Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Bye bye New Statesman-hello New Labour!

For years I have subscribed to the New Statesman-through the dreary years of righteousness to the radical days of sort of dissent.
I've tolerated everything, the days when it thought it was the house organ of the now defunct SDP,when it thought it was the vanguard voice of the revolutionary proletariat-even the recent innovations of piles of shadow cabinet members writing about their compassion.
I thought I could cope with everything,until last week.
A special edition with a big glossy cover edited by Alastair Campbell!

Now much as I loathe Mandelson with a passion in all honesty the creepiness of Campbell puts even Mandelson in the shade.If you want to know just how dreadful it really was inside the blair big tent-read Campbell's diaries.They make even Adam Bolton's collection of trivia almost worthwhile.

We all knew the Labour party was in trouble when they invited mandelson back into the cabinet,not so much a big beast but a dainty dinosaur, and then the NS invite Campbell as guest editor.

Forget about rearranging the deck furniture on the Titanic-now we're playing deck quoits.

It was really like Private Eye with no jokes(actually that's just like Private Eye).All that was missing was the word balloons on the glossy cover,but then Alex Ferguson and Allie himself gave ample opportunity to invent your own caption.
Inside the Private Eye theme continued.The jokey interview between Fergie and Allie,leaden in the extreme, then a diary from Sarah Brown with all the quotes from Gordon(just like the Supreme Leaders page in the Eye, and finally there was the Vicar of St Albion prating on about God!

You couldn't make it up if you tried.So who edits the next edition? Lord Gould's 22 year old daughter about to be parachuted into a safe Labour seat!

Clive Loakes has got it all wrong, if he wants to win a seat he should have got Philip Gould to adopt him,and became Alastairs love child by way of a focus group.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

A deep feeling of unease

I watched the 9/12 Lancers parade through Northampton Town Centre over a coffee and with a growing sense of unease.

it was abeautiful sunny day and the parade was a grand spectacular and the crowds were enormous but one had to ask -why?

Apart from the fact that the soldiers were not really local in any accepted sense, if you wanted a 'local' regiment then the Anglians or more appropriately the Pioneers were better bets.

Then again why at this time? I don't remember local parades when they came back from tours of duty in Ulster,or the Falklands for that matter.
Why did I get the feeling that it was all about instructions from on high to get a bit of gung ho patriotism for'our boys and girls' and the wonderful job they were doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Best way to defuse unpopular wars is to run up the flag and see who salutes!

The demonstrations of patriotic zeal being re-enacted all over the country has really nothing to do with our returning heroes but cynically an attempt by the government to legitimise two useless wars under the guise of patriotism-the last refuge of the coward!

So if you don't support our heroes then somehow you are unpatriotic and are insulting the men and women who risk their lives 'protecting our freedom'

What utter balderdash, I have no doubt that our young men and women are brave and loyal,but in the end that is what they are paid to do and they act under orders.
it's a fair bet that most of them had never heard of Iraq or Afghanistan until they were sent there-and for what?

To prop up American oil interests in the middle east and reactionary war lords in the east!

Both wars are unecessary and meaningless in terms of 'protecting our freedom'.
It is not the fault of those young men and women that they had to go, it was the orders of the politicians-who should be ashamed that they ever got troops involved in the first place.

The old east India Company had it about right two hundred years ago.To protect their financial interests they raised their own mercenary army .it seems to me that if Exxon or Mobil or Esso want to protect their oil interests in the Middle east they should perhaps buy a company army-I wonder then if we would be so keen to rally round the flag!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Milk not for everyone

Sean Penn won an academy award for his portrayal of the San Franciscan gay activist Harvey Milk in the movie'Milk'
You might have thought that a film that won the Best Actor award this year might have featured in the programmes of one or both of the town's main multi-plexes.

Not a bit of it! If you wanted to see Milk you had only three or four days up at Lings Forum.

It was a magnificent film, full of hope and optimism-something that we are all in short supply of at the moment,so anything that cheers the spirit is worth shouting about.
But what do we get,a short run,poorly advertised in a remote small local cinema.

Fair play to the managers at the Forum and indeed to NBC for keeping this last little bastion of cultural values alive in the Philistine Borough of Nothinghampton!

But why were the mainstream houses afraid to show Milk ?
They were williing to show the fairly routine and uninspirational Frost/Nixon and yet unwilling to show Milk-now it can hardly be because Sean Penn is not box office can it? Especially as the film got rave reviews and Penn a very well deserved oscar.
And further the film well reflected the Obama mood of hope- so what held the moguls back?
Homophobia perhaps ? A reluctance to show a gay man in a heroic role ?

A great sadness, for when the 'twinky bar' defence was put forward for Dan White's murderous action-the whole shallowness of US justice was exposed- and in the current climate a timely reminder.