless did get critical acclaim from some parts of the SF community.

Much of Ballard’s fiction takes place in enclosed, ultra-modern communities. There, life has become so anodyne and boring that the corporate powers running these communities deliberately stage murders, violent crime and rape in order to stimulate their bored drones and give them something to live for. One of these dystopian novellas was High Rise, about a cutting edge skyscraper. In it, the rich lived at the top, and the poor lower down at the bottom. However, civilisation begins to break down so that society in the tower block takes on the class antagonism of outside society. This leads to real, physical class conflict and violence. It was filmed a few years ago, but I’m not sure how many people saw it.

Trailer for the film High Rise, starring Tom Hiddleston with Jeremy Irons and based on the novel by J.G. Ballard. From the StudioCanal channel on YouTube.

In real life, Ballard was boringly normal. He stayed at home, writing and caring for his wife, while taking his children to school. Despite his grim fiction, he was horrified by the war in Bosnia and the dangerous way the conflict promoted psychopathic violence as people struggled to survive. Visitors were often surprised by the fact that he wasn’t what Private Eye used to call ‘a wild-eyed dement’ straight from one of his novels.

Ballard, unfortunately, is no longer with us, having passed away a few years ago. He gained critical acclaim for his novel Empire of the Sun, based on his experiences as a child growing up in a Japanese POW camp following their capture of Shanghai. It was filmed by Steven Spielberg. and garnered a number of Oscars, just as the previous film adaptation of his work, Crash, didn’t.

But I’ve got a feeling that if the Line is ever built, it’s going to be far more like Mega City 1 and High Rise than any other SF utopia.

And the desert in which the Line is set even looks a bit like Dredd’s Cursed Earth.

So, can we expect crime, violence, mutants, block wars and perps getting thirty years in an iso-cube? And will Saudi Arabia suffer the attentions of the Dark Judges – Fear, Fire, Death and Mortis – come to kill everyone on Earth. Because all crime is committed by the living.

Toby Young on the Free Speech Union and Legislation Needed to Protect Free Speech

July 26, 2022

I am very definitely not a fan of Toby Young. He’s a very right-wing Tory with nasty eugenicist views. I think he’s part of the Spectator crew and something of a sleazeball, as Hill Street Blues’ officer Mick Belcher would describe him. If memory serves me right, he was one of the people behind a proposed free university, which collapsed a few years ago. Tweezer appointed him to the body that’s supposed to represent Britain’s students, despite the fact that it’s been at least a couple of decades since he was one. He got into Private Eye a few years ago for attending a eugenics conference at one of the London universities. Along with him were members of various American far right groups, who believed that race really did define intelligence and Blacks were biologically less bright than the rest of us. They also weren’t in favour of the welfare state, for the old, old reason that it’s a waste a money supporting people who can’t fend for themselves. In other words, some of the people there could be reasonably described as Nazis.

And his attitude to women leaves much to be desired. A few years ago he managed to cause mass disgust on Twitter or one of the social media platforms by describing how he watched female MPs on TV, commenting on their busts. Back in the 90s he wrote a piece for GQ about how he had been a ‘lesbian for a day’. He then revealed in the article that he’d dressed up in drag and then decided to go trolling through New York’s lesbian bars looking for a snog. He had successfully passed himself off as gay woman in two of them, before he was discovered in a third and had to beat a hasty retreat. Or been thrown out. Whatever. This is the kind of antics many lesbians are complaining about from trans-identified men, or possibly straight men claiming to be trans. They object to clearly biological men demanding romance or sex from them because they claim to be trans. There have been transwomen giving presentations on ‘Breaking the cotton ceiling’, which means getting into lesbians’ cotton underwear. Graham Linehan, formerly the writer behind Father Ted and now an anti-Trans activist, has remarked that one of the lesbian dating sites is actually full of bearded men, who are about as feminine as he is, all claiming to be trans. Well, Tobes tried this trick decades ago. But I wouldn’t like to see him as any kind of trans pioneer.

But his Free Speech Union does have a point.

Young and the others set this up to protect people from persecution because of their views. These are mostly individuals, whose views or comments are deemed offensive because of racism, sexism, homophobia or anti-trans. He appeared on a video on GB News talking about the work the Free Speech Union had done defending two such individuals. One was a railway worker, who’d been sacked because of a comment he’d posted on social media. He lived in one of the towns up north with a large Muslim community. After the lockdown was lifted, he posted that it was a relief no longer having to live in an alcohol-free Muslim caliphate. Someone complained to the company, and he was sacked. The Free Speech Union, however, took up his case, and an industrial tribunal declared in his favour that he was a victim of unfair dismissal and awarded him damages. The second case was a Christian woman, who offended woke sensibilities by stating that the Christian ideal of marriage should be the heterosexual one of a man and woman. Now I’d say that this was perfectly correct and normal, and that holding such a view doesn’t mean that you automatically hate gays or people in same-sex marriages. I’m absolutely sure you can hold such a traditional view of marriage, while recognising that gays also have the right to marry and for their marriages to be respected. But this traditional view was too much for someone, and she suffered because of it.

Now I realise that many people do disagree with these views, and particularly with the railway worker’s comments. It is islamophobic. But that’s the point. For free speech to mean anything, it has to include offensive or unpleasant speech. Free speech that only permits approved speech whether by the authorities or the populace, is no such thing. I’m not a free speech absolutist. There have to be limits, which in my opinion includes holocaust denial, the promotion of paedophilia or which urges people to commit other crimes, like incitement to riot. I’d also include real incitement to racial hatred, though my fear is that such reasonable legislation has been broadened too far to include comments which someone simply finds offensive, rather than which genuinely threatens the safety of Blacks and other people of colour. The guy’s remark is offensive and tasteless but not, I think, really worth his job.

Young explained that the Union would like to pass legislation protecting people from being sacked for their views, if they expressed them as private individuals and not as work or representatives of a company or organisation. He also talked about getting the trade unions to back such legislation, considering that the trade unions were founded to protect workers talking about their companies’ pay and conditions. Well, it was a bit more than that. They were founded to fight for workers’ pay and conditions, but yes, opposing victimisation for one’s views is part of that.

He also proposed having a two-year limit on what could be used to attack someone from their web history. Here I definitely agree with him. There have been a number of cases where politicos, celebrities and ordinary mortals have been embroiled in scandals because of something they said online a few years ago, sometimes when they were much younger. Quite often it’s people, who’ve said something unpleasant or bigoted about people from ethnic minorities and gays, sometimes when they were very young. Private Eye has done this several times. Quite often they’ve printed pieces showing that whatever such a politician, industrialist or media figure thinks now, back in the day he or she had very different views. Sometimes very far back, like in the ’80s or ’90s. People change, and don’t necessarily hold the same views they had when they were in their teens or twenties.

But another reason I’m prepared to give such legislation my approval is because it might stop some of the persecution by the witch hunters. The stock in trade of persecutory groups like the woefully misnamed Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and David Collier and the GnasherJew troll farm is going through their targets’ internet history looking for anything they can misrepresent as anti-Semitism. They’ve done it to a lot of people, many of them Jews and firm opponents of anti-Semitism. They did it to the great Jackie Walker, a self-respecting Jew by faith and blood and a very committed anti-racist activist. Jackie had been discussing the involvement of Jewish financiers – who she explicitly stated were members of her own people – in the slave trade. This is historic fact, and Jackie, as a proper historian and academic, has produced an enormous amount of mainstream scholarship by respected and respectable historians to support it. She has also made the obvious point that these financiers were working for Christian, European kings and states, with whom the ultimate responsibility lies. Again, perfectly correct. But she left out a word, which allowed the CAAS to misrepresent her grotesquely as an anti-Semite. That, and the Jewish Labour Movement secretly recording some of her perfectly reasonable comments about commemorating other groups’ holocausts, like the slave trade, during a workshop on commemorating the Holocaust, has led to her being expelled from the Labour party and receiving the most horrific abuse.

Another victim of the witch hunters was a perfectly innocent Jewish lady in Devon. She was mentioned in an online film Mike and other Corbyn-supporting peeps appeared on promoting a documentary refuting the accusation that Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite. That film opened with a group of venerable rabbis in long beards, dark coats and broad-brimmed hats stating very clearly that Corbyn was no such thing. Many of the speakers, including Mike himself, were victims of the witch hunt and what looks to yours truly as gross libel. One of these wretched witch hunting groups had posted a map of the locations of anti-Semites, and this lady and her address were on it. As a result, she not only received abuse but her car was firebombed.

This is what is called ‘stochastic terrorism’.

This is the name given to the type of online activism when someone deliberately posts comments that will rile people up against a particular group or individual to the point where they may physically attack them. But the remarks that provoke and encourage the assault are carefully phrased so that the person making them can always disavow responsibility: ‘T’wasn’t anything I said, your honour. It’s nothing to do with me and I didn’t intend anything like it should happen.’ Except, of course, they did. As in my view was the case with this lady.

Toby Young is a Tory with deeply unpleasant views. But I do think the Free Speech Union has a point and deserves support.

Especially if it prevents malign witch hunters doxing innocent people, leading to attacks on them and their property.

Tory Comedian Gets Frightened by Prospect of the Return of Corbyn

July 26, 2022

I found another highly amusing video from GB News on YouTube the other day. It was so amusing I didn’t watch it, but just enjoyed its title. Because it was about the Scots comedian, Leo Kearse, getting terribly ‘frit’ as Thatcher would have said, about the possibility that Jeremy Corbyn might make a bid to be mayor of London.

If only.

This seems to follow a story in the Depress which came up on my internet news page last week, reporting that Corbyn’s supporters were urging him to try to return as party leader or something. It wasn’t clear quite what, but obviously all good, virtuous right-wingers who hate Mayor Sadiq Khan because he’s some horrible anti-White, anti-British leftie Muslim supremacist are also alarmed that Corbyn might try for the job. And evening more frightening, he might just get in.

Kearse himself has appeared on a number of right-wing media and news outlets. He’s been a regular guest on the Lotus Eaters and GB News, where he frequently appears on a spot where they analyse what the papers are saying. Sometimes there’s a point to what he’s saying, such as when he appeared in mock Nazi uniform as a representative of the ‘Love’ party to confront Scots minister Humza Yusuf. Yusuf and the SNP had passed legislation banning hate speech, but the boundaries of the law were set so wide, and the types of individual and groups so numerous, that Kearse and others took it as an assault on free speech. They saw it as totalitarian, and hence Kearse turned up as a Nazi to protest it. He marched around, stating that no-one could possibly object to what he and the ‘Love’ party stood for, because they represented love. Of course, the Love party didn’t exist, and this was a piece of satire directed against Yusuf and the SNP. Whatever you feel about the intention of the act – and I doubt very many decent people really want to tolerate abuse aimed at people simply because of their sex, gender identity, race, religion, sexuality, or disability, I do think he had a point in that legislating against hate speech really does threaten free speech. There’s the question of who defines what hate speech is, and that reasonable discussion and criticism of vital issues is limited and curtailed by well-,meant, but badly framed laws.

He also had a point when he attacked the Scottish university and its students, who had a young student of international law disciplined and attacked because she dared to question whether transwomen were women and stated that sex and gender were defined and based on biology. It might not be a point of view that the pro-trans lobby agrees with, but it is a reasonable one, and in my view, not bigoted, but simply common sense. Her freedom of speech and belief should have been protected, and I think that Kearse was right to defend her and mock the academics and students who tried to make her life a misery.

At other times Kearse is just boorish. He had some kind of debate on GB News with a young, feminist comedian, Smurthwaite. I forgotten what the subject of the debate was, but he peppered whatever he was saying about the topic with gibes about how nobody watches women’s football. It’s almost certainly true that the audience figures for the women’s game are lower than the men’s, but some of that is probably because it’s only within the past decade or so that the women’s game has been a broadcast sport on British television. It really took off in Italy back in the 1980s, when women’s games, according to a Beeb documentary, attracted crowds of 30-40,000. Also, the size of the viewing audience doesn’t actually say anything about the quality of the game itself. When women’s football began being broadcast, Private Eye’s TV critic remarked that the quality of the football was just as good, but with fewer ponytails. Other people have commented that while women don’t have the same physical power as men, they make up for it in being more skilled. Another comment I’ve heard is that they play a better game ’cause there’s less showing off. Having seen some prize examples of this during previous World Cups, I can believe it.

Eventually, Smurthwaite allowed that people weren’t watching women’s football, at which point Kearse cried exultantly, ‘At last, some truth!’ Which isn’t an argument, just boorish needling and sneering.

I’ve got a feeling that Kearse, like the Lotus Eaters and the rest of the lamestream media, including Private Eye, believes that Corbyn really is an anti-Semite and ‘far left’. The truth is ‘no’ on both counts. Corbyn wasn’t and isn’t anti-Semitic, just pro-Palestinian. He also had a proud record of standing up for Britain’s Jewish community and had a sizable number of Jewish supporters in the Labour party. But these were outside British Jewry’s right-wing establishment – the Chief Rabbinate, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the United Synagogue – who all took it upon themselves to vilify Corbyn as the latest incarnation of Nazi evil. As for being ‘far left’, Corbyn really stands for a return of the post-War consensus: nationalised public utilities, a properly nationalised and funded NHS, strong trade unions and a proper welfare state that gives people what they need to live on, instead of leaving to food banks or choosing between whether they want to eat or heat their homes.

This strikes me as far more frightening to the Tories than Communism or Trotskyism because it’s far more realistic. It gave the British people a rising standard of living for three decades until the election of Maggie Thatcher. And if it returns and shows itself to be popular and successful. it will have shown the Thatcherite experiment to be what it is – a dismal, malign failure.

And that scares the living daylights out of the political, economic and media elite. Hence the desperate scramble to vilify Corbyn in any way possible, and the absolute terror in right-wingers like Kearse that he might return.

And worse, become mayor of England’s capital. Where he actually would do something for the working man or woman, rather than deceive them with lies about Brexit and cutting taxes.

Email from the Labour Party on Pride and their Pro-Gay and Trans Policies

July 3, 2022

This is going to be a controversial post, but I think it’s very important that these issues relating to transgenderism should be discussed, especially as the Labour party wishes to reform the equality act so that it benefits transpeople. It’s an admirable attitude, as no-one should be despised and discriminated against because of their sexuality, sexuality identity or gender presentation. But these proposals have grave negative consequences in that they will potentially make it compulsory to trans children having problems with their gender identity whether it is genuinely appropriate for them or not. And it will greatly harm women’s sex-based rights by opening up their private spaces in prisons, rape crisis centres and shelters for homeless and abused women to men, as well as harm women’s sports by opening them up to men who retain their biological advantages but identify as women.

Here’s the email from the Labour party.

‘Dear David,

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first UK Pride event, when hundreds of members of the LGBT+ community marched through London to demand equal rights. Despite facing appalling hostility and prejudice at the time, they persevered.

That perseverance paved the way for Pride marches across the country, which are now an important part of the campaign for equal rights for LGBT+ people.

Labour is the party of equality and we have a proud legacy of standing up for LGBT+ rights. Watch our video to see more: 

Watch and Share

We have come a long way but there’s more work to do.  

LGBT+ people have been let down by a Conservative Government that abandoned its LGBT Action Plan, disbanded its LGBT Advisory Panel, and u-turned on promises to bring in a trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy.

The next Labour government will stand up for LGBT+ rights by:

  • Protecting and upholding the Equality Act.
  • Requiring employers to create and maintain workplaces free from LGBT+ harassment.
  • Strengthening and equalising the law so that LGBT+ hate crimes attract tougher sentences.
  • Banning all forms of conversion therapy, including trans conversion therapy.
  • Reforming the outdated Gender Recognition Act while upholding the Equality Act.

Thank you,

Alex Beverley (Chair of LGBT+ Labour) and Anneliese Dodds (Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities)’

These proposals, although very well intentioned, are by implication so potentially harmful to women, gender-confused children, vulnerable adults and also to ordinary trans people who simply want to get on with their lives and the Labour party itself, that I wrote the following reply:

‘Dear Alex and  Anneliese,

Thank you for your email about Labour’s proposals to strengthen LGBTQ+ rights in concert with reforms to the equality act. I am not  part of the gay community, but appreciate the hardships and persecution gay people have experienced and their long struggle to gain equality. I am also very grateful for their support shown to the miners’ during the great strike in the 1980s, a coming together which was celebrated in the British film Pride. I am also pleased that the Labour party has also valued their contribution and supported them in their struggle. 

Unfortunately, I believe that the Labour party, along with the gay organisations outside the party, will be making a terrible mistake by opposing trans conversion therapy. I am very much aware, through online videos posted by gay YouTubers like Clive Simpson, how horrendous gay conversion therapy was for gay men. It sounds like nothing less than medicalised torture administered by sadists of the same stripe as the infamous Dr Mengele. I understand from Mr Simpson’s video, however, that such brutal, pseudo-medical treatments are now illegal. I have also little sympathy for the psychological treatments also used in the present day to ‘treat’ homosexuality. These also don’t work, and, from a report in Private Eye about one centre which does this in Wales, they appear to make gay people’s mental health much worse by destroying their self-esteem. I have absolutely no problems about this form of conversion therapy also being banned.

But I am concerned about what a ban on trans conversion therapy might entail. As I understand it, if left on their own 65-85% of teenagers experiencing doubts about their gender identity will eventually pass through it and enter adulthood comfortable and secure in their birth gender. The majority of these young people will, according to studies, be gay. 

This raises a number of issues. Firstly, many gay men and women are very much afraid that medical gender transition is being used as a form of gay conversion. This appears to have more than a little truth behind it, as many of these children seem to come from families which have trouble accepting that their son and daughter may be gay. It seems easier for these families to have a trans son or daughter, than a gay one. There is also concern about the affirmation-only model of gender care, in which the psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors see it as their duty to reaffirm the patient’s belief that they are of a different sex than their biological gender. This is, in my view, completely inappropriate. There is now a large and growing community of detransitioners, former transwomen and men, who believe they were mistaken and even misled into transitioning when it was not suitable for them. I understand there is an online community of 20,000 such people, and a book about their experiences, Trans Lives Regret, by Walter Heyer. I also understand that whistleblowers from within a number of gender clinics have also come forward, stating that they were forced to trans people they knew were mentally ill and who were therefore incapable of making an informed decision about their condition. They are also worried about the disproportionate number of autistic individuals, who are also being transed for the same reason. The source of these people’s problems may be these underlying mental illnesses and neurological conditions, rather than dissatisfaction with their biological sex. An attempt to ban trans conversion therapy could result in an absolute focus on the affirmation model, to the great detriment of those sufferers who do not really need medical transition. There are detransitioners already considering legal action against their doctors and surgeons. If the ban on trans conversion therapy goes ahead, I foresee many medical professionals who are dissatisfied with the affirmation model leaving the profession and those who remain facing a sharp rise in malpractice suits.

I am also afraid that an emphasis on trans rights will come at the expense of women’s sex-based rights, and that biological women will be vulnerable to abuse by men claiming to be women. In America, female prisoners have been sexually assaulted and raped by male prisoners who have been houses with them after they have claimed to identify as women. These men are often sex criminals, the very last people who should be housed with women. Similar concerns have and are being raised about trans-identified boys in schools. There have been a number of cases where female students have been raped by a trans-identified boy, who was allowed to enter their spaces. See the recent controversy in Loudoun County in America. I also believe that transwomen should not be allowed to compete with natural, biological women because of the advantages they retain from when they were men. Sharon Davies, the great Olympic women’s swimmer, has stated that because of men’s biological advantages, transmen still compete with women despite their transition. If this is acceptable for women and transmen, then it should be acceptable to transwomen and men. I am also concerned about the presence of trans-identified men in rape crisis centres and other shelters for women. From what I understand, the mental health of women who have suffered such assaults is shattered to such an extent that it can be made much worse by the presence of men around them, even when those men identify as women. While it would be very good indeed if this were not the case, I believe that for reasons of these extremely vulnerable women’s mental health it is inappropriate to employ trans-identifying women in such facilities. And for the same reasons of mental health, privacy and dignity I do not believe that trans-identifying male nurses should automatically have the intimate care of women in hospital.

I am also gravely concerned with the spread of gender dysphoria among young people and particularly girls. It has been suggested that this is another form of social contagion, like anorexia and multiple personality disorder. It is a mass psychological disorder, rather than arising through a genuine feeling of alienation from one’s gendered body. If this is the case, then this needs to be fought and combated. Thanks to the long austerity caused by the banking crisis, Covid and massively increasing poverty due to Tory rule and policies, there has been a massive increase in mental illness, anxiety and depression. It therefore seems to me to be extremely plausible that this is also a factor in the explosion of trans-identifying children and young people.

I would also like say that in my opinion, Queer Theory should also be banned because of its promotion of such gender anxiety and the psychological harm it does to gay pupils. Queer Theory is a postmodernist revision of Marxism. Its leading thinkers stated that they weren’t interested in healing gay people’s mental anguish and making them valued members of contemporary society. Instead they wished to exacerbate their problems further in order to create unstable sexual identities in people who could be indoctrinated and exploited. I am also very, very concerned in that some of the founders of Queer Theory, like Foucault, were paedophiles and attempted to defend the sexual abuse of children philosophically. I am sure you are also aware in this regard of a recent paper in the feminist magazine Reduxx revealing that WPATH, the World Psychological Association for Transgender Health, has recently gone into partnership with the Eunuch Archive, an organisation for castration fetishists. The Archive’s website also contains an an archive of fiction written by its members. These frequently involve fantasies of abuse and castration of children. It should be absolutely unethical for WPATH to go into partnership with such an organisation, and it should be regarded with deep suspicion rather respected as a leading organisation in transgender medical care.

It is because of these concerns that many women are forming organisations to challenge the trans ideology. One such organisation, with its motto ‘If you don’t respect my sex you don’t get my ‘x” was recently profiled in the Daily Mail. This organisations encourages women to deny their vote to organisations voting against politicians promoting the trans ideology at women’s expense. I am also worried that the Labour party became a laughing stock in the right-wing media by the inability of so many of its politicians a few weeks ago to give a proper to the question ‘What is a woman?’ I am dreadfully afraid that by pursuing extremist pro-trans policies,, the Labour party will lose its female vote and membership. And I am afraid that many gays will also become estranged from the party for many of the same reasons.

Another of my concerns is the threatening and violent behaviour of many trans rights activists. Gender critical feminists have been abused and sent death threats online. Across Europe feminist protests against trans policies have required police protection. One such demonstration in Spain was halted when the police advised the women there to go home as there were so many angry counter-protesters that they were not able to protect them. You can find online any number of videos of such trans rights activists threatening and even physically assaulting women. In my home city, Bristol, the anti-trans campaigner Kelly-Jay Kean and her supporters received similar aggressive treatment from trans activists, supported by Bristol Anarchist Federation and Antifa. And I am outraged that respected feminist academic Kathleen Stock was forced out of her university place because of very aggressive demonstrations by the university’s students. Whether you agree with Kean, Stock and the other ‘TERFs’ as they are called, is immaterial. In a free society, every idea with a few exceptions, should be open to debate, examination and refutation. I am afraid that if Labour sides with such people, then the party that should be viewed as the true party of freedom and open debate will instead become one of authoritarianism and control.

It is for the same reason that I am also opposed to the abuse of hate speech legislation to persecute gender critical women. This has most prominently happened in Scotland, where one gender critical feminist has been prosecuted simply for leaving stickers with the suffragette bow and the slogan ‘Scottish women won’t wheesht’, meaning that the ladies of Scotland will not be silent. 

I would therefore greatly appreciate it if the Labour party would rethink its position on these important issues.

Please do not think I hate trans people. I am strongly opposed to prejudice and the abuse, discrimination and persecution of anyone because of their sexual orientation and gender presentation. I am aware that trans people are vulnerable to abuse and assault, as was detailed in the ’90s small press magazine Aeon: The Magazine of Transkind. But I believe this enlightened concern for this sexual minority’s wellbeing should be in accord with biological reality, medical science and ethics and a proper respect for women and their rights, on whom these issues considerably impinge.

I want Labour to win and for LGBTQ+ to receive proper respect and protection, including and especially those struggling with their gender identifies. It is for this reason that I cannot support Labour’s current policies on trans issues, which I feel will not only bring harm, but a terrible backlash against gay and trans people. I would therefore respectfully ask the pair of you to reconsider your positions.

Yours in solidarity,

David -‘

I didn’t get very far with my response, as I got an automated reply telling me they couldn’t respond to my message, and suggesting other email addresses and departments of the Labour party that would be more suitable for my inquiry. The Labour party are having a policy review at the moment, and I consider these issues so important that I am considering my concerns and objections to their proposed reforms in the area of trans policy to that.

The great commenters on this blog have raised the issues of very entrenched figures on the right with secure political and media positions othering trans people, and the concern that by raising these issues I may be following them and demonising trans people.

I very definitely don’t want to see trans people demonised and made vulnerable to abuse and discrimination. But there are very deep and serious issues here that need to be properly discussed and I believe that the ideology and policies being pushed today in the belief that they will benefit trans people will unintentionally do immense harm.

Sargon’s Lotus Eater Deny You Have A Right to Healthcare

May 26, 2022

The attack on the NHS and the state provision of healthcare continues. A few days ago I put up piece from Private Eye the other fortnight, in which they reviewed Tory donor Michael Ashcroft’s and his pet journo, Isabel Oakeshott’s wretched little book on the state of the health service. They decided that it was in a mess because of waste caused by profligate hospital managers and recommended, along with a number of other ideas like people turning themselves into cyborgs, that some hospitals should be sold off. So to them, the state of the NHS has nothing to do with the fact that it’s been starved of proper funding for years and that administrative costs have written as a consequence of the piecemeal privatisation of the Health Service that’s been going on since the days of Thatcher.

But it’s significant that the Tories are now saying the quiet part out loud. Or at least their supporters are. Alex Belfield has also been telling his listeners that the NHS should be sold off, though he also tells them he doesn’t want people charged for treatment. But that would come in as a consequence of privatisation. A few years ago a group of right-wing Tories were pressing for the expansion of services for which the NHS could charge. And the whole point of privatisation is to transform our health service into a private one paid for by private health insurance.

And the Lotus Eaters seem to have the same attitude. They’re a right-wing YouTube channel with a team featuring Carl Benjamin, aka Sargon of Akkad, the man who broke UKIP. Much of what they put up is general culture war material against the trans cult and Critical Race Theory. Sargon denies that the Health Service is being privatised because he couldn’t see why anyone would buy it. Which shows that he’s wilfully blind to what’s been going on. But his little mate Callum said something that suggests that he doesn’t think that people have a right to healthcare.

It came up in a short I found on my mobile this morning. Callum and one of the other Lotus Eaters were discussing what they thought were the differences between left and right when it came to the concepts of rights. The right, they claimed, saw rights as innate, while the left saw them as something they had to be given for free. ‘Yeah, gib me dat’, says one of them, in what sounds suspiciously like a parody of Black speech. And then Callum added, ‘Like healthcare’.

Actually, I don’t see any difference between the right’s and left’s basic ideas about the nature of rights. Both, it seems to me, hold that rights are innate. Where they differ is the extent of fundamental rights. The political right believes that you have the right to do as you please with the bare minimum of state interference, because of the sacred right to private property and enterprise. But the left believes that capitalism, or at least neoliberalism, effectively prevents everyone enjoying the same rights, freedoms and opportunities, and so demand government legislation and interference to make society more equal.

And one of the fundamental rights, I’d say, was the right to healthcare. The provision of healthcare by the state has kept this country healthy since the NHS’ foundation in 1948. It isn’t perfect, and it’s being destroyed very deliberately by Boris and his minions, but it’s far better by far than what existed before. And much better than the American system, which Callum seems to admire.

Now that, thanks to the Covid crisis as well as decades of privatisation and cuts, only 38 per cent of the public are satisfied with the NHS’ performance, we can expect the demands of these chumps for its privatisation to get louder.

Tories Ashcroft and Oakeshott Demand Privatisation of NHS Hospitals

May 23, 2022

A few weeks ago Private Eye carried a review of Michael Ashcroft’s and Isabel Oakeshott’s book on the supposed failures of the NHS in its issue for 29th April – 12th May. Ashcroft is, I believe, the Tory donor now resident in Belize, and Isabel Oakeshott his pet journo, responsible for the otherwise uncorroborated claim that when he was at Oxford, David Cameron poked a porker. Now the two have written a book, Life Support, giving their critical analysis of the NHS and their suggestions for its improvement. The pair examine two hospitals, St. Mary’s in Paddington and King’s College Hospital in Camberwell, which they describe as being in run-down areas. St. Mary’s Hospital is in a dingy backstreet off the lower Edgware Road between the railway station and a long strip of burger joints, pawnbrokers and shops selling cheap luggage. King’s College Hospital occupies a neighbourhood where drug and gang crime are rife, and is filled with the victims of gang warfare.

The book claims that hospitals ” are badly run by management teams that tolerate waste, allow patient safety standards to slip”, whose bosses “prise over a culture of bullying and cover-ups and fail to grip budgets”, which is “terrible for taxpayers, terrible for NHS staff and potentially fatal for patients”. They also claim that the NHS has a code of omerta similar to the Sicilian mafia.

So what are their solutions to this crisis? Well, get rid of foreign doctors and health tourists, sell off a few hospitals, have people transform themselves into cyborgs and lose weight. They are suspicious of Indian doctors, because there is less regulation and greater corruption in their country of origin. When they start working in the NHS, they have a paternalistic attitude towards patients.

As for the health tourists, they gave as an example a Nigerian woman who flew in from Lagos so that she could have her triplets delivered by the NHS, complaining that ‘Part of the problem is that most healthcare professionals believe they have a moral duty to help the sick,, wherever they are from.’ After demanding the privatisation of a few hospitals, there’s a chapter, “Cyborgs: Futuristic Medicine” in which they encourage people to turn themselves into the real-life equivalents of Dr. Who’s Cybermen. But they claim that ‘Nobody is suggesting that thousands of patients will go to such lengths and attempt to become ‘full cyborgs'”.

They also attack the various fashion brands and social media influencers who they claim have made obesity fashionable, which they state is grossly irresponsible. Despite all this criticism, however, the book says precious little about the Covid pandemic, which has cause a crisis in the Health Service. The Eye’s reviewer states that it’s commendable that Ashcroft and Oakeshott are donating the profits from the book to NHS charities, but concludes

‘Any suspicion that the authors set out to slag off the NHS across 400 pages of ill-informed vanity-published guff but then had to bung some Covid stuff in the intro as events unfolded is surely nonsense’.

Let’s critically examine some of their recommendations. Firstly, many NHS doctors are foreign. During my illness, I’ve been treated by a number of South Asian doctors, as well as those from the Far East and eastern Europe. And I have absolutely no complaints whatsoever. I can’t speak for others, but I believe that they, and the other British and foreign staff gave me excellent care. I am not aware that NHS doctors from India have been found to be any less competent than others. This looks to me like a bit of racism on Ashcroft’s part. As does the bit about health tourists and the Nigerian woman. with triplets. I don’t blame the woman for wanting to give birth over here, than trust herself and her unborn children to medicine in her own country. And I thought it was a fundamental position of modern medical ethics that everyone has the same right to care, regardless of ethnic origin. Besides, Nye Bevan was aware that there would be people coming from less developed parts of the world to take advantage of the NHS, and considered that the Health Service would be more than capable of dealing with them.

There are indeed some very cool and advanced artificial limbs being developed, but some of these – the most advanced – cost tens of thousands of dollars. And despite the invention of dialysis and heart-lung machines, I am not aware that anybody has come close to creating mechanical counterparts of the kidneys, heart and lungs that can be implanted in the body. The idea of people turning themselves into cyborgs is, at present, Science Fiction.

Dr. Who’s Cybermen – the future of patients cutting costs for the NHS. From the Dr. Who Monster Book.

As for the demand that hospitals be privatised, this is obviously what Ashcroft as Tory donor and capitalist clearly wants. But it’s because of privatisation that NHS administrative costs have mushroomed and standards of care declined because of massive funding cuts. And as we’ve seen, privatisation actually leads to few hospitals and doctor’s surgeries as the companies running them close them down in order to maximise their profits. This is bad for taxpayers, who are having to fork out more for poorer service, as well as staff and patients. And it would also be a massive step towards the transformation of the Health Service into one operated through private healthcare companies and funded through private health insurance, like America.

But this is what is happening under the Tories and Blair’s New Labour, as these right-wing Thatcherite politicos seek to enrich themselves and their corporate donors in the private medical industry. Ashcroft’s and Oakeshott’s book are the latest in the propaganda campaign to tell you this is a good idea.

Riley Claims Rowling Abused for Opposition to Anti-Semitism, Not Trans

May 23, 2022

I really do wonder what goes on in the mind of Countdown numbers person Rachel Riley. Yes, she’s another fanatical supporter of Israel who can’t tell the difference between anti-Zionism – which is opposition to an ideology – and anti-Semitism, which is simply racial hatred of Jews. But her hatred of anti-Zionists, or indeed, of any critic of Israel’s barbarous treatment of the Palestinians, has now grown so fervent that sometimes she speaks utter nonsense. As when she accused the Durham Miner’s band of being some kind of SS Nazi organisation because they played Hava Nagila at the close of the miners’ gala, just as they did every year. Even a brief knowledge of real Fascism and Nazism is enough to dispel that. One of the first things Hitler did was smash the trade unions, replacing them with a much weaker, pro-management substitute, the Deutsche Arbeitsfront. Mussolini tried to win over the established socialist trade unions after banning the socialist parties. When he couldn’t, he banned them and made it compulsory for Italian workers to join the Fascist trade unions. The black trade unions which formed part of the MSI, the Italian neo-Fascist party after the war, were anti-socialist and supplied blackleg labour during strikes. In Britain, the opposition to Oswald Mosley and the BUF included the Communists and trade unions, as well, of course, of self-respecting Jews and Irish. And Ken Livingstone, in his 1987 Livingstone’s Labour, describes how bog-standard, ordinary mineworkers and the unions objected to the employment of former Nazis by the Coal Board after they offered their services to British intelligence.

Examining some of her statements, I find myself using the same advice Private Eye gave its readers when reviewing the books written by Jacob Rees-Mogg’s esteemed pater. You read it very carefully, and then turned it round 180o, and bingo! You’d reached the right conclusion.

Last week Riley raised her head to claim that J.K. Rowling had suffered horrendous abuse and vilification, not because she didn’t believe that transwomen were women, but because she was opposed to ‘Corbyn and anti-Semitism’. Well, it’s true that she did issue various statements over the net attacking Corbyn as an anti-Semite. She also accused Mike of being an anti-Semite and a Holocaust denier. All this told me is that, whatever her strengths as a novelist, she was credulous in this regard and believed everything she read in the papers.

Rowling has come under fire for many of her views. The anti-immigration Alex Belfield types attacked her for defending asylum-seekers and the channel migrants. They demanded that if she was that in favour of them, she should put a few up in her multi-million pound mansion. They can’t make the same accusation of Benedict Cumberbatch, of course, because he has indeed taken one of them in.

But most of the abuse Rowling’s suffered came from a tweet she made a few years ago, in which she told her trans readers that they should dress how they want, sleep with whoever would have them, live their best lives, but that transwomen weren’t women. Not a hateful statement at all, as far as I can see. But because of this she was immediately accused of hating transpeople and wanting to kill them. Since then there were moves to exclude her from the documentary marking 20 years since the Harry Potter movies, and trans activists telling the world to read her books but ignore the fact that she wrote them. In all of this, I haven’t seen any evidence of anti-Semitism from her trans critics and opponents. In fact, I don’t recall seeing any evidence of anti-Semitism from trans rights activists at all. Rather the opposite. Maria MacLachlan, who posts her gender critical videos on the Peak Trans channel on YouTube, has one in which she refutes the accusation that ‘TERFs’ – Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists – are right-wing. Among the tweets she shows which make this accusation is one that says that ‘Terfs are Nazis, literal Nazis’. Which is utter nonsense. Many, if not most, gender critical feminists come from the radical left and are utterly opposed to racism, which includes anti-Semitism and Jew hatred. As for the trans rights activists, in all of their abuse I don’t think I’ve seen one that mentions Jews, let alone expresses anti-Semitism views. As far as I can make out, Rowling’s trans opponents are simply opposed to her refusal to accept their dogma that transwomen are women. And I have to say that her criticisms of Corbyn and the Labour were so long ago that I’d forgotten them until Riley reminded me of them.

Riley’s talking nonsense. I don’t know if she made this ridiculous accusation because her hatred of Corbyn has now become so intense and obsessive that he’s living rent-free in her head, or whether Starmer’s position as head of the Labour party is now so shaky that she’s somehow afraid Corbyn will come back. But she’s talking arrant bilge regardless, bilge which deserves to be refuted along with her other prejudiced statements about the Labour left.