Friday, 17 November 2017

Beyond Brexit

Hush, listen, whisper who dares, an internet parody's setting the snares. Some of you followers on Twitter may have wondered where I’ve been or the last week. Well, here’s the story. [Link] In the meantime I have been amusing myself as Len McCluskey, a parody account I created back in 2013 and occasionally use to view conversations involving people who have blocked me. Sometimes I can’t help myself and feel driven to respond, but this last week Len has been reaping a rich harvest, as so many seem to need to believe that a prominent figure really is talking personally to them.

It’s frankly worrying how many people are ready to engage with somebody they either strongly disagree with or desperately want to be accepted by. Len has been busily confounding lots of them who, even when repeatedly told ‘*never trust a parody’ persist in trying to push their point. One punter even seemed convinced that when ‘Len’ tweeted “*Nunquam enim confidunt parodiam” he was suggesting that the punter himself was a parody and carried on for several tweets without grasping the reality. Anyway, I’ll let Len take up the story:

‘Ey, watch out lar, hiya comrades; it’s Big Len McCluskey ‘ere, leader of Untie, the union and future master of the not-so-free wairld. It’s been an 'oot, this week, stepping in for Battsby, but I ‘aven’t been wasting time. No, I’ve been using the platform to clarify our position on Brexit among other things. See people think the Labour Party does what I tell them, but this isn’t always true. Not always. And Brexit is one of those grey areas which needs a bit of attention; so are you paying attention?

Right. See, the official position of the Labour Party is and always has been for Remain. When I say ‘is and always has been’ I mean this, of course, in the socialist sense of ‘whatever fits the narrative today’. Traditionally, Labour has held the moral high ground but Blair and Mandelson and that ‘New Labour’ stinkpile queered the pitch with all their ‘relaxed about people getting filthy rich’ malarkey. Now, this won’t do; Labour and the trades union movement must undo all this ridiculous aspiration and tell the people, once more, what they need to believe in. And, of course, this is Brexit; it always has been.

But we’re not there yet. The bloody referendum made the proletariat believe that their voice mattered, that their vote mattered! Since when has anybody given a fig for votes? Here in Untie we don’t even let people vote, for heaven’s sake; ridiculous idea! Let people vote and before you know it they’ll expect you to respect what they voted for. And where does that end? No this needs to be nipped in the bud. And I have been playing my part; oh yes.

With the unambiguous Twitter bio: “Untie General Secretary, leading trade unionist in Britain and Ireland. Fighting for austerity and cuts in our communities. Doesn't know the meaning of parody.” I have been reaching out to the community. Somehow I seem to have enraged a number on both sides who seem unclear what I stand for. Well, I try to make it obvious that what I stand for is the opposite of what they do, thus pleasing everybody engaging with me, if not necessarily within that particular conversation at that particular time. It all evens out in the end, if you look carefully enough.

But it isn’t exactly rocket science; if you are upset by ‘me’ saying Unite are for Brexit, then hop onto a conversation where I hint that Unite is for Remain. It astounds me that folk can’t grasp that this is how politics works now. Nobody knows, with the exception of the Limp Dems and the Greens [spits] where any party really stands on Brexit and this is because they don’t know either. On balance, if pushed, I came down on the side of Brexit for the following reason, which far too many people accepted without criticism. Are you ready?

Happy Socialist Workers, doing a traditional dance.

So, this is now the official Untie position. We want to increase the power of the workers. We believe in fair and equitable socialism. We believe in the people of Great Britain; one nation, one leader, one people – power to the people. We intend to hold mass rallies throughout the country to build this movement. Who will join me in establishing a new Socialist Workers Party? One that will work on a truly national level? And if anybody can come up with a snappier title than National Socialist British Worker’s Party that would be really helpful, thank you. 

Coda: I have now acquired a little camp follower of my own. He was fooled by the Len parody and he just can't let it go. I'm sure Twitter has rules about harassment and pestering, but it's fine. He has made it his mission to inform everybody who responds to me that I am not me, as it were. The poor wee laddie will eventually tire and weep himself to sleep. If you see hi, tell him I said Hi! 

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Bleak House

The interminable wrangling over Brexit continues as Theresa May’s beleaguered government weathers gaffes and embarrassments and tries to push its EU Withdrawal Bill through the depressingly confrontational House of Commons. Knocking on for eighteen months after the referendum, the result of which, the electorate were promised, would be executed by HMG, no progress has really been made. Half of ruling party don’t want Brexit to happen at all and the opposition will do anything to frustrate it, even if they actually want to leave the EU themselves. Never has the phrase ‘playing politics’ seemed so apt. Nor, ‘cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face’.

But all the talk of deals and divorce bills, of compromise, offer and counter offer is nothing more than a soap opera. And like the characters of a soap opera they are doomed to repeat the mistakes cast in stone by their creators; captive to their character and in thrall to the script. For make no mistake there is a narrative here and it is relentless in driving the storyline around and around in relentless circles of despair and helplessness; yet there is a purpose behind it all – the survival of the EU.

There is no deal to be had, this much must be apparent to any impartial observer, but look at the jobs created in not achieving an agreement. Armies of lawyers, lobbyists, experts and advisors, all working to one end – stalemate. A state of inertia suits everybody except the majority and if we have learned anything these past few years, the will of the majority is irrelevant in the mutant form of democracy we practise today. Referendums have been held in a handful of EU member states and their outcomes overturned or simply ignored.

This is now the way of the west and it reminds me of nothing so much as the miserable and cynical case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce, so eloquently derided by Charles Dickens in his excoriation of the Court of Chancery. And like other bullshit industries built on the inflated constructs of grievance, self-esteem, gender identity, race, religious sensitivities, etc... we are drowning in the salty crocodile tears of self-pity and indulgence and up this particularly shitty creek nobody has paddles; we are just bobbing around on a maelstrom of misery, imagining we are helpless to do otherwise.

The EU negotiations summed up...

The EU gives us nothing that we couldn’t have as an independent nation, but it can never admit this. It is a self-justifying money pit, creating ever more inventive ways of wasting talent and resources which could be better put to productive use in the national inerest. Our leaders need to wake up, sniff the caffeine, breath the fresh air of freedom and crack on with getting us off the merry-go-round. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – the mission to bring down Animal Farm begins with Brexit.

Monday, 13 November 2017

The Ballad of Reading Twitter from Gaol

It’s a cold and lonely place, Twitter jail. Here in Worldwide Scrubs, the prisoner of conscience scrawls five bar gates on the walls with his own blood, counting the days, the weeks, to his release. Okay, it’s just the one week but for what? I responded to a race-baiter by calling him a soppy cunt... and then I did it again. But hey, he is a soppy cunt; you know, one of those Lee Jasper types, who believes that blacks can’t be racist and whites can’t help it.

Not a famous person, I should clarify - I know that dropping the C-bomb on the blue-tick brigade is an instant slap on the wrist – no, this was just an ordinary Joe. But Twitter determined that I broke their rules on ‘hateful conduct’. By which rule “You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.

Well, I did none of those things and neither was it purely gratuitous; the man was being a cunt about it and I told him so. If Twitter has an objection to the use of a particular word why don’t they just prevent you from using it at all? It may not be everybody’s go-to profanity but have you heard what is considered acceptable in wider public discourse today? Especially among the young... who are, we are constantly told, the future. Chaucer would be rubbish at Twitter.

But of course, banning words is the start of a slippery slope, so Twitter doesn’t do that; it bans people instead. Like the precious university children no-platforming speakers with whom they think they might disagree, social media has a poor record on freedom of expression. It’s fine to bray “Tory scum” and wish death on whoever is beyond the pale today, but call out the hypocrisy of their selective Voltairisms and banished you must be. First they came for the truth-sayers, etc.

Here rots Battsby, wan and pale,
All alone in Twitter Jail.

So, here I am, victim of my own proclivity for wading in when I see blatant cuntery on my timeline. Is this spell on the naughty step going to change my ways? Not a lot; maybe I will avoid ‘picturising’ quite so many idiots, maybe I will lay off the ‘C’ word. (See, I’m already doing it.) But more likely, as many before have done, I will scale back my prolific tweeting a tad, disillusioned by the restrictions placed on my opinions and stick to posting pictures of kittens. Watch this space... 

(In the meantime, my parody account, @Untie4len is active and flogging this blog!)

Friday, 10 November 2017


Real Socialism, you know the one that’s never been tried, has been on my case of late, in the form of a solitary soldier for the cause. This sturdy representative of the Socialist Party of Great Britain was not to be deterred by mere facts, observations of human nature or simple argument. Even their total national vote count in the low hundreds wasn’t a cause for despondence against the shiny-faced optimism of this paragon of the merry, but tiny, band of post-Marx idealists.

Founded in 1904, their single aim is to bring about world socialism, believing that while any form of money exists, those who possess it will always reject the common way and seek to better their own lives. The SPGB mission statement is bold and simple: “The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.” And when I say simple, oh my, relying as it does - and can only do – on the total buy-in of every person on the planet; it’s all or nothing, folks.

Oh, communism, you say, to which the ‘Socies’ will reply, huffily, that they are not communists, no matter how much they stress common ownership, common good and the root word community (from the Latin communis – except Latin is bound to be elitist and thus haram.). But whither the ‘real socialism has never been tried’ malarkey? Try citing the failure of the many so-called socialist regimes and they will denounce them all as ‘state capitalism’, perhaps recognising that without capitalism you have little incentive for progress, yet still rejecting the profit mechanism out of hand..

But while sharing and charity and general philanthropy are very much a part of the human character, being forced to give away what you have hard-earned to those who have done nothing to deserve it is anathema to practically every species on the planet. We compete, we improve, we evolve; under ‘real socialism’ we would presumably revert to an imagined former state, possibly as far back as the Garden of Eden, which makes a belief in the ability to live as true equals without measuring relative merit more like a religious cult than a serious political movement.

In this they have much in common with Corbynism. (Will Corbynism one day join the Moonies and the Branch Davidians as examples of the lunacy of closed communities?) Of course, under True Socialism, our worth will be assessed and our contribution determined, measured and shared out via the mechanism of centralised control of resources and ‘self-defined’ needs. That is, if you decide you need it, you must need it, because nobody would ever cheat, would they?

Even such ideologues as this must recognise the need for organisation and as such would have to convene committees and tribunals, cooperatives and all that entails; selected, elected members of the community who would serve only in the interest of that community and be responsible for ensuring the egalitarian administration of resources. So, ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs’ as somebody once wrote. I can’t imagine how that could possibly go wrong.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Feeding Frenzy

President Trump stood alongside Japanese premier Shinzo Abe and ceremonially scattered fish food into a pool of koi carp. He paid attention to his host and copied his actions; when in Rome and all that. For reasons which can only be ascribed to a partisan – or pathological – need to portray Trump in a bad light much of the world press sought to discredit him as having instead just dumped the food dismissively into the pond.

In what sterile, stagnant world of utter tedium could this even begin to masquerade as being of interest to anybody at all? The Fake News phenomena has been easy to write off as a ‘not happening’, understandable partial reporting by people lacking the full picture, or just a bit of fun by would-be satirists, but it’s not just that, is it? This particular piece came about via the release of a video doctored to show what the editor wanted to show and it was lapped up by, among others, the Guardian and the [not] Independent and spread around the world by social media determined to sow mischief.

The Paradise Papers is another non-story designed to fuel outrage and whip up dissent among the perpetually mediocre – the same old envy-driven attack by the usual suspects to whip up sentiment for the nefarious purposes of left wing politics. But it is well documented and plain to see that if you try to squeeze those with the means to put themselves out of your grasp they will do just that. In fact the very tax avoidance employed by those who can – who already pay far more tax than those demanding they pay even more – is exactly as a result of those demands.

But the appalling logic of the socialist narrative actually works. Live off benefits but also work cash in hand and illegally evade tax and you are some sort of folk hero, a Robin Hood doing your bit to snub your nose at the establishment. But seek to minimise your tax bill in accordance with the law and you are some form of capitalist monster. If you are poor Labour vote-cattle you can’t afford the luxury of grasping what hypocrisy is and the truth must play second fiddle to the vicarious pleasure of a vague whiff of scandal

And talking of scandal, over in the Westminster trenches of the sex-war front the feeding frenzy continues as more and more seedy behaviour is forced over the top and into battle. How many political lives must be sacrificed in the no-man’s land of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ while back at headquarters, far behind enemy lines, those orchestrating the outrage quietly bury the real crimes?

The press, yesterday...

If ever there was a time for strong leadership this is surely it. How the Tory party must crave some discipline right now and a Prime Minister they can get behind. Well, they have one, or at least they could pretend they do. Given that nobody of worth is going to come forward until the Brexit business is settled, the best direction for the government is to get behind the general that everybody knows will be sacrificed in the end and go for one last big push. Don't be koi - there's no point in carping on about it. :o)