fab quote

George Galloway, in an interview with The Metro in london on Tuesday –

“The Metro – Will Gordon Brown make a better Labour leader?

Galloway – Gordon Brown and Tony Blair are two cheeks of the same arse.”

:o)

So long, David

From the BBC News Site –

“Work and Pensions Secretary David Blunkett has resigned after a meeting with Tony Blair in Downing Street.
Mr Blunkett had been under pressure after breaking the ministerial code of conduct over paid work he took while he was out of Cabinet.”

Oh well, see ya David – will we miss you? Er, no. Blunkett has for a long while been one of the scarier members of a particularly scary cabinet. His track record as home secretary put him closer to Michael Howard as Tory home secretary than it did any Labour predecessor. His draconian pronouncements about immigration, asylum and the like were horrific to anyone with any sense of compassion for the people fleeing persecution or destitution in their country of origin. ‘Lock ’em up in camps’ says David. Er, thanks.

And now he’s gone – the catalogue of screw-ups over this ministerial code thing is a pretty huge. The scariest one was him accepting the directorship of a DNA testing company – a company that was in the line to apply for contracts with both his previous department, the home office, and his current one, the departkment of work and pensions. No conflict of interests there then. And he bought 15 grand’s worth of shares in the company… but clearly his professional conduct as a cabinet minister would never have been compromised by that. No siree.

Daft bastard – he’s screwed up (again), and is out of the cabinet (again). And I’m rather glad to see the back of him. His appt. in the early years of the Blair government was seen by most as a good thing – he had a fab leftie track record, and being blind, it meant that there was now at least some disability representation on the front bench. No enough, but there was some. But he turned out to be a mad dictator, ranting about law and order and passing all manner of laws designed to turn Britain into a police state.

It remains to be seen who takes his place at Work and Pensions – Charles Clark hasn’t done a great job at Home Secretary; again, we were hoping he’d back pedal on some of Blunkett’s more fascistic pronouncements, but sadly not… Clark was doing a better job in Education…

Soundtrack – Ralph Towner with Glen Moore, ‘Trios Solos’.

since when was constructive criticism a 'bias'

For the last few days, the news of Tony Blair’s whinging about the BBC’s coverage of the Katrina Disaster has been in the news – he claims it was ‘full of hate for America’, largely due to its overt critique of the Bush government’s response to it.

Since when was pointing out the abject failure of a government to do its job ‘Anti-Americanism’ – surely an anti-american stance would have been saying that the country deserved it, or would have been gloating over the scenes of the disaster. There was nothing of the sort of course, and the reporters seemed genuinely moved by the plight of the people they were reporting on. Indeed, it seemed more like their closeness to those who lost the most was the thing that was driving them to look for answers and that search lead them to the top of the pile. Bush even admitted he was at fault (when he realised it was one PR war he was losing tragically).

The history of Tony Blair’s relationship with the Bush administration is so sickening sycophantic that he doesn’t even seem able to admit when he’s beloved George has been so obviously shown up as not caring about the poor within his own borders. Katrina has revealed such a gaping sore at the heart of the American project, one that the vast majority of americans are sickened by and want to see changed. It’s by no means anti-american to point out that the one person with the authority to have done something about it chose to a) not do the preparation years ago (neither did Clinton), and b) delay the rescue attempts when the whole thing kicked off, despite them having a few days notice that it was going to happen!

to be labeled as ‘un-American’ or ‘anti-american’ has for a long time been the worst thing you can accuse someone of in certain sections of US life – they are words that have been employed to keep people in line to prevent questioning of the government, to stop people asking questions about the constitution, and to draw a thick line between those for us and those against us. Thank God there are now millions of Americans who are dissenting because they see it as their right and duty as Americans (OK, so all the nationalism leaves me cold, but for now, I’m seeing it as a big step forward from the blind support for all things Governmental…) – it’s great to hear Americans being openly critical of some elements of the ‘American Dream’ and the effects it’s had in creating a massive poverty problem within the US. In the same way that poverty in Britain has to be a concern for anyone who likes living here or claims to ‘love’ their country, those who claim patriotic allegiance in the States need to acknowledge that a country born out of the genocide of one nation and the enslavement of a continent to build its infrastructure is never going to just fall into being one with ‘freedom and equality for all’ (or whatever it says in the declaration thingie – i think I’ve got the ‘all men are created equal’ bit and the ‘justice and liberty’ bit mixed up).

It’s so sad to see the destruction of so much of the American south – New Orleans, Louisiana, the Texas coast… I’ve got friends who’ve lost their houses, some whose houses are still standing but in the middle of a sea of toxic mud, and I can’t even imagine what I’d do in such a situation. But I do know that I’d be expecting the people i’d been paying taxes to for so many years to do something to help put it right, and if they didn’t I’d be kicking up one hell of a stink, and anyone from the overseas media who helped to highlight the cause of those who’d been left stranded would be considered a friend and ally, not accused of anti-British sentiment.

Soundtrack – King Crimson, ‘Three Of A Perfect Pair’.

Edinburgh MPH March/Live8

So, despite it being Wimbledon finals weekend, I didn’t see a stroke of tennis played… But for good reason.

On Friday I drove up to Berwick–On-Tweed (the Lawson ancestral home), in order to go up to Edinburgh on Saturday for the Make Poverty History March and rally, arranged to coincide with the G8 summit meeting in Gleneagles this week.

Estimates on the attendance at Edinburgh vary working upwards from about 200,000, but that’s the figure for Fringe Sunday in August, and this was WAYYYY more crowded than Fringe Sunday.

The march itself was just huge – for a lot of people, they were waiting for almost three hours just to get out of The Meadows (that is, a secret location, known only as ‘the meadows’). The atmosphere was fabulous, though the food was a bit crap for veggies (I’ve got too used to ‘london food’). The first people to set off on the march were back at the start by one o’clock so the continuous white band lasted for a good few hours.

The talk from the stage was largely good – Billy Bragg was on form as always – talking not playing (at least not that I heard, sadly), Jonathan Dimbleby was marvellous. Some twat from the Church Of Scotland was congratulating Gordon Brown on all he’s done so far… hello? Done what exactly? Announced a supposed debt relief package so tied to IMF trade and services liberalisations that it’s virtually worthless? FFS, stop pandering to these goons – they’ve done just about nothing as yet, the situation is still brutally inequitous, and so far Gordon Brown has done pretty much sweet FA.

Anyway, the rest of the talk was good.

We got back into Berwick, and in front of a TV at the time The Killers were on at Live8, who made no impression whatsoever. The evening was definitely all about the old guys showing the youngsters how it was done – Floyd, Robbie, The Who and Macca all rocked the party that rocks the party, while the Scissor Sisters were dull, Velvet Revolver were shit-on-a-stick, Joss Stone and Mariah both did well and Peter Kay was the only Accapella singer of the day and lost the americans royally.

I was struck by how little comment was being made about the cause, both between bands, and by the bands. Now that I’m watching the AOL online feed of the show, I see just how much the BBC had edited out in the name of impartiality. Good God, I hope I never rely on the BBC’s impartiality to save my life from rapacious world trade laws. How can you be impartial on this? Grrrrrrrr.

So all in all, a monumental event – the biggest ever public protest in Scotland, the biggest ever worldwide TV audience for a show, millions and millions of people signing up th the MPH campaign. Surely this will send a message to the tossers in the G8 that things need to change?….

…apparently not, that arch-enemy of freedom, democracy and all things decent, George Bush, has announced that there’ll be no climate change deal in the G8 – you know, right now, I’m wishing someone would blow up Gleneagles. I know something of how Bruce Cockburn felt when he wrote ‘If I Had A Rocket Launcher’, with it’s censor-baiting line, ‘if I had a rocket launcher, some son of a bitch would die’ – why does the G8 even exist? The idea that there is a coalition of the wealthy deciding the mortal future of over half the planet is disgusting. That fuckers like George Bush would come into the meeting saying he’ll be doing what’s best for the US only…

From the bbc news site
‘But he rejected the idea he should support the British prime minister’s G8 plan in return for his support during the war in Iraq.

“Tony Blair made decisions on what he thought was best for keeping the peace and winning the war on terror, as I did,” he told the programme.

“So I go to the G8 not really trying to make him look bad or good, but I go to the G8 with an agenda that I think is best for our country.” ‘

He’s an evil, pernicious, twisted blight on the planet, and anyone who voted for him should be seriously ashamed of themselves. There is a political will within sections of the G8 to improve on these issues but while Bush, under the influence of his PNAC cronies, undermines anything that makes the rich accountable, that makes the rich empire-building countries of Europe and North America feel any sense of responsibility for the fuck-up that is modern day African economics. The most resource-rich continent on earth is its poorest. It makes me cry.

If the G8 don’t listen, who’s in for a revolution?

Soundtrack – The AOL Live8 stream.

"Unbelievable. Incredible. Brilliant. The whole country is very proud of you."

In a message to the Liverpool Football Team, after they won the European Champions League thing last night, Tony Blair said: “Unbelievable. Incredible. Brilliant. The whole country is very proud of you.”

Sorry, Tony, I’m not. I couldn’t give a shit. I don’t care.

I’m told it was very tense – very tense if you care about a field full of millionaires kicking a ball around to make money for the club shareholders… …or, according to Jude if you care ‘about a kid who grew up in merseyside and went on to be captain of the club he supported as a boy… and wins the european cup’ – clearly I don’t. That’s very nice for him, but it registers pretty low on the giveashitometer.

I think I was just all footballed out as a kid – my dad worked for Wimbledon at the time when they were starting their rise from non-league to First Division (in those pre-premiership days) in 8 seasons (the previous quickest was something like 32 years). I went to home games, away games, youth team games, training sessions, supporters club parties etc. etc. etc. It was quite fun when I was little. I even ended up pictured in a book about football, in my mascot outfit at the age of five –

but by my mid teens I was sick of it, bored with blokes kicking a ball around, and increasingly distrustful of any unisex activity – too much testosterone involved! And I discovered music, where there are no winners and losers, just people playing what they want to play. Ahhh, that’s more like it.

Now that pro football is all about shareholders and millionaires, date-rape scandals, failed drugs tests and club takeovers by shady billionaires, it has even less appeal. Even if I enjoyed the game, I think I’d rather go out and support my local pub team.

But I’d still rather go to a gig.