Posts Tagged ‘Russell Brand’

RT: McDonnell States Labour Will Take Back Rail, Water, Energy and Royal Mail

September 25, 2017

I’m giving this clip from RT’s coverage of the Labour party conference a massive thumbs-up. It’s a short clip of McDonnell stating that they intend to back rail, water, energy and the Royal Mail to give them to the people, who actually use and work in them. They aim to save the country and industry from the Tories’ mixture of belligerence and incompetence. And their commitment to a fairer society does not end at Dover. Just as they want a Britain for the many, and not the few, so they want a Europe for the many and not the few. This means, while respecting the results of the Brexit referendum, they will be working with our European partners during the transition period. And they will stop the Tories’ brutal treatment of immigrants.

Now we’re going to hear the screams and angry wailing from the neoliberals – the Tories, the Lib Dems and the Blairites. They’ll all start ranting now about how this is just discredited ‘Trotskyism’, that will wreck the wonderful, strong economy nearly four decades of Thatcherism has created. And, of course, the Tories, whose cabinet is stuffed with toffs and millionaires, will immediately start claiming that it will make working people poorer.

It’s none of these things. It’s good, solid, traditional Labour policy. The type of policies that gave this country decades of economic growth and higher standards for working people after the war. This was a Labour party that ensured that there was a real welfare state to look after the poor, that unions did represent the working man and woman against exploitation by their employer, and that an increasing number of young people could go on to uni without worrying about acquiring tens of thousands of pounds of debt at the end of it.

And if Labour does, as I fervently hope, renationalize those industries, I would very much like a form of workers’ control implemented in them. One reason why the Tories were able to privatize these industries was because, when Labour nationalized them after the Second World War, the party was too timid in the form nationalization took. The state took over the ownership of these industries, but otherwise left the existing management structures intact. This disappointed many trade unionists and socialists, who hoped that nationalization would mean that the people, who actually worked in these industries would also play a part in their management.

I’ve no doubt that if such plans were drawn up, all you’d hear from the Tories and the other parties would be yells about surrendering to the union barons, along with Thatcherite ravings about the Winter of Discontent and all the other trite bilge. But as May herself promised that she would put workers in the boardroom – a policy, which she had absolutely no intention of honouring – the Tories can’t complain without being hypocritical.

As for the power of the trade unions, as Russell Brand points out in his piece attacking Rees-Mogg, most of the people now relying on food banks are the working poor, whose wages aren’t enough to stave off starvation. And one of the reasons why this is so is that the Tories and then the Blairites have done everything they can to break and destroy the unions, so that the owners of industry can pay the workers a pittance and sack them at will.

And the Tories are treating immigrants brutally. We’ve send them send the vans around and put up posters telling immigrants to hand themselves in. And there have been outbreak of violence at the detention centres for asylum seekers again and again because of racist violence and bullying by the outsourcing companies running, like Serco, or G4S or whoever. And this is quite apart from the sheer racist venom spouted by the Tory press – the Heil, Scum, Express and so on.

This is a fine speech with excellent policies. Policies that hopefully put an end to four decades of Thatcherite misery, poverty and exploitation.

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Russell Brand Takes Down Jacob Rees-Mogg

September 25, 2017

I realise that Russell Brand probably isn’t everyone’s favourite comedian ever since that stunt he and Jonathan Ross pulled leaving sneering prank messages about Andrew Sachs’ granddaughter on the old fellow’s answerphone a few years ago. I also don’t agree with his anarchistic stance encouraging people not to vote. However, in his Trew News videos on YouTube he has produces some very incisive critiques and demolitions of contemporary capitalism, right-wing politics and bigotry.

In this video he takes on Jacob Rees-Mogg, now the darling of the Tory party, many of whom would just love him to take over the reins from Theresa May, whose own failings are increasingly obvious. And they definitely prefer him to Boris after BoJo showed his complete lack of scruple and personal loyalty by stabbing Cameron and then Gove in the back over Brexit.

They like Mogg, because he’s soft-spoken and courteous. But as Brand points out here, his opinions are absolutely toxic. Brand shows the clip of Mogg wrong-footing John Snow when Suchet was interviewing him about May’s Brexit speech. Suchet stated that many people thought here speech was a shambles. So Mogg says ‘It seems a bit harsh to compare her speech to a butcher’s slaughterhouse.’ This throws Snow for a moment, who clear wasn’t aware that that was what the word originally meant, and throws it back to Mogg, saying that it seems a harsh thing for him to say. Only for Mogg to tell him that this is what Suchet himself has said, as that’s what the word means. Brand rightly mocks Mogg for this piece of rhetoric.

In fact, the word shambles actually means the stalls butchers occupied in medieval market places. Bridgwater in Somerset had its shambles, and a fish shambles as well, in the Cockenrow, the name of which means ‘Cook’s Row’, and refers to the shops in that part of town selling cooked meat. The medieval shambles at Shepton Mallet has survived, and you can visit it with the benches on which the medieval tradesmen used to display their wares, above which is mounted a small tiled roof.

In discussing the etymology of the word, Mogg is clearly being pedantic, simultaneously using his knowledge to play down just how awful and uninspiring May’s speech was, while also showing off his superior knowledge in the hopes that this will impress everyone with the depth of his aristocratic education. In fact, the word’s etymology is immaterial here. The word is simply used commonly to mean a mess. Of course, if you wanted to make the point in a more elevated and highfalutin manner, Snow could have said ‘I was using the term synchronically’, which is modern philologist’s parlance for what a term means now. I doubt Mogg’s own knowledge of the theory of linguistics goes that far, and it would have thrown his own rhetorical strategy back at him. But unfortunately, thinking about such responses is usually the kind of thing you do on the way home after it’s all over.

Brand then goes on to talk about Mogg’s appearance on Breakfast TV, where he showed himself against gay marriage and abortion, even after rape. Brand is like many others – impressed by Mogg’s honesty, while at the same time horrified by the views he holds.

And then he attacks Mogg’s performance on LBC Radio, where he declared that the growth in food banks was ‘uplifting’, and goes on to talk about how the state couldn’t provide everything. Brand states that what brings this argument down is the fact that most of the people forced to use food banks are actually working. They’re just not paid enough to live on.

He also rebuts Mogg’s claims that his views are based in Christianity. They aren’t. Most of Christ’s message in the Gospels is about being nice and kind. Mogg, however, prefers to see Christ as being harder towards the poor and sick. To support his point about Mogg’s highly selective interpretation of Christian morality, he cites and shows a letter published by one of the papers, that makes this point.

In fact, Mogg’s views on food banks are more or less standard Tory rhetoric. Many Tories will say something about preserving a welfare state to give some provision for the poor, but will then do exactly what Mogg did, and then say that the state can’t provide everything. When challenged about cuts to the welfare state, they’ll probably make some comment about needing to target the support to those who really need it, rather than scroungers.

This is all highly mendacious. The cuts don’t just attack scroungers – they create real poverty amongst those in genuine need. And nobody expects the state to do everything. They just expect them to provide real support for the poor and the disabled. This support is not being provided, and the Tories are intent on destroying the welfare state piecemeal, so that no-one notices. Rees-Mogg’s comments about retaining some kind of welfare state are a sham, whether he believes it or not, are designed to gull people into believing that the Tories really do want to look after ordinary people. They don’t.

As for Mogg being delighted with the charity and generosity shown by people giving to the food banks, this was actually one of the reasons Thatcher wanted to abolish the welfare state. She thought that, with the state unable to provide for the poor there would be a resurgence in private generosity as people rose to the task of giving themselves, rather than relying on state aid. But as Lobster noted in a piece in its editorial, The View from the Bridge, a little while ago, this didn’t happen, And Thatcher realized it. As for the state being unable to provide adequately for the poor, the opposite is true. Conservative, religious Americans do give generously to charity. They’re often more generous than secular liberals, according to polling done a few years ago and cited in the book, The Truth about Evangelical Christians. But this personal generosity is completely inadequate for tackling the deep, widespread and grinding poverty that’s now spreading across America thanks to nearly forty years of Reaganite neoliberalism.

Brand gives Rees-Mogg his professional appreciation as a comedian. He states that Mogg is a comedic character. He makes the point that he seems mostly compounded from Maggie Thatcher. That’s certainly where Mogg got his mistaken and disgusting views about the efficacy of private charity over state aid. Just as Thatcher got it from her mentor, Keith Joseph. And if Mogg was the creation of a comedian sending up the Tories, he would be highly funny. He comes across somewhat as a mix of the Slenderman, the sinister internet meme, and Lord Snooty from the Beano. Or was it the Dandy? Looking at the photo Mike put up, showing Mogg trying to lift his leg over a style reminding me of nothing less than the Monty Python sketch, the ‘Ministry of Silly Walks’. Brand goes on to the compare Mogg to Trump. Mogg’s a comedic figure in exactly the same way Trump is. But only from a distance. Brand says that if he lived in America, which has to deal with the problems Trump is creating, he wouldn’t find Trump funny at all. The same with Mogg. Like Trump, he can appreciate Mogg as a comic character, but in reality, as a politician, Trump and Mogg are anything but funny.

Antisocial Media on the Ugly Story of Katie Hopkins

August 13, 2017

Antisocial Media is a vlogger, who makes videos laying into the far right and its various denizens. In this long video – it’s an hour and four minutes long – he presents the unlovely story of Katie Hopkins. Hopkins is the professional troll and Sun writer, who in 2015 wrote that she didn’t care about the thousands of dead migrants killed attempting to cross the Med into Europe, but wanted them deterred with gunboats. She then compared them to ‘cockroaches’. She has also applauded Trump’s avowed policy of banning Muslim emigration to the US. She has also made other statements aimed at working up hate and vilifying Muslims, such as blaming them as a whole for the atrocities committed by the Islamists and complaining that Muslims don’t do enough to distance themselves from the terrorists. She has also sneered at the Scots, fat people and written a long piece defended the footballer Adam Johnson after he was convicted of grooming and having underage sex with a 15 year old girl. Oh yes, and she also sneers at her own sex, women, for being too weak and pathetic. Because she didn’t like the Pussy Marchers at the Women’s March in Washington against Trump. And then she has appeared talking to Dave ‘Alt Right’ Rubin, of the Rubin Report, who tells her that he hasn’t seen anything racist or anti-Semitic in her material.

The clip begins with The Apprentice, the show that launched her on her path to infamy. Antisocial Media has a particular animus against the show, because not only has it launched her, but it also has Karen Brady as one of Alan Sugar’s little helpers. Yes, Karen Brady, who was elevated to the House of Lords, where she voted for tax cuts, which hurt the poor the most. Plus, The Apprentice is presented in the US by Trump. He also thinks that Alan Sugar looks like an angry testicle. Well, it’s a point of view, I suppose.
Hopkins was not a winner, but fell on her sword as she couldn’t guarantee to Sugar that she would take up the post with him if it was offered.

There then follows a clip with Sugar amazing everyone, when he appears on Breakfast TV to say he felt sorry for her. For all of five minutes. This was because there was an aftershow rap party, but she had made no friends on the programme and so no-one was talking to her.

Then there’s a clip of her appearing on Philip Schofield’s show, where she talks about how she doesn’t like very working class names like Charmaine or Bradley, because they show the child comes from a certain type of background characterized by bad behavior. Basically, she’s afraid they’re too chavvy. Opposing her is a woman, Anna-May Mangan, the daughter of an Irish immigrant, and a working-class mother. She makes the point that she was also isolated at school, because some parents didn’t want their children playing with an Irish girl. However, her daughter and working class friends have gone on to university, and despite having names like Kylie that Hopkins sneers at, have qualified as doctors and lawyers. Schofield then reads out a list of high achieving Americans, including doctors, sports people and musicians, who have the names Hopkins detests.

Antisocial Media then points out that you can see the direction of Hopkins’ future career there, as she deliberately takes up a position that she knows will be inflammatory and unpopular. However, despite the fact that the show is only watched by the elderly, housewives and the unemployed, the segment was immediately picked up and circulated on social media.

That led to Hopkins getting a job at the Sun, and, in 2015, making those vile comments about migrants. This part of the film includes a clip from Russell Brand taking her apart for this. Brand rightly points out that when she called them ‘cockroaches’, she was using exactly the same language as Heinrich Himmler, the head of SS, when he described Jews as ‘rats’ and ‘vermin’.

Also not impressed by this terminology was Ian Hislop, the editor of Private Eye. He interviewed Hopkins, who tried lying her way out of it. No, she wasn’t being malicious when she described them as ‘cockroaches’. She was admiring their fortitude and endurance, as we were all told that in the event of a nuclear war only cockroaches would survive. This is plainly bullsh*t of the highest order, and Hislop rightly calls her out on it. He simply goes on to read out the other hateful stuff she wrote about them.

She also gets short shrift from the comedian Josie Long, who also makes the point that describing these people as ‘cockroaches’ and saying ‘we need a final solution’ is very much the same language that the Nazis used of the Jews, and is very definitely not a joke.

Russell Brand also argues that there’s no point in hating Hopkins herself, as she’s just the product of the hatred and racism in a section of British and society and media. Or in his graphic phrase, ‘the pus oozing from the pimple’. Quite so. Antisocial Media then discusses how her comments led to a petition calling on her to be banned. He makes the point that this has allowed her to position herself as someone standing up for free speech, saying what can’t be said because of political and media bias. He argues instead that pressure should have been placed on the Sun’s editor and publishers, so that they should have to think very carefully before they give a job to someone like her, or publish their comments. And Josie Long points out that it isn’t enough to ignore her. She’s tried to that long enough already, and Hopkins is still here, along with Nigel Farage and other creatures of the extreme right.

Hopkins also tried defending her comments about Trump’s Muslim ban on Andrew Neil’s politics programme. She got shredded there too. Neil pointed out several times that she was accusing him of saying things he never had. When she then talked about how we had lost control of our cities to aggressive migrants, particularly Muslims, Neil pointed out that while insulting behavior was unpleasant, they hadn’t lost control as she said. He asked her to name one city where this had occurred. Hopkins couldn’t, and so started challenging him to join her in going round such a city to show what would happen. Neil said he’d quite like to, but they couldn’t if she wouldn’t tell them which area it would be. She then very obviously changed the subject to her joy that her child’s school still has a Nativity play, which Neil also pointed out. As for the Muslim community not condemning the acts of terror committed in their name, Neil rightly points out that they’ve done so. There have been marches by them against the terrorists.

Too right. There have any number of Muslim clerics, who have condemned the Islamists and terrorism across the Middle East. In India something like 200 of them signed a document condemning them. But this is too few of them, according to Hopkins.

One of Hopkins’ supporters is Paul Joseph Watson, of Infowars fame. Watson, pontificating about Muslim terrorism, declared that there were no cases of terrorists shouting ‘Katie Hopkins’ instead of ‘Allahu Akbar!’. Except there were. A group of White racists had daubed on a mosque somewhere the message ‘***** Leave’ and ‘We need a final solution’.

And her bigoted racist comments have garnered her support from the real Nazis. One of those who supported one of her statements on Twitter signed himself ‘Antijuden SS’. ‘Juden’ is the German word for ‘Jews’. Hopkins took the comment down, but it was up there for a year before she did so.

Then there’s the clip of her going on America television to attack fat people. She claimed fat people were unhappy, and so put on and then lost 50 pounds in order to shame them, make the point that they shouldn’t make excuses for themselves, and could lose weight without having a chef or personal trainer. Antisocial Media says he sort-of agrees with her, in a way, but still thinks she’s wrong because she’s obviously not going to encourage anyone to lose weight when she so obviously hates them.

As for Adam Johnson, Antisocial Media rips into her long screed in support of the footballer by stating that he was indeed grooming the girl, and that by blaming her, and claiming she seduced him, she was blaming the victim. And yes, legally you can make a judgement concerning what is the proper age of consent.

Antisocial media also states that, thanks to the Scots dying before the age of sixty, because they’re too lazy to work till the age of retirement, Hopkins has now gained the same notoriety as Alt-Right troll Milo Yiannopolis over in the US. Hopkins made the comment on the same day, but just before, a terrible helicopter crash, which made her comments appear even more offensive than they were. Now, like Yiannopolis, she’s guaranteed to produce a crowd of protesters whenever or wherever she appears.

As for her appearance with Dave Rubin, when he states that Hopkins has, in his opinion, never said anything racist or anti-Semitic, the video shows this to be completely untrue by putting up a selection of some of the disgusting things she’s said about Blacks and Muslims. She also talks about how Britain is succumbing to Islam, because of the rise of Muslim mayor in many British cities, such as the mayor of London. She also talks about the global schemes of George Soros.

You can here something like a wolf howling at this point. I think it’s been put in because it’s ‘dog whistle’ politics. It’s a racist statement, that’s coded so that only people aware of this type of racist language recognize it. Soros is very much a bete noir of the Far Right. He’s also a Hungarian Jew. This is why the Fascists running Hungary are putting up posters attacking him on bus stops all over their country and in the media. Soros funds various democracy and open society groups and institutes in Hungary, which is clearly a threat to the anti-Semites now goose-stepping around the corridors of power.

This also shows how selective the accusations of anti-Semitism may be the Zionists are. Soros is very anti-Zionist. He despises them because of the way Kasztner, the head of the Zionists in Hungary, betrayed his people to the Nazis. He allowed the Nazis to deport them in the hope that the Nazis would allow some of the survivors to go to Israel. So Soros doesn’t support Israel, and won’t give money to Zionist organisations.

This has sent Netanyahu and the Israeli government berserk, and they have been only too glad to give their support to the Hungarian stormtroopers in their demonization of Soros. For further information on this, see the article on Tony Greenstein’s blog at http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/israel-supports-viktor-orban-and.html.

As for Katie Hopkin’s appearance with Dave Rubin, it’s telling that amongst some of the stars of the Alt Right he gives prominence too is Millennial Woes. Millennial Woes is someone, who can only be described as a racist and a Nazi. He hates coloured immigrants, has said that they should be gunned down by warships, and also recommends the reintroduction of slavery. He is definitely not someone any decent person would want to share their views, or be associated with politically.

I dare say Katie Hopkins will be around for years to come. Because she is a troll, who gets off on being hated, she’s an unperson on Mike’s blog. He won’t mention her unless he really has to, and then he uses a suitable pseudonym or circumlocution.

On the other hand, Josie Long is right. She isn’t going away. I signed a petition on Change.org to get rid of her after her vile comments about a ‘final solution’. But I think Antisocial Media has a point when he says that the people, who really need to feel the heat are the editor and publishers of the Sun. But frankly, considering the Scum’s long history of appearing before organisations like the Press Complaints’ Commission for racism, and the apparently cavalier way Murdoch regards libel, I don’t think there’s much chance of them heeding the opinions of the British public on this issue.

Daily Mail Sneers at Brand and Miliband – Bit of Fear over Paying Tax, Perhaps?

May 6, 2015

Last week, Russell Brand, the former anarchist firebrand, met Ed Miliband. For Miliband at least, the meeting was successful, in that Brand has abandoned his stance of urging people not to vote, to urging them to vote Labour instead. It’s left some on the radical Left feeling betrayed, as Brand has compromised his ideological purity by supporting a party, which they see as still retaining the New Labour contempt for those on welfare and which still intends to implement something like a workfare scheme. See, for example, Johnny Void’s recent post.

If it’s upset some on the Left, it also seems to have rattled the Right. Whatever you make of Brand as a comedian, and millionaire actor coming from an affluent middle class background, Brand is articulate and can make some very cogent, sharp points about the state of British and international politics. I’ve reblogged some of his posts from The Trews, his video series on Youtube where he analyses and deconstructs the news and the serious and not-so-serious issues of the day. He has made some very good criticisms of the corrupt state of British politics, the failure of current capitalism to provide most of the people of this country with the state support and welfare benefits they need, the increasingly harsh inequalities thrown up by the class system, and racism and the vilification and marginalisation of ethnic minorities, including Muslims.

And some of this seems to have struck home. On the cover of the Daily Mail one day last week was a picture of Brand with Miliband. Underneath was the headline ‘Would you trust this clown to run the country (and we don’t mean the one of the Left’.

Miliband sent a shiver of horror down the collective spines of Britain’s super-rich last week when he announced that he was going to end the non-dom tax bracket, which allows some of the extremely rich resident in Britain to avoid paying tax as they are technically resident in another country.

Many of those not paying British tax are fleet street editors and proprietors.
Like one Viscount Rothermere, the owner of the Daily Mail.
Rothermere junior inherited his non-dom status from his father, who spent most of his life in Paris. Harmsworth fils, however, seems pretty well resident in this country, especially as he’s building a multi-million pound stately home for himself in the country estate he purchased. He funded this through a complex series of loans, rather than pay for it himself directly, as this allows him to use his non-dom status to avoid paying tax on it.

And Brand has tried to tackle him on his refusal to pay tax. In one of the sequences in Michael Winterbottom’s documentary exposing the corrupt politics of modern corporate Britain, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Brand is shown turning up outside Rothermere’s stately home, and pressing the button with the communicator to get to talk to Rothermere about his non-dom tax status. Not surprising, they don’t let him in, and Brand stays shut out.

Obviously, Rothermere’s very worried about the possible ending of this tax dodge, and the personal attention he received from the abortive visit by Brand. Hence the personal abuse and vilification.

Rothermere and his editor have no right telling anyone how to vote in this country. They don’t pay British tax, and have absolute contempt for those, who depend on welfare benefits provided by the state – the unemployed, working poor, the sick, the disabled. Their attempts to rubbish Brand, Miliband and the rest of the left is merely self-serving propaganda, and should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

And absolutely no-one should take seriously their demands to vote Tory. Rothermere and his fellows welcome their programme of tax cuts, because it will leave them richer, and the rest of us poorer.

Cameron Joins the Borg for the Sun

April 6, 2015

Star Trek’s Borg: The Future of the Conservative Party

On Saturday, I reblogged an edition of Russell Brand’s The Trews, where he takes apart a promotional video for David Cameron made by the Sun. Apart from the general horrendous bias of the video and its flagrant omissions of what Cameron has actually inflicted on the poor, sick and unemployed of Britain, it was also notable for the weird extremes its sycophantic tone took. It wasn’t enough to show Cameron’s working day, lobbing him soft questions, and trying to present the butcher of the poor and homeless as somehow warm, cuddly and caring.

David Cameron as Nature Documentary

No! They had to take viewer identification to a completely new level. They fixed Cameron up with the type of camera they usually fix on animals in nature documentaries, so you could experience what it was like to be him as he walked down 10 Downing Street’s hallowed corridors.

This presented the highly amusing spectacle of the prime minister being wired up in the same way the Beeb has put cameras on wild birds, seals and walruses, and, most recently, cats and dogs. There’s even a form of camera that can be purchased by ordinary members of the public, who want to put it on their pet to see what their pooch is doing. It was one of a number of doggy gadgets that Warwick Davis tried out on the One Show. This ended up with the nation’s favourite Ewok yelling down the computer screen as his canine best friend decided that it would take a dip in the house’s fish pond.

With Cameron similarly wired up to the TV, all that was needed was a voice-over by David Attenborough giving details of his territorial behaviour, nesting, and mating rituals.

There is a more serious side to this. The camera placed on Cameron to present his pov takes the whole exercise into the issue of cultural hegemony, the Fascist cult of the leader, and the potential loss of individuality and personal freedom through the internet.

Cameron’s Camera and Marxist Theory of Hegemony

Marx claimed that the ideologies informing and governing societies, such as religion, were constructed in order to disguise and legitimate the power of the economically superior ruling groups. This was developed by the Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci into his theory of hegemony, in which the ruling classes grip on culture and its manipulation is part of the process through which they rule.

Part of this involves the lower orders and subordinate groups taking over and viewing everything through the eyes of their social superiors. One of the problems in history is that frequently the only materials that survive from past ages, is that produced by the ruling class of aristocratic White males. Thus the view of the past can be skewed very much towards the viewpoint of the governing aristocracy. If you look at culture generally, it frequently, but not always, was made by members of the ruling classes, and so reflects and promotes their class interests.

This isn’t always the case, and there are severe flaws which have effectively discredited Marxist aesthetics, which puts everything down to class. Nevertheless, it is broadly true in many cases.

This exercise with Cameron’s personal camera took this to its ultimate extreme. Not only were you being asked to identify with Cameron’s worldview, but you were also being manipulated into identifying with him personally, as a real, embodied being walking the corridors of power. This is as close a personal identification you can get with modern technology, failing having galvanic stimulators strapped onto your body, so you can carry out every movement he does.

The Fascist Leader Cult

Absolute glorification and identification with the leader is also one of the central tenets of Fascism. The cult of a charismatic leader was supposed to bring the ordinary citizen into a more personal, dynamic relationship with their government than was possible in democracy, with its grey, stultifying, boring bureaucracy. In practice, the reverse was true, and the cult of the leader proved far more boring and bureaucratic than the democracy the Fascist leaders had overthrown. And particularly as the Fascist apparatchiks were generally mediocrities and non-entities, carefully selected for their lack of talent and charisma so that they would never challenge the authority of the Fuehrer or Duce.

This was partly the purpose of the Fascist spectacles – the speeches from balcony and rallies in Nuremberg Stadium: to reach out to the masses and propagandise them through the leader’s personal charisma and oratory. And Hitler in particular stressed his personal connection with ordinary Germans and the submerged masses. In one of his speeches, he declared ‘everything I am, I am through you. Everything you are, you are through me.’ People and Fuehrer thus in Nazi rhetoric and ideology were almost indissolubly linked, the one a personification of the other.

Cameron’s donning of the camera to present his personal view took that concept, and attempted to make it technological reality.

We are Borg. Your technological and biological distinctiveness are at an end. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

Remember the Borg in Star Trek? This was their answer to Dr Who‘s Cybermen. The Borg were a race of humanoids, who had taken cybernetics almost as far as it would go. They had become cyborgs, combining the organic and machine. This technology had made them so interconnected, that they had lost all individuality. Only the Borg queen had an individual identity. The rest were merely drones, serving the collective, which was itself a gestalt intelligence or hive mind, like a giant anthill.

Star Trek’s producers state that when they created the Borg, they did so deliberately to play on American fears of collectivist societies, like those of the Japanese. And, we might add, like Communism. But the part of the Western political scene now that has the most totalitarian ideology is that of the Conservative right. Through sanctions, workfare, work coaches, fitness to work assessments and so on, the Tories and their Lib Dem enablers have created an extensive bureaucracy of surveillance and control, which is intended to monitor almost every aspect of the benefit claimant’s life. It harks back to the utilitarians’ ideology of control in Jeremy Bentham’s prison design. These were to have panopticons, a watch room from where every corridor and the movements of all the criminals in the prison could be observed and monitored. This, it was believed, would allow the authorities complete control over the prisoners and facilitate their reform.

The same ideology now permeates the Tories’ views of the poor and benefit claimants. At the moment the personal cameras are just being used to get people to identify with their leaders. How long before someone wants to use them to monitor us in the next extension of totalitarian power from a party determined to ‘discipline and punish’?

Russell Brand Deconstructs the Sun’s ‘Day in the Life of David Cameron’

April 4, 2015

This is an edition of Russell Brand’s The Trews, his youtube broadcasts where he discusses the pressing issues of the moment. In this one he takes apart a video the Sun made, which tried to give its readers a sympathetic look at what Cameron’s working day is actually like. Brand states clearly that it could only have been the Sun that made this video, as the newspaper is the only other thing in Britain which has the same amount of hatred and malevolence towards the country and its people that the Tories have.

Brand goes below the chummy tone to expose just how manipulative and artificial the Sun’s video is, and how deeply malevolent the Tories are towards the poor. He notes the stiffness in Cameron’s manner, which shows that rather than acting naturally, he is self-consciously trying to look as if he’s acting naturally. Brand points out that Cameron has no idea how ordinary people really behave because of his class and education.

Among his other remarks on the Suns’ video, Brand talks about the way the Tories are funded by off-shore bankers, the way the government is actively closing down businesses, and that their policies are forcing 900,000 people to use food banks. He also comments on the way the Tories stand for deregulation and inflated energy prices. Here’s the video:

I don’t share Brand’s anarchism and his belief in not voting. But this is a good demolition of this propaganda effort by the Sun. And the comments Brand made about it are also relevant to the Tories’ party political broadcast made earlier this week.

If you missed it, this showed children playing in the park, going up and down stairs at home, and generally doing what kids do. Every now and then, the action would stop and a voice and text would announce the Tories’ election promises. As the video went on, the kids were revealed to be Cameron’s own, and he, they, and his wife were shown sitting round the dining room table. It was a carefully constructed image, showing Cameron as a secure and caring paterfamilias. A family man, standing for sound family values and the country’s prosperity. What could be more wholesomely bourgeois than that?

Now I support the family as a human institution. And I wish there were more happy and secure families. But that isn’t always the case. Marriages and committed relationships fall apart for any number of reasons. And it should be needless to say that despite the scare stories of rampant promiscuity, not every single parent is a feckless tart. One of the most serious dangers to secure family life is poverty, lack of opportunity and the desperation these engender. All of which have increased under the Tories. Where they didn’t exist before, they have been manufactured. The whole point has been to create a desperate, precarious workforce, who will take any job, nobody how exploitative and derisory the pay and conditions are.

Private Eye published cited the government’s own statistics this week that 40,000 families are homeless in Bed and Breadkfast accommodation. John Void in particularly has repeated blogged about homelessness, and how many children don’t have a permanent roof over their head. The number of single people, who are homeless is much higher, with the true numbers of the ‘hidden homeless’ staying with friends and relatives about 263,000. And Brand states that 900,000 people have been forced to use food banks.

With this level of poverty in the country, the Tories’ bland depiction of themselves as the party of bourgeois home-owning prosperity is grossly insulting.

Cassetteboy’s ‘Emperor’s New Clothes Rap’ against Tories, Bankers and Kippers

March 28, 2015

This is another video from Youtube, which I found on the SlatUKIP page. It’s the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes Rap’ from Cassetteboy. Cassetteboy, as I’m sure many of you know, is a prankster, who specialises in editing footage of politicians, celebs and criminals like David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Sir Alan Sugar and Jeremys Kyle and Clarkson, to make them look ridiculous and stupid.

In this video, he edits footage to show the Cameron and Osborne rapping about how they don’t care about the poor or the state of the health service, only about taking money from the masses to give to the rich. He then goes on to give Farage the same treatment, who is shown presenting immigration as the cause of every one of Britain’s problems. The Purple Duce then, in a moment of edited clarity, declares that their party is partly based on xenophobia.

The video is a publicity trailer for a documentary film with Russell Brand by the British director, Michael Winterbottom, in which the Goth anarchist ideologue goes after the bankers, who’ve wrecked Britain. The film’s due to open on the 21st April, according to the video.

The film seems to be following in the footsteps of the Capped Crusader, Michael Moore, and Morgan Spurlock, in combining film with social activism by hunting down and exposing the lies, venality and exploitative cruelty of the rich and powerful. And that’s no bad thing either. We don’t have such blatantly biased television in this country as there is in America, thanks to broadcasting regulations insisting on impartiality. Nevertheless, there is a bias there. We have some of the most of the most talented actors, directors and producers in the world. It’s about time somebody over here put on Michael Moore’s sneakers to give British corporate greed a hard time.

Russell Brand: Why Is Tony Blair Not In Jail as War Criminal?

March 16, 2015

Tom Pride this morning put up the post, which I’ve reblogged here, satirising Bliar’s position as a Middle East Peace envoy, and how it conflicts with his role as the Antichrist. I thought after that it would be appropriate to put up Russell Brand’s own thoughts on the same issue.

I realise that many people, including myself, have mixed feelings about Russell Brand. I can’t say I’m a complete fan of his, particularly after the childish and offensive stunt he and Wossy pulled several years ago now making that prank phone call to Andrew Sachs. I also don’t agree with his position that people shouldn’t vote. That’s simply a way of making sure the people in power will ignore you. In fact, far from acknowledging how alienated people are, they then claim the opposite: people aren’t voting, because they’re entirely satisfied with the way things are being run.

On the other hand, Brand in his ‘The Trews’ videos commenting on the news and serious issues does make extremely good points, backed up with his characteristic cheeky wit. In this edition, Why Is Tony Blair Not In Jail? I literally Don’t Understand, he comments on the iniquity and absurdity of the Bliar being awarded the title of ‘Philanthropist of the Year’ by Save the Children after the horrors he created in Iraq with his participation in Bush’s illegal invasion. He cites some chilling statistics on the carnage and chaos the invasion has created. Two million dead. Millions more displaced. Children living in fear and poverty. Bliar’s award thus becomes an extremely sick and very unfunny joke.

It’s not the first time an award for philanthropy has been given to a politician many would regard as a monster. Tom Lehrer was so shocked and disgusted by Kissinger winning the Nobel Peace Prize after the bombing of Hanoi that he gave up writing satire. Well, after an event of that magnitude, there really doesn’t seem to be any more you can say.

Here, however, is Brand on Bliar:

Russell Brand Satirised on Brooker’s Weekly Wipe

February 7, 2015

I’ve just reblogged Guy Debord’s Cat’s piece attacking Daniel Hannan’s remarks on Russell Brand. Hannan is an extreme Right-wing Tory MEP for Dorset, who wants Britain to leave the EU and privatise the NHS. He’s basically a Kipper, who hasn’t joined the exodus from the Tories and sworn eternal fealty to Fuhrer Farage. Brand has established himself as something of a radical ideologue with his book Revolution. It’s been attacked for being woolly, with a naively positive attitude towards religion and spirituality. Nick Robinson in particular attacked it in the pages of the Radio Times for encouraging people not to vote. This would be extremely bad for the country, as it would leave politics to be dominated by small, extremist parties.

As opposed to the big extremist party now calling itself the ‘conservatives’, of whose youth wing Robinson was the leader when he was a student in Macclesfield, I suppose.

As the Cat’s piece makes clear, what has really upset Hannan and the other critics is Brand’s attack on politics as the preserve of the rich middle class. Hannan’s ideal, which is also shared by the Kippers, Clegg’s Lib Dems and elements of New Labour, is that politics should be dominated by the right kind of people: middle class and privately educated. They are to be not only the political decision-makers themselves, but also the journalists, media commentators and opinion-formers, who interview, critique and interpret them and their actions for the proles further down the social hierarchy. This anti-democratic mentality is most explicit in the Kippers, one of whose members, for West Hampstead, has gone on record as saying that he sometimes feels the 19th century Reform Acts of 1832 and 1888 that extended the franchise to the middle classes were a mistake. This particular Faragist believes that it should be stripped from certain classes of people, like criminals.

This is quite apart from the party’s extremely misogynist attitude, which would see women disenfranchised socially and economically if they came to power.

Some idea of how powerful, and how much of a threat someone feels Brand’s ideas are was shown on Charley Brooker’s Weekly Wipe Thursday night. This featured a strikingly good satirical impersonation of Brand by a female comedian, suitably made up to look like him. The make-up and prosthetics were extremely good, and the impersonator did capture more than a little of Brand’s androgynous mannerisms and whimsical, sharp, turns of phrase.

Brooker himself is certainly not averse to pouring his blistering scorn on the leaders of all the parties, and he made some suitably scabrous – and highly sexual comments – about Cameron, as well as other remarks on the poor performance and dismal character of Ed Miliband and Clegg. Brand is, of course, certainly not beyond satire. His position as a tribune of the lower orders is somewhat contradictory, considering that he is a highly educated member of the middle classes, from a very good middle class home himself. But the fact that Brooker felt he needed to be included in the programme and sent up shows the extent of Brand’s influence with Brooker’s target demographic. It also suggests that Brand, and his vlogs on Youtube, might just also be viewed by someone in the Beeb’s commentariat as something of a threat to their own hegemony on political comment and discussion.

And from their point of view, as members of the same class as the politicians they scrutinise and interview, this would be a very, very bad thing indeed.

Russell Brand Is Right: Farage Is a ‘Poundland Enoch Powell’

December 13, 2014

Yesterday I posted a piece about how Russell Brand, speaking on the BBC’s Question Time, had called Nigel Farage a ‘Poundland Enoch Powell’. Now the Telegraph has published a piece proving Brand correct. According to the Torygraph, back in 1995 the future Fuehrer of UKIP asked for Scowly Powelly’s endorsement when standing as a candidate for Eastleigh in 1994. The next year, Farage asked Powell himself to stand as a candidate for UKIP in the European elections. Powell declined, but did later give his support to three UKIP candidates, standing for elections to parliament between 1994 and 1997.

The article goes on to state that Farage has never concealed his admiration for Powell. In 2008 UKIP published a book attempting to find a common ground between their views and that of Powell. The Torygraph also claimed that in an interview Farage gave to the newspaper, he stated that the general point of Powell’s infamous ‘rivers of blood’ speech had been ‘absolutely right’. He also said that Powell’s claim that West Indians and Whites would never mix ‘had not turned out to be true’. Farage was also of the opinion that Enoch Powell’s speech was misjudged, as it put the lid on the immigration debate, and that there would eventually be a reappraisal of Powell, though not yet.

The article’s on MSN news at http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/revealed-how-nigel-farage-and-ukip-begged-for-enoch-powells-support/ar-BBgI2Xr?ocid=OIE9HP. It’s called Revealed: how Nigel Farage and Ukip begged for Enoch Powell’s support .

So Brand was entirely right: Farage is a ‘Poundland Enoch Powell’, who wanted the support of his hero.

And Farage and UKIP aren’t alone in their admiration for the maverick Tory politician. About a year or so ago a group of Tories, including the Spectator’s Simon Heffer, wrote a book with the title Enoch Powell at 100, or something similar, re-evaluating and defending their political hero. The Daily Mail has also published similar article harshly condemning the vicious racism in Powell’s speech, while stating that in general terms Powell was right about the races not mixing and demanding further cuts to non-White immigration.

In amongst their Nazi insignia, the stormtroopers of the BNP and NF have a badge. It’s a twisted version of the Union Jack. It has the national emblem of the UK on it, along with the slogan ‘Enoch Was Right’. It’s a nasty appropriation of this nation’s flag in order to drum up support for these groups’ racial nationalism and claim that non-Whites aren’t properly British. As the Torygraph article shows, it’s not just the Nazi Right who could wear it. It could equally well be pinned to Farage’s lapel.