George Monbiot continues to be an utter disgrace on Syria. Dismissing a story that is sourced to named and known OPCW inspectors as ‘conspiracy theory’ and ‘atrocity denial’ while he himself effectively covers up the atrocities his own government has committed in Syria.
I blogged about Monbiot’s silence on U.K. atrocities in Syria last year.
He’s a smear artist on this issue, and no better than the people who called those who questioned whether Iraq really had WMDs ‘useful idiots’ for Saddam Hussein in 2003.
The most frustrating thing is that Monbiot has a reputation as a good progressive columnist. This means that people who haven’t followed events in Syria closely are liable to trust what he’s saying about it. But his takes have, for years, been risible.
I’m hearing people say the public transport infrastructure in Bristol is crap. But it’s a big improvement on what I was used to in Darlo:
I guess Darlo is the archetypal post-industrial, ‘left behind’ town. There’s actually much to recommend it - cinemas, pubs, clubs, a decent theatre, stunning countryside, close to Newcastle and Durham. But there aren’t many good, well paying jobs.
But I think one of the things that contributes to the sense of being ‘left behind’ is the perception of places like Darlington in dominant media:
Blinken employs language that he thinks will be appealing to 'progressives'. 'rebuilding and reconstruction', 'humanitarian aid', 'on behalf of the Syrian people', 'the desire of the Syrian people'.
But the key part is 'insist that there be some kind of political transition'.
Blinken was a key figure in the Obama administration's Syria policy, which was an absolute catastrophe for the people of Syria (i.e. spending billions with allies on arming and training rebel groups to try and force Assad out, contributing to massive escalations of violence).
Andy Burnham is a social imperialist and an apologist for war crimes and mass murder:
Sticking up for the poor of Manchester whole defending the murder of the poor of Iraq. There’s a name for that and it’s ‘racism’.
In a party that wasn’t as deeply racist and imperialist as Labour Burnham would be a pariah rather than a hero. He’d have been expelled for his comments on Iraq. But as it is he’s a hero because in the Labour Party, including it’s left, Iraqi lives are worth nothing.
Masks and cold weather remain a nightmare for glasses wearers (at least this one). Can’t see with my glasses on because mask-exacerbated condensation properly fogs the lenses and it doesn’t wear off. Can’t see without my glasses on which is why I wear them in the first place.
Makes shopping really difficult. Firstly because I simply can’t see what I’m looking at. So that means I have stand there for ages trying to decipher the blur in front of me. And secondly, that leads to a little queue of socially distanced people forming behind you.
And if you have social anxiety, the idea that you might be making people angry, upset or generally disapproving of you by holding them up means you go ‘Aah fuck it’ and just move on without the thing you wanted.
I’ll never leave the Labour Party because I’ll never join. The only reason this party - with its long and continuing track record of war crimes, racism, colonialism and materially supporting genocide - has any traction on the left is because the imperial mentality runs deep.
In the 00s voting Labour was voting for the murder of Iraqis and Afghans. In the 60s and 70s it was voting to enable genocide in East Timor. Kenyans, Malayans, Indonesians, Biafrans and Chagossians - all subject to horrific abuses enabled by Labour in the 40s/60s/70s
Browbeating people into voting Labour, let alone becoming a member of the Labour Party, is a result of imperial core privilege. They probably won’t drop cluster bombs on *your* estate, won’t shoot *your* children, won’t arm the people who want *you* dead for being a communist.
These may well be values that some people hold dear, among lots of others. But for me what they are talking about, given the context, is sugar coated jingoism and nationalism. And it won’t resemble anything the socialist, anti-war, anti-imperialist left can get on board with:
Policy wise I think it amounts to business as usual: arms sales, military aggression but cloaked as something progressive, unquestioning veneration of the armed forces.
Lots of brown folks will die but at least we don’t have that nasty Corbyn anymore.
If you’ve got lots to say about how terrible Rachel Swindon and The Canary are, and nothing about John McDonnell saying Tony Blair’s near genocide in Iraq wasn’t a crime, your political instincts are probably geared towards punching down.
You probably crave mainstream respectability and may even have the occasional column in corporate media.
You think the little people ‘embarrassing’ you in the eyes of liberals is much worse than left luminaries saying the perpetrators of Mass Atrocities are good actually.
You’re propagating bourgeois morality, which is always going to be limiting for the left, and calling it radicalism.
You’ve been doing it for years and thinking we’re all too stupid to notice.
Imagine being the kid who never passes the exam. Who always gets put into the ‘bottom’ set. Who’s spent their life between the ages of 6 and 16 being told they’re not good enough, they’re stupid, they’re failures. We rarely hear about those kids but there’s millions of them.
I can still remember GCSE exam results day in 1997. My next door neighbour and best mate didn’t pass a single one. His step Dad said to him ‘Right, fuck off out of here and don’t come back until you have a job’.
Life on a 90s council estate in north east England.
I was the only one of my peer group to pass (I had social anxiety and so would stay in my room and read for want of anything better to do). I walked back from the school on results day feeling pleased. Then some lads were saw me and were like ‘Look at the state of that geek!’.
Wish I was a confident good looking middle-class boy who could talk shit about people endlessly and be lauded for it. Could have my own podcast and sycophants and get away with anything.
Alas, I’m an ugly working-class boy, and so my anger is pathologised and marginalised.
One thing about me is that I will always try and punch up and right. And I’ve had some right hidings because of it over the years. I often miss and then fall over and then piss myself. But the reason I threw in the first place was usually valid.
I guess I have to believe this. Let me first say that ‘good looking’ and ‘smart’ are bullshit categories created by the ruling-class precisely to maintain their own power. Arbitrary nonsense rooted in power.
Harold Wilson's governments were responsible for or supported some terrible crimes and atrocities.
Personally I'd have no problem seeing his statue pulled down.
Here’s Owen Jones saying the idea that Wilson’s statue might be pulled down is ‘ludicrous’. But why is it? Are some some perpetrators of racist atrocities better than others? And if so, what’s the cut off point?
Harold Wilson's government was responsible for the depopulation of the Chagos Islands against the islanders' will. His civil servants used blatantly racist language about the Chagossians when discussing it. Their black lives certainly didn't matter to Wilson.
What kind of bizarro world is Lisa Nandy living in where British foreign policy under William Hague was 'values led'? This from today's Observer:
It takes about 3 minutes of Googling to learn that, under William Hague, the U.K. continued to arm, trade with and generally support all manner of abusive and authoritarian regimes (indeed, was one itself), as they had been doing for decades. E.G.:
William Hague also defended the invasion of Iraq - one of the major war crimes of the 21st century to date - as late as 2013.
He said that 'it's a much better place than we found it', which was an utterly depraved lie. I blogged about it at the time:
Yes, when he was at the forefront of their campaign to smear Noam Chomsky. Smears which New Socialist editors then repeated and refused to retract:
Tom Gann retweeting a laughably ill informed thread on Kosovo, in which Chomsky was accused of denying a genocide that never happened. Josie Sparrow repeating outright Oliver Kamm / Guardian lies about him putting ‘massacre’ in speech marks concerning Srebrinica.
If you’re going to have a go at Kamm for reproducing Henry Jackson society smears, it’s probably best not to reproduce them yourself.