Saturday, October 30, 2004

Guess Who's Back, Back, Back

Well well. I thought he was dead.

He seems to think he's losing the WOT. In 2001 he was talking about the return of Al-Andalus (Spain to you and I) to the Islamic world. Now the message is 'don't touch us and we won't touch you'. Unless, as is possible, he feels that a reconquista of Spain is well under way. He may have a point at that, given their election result. US troops have left the holy sand of Saudi Arabia, fulfilling another demand. Maybe the war is closer than I thought.

UPDATE - I enjoyed an anonymous poster's comments on the Belmont Club blog. Apparently the complete transcript of OBL's video contains the following :

"The infidel George Bush is outsourcing America’s future with tax cuts to the wealthy. Where are the 1.6 million jobs? The infidel Bush is the first infidel since the infidel Herbert Hoover to lose jobs! Awake from your slumber, America! The infidel John Kerry has a plan. You can do better, Insha’Allah!”

“Let me tell you, I spoke to the infidel Christopher Reeve a week ago, and if the infidel John Kerry is elected President, Insha’Allah, the infidel Christopher Reeve will walk again!”

“Are you infidels aware that the infidel John Kerry killed infidels in a war of imperialist infidel aggression in Southeast Asia?”

“The infidel Mary Cheney is a lesbian.”

“Let me tell you, I spoke to the infidel Teresa. By Allah, did you not know that Laura Bush never had a real job!”

BBC Bias Part 458

Just a couple of little snippets from Radio 4 this morning. From a trailer (7.57 am) for Sunday's 'Broadcasting House' - 'We bring you a portrait of Yasser Arafat - freedom-fighter, diplomat ...' - 'terrorist' seems to have dropped out of the BBC dictionary.

And from R4s eight o'clock bulletin 'Neil Kinnock, who has lost none of his passion to improve the world ...' - I'll try and recall when I last heard them use such language - in a news bulletin - about a Tory.

They don't even know they're doing it. It's 'unconscious and unwitting', to coin a phrase.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Radical Dads Storm Extremist Conference

Fathers 4 Justice today disrupted the conference on 'Contact Today - The Challenge of Parental Separation', held in the isolated compound of the feared National Council For Voluntary Organisations in the notorious neo-Feminazi enclave of Islington.

Among the speakers - the leader of the movement to separate children from their fathers - and the woman who released the Bulger killers - Dame Elizabeth Butler Sloss.

Fortunately this blog had a social-worker spy inside the conference. When I spoke to her she had had a few gins and could hardly stand up. But the truth of what she was saying shone from her eyes.

"We were well into Dame Elizabeth's big speech. We'd started with a Ten Minute Hate, with pictures of men projected on a wall for us to boo and shout at - George Bush got the most boos ! then at last ... the lights went down and Aretha Franklin's 'Respect' hit the sound system, smoke machines started up - we all started chanting 'LIZ-ZIE ! LIZ-ZIE !'. Then she came in - it was unbelievable. Lord Filkin, Lord Justice Wall, Anthony Douglas and John Baker came in crawling on their hands and knees. Dame Elizabeth sat on their backs, wearing a tiara and waving a wand - we just went beserk as they carried her to the podium and hundreds of pink ribbons came down from the ceiling. Awesome.

When the applause died down she began. Her theme was that men were basically all the same, they were only after one thing, and that none of them could be trusted - not one. We'd heard it all before - at University, on our Social Work training, in the Guardian, on Woman Sour. Yet when she spoke it was as if we were hearing it for the first time. People were whooping and crying - the girl in front of me wet herself. When I say girl - I think she was quite old, judging by the dungarees and Doc Martens, although blue is a really good colour for covering grey hair.

Suddenly there were bangs and shouting from outside. People came running in saying there was a fire-bomb attack on the front entrance. The alarms started to go off, and we looked for the rear exit to escape, but Dame Elizabeth didn't want us to leave. 'Stand and Fight !' she cried, 'Is this what Emily Davison brought off the biggest betting coup of 1913 for ?', but the security guards were quite insistent and we had to leave. As we were queuing to get out, we could see out of the side windows a man jump - naked ! - into the canal and climb out - right by the windows ! He was shouting something but we couldn't hear what. Dame Elizabeth went for him, banging on the windows and shouting. As we filed out I could hear her screaming 'I'll cut it off ! I'll cut it off!'

UPDATE - the traumatic events appear to have had a sequel.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

I'm impressed

Spot the money quote in this piece. Jonny Billericay is the Bad News Hughes of Norfolk.

Hat-tip - Squander Two.

PS - only a few moments to the big fight ! In the blue corner, undisputed heavyweight champ Michael 'Stupid White Man' Moore ! And in the red, from London, UK - the plucky challenger - big it up for Richard 'The Bigoted Homophobe' Liiittlejohhhnnnnn !

'Question Time' starts on BBC1 shortly. Video on, fire burning, red wine breathing - come on !

BBC One: Thursday, 28 Oct 2004 at 22:45 BST
BBC World: Saturday 30 October at 0810, 1410, 2110 GMT; Sunday 31 Oct at 1810 GMT

UPDATE - not as exciting as hoped - panellists Frum and Blumenthal are clever chaps with a huge knowledge of US politics - our hero realised this and intervened only rarely. I gave up after 20 minutes and went upstairs to download the entire Carmina Burana in MIDI - won't my son be surprised next time his mobile rings ?

If it turned into a rough-house later someone tell me - I've still got the video.

Too late, mate

Another Guardianista invokes the ghost of Mary Whitehouse.

"We have to recapture the language of individual restraint and decency. We need to recall that the power of disapproval, and shame, can be stronger than the power of the state."

She's been here before, along with Yasmin and Madeleine, even Humphrys.

Sorry Jackie. Shame died somewhere around 1985. You - and me - and your comrades helped kill it. I'm pretty sure we held a rave on the grave. And as long as you're unable to see the connection between this fact and headlines like this, it'll stay dead.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Not As Mad As Usual

A rather tedious AL Kennedy piece in today's Guardian. Usual insane premise ("Brits love torture" - bondage maybe), lots of lies, the usual themes ("Our dawn raids and detentions are so quiet, so nicely contained within the Muslim community. The civilians we are bombing and irradiating as you read this are so far away"), but it's rather dull. There's not the barely-suppressed hysteria, the feeling that her head's about to explode, which makes AL such a riveting read.

It's probably a good thing. Reading AL Kennedy's Guardian output is a little like watching the Stooges during Iggy's most wasted period, or more recently Shane MacGowan or Pete Doherty - the edge is the feeling that you're watching someone falling to bits right in front of you. This is a prime example. Hide the kitchen knives, someone !

Those who want more full-blown madness can visit the virtual shrine. But don't go here. Told you.

UPDATE - Scott Burgess points out a few inaccuracies in her work. I've long given up on that. Good link to this US fan ("If Bush gets into the White House again, I’m not sure I can stay here.") interview though.

Zimbabwe Vigil

When you're in town on a Saturday don't forget to check these good people out and spend some time on the line. "Let's All Go Down the Strand ... ".

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, London, will take place every Saturday from 12.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.

BBC Bias Part 391

I'd almost forgotten this little gem - the Today Programme 'debate' (RealAudio) last week between Colleen Graffy of Republicans Abroad and Tony Benn.

The subject - the Guardian's Operation Clark County. The question from John Humphrys - 'was it a good idea ?'.

Graffy opened - discussing the backlash, the dangers inherent in one country trying to interfere with another's politics, that interference by the US in a British election would not be popular, mentioning the bad press John Major got for helping Clinton's opponents, and concluding that while in principle she disapproved, in practice it had probably been a Republican windfall.

'Tony Benn ?'

'My wife was from Cincinatti, Ohio, retained her citizenship, lived in London for fifty-one years, she campaigned with me in all my election campaigns, she was president of the Socialist Education Association and campaigned for comprehensive education - and when we're talking about Americans not telling us to do, what about Rupert Murdoch .... ?'

We were off. Occasionally Professor Graffy got a word in. Benn laughed over her as she spoke and compounded his bad manners by patronising her as 'my dear'.

"740 military bases in 130 countries ... bombed 9 countries ... the United States under Bush is a rogue state, that is the reality of the matter ... Vietnam ... Cuba ... tried to kill Ghadaffi ... "no obliteration without representation" ... after 9/11 the world was overflowing with sympathy (see this blog for the way the Guardian overflowed) ... now you are feared .. tear up UN charter .. hostages you kidnapped ... Guantanamo Bay the symbol of America .. be very very careful - be very careful"

Humphrys : "I'm afraid Tony Benn gets the last word - I didn't have to do much work in that interview, did I ? (laughs)'

That depends on whether you wanted your question answered, or whether you wanted an anti-US rant. I think we know what John Humphrys, usually so swift to pick up a politician who strays from the point, wanted.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

A Few More Links ...

I'll leave the late John Peel to Nottingham politics student blog Attempting Escape. I remember so well .. not Mr Peel, but studying politics. And Nottingham indeed - a dread pub called (I think) the Albany in the Hyson Green area, accompanied by a delightful social worker friend. Autre temps, autre moeurs.
Sounds like things ain't changed too much in the groves of academe these thirty years - but at least Jules has the Interweb-thingy as intellectual comfort-blanket. "You're not alone".

A link to the Cerebrate's Contemplations (website presumably hosted from home, as it's up and down like a navvy's pick). This man I do not understand. He's intelligent, gainfully employed, a techy to his bones (a nerd pays homage), and lives in one of the most beautiful parts of England, the northern hill country of County Durham. What does he need Prozac for ?

And a link to Tulip-Maria, who's apparently linked to me from her pink'n'fluffy blog for nearly a year. She seems to have a job either in journalism, broadcast media or PR - we would appear to have little in common. But those relationships can be the best - and if the women in her neck of the woods have all ticked box 106 it could make a trip to the library more interesting ...

Sheer Towering Genius ...

Like the final flourish of a firework display, Peter Briffa signs off for a while with the complete Guardian/Indie guide to the US elections. Read The Whole Thing.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Clark County - New Guardian Outrage

A Laban Tall exclusive.

"My fellow, shortly to become ex-Americans ..."

The result of the US election will affect the lives of millions around the world but those of us outside the 50 states have had no say in it - until recently. In a unique experiment, G2 assembled a democratic toolkit to enable people from Brighton to Bloomsbury to campaign in Clark County, Ohio, by writing to their voters, urging them to support John F. Kerry.
But then came the right-wing backlash. We intended to open up debate by carefully mailing thousands of US voters - a hand across the ocean from the concerned Left. Those same thousands of US voters then attempted to close down debate by blatantly emailing our staff - the intimidatory tactics of the angry Right. It was the Dixie Chicks all over again.

With hindsight it can be seen that our tactics were naive and perhaps counterproductive. We underestimated the stupidity of the voters of Clark County, assuming them to be good, liberal people who would agree with us, rather than evil, bigoted rednecks.

We must not make the same mistake twice. And that is why today we announce a new Clark County strategy, developed from an idea by top political strategist Charlie Brooker, which we believe can tip the delicate balance in the presidential race. By killing a thousand Bush voters in Clark County, Ohio, you might help decide who takes up residence in the White House next month. Oliver Burkeman explains how

Tuesday, October 26, 2004
The Guardian

The plan is simple. We have received over a thousand letters from Clark County voters criticising the Guardian's "arrogant and self-aggrandising" campaign. It is likely that all of these people will now be voting for George W. Bush - even some who would otherwise have voted Kerry. We know the addresses of all of them, and have assembled a 'Coalition of the Willing' to help us - all we need are a thousand volunteers.

To join in, visit and enter your email address. You'll receive, by email, a code and date for a flight from Stansted to Knock Airport, Ireland. Your American adventure starts here !

Day One - on giving the code to Stansted reception your tickets will be handed over.

This day is generously supported by, long-haul flights to over 100 worldwide destinations from only £10, and who recently sponsored the Guardian's 257-page 'The Earth Is Dying From A Combination of Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Tree-Felling' supplement, with additional support from Toyama Global Motors Inc, whose annoying pop-up advert you can see top left.

Day One/Two - at Knock you will be met by our representatives and taken by coach to the beautiful and isolated beaches of Dingle, County Kerry, for your handgun training and two nights B&B (state whether vegetarian or vegan). Evening entertainment will be provided by musician Christy Moore and speakers will include Clare Short and radical barrister Gareth Peirce. Your stay is generously sponsored by the Thirty-Two County Sovereignty Committee.

Day Three - coach again to Knock for your flight to Chicago, home of legendary gangsters Al Capone and MacDonalds. Free in-flight pack includes exclusive Steve Bell colouring book and Guardian crayon set. Internal transfer to Columbus, Ohio, where you will be met by your designated Democratic Underground representative and given your 'target voters' - and when we say target that's just what they will be ! You will stay with a radical activist volunteer in a typical American home setting (bring some king-sized Rizlas). Sponsored by (Bali return from £17.99 if you fly Tuesday).

Day Four - excitement mounts as you go to the local bank, open an account, and without any references are given a powerful handgun and ammunition. Thrill as Michael Moore's 'Bowling For Columbine' really comes alive ! In the event of the bank being closed, handguns are given away at most gas stations if you purchase a full tank of looted Iraqi petrol (about £6.50p).

Your volunteer will drive you to the target location, where you will find that shooting dead everyone in the house over 18 is 'a cathartic, self-empowering experience that will enable you to live more fully', in the words of radical 60s activist Charles Manson. But for every volunteer the experience will be different. As a personal development opportunity alone this is not to be missed - and neither are the 'target voters' !
In the evening - the adrenaline will still be pumping, so it's party time ! Get loose, unwind and reflect on your contribution to global justice and peace to the accompaniment of the latest dance-floor fillers. You'll discover just how much you have gained in confidence and assertiveness over the four days, and others will notice it too - tonight is a night for making new friends. Sponsored by Berkeley Department of English.

Day Five - Flight home to Stansted via Chicago - and here a new opportunity opens for ten fortunate volunteers, who will be chosen by lottery to fly onto the Jordanian capital Amman, where, after a sight-seeing visit to the 'Rose-Red City' of Petra, a convoy of vehicles will take you across the Iraqi border to liberated Fallujah. Your stay of (approximately) 10 days at the Al-Zarquawi Hotel will include the opportunity to make a number of video broadcasts against US and British policy in the region. You will be permitted - nay, encouraged - to fiercely criticise President Bush and Prime Minister Blair. We can guarantee that these broadcasts will receive global coverage on all networks including the BBC. Your visit will close with a final internet broadcast which literally millions will download. Generously sponsored by Al-Jazeera and the Stop the War Coalition. Terms and conditions apply.

(Note - under the terms of the 1977 Race Relations Act, only those of Native British heritage are eligible for the Fallujah prize. Practising Muslims are also excluded.)

Another Human Rights Victory

Don't demonise this guy.

Sunday, October 24, 2004