Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Sometimes you have to say 'Sorry.'

I didn't know who was going to win the Labour leadership election. I guess I assumed that it was going to be David Miliband, and the thought didn't particularly trouble me. But when his brother, Ed, won, I was a bit shocked and surprised, but not entirely displeased. I wasn't not overjoyed, nor was I particularly not underwhelmed.

I know. You're sick of coming here and reading such polemics.

And yesterday I fired off an angry post insisting that Nick Robinson and Jeremy Paxman and everyone just shut up trying to analyse every gesture, every expression of the brothers like a bunch of amateur psychoanalytic literary critics. It would have been nice, instead, had they focussed on the substantial issues of policy.

(I speak, too, I guess, as a professional psychoanalytic literary critic...)

Some people have suggested that there weren't any substantial differences in policy between the brothers, which is why everyone focussed on the 'psycho-drama'. But I don't think that's true: I think Nick Robinson and his ilk would have focussed on any of the gossip or tittle-tattle rather than the big issues anyway, because that's what the (post-)modern media likes to do, it's all they can do.

So now that David has (finally) announced that he won't run for the shadow cabinet (which seems like a perfectly sensible thing to do, and a perfectly sensible time to announce it, given that the media would have focussed on nothing else no matter when he decided to do it), and now everyone is saying 'Well, he couldn't be in the cabinet, could he? because the differences between the brothers are so great.' Except they're not, are they? I mean, were hardly talking Benn versus Healy here, are we? Of course not. This is a united Labour party. The differences on display, even those differences buried, aren't anywhere near as great as those between the Conservatives and their Liberal slaves, or even within the Conservatives (e.g. Europhiles versus Eurosceptics) or within the Liberals right now (between left, e.g. Hughes, and the right-wingers in Cabinet.)

BUT, there is one important difference, and it seems to be this difference that has seen David leave today. IF, on the Iraq war, David Miliband is unable to apologise, if he is unable to admit that the last Labour government made a terrible, terrible mistake into going into war -- whether because of ideological blindness or a more simply failure of intelligence -- then David needs to go. Because that was the issue on which the Labour government lost the support of the country, of the left and of their own supporters. And he should not be allowed back until he is willing to share responsibility for that horrid error. And no one who sat with their hands in their laps yesterday when Ed acknowledged the mistake should be allowed in the shadow cabinet either.

Ok. Now that's done. I'm going to go crawl into a hole and hide while the Tory conference is on, because I can't stand the thought of those smug, self-congratulatory bastards celebrating. (Unless Mr. Fox has any more private letters to his leader he wants to leak to the media? Keep it up, Mr. Fox -- you might have your uses yet.)

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Jeremy Paxman is being a dick.

And a bully. And it's got me so mad that I need to rant for a bit. I managed to keep quiet through the entire visit of the pope to the UK ('aggressive secularism'? PLUH-EESE. When atheists start locking men of faith, Torquemada-style, in iron maidens, or start knocking on doors like Jehovah's Witnesses, demanding, 'Do you know you are full of shit?' then call me and I'll denounce 'aggressive secularism'), and I've happily kept my head down and focussed on the work in hand (and on my lap and in my inbox), but now, enough.

It's all about this Labour leadership thing. I don't know who should have won, I hope Ed Miliband does well, really well, really really I do. But I am sick to frickin' death of the amateur psychoanalysts who want to scrutinise every gesture, every muscular strain of any of these politicians.

Worst of the lot of course is Nick Robinson, of course, who can apparently channel the spirit of Freud in his detailed analyses. 'This "psychodrama", as I called it...' he said the other day about the brothers running for the Labour leadership, wishing to enforce his 'intellectual' copyright, has distracted Labour and the public from the issues at stake in the leadership contest. Well no shit, Nick! Because reporters, including the BBC's own political editor, consistently eschew the issues to focus exclusively on this speculative bullshit. Of course there are going to be problems, and clearly there are issues that their entire family needs to address, but shouldn't someone tell Nick that he doesn't have a clue what these might be, that nothing in his history as a young Tory or a pathetically vacuous political reported affords him any insight into this 'psychodrama' of which he purports to be an expert.

In your quest to present yourself as a psychoanalyst, Nick, I'd say don't give up the day job, though clearly you are shit at that too, so you might as well. Please.

And now Paxman is having a go at Tessa Jowell on Newsnight. When did bullying pass for serious, probing interviewing? (cf. John Humphrys). I didn't really pull enough quotations from this interview to wave around and prove Paxman complicit in this game of wild analyses, but in addition to Robinson's narrative, Paxman was capitalising on Jowell's friendship with David Miliband to ask about his motives and plans, making assumptions he had no business making and digging in places he has no business digging.

Eventually, someone in the audience groaned. Jowell, even Paxman, realised that this groan really meant 'Shut up you massive prick.'

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

I'm back...

from my holidays. Just three weeks, but it seemed an age. We walked into the town centre here and Sheffield and Jonah (just turned 5) starts panting excitedly.
'Oh, oh! Daddy! Do you remember that building?!?'
'That's Sheffield City Hall, Jonah. Of course I remember that building. It's been there a hundred years. We were just here three weeks ago.'
That kind of thing. And it is nice to see that not much changes, apparently, here in Britain in that time. Every time I go back to Canada -- which, granted, is only once every two years now -- it seems that the place is utterly transformed. Why, this time I learned that the Mall near my Mom's house has had its food court re-done. Again. But, fuck, hey, that's progress. It's only a matter of time before Sutton gets a Wal-Mart and everyone can stay there and drive to the local branch to get really cheap shit without having to go all the way to Newmarket.

(I should add that my Uncle Dave, a Councillor for Ward 3 in Georgina, is still fighting that very good fight against Wal-Mart in the town. So let me take this one chance excretera has to call you to Re-Elect Dave Szollosy in Ward 3! Not much use in me having a sign on my lawn, but anything I can lend to the cause. He's family, you know.)

So nice to see that not much changes at least in one part of the world I inhabit. Britain is much the same. Despite my desperate pleas, for example, some gin-drenched mum pushing her lump of baby in a GX Turbo 9000TT pram failed to notice yet again Jonah skipping towards the crossing light, his little face screwed up in excitement, his finger reaching for that happy spot on the button and, wouldn't ya know it, this crazy streetwalker -- oh, yes, she was! -- pushes the button ahead of him. Lady, if you're reading this, your pathetic little apology meant nothing to my son, and it certainly did nothing to help me console him as he turned to me, all hope and expectation in life suddenly destroyed: mouth curved to his chin, eyes soaked with the deluge of thwarted desire.

(One day, lady, it'll be your kid, slipping, slug-like, to the light. And I'll be there. Waiting. And I will bring the finger of almighty judgement down upon you and your off-spring, and ye shall know the tragedy of such iniquity. And I'll laugh. A triumphant, cruel laugh.)

AND the BBC is taking another beating. God knows what for this time. But this from The New Statesman offers another very good reminder of why the BBC is better than its rivals, and how generally shit (and not in the good way) life will be if Murdoch is allowed to take over the world. I'm sorry. I know he doesn't really want to take over the world. Oh, wait. Yes he does.

This deserves a wider audience. Watch the sycophantic little slut lie back for his sugar daddy. Christ. Crawl back under your shell, you shit-eating mollusk. (Does that even work as a metaphor? You get my meaning, anyway.)

I don't know whether or not Coulson is guilty. No, scratch that, too. Of course I do. We all do. We don't need intangible things like 'proof' to make up our minds. He's as guilty as hell, but that's not the point. The Tories trying to spin this as party-political posturing by Labour shows just how little interest they have in democracy. I mean that. I know that phrase 'contempt for democracy' is thrown by politicians at their opposite numbers every time a minster loses a paperclip, but there is a more important issue here, and New International have been getting away with it for far too long. It needs to stop. And not just swept away. Murdoch's strategy - not even denying it, just completely ignoring it -- is brilliant. (And remember, as The New Statesman article points out, this interview was conducted over a year ago, so it worked, at least once.) Let's just hope that the rest of the British press don't back down as cowardly as they have done in the past.

Honey, I'm home...