According to the British Army spin doctors, Operation Panthers Claw in Afghanistan has been a great success.
According to the British Army spin doctors, Operation Panthers Claw in Afghanistan has been a great success.
Congratulations to Housmans, who now have an excellent on-line bookshop.
Well, I've put my money where my mouth is and gone for the following:
"The Anarchist is nothing if not unconventional. At his 'conferences' chairmen, voting on resolutions, and the other neccesary conditions for the preservation of order, are altogether dispensed with, as savouring of the 'authority' he so much detests, with, of course, the consequence that order is conspicuous by its absence, and more often than not, the 'conference' ends up in a free fight between the various factions present".
WC Hart "Confessions of an Anarchist" (London: E Grant Richards, 1906) p.67
As a Mancunian by birth, I perhaps should not say too much about Steven Gerrard's surprise acquittal at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday.
"In the two decades since the Rushdie affair what has emerged is an auction of victimhood, as every group attempts to outbid all others as the one feeling the most offended. Even Americans now qualify as poor victims needing the warm embrace of hate speech laws. The only winner in all this is the state, which gets to decide who should say what to whom."
Hello to the Iranians demonstrating at Hanger Lane roundabout this evening, with a fine collection of anti-Ahmadinejad placards.
I have just received the new issue of athletics magazine Spikes.
Having been stood up last night, I decided to take myself down to Housmans Bookshop in Kings Cross, where an evening was devoted to John L Williams biography "Michael X: A Life in Black and White."
One of the saddest changes in Hackney over the past decade has been the loss of so many pubs.
Marshall's is an SWP book from 1988 that its members are not encouraged to read these days. Apologetic as it is at times for Islamism, it is not apologetic enough for today's liberal left.
Congratulations to Princess Eugenie, who has maintained the breathtakingly high academic standards of the British royal family.
Several radical publishers have recently received troubling emails from distributors.
I was asked on Tuesday evening what was so special about Hackney, and the following words emerged.
"And by anarchist spirit I mean that deeply human sentiment, which aims at the good of all, freedom and justice for all, solidarity and love among the people; which is not an exclusive characteristic only of self-declared Anarchists, but inspires all people who have a generous heart and an open mind....."
A couple of weeks ago one of my friends spotted the Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley skulking about at Royal Ascot, his every move shadowed by a burly minder.
Last season Ashley was forced into issuing a rather hammy public statement where he complained that he was now ‘a father unable to take his children to a football match’, such was the scale of public opposition to the decisions he had taken at the club. Despite this, it is hard to feel any sympathy for Ashley.
Anyone who appoints Kevin Keegan to manage a football club must surely be aware of his CV – lots of promise, lots of demands for money, lots of hype and no trophies dominate the Keegan CV. To replace Kevin Keegan with Joe Kinnear – a man who had been out of top-flight football for many years, and even after the warning of two heart attacks remains obese – was another bum decision.
Needless to say Kinnear’s reign was as predictable as Keegan’s. JK invoked the Wimbledon spirit, tightened up the defence – and ended up in hospital having major heart surgery. In many workplaces new employees are now being required to take medicals before taking lowly clerical jobs – only at Ashley’s Newcastle could a man with a history of heart trouble be given one of the most stressful jobs in society.
Laugh – or Cry?
As a Manchester United fan, I have to confess laughing at Newcastle comes easily. There does come a point though when unfashionable truths have to take precedence. And I’m going to say it – one of the biggest problems at Newcastle is the fans. Football supporters are by nature optimists, and virtually everyone allows themselves a little hope in August – that this really could be our year. It is hard to think however of a collective group of people anywhere in our society as naïve, unrealistic or at times downright bloody stupid as Newcastle United supporters are as a collective group of people.
I have lost count of the number of ‘messiahs’ that have arrived at the club over the past 30 years. Few if any have even been close to deserving the title (Kevin Keegan never even played for Newcastle in the top division, and arrived at the club years past his peak) whilst the only manager possibly close to deserving the term – Sir Bobby Robson – made the astute decision to go to the managers grave yard of St James Park at the end of his career, and two decades after he was first offered the job. Wise man.
Put simply, the demands of the fans are utterly unrealistic. They believe their club is far bigger than it actually is, (not uncommon in one club towns or one club cities) and transpose these unrealistic perceptions onto a succession of players and managers who will lead them to the ‘promised land’. That no one ever does, seems to have little effect on aspirations.
This strain of madness was perhaps best encapsulated by Kevin Keegan’s return to the club in January 2008. Having admitted he was not really good enough to manage England, and having failed to lead Newcastle to a trophy in his first spell at the club, the football world watched agog as Newcastle fans genuinely talked about Keegan as the man to bring success to the club. Given there is not exactly a lot of room at the top in English football exactly how this would happen of course was never explained. Predictably it all ended in tears.
The Next Messiah
A collective mania seems to engulf St James Park. The only thing I can compare it to is the way some people in America used to feel about the Kennedy’s, or people in Pakistan about the Bhutto’s. They see the dream, invest their hope into it and ignore the corruption, scandals and rather grubby reality. Anybody attempting to suggest a reality check is accused of not understand the club, its fans, the region – anything is preferable to self-analysis.
Listening to Newcastle ‘legends’ like Bobby Moncur on Sky Sports is at times sad. Alan Shearer he tells us, is the only man for the managers job. The only man? This of someone with no managerial experience, save for a handful of games at the end of last season, where Newcastle were relegated. Shearer took the club down despite a comparatively easy run in and a squad with bigger names than other clubs at the bottom. Ah, but Moncur tells us, Shearer ‘understands’ the club. Does he? Or does he simply buy into the same hype as the fans?
I suspect that Sam Allardyce, sacked after only four months in charge also understands Newcastle. All too well.
At the moment someone who seemed to survive the worst of the moral panic about the ‘Cockney mafia’ – Chris Houghton – is again in temporary charge. Whoever leads the team next will at least come into a club in the Championship, so will be spared some of the wilder expectations Keegan encouraged of Champions League football and top level trophies.
Sadly a quick promotion will no doubt let all the hype out into the open again. It will be even more uncontrollable if it is Alan Shearer who leads the club back into the Premiership. That of course is far from certain, especially as Ashley has made the (unusually astute) decision not to appoint the latest messiah until he has sold the club. Lets face it, if you were spending £100 million plus on something, you would probably think that entitles you to decide who is going to manage the team.
And very few rational people would put Alan Shearer in charge.
But – when has rationality ever counted for anything where Newcastle United are concerned?
Given this film stars both Richard Burton and Alain Delon, its obscure reputation is somewhat hard to fathom.
One of the many gripes on this blog follows from my disputes with Carphone Warehouse.
The problem with such disputes, apart from the emotional energy and anger they use up, is that they can also leave you feeling very isolated, and really rather alone. Had I known this blog existed, for Carphone Warehouse staff, dealing with an anti-union and cost cutting employer, I would have felt a little happier.
More power to it!
One of the best things we ever did in London Class War was to take a critical look at one of the most powerful religious institutions in Hackney - the KICC (Kingsway International Christian Centre).
After some of our work the Hackney Gazette began to run with the fact that the Charity Commission had got its teeth into Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo's backside - and they took a fair chunk out of it! I had rather forgotten about the KICC until I was playing about on Sky over the weekend - and I came to Channel 594 - the KICC TV channel.
It is so bad I really recommend you all tune in for five minutes. And remember - God wants you to be rich, and he also wants Pastor Ashimolowo to be very rich indeed. All you poor people in Hackney - keep giving your money to the KICC!
There seems a strong desire to talk up recovery and to downplay recession at the moment. The worst is over, say some.
Such sentiments come easily to employers. Firstly they want a positive atmosphere in which to do business - not a negative one. Secondly, high unemployment is not neccesarily a bad thing for any businessman. It can discipline a workforce, drive down wages and creates a pool of potential employees. Better to have too many people chasing vacancies, than too few.
Nor of course has the reality of recession hit home where it started - in the City. This is Ambrose Evans-Pritchard writing in the Sunday Telegraph's business section on 5 July:
"The message has not reached Wall Street or the City. If bankers know what is good for them, they will take a teacher's salary for a few years until the storm passes. If they proceed with the bonuses now on the table, even as taxpayers pay for the errors of their caste, they must expect a ferocious backlash".
My car journeys are becoming hell.
The post below got me a warning over at the Anarchist Black Cat website. For devilment, I reproduce it here:
Friends and comrades of Anthony are invited to gather at Freedom Books in Whitechapel on Saturday afternoon, from 2pm.
You won't find any silly tributes to Michael Jackson on this website.
So says the manga style front cover of issue 15 of Norwich's finest Anarchist magazine, Now or Never!
Now or Never has been selling well due its mixture of good production values, anarcho-inspired humour and random silliness. It has also had its fair slice of luck - for example the producers have not been executed, despite being the only UK publication to reproduce the Danish Mohammed cartoons. Now or Never was also the last magazine, certainly in the UK, to interview Michael Jackson before his sudden death. It should be said however that the plastic looking Jackson that features on page 2 does nothing to dispel conspiracy theories that the King of Pop was using a body double prior to his tragic demise last week.
What else do you get for your £2.50? Well nothing quite as good as those signed up to NoN's 'Porn For Prisoners' campaign, although the guide to evil at summer festivals will certainly come in handy for many. A journey to Colchester is related by the over-employed Youth Section, and the wave of University occupations against the Israeli attack on Gaza is outlined - sadly without mentioning the heroic efforts of nine University of East Anglia students. What do they have to do to get a mention in their local rag? Staying with matters pertaining to the fine city, Norwich Green Party councillor Adrian Ramsay shares his diaries with readers (again) whilst Hairy Jim answers your queries, in his role as Britain's most hirsute agony Aunt.
Finally NoN again comes with a free supplement representing an alternative political tradition. Issue 14 introduced us to Mao Tse Tung thought via Mao or Never, this time Frau or Never serves as the 'Fighting Jack Boot and Screwdriver for the White Women of England'. Here I'm afraid I must object - in the strongest possible terms. Whilst it is important to offer readers the chance to breed with Nick Griffin, and it is crucial we recognise John Johns as the most English man ever, Frau or Never goes to far in its choice of photographs.
What pertains to be a picture of good solid British stock, demonstrating on Bromley High Street, is in fact an action picture of the 'combat girlfriends' of the Russian National Bolshevik Party. Yet more cheap foreign imports from Eastern Europe. Up your game Frau or Never!
Rumours that the next supplement will be entitled T'Pau or Never, as part of a sponsorship deal with a record company looking to relaunch the career of Carol Decker are currently being denied. Time will tell....