Posted in Politics

‘Al Jazerra’ Report on Hungary’s Treatment of Refugees and the Pot calls the Kettle Black

It is, of course, right and desirable that the Hungarian government imprisoning refugees is highlighted. Therefore, whether the details of this come to our attention by way of the jingoistic ‘Daily Telegraph’, which the link in the above sentence leads to, or via ‘Al Jazerra’ shouldn’t really matter. No need to shoot the messenger and no reason for us to be anything other than concerned and appalled when we read that “men, women and children are being held in detention centres with little access to medical and mental care.”

Yes, awareness of Hungary’s treatment of refugees and the Central European country’s descent into authoritarianism should be of concern to all of us. As should similar developments in Poland where Jarolaw Kaczynki’s Law and Justice Party (PiS) hold power. Nevertheless, while it might be counterproductive look too closely at the messenger when addressing the issues that are being discussed, a smirk and a shake of the head  are sometimes inevitable.

‘Al Jazerra’ is owned by the Qatari government, which is run by the Al Thani family. In other words, Qatar is a hereditary constitutional monarchy ruled by a family which controls the country’s massive oil and gas reserves. Now, not only does Qatar not accept refugees, but it has “also become a focus of international criticism of the mistreatment of low-paid migrant workers” and those workers still need to get their employer’s permission to change jobs or leave the country.

In other words, it could be as difficult to leave an abusive situation in Qatar as it is to get out of a Hungarian prison. Indeed, foreign journalists who attempt to report on migrant workers’ living and working conditions are detained regularly. Yes, with ‘Al Jazerra’ it really is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Nothing new, of course, and with the Western media singing the praises of our freedoms while our governments kill innocent men, women, and children throughout the globe, with Russia’s ‘RT’ often hitting the nail on the head when discussing the injustices in the West, and perpetrated by the West, but ignoring the crimes committed by the Kremlin both domestically and abroad, it doesn’t mean that we should ignore the news.

Moreover, not only should we not ignore the news wherever it comes from, it is also time we took Viktor Orban and Jarolaw Kaczynki to task in an effort to prevent that magnitude of hypocrisy and base behaviour which characterises, among others, the Gulf States, the oxymoronic “Jewish Democracy”, Washington, Moscow, and BBC Blighty.

 

Posted in Politics

Theresa May will block Scottish Referendum and it is good News for the Independence Movement

With the news that “Theresa May has moved to block a new Scottish independence referendum”, the predictions on what will happen, if the Scottish government announce that it intends to hold a second referendum made in my last post, which it has now done, are already taking shape and, as implied in that post, the British Prime Minister’s announcement might even represent a best case scenario for the SNP at the present point.

Next week Nicola Sturgeon will seek the approval of the Scottish Parliament to open discussions with the UK government on the details of a Section 30 order, which will facilitate the holding of a second referendum by transferring the necessary power from London to the Scottish Parliament, and the Scottish Parliament will give her that approval. That transfer of power will allow the Scottish government to set the conditions for the next referendum.

That Theresa May would want to deter that happening before the Brexit negotiations have been completed was always certain and we might be sure that Nicola Sturgeon was aware of this. Therefore, while an element of academic caution might be advisable, it is easy to conclude that an excellent piece of political brinkmanship by Sturgeon has handed her government the moral high ground at this early stage and with that a number of voters who might have voted “No” at the last referendum, but who are becoming increasingly disillusioned with the high-handed attitude we see on a daily basis from May and her cronies.

With the upcoming vote in the Scottish Parliament, and with the British government unlikely to react to that vote, the campaign for independence will enter the next stage. However, that should be accompanies by a number of strategies going forward.

Firstly, with the unionist rag, ‘The Scotsman’ announcing that an online petition calling for a second independence referendum bid to be dropped has reached over 145,000 signatures”, it could be time for the Scottish government to start its’ own online petition and that might be accompanied by pro-independence demonstrations throughout the country. This is important because,  even if the country is probably split 50/50 at the moment, the pro-independence movement is more steadfast and, especially with the pig-headed arrogance coming out of London, it is more likely that many of the softer unionists will change camp.

Secondly, the Scottish government’s political brinkmanship last week has already had a desired result for the independence movement. However, calling a referendum, even if the British government refused to recognize it, might be an even more poignant example of political one-upmanship. With the British mainstream media using everything at its disposal to undermine it and with the government in Westminster refusing to recognise the result, there could very well be a reaction in Scotland that would see independence as inevitable and all the more so if the Scottish government can approach the OSCE and get them to observe the referendum.

Finally, while it is an extremely risky strategy, the Scottish government could declare unilateral independence from parliament if the Westminster government continues to block a referendum. Of course, as stated, that could be a dangerous venture . However, it should at least be remembered that what creates a recognised state, is not a referendum, but rather it is that state being recognised in the United Nations.

An independent Scotland is as inevitable, as an independent Ireland was in 1916. Then the British government turned the rebels, from being dangerous lunatics, into martyrs by executing them.Moreover, while martyrdom is what it took in the empire’s heyday, in today’s Scotland it is sufficient to show that, even if the remnants of that disgusting empire is no longer allowed to practice the same type of cruelty on home soil, the arrogance of the British authorities’ towards the Scottish people is as crystal clear as it was towards the Irish people then. It is that arrogance which the SNP and the independence movement will continue to provoke over the next few months.

 

Posted in Politics

A British Nationalist condemns Scottish Nationalism

The Brexit, Trump, and, yes, even the unforeseen 45%, or so, that the “YES” campaign got in the last referendum, were all sort of unexpected, and that is why an element of caution should be advised when it comes to listening to what the possible outcome of a second independence referendum might be. Still, a couple of conversations in Glasgow last week informed me that another referendum at this point in time might not have the desirable outcome for the SNP and the independence movement.

And there you have her, Theresa May, the sorry strategist, thinking the same thoughts. But, the drivel, the verbal diarrhea, prattle, prattle, hyperbole, hypocrisy, and puerile pathos?  Instead of being obsessed with , “a tunnel vision nationalism”, the Scottish government should be more concerned about “public services like the NHS and education,” she gibbers, and there was me drifting back to one of the two conversations that I had in Glasgow last week.

“Yes, the NHS in Scotland might offer a better service than it does in England, but waiting three hours for a doctor is not much of an improvement on waiting four hours.” There you have it and the SNP, instead of looking for independence, should be making sure that Scots have a health service and public services that are not just a bit, but much much, better than the services that are being provided elsewhere in the UK.

And the “tunnel vision nationalism”? Might that be waking up and walking away from the nightmare that is misplaced myopic megalomaniac Brexit Blighty! Of course, the Scottish people will miss out on all of these super trade deals that are going to happen. “Super trade deals” my arse! Unless, of course, what is meant is selling arms to countries like Saudi Arabia, which is bombing civilians in Yemen and that type of rentier capitalism which sucks money from all over the planet into the pockets of the 1%. Or, in other words, makes lots and lots of money for Theresa and her criminal clique.

Apart from the “prattle, prattle, hyperbole, hypocrisy, and puerile pathos” there is nothing holding the United Kingdom together and it really is time for Scotland to break free. Nevertheless, with “prattle, prattle, hyperbole, hypocrisy, and puerile pathos” still bedazzling and beguiling many north of the Tweed, it might be advisable for the Scottish government to play this one out a bit. Of course, Edinburgh could ask the UK government to grant a Section 30 order, which makes the referendum legally binding, and just hope that Westminster rejects the request until the Brexit negotiations are over.

Posted in Politics

Brexit and Blair re-enters the Stage

Article 50 has still to be triggered, the negotiations have yet to begin, and the “news” on the Brexit continues to be based mainly on hearsay, hypothetical humbug, and hubris of the worst sort. However, the daily bombardment of unsubstantiated drivel means that this particular UK passport holder, who has lived in Germany for most of the last 40 years, will make his own arrangements before D-Day.  Yes, a modicum of Teutonic efficiency, rather than the hapless haphazardness that appears to be defining Brexit Blighty.

There appears to be an indication of that haplessness in Ellesmere Port, near Chester where slightly more than half of the people voted to leave the EU and the self-induced misfortune is even more pronounced in Luton where 56.55% voted for Brexit. Well, it might be argued that with the wisdom hindsight affords us it is easy to be a little clever clogs. Nevertheless,  wasn’t  David “abandon the sinking ship” Cameron outlining this eventuality in the run-up to the referendum?  Now, with General Motors likely to sell Vauxhall to Peugeot there is an increasing possibility that even a bailout from the British government will not prevent these job losses occurring. After all, if a French company, which is partly owned by the French government, has to choose between France, or a post Brexit Britain, isn’t the writing is on the wall?

Of course, ego, who “has lived in Germany for most of the last 40 years, and will make his own arrangements”, shouldn’t really give a monkey’s. Nevertheless, there is this lingering belief in the European project, even if there are a number of reservations (for instance, the fact that the Euro has no surplus recycling mechanism) regarding the direction the EU has taken, and, yes, Britain should be a part of that project.

It might be expected, therefore, that Tony Blair announcing his latest crusade to “persuade the UK to stay in the EU”, while saying that “the British people were misinformed by Brexit campaign and would be correct to change their minds”, would be welcomed. However, the last bandwagon anyone wants to jump on is the one where that odious creature is at the helm and in order to remind myself of that I revisited ‘Blair Inc.: The Man Behind the Mask’ , which begins with Blair officially resigning as PM and setting about immediately to make himself seriously rich. From there I went to  ‘Broken Vows: Tony Blair the tragedy of Power’, Tom Bower’s “devastating indictment” of the war criminal’s time in office. Yes, “odious” just about hits the nail on the head.

Therefore, if the hearsay, hypothetical humbug, hubris, and the hapless haphazardness, isn’t enough to make us realise that we all have to make our own arrangements before D-Day, the re-appearance of this actor with the messiah complex, the paranoid narcissist and proven war criminal, on the stage, should certainly not convince us that there can be common cause and common ground in trying to reverse that rather stupid decision which has already been made.

 

 

 

Posted in Palestine and the Middle East

“Us” and “the Other”

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There he is, a guy you hardly know, a self-proclaimed Zionist, who prefers to live in Innsbruck  than in the Oxymoronic “Jewish Democracy”; ranting and raving in your living room. “The  Arabs this, and the Arabs that …..”, “Muslims threaten Western Civiisation” and “Israel will smash everyone and doesn’t give a fuck (“Wir machen alle fertig”) what the world  thinks”.

So, what do you do after the coffee has been supped, the guests have left, hands have been shaken, and a civilised “do drop in again”has been spontaneously expressed in the most willy-nilly way imaginable? Well, you chew the cud and think you could at least have given him a copy of Pappe’s “Die ethnische Säuberung Palästinas”, or maybe, just maybe, you could have shown him the attached copy of adverts taken from an English newspaper the twenties.

Who knows he might have just about understood. And is it really so difficult to understand that Arabs and Muslims have never done him any harm? They have never tried to set up home in his garden in Innsbruck and they are not even allowed to live in the same street as him in Tel Aviv. Not to mention the fact that Arabs and Muslims, and not only those in Palestine, are more likely to kill each other, or be killed by us, than they are to kill us. Oh and the “us”?

Well, of course, the “us”is that increasingly islamophobic West, a West which has pillaged the Middle East, and the rest of the planet since time immemorial and it is also that “plucky” little oxymoronic “Jewish Democracy”, which  is armed to the teeth by us and doesn’t begin to understand the real message behind those adverts in an English newspaper in the 20s. It is all quite fucking sad, really!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Politics

UK Government to increase Prison Sentences for Whistleblowers and Others

According to ‘the Guardian’ today there are “proposals to radically increase prison sentences for revealing state secrets and prosecute journalists”, with the British government’s legal advisers saying that “the definition of espionage should be expanded to include obtaining sensitive information, as well as passing it on”, while whistleblowers should be imprisoned for up to 14 years. At the moment the maximum prison sentence is two years.

With Jim Killock, the chief executive of Open Rights Group, saying that “this is a full-frontal attack, recommending criminalising even examining secret services’ material,”  while adding that “the intention is to stop the public from ever knowing that any secret agency has ever broken the law,” there is certainly cause for concern and Theresa May contending that it is not, never has been and never will be the policy of the government to restrict the freedom of investigative journalism or public whistleblowing” might be treated with the contempt it deserves.

Moreover, with ‘The Investigatory Powers Act’, which gives  “the UK intelligence agencies and police the most sweeping surveillance powers in the western world”, now in effect the UK  has the most extreme surveillance any western democracy has ever seen and, indeed, a level of surveillance that,  according to Edward Snowden, goes farther than many autocracies.” Now, effectively, if any secret agency abuses what are already very extensive powers, they cannot be held to account. Of course, on top of this, a possible sixteen year prison sentence might also deter journalists and others from accepting and publishing materials that show quite clearly that crimes are being committed by the British government.

Nevertheless, it is important to remember that this spying and these crimes are common public knowledge. The UK government sells weapons that are killing children in Yemen, that are used to subdue protesters in Bahrain, that are used to bomb Gaza. Indeed, according to one report, Britain is the second biggest arms dealer in the world. Similiarly, this blog was pointing out some seven years ago that the NSA “has its own rather comprehensive spying operation which would appear to include spying not only on American citizens but indeed on the whole planet.”

With everyone being spied on and the sword of Damocles hanging over anyone who publishes, or is even in possession of, information which can harm the dealers in death, it might appear that we have entered a new age where an unaccountable big brother has created a world in his own image; a world where the 1% rape and loot the planet, where perennial wars are the order of the day. Still, hope springs eternal and, when all is said and done, they don’t appear to be blocking this blog.

 

 

 

Posted in Politics

World War One Starts and Kafka goes for a Swim

My own writing might give some credence to that analogy which equates an historian’s brain to a dung heap by implying that if you leave it long enough, something will grow. Indeed, with ego foreover going off on tangents before getting to the point, the analogy might also be applied to the linguist’s brain and it has just been noticed that when I say “an”, instead of “a”, historian, it really is because the “h” is elided.

Be that as it may, this time around it was an article by  Robert Minto that started to turn the dung heap into something more substantial. The process began when I read that a line in Kafka’s journal on August 2, 1914 began with “Germany has declared war on Russia — went swimming in the afternoon.” Minto then says that this has been used as “an illustration of Kafka’s self-absorption and unworldliness.” However, my immediate thought was what was he supposed to do? After all, it is hardly likely that troops had immediately been deployed to Lake Slapy, or wherever else he might have been going for a swim.

Still, Kafka is a good starting point and it doesn’t become more Kafkaesque than Jonathan Jones when he contends “everything we know about Obama suggests he is far too good a person”, while coming to the conclusion that the man who has just left the White House knows just how ineffectual the new incumbent president is and that “soon we won’t be worrying about Trump. We will be deriding his incompetence”. No mention, of course, of the fact that under the watch of this “good person” the illegal murders, the wars, the drones, and the number of innocent people killed throughout the world never stopped.

Still, our unworldly pseudo journalist does at least get something right when he says that, like the smiling Obama, “we can all go surfing” , while suggesting that we should defer doing so until we realise that we shouldn’t worry about Trump, because he is incompetent. Yes, Trump is incompetent, but do the people in the Middle East and elsewhere really care if the bombs being dropped on them are courtesy of an incompetent, or a competent US Commander in Chief?  Still, “we can all go surfing” and might it not be that rather than being unworldly Kafka actually realised on this Kafkaesque planet our options are rather limited?

A planet where children in the Yemen are killed courtesy British hardware, where Palestine is stolen from the Palestinians, but the Palestinians are a threat to peace, a world where Israel, that oxymoronic Jewish democracy, which exists on that stolen land, possesses nuclear weapons, but instead of admitting it tries to convince the whole planet that Iran, a country with no nuclear bomb, is a  threat to world peace. Now onto the stage comes Trump and the Kafkaesque theatrics, the histrionics, the hyperbole, the hype, the hypocrisy, and the high-noon drama will continue, as will the wars, environmental destruction, and mass murder, under the watch of the man with a slightly smaller brain than the previous incumbent in the White House….., but then nothing has really changed, or has it? ……. and now I am going for a swim!