Happy Birthday John Fitzgerald Kennedy. We remember………….Camelot!
A time when politicians were leaders, with vision and purpose. A time when leaders dared to dream.
Happy Birthday John Fitzgerald Kennedy. We remember………….Camelot!
A time when politicians were leaders, with vision and purpose. A time when leaders dared to dream.
Armed police on the beach, guarding the donkeys from Islamic terrorists. Or are they there to protect old blighty from the immigrants? Will you “fight them on the beaches”? Those nice Polish men who erected your garden shed, or changed your car tyres, or unblocked your toilet?
This is the England being created by David Cameron and Theresa May today. It is a land of fear and suspicion. It is a world of hate. It is a place where wealthy people become more wealthy, making armaments to sell to despots and dictators, rebels and freedom fighters on both sides of the conflict in the Middle East, in Africa, in Asia, in South America. And when those distant people have had enough of killing each other sometimes they take a notion to visit violence on the brokers of death.
This is an England where the wealthy resent the very fundamentals that make Britain Great. The social contract between the people and the state that was forged from the blood sacrifice of two world wars. Basic housing provision, social welfare, a national health service, public transport and a civil service built on principles of fairness, honesty, trust, service, you know, old fashioned English public schoolboy stuff.
The puppet masters of the Tory party want to dismantle the public contract. They want a descent into what they have in the USA. Richer rich and poorer poor. They have already dismantled British Rail, British Gas, Water and Electricity and sold off the family jewels. Now they are going after things like the minimum wage, healthcare and housing.
The European Union was in their way. The EU demands a social contract as the price of membership. This does not suit the oligarchs. To get the world they want they needed Britain to be outside the EU. They sold Brexit to the working class British by dealing in fear, hate, xenophobia, racism and greed. Basically they sold the seven sins. And Britain bought them.
Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas. If you buy the seven sins then you get to live them. What that means, in a real sense, is armed police on the beach on a sunny day. This is England!
For those of you out there who blame all this on muslims, I give you a poem to think about. Sassoon wrote this after witnessing the carnage of the Battle of the Somme. It is violently anti-Christian, and he never published it in his life. Islam is an excuse given to you by the Oligarchs to engender you with fear and suspicion of “others”. If you wipe out all the muslims they will find another target for your hate. They have a manual for this plan, it is called “1984”, written by George Orwell.
Christ and the Soldier; by Siegfried Sassoon
The straggled soldier halted — stared at Him — Then clumsily dumped down upon his knees, Gasping
‘O blessed crucifix, I’m beat !’
And Christ, still sentried by the seraphim, Near the front-line, between two splintered trees, Spoke him:
‘My son, behold these hands and feet.’
The soldier eyed him upward, limb by limb, Paused at the Face, then muttered,
‘Wounds like these Would shift a bloke to Blighty just a treat !’
Christ, gazing downward, grieving and ungrim, Whispered,
‘I made for you the mysteries, Beyond all battles moves the Paraclete.’
The soldier chucked his rifle in the dust, And slipped his pack, and wiped his neck, and said —
‘O Christ Almighty, stop this bleeding fight !’
Above that hill the sky was stained like rust With smoke. In sullen daybreak flaring red The guns were thundering bombardment’s blight. The soldier cried,
‘I was born full of lust, With hunger, thirst, and wishfulness to wed. Who cares today if I done wrong or right?’
Christ asked all pitying,
‘Can you put no trust In my known word that shrives each faithful head ? Am I not resurrection, life and light ?’
Machine-guns rattled from below the hill; High bullets flicked and whistled through the leaves; And smoke came drifting from exploding shells.
‘Believe; and I can cleanse your ill. I have not died in vain between two thieves; Nor made a fruitless gift of miracles.’
The soldier answered,
‘Heal me if you will, Maybe there’s comfort when a soul believes In mercy, and we need it in these hells. But be you for both sides ? I’m paid to kill And if I shoot a man his mother grieves. Does that come into what your teaching tells ?’
A bird lit on the Christ and twittered gay; Then a breeze passed and shook the ripening corn. A Red Cross waggon bumped along the track. Forsaken Jesus dreamed in the desolate day — Uplifted Jesus, Prince of Peace forsworn — An observation post for the attack.
‘Lord Jesus, ain’t you got no more to say ?’
Bowed hung that head below the crown of thorns. The soldier shifted, and picked up his pack, And slung his gun, and stumbled on his way.
‘O God,’ he groaned,’why ever was I born ?’
… The battle boomed, and no reply came back.
One swallow doth not a summer make. Although the Duke of Marlborough won a great victory at Blenheim in 1704 in the war of the Spanish Succession, he was unable to capitalize on it in 1705. Given a year to recover his position Louis XIV felt he could at the very least bargain a better peace if he made a military demonstration.
With this in mind in the Spring of 1706 he launched campaigns in Italy and Germany with some success. On the back of the early gains he launched Marshal Villeroi from Leuven into the Netherlands. At Ramillies he met John Churchill, hungering for an opportunity to deal decisively with the French.
The French, Spanish & Bavarian alliance collided with Churchill’s English, Scottish, Dutch and Danish army on open flat farmland near the village of Ramillies. The ground was a flat canvas, the perfect medium on which a skilled general could dictate a battle. In four hours the Duke of Marlborough demonstrated why he was the greatest general in the world in his day. 23rd May is the anniversary of the battle.
The beauty of such a decisive win early in the campaign season is what happened next. Malines, Lierre, Ghent, Alost, Damme, Oudenaarde, Bruges, and on 6 June Antwerp, all subsequently fell to Marlborough’s victorious army. The Spanish Netherlands was Spanish no more.
I wrote this post last night, before the news leaked through of the explosion at the Manchester arena. This morning we hear that 22 people lost their lives and over 50 have been injured in a suicide bomb blast. Some of the casualties were children, which is no surprise in the audience of the Ariana Grande Dangerous Woman show. A lone suicide bomber was responsible.
I hate to jump to conclusions without the full facts, but it has all the hallmarks of Islamic extremism. John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, had the benefit of a defined enemy with stated aims. His opponents decked their troops in uniforms and lined them up on fields of battle. Islamic extremists have no country. Their aim appears to be the destruction of all that is not Islam. They are happy to die to achieve this aim and have a constant supply of suicide bombers. They are happy to slaughter innocent children to pursue their goals. They are happy to recruit impressionable teenagers, and indoctrinate them in madrasas converting them into weapons of flesh and bone. How do you deal with such people?
I think Ariana Grande herself said all that can be said:
People have the right to reject argument and scientific proof as Educatism.
Educatism is discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their educational attainment level.
Today, the use of the term “educatism” does not easily fall under a single definition.
The ideology underlying educatist practices often includes the idea that humans can be subdivided into distinct groups that are different in their social behavior and innate capacities and that can be ranked as inferior or superior.
While the concepts of education and intelligence are considered to be separate in contemporary social science, the two terms have a long history of equivalence in both popular usage and older social science literature.
‘Innate’ or ‘Natural’ Intelligence” is often used in a sense close to one traditionally attributed to ‘race’.
The division of human groups based on qualities assumed to be essential or innate to the group.
Races with a long history of institutional work, involving reading, writing, mathematics, accounting and meetings have evolved higher IQ levels.
Those races who are more suited to heavy outdoor labour and subject to pain and deprivation have generally less need of intelligence. They are genetically disposed to being pretty dumb.
IQ tests are employed to isolate these individuals and discriminate against them. Goverments also use complex form filling for activities such as voter registration, claiming social benefits and health insurance.
‘Cultural Intelligence’ is used in a sense to describe embedded practices of certain races to practice forms of education.
Some races prefer recitation over reading, and avoid printed matter. Races that favour trading and money dealing will stress mathematics over literature.
Some members of these races may demonstrate an animal cunning, which enables them to negotiate IQ tests and form filling.
More subtle tools are used by governments to identify and isolate these populations. These include racial profiling, religion, language, hair styles, fashion choices and so on.
According to a United Nations convention on educatism, there is no distinction between the terms “natural” and “cultural” discrimination.
The UN convention further concludes that superiority based on educational differentiation is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous, and there is no justification for educational discrimination, anywhere, in theory or in practice.
People who avoid reasoned argument are unlikely to read this far, will believe the headline, and think this is a true thing.
Some of you will have seen the satire already, and now the penny drops for the rest.
In the traditional model of rule, dating back to feudalism, there were three powers in the realm. These were called the “Estates General” in pre-revolutionary France.
The first, and foremost was the Lords Temporal, made up of the hereditary royalty of the realm. In effect these were the main landowners.
The second estate was the Lords Spiritual, the Cardinals and Bishops who ruled the church and wielded the power of “God” on earth.
The third, most numerous, and also the weakest estate was traditionally made up of commoners. This is not to say they were poor peasants. In fact the “Commons” were merchant princes, bankers, lawyers and aldermen selected to represent the interests of the middle classes.
Three great events in the 17th and 18th Centuries changed the dynamics of the Estates General forever.
Never again were the 1st and 2nd estates to hold power in the Western world without the agreement of the 3rd estate.
In the midst of this redefinition of the balance of power Edmund Burke, an Irish peer, made an address to Westminster on the reporting of parliamentary business by the Press. He pointed out that the Press represented a 4th Estate which potentially wielded more power than the 3 estates general. It proved to be a prophetic prediction.
Today almost every coup d’état begins with the seizure of the organs of the media, the presses, the radio stations and the TV stations. Politicians and their military arms know that the media battle is as important as any conflict of arms. Tight autocratic rule is only possible where the rulers control the media, the 4th estate.
The concept of a 5th estate, non mainstream media, emerged in the counter cultural revolution of the 1960’s, originally as the eponymous Detroit Newspaper. It spread to a variety of media, but was restricted by traditional constraints on output. The odd piece of output made a splash, such as the “Anarchists Cookbook”, but most of the small publications and independent radio broadcasts were lost to tiny circulations.
Then the internet arrived. The 5th estate has blossomed on media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and in the darkest corners of the deep web.
Despite the best efforts of autocratic regimes it is very difficult to control the 5th Estate. China is the best example of a state that exerts tight control. Even the great firewall of China is porous. The regime cannot control all the information that filters in and out of the nation. People import smartphones from abroad, or use various tricks to bypass state control of the firewalls.
The “Arab Spring” revolutions in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and the Middle East were made possible by the 5th Estate. Rebels were able to use social media to tear apart the propaganda and lies of the ruling elite. They then used social media to coordinate and organize protests, uprisings and even battles.
Mainstream journalists use and abuse social media to bypass super injunctions by courts to control celebrity scandals. They breach the laws of sub judice reporting in a manner that is impossible in the 4th estate. Whistleblowers use social media to release data into the public domain including Julian Assange, Linda Tripp, Edward Snowdon, Bradley Manning etc.
The impact of the 5th Estate on Western Democratic politics is only now beginning to crystalize.
The rules are being formed but we get an emerging sense of the landscape.
Cover-ups don’t work.
Fraud is uncovered.
Nepotism is exposed.
Secret donations do not remain secret.
Past statements of politicians are dredged up and used as a stick to beat them.
The age of the media savvy politician and his spin-doctor sidekick is over.
We are entering a new era of politics, where consistency, honesty and openness are the sine qua non of political survival.
Large central parties are fracturing and falling apart as their corrupt members are isolated and exposed.
For the individual politician loyalty to the constituency is more important than loyalty to the party.
We see this in the rise of the independents, the mavericks, those outside mainstream politics. The Trump factor.
The new era will favour smaller groupings with tighter internal agreement on issues and higher levels of trust between members. “Family” style groupings who share values.
Governments will be by coalitions of these small groups.
The practice of governing will become more fluid as alliances are made, broken and reformed based on prevailing economic and political priorities.
The 4th estate has been increasingly controlled by the wealthy, who can afford to buy the media, and establish editorial standards. Would the Watergate Scandal see the light of day in the current media climate?
By contrast the 5th estate is uncontrollable. It can be influenced by those with the largest social media followings.
In the next 20 years you will see attempts by the wealthy to influence the 5th estate by buying influence. Anyone who is seen as “bought” will rapidly lose traction.
King Canute (or Cnut) is famous for trying to hold back the tide.
In fact he was criticizing sycophantic nobles who accorded him divine powers.
He demonstrated that for all his power he was unable to order the tides.
Canute would understand just how uncontrollable is the 5th Estate.
I am recording these figures, because I know that when the projects are finished they will cost multiples of the nonsense trotted out to a gullible public and unquestioning journalists.
Simon Harris, minister for health in the Fine Gael led minority government tells us that the National Children’s Hospital in St James’s will cost €1 Billion to build. He also tells us that the National Maternity Hospital at St Vincent’s will cost €300 million.
I would love to know who is the official responsible for publishing these figures, and who are the project managers who are charged with bringing these projects in, on time, and on budget? In the absence of these names I hold Simon Harris accountable.
Yesterday the USA dropped the largest ever non-nuclear weapon ever used, the GBU-43/B. They dropped this massive piece of ordnance in a cave system in Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan. The stated intent was to deny a system of caves and tunnels to ISIS fighters. A truer intention is Donald Trump flexing his muscles for the Russians and the Chinese to show he is a serious military threat. But that too is secondary, because his primary audience is the American people. I’m sure the people of the USA feel a little bit safer today knowing that several miles of caves in Afghanistan have been destroyed. (That last sentence is called sarcasm)
Today I have three images for you, all stolen from the Guardian photos of the day. Image 1 is of US troops marching in step at a NATO rally in Poland. Hey Mr Putin, look at those gung ho young American boys, marching in neat lines. We have big bombs too. Boo Yah!
The second photograph is from further east, in the city of Mosul, Iraq. The smart uniforms and the neat lines of troops give way to the true face of war. A man pushing his daughter through a blasted landscape in a wheelchair. It is pathetic. As you sit down to your Easter Sunday dinner spare a thought for what awaits this family on their table. What did he do to deserve this fate?
The final image is of a pretty girl taking a selfie in a field of flowers. It could almost be in Holland, with the bright blossoms in neat lines, except for the fact that the girl in question has a machine gun on her back. Nir Yitzhak is a kibbutz on the border of Israel with the Gaza strip. If ever there was an image of the absurdity of war this is it. Page down to a war poem by Yeats!
On being asked for a War Poem : By William Butler Yeats
I think it better that in times like these
A poet’s mouth be silent, for in truth
We have no gift to set a statesman right;
He has had enough of meddling who can please
A young girl in the indolence of her youth,
Or an old man upon a winter’s night.