Congratulations to the people of Nepal!
It is goodbye and good riddance to King Gyanendra, who has been given 15 days to sling his hook!
Comrades in London were however predicting this some time ago!
Not everyone called Gordon is a loser it seems.
I have only just got round to buying the April-May issue of the Celtic fanzine TAL, and it comes complete with a rather embarrassing "Time To Go?" front cover, aimed at the never over-popular Gordon Strachan.
Step back 8 weeks, and Rangers were heading for the quadruple, and wee Ginger Gordon was heading for the exit. Rangers fixtures pile up, plus Celtic broadly keeping their nerve, sent the title to Celtic Park. For the third year running.
Whilst TAL speculated that Roy Keane, David Moyes (in your dreams) or Tony Mowbray may get the job, the post is still Strachan's - if he wants it.
So - any comparisons here with another Scottish Gordon who appears to be heading for the rocks?
Quite simply no. The list of names that could replace Gordon Brown are a lot less impressive than those who could take over at Celtic - come to think of it Roy Keane would probably do a much better job in Downing Street than any of the new Labour pups currently snapping around Brown's heels.
Secondly whilst Strachan has at least shown some tactical nous in European games, no such acumen has been displayed by Brown. No trophies lodge in his Downing Street cabinet.
Be it next season, or the season after, he appears to be heading out of the hot seat...........
One of Boris Johnson's first acts as London Mayor was to cancel production of Ken Livingstone's hated news sheet "The Londoner".
This monthly paper was a sort of cross between Pravda and a journal put together by student Guardian journalists. Painfully PC, its only entertainment for most Londoners was to either count the number of pictures of Livingstone, the number of references to him, or to match the particular ethnic/interest group with a certain page. Could the Hindu community really miss out on a feature two months running?
One thing is certain about the Londoner - no one will be ringing the GLA demanding its return..........
Here in Hackney, council tax payers still pay out each month so the Council can tell us how marvellous they are. Clearly no one at the Town Hall has heard of the maxim "Actions Speak Louder Than Words".
Here propaganda comes in the shape of Hackney Today, a free newspaper that "ticks boxes" in just the same way The Londoner did. Similarly no one would mourn its passing - perhaps Hackney's Labour Council should take the hint, and get rid of Hackney Today sooner rather than later..........
People seem to be taking the Eurovision Song Contest rather seriously all of a sudden.
Personally I would rather spend an evening on You Tube looking at old Smiths videos than suffering through several hours of Euro-pop, but Tim Pendry for one seems to have got his gander up, especially as the BBC (i.e you and me) are subsidising all this nonsense.
You can read his analysis here.
The text below comes from a leaflet distributed at Saturday's anti-gentrification meeting in Dalston.
It portrays a depressingly familiar story of council indifference, arrogance, curious fires and possible corruption. As usual the last people who matter are Hackney's long-suffering residents.
LOCAL SHOPS OR MORE TOWER BLOCKS FOR DALSTON - YOU DECIDE?
In 2003 all attempts by Dalston Lane shopkeepers to buy their properties in the property sales scam were blocked and the units were sold instead to a Bahamas based property developer. Since then, most leaseholders have been forced out and there have been a series of suspicious fires.
The same off shore developer recently sold the Oxfam shop in Kingsland Road to the LDA at a vast profit and it is to be bulldozed to make way for an entrance to a new bus terminus which will be surrounded by 14 tower blocks.
The developer sought planning permission to demolish the 18 shops and Georgian houses in Dalston Lane but has left them to rot after being turned down. In December 2006 Hackney Hackney Council described these actions as deplorable and promised to force the owners to bring the properties into use or face the prospects of compulsory purchase orders by 31st March 2007. Over a year later and the Council has demolished three of the buildings on behalf of the developer and done nothing more. Now they say a further decision will be made this July, 16 months after their own deadline.
Unless local people speak out the shops will all be demolished and we can look forward to more 19 storey tower blocks along Dalston Lane.
The Council repeatedly reneges on their promises and plays into the hands of foreign property developers, leaving local people in the dark and the shopkeepers facing the almost daily threat of eviction. Why?
Please have your say if you do not agree with what is happening.
Please contact Hackney Council by letter or by e mail to firstname.lastname@example.org before July 2008 and demand that they do the right thing and bring ownership of the 18 shops and flats back into Hackney by enforcing compulsory purchase orders as promised before the buildings are lost forever.
I spent Saturday evening at Passing Clouds in Dalston, at an evening devoted to the New York anti-gentrification group Movement for Justice in El Barrio.
Firstly Passing Clouds is a bizarre art venue, with a decor that appears to be inspired by the Chinese opium den/brothel look. All that is needed to complete the image is a few erotic etchings, some unconscious aristocrats in a corner, and an ageing Mama-san attempting to rouse them......
Due to visa problems the planned speaker, Juan, was stuck in France, but was still able to address the audience via webcam. This is a great method of communication, especially for political groups looking to develop international links - the days of splendid isolation really should be ended now!
MJEB are currently looked in combat with a European based multi-national, the Dawnay, Day Group who are attempting to increase rents ten fold in east Harlem, so as to force tenants out. All of course in the name of "re-development".
Two videos were shown stressing the community based work of MJEB, and that the group organises on a horizontal basis, with each block making its own decisions as to how to campaign. There is no central leadership or governing body. Critically MJEB have a hostile approach towards local politicians, who they know will always act in the interest of developers against their community.
Hackney faces the same issues as Harlem - a large number of working class people obstructing vast profits by daring to live, work and shop in areas that are worth far more financially without them, than with them. Our situation however is arguably worse - we have the Olympic Games coming in just four years.
New York's problems - and its - struggles will come to London, in spades.
Reading obituaries and news reports of IRA Commander Brian Keenan's funeral, it is hard to think of a more significant Marxist figure in the UK or Ireland in the last 40 years.
And yet most Britons would either never have heard of him, or would confuse him with his unrelated name sake, the former Beirut hostage Brian Keenan.
Perhaps now is the time for an author to make a serious study of Keenan's beliefs, his influence on IRA strategy, its international links and the positions he took as 'Gerry and the Peacemakers' moved towards an end to the armed struggle.
Any (non-spook) takers?
I never imagined I would put a quote from former US Defence Secretary Donal Rumsfeld on this site, but this one made me stop and think:
"Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the Madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?
The 9/11 Report, p.535.
Real Madrid's President, Ramon Calderon, has perhaps met his match in trying to unsettle Christian Ronaldo.
Following his comment to Ronaldo that United could not stop him leaving for Madrid as "slavery had been abolished a long time ago" Fergie retorted with:
"Ronaldo has four years left on his contract and then Calderon makes this great statement that slavery has been abolished. Did they tell Franco that? In terms of clubs, there are some who have great moral issues, like Barcelona and they have far more of a moral standing than Real Madrid will ever have"
Don't bet on Ronaldo playing for General Franco's favourite club next season.
I knew some of the bleating from Ken Livingstone fans this month would be amusing, but I had hoped that of all people trades unionists would have seen through Chameleon Ken.
This weeks Camden New Journal shows how wrong I was.
Step forward Mr ID McDeson, Secretary of Camden UCATT, who tells us "Ken constantly supported the working people of London". Take a long around you Mr McDeson, do you think working class Londoners are better off today than 8 years ago? Ken's 'support' was far more directed at corporate London, and expanding the influence of London as a world business city, especially to the east. For most of us, Ken never even offered beer and sandwiches.
Amusingly the final paragraph of this grovelling missive begins "The list of his achievements is endless". So long in fact Mr McDeson lists only three, and one of those is pretty partial - he may have reduced the fares on London buses, but he saddled the city with bendy buses and the highest tube fares in Europe.
When and if Boris Johnson decides to take on London workers (most likely the RMT) it is important we all get behind the unions in struggle. But when we do, lets remember how hard the RMT were attacked - by Ken Livingstone. UCATT may wish to forget that, we should not.
Could you have a better contrast at a Champions League Final?
Chelsea's team being led up the steps to get their losers medals - by turncoat traitor Peter Kenyon. Manchester United being led up by .......... Bobby Charlton.
That says it all about the difference between the two clubs - one has class, the other is run by a Russian crook and his place men.
Red faces all round at Private Eye.
The current issue (1210) has a major article condemning Al Jazera's Zimbabwe correspondent, Supa Mandiwanzira, for his craven support to the Mugabe regime.
That may well be the case, but Private Eye also insists that Supa Mandiwanzira is a "nephew-in-law of Gracia Machel" who it boldly asserts is the wife of Robert Mugabe.
As anyone with a cursory knowledge of southern African politics knows, Ms Machel is the widow of the Mozambique leader Samora Machel, and in 1998 she married South Africa's Nelson Mandela.
Still, to the public schoolboys at Private Eye, one African leader no doubt looks very much like another........
Anyone with an interest in radical history should visit the Old Bailey on-line website, which covers thousands of cases from the Central Criminal Court.
The search facility means you can put in a key word (obviously I chose Anarchism) and fascinating cases come up, from well known emigres such as Malatesta, to overlooked British activists such as Charles Mowbray and Thomas Cantwell.
Check it out!
Today's Sunday Telegraph magazine has a puff piece about Ali Hewson - Mrs Bono.
Amongst general fawning, Justine Picardie even puts forward the view that Ali Hewson could be a future Irish President. Well - it would certainly be hard for her to achieve less than her husband, whose succession of political failures are unlimited, although Make Poverty History unquestionably sits at the top of his personal dung pile.
Oh- and in case you ever doubt that the cliche about pictures saying a thousand words.............
".....it is too easy to condemn attacks and assassinations, and at the same time to use in your dialectic arguments which allow attacks and assassinations"
Abd Samad Moussaoui in his book "Zacarias Moussaoui - The Making of a Terrorist" p.121.
It is a peculiarly English trait that it is sometimes preferable to tell a lie, even though the person who is being lied to knows they are being lied to, rather than to tell the truth.
For many years now, if I have been travelling between the East Anglian coast and London, I have stopped at a small cafe, The Halfway cafe, in the village of Darsham. I even know the opening hours at cafe 7am until 3pm.
Parking up today at 2.26pm, I thought I would have more than enough time for a meal, and for the staff to kick me out well before 3pm. Entering the premises at 2.28pm, I immediately noticed the till had been taken away, and glimpsed a staff member putting away the days utensils.
"I'm afraid we are not serving anymore food today".
For some reason the word food was given added emphasis, as if they were still serving something else instead. But what else could they be doing in a cafe?
Rather than admit they were finishing early - it now 2.29pm, I was told - "we stopped serving at 2.30pm."
I would not actually have minded had the waitress told me the truth - they had decided to finish early, it was sunny day, and I would just have to do without. Instead it seems easier to tell lies - to say it is after 2.30pm when it is not, and to say that an advertised closing time of 3pm actually means 2.30pm - anything but the truth.
All bollocks, and all very, very English.
There is little doubt that in many working class areas of Britain, the political alternative is now the far-right, not the left.
Where left wing candidates popped up in the May elections, they were by and large humiliated, whilst the BNP had a mixture of very good results, some not so good, and some disappointments. The National Front, long dormant as an electoral force (and able to put only 17 people on the streets for a recent march in Eltham) managed an astonishing 30,000 votes in the London elections.
The size of the disaster for the left has not been noticed, never mind digested. On Saturday I attended 1968 and All That a conference to mark 40 years on from the May 68 events in Europe. It was perhaps appropriate that the largest gathering of "the left" in Britain so far this year was concerned chiefly about events abroad, and entirely about events in the past!
Bringing in Eamonn McCann from Ireland as headline speaker may have seemed a good idea - he has certainly kissed the blarney stone. The problem is some of the Brit left's Islamophilia has clearly been exported to Ireland and swallowed wholesale - much of McCann's rabble rousing failed to rise above the level of "Victory to the Muslims".
The fact that if McCann - a lifelong Socialist and Atheist - lived in much of the Muslim world he would either be in prison or dead, was clearly beyond him. The reality that the opposition in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan (which McCann wishes to 'free') often appears to be even more reactionary than those in power was beyond his audience. A real shame.
The London borough where this event occurred, Camden, is multi-cultural, with low levels of overt racism, and a large left leaning middle class in areas such as Hampstead and Tuffnell Park. In this months London Assembly elections the boroughs of Camden and Barnet scored 2,778 first preference votes to the fascist candidate, Richard Barnbrook. Lindsey German of the "Left List" polled less than half that total - 1,251.
The left needs to wake up and smell the coffee, before it is too late. Rambling on about the Middle East is I'm afraid part of the problem, not part of the solution.
In the new issue of Black Flag I have got together with my on-line chum Kaf, and attempted to analyse exactly where and why the BNP has managed to take advantage of the disillusionment with not just contemporary Britain, but ideals such as socialism.
I would welcome feedback from readers - especially to this blog. "Why Right Is beating Left" is the lead article in Black Flag, which can be bought in Housmans and Freedom in London, or ordered from AK Press.
Last night saw an interesting clash for the armchair sports fan.
ITV had a night of boxing with two hours of domestic fights on ITV4, followed by Junior Witter's WBC Light-welterweight title fight against America's Tim Bradley. Over on Sky Sports 3 two hours of MMA was on offer, culminating in the Cage Rage GB Light-Heavyweight title fight between Ian Freeman and Paul Cahoon.
I chose the MMA. In part my decision was not taken on the nature of the sports themselves, but the fighters. Witter has the classic 'Sheffield Style" of most fighters from the Ingle stable - one you ever like to watch or you don't. And personally I don't - watching Witter, or for that matter compatriots like the former Cruiserweight Johnny Nelson, is like watching paint dry.
ITV's viewing figures will of course have trounced Sky's - boxing on terrestrial television is still a success story (unless like the BBC you choose to invest in Audley Harrison) but I suspect I was not alone in putting Cage Rage first, at least on this occasion.
My day at the Love Music Hate Racism Carnival last month was not entirely wasted, as I was given a flyer advertising Saturday's "Don't Evict the Jones family" event in Stoke Newington.
Ricky Jones is the residential caretaker at Hackney's William Patten Primary School. Despite holding this post for 10 years, William Patten School and the Learning Trust have suddenly decided they don't need a residential caretaker at all - and will thus evict Ricky, his wife and 3 children.
Saturday's demonstration assembles at Stoke Newington Common, and will walk on to Clissold Park. E mails of protest can also be sent to the school itself - email@example.com
Good luck Ricky!
I know it is cruel to mock the Socialist Workers Party, and I really should not do it as much as I actually do.
However (and that's a big however) I can't resist repeating this little cracker from the 21st April issue of London Student. It comes courtesy of walking stereotype Jennifer Jones, a 21 year old student at Goldsmiths College, who stood for the Left List in Lewisham and Greenwich.
"The Respect split was essentially George Galloway departing and taking a few councillors with him. I'm glad of the split in some ways as Galloway was always the negative aspect of Respect and the element people would criticise".
Jennifer - you really need to get out more if you think the only thing wrong with Respect was the gorgeous one - who it should be added, your party would have defended to the death just 12 months ago.
For the record, Miss Jones received 2045 votes, which was 1.39%.
Hello to readers from China visiting this blog, where it seems a lot of hits are coming from at the moment.
In January and March I reported that the Chinese cult Falun Gong has been rearing its ugly head in London. My comments have been reproduced on this Chinese website .
More importantly, the critical comments I made about both Falun Gong and the Chinese government have been reproduced, which is good to see.
Anyway, if you are reading this in Beijing, I hope all that smog clears in time for the Olympics!
As Boris Johnson's victory over Ken Livingstone sinks in, we can no doubt expect great wailing and whining from those who saw Livingstone as some sort of North London version of Che Guevera.
Socialists can display a remarkable facility to self-delusion, something never better demonstrated than attitudes towards not-so Red Ken. It is hard to keep a straight face reading, with hindsight the editorial from the April 2008 Labour Briefing magazine:
"Socialists have expressed other concerns about Livingstone: a strike-breaking approach to the transport unions, support for the Metropolitan Police over the Menezes shooting, links to the Muslim cleric al-Qaradawi, his uncritical courting of the City - none of which should be minimised".
So far so good. Except for the fact that Labour Briefing then decided to ignore all of the above points, and call for an all-out push for Ken!
There was a time when the principles of trades union solidarity were sacrosanct not just throughout the working class, but on the left - any possibility of voting for Livingstone should have ended with his call on tube workers to scab during a dispute. Whilst it is no surprise Labour Briefing (and most of Livingstone's supporters) cannot see the dangerous waters his 'rainbow alliance' politics sailed into, 'red' Ken should have been seen for what he is many, many years ago.
Instead, so far have the likes of Labour Briefing fallen, they saw things in Livingstone that were never there. The only thing that really matters to Ken Livingstone is - Ken Livingstone.
Goodbye Ken - and good riddance.
"Most of all, she hated the fear she'd always felt, which had never let her live the life she wanted to live and held her paralysed and quaking beneath the bed even now, despite the self-loathing it provoked."
From p.221 of V For Vendetta, a novelisation by Steve Moore.
Watching Boris Johnson's first press conferences as London Mayor, I was struck by the value of his public school education.
It gives people like Johnson, and for that matter Tony Blair and David Cameron the most important thing of all - confidence.
All three appear in control because that is what they were brought up to be from the age of at least five - in control. And that means in control of people like you and me. That control also requires the support of people who did not go to Eton - the first words Johnson spoke after the results were announced were to thank the Metropolitan Police.
Many people watching would have wondered why this was necessary - they were not told that specialist police squads had earlier cleared the area around City Hall of Anarchists protesting about the pisspoor nature of the Mayoral candidates. There were three arrests.
This process - of toffs and lackeys - will continue until the end of time - unless we do something about it.
At last I can reveal the truth behind Manchester United's win over Barcelona on Tuesday.
Obviously the efforts of Scholes, Ronaldo, Ferdinand, Van der Saar and co pale into insignificance when you have this bloke on your side!
The god-botherers were once a regular feature on Sir Matt Busby Way, certainly up to the early 90s, then they seemed to just leave Old Trafford alone. Perhaps in the Sky era we were no longer considered worth saving.
Now they are back. At this rate we will have the return of the people selling Newsline and the Morning Star!
And no, I will not be voting today.
Has London ever had such a poor choice in a major election?
A crook (Livingstone) a Toff (Johnson) an Oxford educated cop (Paddick) and a Fascist (Barnbrook). The Greens are too middle class to really make an impact in much of London, whilst the decline of the Independent Working Class Association means they are not even standing a candidate this time round in the mayoral elections, and they seem to have little going on elsewhere. Lindsay German heads the inappropriately named 'Left List' - a terrible misnomer for a group of 'Socialists' who only a few months ago were sucking up to some of the more unpleasant Muslim figures in the East End, and I can't even be bothered going further down the political food chain.
Given the paucity of choice on offer, Anarchists can hardly argue they have been 'squeezed out' of the picture this time round. Lets see how tomorrow evenings demonstration at City Hall goes (6pm!) but in the meantime, here's a graphic that perhaps sums up how so many people feel.