Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year !!

Happy new year to Stroppyblog readers and to those disturbed, and probably disappointed, individuals who wander by after searching for Portuguese or Geordie porn, mud wrestling in thongs, Harriet Harman in stockings, Hazel Blears sexy, fishnets and decadent women, nuns with guns and fucking,fisting and fishnets . Yep, classy blog this is :-)

The picture is a reminder of that failed leadership campaign. Nope , not John McDonnell but the Jim4leader campaign . Still , the Dolls4Jim group rose from the ashes. Its a pic of Jim D holding a bottle of my favourite JD:-)

Talking of drink, here's to many more lefties bloggers piss ups in 2008.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

A shortage of Priests

Trendy vicars are pretty toe curling,as are gimmicks to attract the gullible. I don't care how many chocolate bars are chucked about by 'Vicar of Dibley' wannabees, there is no way I'd go to a service.

The Catholic Church is not above the odd gimmick such as a 'Priests calendar'. Now I wondered if they would do a 'Calendar Girls' and strip off, but no, there are limits in this bid to encourage men to become priests:

Twelve Catholic priests have swapped their pulpits for favourite pastimes in a calendar designed to try to recruit young men to the priesthood.
The priests, from the Diocese of Leeds, are pictured in an array of activities, including reading celebrity magazines, watching baseball and DIY.

Each featured priest also reveals what inspired them to join the church.

The calendar has been created as part of a drive to encourage teenagers to take up Holy Orders.

It comes as the Catholic Church faces a national shortage of people entering the profession.

Hmmm, no mention of one of the 'hobbies', that of preying on the young and vulnerable.

I note also that in a strong Catholic country like Mexico there is also a shortage :

"This is a real crisis of vocation," said Elio Masferrer, a religion expert at Mexico's National School of Anthropology and History.

Some blame the rise of a secular Mexico, where young men have improving job opportunities and increasingly reject celibacy.

So the draw of a life of repressed sexuality , telling others what they can and can't do with their bodies and generally poking their noses into others sex lives (hmmm, not sure about that image), is starting to wane. Good.

It also means the old Priests have to keep going :

To compensate for the lack of new blood, older priests are putting off retirement. In Mexico's capital, the average age of priests is now 66, and at one downtown church, a 93-year-old cleric celebrates Mass in the morning and hears confession in the afternoon.

"Old priests have to work until they keel over," Aguilar said.

Pic is taken from a calendar of 'Hot Italian Priests'!


Labour Party Pakistan on Benazir Bhutto

Posted with comment for the time being ...

Benazir assassination:
The unprecedented mass reaction

By: Farooq Tariq
29th December 2007 (7am)

Pakistan has never seen so many people protesting in streets all over as been the case during the last two days. They were all united across Pakistan to condemn the brutal murder of Benazir Bhutto. The news was heard with a great shock and there was an immediate mass anger erupted in all parts of Pakistan. 28th December was the first day of general strike called by many groups ranging from political parties to various professional groups.

Most of elections posters, banners, flags and bill boards of Pakistan Muslim League (PMLQ) were the first victim of the mass anger. PMLQ is a General Musharaf creation after 1999; a major split of Pakistan Muslim League, The rest is headed by Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister. PMLQ has been sharing power with General Musharaf after 2002 and is comprised of the most corrupt feudal, capitalists, former army generals and black marketers.

PMLQ had spent billions of these advertising material and all that was gone within few hours of mass reaction. It was very proudly claiming that it has done the home work. The work to remove all these anti people election material was done with utmost sophistication. None of Pakistan Peoples Party or Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz election material was removed.

Then it was the banks mainly in Sind. They were attacked and the buildings were burned in many cities of Sind. Most of ATM machines were destroyed. In some places, people were lucky to bring some money home. Banks had made unprecedented profits during the last few years. There was no free banking any more that was the case earlier from sixties.

Hundreds of private buses were burned in all parts of the country. The fares had gone too high during the Musharaf eight years of rule. There were no more public buses. Most of PMLQ government ministers had their own bus companies and were making huge gains out of mass poverty.

There were also incidents of burning of railway trains in Sind. According to Daily Jang 28 railway stations, 13 railway engines, and seven trains have been burnt resulting over three billion Rupees loss. The rail fares were increased by many folds by Musharaf regime in a bid to reduce the railway losses. It has been partly privatized as well. The whole rail system has collapsed since 27th December night. Thousands of passengers are on the railway stations waiting for restoration. There is no sign of restoration for some days. Pakistan International Airlines PIA and two private airlines, Air Blue and Shaheen Air have cancelled all their domestic flights on the name of “rescheduling”. The staff did not turn up.

Thousands of private cars have been damaged all over Pakistan by the angry mob mainly youth. They were showing their anger on the car companies (mainly Toyota, Suzuki and Honda) unprecedented profits during the last few years. Many leasing companies have robbed the growing middle classes by offering cars with abnormal prices. While the massive majority of population have no more ant subsidized public transport.

The houses and offices of PMLQ politicians, local government’s mayors and administration are the other victims of the mass reaction. They have either been burnt or damaged.

Over 100 people have so far died in the incidents relation to mass protest either by police or by cross firing of different groups during the last 40 hours.

Thousands and thousands have raised slogans against Musharaf regime and American imperialism after the death of Benazir Bhutto. The anger was accumulated during the last eight years and was manifested after this unthinkable incident. This was a response of the masses to the strict implementation of neo liberal agenda which resulted in unprecedented price hike, unemployment and poverty. The anger that was to be shown in boycotting or participating in the elections has come out early after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

There is a great anti Musharaf consciousness all over. It is been shown in different ways in different part of the country in different degree. The so-called capitalist economical growth under Musharaf has left millions in absolute poverty. There was no Pakistan shining as was propagated by the dictatorship all the times.

The 2007 has been a year of mass awakening. It started with advocate movement after the removal of chief justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan. The chief justice Iftikhar Choudry said a big “No” to resign under pressure by the Generals. He was removed only to be reinstated on 20th July after a massive movement of 80,000 lawyer’s community. They were joined by political activists from almost all political parties but not by the masses. Masses only welcomed the chief justice from the side roads and did not participate in the movement in real terms.

Musharaf got himself elected as president for the second five year term in a “democratic manner” by a parliament elected for one five year term. He was still wearing military uniform when elected as “civilian” president. His theme was “elect me president for the second term and I will take off uniform after taking oath as civilian president”.

The November imposition of martial law on the name of emergency was used to remove the rather independent top judges of Pakistan. It put restrictions on the media and over 10,000 were arrested. Musharaf got himself duly “elected president” and took off uniform after removing the top judges. His hand picked judges gave him all the necessary backing. He was helped in this process by Benazir Bhutto who was forced into in Tariq Ali,s word “forced arranged marriage” by US and British imperialism. In this unholy alliance, every one was cheating everyone with utmost honestly.

The general elections were announced for January 8th and emergency lifted after the large scale repression and removal of independent judiciary. The regime was happy that everything is going according to “plan”. The Pakistan Peoples Party of Benazir Bhutto and Muslim League Nawaz and Quid Azam (PMLQ), the three major parties had agreed to participate in these fraudulent elections. The religious fundamentalist political alliance MMA had split on the question of participation in elections. One major part of MMA had gone to contest elections.

The campaign for and boycott the election had started when the religious fundamentalist stuck and killed Benazir Bhutto on 27th December evening. The “plan” was shattered into pieces. It was big blow to agreed terms and conditions of various participating parties in the elections. It was not a bumper on the road but a total destruction of the road of conciliations and compromises.

The murder of Benazir Bhutto is a double edge sword. While it is big blow to the plans of British and American imperialism, it will also be no celebration for the religious fundamentalist forces. The initial anger has gone against the military regime and its crony politicians. It can go against the both. No party will be able to celebrate the shocking killings.

But Musharaf regime has understood this clearly and now is trying consciously to put the direction of the movement against the religious fundamentalists. Last night on 28th December, in a two hour press conference, a military brigadier, representing the government named Baitullah Mehsud, an Al-Qaeda associate in tribal areas of Pakistan as the one who carried out the attack.

Foolishly he tried his best to prove that Benazir Bhutto is not killed by a bullet but by the lever of sun roof of the bullet proof car while Benazir Bhutto was waving to crowds outside after the bomb blast. What difference it makes, if it is proved that Benazir Bhutto is killed not by the bullet but by another way? Not much.

The military Brigadier explanation did not satisfied the angry journalists who asked him again and again about the connections of secret intelligence agencies of Pakistan with Abdullah Mahsood. The question, that why Mahsood released quietly over 200 Pakistan army men on the day of imposition of emergency, who were kidnapped by his group a week earlier, went unanswered. The military Inter Services Intelligence ISI has long time relationship with the religious fundamentalists groups dating back to Eighties when Imperialists and fundamentalists were close friends.

It is very volatile, unstable, unpredictable, explosive, dangerous, impulsive, fickle and capricious political situation. It never happened before in many years that mass reaction has erupted to this degree.

The general strike was a total success. All roads were empty. No traffic at all. All shops were closed. All industrial and other institutions were completely shut down.

After the initial inhibition to curb the strike, the regime has now issued strict orders to kill anyone on the spot if it is “looting” any thing. It has called the regular army in 16 districts of Sind and paramilitary forces elsewhere in Pakistan.

The regime has so for not postponed the scheduled elections but it is very difficult to hold elections in this situation. Nawaz Muslim League Nawaz and several other political parties have already announced to boycott the fraudulent elections.

Labour Party Pakistan is demanding an immediate resignation of Musharaf dictatorship and forming of an interim government comprising of civil society organizations, trade unions and peasant organizations. This is to hold free and fair general elections under an independent election commission. It is demanding an immediate restoration of top judges and investigations of Benazir and others murder in this and previous bomb blast by these top judges. As part of All Parties Democratic Movement, LPP is supporting a three day general strike and linking it to the overthrow of the military dictatorship. It is asking all parties to reject the general elections fraud on 8th January and not to participate in these elections.


Benazir Bhutto

I haven't posted on this as I am not that up on Pakistan politics . Of course lack of knowledge is not always a deterrent to bloggers.

There are a few thoughtful considered posts around that don't jump to knee jerk responses, so I'll highlight them .Dave has written a post which, worryingly, has 'heartened' Punchie. Oh dear.

I would also suggest a look over at Phil's site. He is one of the zookeepers over at UKLN . His blog is very different in tone though and I'd like to take the opportunity to say to people take a look. Its thoughtful and doesn't just cover the usual subjects. In the present heated point and score settling climate on the left blogosphere, its a welcome intelligent site that I don't think gets the readers it should.

For those wanting to see Denham and JohnG lock horns, pop over to Shiraz where Tami has posted on the Bhutto.

For those, like me, who are not that up on the issues, check out Jim Jays post. He has pulled together a very comprehensive 'fact file' with links to blog posts, news articles, analysis and background. Must have taken ages, thanks Jim.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Year Holidays

I'm off to Donegal for my holidays. It'll be relaxing and fun. Can hardly wait. So see you in the new year and have a good one
Slainte fae Scotland and hope yir first foot is tall and dark

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Chrimbo

The REVOLUTION has started. Down with Santa Claus and up the workers or in this case the elves.

Happy Christmas everyone.

Cat xx

Monday, December 24, 2007

Snouts, Troughs

Gordon Brown has come over all ever-so-'umble, opposing an above-inflation pay rise for MPs. Ah, isn't it great to see him observing the same pay restraint he urges on other public sector workers? So principled he is, protecting us from another scandalous expose of polliticians' hypocrisy.

Bollocks to that. It's not like he's advocating a below-inflation rise, or a pay cut, like he expects lower-paid public servants to endure, is it? And it's not like MPs are exactly going to struggle on their mere £60,675 (plus £90,505 staffing allowance, incidental expenses pay of up to £21,399, and additional cost allowances of up to £23,083), is it? If you see someone begging by the cashpoint over the next few Christmas days, dig deep in your pocket, it could be your local Member of Parliament. Not.

Mind you, the PM pockets three times the pittance of a mere backbencher, trousering £187,000.

According to one report, there is "a cross-party consensus of the Commons that an annual salary of £100,000 would be a fairer reflection of MPs' worth". Yeah, and there is a cross-everybody consensus in my workplace that we all deserve a whacking pay rise - but unlike MPs, we don't get to vote for our own remuneration.

The likelihood is that MPs will vote themselves a 10% pay rise over three years, and Brown, having done precious little to stop them, will hold his hands up and protest that he did not personally support it. But even if they vote against the big rise, they can hardly pretend to be in the same boat as the teaching assistants, nurses, benefits clerks and others whose pay they are insisting on cutting.

And to think, it was the labour movement that originally fought for MPs to receive a salary at all, since the unpaid nature of the position meant that only those rich enough through other means could afford to be elected to Parliament. I hear the hum of grave-turning.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Women know your place !!

There is a debate in the commentsbox in an earlier post, about the role of women on the left.

Tami states :

Women still have trouble being taken seriously - and even when they are there is still a level of "ohh isn't that great! a young woman is involved in politics" which I pick up on easily and which is rather annoying to say the least. There is not a lot of encouragement to develop serious female cadre because of this condescending attitude and therefore you often have young women either not participating or when they do they are not particularly good speakers or particularly well trained - these roles are seen as male roles within the movement.

It's either that or your views get relegated to being "women's issues", environmentalism, LGBT right or other "soft subjects". You're not really expected to jump in there and debate heavy economic questions with the boys or serious political theory.

The left is going to need to address the questions of sexism not just in regards to the more fundamental issues as we have seen in the discussion of sexism on other blogs - but also in the very real unstated division between men's and women's "roles" within left groups.

Cat has joined in, adding a you tube link,and I thought I would add it here. Well I can't be arsed to think of anything to write .

So hat tip to Cat and check this out :

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Stocking Fillers

Shiraz Socialist is suggesting a few seasonal ditties that may not be as stomach-turning as the usual fare. Volty having already posted 'Fairytale of New York', I will add a couple to your stockings ...

The Kinks' 'Father Christmas':

Some geezer doing his own version of The Damned's classic 'There Aint No Sanity Clause':

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Joe Strummer

Five years ago today, Joe died at the much too young age of 50.

Here are a few youtube clips.

This one is the benefit he played for the firefighters a few weeks before his death. He was joined by fellow ex - Clash band member, Mick Jones, for a few songs.

below a few from earlier days.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Enchanted - fah la la lah

Went to see Enchanted tonight and it was brilliant!! Not going to even put a left wing spin on it probably sexist and promotes bourgeois romantic nonsense but it is fantastic. Find a child (probably a little girl) and go to the pictures! And you can decide if you have found "true love's kiss" or not. Are you with your Prince Charming or your priness. Would you like cockroaches, one legged pidgeons and rats to help you do your house work?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sex, love and politics.

Right, hopefully that got your attention!

Over at Shiraz there is a post about the 'fuck circuit'. I have got into a debate with Punchie about the issue of politics and partners.

Punchie states:
Having a general rule of no howsyourfather with Brit lefts on the grounds of taste (and that rule would also apply, only doubly so, if I was a gay man or a straight woman) an indulgence with an RCPer at the same time (although arguably they were not members of the British Left) was undertaken with higher motives in mind.

My response :

Whilst agreeing that some on the left could do with a bit of a makeover I do find the idea that its a ‘rule’ that you don't have sex with or relationships with lefties. As someone of such principled revolutionary beliefs don’t you find it odd to be with someone who is either ‘unpolitical’ (though I think everyone has politics even if they say they don’t) or right wing ?

Wouldn’t you have to shoot them come the Punchie revolution?

So what politics have your girlfriends/partners/shags had then ?
Its not such an issue for a one off but any sort of relationship surely must be difficult if you don't have some politics in common?

Punchie responds ( this is not word for word, so check out the original):

Damn, I knew I shouldn't’t have started this. I’m not sure whether I should go off the subject but as I’m asked, I’ll answer.

People are generally apolitical (although I agree that no-one is really) - “I’m not interested in politics, are you some sort of nutter?” might be a common response.

Also many don’t fit into conventional categories e.g. an Indian who may be big on anti-imperialism (who do the whites think they are to run the world and tell Iran what to do?) mixed with reactionary ‘domestic’ politics (Calcutta’s a cesspit because of these communist chumchas).

But it did include one Frenchwoman who seemed pretty apolitical - or so I thought until she showed me some pictures of her at university including being pictured next to no less than Chirac whilst waving an enormous Tricoloeur - apparently she was the student leader of whatever his party was at her college and another Frenchwoman who appeared a greeny type, if anything, but then I found her current membership card for the British Conservative Party in her house, even though she had only ever lived in France and had been to Britain only a few times (there was strange, and almost understandable reason for this.)

And then there was a Sicilian woman, a long time ago, whose English was diabolical. We got to talk about Mussolini (by sign language, I think) just before she left and she appeared to say she had a great liking for him - but then she may have been saying she had a great dislike of him.

But generally I think the moral is clear - the righter the better. Carla Bruni or Arlette Laguiller? There are more things to talk about than politics.

I am curious as to what others think about this. I do not expect a partner to have identical views to me, that would be dull and I like a challenge. I would want them to be leftish, anti sexist and racist and not homophobic. They would need to be fairly libertarian as well on social issues. Within all that there is quite a lot of scope.

That does not mean politics is the only thing I talk about, but its important.
I would find it impossible to have a partner who held fundamentally opposing political views and stood for everything I fight against.
I could ignore many things, but its impossible to avoid politics as an issue with a partner. I want someone who cheers when there is a victory and gets animated about the issues I believe in.Someone who rants like I do !

This is not such an issue if its just a one off fuck. There is no need to share any interests other than sex. But , saying that, I couldn't fuck someone I knew to be a racist or who was being openly homophobic or sexist . That's not to say sex should be PC, I think it is an area where there are many contradictions and I'm not sure I would want it any other way. I just think if they were expressing those views I would probably have argued with them, been extremely rude and told them to fuck off.

Thoughts ?

Update : re reading this I just want to say that I'm not prescribing what people should do. I suppose with the original comments on Shiraz I was partly trying to wind up Punchie because he is critical of wussy lefties and so I was curious as to why he has a sort of no leftie 'rule' re relationships. So perhaps I have come across as judgemental when that wasn't my intention.

Thinking a bit more about this I am curious to hear from people who have made a relationship work where there are major political differences. I somehow doubt a racist and an anti racist could work, but I have heard of lefties and Tories. I suspect its often that one person is uninterested in politics (though again I don't think anyone is nonpolitical if you really push them on their views)rather than outright opposite. Is there a difference re men and women on this issue?


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Oi You. Sign To Support This Statement.

E-mail to add your name.

Free the detained Iranian student activists!

As education workers and student activists, we condemn the detention of over forty student activists by the Iranian regime since 7 December (16 Azar in the Iranian calendar). This date has been a day of student protest in Iran for many years; it is now a symbol of Iranian students' struggle against the theocratic-capitalist regime of the Islamic Republic just as it was against the dictatorship of the Shah. Activists were arrested in the run up to the day of action, and following the demonstrations and actions which took place in a number of cities. Many are now reportedly being held in Tehran's notorious Evin prison and have been subjected to torture.

This is just the latest act of repression meted out by the Islamic Republic; it follows an intense crackdown on the Iranian workers' movement and the brutal victimisation of leading trade unionists such as Tehran busworkers' leader Mansour Ossanlou and Saqez bakers' union activist Mahmoud Salehi. The Iranian regime is acutely aware of the growing alliance between Iran's workers' and student movements; meanwhile it is using the threat of a US attack to legitimise itself and step up its repression of dissent.

We call on the Iranian government to immediately release all detained student, women's and labour movement activists, and call on all working-class, student, left and anti-war activists and organisations in the UK for solidarity with Iranian workers, students and women against the dual threats of US militarism and theocratic-capitalist oppression.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

In Defence Of Argument

At the outset, I must point out that this is a post about the politics of argument, and is not aimed at any individual whatsoever. There has been a lot of stuff on this blog of late - and in and around the left in general for years - about whether we should argue amongst ourselves. These are my thoughts on the issue, and, I repeat, not directed at any particular comment or commenter.

The second thing I'd say at the outset is that I actually hate arguments. If I know there is one coming up at a meeting, I will usually lose sleep for a couple of nights before and get unbearably tense on the way there. I argue not for fun, but because it is, sadly, necessary. I also freely admit that, in common with many people, I am better at dishing it out than taking it.

Yes, arguments within the left and the labour movement can be very frustrating and can get nasty. But suppression of argument is a much more ugly tradition. I have sat through numerous trade union events and watched endless uncontroversial resolutions pass unanimously. This does not make me think "Wow, isn't it fantastic that we all agree with each other and can go out and fight the bosses in unity!" No, it's more like "Bloody hell, I know we have loads of disagreements, but instead of being addressed, they are being drowned in a sea of inanity." The lack of argument within the Socialist Workers' Party is not a sign of its political health but one of its greatest weaknesses. And need I even start on the Stalinist method of suppression of debate?

How can we possibly develop the best policies for our movement without considering different points of view and arguing them out? I've held to various views during my lifetime that have failed to stand up to argument with others, leading me to revise my thinking. And I'm very glad of it - if I had avoided the argument, I'd still hold to naff views.

But doesn't arguing amongst ourselves stop us fighting the real enemy (that's the Tories and the ruling class, not the SWP!)? Taken to excess, yes. But generally, no. In fact, the opposite. We can be more effective in fighting the real enemy if we argue our politics and thoroughly discuss our tactics. I have seen more campaigns and trade union struggles fail because of lack of argument than because of too much argument.

The important issue to me is not whether we argue - that's unavoidable - but how we do it. As the appalling level of so-called 'debate' on the 'Socialist Unity' blog referred to elsewhere has shown, the left seriously needs to raise the standards of how we argue. I can't help feeling that often - though not always - crap standards of debate are rooted in crap politics. For instance, the stuff against Stroppy and Tami on the SU blog comes from the fact that their critics were struggling to defend the indefensible ie. their softness on George Galloway's dodgy politics on women's rights.

Here are a few tips I try to follow, albeit not always successfully:
  • Read and/or listen to your adversary's argument in good faith. They might be right, at least partially. And even if they are totally wrong, you will get useful practice arguing against them and will convince anyone else who is eavesdropping more effectively if you engage with what they argue.
  • Back up your argument with facts and examples, but don't turn an argument into a competition about who knows the most facts about the issue.
  • Don't take it personally. If someone criticises your politics or your view on a particular issue, they are having a go at your argument, not at you. Mind you, if they do have a go at you personally, by all means take it personally and give as good as you get.
  • Sarcasm usually doesn't work in print. There will always be someone who thinks you mean it.
  • And this should go without saying but sadly doesn't - we argue with our mouths, pens and keyboards, not with our fists.

So, "Can't we just stop arguing amongst ourselves?" No, we can't. But we can do it in a more political, comradely and constructive way.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Reasons to be cheerful...

Enough gripes.

Reasons to be cheerful in the comments box please.
They can be political or totally unrelated.

Lets all have a group hug (sarcasm, I haven't totally lost the plot).


Life is too short .

I don't have much time to blog today, but just wanted to do this quick post.

My political activity has been varied over the years, times of doing lots and others not so much. I have started to get more active in the last year or so . To be honest though I'm not really sure I can be arsed to do much anymore.

The left at the moment is pretty unpleasant. Its full of hate directed at each other.
Its full of personalised attacks and I realise that with yesterday's post I was getting caught up in all that. I don't want to get embroiled up in that sort of debate.That is not why I became involved in politics .

I don't want to point score.

I am genuinely sad that there is not a broad left party outside of Labour that I feel I can join. I know what i say will dismissed, but I really wish the RR lot would think about how they are alienating people, stop being defensive, and just listen.

For now I'm not sure I want to be very involved . I'll blog. yep that's not worth much. I'll go to the odd demo and conference. I won't though do much else. Life is too short to spend it being attacked by people who should be a comrade.

Looking around at the way the left treats each other I wonder what sort of world we would create if we ever had the chance .

Im sure I can be dismissed , but I don't think I am the only disilluioned person .


Sunday, December 16, 2007

The left is fucked !!

Yeah I know, I've said this before .

Today though I spent some time looking on Socialist Unity (never was a name quite so inappropriate).
Now some may say this is sour grapes as Andy has proudly announced a number of times how many people visit his blog and he gets many more than my 250-350 average unique visitors. This has increased since the Respect split. If that makes him happy then all well and good but at what price,I mean the Sun newspaper gets more readers than the broadsheets .

Anyway I read the comments with an increasing feeling of depression and anger at the way people were arguing. There was so much hate, anger and energy directed at scoring points and being abusive and threatening.

Andy has said that this blog is one of the very worst for intimidation and that I have double standards. Well that phrase came back to me as I saw mainly male commentators being abusive and threatening .

So whats happened about this new accountable, open , welcoming Respect Renewal then?

There is a post on sexism which has degenerated into abuse and threats. One commentator allegedly is known to have hit a woman and he seems to be welcome there and also quite active in RR. So far no one has denied that.

I have in the past been called a 'CIA whore' by someone who comments there and is in RR.

Another RR member is making threats to people in the comments.

Andy, if you are serious that RR is different then you need to look critically at the behaviour of some of your members and the level of 'debate' conducted by them.

So come on Andy, do you also have double standards ?
Oh and don't divert attention back to what the SWP did or didn't do. RR is a broad left party, it has councillors and MPs. For many lefties who are disillusioned in the LP it should be a tempting alternative, the SWP isn't. RR is saying they are different, come on then show us.

Look at the level of 'debate' . Oh and now we have the reopening of the Sheridan/SSP/ Solidarity fights now that there has been an arrest.So now there are two nasty bitter fights going on.

I look at much of the left and seriously would not want many of them to exercise any real power.

The left rips itself apart and fights in ever decreasing circles.

Stand back and look at how the left is behaving. Imagine you are new to the left, wtf does it look like.

Does it really care that it is getting smaller and more inward looking , disappearing up its own collective backside ?

I expect I will be dismissed as having double standards, or be told but what about the LP , or stop picking on RR or some diversionary tactic. I doubt my view counts and they probably don't care that they are alienating potential supporters. Its easier to attack than listen and reflect.

Meanwhile in the real world its pretty shit for many people.

But hey, lets get back to the important stuff, fighting each other while New labour and the neo cons laugh at us.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

'Geordie porn' and 'CIA Whores'...

Just been looking at the stats and searches for this blog and happened upon someone searching for 'Geordie porn'.

Worryingly this blog came up first in their search.From a quick look at the others, none seemed to elicit what this person was searching for.

Now I am used to people looking for Hazel Blears sexy (!), and Portuguese porn ,because of an earlier post .

I still get people looking for mud wrestling and thongs who must be very disappointed to happen upon my post on Jim !

Anyone care to enlighten me as to what Geordie porn is ?

I feel my 'education' is incomplete .

I know there are some odd types that inhabit this blog, someone must know.
Will, any thoughts?

Update 1 After a comment made over at Shiraz, I see someone is now googling 'stroppybird CIA whore.'

Update 2 Since doing this post I am getting quite a few people finding this site from googling 'Geordie porn'.It isn't just a one off . WTF is it ??

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Jodie Foster : out of the closet at last !!

So Jodie has finally come out !:

The Oscar-winning actress thanked "my beautiful Cydney" after winning an award at the Women in Entertainment Power 100 breakfast in Los Angeles.

She went on to praise Cydney Bernard, saying the film producer "sticks with me through all the rotten and the bliss".

Hardly a shock as rumours have been around for many years. Jodie (pic above with her partner and their family) is famously very guarded about her private life. She is not one of those celebs who are all over the tabloids and glossy gossip mags. She seems to do whats needed to publicise her films and that's all.

So does it matter that she never confirmed or denied that she is a lesbian? Should famous people be out and do role models matter?

Well if someone is playing the family card and pretending to be straight yes it does matter. If its a politican or religious leader who spouts one thing and does the opposite it does matter. They deserve to be outed as hypocrites.

What if someone does not pretend and just remains private like Jodie? Is it any of our business? Haven't times moved on since the days when actors like Rock Hudson had no choice but to go into fake marriages and play the heterosexual pin up on and off screen ?
I suspect for many up and coming actors it might still not be too good a career move at the beginning . Much of course depends on the target market. Boy bands often have members who play straight for fear of upsetting their teen girl fan base.

I don't think any famous person has to act as a spokesperson for lesbian and gay people . Some may want to be more vocal and political, that's up to them. I think though it should just be like it is for a straight person, so on the red carpet they would just be with their same sex partner . They would just thank them, as Jodie did, at awards ceremony. Perhaps Jodie would have been as private if she had a male partner, who knows. Her reticence may be due to her experience of being stalked while a student.

I do though think it helps if people in the public eye are open about being lesbian or gay. Of course it really is no one's business but unfortunately we are still in a world where homophobia exists. A world where kids are teased or bullied if they are thought gay as being gay, where in many areas a lesbian or gay person will feel very isolated. In many parts of the world its still illegal, being lesbian or gay can lead to physical violence.We need to remember that the issue of sexuality is still one that is fought over and whether we like it or not is not private . It is political and for many people being able to be with the person you love, or perhaps just want to have sex with for that one time, is not a real choice and can result in violence and imprisonment and being rejected.Even where I live, which is seen as a LGBT friendly place with all its pink pound businesses and entertainment, there are still homophobis attacks . So yes, to many young people growing up it does help to see famous people who are lesbian or gay . Not necessarily in some in your face or political way, but just being , just there with their partner and families.

Lots of pics Jodie to make up for the cockroach that has now been deleted! .As I said in the comments box of a post , I wouldn't kick her out of bed ;-)

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Shit telly

I've been no well and off sick from work - so been lying sleeping on the couch all day - I now want to watch a bit telly before going to sleep again and this is what is on.

1. A film about killer giant cockroaces! 2. snooker 3. poker 4.find the word phone in thing 5. urban legends.

I don't like scary things so cant watch BBC1 or Channel 5. Hate sport and gambling.

Council telly is shit. Just going to go to sleep. Nanite x


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Hands off the People of Iran conference

Tami has done a very thorough post on the conference yesterday over at Shiraz, I won't repeat it all here , have a look over there. I will though just add my thoughts on the day.

I went along because I thought it was wrong that HOPI were not allowed to affiliate to the StWC coalition. The reports of the StWC coalition made for depressing reading. Hopi accused of being a CPGB front, yet CPGB allowed to affiliate . Hopi being called disruptive . Platform speakers acting as apologists for a repressive regime.

What the fuck is wrong with the left !! It is perfectly possible to oppose an attack on Iran whilst acknowledging the repressive regime and supporting the struggle of women, trade unionists,students, socialists and LGBT people to overthrow it.Its possible to do both, really its not that hard !
To me its seems both unprincipled and tactically wrong not to.

The media will report on the repression in Iran and it will be used by Bush to justify an attack. The left trying to argue that its not really undemocratic or really that bad does not help tactically. It discredits us to be seen to support the Iranian regime . Surely as the left we should clearly state that we oppose reactionary religious regimes that deny basic human rights to their people and actively enforces a religious code through brutality .

We should state that we do not support a war or sanctions on Iran as its the people who will suffer and it is not for their benefit and that we support those who are struggling , the women, secularists, LGBT people, socialists, students and trade unionists.
In terms of principles what message do we on the left send to those people at the sharp end of a repressive religious regime if we minimise whats happening? We have failed them.

So that's why I went to the conference . What I saw was open debate, a mix of views and groups represented and a number of Iranians , mainly women, who felt betrayed and angry at the left siding with reactionary religious groupings and dismissing their struggle. A steering group was formed that included people from the Green party, CPGB, PR , Workers Communist Party of Iran and the Workers Communist Party of Iraq and probably other views as well. Everyone had a chance to speak . It was democratic . Changes were made to the founding statement and the constitution . Debate was comradely .

As Tami has pointed out we had a few grumbles about the issue of women and LGBT people. LGBT were not included in either the founding statement nor the constitution. I proposed the amendments to the founding statement and Tami to the constitution . These were passed.
When Tami proposed the aim of having 50% women on the steering committee another man felt it was not needed on the left. We both felt a 'Kylie's arse' situation occurring and did make some comments about yes the left still has issues about involving women. Another felt that the problems of the Labour Party were down to having quotas for women (which was not what Tami proposed, she said an aim). And I though it was the New labour agenda, silly me its those damn women.It wasn't passed. In the end there were I think at least half women on it, including Tami!

There was motions on workers and students but none on women or LGBT people. Azar Majedi put together one on women and asked for the steering group to fine tune it as it was done quickly in thwe lunch break. I spoke to Tami afterwards about an LGBT one and she will raise on it the steering group .

Oh and of course there was the catching up with people and putting some faces to bloggers . I met the infamous Andrew Coates who comments on UKLN ,Dave's site and lurks here I found out. We had a chat about the left over lunch and I introduced him to one of his sparring partners who he had never met, one Tony Greenstein.They looked at each other quite warily but then seemed to get on quite well :-)Both quite pleasant in real life I might add!

And quite unlike me I stayed for one drink afterwards and headed off home .


Save Our Ticket Offices

As my sister bloggers appear to be on some kind of blogging strike, I'll fill the gap with a plug for an online petition I set up some months back.

London Underground plans to close 39 ticket offices and cut the opening hours of virtually all the rest. Disaster for passengers. Disaster for workers. Disaster for those who need help because of faults with the ticketing system, unfamiliarity with said ticketing system, language barriers, disabilities or other factors. Disaster for those without the resources to buy Oyster gold cards on their personal internet connection. This petition on the 10 Downing Street website protests against the cuts and closures.

The number of signatures on the petition is moving towards 1,000, but at a painfully slow pace. I'd love to hit the thousand in time for Christmas, so I can spread some festive cheer among workers who will still be selling their labour power to the boss while much of the rest of the country takes a well-earned seasonal break. Please sign it, and if you feel extra keen, email your whole address book asking them to sign it too. And plug it on your blog if you've got one.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A Victory For Free Speech And Secularism

Today's excellent news is that a Christian group has failed in its efforts to prosecute Jerry Springer: The Opera for blasphemy.

I haven't actually seen it - in fact, it's gathering dust on my DVD shelf while I fully intend to watch it at some point, several friends having told me it is really very funny. But whether it's funny or not, worth watching or not, whether I've even seen it or not, is SO not the point. So it mocks Christianity? So it has the right to, and just because you don't like it does not give you the right to attempt to ban it.

Incidentally, some of the more crusading Christians do a lot more than 'mock' those who do not share their superstitions, they positively damn us to hell. Yet, my tolerant, broad-minded and pluralist self has never once popped down to the High Court to demand that some geezer in a wig ban them from issuing their fire and brimstone.

And the fact that the Daily Telegraph fears that this ruling 'weakens blasphemy law' simply warms my heart. As I was saying just the other day, in relation to Islam rather than Christianity - no bias in this blogger's desire to have all religions lose their legal privileges - there should be no such thing as 'blasphemy law'. It's archaic, irrational and censorious.

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Monday, December 03, 2007


Big business hit the headlines last week with a CBI report on the threat of climate change. Another example of 'Greenwash'? An attempt by big business to appear concerned about the environment whilst simultaneously damaging it with their profit-driven activities? Certainly.

There's another agenda too. The CBI claims that "New taxes and regulations are needed to reward climate-friendly firms". In other words, they want us to pay them to slow down their killing of our planet. The bloody cheek of it.

CBI director Richard Lambert said that, "Carbon needs to be part of the DNA for businesses just like health and safety has become over the years." Given the statistics on workplace deaths, and the day-to-day experiences of workers endangered by their bosses, this suggests that the environment should be very very worried.

But it might yet be a useful comparison. If employers want to give environmental protection an equivalent status to health and safety, then they should recognise elected trade union environment reps - in fact, the government should make them do so, and give the reps strong legal rights. And just as workers have the right to refuse to work on the grounds of health and safety concerns, we should have the legal right to refuse to do work that we think is damaging the environment.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Spying On Orwell

A snippet that may be of some interest ... Documents have just been made available by the National Archive about the security services' interest in George Orwell. Imperfect he may have been, but Orwell is still one of my favourites.