Mar. 6th, 2017 10:25 pm
keresaspa: (Default)
*Insert weak joke about visiting Edinburgh lots before waffling for ages about most recent visit*

Therefore )


Oct. 8th, 2016 12:33 pm
keresaspa: (Gus Goose)
Such is the regularity with which I go to Edinburgh these days that it hardly seems worth mentioning.

But let's anyway )
keresaspa: (Diggory)
The short version of this is that London was rather good apart from the going and the coming, which were hell on earth. On the off-chance that anybody is still reading this (and I note in my extended absence that I am now down to one person submitting regular updates on my friends list) I shall expand at some length about what took place.

The Austrian stork nurtures the kites )
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
I've never been a member of a political party in my life but, unbelievable as it seems now, there was a time when I would have identified Sinn Fein as "my" party nonetheless. So long ago. As disillusionment set in that honour was handed instead to the Irish Republican Socialist Party but a combination of the INLA's totally pointless surrender (seriously, they have gained absolutely nothing from their ceasefire unlike the Provies, who at least get huge grants from Her Majesty's Government for being good little boys) and the party's gradual drift to moribundity saw me give up on them ages ago. I mean, apart from that wee office on the Falls do they do anything any more? My days of identifying with one party are long over. If I was pushed I would say that these days I most admire the effort of Eirigi but even then I differ from them on several issues and consider them the best of a bad lot rather than my spiritual brothers.

Of course given that I live in leafy South Belfast there is no Eirigi interest in my constituency and so I am left with rather a motley crew to choose from when it comes to voting tomorrow. Sinn Fein or out of course and would have been even if their candidate wasn't the utterly despicable Millionaire Marty, unquestionably my most detested member of the party outside their two leaders. Their cohorts in that vile, Tory-lapdog rabble up on the hill- the DUP - are out of the question too of course and stick their Little Pengelly up their Stalford if they think they're getting my vote (although apparently they don't as they never canvass my area). As ever the Alliance have addressed several pieces of literature to me, apparently believing that I'm their man (or perhaps that I'm a kinsman of one of their candidate) but their support for the current set-up rules them out, as does one of their candidates' pasts as a flag waver for David Cameron. Due to their pro-Assembly and, by extension, pro-austerity stances both the SDLP and Ulster Unionists are out as well.

Which leaves me, as ever, scraping around in the bottom of the barrel to pick which losing candidate I'll be blowing my vote on. Well UKIP are running for starters. Not bloody likely. The Progressive Unionist Party are having another tilt but they can hit the road too, having lazily sent me the exact same sectarian manifesto as last time with the bit about Protestant boys bad performance at school being priority ahead of Irish Travellers and Roma, both of whom perform worse. Bigots and racists it seems. As previously covered at some length Hiddleston is running for traditional Unionist Voice but I don't vote for apartheid supporters. Ben Manton is, as ever, running for the Tories but, also as ever, he can go swive himself.

There are a couple of loyalist independents running too. Ex-DUP extremist Ruth Patterson is one option although, given that her campaign manager is fleg moron Jamie Bryson, I rather suspect she isn't really aimed at me. Indeed she seems an ideal candidate for the Protestant Coalition, our local attempt at a loyalist arm of the extreme right Britain First, but that seems to be pretty much dead these days. There's also Billy Dickson of course although his manifesto left me rather cold. A former Belfast City councillor, Dickson was a veteran of the dark days of Paisleyism, a staunch opponent of civil rights and a paramilitary on the Donegall Road. He's been through various other parties since, including the Tories and the TUV, but now claims to be leading his own party called the South Belfast Unionists. His literature stated that it was imperative south Belfast has its own unionist party but offered no reason why that was so. I'm sure it's important to him as no other party will offer him a candidacy but it can't be that important as his South Belfast Unionists are unregistered and he is competing as an independent. Next!

It's South Belfast so there are no dissident republican candidates and instead I'm left to pick amongst the debris of the lefty also-rans. There's an independent named Brigitte Anton, one of several running across the place as part of the Northern Ireland Labour Representation Committee, but I've never been a fan of the British parties setting up shop here so, whilst I still respect Jeremy Corbyn, I reckon I'll give her a swerve, not least because she didn't bother sending me any bumf so I don't know what she wants. I find the Green party generally a bit wishy-washy but Bailey will probably find her way onto the ballot, most likely in third place. That leaves me a straight choice between Seán Burns and Lily Kerr. Burns in running as an independent, although his posters say he is Cross-Community Labour Alternative whilst he is actually from the Socialist Party. Confused yet? Normally he would be nailed on but his campaign has left me rather cold. Both he and his East Belfast counterpart Courtney Robinson are mere babies and this has been a big part of their campaign but the whole "vote for youth because it means progressive" thing has never really worked for me. As I've said before Tony Benn is the classic example, given how for much of his political career he was a fairly standard Labour Party apparatchik before emerging in his older years as a radical dissident of the first water so that younger = better jazz doesn't wash with me. Also for me this election is about austerity Burns seems much more interest in other issues such as abortion and gay marriage, neither of which strike me as priorities given the "Fresh Start" agreement is about to turn this place Third World. He is the only candidate with a moustache admittedly but I'm rejecting that as a criterion, along with picking on the basis of best looking (Clare Bailey, who has a bit of a mumsy Carly Rae Jepsen thing going on). As such I'll be going with the Workers Party again, the only ones in this constituency to really hammer home the anti-austerity line as the priority it deserves to be. Burns can take second and Bailey third so commiserations in advance to all three on their inevitable defeat.

For whatever its worth (sod all), that's how I'll be going but I fully expect the same old sectarian shite to rule the day and us to be faced with another five years of money-hungry Sinn Fein and DUP scumbags doing whatever the Tories order them so long as they can protect their own interests. Meanwhile their potless voters will be much worse off, having once again followed the same old "keep the other side out" line regardless. Heck, there's so little between the five main parties that they might as well all merge as their all cheeks of the same (admittedly very deformed, given there are five of them) arse. As ever grim prospects lie ahead thanks to England and their propensity for forcing the Tories on us.

Stick it

Apr. 27th, 2015 08:42 pm
keresaspa: (Cartman)
And so the deed is done for another five years. Yes I know the general election isn't until next month but I'll be down south on the day and so this year I ordered a postal vote and today I submitted the blasted thing. So don't bother me any more canvassers as I can no longer help you.

I did briefly consider holding my nose and voting for the Stoop Down Low Party just to help keep the horrendous Millionaire Marty out but given that their candidate is Absentee Alasdair I was unable to decide which was the less odious and so kept up my streak of voting for losing candidates by plumping for Lily Kerr of the Workers Party. Sorry, Lil but any chance you had of winning is now gone thanks to the Keresaspa election malison. Mind you, her two hopes were Bob and no to begin with so I can't really take the blame on this one.

Well that's my input into the whole farce done and dusted and if I could hear no more about it I'll be very happy. I'm struggling to recall an election I've been less interested in than this one, perhaps because of the depressing inevitability of how it's going to turn out. I expect very little from Ed Miliband anyway but the sickening way he has been treated by the media means any chance he ever had is diminishing to nothingness and the thought of five more years of Cuts Cameron (might be a letter missing in that first word) is filling me with a deeply morose sense of dread. Being hostage to the wishes of bloody England every five years is just horrendous and is increasingly making Davy Kerr's free Ulster seem palatable whilst the lumpen who claim to hate him so much will invite him back in by voting for the loathsome Farage, who has made it clear time and again that he is looking forward to a hard-line Thatcherite coalition with the Tories. No matter what they drag up about him the bottom-feeding morons who lend him their support (and whom he views with the utmost contempt) won't stop following the little shit. Oh for the days of the IPLO and somebody going Latin American on his arse. Needless to say if anybody on my friends list is intending to vote for the UK Independence Party please remove me as I don't need to know you.

But I'll say no more about it as I'm totally bored by the whole nonsense and who knows, a Labour-SNP-Plaid Cymru-Green rainbow alliance might still happen and enact a slew of very minor incremental reforms that just might drag things ever so slightly up from the shit to make life nearly tolerable. When that's the best you can hope for then you know the system is well and truly screwed.
keresaspa: (Jimmy Edwards)
It was hardly Tony Turner against Alexander Raven Thomson at Kensington Town Hall in '46, was it? Heck, it wasn't even the Duchess of Atholl demolishing Lord Queenborough's Bolshevik plot theories ten years earlier after her sudden, temporary, lurch to the left. No, this generation's great left-right debate ends up being a bunch of common room sparring between a greasy snake oil salesman who seems to have won over the lumpenproletariat by showing them nothing but contempt and a painfully unfunny "comedian" with a Messiah complex. A typical episode of the increasingly execrable Question Time in other words.

The sudden rebirth of Russell Brand as the self-appointed leader of the revolution has been one of the most disheartening things I've witnessed in years and is further proof of just how low the stock of the British left is these days. He might have the beard, the hair and the smouldering good looks (apparently - don't see it myself) but it takes more than that to make one into Che Guevara. Whatever they may say about Che he practised what he preached. He called for direct revolutionary action, so he carried it out, getting himself dirty and placing himself in the firing line in Cuba, Angola or wherever else it was going on. It's a far cry from turning up at the occasional protest for a photo opportunity in between harassing old men or cosying up to right-wing tossers like Adam Sandler.

Brand may have recycled the odd half-decent, fourth-hand idea in his most recent booky-wook but that that is supposed to suddenly make him a spokesman of resistance for a generation shows just how devoid of inspiration this generation really is. When even the notion of revolution is turned into yet another arm of celebrity culture then it really is a sad indictment. Blame Tariq Ali if you will, but even he paid his dues once upon a time before disappearing up his own hole. As for Brand's supposedly amazing line that Farage is a "pound shop Powell" - a) he already used the alliterative reference to pound shops when singing the praises of the unlamented racist bully Jade Goody and b) as much I hold Enoch Powell in the utmost contempt he was in other ways an intellectual giant and much more sophisticated than a cretin like Farage. Powell's racism slots into the academic strain running from Hans F. K. Günther to Richard Lynn, Farage's racism is the pub bore line trotted out by street corner loudmouths like John Tyndall based solely on their own illiterate prejudices and the constructed misconceptions they have derived from the gutter press.

Let's face it, Brand is every bit as self-publicising and arrogant as Farage. Both men practically achieve orgasm whenever they look in the mirror and they are both in their respective games for the same reason - me, me, me. Russell Brand is no more the future of the revolutionary left than Bernard Youens is the future of the Bolshoi Ballet and if anything his ill-thought out, soundbite-driven take on the left makes it that much easier for the gutter rags to bash otherwise sound ideas as the ravings of a self-absorbed, subnormal, wannabe rockstar, hippy bastard. Charlie Brooker is hardly an intellectual heavyweight and, as far as I'm aware, is not right-wing but even he had Brand on toast when they both appeared on Have I Got News For You so how can that be embraced as the one to bring deliverance?

Farage will go eventually, the same way all his extreme right predecessors have gone before him and if anything the wheels already seem to be starting to come off the UKIP juggernaut. Certainly I don't expect them to do anywhere near as well as they have suggested at the general election. But when he does go can he take Brand with him, please? The left needs its guiding lights but a sixth-form narcissist like Brand is not, cannot and should never be one of them.
keresaspa: (Colonel Blink)
When you actually think about it, the riddle of the Sphinx was pretty obvious really. It makes you wonder what sort of hicks must have lived in Thebes that so many of them died due to that and they made Oedipus king for something that simple. There again, perhaps the sight of a giant winged lion with a woman's face and boobs swooping down asking them about what walks on three at night scrambled their brains, who can say?

Perhaps the Thebans would feel at home amongst the UKIP-voting helots that are coming to dominate Britain these days. From the party that told us the National Front was left of centre in the late 70s* we now have secret plans to destroy the NHS from their oleaginous leader. Given that a lot of their voters are working class people, quite possibly with long-term illnesses, such information should be an anathema to them but unfortunately it will be ignored yet again. The stubborn idiocy of the lumpenproletariat who seem determined to vote in these chancers will not be altered by appeals to logic and indeed UKIP could announce that all people who earn less than £50,000 a year are to be executed and they would still vote for them. After all a lot of these people are the same ones who voted National Front and BNP in the past so sense is not something we can expect from them.

Nevertheless as somebody who suffers from a condition that needs regular treatment and which is not caused by anything I've done I am up in arms at the thought of these thick English oiks forcing me and my kind into crippling debt in order to avoid being poisoned by our own blood. That people who could never afford long-term treatments are fast becoming the backbone of this hateful party is the real tragedy. New IRA - get us away from these bastards whilst there's still time. Heck, I'm coming to the bit where even Ulster nationalism is seeming a more attractive prospect than life under a UKIP coalition.

* Sample quotes from the NF in the late 70s include: "The National Front completely opposes majority rule in Rhodesia and supports the present position of the White Rhodesians" (Britain: World Power or Pauper State?) and "The NF advocates the repeal of the Race Relations Act on the grounds that it is an infringement of our traditional rights of free free speech and free association and that it treats immigrants as a privileged class" (National Front Statement of Policy)

This was also a time when John Tyndall was Chairman of the NF, a man whose earlier words include: "The Greater Britain Movement will uphold, and preach, pure National Socialism" (National Socialist Movement internal bulletin, 1964). "Only those of British and kindred Aryan blood should be members of the nation....The removal of the Jews from Britain must be a cardinal aim of the new order" (Official Programme of the Greater Britain Movement). Tyndall's personal organ Spearhead continued to give vent to his biological racism and rabid anti-Semitism throughout the 1970s and beyond. Not to mention the fact that Spearhead was edited by Richard Verrall in the late 70s who, as well as serving as NF Deputy Chairman at the time, also wrote a bunch of pseudo-academic claptrap comparing "negros" to orang-utans biologically and denying the Holocaust (Verrall, under the name of Richard E. Harwood, was author of the historical revisionist "classic" Did Six Million Really Die? in 1974). So the UKIP definition of "left-of-centre" is legalising racism, apartheid, Holocaust denial and comparing Black people to monkeys? Still, you'll vote for them anyway, won't you?
keresaspa: (Mikado)
So, once again on Saturday the centre of Belfast is to be off limits to all as it is taken over by loyalist marchers, this time an outfit calling itself Loyal Peaceful Protesters, essentially the UVF, sundry hangers-on and a bunch of young junkies threatened with having their drug debts called in if they don't march.

As leader of the Progressive Unionist Party and nominal leader of the protest Billy Hutchinson argued that yet another unwarranted disruption of people's lives over a piece of cloth and the right of sectarian bigots to celebrate UVF murderers in front of their victims "is legitimate and lawful and will also highlight the other issues that are impacting on working class Protestant communities, including increasing poverty." The most depressing possible thought is that Hutchinson actually believes that although I suspect it is just what he has to tell himself to get through the night.

At heart I suspect Hutchinson is a genuine man of working class politics but he has completely painted himself into a corner down the years and is now flailing around in a desperate attempt to justify to himself his decision to crawl into bead with the extreme right. The protests are about flags on City Hall and the fact that republicans don't want Orange Order and paramilitary flute bands passing their houses and have sod all to do with increasing poverty, an issue that impacts upon both communities equally and which is being ignored by the major parties and the British government overlords to which Hutchinson is avowedly loyal. If he really believes that poverty can only be solved by a sectarian approach then maybe Hutch has willingly gone over to the extreme right and is seeking to position himself as the Otto Strasser of loyalism.

In a way his options are limited. There was a time when Hutchinson was a big cheese in the UVF but these days he is cocky on the biscuit tin, flailing around desperately trying to gain some influence but increasingly ignored by the true leaders. He preaches working class politics and the fact that loyalists (and no one else) are suffering poverty but yet he happily hitches himself to the UVF and its drug dealing empire and intimidation of the same loyalists, counting UVF commanders like Winkie Irvine amongst his party colleagues. Billy can soothe his conscience all he wants with fantasy stuff about flag and march protests being about social issues but he knows fine well they aren't and that they amount to nothing more than nakedly sectarian shows of strength by the UVF.

The increasingly irrelevant Martin McGuinness recently broke his silence on the affair by suggesting that the protest was being orchestrated by the UVF before adding that he had heard rumours about Francis I being a member of the Catholic Church, but frankly his opinion is of no consequence as he has happily allowed it to go on. The same goes for the execrable Teresa Villiers - if Belfast is indeed open for business then how about you put in an appearance on North Street on Saturday afternoon, Teesy? Thought not. Interesting too that what is increasingly taking on all the trappings of fascism and has the vocal support of the BNP, National Front and other fringe extremist groups is being totally ignored by Anti-Fascist Action and the rest of the self-declared hard men. But that's the way it always has been here - a privileged group sees aspects of its dominant position eroded and it screams no fair and rises up, completely unopposed by the republicans who, as usual, are satisfied with the merest of scraps from the master's table.

Is there poverty in loyalist areas? Yes, but how is that going to be addressed by stupid and pointless rabid nationalism and flag waving? Poverty didn't suddenly appear the day the union jack came down from city hall and if it went back up tomorrow it wouldn't suddenly disappear, no matter what cloud cuckoo land ideas Billy Hutchinson might be trying to convince himself of. Take your concerns to the DUP, disrupt their lives and above all stop voting for them and stop welcoming a rabid monetarist like Nelson McCausland to your protests when his stated desire to copy the frankly evil policies of Iain Duncan Smith will only push those already in poverty further down instead of wasting all your energies on bigotry. And above all stop attempting to make poverty a sectarian issue and instead reach across the religious divide to the underprivileged of Ballymurphy, Turf Lodge and the rest of the republican sink estates instead of emphasising the constructed differences that your masters made to keep us all down in the first place. Or to put it in more simple language, fuck flags and fuck marches, stop being such lumpenproletariat idiots and then you might start to see poverty being tackled.

The whole "shared future" argument is a load of old bollocks, an attempt by Peter Robinson to neutralise the Irish unity argument by downplaying the sectarian aspects of the British dimension. Yet it's somewhat ironic that the loyalists, who, after all, are the ones who trumpet the importance of Britishness the loudest, are the only ones to vocally object whilst Sinn Fein continue to buy into the whole farce, despite the clear contradiction that a future cannot be shared by two communities who want diametrically opposed conclusions to their situations. On Saturday, once again, Loyal Peaceful Protesters will assert their ethnocentrist identity and I'm sure they'll live up to their name as the event will no doubt pass off peacefully as it is difficult to initiate clashes when you are completely unopposed.

Edmund Burke may have, for the most part, talked wall to wall crap but he was onto something when he opined "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing". Now, by no stretch of the imagination is McGuinness a good man but alas it seems that the few good men republicanism has left are happy to follow his lead in doing absolutely nothing in the face of rabid sectarian hatred. The bigotry and hatred is something you get used to - it's always been there and always will be. But when resistance dies what is left? Sickening.
keresaspa: (Shakuni (Gufi Paintal))
What a thoroughly depressing set of results from the local elections. Leaving aside the inevitable, and well deserved, losses for Clegg's collaborators we are left with a situation where the top party in the most brutal and heartless government in years suffers only moderate losses, the left gets nowhere as usual and, worst of all, a sizeable chunk of the electorate decides that the right people to serve as local councillors in charge of street lights and bins are members of a party whose only policies are at a national level and can be summed up as "wogs begin at Calais".

The continuing collapse of the BNP, something I predicted some years ago you'll remember, is heartening but it is ruined by the fact that so many votes have gone over to their posher, public school-educated cousins in the UK Independence Party. I am on record as being no fan of Boris Johnson and his ways but I can at least understand his appeal to a certain section of people as he represents their fictitious view of what being English is about - bumbling, upper class twits who are endearing and quintessentially English, the sort of people who think queuing is something to be proud of and are obsessed with that bloody "Keep calm and carry on" thing. But Nigel Farage, an oily yuppie of the sort one could easily imagine coming in to asset strip a dying Christmas hamper company, delivering the news that customers will be getting neither money nor wicker baskets full of food this yuletide before awarding himself a £2 million pay-off? What is the appeal of this snaggle-toothed gargoyle? OK, I can see why the chinless vermin who "work" in "The City" might see his appeal but what could anybody else possibly like about this diminutive, self-serving, self-publicising bastard? I'm not a great supporter of the European Union but frankly I really fear the dystopia that will follow Britain's exit as human rights legislation is torn up and right-wing governments do what they like to their citizens in the name of security. The Daily Mail might focus on the odd extreme case (and more often than not, make others up) but if the straight choice is a capitalist UK in the EU or a capitalist UK with internment, constant snooping, unlimited detention on remand and the death penalty then I'll take the EU, thanks. And to those morons who say "you need only worry if you have something to hide" - show me somebody who doesn't have something to hide and I'll show you the most boring man in the world. Do you really want a government that can look into your extra-marital affairs, those Justin Bieber MP3s you keep hidden, your dawdling on sleazy porn sites or the tax-dodging booze and fegs you order from eastern Europe? Thought not.

That the reaction of a significant number of voters to a cuts-happy government is to vote for a party that claims to be completely Thatcherite and is one of the few parties that would probably cut deeper than the Tories says a lot about the sort of lumpen morons who are voting these days. However the failure of the left to provide any real alternative is another huge problem, and one that has existed for several years now. Let's face it, there is no left-wing alternative in British politics. You have a supposed focus whose credibility has been shot to pieces for some time in George Galloway, a man who now seems to divide his time equally between trying to convince himself that something as right wing as Islamic fundamentalism is a basis for a socialist party, that rape isn't a crime if you agree with somebody's politics and that a great way to build unity is to alienate as many people as possible. Then you have a bunch of posh boys waving around their Euston Manifesto who are frankly about as radical as the Women's Institute. Finally you have the groupuscular left up and down the country, convinced that they are about to lead a revolution tomorrow on the basis that their recently joined tenth member has access to a van but who refuse to work with that mob on the other side of town because they have a picture of a beardless Trotsky in their HQ/only active member's bedsit.

I despair of it all really. Xenophobia and monetarism rule the day and the prospect of there being any meaningful change is ever more remote as we lurch towards a nightmarish future where a brutal, uncaring government has its few checks and balances removed and is given free rein to crush at will. Hell in a bloody handbasket.

Still, never mind, eh?!
keresaspa: (Nina looking a tad pertubed)
With DC away to Coleraine, Cliftonville off in dim and distant Ballinamallard and Sport & Leisure Swifts inactive until after Christmas I decided today to take a trip to one of the crappy little grounds dotted around Belfast that make up the Northern Amateur Football League. I had intended to visit the delightfully named Paisley Park on the West Circular Road beside the Highfield estate at the top of the Shankill to take in the spectacle of Albert Foundry clashing with Dunmurry Recreation. It doesn't get more glamorous than that. However I say "intended" because I hadn't banked on a crowd of those running dog, lumpen loyalist morons blocking the roads outside the City Hall again with their unbearably tedious interminable protests over the flying of that bloody flag, doing their best impression of a 1970s National Front demo (Scotland, hurry up and declare independence so as that stinking rag can finally become obsolete once and for all). As their great mates in the filth stood idly by whilst an illegal demonstration blocked the Queen's highway the chances of getting a bus evaporated (all routes bar south Belfast, from where I had come, and the Falls passing the City Hall) and my desire to give as much as a penny in admission money to a loyalist club went with it.

In disappointment I took off at top speed, my sore foot screaming in pain, with the intention of making a mad dash up to Solitude to watch Cliftonville Olympic take on Drumaness Mills in the Intermediate Cup, which was due to kick off at half one. However no sooner had I reached Clifton Street (not really near Cliftonville despite the similar sounding name) when some old geezer came up to enlist my help in pushing his car, which had broken down, off what is a very busy junction and onto the pavement. Well, I say "help" but said old geezer was giving away about seven inches, four stone and thirty years which meant the lion's share of the pushing was done by yours truly with himself little more than a bystander whose hands happened to be placed on the boot of the car. By the time I had fixed his problem it was quarter past one and the possibility of reaching Solitude had gone for a Burton. A good deed is its own reward, my arse!

The only remaining option was to take one of the Fenian taxis up to DC and watch the reserves take on their Coleraine counterparts in the forgotten backwater that is the IFA Reserve League. And so it was. I hadn't been to a reserve game before and suffice to say if I thought the crowds for home games were poor they had nothing on this. If there was twenty people they were lucky. It is often bandied around DC Park when the first team is taking another hiding that there are better players in the reserves but I can happily confirm that there most certainly are not. God help them but they were just awful. The number 11 - a tiny, willowy little boy whose shirt number could easily have also been his age had it not been for the intrusion of one of those black and white tattoo sleeves that are all the rage now - had a good start before fading but the rest were just abominable. It is no word of a lie that had Coleraine had a decent goal poacher they would have scored double figures but as it was they had to settle for just the five with Hugo Batista, a Portuguese winger who decided to swap the bairros of his homeland for the splendour of Bannside, in particularly imperious form. I don't know who that right back was for DC Reserves but Batista gave him such a roasting that he'll need a few hours in an ice bath tonight. If Oran Kearney has any sense he'll have him in the first team PDQ.

I suppose I mustn't grumble really as I still got back to the match after missing out last week and DC Reserves let you in for nothing so all it cost me was the bus fare to the town and the Fenian taxi fare to the ground (fifty pence cheaper than the bus, no less). Still, walking back the seven miles from there to my house with a bad foot was possibly not the smartest idea and I am really getting pig sick of these flag hags and the constant disruption they are causing over their imperialist rag. It needs to end tout suite or else the republican movement needs to organise a response because the law sure as hell aren't going to do anything and there is only so long people can keep following $inn £ein and I Ran Away in rolling over and having their bellies tickled. I knew all that "2012 Our Time Our Place" stuff was a load of marketing crap the minute they unveiled it but thanks to the diamond jubilee, the Apprentice Boys and now this crap 2012 in Belfast has been a hellish year if you are a Fenian. Our time, our place - it has certainly been loyalism's time and the taigs have, as usual, had to know our place as second class citizens throughout. Nothing ever changes.
keresaspa: (Tijuana toad)
Once again conflagration has broken out in Northern Ireland. Let the Assembly conspire with their masters in Westminster to dismantle the welfare state, punish the poor, wipe out the DLA that supports the ex-paramilitaries and slowly but surely kill off the NHS and the boys will happily sit on their hands (a criticism equally relevant to both sides, admittedly). But pass a law saying the symbol of one side should not fly permanently over the council chambers of the capital and once again the loyalist hordes come out in force, channelling the spirit of Ulster Day, the Ulster Workers Council and the Ulster Clubs by bringing intimidation, violence and disruption to all until their intransigent demands are met. I mean it's not as if the council has voted to hoist the starry plough from the City Hall but still the usual fascist response ensues as the working class Protestant hordes, stoked on by their upper middle class master in the Unionist parties, take to the streets to bully their way to what they want. Where but Northern Ireland would people take to the streets and attack political offices for something so bloody conformist as flying the union flag? Other countries get their "springs" we get an uprising in favour of hierarchy and dominance with a section of the working class unleashing violence in order that they might now their place a little bit more.

Of course the RUC will never go against their own, no matter what they call themselves these days. In England peaceful protesters with genuine grievances are treated like dirt, corralled like cattle and baton charged into a bloody pulp whilst if the Fenians went around smashing up buildings and attacking the filth the plastic bullets would be out quicker than you can say "Robert Hamill" but loyalist mobs are, as usual, free to do what they please when they please. Meanwhile the response of homophobic young earth creationist and hospital closer-in-chief Edwin Poots? Punish the violence by giving them their precious butcher's apron flying from Stormont too. Christ, if he worked for free his wages would be too high! If all those Egyptian protesters still haven't worked out that the difference between dictatorship and democracy is that in the latter you get to pick which inept, corrupt, power-hungry idiots get to order you about then let them look to Poots for confirmation.

In the interest of balance however I will give a rare bit of credit to Peter Robinson for at least attempting to offer a moderate, reasoned response. However I noticed he stopped short of condemning it, no doubt mindful of the votes he'll be seeking in East Belfast in 2015. Good to see that Hilary Clinton has condemned the violence though. Yup, nothing better than some bigshot American breezing in to pat us on the head and tell us how we should all get along with one hand, whilst giving a thumbs up to Israeli genocide with the other. Bugger off home, Hil, you're input is not needed and you've had your run in the pity job that Obama gifted you after wiping the floor with you in the Democratic primaries.

I must admit my sympathy for the Alliance is limited in this issue. They have followed the lonely path of well-heeled moderation previously followed by the Ulster Liberal Party and the Unionist Party of Northern Ireland but, as Humpty-Dumpty so succinctly demonstrated, when you spend all your time sitting in the fence (or wall in the Eggman's case) you will eventually have a great fall. Naomi Long might be seeking to portray herself as a great heroine but, whether by choice or not, she owes her seat in Westminster to the UVF as, without the endorsement of Stephen Matthews at the last election she would still be parking her ample rump on the cold benches of the City Hall rather than the plush loungers of the Palaces of Westminster. Matthews could just as easily have roused his supporters and stooges on the Newtownards Road, Sydenham, Dundonald and the rest to vote for Trevor Ringland or David Vance in order to force Robbo out but he anointed Long and obviously in return it was expected that she and her party would play ball. They haven't and so the special relationship is over. David Ford's decision to leave Marian Price to her fate means that the Alliance have already made republicanism their enemy so by falling foul of the loyalists they have painted themselves into a corner. But them's the breaks. They've been as complicit in the cuts-happy cosiness of the Assembly as anybody else so sorry about your damn luck.

So, plus ça change really as some silly little concession is made, loyalists react like mindless animals and bugger all is done to stop them. It would be funny if the whole thing wasn't so depressingly interminable.
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
So the whole fuss about Catherine Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge and the new Queen of Hearts having her dirty bags featured in French magazines and Irish tabloids then. For my part I've not seen the pictures in question. No, honestly. Despite my somewhat unjustified reputation as a bit of a dirt bird the scrawny, pasty Middletons do nothing for your correspondent so the close encounters of the blurred kind doing the rounds have no appeal for me. Rather though it has been the general reaction of shock, disgust and hand wringing that has got royally on my tits (no pun intended).

Let's face it, whenever you hear Richard Desmond trying to come off as a great moralist you definitely know something is wrong with this picture. This is the same Richard Desmond whose Northern & Shell company held the publishing rights to Penthouse in the UK and produced a slew of its own smutmags, including the famed Asian Babes. This is also the same Richard Desmond whose Northern & Shell company owns Television X, the home of such delightful family-friendly fare as "Feel or No Deal", "A Filthy Idiot Abroad" and "Gash in the Attic", and the Red Hot family of channels. And what, I wonder is the difference between Saint Catherine's jebs appearing in the Irish Daily Star and a million and one other z-listers like Kelly Brook having their perkies papped through long lenses and featured in the British Daily Star? OK, some of those desperadoes are in on the joke and are getting a cut from these pictures but others are not and Desmond has no qualms about invading their privacy (and given that a lot of these photospreads come from private resorts her being on the grounds of a private chateau when she bared all is no excuse either). There is quite possibly a case to answer about the rights and wrongs of featuring topless pictures for which permission has not been granted in newspapers at all (although the contrary argument - that if you make the choice to strip off in public you have to be prepared for the consequences - is quite compelling) but Richard Desmond is neither advancing that case nor in a position to do so. Instead he is indulging in a fine example of the contortionist's art by managing to tug the forelock and lick the royal arse clean simultaneously.

Middleton and her ilk have no complaints when they are using the press to further their own image and bolster monarchism through carefully arranged photo-ops. Put her and the Bigtooth Aspen alongside a bunch of starving cherubs from one of them loser countries and they will happily line up for every photographer going whilst the tabloid-reading lumpen smile and say "oh, aren't the Royal Family great helping the poor like that whilst sitting on billions of pounds worth of money and assets". But as soon it goes tits-up for them (no pun intended) they become all precious and start demanding the press only print nice puff pieces about them and be banned from daring to print anything else. And don't hand me that old jazz about her being new to this and not knowing what to expect. From the second she started knocking about with the human equivalent of Boehlkenchelys longidentata the photographers were stuck to her like limpets so it doesn't take a genius to work out that if the bra comes off they're going to be hanging about. It's a free press for all or it's not a free press; the law cannot make exceptions just because somebody is handed a position of false status through marriage.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of the paparazzi but if you put yourself in the public eye you know what you are getting and it is the same for everyone. I will stand corrected if I am wrong on this but I'm certain that nobody held a gun to Middleton's head and forced her to marry Chipmunk Choppers so had she found it all a bit much she could have buggered off long ago and joined Koo Stark and other forgotten former House of Windsor squeezes in anonymity. As it is she chose a life of ludicrous wealth and decadence and the price she has to pay is that the readers of sleazy papers and magazines are going to be interested in her every bowel movement. Don't like it, keep 'em covered. Now perhaps Mr. Desmond can will come along and tell me what an immoral cur I am, or is he too busy promoting the latest series of "Nylon Nans"?
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
So in the biggest shock since Barney Bear grabbed a roll of Andrex and said "I'm just off to the woods for a bit" it seems that Martin McGuinne$$ has agreed to shake the hand of his paymaster, no doubt doing his usual grinning like a ninny act the whole time. About as inevitable as it is possible to be that the former leader of the Provisional IRA, a man who made his name in seeking by force of arms to drive the British out of Ireland (through blowing up bus station patrons and other dangerous hard cases), is now happy to shake hands with the titular head of the war machine he once opposed. We're told that it's great, that we have this marvellous shared future to look forward to of swingeing cuts, rampant unemployment and what little money there is being blown on vanity projects but pardon me if I am unimpressed by it all. The implication of McGuinness and his Sinn Fein cohorts is that everything that went before in republicanism is now null and void and that, in the ultimate expression of a Whig interpretation of history, the revolutionary actions of his antecedents were all leading to the glorious present where we can bask in the glory of a coalition of idiots ballsing the place up and so-called republicans endorsing the rule of loyalist supporters like Peter Robinson and Nelson McCausland and idiots like Edwin Poots. It's as if McGuinness and his ilk are saying that the action undertaken from Wolfe Tone to the ceasefire was simply immaturity and that all they need to do is sit around in a permanent, money-spinning rightist coalition with the DUP waiting on one side breeding enough to make it 50%+1 and then we can slip quietly into a unification with the Irish Republic and swap The Tories for Fine Gael. Whoop-de-doo! Surely the point of republicanism was a radical new Ireland in the grand traditions of James Connolly, not endorsing monarchy for years until there are enough Fenians that we can switch over to being part of a failed capitalist state that is effectively owned by the European Union. The time has come for Sinn Fein to take their seats in Westminster because they way they are acting now they might as well declare themselves as the same monarchist party that they were when Arthur Griffith established them in 1905. Were people to turn against them as a result I would say it is worth it but unfortunately Sinn Fein have done such a number on the republican lumpen that if anything it will probably boost their support. Hell, Martin McGuinness could slip on Geri Halliwell's dress, Big Daddy's waistcoat and some prat's knickers and start singing "rebellious Scots to crush" and the Fenians would still vote for the bastard en bloc. Sickening.

But enough about that. I suppose I really should say something about that little football tournament that is going on. I did declare my support for Greece and they were eliminated but I must confess I didn't particularly care that they were as I still can't get into this tournament the way I usually do. Germany looked excellent and the 4-2 score flattered the Greeks enormously but I still feel that the Germans will blow it. If Joachim Löw was going to win a tournament he would have done it by now and let's face it the Greeks, who were surely the hairiest faced team to reach a finals tournament since Hungary and Canada's woolly cheeked squads of 1986, were really no challenge anyway. I've been saying it for a while in person so I will declare on here - whoever wins the game between England and Italy will at very least be finalists and might well be winners. You heard it here first.
keresaspa: (Giant Haystacks pissed as a frt!)
OK, can we please have a bloody year where the self-described "royal" family do not have to give the loyalist boneheads that populate this insignificant little stain in the Atlantic Ocean an excuse to drag their precious "Twelfth" out for several months? Last year it was Teeth of Mordor and his feckless bint who ensured by virtue of marriage that flags would flutter from every lamppost for several months longer than usual now it is because some ancient woman who has never done a hand's turn in her life and who is so sensitive to the realities of modern life that she parades around in the middle of a bastard of a recession wearing more bling than Kanye West, Snoop Doggy Dogg and Puff Daddy combined refuses to die. As every schoolboy knows there are few things that bring out my inner republican quite like the deference that working class loyalists afford to their super rich "royal" dominators and this whole jubilee crap has shot my blood pressure through the roof to be honest.

It's not enough that every July the loyalist roads and those that they still claim despite huge demographic shifts (word to the wise, lads, there are now two shops on Upper Ormeau openly advertising the sale of Holy Communion gifts so your butcher's aprons are no longer required) are awash with Ulster banners, Union Jacks and UVF and UDA flags but now it is all spring and summer thanks to the bloody Windsors and their obsession with making a public spectacle out of everything they do. It is a mystery quite what the flags of the UVF (all over the Shankill, Shore Road and the Village) and the UDA (one house on the Donegall Road) have to do with Elizabeth Windsor although seeing as she has a million and one military titles that were handed to her for services to drawing copious amounts from the public purse I suppose it is not inconceivable that she has also been awarded an honorary place on the UVF's Brigade Staff as well as the role of honorary Commander of D Company of the Westminster and Green Park Brigade of the UDA. Heck, even gippy little houses that are due for the chop have been bedecked with flags, such has been the explosion of ultranationalism that has gripped the loyalists because of the fact that some old brass has lived a long time.

I don't begrudge anybody their fun (well, that's not strictly true) but we get more than enough triumphalism and extreme British nationalism forced down our throats in this place without another great dollop of it being ladled onto our heads because of yet another arbitrary date in the calendar. For the English the Diamond Jubilee might well be a lovely time of leather on willow and happy, smiling white children playing together on the village green but in Belfast it will be yet another excuse for underprivileged people to get drunk and descend on the town looking trouble, all in the name of supporting privilege, hierarchy and inequality. And don't even get me started on the ball-licking Fenian bastards who are taking part in celebrations. As far as I'm concerned they are lower than the scabby rat feasting on corpses in a crack house.

One thing did strike me - whilst the Shankill is festooned with huge Union Jacks of a size not normally seen anywhere but a National Front rally it is odd to see that for the Diamond Jubilee the Shankill's own Diamond Jubilee has made such a poor fist of its decorations, relying on some scaldy bit of bunting that has been lying there since the year dot. Jolly bad show for Her Maj's big day.

And remember Jubilee is (almost) an anagram of Juiblex therefore you are actually celebrating a Demon Lord of slime and ooze with all this. So when a gelatinous cube descends upon the village green and absorbs an entire Boy Scout troop don't say I didn't warn you in advance.
keresaspa: (Piggy Banks)
I'm not going to waste too many of my words on the riots going on over the puddle. After all when Belfast breaks out in its annual carnage session nobody over there bats an eyelid so why should I worry myself when the reverse is true? I will just say that it is truly shocking what has happened over there? I mean who would ever have thought that if you spend years treating people like worthless animals that they might then turn round and act like animals? Mind-boggling. And by all means send the army in against them as it is the duty of a government to turn its killing machine on its own citizens rather than listen to any grievances they might have. It's not the revolution either unfortunately - no proper cause or a figureheads to provide direction, too many hoods turning against their own rather than the government and filth and too many wannabe bourgeoisie tut-tutting at these "yobs" and supporting the establishment that is screwing them too. And one other thing - will the papers stop using the headline "Anarchy" for all this. I'm not an anarchist but the punks have a lot to answer for by ensuring that the unrelated concepts of anarchy and chaos have now become synonymous in the "minds" of tabloid hacks. True anarchy would be a utopian paradise where law and domination are not needed rather than chaos. Still, just as well the powers that be only read Shitter and Facepoop and don't bother with Livejournal or else I might be arrested for inciting violence through this post. You've gotta love our masters and it's disgusting that anybody should dare disobey them. And yes hoods are bad eggs before any Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells decides to hurl their ire in my direction (assuming anybody reads this crap any more).

In more important news (for me anyway, unless that bonfire I saw on Divis Street was the start of conflagrations here too and I could use a new cooker come to think of it) I see that Albion have signed Shane Long. He's not a player I know a lot about to be honest but I suppose we do need somebody to take the pressure off Odemwingie a bit. Mind you defence was the problem last season and there is still no sign of anybody coming in there. Woy's still the man at this stage but I really hope he has something lined up on that score as some of the goals Albion let in last season were just awful and as the Tatters will testify bringing in a forward from Reading is no guarantee you wont struggle. Unless of course the whole season has to be cancelled because of a few riots and then the entire issue will be moot anyway. Nowhere copes with a crisis quite like England!
keresaspa: (Shakuni (Gufi Paintal))
Laugh out loud as it is time for the Loyal Orange Lodge to take over once again and just in case you forget Belfast City Council have hung banners all over the city centre informing us that it is open for "shopping and celebration" during "Orangefest". Excuse me if I find nothing to celebrate about a bigoted relic in which a bunch of bitter old men followed by pissed-up loyalist thugs tramp all over the roads and rub your nose in the fact that it's their way or no way. As for the town being open - sure for a couple of hours but you better get the hell out of there before the aforementioned pissed-up loyalists descend from the field and politely inquire, through the judicious use of flailing fists and feet, why you weren't there with them. The council can pretend all they want that "Orangefest" is now "inclusive" but any Fenian that wants to be included in the kick-the-pope, burn-all-taigs revelry that comes with every Twelfth deserves all they get to be honest.

Of all the things that grate about Northern Ireland (corruption, racism, spides, the crap public transport, the annoying middle class arseholes, the tired old crap about languages) the Twelfth, as it will always be called to me, is probably the thing I hate most. Why a bunch of bigots should be allowed to bring the place to a standstill by spending a day jaywalking in commemoration of the time a Dutch homosexual with Papal support gained the throne of England in a battle in County Louth is beyond me. However what really grinds my gears is that it sums up everything that's wrong with loyalism. There is about as much in common between the sort of upper-middle class businessmen who make up the upper echelons of the Orange Order and the abandoned, marginalised lads who make up the loyalist flute bands as there is between The Railway Children and Madame Zenobia yet year after year the loyalists will come out in force to support the very people who are keeping them down. Everybody is equal at Edenderry no doubt but once the day is over one will return to his mansion on the Upper Newtownards Road and the other will go back to his grotty flat in Beirut, with only the sound of joyriders to keep him company. The Orange Order bigwigs, who are the self-same people who control the government, civil service and business here, are the ones who helped to ensure that the morons who make up the likes of Cloughfern Young Conquerors, Queensway Flute Band and Upper Falls Protestant Boys have no futures and are the same ones that have bolstered the extreme class divide that has defined Northern Ireland for decades. You don't see any LOL Grand Masters on the dole do you? As I've stated previously there are aspects of loyalism that I can understand but as a basis of working class mobilisation it is absolutely useless as it is built almost entirely on deference, be it to the monarchy or to its rich unionist masters. As long as that relationship continues nothing will ever really change here.

Still for me personally at least I will avoid the chaos as, due to this not being a World Cup year, I am once again offski and making my way over to London for several days to get away from the bowler-hatted old shits. So expect a lull in activity round these parts as I'll be gone for more or less the entirety of next week and my access to computers is likely to be sporadic at best, non-existent at worst. Try not to miss me too much!
keresaspa: (Bhishma (Mukesh Khanna))
One of the things that has always confused me has been the extreme monarchism of working class loyalism in Northern Ireland. The moneymen of mainstream unionism fair enough whilst the Catholicism of the Republic of Ireland excuses the pro-British stance but the monarchism I don't get. When you're living in a slum in inner city Belfast, in some cases coping without electricity and running water, why the deference for a bunch of leeches living in the lap of luxury who wouldn't given the self-styled loyalists a second thought? Even when the likes of David Ervine and Billy Hutchinson flirted with a vague form of socialism it was always with the proviso that the undemocratic heredity of monarchy was always non-negotiable. Passing through the Newtownards Road today in the east of the city I was "pleased" to see that those old habits continue to die hard in the window of Glover's, a low-end discount shop that is otherwise a fairly good source of cheap cleaning fluid and tatty garden ornaments.

They've certainly got a theme going at least. Still for all the locals surviving on 65 quid a week I'm sure there are fewer priorities higher than a biscuit tin featuring a picture of Lindsay Lohan's dowdy sister and a chap who looks like he could decapitate a rhinoceros with his gnashers. Quite why a royal wedding is seen as a reason for people to get worked up I will never know as the locals have about as much chance of an invite as there is of Wills stopping off in the Constitution Club for a pint on his way to the Oval. Besides what use will a William and Kate mug be in ten years time when they're divorced and she's off in America making a living whoring around talk shows with her "quaint British accent"? Mystifying.

Day 22 )
keresaspa: (Mikado)
Whilst going through the fortnightly post-venesection comedown (yes the haemochromatosis continues apace but I decided to stop boring you all about it ages ago as I know how quickly sympathy turns to ennui) I happened to catch something about those nice people at UKIP having a leadership election. How peachy - the thoroughly nice chaps whom I recently saw praising Geert Wilders on the compellingly awful RT need a new (or possibly old) leader. I had thought that the motley crew of faceless hallions (and Diane Abbott) looking to take the Labour leadership were a queer shower but by heck they have nothing on this lot.

David Campbell Bannerman, an ex-Tory, was a big fan of the rail privatisations that have worked so well. He has also rejected the idea that prisoners should be allowed to vote, apparently on the basis that the only people in jail are paedophiles and serial killers, which must come as news to all those desperate shoplifters and TV licence dodgers rotting in prison because they are poor.

Tim Congdon, an ex-Tory, is a hateful monetarist and a regular columnist for Standpoint, a right-wing, fiercely pro-American rag that has the borderline racist mission "to celebrate western civilisation" (and I'm with Gandhi on that one). His prowess is clearly demonstrated by the time he spent dishing out advice to the in no way hapless Kenneth Clarke. He also suffers from being an even bigger nonentity than Campbell Bannerman and that is saying something.

Nigel Farage, an ex-Tory, we all know of old and it hardly seems worthwhile relisting all his crimes. Still, let's remember him for his lap dance loving, video pirating wide boy that he is. He's as close as Britain has come to a Silvio Berlusconi clone and it is to the disgrace of the working class that so many of the lumpen vote for this champagne-swilling, toffee-nosed, expenses devouring bastard. If only the IPLO was still around to rid us of this real life version of the Martin Clunes character in the Tim Nice But Dim sketches.

Finally we have Winston McKenzie, an ex-Tory (and Liberal Democrat and Labour and Veritas and even his own Unity Party), possibly the weirdest of the lot. A former boxer he is Jamaican by birth but has advocated an end to all immigration (how did you end up in Britain then, Winny), had his bar closed down because of all the drug dealing going on there and even tried out as a contestant on the sodding X Factor. I once talked about the singularly bizarre individual that was the late, unlamented Tony Halme - well it appears his British equivalent has finally been unearthed in possibly the strangest "we're not racist, honest" candidate ever.

The credibility-sapping ridiculousness of all four of these morons should by rights be enough to kill off UKIP once and for all but, like Philip Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and Boris Johnson, they seem to be the racists that everybody has a blind spot for and come the next European elections I'm sure they'll romp him with the lovely Mr. Farage (whom I expect to win) grabbing his crotch and parading some 17 year old strumpet in a desperate Vladimir Zhirinovsky-inspired attempt at silencing any of those sort of rumours. Where would we be without them?!
keresaspa: (Mrs Mack)
As George Spicer didn't sing but should have "it's jolly good luck to Avram Grant, luck to the Portsmouth FC". I actually had a feeling in my water that that old rent-a-geezer Harry Redknapp was going to lead his gittish Tottenham side to the FA Cup this year but big congratulations to the bold Pompey on their win yesterday. OK, both their goals were a bit dicey and Spurs should have had a penalty but after a season in which they have been whipped lick a government mule Portsmouth were due a bit of luck and Redknapp's smugness has been insufferable this season. If there's any justice Portsmouth, a club I respect for the good grace of their supporters in joining in the celebrations during Bryan Robson's finest hour*, will go on and win the Cup but I fear that might not be the case as pretty much every final since 1995 has went to form and I reckon Chelsea will be doing the double this season anyway. Still, that's for a few weeks time and in the here and now it's well done Pompey and I hope you win.

Elsewhere, and despite my little tantrum about the election the other day, I see that the new manifesto for the Communist Party has been launched. Looks a winner full of sensible ideas (if a bit short on actual communism) but one that will no doubt be ignored by the lumpenproletariat in favour of a straight choice between the three posh boys and their bourgeois ideas. A pity too that the Commies are only standing in a handful of seats but I suppose if you can't win why be in. Not a lot to say on it overall, I just wanted to throw it out there as I doubt it will get much attention anywhere else and some weirdo might pass this way and be convinced to vote by my unpersuasive lack of argument.

Still, back to the shit tomorrow as Millie Jackson would so eloquently say as I'm due another blood-draining for the old haemochromatosis. Interesting that as I type should decide that I need to hear the Distillers doing "Drain the Blood", indicating that not only is Brode Dalle a very pretty face but that she is also able to foretell the future in song and as such should be burnt as a witch forthwith. Now if you'll excuse me I do believe that today's sunshine has scrambled my brain a bit so I'll leave you all to whatever it is you do. Bye-ee.

* Which had nothing to do with Southampton going down in Albion's stead. No honestly!
I'm sure were you to ask Jean Broke-Smith she would tell you that it is the sign of a true lady that she takes one shoe off when being photographed making a fudgie.
Which, of course, she is. No, don't be unkind, you at the back!
keresaspa: (Trotsky)
It seems like only yesterday that the damp squib of the millennium was the whole fuss. Now in the blink of an eye we are faced with the end of another ten years with a name (rather than the end of a decade as I'm not a believer in the notion that there was ever a Year Zero in anywhere but Cambodia and so reckon decades to end when the year ends in 0). Obviously you can't blame the supposed decade for events that took place during it but when I sit down and think about we have lived through a grim ten years on many levels.

It is astounding to think that the UK has had a nominally left wing government for the entire decade and yet the lurch to the right has continued apace with more privatisation, poverty and inequality being heaped on us by a ruling class who now seem to treat corruption as a matter of course. Meanwhile the extreme right has prospered at levels not seen in decades as we have been force-fed a diet of blaming immigration for all society's ills. Perhaps most worryingly of all this decade has been one in which society has been overtaken by the pervasive sickness of militarism. There was a time when Britain prided itself on its sense of irony but where "our brave boys" are concerned this has now died a death. To criticise the army is now beyond the pale and instead people are happy to participate in mini-Nuremberg rallies where not only is the army paraded through city streets after coming back from their illegal wars but they are paraded on TV, at football matches and even in the frigging charts. Even during the Second World War people had a laugh at the army but now the notion that they are all unquestionably heroic and should be adored at all times is treated as fact rather than just an extremist position. This, after all, is the decade where we started hearing murmurs about an "Armed Forces Day" in a deliberately concerted attempt to further fuel the cult of the soldier as archetype. Chilling stuff and no mistake! Meanwhile for almost the entire decade the so called free world has put itself at a state of war with Islam and the UK has happily made itself the lapdog of a regime that tortures people held without charge in its concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay. If the end of the Cold War in the 1990s was supposed to be a great new age this decade has certainly put paid to that daft notion by finding a new enemy and waging constant violence and degradation upon it.

Had there been one good thing to come out of the decade it would have been the collapse of the banking system. Finally an opportunity existed to tear down capitalism and start all over again. What did we get? A brief dose of corporatism intended only to weather the storm and ensure that capitalism could continue unfettered as ever. Meanwhile the vanguard of the revolution in the working classes were replaced with the new chav stereotype and led to believe that as long as they had their bread and circuses of alloy wheels, Big Brother, sovereign rings and pit bull terriers then there was no need to agitate for change or develop consciousness. Effectively the so-called Labour Party has oversaw the decimation of the working class and its replacement by a castrated, unmotivated and virtually shit-canned lumpenproletariat happy to roll over and have its belly scratched by Ant & Dec. OK, I'm seriously oversimplifying things there but the emergence of the chav and the effective death of the old working class has been a seriously depressing aspect of this decade and one that has helped to ensure the continuing survival of a system that has been clearly shown up as rancid. And how much must the masters be rubbing their hands with glee at the growth of gangs and knife crime and the young working classes taking out their frustrations on their own kind rather than the leaders who deserve their anger? Put it this way - twenty years ago the working classes would have had far too much dignity for tripe like The Jeremy Kyle Show but the chavs trip over themselves to appear on it and tell their leader what colour their last bowel movement was. Horrible!

Of course tied in with emergence of the chav as a means of keeping the proles down has been the explosion of reality TV. The promise of cheap fame has led deluded idiots to forsake true reality in favour of thinking that they will become a sensation based on their ability to sing Mariah Carey songs at karaoke or their ability to shout loudly whilst sitting on a settee. Gone are the days when you actually had to accomplish something in order to achieve notoriety as now all you have to do is be filmed on a pointless television show taking a crap and your fifteen minutes are guaranteed. Of course, the whole thing is self-perpetuating as once you have been on one you are now a "celebrity" and so you can appear on all the various celebrity spin-offs. Meanwhile all those who have taken on the chav mantle are kept further in their place by taking their minds away from important things like why bankers continue to get massive bonuses despite being crooks and instead focusing them on wholly unimportant trash like whether or not Jedward are better than the guy with the afro.

One of the side effects of the whole reality TV boom has been the effective death of the music charts as a thing of any significance. Of course it is undeniable that the charts as a whole always tended to represent the middle of the road a tad but in the past it also consistently threw up some good or at least different stuff. Even if you compare this decade to the previous one it was perfectly possible for acts like Iron Maiden and Blondie to go to number one and for groups like Oasis, Blur and the Manic Street Preachers to gradually build huge followings for themselves from humble beginnings. Whatever your personal opinions of them they were at least real bands who made it the hard way. Goodbye to that this decade! It has either been the onslaught hype of reality TV fame that convinces people that they can't live without some middle-aged Scottish bint warbling dreadful show tunes or the contrived "overnight sensations" that are actually being driven by massive marketing budgets like the Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen and Sandi Thom. As entries passim have indicated I would not suggest that this decade has had no good music but, for the first time since popular music became the biggest selling style, little if any of it has featured in the hit parade.

But of course, reality TV didn't stop there in its bid for world domination. There can be little doubt that the whole thing started with a certain Diana Spencer in the 1990s but the ridiculous hyperbole surrounding the deaths of very ordinary people has been another rotten aspect of this decade. The culmination of this public grief fest of course came when Jade Goody, a woman whom the new cathedral had shown to be unequivocally a bully and to my mind a racist, died of cancer. For the people who knew her I'm sure it was a tragedy but for everybody else it was completely meaningless. She was someone known for precisely nothing and for people to go into wantonly Pharisaic displays of mourning was more than a little disturbing. It's not like you can even say that there will never be another - take your pick from Kerry Katona and Nikki Grahame for a ready made replacement. Even Michael Jackson, who at least was known for something other than existing, was treated as a saint when he died despite all the extremely shady aspects of his life that had been played out in public. Yes somebody died whose music you enjoyed but it has little real bearing on your day to day life as you did not know him on a human level. Mourn your own by all means but so called celebrities are not your own. This decade we seem to have entered a phase where death equates to redemption and where one's sins are immediately forgotten and one's non-existent achievements are lauded as soon as the Grim Reaper takes a shine to you. Would I be flogging a dead horse if I suggested that we were looking at another easy way to keep the lumpen in their place? Sorry, Desert Orchid but another whipping is coming!

As if all that was not enough we have been hit with the growth of such rubbish as text messaging, Twitter and Facebook. This really has been the decade where every tiny event that takes place in somebody's life, no matter how insignificant, has had to be shared with as many people as possible. To an extent I am walking a tightrope here as I am sometimes guilty of it myself but it really has gone too far. There was a time when we were promised super technology that could cure all diseases and make life so much better but instead all we have got is the ability to tell people that we are doing a piss whilst taking that self same piss. It's surreal that we now communicate so much yet in a real sense we are more alienated from each other than ever. Community is virtually dead and has been replaced by nasty atavism and indeed much of the communication that goes on now is less about staying in touch and more about feeling self-important. I won't deny that technology has made getting in contact easier but equally it has made it impersonal and cheap and somehow less real.

So that's the decade then. Corruption ignored because a retired news reader is eating a wombat's nadgers on the telly and even the footy has been ruined by the bloody big four. Not only that, but the whole decade has been so cruddy that it doesn't even have a proper name. The "noughties", I ask you! Good sodding riddance I say and let’s hope that whatever this next ten years is to be called (the tens, the teens?) it is a darn sight better than the ten we have just live through.

And relax....


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July 2017

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