Thursday, January 23, 2003


Dan Walters likes New Order, the North West of England, football, democratic socialism, beer and regional government - I think we would get on.

His blog is one of those personal musing sites that I don't usually have much time for but in his case an exception is merited - and he has a link to Sectarian Worker!

posted by BA on 2:47 PM link

Some American bloggers have made the valid point that reporting of the anti-war movement has tended to take the individuals and groups involved on face value and describe them as 'peace activists' etc rather than reveal their real political affiliations.

The same has happened in the UK with the Stop the War Coalition seen as a collection of various pacifists when in fact it is largely made up of the usual suspects.

Hidden well away on their website is this list of the recently elected steering committee and their affiliations - bear in mind that most of the trade unionists (in a personal capacity of course) are also members of ultra-left groups.

So the Times journalist Ann Treneman who recently interviewed a friendly picknicking 'anti-war' leader Lindsey German could discover that she is the editor of the Socialist Review, the 'theoretical journal' of the Socialist Workers Party - who of course are very much in favour of some wars.

In fact the SWP are quite supportive of terror attacks against Israel and ironically once in fact supported war against Iraq - but that was when it was fundamentalist Iran who were doing the attacking - so that was different.

More recently when the SWP were asked to put their name to a left anti-war document which also condemned the September 11 attacks they refused "that is what the imperialists want us to do" they reasoned. Cynics suggested they didn't want to 'put off' the Islamic youth they have targetted for recruitment.

Don't get me wrong though, I want to hear the voice of a reasoned opposition to war on Iraq - such opinions need to be heard. But lets not pretend that the SWP run Stop the War Coalition - which as the list of their leaders shows is largely an alliance of Muslims and ultra-lefts is some sort of new movement of ordinary concerned citizens.

Rather it is old Trots in new clothing.

posted by BA on 7:45 AM link

At last Home Minister David Blunkett has woken up to the real anti-social threat and declared a crackdown on loners.

Which reminds me - if my information is reliable the tv presenter Matthew Kelly, who has been arrested in relation to allegations of child abuse in the 1970's was a member of the Trotskyite Workers Revolutionary Party in the...... 1970's.

Surely just a coincidence?

posted by BA on 6:40 AM link

Stephen Pollard has a nice a pop at BBC chief Greg Dyke's drift into corporate-speak and so I decided to send Stephen an example of a mission statement for his blog - which it appears he wasn't sure was a piss-take or not (it was of course).

Ever since the brilliant Gus Hedges on Drop the Dead Donkey I have had an interest in management jargon and yet amazingly even after Gus popped the idea in the toster to see which way it popped up - the same jargon became part of political and public life as well as the world of commerce.

So I think it is time this blog focused on delivering on this issue. In fact, it is now our priority deliverable. So here goes. I hope this is inclusive:

A good (and funny) glossary of basic buzzwords can be found here

The jargon used in job advertisements is well dissected here.

Do you drift off during boring management meetings? Try playing Corporate Speak Bingo!

posted by BA on 5:52 AM link

Wednesday, January 22, 2003


I'm afraid this might not be entertaining blogging but I have to be honest and say I belong to that section of people who are yet to take a stand either way on the necessity of military action over Iraq and so it has been useful to read some intelligent thoughts on the situation.

Chris Bartram on Junius is as thoughtful and philosophical as ever as he ponders the moral case for war. He is not convinced that war is justified in the current situation but does present a very fair, balanced and useful summary of the various pro-action positions.

The only convincing justification I can see for military action is that of freeing the Iraqi people from tyranny - I am not convinced that Iraq's weapons arsenal is enough of a reason to take military action (as Chris says India could use such an arguement to take 'pre-emptive action' against Pakistan) -- although obviously liberating Iraq would ease concerns about its military threat.

Like Chris my concern is that I am not at all confident that everyone in the Bush administration is really interested in helping liberate Iraq and the recent announcement of the plan for Saddam to be given immunity and exile confirmed those suspicions. On that topic Christopher Hitchens (him again, I know,) in a piece in Slate makes a good case against such a fudge and in favour of justice for the people Saddam has oppressed.

Finally Andrew Sullivan provides a passionate denunciation of Anti-Americanism, a fair assesment of Blair's diplomatic achievements and makes the very valid point that the far left's (and far right's) modern anti-americanism (in the absence of any real positive alternative) has now simply descended into hatred.

He's spot on and such hatred and barely concealed anti-semitism is one of the reasons why I won't be attending any of the planned anti-war demonstrations in the next few weeks.

Even if I was convinced that military action would be wrong I certainly wouldn't join the Trots of the odious Socialist Workers Party and their new-found dodgy Islamic allies in the Stop the War Committee on their demo in London.

And it is deeply depressing, if not totally surprising, to see former 'comrades' from my political past happily politicking with such reactionaries.

posted by BA on 1:10 PM link

The Labour Party online shop is surprisingly eclectic offering Tony Benn cassettes, Chris Mullin books and Michael Moore videos as well as the more predictable official merchandise and safer 'on-message' publications.

But the best stuff can be found in the mugs section. What kitchen could be without a complete set of Six Pledges mugs? Who would not enjoy their cup of coffee more with the slogan "Economic Stablity" emblazoned across your mug?

Inspiring stuff I am sure you will agree but is there really a market for a Bring Back Mandy mug?

And what is the thinking behind this?

posted by BA on 6:36 AM link

The nutcases who pretend to be a Communist Party in London and produce the wacky Weekly Worker have this view on the recent murder of a policeman by terrorist suspects in Manchester:

The ‘toxic substance’ that really poses a serious threat to British society is … officially sponsored panic-mongering. As part of its build-up to war, the government is on the look-out for any event that can be used to corral a still deeply sceptical public into support for the conflict.

The stabbing of special branch officer Stephen Oak (sic) in a raid in Manchester’s Crumpsall area on January 14 is a perfect example. Both the political affiliation of those arrested and what they were planning (or not planning) to do is more or less irrelevant, as far as the establishment is concerned. Detective constable Oak is mourned as Britain’s first home front casualty of the so-called ‘war against terrorism’ that began on September 11. So DC Oak becomes a victim of bin Laden, not of a botched police raid which actually uncovered no physical evidence of terrorist links or the manufacture of ricin, anthrax, cyanide gas, al-Qa’eda handbooks or even a pair of spiked Nikes.

Source: Weekly Worker 'Blair promotes panic mongering'

In other words then - we should fear Tony Blair more than terrorists who seek to murder hundreds of innocent civilians. Hello?

posted by BA on 5:53 AM link

I am worried about ethics in the North Korean media....

Pyongyang, January 21 (KCNA) - General Secretary Kim Jong Il sent gifts to the Rodong Sinmun, the Korean Central News Agency and the Radio and TV Broadcasting Committee of the DPRK. He has always paid deep attention to the newspaper of the Workers' Party of Korea, the news agency and the broadcasting organisation which play a pivotal role on the ideological front of the party. This time he showed such profound loving care as providing again many latest type computers and their related facilites to them.

A ceremony of conveying the gifts took place at the People's Palace of Culture on Monday.

After an address was made by secretary of the WPK Central Committee Jong Ha Chol to convey the gifts, director general of the KCNA Kim Ki Ryong and others evinced their resolutions to repay the great solicitude.

Source Korean Central News Agency

posted by BA on 5:41 AM link

The website Bloggy Opinions has produced a review of this blog and gives me a right slamming:

The over-used brown and white Blogger template is once again degrading this already bland blog. The post are all centered around current events in the newspaper. I find it exceptionally un-worthwhile because I can get the same info from my T.V. by watching CNN or NBC. His views on Americans are very harsh (he's a Brit- maybe I should give him a break) and he never gives the reader enough information to understand the whole story (which I heard on the CNN 6 o'clock news). If you want readers interested in what you are saying, make sure to add personal stories and other amusing things to spruce up your post.

This was an unusually harsh review by me, but I believe every word I say is true. Personal Stories + Better layout = Better blog.

They are probably right about most of this although I don't think there has been anything 'harsh' about my views on Americans and if you have seen the alternative blog templates then you will understood why so many of us use this one.

posted by BA on 5:35 AM link

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