"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in"
(Leonard Cohen)
"Ignore all proffered rules and create your own, suitable for what you want to say"
(Michael Moorcock)
"Look for your own. Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings."
(Andre Gide)
"I want my place, my own place, my true place in the world, my proper sphere, my thing which Nature intended me to perform when she fashioned me thus awry, and which I have vainly sought all my life-time."
(Nathaniel Hawthorne)
“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”
(Franz Kafka)
"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated"
(John Donne)
“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
(Robert J. Hanlon)
"Life is beautiful, but the world is hell"
(Harold Pinter)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Adding Insult to Injury

Lady Fiona: hardly an outsider
EXTRACTLady Woolf protests, perhaps a bit too much, that she is not a member of the establishment. No, Fiona, of course you are not - merely a commercial lawyer, member of the Competition Commission, alderman for the ward of Candlewick, the lord mayor of the City of London, non-executive director of Affinity Water Ltd, senior adviser to London Economics International, honorary bencher of Middle Temple, and also a former sheriff of London and president of the Law Society (not to mention a member of the Parochial Church Council of St Clement Eastcheap). Still, maybe in the circles she moves in, that is considered slumming it.
However, the real problem was caused by the fact that she has social connections with Lord Brittan and his wife, having gone to dinner parties with them on five occasions. For those with a taste for dark humour, we discover that the home office had to inform Woolf of the exact dates and times of these parties - meaning that the secret state were keeping a close watch on someone you really would have to strain your imagination to picture as the enemy within.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Infighting in the Vatican

EXTRACTThe passages in the relatio that most offended reactionaries like Burke was the suggestion that the Catholic church should be “welcoming homosexual persons”, and that “homosexual unions” could provide “precious support” to each other, despite the “moral problems” associated with them. Even worse - or so it seems - was the following idea: “Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community ... Are our communities capable of this, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?” (my emphasis).
There was an immediate furore - this was beyond the pale. Conservative bishops loudly protested that the report had been “hijacked” by liberals added to the drafting committee at the last minute by Francis. In fact, a devious attempt was made by a faction of conservative, English-speaking bishops to deliberately muddy the waters by getting the synod secretariat to release a new English translation of the relatio that changed “welcoming homosexual persons” to “providing for homosexual persons”. Another alteration was that the phrase “partners”, an incendiary term that implicitly acknowledges the legitimacy of same-sex relationships, became the much chillier “these persons”. Such was the uproar and confusion over the English ‘translation’ that a Vatican spokesperson was forced to confirm that the original version of the relatio was the only official document.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Euro Zone: Going Nowhere Fast

George Osborne: gloomy
EXTRACTHowever, the International Monetary Fund’s fears run even deeper. Blanchard admitted it was “entirely possible” that the developed countries will never return to their pre-crisis growth levels: a big chunk of economic production has been permanently lost. We are now entering a period of secular stagnation - ie, there has been a structural decline in potential growth rates. And the achievement of even these lower rates of expansion - one of the more optimistic scenarios - would require interest rates to be maintained at historically low levels over a lengthy period, and that brings its own problems, of course.
Yes, rock-bottom interest rates, combined with quantitative easing, has generated copious amounts of cheap money. But it has not done what was intended, which was to reawaken the animal spirit in capital and hence encourage investment - that in turn would power economic growth. Rather, delighted speculators have had casino chips stuffed into their hands. Or, in the words of the IMF’s financial counsellor, José Viñals, we are facing a “global imbalance” - with “not enough economic risk-taking in support of growth”, but instead “increasing excesses in financial risk-taking” that are “posing stability challenges”.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nick Griffin on Question time
EXTRACTThe last incident shows that we need the SWP’s “united front” strategy like we need a hole in the head, given that it sacrifices independent working class politics in favour of building the broadest populist fronts possible - effectively constituting itself as a ‘left’ outrider for the establishment. With absolute predictability, the SWP is now repeating the same mistake with the UAF’s sad mirror image, Stand Up To Ukip. In the Internal Bulletin the SWP tells us that it is “important” to restate that Ukip is “not a fascist party”: therefore, it requires a “different” kind of response from that developed to “beat back” the EDL and BNP. What would that be perchance? You guessed it: a “broad-based” campaign with the “single intention” to “undermine” and “expose” Ukip - essentially portraying it as some sort of alien or ‘extremist’ menace to the status quo. Unpatriotic. In pursuance of this wretched aim, as the SWP used to say on its website and still does on Facebook, it wants “people of goodwill” to come together and say no to Ukip’s “racism” - “regardless of our differing views on Europe or other political issues”, which presumably must include anti-Ukip Tories.
In other words, there is nothing “different” about the SWP’s response to Ukip - it is the same old approach of tailing the liberalistic, anti-racist/anti-fascist consensus, only this time the word ‘Nazi’ has been scratched out and replaced with ‘Ukip’. The comrades do not even consider challenging the national chauvinism which Ukip shares with the mainstream parties, a key component of which is bourgeois or institutional anti-racism and myths about the ‘anti-fascist’ crusade fought by British imperialism during World War II.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Farage parks his tanks

Nigel Farage: balance of power?
EXTRACTThe SWP spectacularly misses the point. The idea that Ukip is so utterly different from the Tories, Lib Dems or - for that matter, Labour - is delusional. As we have pointed out quite a few times, Farage is coming out with the thoroughly mainstream view that migrants are a problem if there are too many of them - acting as a drain on the NHS and taking jobs that should go to British workers, as Gordon Brown pointed out not so long ago. In other words, Farage fully signs up to the ‘common sense’ national chauvinist consensus - or, to use the words attributed to him in the SWP’s internal Party Notes, this is “not a race question”, but rather a question of “our country’s needs” (May 5 2014). From that angle, communists have no problem in believing Farage when he says that Ukip is a “non-racist” party - why shouldn’t we, or is Gordon Brown a racist too? Then what about George Galloway, who argues for a points-based immigration system? Or the No2EU lash-up between the Morning Star’s Communist Party of Britain and the Socialist Party in England and Wales, which wants to introduce ‘socialist’ border controls?
Leaving aside the SWP’s cynical attempt to earn brownie points from the establishment, Farage genuinely wants previous immigrants - whatever their ethnicity - and their descendants to integrate into official British society: enthusiastically waving the flag, fighting to preserve the union and loving the queen. In reality, to one degree or another all the mainstream parties appeal and pander to British nationalism.