Er Cof ‘Benny’. Phil Bennet R.I.P.

Growing up in Felinfoel, no Saturday was complete without a match at Stradey against Neath or Richmond or Cross Keys, to watch the brilliant Phil Bennet do things with space and time and a rugby ball which have never been seen since, , and the laws of which are only now being truly investigated by scientists in a massive hole in the ground in Switzerland.
We may have gone home from the match to eat our tea and watch Doctor Who, but Benny was definitely Doctor Where? We all attempted to imitate him through the exiting multitudes in the cinder-crunchy Stradey car-park. Many tries were rehearsed then and there, and many careers forged on that surface in the rain.
Stradey Park and the Tanner Bank were founded on the waste from the Matriarchal steelworks which glowered in the distance, and grew out of the same shared experience of those who worked there.
I think Benny seemed at his most magical in the rainy midweek Floodlight Alliance games. The smoke rising from the steelworking men, the steam from scrums rampaging with Gale brothers, and Benny shredding defences on the pitch built on the steel slag from the nearby works he worked in, as did much of the crowd.
It’s still one of my boasts that we shared a primary school playground for 2 years. Even then he was Benny, and everyone knew he was destined for greatness.
When he took to the cramped little playground, everyone stood back and watched. He had a fanclub even then.
His quantum vision and mayfly powers of evasion have never been surpassed by any player I have seen.
As for his personality, what other player in history has tried to persuade the ref NOT to send off an opponent? THAT’S a sportsman.
The man who proved that sport is an Artform and did for rugby what the Beatles did for pop music. A genius of his Time.

See also



ActionFutureWorkPlan People 1993

Ian Duncan Smith’s American welfare reforms will certainly mean that more unemployed are created than “experience the workplace environment” as the Department for Work and Pensions puts it. So there will be many more to chain to the work-gang, and more pressure on workers to surrender to management demands, whatever they might be.
Sometime in the early 90’s I was unemployed for over six months, along with millions of others. The government of the time benevolently decided to help us by delivering us into the hands of ActionFutureWorkPlan, a right bunch of contractors paid a lot of taxpayers money to make the unemployed go away. I wrote this at the time. I’ve corrected most of the spelling.

“Right” said Annette, our Actionfutureworkplan leader. “What are your hobbies? What do you really like to do?” It was 10 o’clock on the first morning of the Actionfutureworkplanweek and already we knew our names. Now we were going to find out what we enjoyed. At this rate we’d all be brain surgeons by Thursday. This week wasn’t going to be quite as strenuous as I’d feared. Nobody resented the question, they merely resented being there. “Let’s get one thing clear,” Annette had said earlier, “you’re all here voluntarily. Yes? You all had a choice.” …“Yeah, Hobson’s Choice” someone said. The truth was that we’d all been told ‘Be there or lose your benefit.’ Annette passed round a form. It told her our skills, where we used them, and any experience which would help us get work. We talked about the ‘Hurdles and Barriers’ to getting work. We talked about the pluses and minuses of being out of work and in work. All of us had been out of work for more than a year, most for longer, some much longer. In the middle of a fractured discussion about age discrimination, we discovered that the average age of the group was about 35. Two people were under 30. There were 12 men and 3 women.
The discussion rambled from one point to another. As a chairperson, Annette was not a great success. After 20 minutes talking about motivation and how to hold the attention of a potential employer she was losing our attention and we were more discouraged than ever. Conversations were breaking out on every table corner. While she was stressing the importance of training I realised that she had no training in how to run a group discussion. It was obvious to everyone. In the tea break, the large handsome Jamaican said “I’ve got a terrific idea. Instead of looking for work again, let’s never look for work again.” After one morning of the Actionfutureworkplan we all knew what he meant.

This, according to Annette, was our ‘Digdeepday.’ There was a silent groan, something I had never come across before. We started to examine our hopes and aspirations. Among the group were an ex-lorry driver, an ex-forestry worker who couldn’t speak English and had to be informed what an aspiration was, an ex-secretary, an ex-shelf-filler, and an ex-labourer. All 35 or over, and all of whom had taken twenty minutes to fill in a simple form. This was therefore the most depressing part of the week. Asking someone in that situation about their ‘aspirations’ became tantamount to saying ‘Your life is absolutely meaningless and pathetic.’ Some simply didn’t know what they wanted to do, and were being forced to say so in open court. They just wanted a job. In fact, they didn’t want anything, they just didn’t want to be un-employed. The double negative at the heart of capitalism.
It was not a pretty sight. And when the ex-businessman (greatest fault “too trusting”) made his contribution: “Some people just want to sit on their arses in front of the telly. They don’t deserve help” it took a swift change of tack to avoid real trouble. Maybe we’d dug a little too deep. Annette decided we could take an early lunch.

Babylon Sandwich
Lunch, promptly dubbed the ‘Babylon Sandwich’, was never the highlight of the day. It wasn’t Spam, but ten years ago it would have been. Processed White and cheese or soggy lettuce or ‘seafood’ which tasted like
Margate beach only pink. Afterwards we roamed the lovely streets of North-Nunhead for an hour and a half and smoked. So this was what work was like. We could get used to this. In fact we were used to this. It was no different to being unemployed for a year – and all in one week. The afternoon brought us Ron from the Quick Hands Agency, who organise ‘training courses designed to provide skills tailored to the demands of today’s high-tech marketplace.’
These turned out to be: a two day first aid course, two weeks of Child Care and Baby Maintenance, and How to be a Security Guard. So we could learn how to change nappies and wear a shiny hat with confidence. There was general disgust and outrage. Our faith in the Actionfutureworkplan was completely dead. Every day after lunch, Annette’s sidekick Beverly would take over. If anything, she was even less accomplished than Annette. In fact, after the farce of Tuesday afternoon, the ‘course’ had run out of steam. “What do you want to do tomorrow?” Beverly had asked. Out of the embarrassed silence came the noise: “Mumble mumble. Interviews? Mumble.” So interviews it was.

Day 3
Beverly entered with a video cassette. “Anyone know how to work this thing?”. The woman did not know how to operate a VHS. Two people simply got up and left the room. The Smart Alec Troublemaker confronted her with the inconsistency of her not being able to show us a training video because she wasn’t trained to operate a VHS. “Not me. It’s not my job. No way.” Mere disillusionment was rapidly turning to mass incredulity.
With professional supervision and direction, and a lot of editing, the video could probably have been of some use. But there was none. We drifted in and out, discussed hot lottery numbers, and made cups of institutional tea. One or two did ‘heads on desks’, which brought back memories.

Hobson’ Choice
Things got more bizarre. Nimbly evading the pros and cons of successful interview technique, someone suggested we “Do a building society. HO-HO.” We plotted the heist in some detail for the next half hour, with Beverly leading the discussion. “But what about the security cameras? Aren’t they connected to the police station?” got pitying looks from around the room. This woman obviously knew nothing. It finally dawned on her that this particular small business idea was not exactly within her brief, and she ended the heist plan and the day with her favourite line: “What do you want to do tomorrow?” The trouble was, someone had an idea. “I’ve got a video.” he said. “It’s sort of about how to set up in business….. It’s a movie…. By the guy that did ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’….’Hobson’s Choice’.” The joke was completely lost on Beverly, but not on the group, who laughed like drains. But it wasn’t a joke. We watched it the next day, complete with Charles Laughton, John Mills and “Ee by gum!” – without any guidance, preamble or review, naturally – but at least it was a recognisable way of passing the time. In fact, it did prompt a detailed discussion about ‘capital’, and there was some pun fun on the virtues of boot sales. It was a start, but it had come too late. During one of these supervision-free afternoons we speculated about the future.
“We’re surrounded by supermarkets. In six months we’ll all be stacking shelves. And not for pay – for benefit.” This was frightening to hear, even if it was bollocks.
“Nah, how they going to do that? They can’t make you.”
“They made you come here didn’t they?”
“No-one takes away my money. They do that they gonna have big trouble. We torch that Job Centre to ashes. They can put me inside. When I come out I’ll be a hero.”
That may have been bollocks too, but it was bollocks born out of bitter resentment and frustration. This was someone with nothing to lose: for whom prison was no deterrent because liberty was no better. At least it was someone who had discovered what they’d ‘really like to do’.

And so the farcical week dragged on. Running the gamut from insulting to bizarre. To be fair, some did benefit from the week. Dave the lorry driver got a job driving a van. Marcos the ex-plasterer was last seen grimly swapping notes about his driving licence points in preparation for an interview for driving a bus. But these were the result of the fabled ‘one-to-one’ sessions with Annette, and could have been provided six months earlier by the Job Centre. During my ‘one-to-one’ it became obvious that no-one in the building had the first idea about operating a computer, and I offered my help with the basics. “Thanks, but no thanks.” said Annette, touching my knee. What did she mean? I escaped flattered but confused.
I returned un-helped to the main room, into the middle of a discussion about prospects. Someone was loudly stressing the importance of “not seeing the world through rose-coloured scepticals.” It seemed the perfect strategy to me.

This was a story from the Major administration. Spiteful and stupid though they were, they never stooped to the depths of Cameron and Clegg. And so escaped major collective punishment – more by luck and sleaze than any humanity. The Condem Alliance has learned neither honesty nor humanity. What hope for them when the British people get teachy?

Свобода Україні – Free Ukraine

Online exchanges 22 February >
News at the top – history at the bottom


I may be wrong but I think Boris Johnson is done for. I can’t see his Tory cult surviving

6 Jun 2022 10:50
In response to Foster6the6imposter6

The stupid “Left-Right” distinction makes no sense when looking at this sort of policy.

Let’s face it, this fake symmetry has never been fit for purpose.
As useful as the terms ‘up’ and ‘down’ in outer space.
Nobody can define the difference between ‘left’ and ‘right’ to a visiting Martian. It is a polarity which stupifies political thought, while invoking a mass of ancient emotive cultural associations from every Old Master of the Last Judgment to everyday language like ‘adroit’ and ‘gauche’.
‘Sinister’ – ‘right’?
View discussion


Martin Rowson on the Queen’s platinum jubilee – cartoon
3 Jun 2022 20:29
Plati-Jube will neither prolong nor help end the Monarchy.
To call for its ‘abolition’ is putting the cart before the horse. Trying to cure the symptoms rather than the disease.
The embodiment of a Hierarchical culture based on property and power-worship can only be smothered under a wave of egalitarianism. Such as the one required to combat the causes of climate change.
View discussion


Try as he might, Boris Johnson can’t use the jubilee as ammunition in his culture war

1 Jun 2022 17:55
In response to MattB242
It is completely natural to feel an affinity for the place you grew up. The deepest influences are instilled during childhood.
This is very different to the power-politics of nationalism. Patriotism is passive, nationalism is aggressive.
When the British left stops sneering at patriotism, it might stand a chance of winning an election.
View discussion

Try as he might, Boris Johnson can’t use the jubilee as ammunition in his culture war
1 Jun 2022 17:49
In response to MattB242
You call abolitionists who will watch the Coronation ‘hypocrites’.
Rather, they are simply taking part in a slice of history, and acknowledging that, whatever its negative influence, the Monarchy is an inextricable part of their culture, and displaying an inescapable understanding of their history.
How do you propose to ‘make it gone’?
Mass brainwashing? A bonfire of History?
You might as well try to abolish religion.
Religion and monarchy will die out in good time, when global crises create a more egalitarian norm. But even then, the cultural influences of both will not disappear overnight, as most of them will be too deep-seated and indirect to be identified with their causes.
You’re putting the cart before the horse. Trying to cure the symptom, not the disease.
View discussion

Try as he might, Boris Johnson can’t use the jubilee as ammunition in his culture war
1 Jun 2022 13:30
In response to tonystoke
Johnson’s politics would have lost us the war. And yet the history of the cooperation which won it has been hijacked by the Squander-bugs and Spivs. Fake patriots who refused to even wear facemasks to protect their fellow-citizens.
Very few people alive have seen a Coronation, unlike previous generations, who would have seen more than one in their lifetime.
I pay my rates. I want my coronation!
View discussion

Try as he might, Boris Johnson can’t use the jubilee as ammunition in his culture war
The appeal of Platijube is based on people’s perennial eagerness to feel that they are part of history – of something bigger than themselves.
The notion that an institution as extended as the monarchy can be dismissed as meaningless, and can be eradicated, is bizarre. As will be demonstrated by the number of abolitionists who find themselves watching the next Coronation, if only to get a sense of what Westminster Abbey was created for, to see the old girl working at full steam, and to get inside the minds of our ancestors who witnessed the same ceremony a thousand years ago – IF they have any sense of and respect for history.
The same sense of history as those who witness the solstices at Stonehenge.
Why not demolish it and build a much-needed hospital for the Hampshire area?
View discussion

Pounds, ounces, pints! Johnson is offering a whole bushel worth of phoned-in gibberish
31 May 2022 18:23
In response to alexito
For scientific purposes.
But would you force everyone to wear digital watches? Because it’s the same technocratic agenda. The same obsession with pointless precision.
And just as debilitating to the imagination and intellectual freedom.
View discussion

Pounds, ounces, pints! Johnson is offering a whole bushel worth of phoned-in gibberish
31 May 2022 18:11
In response to ProjectXRay
You’ll want to ban the analogue clockface next, and emasculate all imagination from everyday life.
When you start your project to build a Moon-Rocket, metric units will be very useful to you.
Most people buying spuds and ordering pints will still think in analogue units, with a relationship to the objects of the world they see.
View discussion

Pounds, ounces, pints! Johnson is offering a whole bushel worth of phoned-in gibberish
31 May 2022 18:06
In response to Chrispytl
For some on the metric side, it is a matter of fundamentalism.
A browse of social media will uncover an alarming number of people who would totally eradicate Analogue Humanist units of measurement. In the name of ‘progress’.
It’s hard to conceive of a more effective means of alienation than Total Digitisation, forcing all thought into scientific units too cosmic or microscopic to be visualised or imagined..
View discussion

Pounds, ounces, pints! Johnson is offering a whole bushel worth of phoned-in gibberish
31 May 2022 17:57
Johnson’s new gimmick is as mired in pop-nostalgia as everything else he tries.
But, there is a strong case for retaining Humanist or Analogue systems of measurement which relate to objects in everyday life and exercise the imagination, however useful metric (digital) systems are to technocrats and accountants.
There is plenty of room for both.
Metric claims for precision are undeniable, but so is the fact that the Pyramids of Giza were built on a unit determined by the human forearm. Vitruvian Man is not based on the circumference of the Earth; rather, the other way round.
The alarming revelation of this debate is the degree of outright hostility and intolerance expressed by those claiming that metrication represents ‘Progress’.
Their demands to eradicate the past and sterilise culture don’t sound very ‘progressive’ to me.
View discussion


even science can’t explain the creatures clinging on to Johnson

The science of Psychology can explain them with one word.
The victims of a disease which destroys the ability of the sufferers to empathise with their fellow creatures and enables them to believe that the damnable heresy of yesterday is the glorious orthodoxy of today. As with the tory Windfall Tax U-Turn, which is one of the most egregious cases of doublethink outside North Korea.
Stalin is smirking in his grave.


It’s too soon to celebrate Putin’s losses – the hard miles are yet to come for Ukraine
19 May 2022 15:33

There is already pressure on Kyiv to make concessions to Moscow, and it will only increase as the broader economic impact hits home.

Economic impacts which will only increase pressure even more while the so-called ‘alliance’ refuses to behave like one and share the burdens of war, instead of imposing all the pain on front line states in the fuel embargo and refugee crisis.
The winners in a war are generally the side which rations most effectively.
View discussion


Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @MehmetJoe and @MayorofLondon
It’s not just ‘a racist with a gun’, it’s a huge proportion of the official U.S. opposition, who peddle the same fascist ‘Replacement Theory’. If that doesn’t worry you, you’re braindead.

Photo illustration of Tucker Carlson, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz overlaid with photos of Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols, David Lane, and The Turner Diaries.
Racist ‘white replacement theory’ goes mainstream with Republicans
A growing number of Republicans are promoting “white replacement theory,” once the provenance of white supremacists.
7:39 PM · May 16, 2022·Twitter Web App


Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @DPJHodges and @brianmoore666
Apologism for Johnson is not ‘compromise’ but COLLUSION. Without political pragmatism there would never have been any Labour governments. Including 1945. Your determination to stay in opposition is a credit to your fundamentalism, but a disaster for ordinary working people like me.
6:07 PM · May 15, 2022·Twitter Web App

Remote working is making the UK a more equal place – however much Jacob Rees-Mogg may sneer
15 May 2022 17:54
It’s a matter of ownership.
The lives of supervised workers under one roof are the property of its employer. And the routine of being owned tends to condition the political behaviour of the workforce, making it more obedient and institutionalised.
Any taste of freedom, such as that provided by Covid requirements, is hard to relinquish, and the Ratchet Principle kicks in.
In the words of the song: ‘How you gonna keep ’em down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree?’ The Black Death opened similar horizons. Much to the despair and downfall of the feudal Catholic hegemony Rees-Mogg still clings to.
View discussion


‘Fun in the sun’ photos are a dangerous distraction from the reality of climate breakdown
14 May 2022 15:26
In response to RationalFacts
It only helps to prove that 1970 was 50 years ago, when Climate Science as we know it was in its infancy.
This we knew already.
Infants cannot walk, talk or think properly. Chemistry was Alchemy once. Astronomy began as Astrology.
Climate Science has been grown up for a long time now, and can runs rings around your puny urban myths and Click-Bait sites.
Want more evidence? Real evidence..

“The influence of global warming on the unprecedented extreme climatic events between 2006 and 2017 has previously been underestimated, according to a new study from Stanford University, US, which could have major consequences for people’s lives.
The study shows that predicting the likelihood of future extreme weather events by analysing how frequently they occurred in the past underestimated about half the actual number of extremely hot days in Europe and East Asia.”

View discussion

‘Fun in the sun’ photos are a dangerous distraction from the reality of climate breakdown
14 May 2022 14:03
In response to Paulhalsall
The first mention of the Greenhouse Effect I remember was in a school library edition of Paris Match from 1970.
Mentions of global cooling from the time were based on the fact that we were due one, and indeed entering a cold phase.
Technically, we still are. But we have spewed so much CO2 that we have overcome the natural cycle.
View discussion

‘Fun in the sun’ photos are a dangerous distraction from the reality of climate breakdown
14 May 2022 13:57
In response to RishiNoLongerDishy
Now you’re denying’ the science of assessing the methodology of science.
You haven’t provided any evidence yet. Just half-remembered hearsay from decades ago.
Why break the habit of a lifetime?
More science for you to refute with memories.

“”Most climate models are a little too eager to glaciate below freezing, so they are likely exaggerating the increase in cloud reflectivity as the atmosphere warms,” said LLNL coauthor Mark Zelinka. “This means they may be systematically underestimating how much warming will occur in response to carbon dioxide.”
These results add to a growing body of evidence that the stabilizing cloud feedback at mid- to high latitudes in climate models is overstated. “

View discussion

Rob Kenyon @biginaboxReplying to
@Vayod3 @IiiSocrate and 3 others
You’re still basing everything on current rates of consumption and predicted ‘growth’. All chasing rainbows. A sustainable future means radical reduction in energy consumption. IE. the death of Consumerism. Which is inevitable one way or another. Nuclear epidemic or no..
1:40 PM · May 14, 2022·
Twitter Web App

‘Fun in the sun’ photos are a dangerous distraction from the reality of climate breakdown
14 May 2022 12:41
In response to Luvelyguy
A common social media myth.
Try some science.
“the Danish institute’s models show ice volume at the 2021 minimum extent was greater than in some past years, such as 2019 and 2020. However, it was still much smaller than levels seen in the early 2000s.
Arctic ice shrinking is a trend that goes back decades, according to records from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Satellite surveillance since the late 1970s shows Arctic sea ice cover during the minimum extent has declined by about 13% each decade, NASA says on its website. And the pattern holds all year round.
View discussion

‘Fun in the sun’ photos are a dangerous distraction from the reality of climate breakdown
14 May 2022 12:31
In response to Umberleigh
In case you hadn’t noticed, Britain just missed yet another Winter, and has seen a Spring drought across huge areas.
View discussion

‘Fun in the sun’ photos are a dangerous distraction from the reality of climate breakdown
14 May 2022 12:23
In response to ServiusGalba

They really need to get some better advice on how to sell their message

Science is denied. Direct action is criminalised.
Let’s wait until the chaos starts.
Maybe that’ll get the ‘message’ across to the Consumerist Zombies.
But even then, it won’t be seen as the result of toxic Pig-Trough culture, but be blamed on the ‘hordes’ of ‘migrants’ ‘flooding’ Britain to scrounge off our welfare state and steal our women.
That’s what’s happening now, so why not then?
View discussion


‘Fun in the sun’ photos are a dangerous distraction from the reality of climate breakdown
14 May 2022 12:14
In response to RishiNoLongerDishy
You are denying almost everything.
It’s becoming clearer every day that the only thing ‘wrong’ about the science is how much its predictions were underestimates of the chaos to come.

“We found that the institutional aspects of assessment, including who the authors are and how they are chosen, how the substance is divided into chapters, and guidance emphasizing consensus, also mitigate in favor of scientific conservatism. Thus, so far as our evidence goes, it appears that scientists working in assessments are more likely to underestimate than to overestimate threats.
<a href=”;
rel=”nofollow”>Scientific American.

““It’s not so much that climate change itself is proceeding faster than expected — the warming is right in line with model predictions from decades ago,” said climate scientist Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University. “Rather, it’s the fact that some of the impacts are greater than scientists predicted.”

View discussion


We need optimism – but Disneyfied climate predictions are just dangerous
13 May 2022 16:57
In response to GaryCross

good, honest private sector scientists

How ‘honest’ are they about their unstinting endeavours on behalf of the Toxic Sector seeking ever more creative uses for oil and gas and plastics? And ever more efficient methods of deforestation.
The ‘private sector’ merely serves the needs of the Consumerism which poisoning the environment and society. When it finally admits its true role, and abandons it, then it might show signs of ‘honesty’.
Until then it is in profit-driven Denialism. The lapdog of every Kleptocratic tyrant on the planet.
View discussion


Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @JinglyLenny and @paulmasonnews
When Putin invaded and occupied Crimea, he surrendered all rights to expect that the West would not react. By threatening to invade the EU and Finland, he proved his paranoid megalomania, and preparations had to be made. He is the ‘existential threat’
7:50 PM · May 11, 2022·Twitter Web App


Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @RivetStuart and @BBCNews
The fetishisation of Power in our sick culture is the cause of most psychopathic behaviour. Sexual abuse is just one assertion of identity by those who can only achieve respect through fear.
2:01 PM · May 10, 2022·
Twitter Web App


You say Partygate, I say Beergate – let’s call the whole thing off
9 May 2022 18:04

“He has been punished by the electorate for lying about it”

‘Faith, here’s an Equivocator!
That could swear in both the scales against either scale;
Who committed treason enough for God’s sake,
Yet could not equivocate to heaven:
O, come in, equivocator.’

You say ‘Tomato’ and I say maggot-ridden dead dog in Downing Street – let’s clean the whole stinking mess up.
Equivocating Johnson with Starmer is incredible.
View discussion


Ukraine is already winning: victory can be achieved without risking nuclear war
5 May 2022 12:45
In response to StandishDunbar
Russia is at the forefront of a Climate-Science Denying global Kleptocracy that will do anything to preserve its power.
China, India, Brazil, the USA if Trumpism regains control.. The list goes on.
Civilisation is outnumbered and any hopes of achieving IPCC CO2 targets are ashes.
Working out the consequences doesn’t need a computer the size of a planet.
View discussion

Ukraine is already winning: victory can be achieved without risking nuclear war
5 May 2022 12:17
I can only repeat what I said 2 months ago – that if there is an anti-Putin alliance, it should act like one, and equitably share the burdens, not expect Hungary to go bankrupt and Poland to house most of the refugees..

Putin’s warmongering has presented progressive politics with an opportunity for both promoting Western cooperation and cutting CO2 emissions. Both long overdue and inevitable in the long-term.
When Russian gas supplies to Europe end, Western allies should share reserves. It will mean reduced per capita consumption, but this had to happen sooner or later. Now’s as good a time as any to start.
In retrospect, Russian expansionism and its search for new fossil fuel markets in China was always a reaction to Western ‘threats’ to achieve Zero CO2 emissions. Ukraine is a Gas War…

View discussion


You get filthy’ – the photographer who shoots sweaty workmen in building sites
3 May 2022 14:05

he often uses black-and-white film, partly because it’s cheaper, partly because it can handle the varied light on site, but also because it shows up the grime.

Sorry to be contrary, but from working on sites and photographing a wide range of workplaces for 40 years, digital is much cheaper than film, and shows up grime just as well.
If anything, now, film is the ‘middle class ghetto’.
View discussion


In an era of electoral fragmentation, Labour must learn to embrace power-sharing
28 Apr 2022 11:50
In response to Plovdiv12
The Disaster Capitalism background of the Great Depression, blurred many political lines.
The terms ‘left’ and ‘fascist’ meant little by comparison with general opposition to the homicidal idiocy of the status quo. ‘Fascism’ did not mean what it means now – though it became obvious very soon, roughly when Aneurin Bevan saw through Mosely.
Ten years later, in another life-or-death crisis, Churchill was the blue-eyed-boy of the Communist Party. And Stalin was ‘Uncle Joe’ to the Daily Mail.
Go figure.
View discussion

In an era of electoral fragmentation, Labour must learn to embrace power-sharing
28 Apr 2022 11:41
In response to BonyFido

Labour party decoupled from the unions

In other words a Labour Party robbed of financial backing, with only rich people able to afford to run for office. Eliminate the working class at a stroke! Brilliant.
Why haven’t the billionaire-backed tories thought of it before? Oh, they have, repeatedly. It’s their wet-dream.
Very constructive.
View discussion

In an era of electoral fragmentation, Labour must learn to embrace power-sharing
28 Apr 2022 11:34
In response to MikePicken

Sarwar and Starmer’s ploy is a cynical move to try to reassert the notion that only sole Labour rule at Westminster is the way forward.

A mirror of Corbyn, then?
View discussion


What’s the best thing that Elon Musk can do with Twitter? Delete it
27 Apr 2022 12:50

Delete it

And throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Surrender the Information War to the terrorists.
There are as many uses for Twitter as there are users, which is just a club with rules which hold it together. And which is more self-didactic than it is diatribe.
Musk’s adolescent interpretation of freedom ( ‘When people you don’t like say things you don’t like‘) is no licence to shout FIRE! in a crowded theatre. Neither is his obscene wealth.
View discussion


Working 9-5 doesn’t mean being chained to a desk. Someone tell Jacob Rees-Mogg
25 Apr 2022 16:53

” Deloitte tells staff they can work from home forever
Boss Richard Houston says accountant’s 20,000 UK employees will not be required to be in the office for any set number of days a week.
Deloitte has told its 20,000 UK staff that they can work wherever they want when Covid restrictions are lifted as the accountancy firm adopts a fully flexible approach”
Daily Telegraph.)

If it’s good enough for the top accountancy firm Toilette & Douche, it’s good enough for Downing Street.
View discussion


Boris Johnson to face inquiry into claims he misled parliament over Partygate – as it happened
21 Apr 2022 15:46
In response to ConansMight
Brexit was caused by decades of Europhobe lies by mercenary hacks like Johnson and peddled by billionaire, phone-hacking, tax-dodging, drug-dealing, money-laundering, unaccountable, un-elected, price-fixing, profit-crazed gutter media.
Propaganda which perverted British culture, and corrupted Truth in the name of power.
The last straw for reactionary brexiteers was the fact that Global Warming would demand the end of Consumerism, and as proven by Science, require unprecedented global cooperation. Cooperation is just another world for socialism. And that would never do, even though it means rescuing civilisation from the ravages of profit. Even though it means denying science.
View discussion


Seriously, Tory party, there is no pooper scooper big enough to clear up Johnson’s constant mess
19 Apr 2022 12:38
In response to Deling63
“Keir having a beer and eating pizza at a constituency office” at a planned meeting.
Eating at meetings was not illegal. Whitehall staff did it all the time.
Planning a party certainly was illegal.
How many times did Starmer lie about his meeting? What was the verdict of the Metropolitan police?
Next pathetic excuse for the lawbreaking liar?
View discussion


Johnson to stay because of Ukraine? Nonsense. The war makes it more urgent that he go
15 Apr 2022 17:07
In response to NeitherYankNorBrit
How would that go?
Let’s hear his denial as you imagine it (omit the roars of Kremlin laughter)
View discussion

Johnson to stay because of Ukraine? Nonsense. The war makes it more urgent that he go
15 Apr 2022 17:04
In response to GarethapdDafydd
As a proven liar, he is a weapon in Putin’s information war.
How do you imagine him dealing with the next Russian lie?
View discussion

Johnson to stay because of Ukraine? Nonsense. The war makes it more urgent that he go
15 Apr 2022 17:01
Until Johnson resigns, Britain can never again accuse Putin of lying.
The Information war is lost.
View discussion


Lie, deny and move on – how much longer will the Johnson mantra plague British politics?
13 Apr 2022 16:16
In response to SterlingPound
Putin will accept this propaganda gift with thanks.
Johnson’s crimes validate Putin’s Alt-Truth ideology, and discredit the entire alliance against him.
Don’t try holding your breath until Johnson calls him a liar again.
View discussion

Lie, deny and move on – how much longer will the Johnson mantra plague British politics?
13 Apr 2022 15:36
In response to Baggywhacker

“is it not better for Johnson to remain in power? “

Definitely better for Putin’s Alt-Truth ideology too.
Now he can run Johnson’s lies to Parliament on a loop on state TV, sending the message to his troops that their crimes will go unchallenged.
View discussion

Lie, deny and move on – how much longer will the Johnson mantra plague British politics?
13 Apr 2022 15:32
As a proven liar, Johnson can now never accuse Putin of lying.
Until he resigns, the information war with Russia is lost, and Putin can commit genocide with impunity.
The ‘Ukraine Defence’ is not only cynical opportunism and insulting to the people of Ukraine, but a strategic disaster.
View discussion


They broke the law and are disgraced. Whatever they do now, shame will cling to Johnson and Sunak
12 Apr 2022 17:35
In response to ScottieDug
Fabricant plumbed the depths of disgust when he accused NHS workers of being criminals, and thereby excusing Johnson & Sunak.
He even had the gall to blame anti-Brexiteers for Johnson’s predicament.
View discussion

They broke the law and are disgraced. Whatever they do now, shame will cling to Johnson and Sunak
12 Apr 2022 17:25
In response to FellingUpBeat

can’t see anything fundamentally being done about this other than Labour calling for them to resign and both of them just ignoring it.

The Speaker can be asked to recall Parliament for a vote of no confidence.
Given the tory majority, this may not evict Johnson, but it would expose the tory MPs who endorse the Big Lie. Their constituencies would then at least know the truth about the representatives they have chosen – for future reference .
View discussion

They broke the law and are disgraced. Whatever they do now, shame will cling to Johnson and Sunak
12 Apr 2022 17:02
You can always depend on Johnson to lie, lie, and lie again. To display utter contempt for the public and parliament.
And on his Zombies to find bizarre excuses for him.
The fact is he is either a total liar, or an utter fool, or both.
Any permutation renders him unfit for office – especially during an economic, medical and security crisis.
View discussion


The United Nations has the power to punish Putin. This is how it can be done
6 Apr 2022 16:57
In response to VM1964
You can laugh at the principles of partnership all you like, but they are essential to defeating Putin.
Your posturing would be less obvious and hypocritical if you were prepared to make the same sacrifices you are demanding of Germany and other front line states. Are you?
Any Putin Quislings in Europe are not in power, and Germany remains the state which has implemented the most genuine sanctions against Russia – unlike Johnson’s job-saving bluster. His cowardice in appeasing his xenophobic electorate by refusing to accept refugees, and his cynical opportunism in exploiting Putin’s butchery to save his miserable skin are in sharp contrast with the measured constitutionality of the German coalition. Contrary to populaist lies, Germany did not refuse to allow over-flights of its territory by NATO, they would have been illegal under German law – not that NATO was prepared to risk any such flights planned anyway.
Britain’s anti-alliance free-market approach to the Ukraine war will extend it by a year.
Post Cold War trade with Russia in a globalised economy was widely seen as a key to peace. Captain Hindsights like you did not foresee what Putin would become.
View discussion

The United Nations has the power to punish Putin. This is how it can be done
6 Apr 2022 13:58
In response to lindecarr

Members of the EU feeding Putin with billions of euros in exchange for fuel are supporting his destruction of a country

There could be an energy embargo tomorrow if all members of the so-called ‘Anti-Putin Alliance’ agreed to share their reserves equitably with the states dependent on Russian oil and gas. There is no ‘alliance’ until all members of it agree to bear the burdens, rather than cash in as front-line states like Germany risk bankruptcy.
Britain’s position is ‘I’m All Right Jack.’ Let Poland house 3 million refugees while we take none. It’s their fault for being in the wrong place.
Let Germany, Italy, Hungary, Greece and the rest suffer drastic cuts to their energy supplies – their fault for conducting legal business with Russia and trying to heal the wounds of the Cold War. While Londongrad’s illegal blood-money fed the Kremlin war-machine for decades.
View discussion


Rob Kenyon@biginabox
Replying to @_V_5_M_ @Poodog73 and 2 others
What matters is the degree of sharing the burden. If Putin turns off the tap, which he probably will, Johnson will watch in glee as the German economy crashes. Then take the credit for the UK’s rise in the league table.
8:29 PM · Apr 4, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @_V_5_M_ @Poodog73 and 2 others
That’s fatal to solidarity. ‘Equitability’ is the key element. If Germany is forced to bear all the cost of an embargo unaided, it would create a split in the alliance. It’s not too late to share. Either to defeat Putin or avert Climate Catastrophe.
8:14 PM · Apr 4, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @Poodog73 @GrumpyAmb and @KyivIndependent
All Anti-Putin states can ‘afford’ to share energy reserves equitably – IF they want to defeat Putin. AND climate change. CO2 emissions have to fall drastically. Now is better late than never.
7:41 PM · Apr 4, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @jefemundo1 @Mels_ChechenKo and @KyivIndependent
Forcing the frontline states to bear all the pain is totally incompatible with any concept of ‘solidarity’, and totally disastrous. A gift to Putin. Germany has already taken more radical action than most other countries, even to challenging its constitution.
7:37 PM · Apr 4, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @michaelwhite
Rather, Kremlin lie machine is so GOOD because it lives in a forest of untruth. By offering multiple-choice alternatives, it makes Truth a matter of ‘personal choice’. Truth has been Commodified.
What the KGB used to call ‘The Grey Masses’ like that.
6:03 PM · Apr 4, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @scoobi66 and @MayorofLondon
No evidence, as usual. Just routine Trumpist smear-mongering and ‘Alt-Truth’. More hysterical reaction to the inevitable implications of Consumerist Climate Catastrophe. When refugee levels DO reach crisis levels, I hope you have a stock of tranquilisers.
5:43 PM · Apr 4, 2022·Twitter Web App


Rob Kenyon@biginabox
Replying to @scoobi66 and @MayorofLondon
The Salisbury Poisoners didn’t need asylum visas. Ukraine isn’t at war with the UK. And unpaid parking tickets do not indicate terrorist sympathies. The truth is you just HATE the idea of the UK ‘Doing It’s Bit’. Enough of you in 1941 and we would be talking German now.
1:12 PM · Apr 2, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @scoobi66 and @MayorofLondon
They carry out checks on all, so they are all suspected of terrorism. Nobody else does that. You obviously HATE the idea of helping anyone. And dump all the burdens of this war on the front line states who have no choice. Time you ‘WOKE’ up to the realities your degradation.
1:07 PM · Apr 2, 2022·Twitter Web App


Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @soave1000 @mrjamesob and @KevinStuart56
Cheap Brexit energy was based on the lie that Britain could not cut VAT. Johnson refused to do this before the Pandemic & still won’t. Neither will he take as penny from the corporations who are profiteering from higher prices while decent people choose between heating & eating.
8:56 PM · Apr 1, 2022·Twitter Web App

Boris Johnson wants you to forget Partygate. Don’t let him get away with it
1 Apr 2022 15:12
In response to PopeGregoryTheNinth
Ukraine was a golden opportunity for Johnson to save his miserable skin. His Falklands War. Delivering surplus stock to Ukraine cost nothing.
His only achievement so far has been to distract public attention from his crimes and fool what the KGB used to call the ‘Grey Masses’ into a fever of hero-worship.
His contribution to the anti-Putin alliance has been minimal at best. He concocts a refugee policy designed to fail, and would never countenance sharing any of the burdens of war with the front-line states. If Putin does cut gas to Europe, Johnson will sit back and watch while rival economies crash, the UK climbs the league tables, and he will take the credit.
His policies are pure war-profiteering, and actively damaging to the solidarity needed to defeat Putin.
View discussion

Boris Johnson wants you to forget Partygate. Don’t let him get away with it
1 Apr 2022 14:56
In response to chrisd324
At the height of Johnson’s Party-shame, I remember one of his Zombie MPs standing up in parliament and saying much the same thing.
That the problem was not that laws had been broken, but that the laws existed in the first place.
This from the ‘party of law and order’.
View discussion


Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @bbcworldservice
If Putin does cut off energy to Europe, he will sped up the drive to nett Zero CO2 – which is his enemy and what we should be doing anyway – & which will make Europe more secure.
If China chooses to buy his cheap oil, Zero targets will be trashed, & civilisation far less secure.
11:02 PM · Mar 31, 2022·Twitter Web App

Charging for Covid tests in England just as infections surge? This is an act of national self-sabotage
31 Mar 2022 16:30
In response to JohnnieAysgarth
Because it will that mean people won’t know when they are infected and will infect others.
Causing higher rates, which will increase exponentially, under the current delusion that Covid is now ‘endemic’ and just another another minor inconvenience. Which will lead in turn to yet more variants, which may well be both more infectious and more deadly.
Next question.
View discussion

Rob Kenyon@biginabox
Replying to @RichardBurgon
There is no alternative to equitably sharing available energy supplies among all members of the anti-Putin alliance. Forcing front-line states to bear all the burdens of energy costs & refugees means there is no ‘alliance’. Just those suffering & those carpetbagging on their pain
5:00 PM · Mar 31, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @JimmyMonsieur @MarkGraham8492 and @DanielaNadj
EVERYTHING is wrong with a refugee policy designed to fail. A country which cashes in on war by dumping every burden of it on the front line states is a traitor, not a member of an ‘alliance’. A country which financed Putin’s war machine for decades.
05 Reputation laundering and political influencing
4:51 PM · Mar 31, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @scattysmum @CusackRitchie and 2 others
This government is cashing in on the war, and raking in billions in VAT from increased prices. While refusing to demand any sacrifices from the Corporations, it demands that you choose between food or fuel. And you LOVE it! No wonder this country’s going to the dogs.
4:44 PM · Mar 31, 2022·Twitter Web A

Rob Kenyon@biginabox
Replying to @Sentinel49 and @michaelwhite
If you want Nazis, Russia has more than any European state. Many in the Duma itself. Nothing excuses Putin’s genocide.…
2:12 PM · Mar 31, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @michaelwhite
Anything the Glorious Leader does IS the law. He can make it AND break it simultaneously with no contradiction simply because he is The Leader. That’s DOUBLETHINK.
Johnson can get away with it, so Putin certainly can.
2:07 PM · Mar 31, 2022·Twitter Web App



Tory MPs call the green transition ‘unaffordable’. Europe is proving that’s a lie
23 Mar 2022 15:16
In response to Martin_in_Cardiff
Of course it’s ‘him again’.
Anything to avoid cooperation on any scale, let alone the global cooperation needed to avert climate disaster. The knowledge that membership of the EU would mean adopting a common CO2 policy was a prime mover for Brexit.
Cooperation is just too close to socialism for him, and a deadly threat his sense of identity and entire Junkie lifestyle.
And he’s right on both counts. Like his buddies Trump and Putin.
View discussion

Tory MPs call the green transition ‘unaffordable’. Europe is proving that’s a lie
23 Mar 2022 15:08
In response to cardiffleftie
Ukraine IS the battle against climate change.
If Putin wins, and is free to peddle his fossil fuel to every despot and crackpot on Earth, so does the rest of the Denialist Kleptosphere, and you can kiss every CO2 target goodbye.
The IPCC recently made this clear.
View discussion

Tory MPs call the green transition ‘unaffordable’. Europe is proving that’s a lie
23 Mar 2022 14:58

‘The truth is that we can’t afford not to transform our economies.’

Fossil fuel dictators like Putin have to oppose transformation to cling on to power – which is a more powerful instinct than averting Climate Disaster.
To them the Nero Decree of the bunker: ‘Better an end with horror than a horror without end’ makes perfect fanatical sense.
Putin himself has said that a world without Russia is not worth living in. Like the rest of the Kleptosphere, he recognised long ago that the nett zero CO2 targets of the Survivalist world meant the end of his power. His 30-year oil deal with China secured his future market, and meant that a fossil-fuel embargo by the west was relatively toothless.
Invasion of Ukraine therefore became a risk worth taking, And so here we are, in the first global climate war, fighting to avoid ‘the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of’ Putin, Trump and Xi’s perverted science.
Never in the field of human conflict have the stakes been higher.
View discussion


Here in Hong Kong, Covid has surged and we’ve run out of coffins. Please learn from our mistakes
18 Mar 2022 15:24
In response to MickyPea
Until the next variant comes along.
Or even worse, the next Consumerist-spawned zoonotic pathogen.
Vacccinations and masks are all well and good, but do not address the causes of the plague of Pandemics we have created in the last 30years.
Namely,, the systematic demolition of wildlife habitat to make burgers. Which is also a key factor in accelerating climate change.
It is therefore doubly vital that the sabotage of Consumerism is halted, by any means available.
View discussion

Here in Hong Kong, Covid has surged and we’ve run out of coffins. Please learn from our mistakes
18 Mar 2022 15:16
In response to LastOfCarlos
They call themselves ‘Patriots’, but refuse to do the most patriotic thing they will ever have the chance to do.
If they’d been around in 1940, we would be talking German now.
View discussion


Ukrainian heritage is under threat – and so is the truth about Soviet-era Russia
15 Mar 2022 10:51
In response to LastDays

What makes a nation ?

There was no such thing until the invention of the steam engine.
Before that there were empires, kingdoms, city-states, and other fiefdoms. But no coherent, tax-collecting ‘nations’ defined by their ability to defend their borders with ammunition trucks.
China would seem to be an obvious exception. But even that was a multi-lingual empire united as much by its pictographic script as by brute force.
It only became a nation after industrialisation shrank it to a manageable size.
View discussion

Ukrainian heritage is under threat – and so is the truth about Soviet-era Russia
15 Mar 2022 10:38
In response to Fallowfield

Hong Kong was ceded to Britain in 1842 and expanded into Kowloon later. The hand-over date was, by treaty, set as 1997.

And in all that time, it was never a democracy.
So much for ‘you never miss what you never had’.
View discussion

Ukrainian heritage is under threat – and so is the truth about Soviet-era Russia
15 Mar 2022 10:30

They will not be able to protect cities from short-range shelling, but should be able to prevent bombing from the air and by long-range ballistic missiles.

Likewise, a steady supply of Bayraktar drones could permanently cripple the advance of tank convoys headed for Kyiv, and any other city. Especially when the Spring rains make the fields nice and boggy.
The question therefore remains; Why the hell hasn’t this already been done? Barricades of tyres and milk floats won’t last long.
View discussion

Ukrainian heritage is under threat – and so is the truth about Soviet-era Russia
15 Mar 2022 10:23
In response to HELovelace
Putin is the latest autocrat in the long unbroken history of ‘Czarist Russia’, and has rewritten the book on Stalin, who cannot now be classified as a ‘socialist’ of any kind. Even to the most mercenary hack at the Daily Mail.
View discussion

Ukrainian heritage is under threat – and so is the truth about Soviet-era Russia
15 Mar 2022 10:16
In response to BogDweller
What repercussions?
Let’s start with the loss of the Ukrainian harvest.
The last time that happened the entire Middle East erupted into the Arab Spring.
This is much bigger.
View discussion


All-out economic warfare is the best way to stop Putin
8 Mar 2022 13:10
In response to Freedomofspeecg
The idea that capitalist competition is a form of cooperation is a popular delusion.
An abuse of language no better than ‘War is Peace’ and ‘Freedom is Slavery’..
View discussion

All-out economic warfare is the best way to stop Putin
8 Mar 2022 13:06
In response to bonnielass35
If everyone consumed as little carbon as my household, we would do fine.
Since I started working on a computer from home, my footprint has been drastically reduced. Just eliminating the daily commute put me in the black on the balance sheet.
The global democratisation of communication has been vital in informing the world of the dangers of Consumerism. An essential tool in raising class-consciousness in the struggle.
View discussion

All-out economic warfare is the best way to stop Putin
8 Mar 2022 12:06
In response to Hermanovic
A zero-carbon world would rob the Oil-sheiks of their power. End of problem. Their power would be intensely diminished – they would do everything in tents.
So the sooner we get on with it the better.
As for the nuclear nightmare, not only are the decommissioning costs unsustainable. and they take far too long to build anyway, but the secret police needed to protect them is not a culture we should be promoting on a global scale. Not to mention the inevitable accidents…
View discussion

All-out economic warfare is the best way to stop Putin
8 Mar 2022 11:59
In response to WhatEnlightenMeant
It’s no accident that the leaders of the Kleptosphere, from Farage to Trump’n’Putin are the most flagrant Denialists of climate science. They know that a zero carbon world would strip them of their power, and are determined to resist to the last – whatever the cost to everyone else.
View discussion

All-out economic warfare is the best way to stop Putin
8 Mar 2022 10:57
We have to decarbonise eventually. Now is as good a time as any to start.
Naturally, it will mean that Western economies break the habit of a lifetime and learn how to share – to cooperate, rather than compete. But that was also something else which was inevitable for a sustainable future.
Consumption will also have to reduce to meet the capacity of sustainable, zero-carbon energy generation, obviously. But Consumerism is now a busted flush anyway, a toxic machine for destroying the environment, fuelling endless wars and spawning pandemics, so its death will be no loss to anyone.
View discussion


Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @MayorofLondon~
European economies are our competitors. When they are devastated by 7 Million refugees, Britain’s will benefit enormously. Their pain = Britain’s gain. Our policy is wholesale economic sabotage. Great news for the Brexiteers.
8:50 PM · Mar 7, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @KalimeroFryWing @izgledakevrne and @carlbildt
He’s invading Ukraine to destroy Truth and corner the market in selling his fossil fuels to the Chinese and the rest of the Kleptosphere he leads. Thereby retaining power for the rest of his short life, and taking revenge on the rest of Humanity for his imminent death.
8:34 PM · Mar 7, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @BaconatorJames and @MichaelRosenYes
Those who objected most to the removal of Assad and DAESH were the same people who SAID they objected most to islamophobia. Namely the vacuous pacifist nobodies to whom the Iraq War was a rhetorical gift from god. Those who gave a green light to Putin to massacre the workers.
8:30 PM · Mar 7, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @PeaceFlowerSoul and @MichaelRosenYes
The fake words ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ have a long history of demonisation & sanctification. ‘Right’ is literally more ADROIT. ‘Left’ is SINISTER, GAUCHE, CACK-HANDED & wrong. The Blessed in Christian iconography sit on God’s Right Hand. Judas sat on Christ’s left. etc.etc.
6:21 PM · Mar 7, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @AVO8OHM and @MichaelRosenYes
A cop out. Either you believe in Progressive values of equality & fraternity, or in reactionary elitism & nostalgia for mythical past glories. It is not possible to believe in both or neither. Which is why ‘centrist’ muddies the waters as much as ‘left’ & ‘right’. Use REAL words.
6:12 PM · Mar 7, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @KalimeroFryWing @izgledakevrne and @carlbildt
Ukraine has its share of fascists for the same reason many other countries do 1) Post Imperialist disintegration – in this case of the brutal Stalinist empire. 2) Encouragement by Stalinist Putin & his ally Trump. But few places have more fascists in the seat of power than Russia
6:00 PM · Mar 7, 2022·Twitter Web App

Every day Ukrainians beg me to save their children. Violence and terror are raining down on them
7 Mar 2022 13:54
In response to Gettrotted
Putin’s pretext for this war was to ‘de-nazify’ Ukraine and liberate a terrorised population.
He could have avoided this war months ago by simply opening his borders to grateful Ukrainian people, flooding the airwaves with footage of their welcome, and basking in his image as their ‘Little Father’.
But he didn’t, because he knew nobody would go. That it was all lies.
Instead he chose this global disaster which almost certainly destroys any hope of meeting IPCC carbon targets. Literally a ‘scorched earth policy’.
Or ‘Nero Decree’ if you like. A revenge on Humanity which poses some very real questions about his state of mental and physical health.
View discussion

Every day Ukrainians beg me to save their children. Violence and terror are raining down on them
7 Mar 2022 13:35
In response to JustAnotherProfile

‘Russia’s economy is largely internal,’

I’m afraid that’s nonsense.
Russia’s economy over the last 20 years has been based almost entirely on exports of its mineral reserves. Especially on sales to Europe. They need hard currency wage war, not just to buy imported goods – which nobody is now prepared to sell them anyway.
‘Super powers and great powers before them’ who have depended on the Russian model have collapsed catastrophically. Spain is a classic example.
If China and India want to support Putin’s Nero Decree, that’s their choice. But they are led by relatively pragmatic regimes which realise that their relationship with the wider world is worth more than the cheap energy Russia can provide. They have far more to lose than gain.
In practice, this war has rubbed the world’s nose in the overriding environmental agenda.
Sitting back and watching Putin destroy Truth is not an option.
Czar Vladimir claims he is liberating Ukraine from a nazi regime. Apologists and surrender-monkeys need to remember that if he believed this, he would have opened his borders to the oppressed population months ago, and flooded the airwaves with footage of their welcome by the Fatherland.
There would have been no need for any war as the rest of the world would have offered wholehearted support for his agenda. The fact he has not done so blows away his smokescreen of lies.
View discussion

Every day Ukrainians beg me to save their children. Violence and terror are raining down on them
7 Mar 2022 11:39
In response to Kdykes
Energy sanctions will hit Putin’s military most.
That the world continues to fund it is not just absurd but obscene.
I remember the Three-Day Week.
It wasn’t that bad.
View discussion


Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @richardintheuk and @BBCNews
So dump all the burden on the front-line states as usual. Never mind, Britain will easily find ways to cash in. With any luck the record number of refugees will break their social services, and put Britain ahead in the economic tables. Good for the image of Brexit too
6:31 PM · Mar 6, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @KimThor93328499 @brianmoore666 and @CliveMyrieBBC
He hasn’t mentioned that Russia is the state where REAL nazis are in power (see link). Not leftovers from 1989 as in most european states. (Fuelled by Putin.) You’re saying France deserved to be annexed by Hitler because of Dreyfus and Gringoire. My arse.…
3:47 PM · Mar 6, 2022·Twitter Web App

History replays like a half-forgotten song, but once we remember, it’s far too late
6 Mar 2022 12:38
In response to MontyReplies
Plaid and the SNP have not been ‘nationalist’ for decades.
They are ‘seperatists’ – from England, but ‘unionists’ with Europe, perfectly prepared to incorporate their national identity into a greater whole.
Ulster ‘Unionists’ are ‘nationalistic.
View discussion


Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @chen65913021 @jackiepatie and 3 others
The recent history of the Donbass is one of myths, lies, and revenge. The same cocktail mixed to cause slaughter in the Balkans. The same mix that Hitler used as a pretext for his crimes.
8:17 PM · Mar 5, 2022·Twitter Web App


This is Russia’s way of war. Putin has no qualm about medieval levels of brutality
2 Mar 2022 11:30
In response to 1nn1t
If we’re serious about ZeroCO2 targets, now’s the time to start putting words into action.
It’s no accident that Putin risked his western oil & gas market now, after a decade of warnings that he was holding a stock near its sell-by date. A major trader in Spats and Bustles, with its only possible future market in China and other denialist regimes. No fossil-fuel sales for Putin = no power for Putin.
The rise of the Fossil-fuel Kleptosphere (including Brexit) coincides perfectly with the rise of irrefutable scientific evidence that the environment will not survive being poisoned for much longer.
Ukraine is a war against science and the future.
View discussion

This is Russia’s way of war. Putin has no qualm about medieval levels of brutality
2 Mar 2022 11:10
When are the drones supplied by Turkey going to strike the sitting-duck convoy headed for Kyiv?
Is it a case of seeing the ‘whites of their eyes’, and getting the tanks within range of Ukrainian ground-patrols to supplement the air-attack?
Since the off-road route seems to be too soft for tanks, are the roads mined?
View discussion


Johnson’s government has drastically misjudged the public mood over Ukrainian refugees
28 Feb 2022 17:01
When the truth came out, Johnson immediately called it ‘fake news’.
I wonder which fascist prophet taught him to say that? Trump or Putin?
The foundation of this tory government is never, ever to share anything with anyone.
The concepts of Unity and Solidarity are anathema to them. Consistently, the Pain of front line states is Britain’s Gain. Let them bear the burden of refugees. Let them cripple their economies with an energy embargo.
They prove Nye Bevan right when he called them ‘vermn’.
View discussion

Johnson’s government has drastically misjudged the public mood over Ukrainian refugees
28 Feb 2022 16:58
In response to InAsMuch
So make the frontline states bear all the cost and burden as usual.
Britain’s economy can easily find ways to profit from their loss. Good for the image of a Brexit which has stalled even more than Putin’s fascist brigades.
Time the tories looked up the word ‘Solidarity’ in the dictionary.
View discussion


Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @D_G_Alexander and @bbclysedoucet
And for those who still care, if Putin’s proposed Free Carbon Market with China comes off, he is guaranteeing that IPPC climate targets are killed stone dead, and consigning civilisation to dust.
He certainly cannot survive an EU style Zero Carbon future, so what else can he do?
5:34 PM · Feb 25, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @MartinC15307664 and @guardian
Consumer Junkies addicted to CO2 are destroying the planet. Your deliberate ignorance will not shelter you for long. Barbarism like yours is the enemy represented by Putin and Trump. The most powerful gangsters in history
3:22 PM · Feb 25, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @MartinC15307664 and @guardian
The end of Human civilisation and mass extinction of huge numbers of species is the highest stake there has ever been. The fact you are too terrified of being denied your Consumer Junk to admit the reality is not surprising. You will be forced into Cold Turkey sooner or later.
3:20 PM · Feb 25, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @MartinC15307664 and @guardian
The stakes are that high A Zero carbon world would strip Putin of his power. This must not be allowed to happen. All psychopathic despots who deny Climate Science agree. This is the predicted war spread global ecodical Kleptocracy. Which is why Trump loves it. The lines are drawn
3:00 PM · Feb 25, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @MartinC15307664 and @guardian
I’m astonished you can’t see the implications ‘sanctions will impact development ..and could expand to include Russian energy projects. This will likely push Russia closer to China as it seeks non-Western sources of financing for critical Arctic projects.’
World Reaction to the Invasion of Ukraine
2:55 PM · Feb 25, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @theriptorn @Psemtex and 3 others
This is ‘world politics’ now. “for Russia, China is its top country trading partner and a key source of investment in its energy projects” And the result will be a High-CO2 Pact, including every science-denying despot on Earth. This is World Climate War 1.

Why are China and Russia strengthening ties?
Why are China and Russia strengthening ties?
Deepening of ties between China and Russia is unprecedented and comes at a time of escalating tensions with the West.
2:04 PM · Feb 25, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @theriptorn @Psemtex and 3 others
How was the west to blame for Georgia or the invasion of Crimea? They were retaliations for the Ukrainian people’s rejection of a corrupt Putin puppet. For the assertion of freedom which set a bad example for the Russian people – your contempt for them is obvious.
1:58 PM · Feb 25, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @MartinC15307664 and @guardian
As a fellow-traveller with Trump, Putin and the rest of the barbarian cult, you’ll believe anything they tell you. Sadly, all the science proves you wrong. This war destroys any hopes of avoiding climate disaster. As intended.
1:54 PM · Feb 25, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon@biginabox
Replying to
@MartinC15307664 and @guardian
This war is a way for Putin to sell his oil and gas to China and the rest of the fascist Kleptosphere in order to retain absolute power. This means death to IPCC CO2 targets, and death to civilisation.
This is ‘unlike anything you have ever seen in history’ as the madman said
12:04 PM · Feb 25, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @NarcAware @dissident_the and @DavidGauke
A widespread psychopathic apocalyptic reaction in the face of irrefutable science. The cult unable to abandon its Consumerist religion to save civilisation and the global environment.
11:57 AM · Feb 25, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon@biginabox
Replying to @Musica101 @GaworMarkus and @guardian
Because Ukraine is NOT A MEMBER. Which again disproves your deluded theory that NATO is to blame. If only Ukraine WAS a member.~ Putin would not have dared to invade. Sorry – you do regard this an invasion, unlike the Chinese? Do you think Putin is a ‘genius’? Like Trump?
11:51 AM · Feb 25, 2022·Twitter Web App

What’s going on inside Putin’s mind? His own words give us a disturbing clue
25 Feb 2022 11:27
His ‘mind’ is first and foremost concerned about where to sell his fossil fuels in the Zero Carbon world needed to combat Climate Change.
Like all panicking reactionaries and despots from Nigel Farage upwards, he is in flight from scientific reality. The Kleptoshpere he wants to lead would create a vast alternative market for his oil and gas and therefore guarantee the absolute power he awarded himself for life.
His buddy Donald Trump naturally agrees, and China, his principle proposed partner in crime, could not even bring itself to use the word ‘invasion’ for yesterday’s outrage. Even though it regularly poses as the defender of ‘sovereign states’ when it suits it.
The battle lines are therefore drawn in this First Climate War, which has little or nothing to do with recreating the past glories of the USSR, and everything to do with reorganising markets. Not a war of acquiring resources, but one of distributing them. Not unlike the Opium Wars.
View discussion

Rob Kenyon@biginabox
Replying to @MartinC15307664 and @guardian
Putin is the one ‘punishing’ Russians. His fascist Kleptocracy has stolen everything from them and is shedding their blood to keep it. Sanctions will punish ordinary people on both sides. They have to. The stakes are too high.
11:11 AM · Feb 25, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon@biginabox
Replying to @Musica101 @GaworMarkus and @guardian
Free countries wanted protection from a dictatorship they knew only too well. To protect their new freedoms. No maniac has the right to deny them their right to defence. Or to claim a ‘sphere of influence’ like Imperial Japan. Self-defence is no offence.
11:06 AM · Feb 25, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon@Biginabox
Replying to @Pagebike1 and @guardian
And after all those centuries of subjugation, Ukraine was finally FREE once the people peacefully got rid of Putin’s Poodle Yanukovych. Why do you hate their freedom do much? Putin started this war, & will spread his fascist Kleptocracy worldwide, ensuring Climate Catastrophe
11:02 AM · Feb 25, 2022·Twitter Web App


Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @AndrewBodinger and @bbclaurak
These days real courage is always fascinating. Time will tell whether the British people will prove to be as ‘fascinating’ when the lights go out and the queues get longer. Especially the flag-wavers who weren’t fascinatingly patriotic enough to wear a mask to protect pensioners.
9:16 PM · Feb 24, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @keithschapman and @guardian
A populist misconception. “Contrary to media reports published on Jan. 17, 2022, Germany did not deny British C-17 transport aircraft access to their airspace. “
No, Germany Did Not Deny RAF C-17s Bound For Ukraine Access to Its Airspace
The decision to avoid the German airspace was made deliberately by the Royal Air Force C-17s and the British were not really forced to fly around the
8:51 PM · Feb 24, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @paulmasonnews
The most significant contribution was from China, who refused to call it an ‘Invasion’. This means they are playing their usual game of ‘See Who Wins’. Usually they are all over ‘breaches of sovereign territory’ – when it suits them. Not now, with a cheap Russian gas deal pending.
8:47 PM · Feb 24, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @rblava and @guardian
“This is genius.” “How smart is that? And he’s going to go in and be a peacekeeper, that’s the strongest peace force “There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen—they’re gonna keep peace all right,” #Kleptocrats stick together.
Trump cheers on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. ‘This is genius’
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hasn’t diminished Donald Trump’s longtime admiration of Vladimir Putin. Quite the opposite.
7:47 PM · Feb 24, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @fatfei_ @BBCPolitics and @bbclaurak
The story comes from the Electoral Commission, and shows that the tories are by far the biggest recipients of Kremlin Gold. Putin doesn’t bother bribing the powerless. You think the EC is lying on Starmer’s behalf? You’re crazy.
What are you prepared to sacrifice to defeat Putin?
7:21 PM · Feb 24, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @irnbrudreaming @fatfei_ and 2 others
What sacrifices are you prepared to make to defeat Putin? Because, as Starmer makes clear, unlike Johnson, this is not a war on paper, but one which will put up prices of goods and services.
5:21 PM · Feb 24, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @RhonddaBryant
Does the HOC and government have backup systems for when the cyber-attacks start on broadband services and other national infrastructures?
4:52 PM · Feb 24, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @jonlis1 and @JANUSZCZAK
#Brexit was largely a reaction to the prospect of the radical policies needed to combat Climate Change. Putin’s fossil-fuel deal with China is the same – only with bombs. ZeroCO2 = Zero power for Putin. And the same for every other misanthropist Kleptocrat.
3:41 PM · Feb 24, 2022·Twitter Web Ap

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @OwenJones84 and @115tpryan
Then consider this ‘opinion’. Between them Russia & China are forging a Fossil-Fuel Pact which will make Climate Disaster inevitable. Unless China pulls out, we are all stuffed. The word ‘democracy’ will merely be a word future archaeologists dig out of the rubble of monuments.
3:31 PM · Feb 24, 2022· Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @OwenJones84
All sanctions will effect ordinary people most, and turn them against the Kleptocrats. They can’t go on stealing from Russia forever. The same sanctions will also effect British & European ordinary people. No pain – no gain. That’s war.
3:26 PM · Feb 24, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @Otto_English
Given that Farage’s wet-dream of a fractured Europe was another green light to Putin, I’m not surprised he’s in hiding. The list of Kleptocrats who do not condemn this war against the future will be very interesting. Any news from Trump, Bolsonaro, Orbán and the rest?

2:50 PM · Feb 24, 2022·Twitter Web App

Who can prevail on Putin now war in Ukraine has started? Peace depends on it
24 Feb 2022 14:35
Putin’s hopes of retaining absolute power rest entirely on selling fossil fuels to China and the rest of the Kleptosphere. A High CO2 Pact which would guarantee the Climate catastrophe the sane world has hoped to counter by consent.
Today killed off all hopes for that project – unless China now comes to its senses and assumes the responsibilities of the super-state it aspires to be.
Future historians, if there are any, will probably ascribe a significant degree of blame for this disaster to the market-madness and attack on European solidarity represented by Brexit. But they should also consider the persistent, pernicious influence of the ‘free markets’ in perpetuating the power of crazed despots of all complexions.
The results of the U.S. mid-term elections should be very interesting to them.
View discussion

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @michaelwhite
Putin’s ‘ideal’ is perpetual power. He knew a Zero CO2 world would emasculate him. A fossil-fuel alliance with China would save him. Unless China comes to its senses ‘the whole world including all that we have known & cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age’
12:17 PM · Feb 24, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @Berkorichard and @MichaelRosenYes
The ‘issue’ is the role of fossil fuels to empower dictators, using the ‘free market’. Putin’s planned Fossil-Fuel Pact with China & the rest of the Kleptosphere kills any hope of combating climate change, and guarantees a bleak future for Mankind. China will have to grow up fast
2:14 PM · Feb 24, 2022·Twitter Web App

Who can prevail on Putin now war in Ukraine has started? Peace depends on it
24 Feb 2022 12:10
In response to Tiberius123
China has to be convinced that any fossil-fuel alliance with Putin is madness.
So far it has played its usual silly games, but now it’s time for it to grow up and bear its global responsibilities.
View discussion

Who can prevail on Putin now war in Ukraine has started? Peace depends on it
24 Feb 2022 12:06 In response to clarityofthought

‘Sanctions against oligarchs while they might feel morally superior have never achieved anything. ‘

What sanctions?
How many Kleptocrats have had their assets seized?
View discussion

Rob Kenyon @Biginabox
Replying to @Tommy38276028 and @vicderbyshire
You think you’re safe? Putin’s plan to continue unlimited CO2 emissions in partnership with China means the end of Human Civilisation. Are you Human?
11:57 AM · Feb 24, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @teach313al and @vicderbyshire
Tell that to the madman Putin, who would rather destroy civilisation than surrender his fossil-fuel power. This is not a war in a strange country far away, it is a war against YOUR future and that of your children.
11:55 AM · Feb 24, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @cwab1964 @vicderbyshire and @EmmaKennedy
What’s ‘cold’ about it? This literally means a hotter world of unlimited CO2 emissions and the end of Human Civilisation – UNLESS China comes to its senses. All political and diplomatic efforts should now be directed at Beijing.
11:52 AM · Feb 24, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @Soothsayer_True and @RealScottRitter
‘Plagiarising’ who? How many Cruise missiles on Kiev will it take to convince you that Putin declared war? Sooner or later it will dawn on you that this also means the end of any global effort to combat climate change – as intended. Maybe that will bring you to your senses.
11:40 AM · Feb 24, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @Biginabox Replying to @urbanigreen @ExtinctionR and @KremlinRussia_E
Like Trump et al, Putin would rather sacrifice Human civilisation than his power. ZeroCO2 would emasculate him. A Denialist fossil-fuel alliance with China would save him. So unless China grows up fast, Civilisation is doomed. We can never achieve EPPC targets All eyes on Beijing
11:18 AM · Feb 24, 2022·Twitter Web App

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @ExtinctionR
It’s over. At the back of Putin’s mind was always the fact that ZeroCO2 meant the end of his power. Today’s outrage means the end of that project. Unless China turns its back on him, Human civilisation is doomed. This is not a war to reinstate the past, it is against the future.
11:12 AM · Feb 24, 2022· Twitter Web App

Who can prevail on Putin now war in Ukraine has started? Peace depends on it
24 Feb 2022 1
In response to nonanon1
Unless China can be brought to its senses and persuaded to ditch its fossil-fuel alliance with Putin, we are all stuffed. Any hopes of meeting IPPC CO2 targets are doomed and with them Human Civilisation.
The question is not how insane is Putin, but whether China realises the consequences of his insanity.
View discussion

Who can prevail on Putin now war in Ukraine has started? Peace depends on it
24 Feb 2022 11:10
At the back of Putin’s mind was always the fact that ZeroCO2 meant the end of his power. Today’s outrage means the end of that project. Unless China turns its back on him, Human civilisation is doomed.
This is not a war to reinstate the past, it is one against the future.
View discussion

Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @michaelwhite
At the back of Putin’s mind was always the fact that ZeroCO2 meant the end of his power. Today’s outrage means the end of that project. Unless China turns its back on him, Human civilisation is doomed. This is not a war to reinstate the past, it is one against the future.
11:09 AM · Feb 24, 2022·Twitter Web App


Rob Kenyon @biginabox
Replying to @OzKaterji
The biggest consequence (of the Ukrainian war) is the end of any global effort to combat Climate change. Climate Wars were always predicted, but not in such minute detail, and Putin’s denialism is as much a matter of record as Trump’s. Between them they have done for Human civilisation.
10:53 PM · Feb 23, 2022·Twitter Web App

Fighting the threat from Putin will take teamwork. But who trusts Johnson’s Britain?
23 Feb 2022 21:09
In response to OneTanahMerah
Reported what suited them.
Not much of this:
Jeremy Corbyn 12th March 2018.
‘There have been more than £800,000 of donations to the Conservative party from Russian oligarchs and their associates. If that is the evidence before the Government, they could be taking action to introduce new financial sanctions powers even before the investigation into Salisbury is complete.
But instead they are currently resisting Labour’s amendments to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill that could introduce the so-called Magnitsky powers. Will the Prime Minister agree today to back those amendments?’

View discussion

Fighting the threat from Putin will take teamwork. But who trusts Johnson’s Britain?
23 Feb 2022 21:02
Judging by Yesterday in Parliament, Johnson’s sanctions dithering could cost him more 1922 committee letters than Partygate.
Ranks of assorted tory MPs queueing up to knock lumps off him. Not one word in defence of his tepid response to Russian aggression (except from the obligatory tame minister..
It was as if they had been straining at the leash to castigate Londongrad for years, and now was their chance.
View discussion

If you’re clinically vulnerable in England, Johnson’s ‘new normal’ is a kick in the teeth
23 Feb 2022 11:40
In response to river1993

We had an epidemic of mental illness for decades before Covid. Strange how the so-called libertarians didn’t worry about that then. Or, more tellingly, ask why people were so sick. This lack of curiosity is of course completely natural. To ask the question would be to reveal the reason, namely that the consumerism they defend to the hilt is a sick system which creates sick people. One which does not value human life, just wealth and power – when it is not actually spawning a range of zoonotic pathogens via its eco-cidal industrial practices. And yet they still persist in dragging us all down this dark alley to be mugged again by catastrophic climate change and all the diseases of consumerism, from cancer to the next Novel Virus.


The west knows the cost of appeasement. We can’t rule out any option for stopping Putin
22 Feb 2022 12:48
Putin’s warmongering has presented progressive politics with an opportunity for both promoting Western cooperation and cutting CO2 emissions. Both long overdue and inevitable in the long-term.
When Russian gas supplies to Europe end, Western allies should share reserves. It will mean reduced per capita consumption, but this had to happen sooner or later. Now’s as good a time as any to start.
In retrospect, Russian expansionism and its search for new fossil fuel markets in China was always a reaction to Western ‘threats’ to achieve Zero CO2 emissions. Ukraine is a Gas War.
It’s no coincidence that Putin’s declaration of war came the day after the Chinese Olympics ended. As predicted a month ago. So much for the sneering at Western intelligence.
When will certain stuck-in-the-mud elements realise that Iraq was a long time and several satellites ago? And that their energies should be directed to take geo-political advantage of Putin’s madness rather than carping on his behalf..
View discussion


The Stasi Poetry Circle review – East Germany’s unsettling war with words
14 Feb 2022 12:49
In response to WoodWorker2008
Yes it is right.
Neo-feudalist Stalinist Russia used precisely the same methods of oppression as the Spanish Inquisition. See the trial of Galileo for reference.
No charges, just the question ‘Do you know why you are here?’ – As in Room 101.
Socialism is a dynamic model based entirely on cooperation – the fundamental human instinct of Social Reciprocal Altruism which predates all property-based power-structures, and still survived in unspoilt cultures until invasion by industrialised slavery capitalism. (Ask captains Cooke & Blye)

The real objective of Socialism is human brotherhood. This is widely felt to be the case, though it is not usually said, or not said loudly enough. Men use up their lives in heart-breaking political struggles, or get themselves killed in civil wars, or tortured in the secret prisons of the Gestapo, not in order to establish some central-heated, air-conditioned, strip-lighted Paradise, but because they want a world in which human beings love one another instead of swindling and murdering one another.
And they want that world as a first step. Where they go from there is not so certain, and the attempt to foresee it in detail merely confuses the issue.
…Nearly all creators of Utopia have resembled the man who has toothache, and therefore thinks happiness consists in not having toothache. They wanted to produce a perfect society by an endless continuation of something that had only been valuable because it was temporary. The wider course would be to say that there are certain lines along which humanity must move, the grand strategy is mapped out, but detailed prophecy is not our business. Whoever tries to imagine perfection simply reveals his own emptiness. .”

The only deluded ‘creators of Utopia’ are the apologists for modern Consumerism. The deranged toxic cult which has inflicted untold Wars, Plagues and Famines, and is now abut to devastate civilisation.
View discussion

Fat Is the New Famine

The government is proposing that the NHS should be able to carry out stomach surgery on obese children. Why is there so much obesity, and what is it for?
Before technology became as prolifically productive as it is now, one of the main weapons for ennervating the masses was shortage. Up to a certain point, a hungry workforce is a compliant workforce.
But hunger is no longer a viable tool in a world which is not only conspicuously capable of easily feeding everyone adequately, but also relies on consumption to preserve the economic structure. So instead, the masses are made too fat to walk, let alone man the barricades. Fat is the new famine.
So the answer is no, spending NHS money on patching up the casualties of this economic fact of life is pointless and a waste of resources. It cannot succeed and does not address the causes of the terrible disability of consumption.
The Politics of Diet and Obesity

08/08/08 China – The Opera.


No-one was going to be really surprised by the superiority of Chinese orchestration and mass choreography. But this was a production with some style and no cheesiness. Possibly the least laughable Olympic opening ceremony ever. Scary, some might even say.
The scale of the show managed to capture the scale of Chinese history and achievements and be visually stunning and mysterious. The general story being that China invented everything; that it is the senior civilisation, beating the other whippersnappers by thousands of years; and that it achieved all this through constant, ruthless Harmony in the Confucian tradition. No mention of Mao anywhere.
 Militaristic drumming, booful ickle kiddies in red frocks, flourescent flying spirits of the air and earth and fire and the glorious proletariat followed each other through the endless generations of firework-lit Chinese Time. Animism came and went. Buddhism arrived in a flourish of silk. Writing and paper and printing were scrolled out in an epic gleaming claim to global intellectual rights, patents and copyright. After a bizarre burst of Laughing On Command, the dancers lined up obediently behind Men In Black manipulating puppets.. What did that mean? And the depiction of Chinese pioneering navigators (well before anyone else, naturally) with scores of oars flailed by strong men in unison could only trigger one response in anyone who’s ever seen Ben Hur. Slavery, which wasn’t on the agenda at central committee planning. But this is China, slavery of one sort or another was and still is essential to its economy and success.
 There was very little to represent the New Fantasy China of liberty and unfettered exchange across borders, in spite of all the promises. Overall, the message was that China is essentially the same now that it was 5,000 years ago. The same doctrine of Peace and Prosperity through Unity and Harmony. An unconquerable regime built on the most stable of power structures, the pyramid. The constant glorification of the feudal past and its achievements cannot be brushed off as sentimentality, they mean it to continue, but with the help of the modern technologies and financial black magic of Wall Street and Canary Wharf. In return China is offering its political Wisdom of the Ages as a possible future model for the unstable, feverish west. You too can be immortal. All you need is to surrender to ‘Harmony’.
 Orwell once described fascism as adopting from socialism only those aspects which were useful for the purposes of war. Chinese feudalism initially adopted those same aspects, now it chooses to cherry-pick from Consumerism instead.

The Lost Memorials of Giorgianus Bruno

‘The only thing ever officially condemned or banned during the benificent reign of the great leader Themystoclot of Decron was a portrait of himself painted by his ex wife, Desdezine, who he knew was plotting to kill him, and who he hated with such venom that after her sudden, fortuitous death from anthrax at the age of eighteen, he declared a whole year of national holiday, during which time no taxes were paid.
As a civic warning, he mounted her rotting body in lead hoops above the gates of the city for all to see, and made of her brains a delicate stew. This he forced her twelve private advisors and co-conspirators to eat at a great public banquet.
After they all subsequently died of the anthrax, their corpses were cremated and the ashes baked into the lining bricks for the new public latrines in the city square.
The perverse result of these acts of spite was the idolisation of Desdezine in the public memory as the cause of both the year without taxes, and the eradication of cholera from the city, which had been a regular visitor until Themystoclot’s sanitary works were completed.
Within two generations the adoration of Desdezine had grown beyond that of the ancient gods of Decron, and its priests held all power in the land. Worshippers held a meniscial sacrifice of pigs, whose blood was poured into the latrines in a ritual cleansing. Thereafter, the pig became generically associated with Themystoclot. until eventually the original Gallian ‘dsem’ (pig) became corrupted to ‘them’, which remained the word in usage until swine were cleansed from the land by the Moorish covenant.
Other than this indignity, the king’s name and works were utterly forgotten. This was the immortality granted to Themystoclot by his grateful subjects for his benign rule.
Of the painting nothing more is known.’

‘We Come Along on Saturday Morning.’

‘We Come Along on Saturday Morning.’

Or as we used to sing at the tops of our voices:

‘We come along on Saturday morning
Greeting everybody with a smile.
We come along on Saturday morning
Knowing it’s well worth while.

As members of The Odeon Club we all intend to be
Good citizens when we grow up and Champions of the Free!

We come along on Saturday morning
Greeting everybody with a smile.
Greeting everybody with a smile.

And then settle down to a morning of combined cowboys and horseplay and tribal score-settling. The crew from Copperworks and New Dock always vastly out-muscled anything we could produce. And Felinfoel was itself a divided force anyway, so there was no real hope but camouflage for the few of us who used to make the trip from Llethri Road.

After the anthem of the Odeon Saturday Cinema club, the programme began. Cartoons, comedy short, serial, feature. Popeye, Woody Woodpecker or Loony Tunes; Three Stooges, Laurel & Hardy; Roy Rogers, Gene Autrey or Buck Rogers; British or Canadian Film Foundation lack and white or Disney colour melodrama. Often involving a dog. Everything flickering through a storm of chatter and fighting and shouts at the movie and at opponents above, behind and in front, all bombarding each other with missiles of some kind, especially in ‘the talking’. ‘What was the picture like?’ –  ‘All talking..’.
We survived. And if we were careful, we could hide until the first matinee started, watch it for free, and stagger out into the mid-afternoon blinking like owls.
The Odeon in Llanelli was the grandest of the five cinemas still operating at the time: The Regal, Palace, Hippodrome (‘Haggers’) and The Llanelly Cinema had all closed by the mid ’70’s, but I haunted them all.

The greatest binge of all was the Hippodrome’s cheap summer season of 1962. Someone at ‘Hagger’s’ had got a bulk deal and was putting on four double bills a week, changing on Wednesdays. Including my regular Saturday movie, I must has seen over twenty movies in four weeks, including William Castle’s 1960 cult 3D micro-classic ‘13 Ghosts’, with an introduction by a solemn professor behind a desk who instructed us how to use the 3D specs to see ghosts in dark rooms, The results from our primitive, unlit primary school toilets were inconclusive.

From ‘The Man Who Lived In A Haystack.

‘DIGITAL TV CHOICE’ (Tribune 1999)

“The fastest generation of technological change since fire.” is how Alan McCulloch of Saatchi & Saatchi described the imminent explosion in digital communications. Richard Eyre’s “communicopia” of choice will be an empowering force for consumers, enabling them to create their own virtual TV channels, with all their favourite viewing stored ready for use whenever needed. With the marriage of delivery systems and content offered by internet convergence, ‘sit back’, one-way TV will end. People will watch what they want to watch.
Increasing numbers of media industry representatives are also predicting that the technology will soon be available to enable viewers to abolish advertising from personal schedules. They also predict that we will not be allowed to use it.
The feasibility of this ‘time-shifting’ technology is not seriously in question: “Within 2 – 3 years, using a ‘Q-Dot’ or similar recognition system.” says Nick Thomas of Bell Pottinger Good Relations (PR to Phillips electronics.)

It is very likely that in 5-7 years advanced TV systems will include time-shifting systems.” says Mike Kroll, principal researcher in multi-media and networking at the BBC’s Bletchley Park-style research unit at Kingswood Warren in Surrey.

However, its implementation is in doubt. Ray Kelly, chair of the media policy group for the Institute for Practitioners in Advertising, injects the first note of caution:
“It should worry advertisers, but they’re not aware of the technology.”
After being made aware, David Sanderson, director of digital sales at Carlton Digital admitted that with enough take-up, ‘time-shifting’ or ‘AdZAp’ systems “could represent a major disaster, with a downward spiral in advertising revenues.” The industry would therefore “lobby very hard to prevent such a thing from happening.” After all, there would be “little justification for the industry to allow a technology which would put them out of business.”
Roy Addison of Pearson was another who didn’t believe it was “in the industry’s interests to alert the public to such a function.” From promises of limitless bounty to threats of product suppression in three easy accounting stages. In the name of free market ‘Individual Choice’ – real choice for real individuals – will be compromised. So new?
The Adam Smith Institute was also baffled.
That’s quite a ‘Catch 22’” admitted their press office. Adding “The technology is almost killing itself.” The A.S.I. would certainly condemn any industry restrictions on ‘AdZAp’ as a restriction of choice, but still stuck to its principles that:
a) What’s good for industry is good for the people.
b) Industry must be allowed to defend its interests.
To add to this chaos, the argument is also re-emerging that commercials are a sort of public service. As well as being entertaining and pretty, they are also informational and educational. Mmm! Delicious AND Nutritious! “People like advertising” and “The public are too apathetic to bother creating their own schedules” I was repeatedly assured. See that Royle Family? That’s you that is.
Even more insulting, watching TV advertising is almost promoted as a civic duty. Because it promotes consumer spending, TV advertising plays a vital cohesive role in our society. Suppressing its dissemination therefore threatens the general good, and must be opposed. In the Middle Ages we had compulsory church attendance, now we have Pot Noodles.
Another defence is the ‘Right of commercial free speech’ recently cited by the advertising industry in its losing battle with the Swedish decision to ban advertising to kids.
So who would want to upset this delicate socio/economic balance by using an ‘AdZAp’ system? How would any manufacturer find a market for such a thing? By calling Alan McCulloch for a start. “I would certainly like one.” he whispered before urging the industry to adapt in order to survive. “TV advertising has to become more interactive. The agencies are failing to create new forms. Their heads are still stuck up their arses doing TV ads.”
In practice this includes abandoning the linear cinematic commercial for the computer game format. ‘Adgames’ could last as long as the player played, and could offer rewards in the form of bonus points or star prizes. The best ads would be the best games, and the ultimate game would be the one which replaced programming entirely. Which solves the problem of influencing children, but what of discriminating viewers such as Mr. McCulloch, who sees “the clever techniques used to influence children” at first hand and therefore appreciates the “very strong case for restricting children’s advertising.”?
And what of the Consumer Society agnostics? The ones who caused all that fuss in Seattle. How will they be prevented from getting the TV they want?
Amid the confusion two things are absolutely clear. Firstly, future TiVo systems and internet bandwidths will make independence from corporate TV scheduling achievable to those who want it. And secondly: if fire has indeed been rediscovered then we must play with it. The woolly mammoths of the media industry would rather we stayed shivering in our caves, but this is just as unlikely now as it was the first time around.
In future the media industry will have to cater for an audience which increasingly knows what it wants, and which has the technology to get it. Java based Software plug-ins such as AdZap will be available (probably free) via the internet, downloading them to your home terminal will be the work of a few minutes, and once there they will work invisibly to remove advertising, or any other definable content. And let’s face it, who would miss it? Then who would pay for it? And how would the companies which depend on it survive? Survival for the BBC seems a simple matter of charging the world to see its back catalogue on the internet, and abolishing the licence fee. But for commercial TV, the future is more problematic.
It would seem that the industry is faced with as many threats as opportunities. It will also have to deal on level terms with human emotions which until now it has merely exploited. Consumers will be aware of the power at their disposal, and very aware of when it is denied them.
In this new buyer’s market for tv, suckers will become clients, with corresponding expectations of service. The one-way, intrusive TV commercial – cheeky monkeys, supermodels, soap-opera plots and all – looks doomed in a market which doesn’t want its’ films interrupted every twenty minutes by images of supermodels in flourescent underwear. The difficulty is that the evangelists of the free market, those who think the BBC is ‘pure socialism’, may find the consequences of a genuinely free market in TV too much to allow. Amid the blur of the digital revolution, some things never change. If Tony Blair wants to ‘root out reactonary elements’, he should look no further than his new friends in the media industry.

Addendum. 23/10/08
‘Will Ad-Skipping Kill Television?’ 


In every newspaper and website the political squabbling drags on, and two words are largely guilty of miring it in the muck. The terms ‘left’ and ‘right’ are infamously the most meaningless terms in the universe. They refer to nothing but themselves, and anything else they describe becomes as meaningless. This makes them supremely unsuitable as political language, where clarity is critical.
Almost any terms are clearer than ‘left’ and ‘right’. Which only serve to prevent clear political analysis. Nobody can explain the difference between their ‘left’ and ‘right’ hands, let alone political ideas which breed and mutate like viruses in Consumerism. Not to mention the millennia of emotive associations which they have acquired, since the Last Supper – at least. ‘Left’ and Right’ are as political useless as ‘Up’ and ‘Down’ in outer space.
They are useful merely as names for the two ends of a false, bilaterally-symmetrical spectrum. One which conveniently equates fascism with socialism.
But politics is not symmetrical. ‘Reactionary’ and ‘Progressive’ are at least real words which make an attempt at description.
It is possible for political debate to focus on the real political divide between  ‘progressive’ and ‘reactionary’ values. The line is still fairly clear between those who believe in the distribution of power and wealth, and those who believe in its centralisation. Between equality and privilege. By these relatively objective standards,  ‘Left’ and ‘right’ are pure gibberish. A childish anthropomorphic fantasy of a political world which can be balanced symmetrically in either hand. In which fascism is conveniently just the same as socialism, and Stalin is a socialist. The origins of the terms in the French Revolution have been blurred by the requirement that socialism and fascism be depicted as embodying the same values, dedicated to the same goals. The effects if this delusion are everywhere from the pages of the Telegraph to the humblest blog.
As a species, we do like symmetry, especially when it revolves around us. The medieval geocentric universe reflected this need, and just like the  ‘Left – Right’ political model, was obsolete, absurd, misleading and a shackle on free thought and discussion.
It is merely co-incidental, I suppose, that ‘Right’ also happens to mean ‘correct’. Its disciples are literally more adroit. And that ‘left’ is sinister, gauche, and very wrong. The direction of the Damned in all Christian iconography. Christ sits on God’s Right Hand. Judas sat on Christ’s left. The penitent thief was crucified on Christ’s right hand – looking at him, that is. And Christ’s head inclines to his right, in blessing of the direction.
So even the argument that symmetry = objectivity does not hold water. Belief in the desirability of the egalitarian possibilities of technological advance is demonised; whereas the morbid, neurotic need to use the past as validation for an existing hierarchy is made normal.
At times like these, we should know what the words we use mean and do.

See other negative associations:
‘left behind’. ‘left-over’.

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Useful Orwell Perspectives

Neglected Orwell passages for the connoisseur.
(Extracts given titles which seemed appropriate.)

‘Most of the dangers that I have outlined existed and were foreseeable long before the atomic bomb was invented. The only way of avoiding them that I can imagine is to present somewhere or other, on a large scale, the spectacle of a community where people are relatively free and happy and where the main motive in life is not the pursuit of money or power. In other words, democratic Socialism must be made to work throughout some large area. But the only area in which it could conceivably be made to work, in any near future, is Western Europe. Apart from Australia and New Zealand, the tradition of democratic Socialism can only be said to exist — even there it only exists precariously — in Scandinavia, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, the Low Countries, France, Britain, Spain, and Italy.
Only in those countries are there still large numbers of people to whom the word ‘Socialism’ has some appeal, and for whom it is bound up with liberty, equality, and internationalism. Elsewhere it either has no foot-hold or it means something different. In North America the masses are contented with capitalism, and one cannot tell what turn they will take when capitalism begins to collapse. In the U.S.S.R. there prevails a sort of oligarchical collectivism which could only develop into democratic Socialism against the will of the ruling minority. Into Asia even the word ‘Socialism’ has barely penetrated. The Asiatic nationalist movements are either Fascist in character, or look towards Moscow, or manage to combine both attitudes: and at present all movements among the coloured peoples are tinged by racial mysticism. In most of South America the position is essentially similar, so is it in Africa and the Middle East.
Socialism does not exist anywhere, but even as an idea it is at present valid only in Europe. Of course, Socialism cannot properly be said to be established until it is world-wide, but the process must begin somewhere, and I cannot imagine it beginning except through the federation of the western European states, transformed into Socialist republics without colonial dependencies. Therefore a Socialist United States of Europe seems to me the only worth-while political objective today.
Such a federation would contain about 250 million people, including perhaps half the skilled industrial workers of the world. I do not need to be told that the difficulties of bringing any such thing into being are enormous and terrifying, and I will list some of them in a moment. But we ought not to feel that it is of its nature impossible, or that countries so different from one another would not voluntarily unite. A western European union is in itself a less improbable concatenation than the Soviet Union or the British Empire.’


Brexit Echoes.
“…So also with the Poles. The thing that most depressed me in the above-mentioned conversation was the recurrent phrase, ‘let them go back to their own country’. If I had said to those two businessmen, ‘Most of these people have no country to go back to’, they would have gaped. Not one of the relevant facts would have been known to them. They would never have heard of the various things that have happened to Poland since 1939, any more than they would have known that the over-population of Britain is a fallacy or that local unemployment can coexist with a general shortage of labour.
I think it is a mistake to give such people the excuse of ignorance. You can’t actually change their feelings, but you can make them understand what they are saying when they demand that homeless refugees shall be driven from our shores, and the knowledge may make them a little less actively malignant.”

“The fact is that there is strong popular feeling in this country against foreign immigration. It arises from simple xenophobia, partly from fear of undercutting in wages, but above all from the out-of-date notion that Britain is overpopulated and that more population means more unemployment.”

“In the end it is doubtful whether we can solve our problems without encouraging immigration from Europe. In a tentative way the Government has already tried to do this, only to be met by ignorant hostility, because the public has not been told the relevant facts beforehand. So also with countless other unpopular things that will have to be done from time to time.”
But the most necessary step is not to prepare public opinion for particular emergencies, but to raise the general level of political understanding: above all, to drive home the fact, which has never been properly grasped, that British prosperity depends largely on factors outside Britain.”


” The thing that is common to all these people…is their refusal to believe that human society can be fundamentally improved. Man is non-perfectible, merely political changes can effect nothing, progress is an illusion. The connexion between this belief and political reaction is, of course, obvious. Other-worldliness is the best alibi a rich man can have. ‘Men cannot be made better by act of Parliament; therefore I may as well go on drawing my dividends.’
No one puts it quite so coarsely as that, but the thought of all these people is along those lines: even of those who, like Michael Roberts and Hulme himself, admit that a little, just a little, improvement in earthly society may be thinkable.
The danger of ignoring the neo-pessimists lies in the fact that up to a point they are right. So long as one thinks in short periods it is wise not to be hopeful about the future. Plans for human betterment do normally come unstuck, and the pessimist has many more opportunities of saying ‘I told you so’ than the optimist. By and large the prophets of doom have been righter than those who imagined that a real step forward would be achieved by universal education, female suffrage, the League of Nations, or what not.
The real answer is to dissociate Socialism from Utopianism. Nearly all neo-pessimist apologetics consist in putting up a man of straw and knocking him down again. The man of straw is called Human Perfectibility. Socialists are accused of believing that society can be—and indeed, after the establishment of Socialism, will be—completely perfect; also that progress is inevitable. Debunking such beliefs is money for jam, of course.
The answer, which ought to be uttered more loudly than it usually is, is that Socialism is not perfectionist, perhaps not even hedonistic. Socialists don’t claim to be able to make the world perfect: they claim to be able to make it better. And any thinking Socialist will concede to the Catholic that when economic injustice has been righted, the fundamental problem of man’s place in the universe will still remain. But what the Socialist does claim is that that problem cannot be dealt with while the average human being’s preoccupations are necessarily economic. It is all summed up in Marx’s saying that after Socialism has arrived, human history can begin. Meanwhile the neo-pessimists are there, well entrenched in the press of every country in the world, and they have more influence and make more converts among the young than we sometimes care to admit.


Understanding Hitler
‘It is a sign of the speed at which events are moving that Hurst and Blackett’s unexpurgated edition of Mein Kampf, published only a year ago, is edited from a pro-Hitler angle. The obvious intention of the translator’s preface and notes is to tone down the book’s ferocity and present Hitler in as kindly a light as possible. For at that date Hitler was still respectable. He had crushed the German labour movement, and for that the property-owning classes were willing to forgive him almost anything. Both Left and Right concurred in the very shallow notion that National Socialism was merely a version of Conservatism.
Then suddenly it turned out that Hitler was not respectable after all. As one result of this, Hurst and Blackett’s edition was reissued in a new jacket explaining that all profits would be devoted to the Red Cross. Nevertheless, simply on the internal evidence of Mein Kampf, it is difficult to believe that any real change has taken place in Hitler’s aims and opinions. When one compares his utterances of a year or so ago with those made fifteen years earlier, a thing that strikes one is the rigidity of his mind, the way in which his world-view doesn’t develop. It is the fixed vision of a monomaniac and not likely to be much affected by the temporary manoeuvres of power politics. Probably, in Hitler’s own mind, the Russo-German Pact represents no more than an alteration of time-table. The plan laid down in Mein Kampf was to smash Russia first, with the implied intention of smashing England afterwards.
Now, as it has turned out, England has got to be dealt with first, because Russia was the more easily bribed of the two. But Russia’s turn will come when England is out of the picture – that, no doubt, is how Hitler sees it. Whether it will turn out that way is of course a different question.
Suppose that Hitler’s programme could be put into effect. What he envisages, a hundred years hence, is a continuous state of 250 million Germans with plenty of “living room” (i.e. stretching to Afghanistan or thereabouts), a horrible brainless empire in which, essentially, nothing ever happens except the training of young men for war and the endless breeding of fresh cannon-fodder. How was it that he was able to put this monstrous vision across? It is easy to say that at one stage of his career he was financed by the heavy industrialists who saw in him the man who would smash the Socialists and Communists. They would not have backed him, however if he had not talked a great movement into existence already. Again, the situation in Germany, with its seven million unemployed, was obviously favourable for demagogues. But Hitler could not have succeeded against his many rivals if it had not been for the attraction of his own personality, which one can feel even in the clumsy writing of Mein Kampf, and which is no doubt overwhelming when one hears his speeches .[passage below cut from online versions. Published in CELJ 1968]
I should like to put it on record that I have never been able to dislike Hitler. Ever since he came to power – until then, like nearly everyone, I had been deceived into thinking that he did not matter – I have reflected that I would certainly kill him if I could get within reach of him, but that I could feel no personal animosity.
Available on BBC
“The fact is that there is something deeply appealing about him. One feels it again when one sees his photographs – and I recommend especially the photograph at the beginning of Hurst and Blackett’s edition which shows Hitler in his early Brownshirt days. It is a pathetic, dog-like face, the face of a man suffering under intolerable wrongs. In a rather more manly way it reproduces the expression of innumerable pictures of Christ crucified, and there is little doubt that that is how Hitler sees himself.
The initial, personal cause of his grievance against the universe can only be guessed at; but at any rate the grievance is here. He is the martyr, the victim, Prometheus chained to the rock, the self-sacrificing hero who fights single-handed against impossible odds. If he were killing a mouse he would know how to make it seem like a dragon. One feels, as with Napoleon, that he is fighting against destiny, that he can’t win, and yet that he somehow deserves to. The attraction of such a pose is of course enormous; half the films that one sees turn upon some such theme.
Also he has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all “progressive” thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security and avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues. The Socialist who finds his children playing with soldiers is usually upset, but he is never able to think of a substitute for the tin soldiers: tin pacifists somehow won’t do. Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flags and loyalty-parades. However they may be as economic theories, Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life.
The same is probably true of Stalin’s militarised version of Socialism. All three of the great dictators have enhanced their power by imposing intolerable burdens on their peoples.
Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a more grudging way, have said to people “I offer you a good time,” Hitler has said to them ” I offer you struggle, danger and death,” and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet. Perhaps later on they will get sick of it and change their minds, as at the end of the last war. After a few years of slaughter and starvation ” Greatest happiness of the greatest number ” is a good slogan, but at this moment “Better an end with horror than a horror without end” is a winner. Now that we are fighting against the man who coined it, we ought not to underrate its emotional appeal.”
Review of Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler (1940)


Notes on Nationalism

“Nationalism, in the extended sense in which I am using the word, includes such movements and tendencies as Communism, political Catholicism, Zionism, Antisemitism, Trotskyism and Pacifism. It does not necessarily mean loyalty to a government or a country, still less to one’s own country, and it is not even strictly necessary that the units in which it deals should actually exist. To name a few obvious examples, Jewry, Islam, Christendom, the Proletariat and the White Race are all of them objects of passionate nationalistic feeling: but their existence can be seriously questioned, and there is no definition of any one of them that would be universally accepted.
… Probably the truth is discoverable, but the facts will be so dishonestly set forth in almost any newspaper that the ordinary reader can be forgiven either for swallowing lies or failing to form an opinion. The general uncertainty as to what is really happening makes it easier to cling to lunatic beliefs. Since nothing is ever quite proved or disproved, the most unmistakable fact can be impudently denied. Moreover, although endlessly brooding on power, victory, defeat, revenge, the nationalist is often somewhat uninterested in what happens in the real world. What he wants is to feel that his own unit is getting the better of some other unit, and he can more easily do this by scoring off an adversary than by examining the facts to see whether they support him. All nationalist controversy is at the debating-society level. It is always entirely inconclusive, since each contestant invariably believes himself to have won the victory. Some nationalists are not far from schizophrenia, living quite happily amid dreams of power and conquest which have no connexion with the physical world.”

Politics and the English Language.
“As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house…
When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases — bestial, atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder — one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker’s spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them. And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved, as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself. If the speech he is making is one that he is accustomed to make over and over again, he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying, as one is when one utters the responses in church. And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favourable to political conformity.
Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one’s own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase — ‘jackboot’, ‘Achilles’ heel’, ‘hotbed’, ‘melting pot’, ‘acid test’, ‘veritable inferno’, or other lump of verbal refuse — into the dustbin where it belongs.”


Rudyard Kipling
‘But because he identifies himself with the official class, he does possess one thing which ‘enlightened’ people seldom or never possess, and that is a sense of responsibility. The middle-class Left hate him for this quite as much as for his cruelty and vulgarity. All left-wing parties in the highly industrialized countries are at bottom a sham, because they make it their business to fight against something which they do not really wish to destroy. They have internationalist aims, and at the same time they struggle to keep up a standard of life with which those aims are incompatible. We all live by robbing Asiatic coolies, and those of us who are ‘enlightened’ all maintain that those coolies ought to be set free; but our standard of living, and hence our ‘enlightenment’, demands that the robbery shall continue. A humanitarian is always a hypocrite, and Kipling’s understanding of this is perhaps the central secret of his power to create telling phrases. It would be difficult to hit off the one-eyed pacifism of the English in fewer words than in the phrase, ‘making mock of uniforms that guard you while you sleep’. It is true that Kipling does not understand the economic aspect of the relationship between the highbrow and the blimp. He does not see that the map is painted red chiefly in order that the coolie may be exploited. Instead of the coolie he sees the Indian Civil Servant; but even on that plane his grasp of function, of who protects whom, is very sound. He sees clearly that men can only be highly civilized while other men, inevitably less civilized, are there to guard and feed them.’


‘I believe that the B.B.C., in spite of the stupidity of its foreign propaganda and the unbearable voices of its announcers, is very truthful. It is generally regarded here as more reliable than the press.’
London Letter to Partisan Review
London NW8
15 April 1941


IN A LETTER published in this week’s Tribune, someone attacks me rather violently for saying that the B.B.C. is a better source of news than the daily papers, and is so regarded by the public. I have never, he suggests, heard ordinary working men shouting ‘Turn that dope off! ‘when the news bulletin comes on.
On the contrary, I have heard this frequently. Still more frequently I have seen the customers in a pub go straight on with their darts, music and so forth without the slightest slackening of noise when the news bulletin began. But it was not my claim that anyone likes the B.B.C., or thinks it interesting, or grown-up, or democratic, or progressive. I said only that people regard it as a relatively sound source of news. Again and again I have known people, when they see some doubtful item of news, wait to have it confirmed by the radio before they believe it. Social surveys show the same thing—i.e. that as against the radio the prestige of newspapers has declined.
And I repeat what I said before—that in my experience the B.B.C. is relatively truthful and, above all, has a responsible attitude towards news and does not disseminate lies simply because they are ‘newsy’.
Of course, untrue statements are constantly being broadcast and anyone can tell you of instances. But in most cases this is due to genuine error, and the B.B.C. sins much more by simply avoiding anything controversial than by direct propaganda. And after all—a point not met by our correspondent—its reputation abroad is comparatively high. Ask any refugee from Europe which of the belligerent radios is considered to be the most truthful. So also in Asia. Even in India, where the population are so hostile that they will not listen to British propaganda and will hardly listen to a British entertainment programme, they listen to B.B.C. news because they believe that it approximates to the truth.
Even if the B.B.C. passes on the British official lies, it does make some effort to sift the others. Most of the newspapers, for instance, have continued to publish without any query as to their truthfulness the American claims to have sunk the entire Japanese fleet several times over. The B.B.C., to my knowledge, developed quite early on an attitude of suspicion towards this and certain other unreliable sources. On more than one occasion I have known a newspaper to print a piece of news—and news unfavourable to Britain—on no other authority than the German radio, because it was ‘newsy’ and made a good ‘para’.
If you see something obviously untruthful in a newspaper and ring up to ask ‘Where did you get that from?’ you are usually put off with the formula: ‘I’m afraid Mr So-and-So is not in the office.’ If you persist, you generally find that the story has no basis whatever but that it looked like a good bit of news, so in it went. Except where libel is involved, the average journalist is astonished and even contemptuous if anyone bothers about accuracy with regard to names, dates, figures and other details. And any daily journalist will tell you that one of the most important secrets of his trade is the trick of making it appear that there is news when there is no news.
As I Please. Tribune 21 April 1944.


Original Sin
“AN argument that Socialists ought to be prepared to meet, since it is brought up constantly both by Christian apologists and by neo-pessimists such as James Burnham, is the alleged immutability of ‘human nature’.
Socialists are accused—I think without justification—of assuming that Man is perfectible, and it is then pointed out that human history is in fact one long tale of greed, robbery and oppression. Man, it is said, will always try to get the better of his neighbour, he will always hog as much property as possible for himself and his family. Man is of his nature sinful, and cannot be made virtuous by Act of Parliament. Therefore, though economic exploitation can be controlled to some extent, the classless society is for ever impossible.
The proper answer, it seems to me, is that this argument belongs to the Stone Age. It presupposes that material goods will always be desperately scarce. The power hunger of human beings does indeed present a serious problem, but there is no reason for thinking that the greed for mere wealth is a permanent human characteristic.
We are selfish in economic matters because we all live in terror of poverty. But when a commodity is not scarce, no one tries to grab more than his fair share of it. No one tries to make a corner in air, for instance. The millionaire as well as the beggar is content with just so much air as he can breathe. Or, again, water. In this country we are not troubled by lack of water. If anything we have too much of it, especially on Bank Holidays. As a result water hardly enters into our consciousness. Yet in dried-up countries like North Africa, what jealousies, what hatreds, what appalling crimes the lack of water can cause!
So also with any other kind of goods. If they were made plentiful, as they so easily might be, there is no reason to think that the supposed acquisitive instincts of the human being could not be bred out in a couple of generations. And after all, if human nature never changes, why is it that we not only don’t practise cannibalism any longer, but don’t even want to?’


‘For the truth is very simple. To survive you often have to fight, and to fight you have to dirty yourself. War is evil, and it is often the lesser evil. Those who take the sword perish by the sword, and those who don’t take the sword perish by smelly diseases.
The fact that such a platitude is worth writing down shows what the years of rentier capitalism have done to us.’
‘Looking Back on The Spanish War’


Ghandi, Pacifism and the Sanctity of Life
‘Nor did he, like most Western pacifists, specialize in avoiding awkward questions. In relation to the late war, one question that every pacifist had a clear obligation to answer was: “What about the Jews? Are you prepared to see them exterminated? If not, how do you propose to save them without resorting to war?” I must say that I have never heard, from any Western pacifist, an honest answer to this question, though I have heard plenty of evasions, usually of the “you’re another” type. But it so happens that Gandhi was asked a somewhat similar question in 1938 and that his answer is on record in Mr. Louis Fischer’s Gandhi and Stalin. According to Mr. Fischer, Gandhi’s view was that the German Jews ought to commit collective suicide, which “would have aroused the world and the people of Germany to Hitler’s violence.” After the war he justified himself: the Jews had been killed anyway, and might as well have died significantly. One has the impression that this attitude staggered even so warm an admirer as Mr. Fischer, but Gandhi was merely being honest. If you are not prepared to take life, you must often be prepared for lives to be lost in some other way. When, in 1942, he urged non-violent resistance against a Japanese invasion, he was ready to admit that it might cost several million deaths.’
Reflections on Ghandi

‘Nazi theory indeed specifically denies that such a thing as ‘the truth’ exists. There is, for instance, no such thing as ‘Science’. There is only ‘German Science’, ‘Jewish Science’, etc. The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, ‘It never happened’ — well, it never happened. If he says that two and two are five — well, two and two are five. This prospect frightens me much more than bombs — and after our experiences of the last few years that is not a frivolous statement.’

“Somewhere or other—I think it is in the preface to Saint Joan—Bernard Shaw remarks that we are more gullible and superstitious today than we were in the Middle Ages, and as an example of modern credulity he cites the widespread belief that the earth is round. The average man, says Shaw, can advance not a single reason for thinking that the earth is round. He merely swallows this theory because there is something about it that appeals to the twentieth-century mentality.
Now, Shaw is exaggerating, but there is something in what he says, and the question is worth following up, for the sake of the light it throws on modern knowledge. Just why do we believe that the earth is round? I am not speaking of the few thousand astronomers, geographers and so forth who could give ocular proof, or have a theoretical knowledge of the proof, but of the ordinary newspaper-reading citizen, such as you or me.
As for the Flat Earth theory, I believe I could refute it. If you stand by the seashore on a clear day, you can see the masts and funnels of invisible ships passing along the horizons. This phenomenon can only be explained by assuming that the earth’s surface is curved. But it does not follow that the earth is spherical. Imagine another theory called the Oval Earth theory, which claims that the earth is shaped like an egg. What can I say against it?
Against the Oval Earth man, the first card I can play is the analogy of the sun and moon. The Oval Earth man promptly answers that I don’t know, by my own observation, that those bodies are spherical. I only know that they are round, and they may perfectly well be flat discs. I have no answer to that one. Besides, he goes on, what reason have I for thinking that the earth must be the same shape as the sun and moon? I can’t answer that one either.
My second card is the earth’s shadow: when cast on the moon during eclipses, it appears to be the shadow of a round object. But how do I know, demands the Oval Earth man, that eclipses of the moon are caused by the shadow of the earth? The answer is that I don’t know, but have taken this piece of information blindly from newspaper articles and science booklets.
Defeated in the minor exchanges, I now play my queen of trumps: the opinion of the experts. The Astronomer Royal, who ought to know, tells me that the earth is round. The Oval Earth man covers the queen with his king. Have I tested the Astronomer Royal’s statement, and would I even know a way of testing it? Here I bring out my ace. Yes, I do know one test. The astronomers can foretell eclipses, and this suggests that their opinions about the solar system are pretty sound. I am therefore justified in accepting their say-so about the shape of the earth.
If the Oval Earth man answers—what I believe is true—that the ancient Egyptians, who thought the sun goes round the earth, could also predict eclipses, then bang goes my ace. I have only one card left: navigation. People can sail ships round the world, and reach the places they aim at, by calculations which assume that the earth is spherical. I believe that finishes the Oval Earth man, though even then he may possibly have some kind of counter.
It will be seen that my reasons for thinking that the earth is round are rather precarious ones. Yet this is an exceptionally elementary piece of information. On most other questions I should have to fall back on the expert much earlier, and would be less able to test his pronouncements. And much the greater part of our knowledge is at this level. It does not rest on reasoning or on experiment, but on authority. And how can it be otherwise, when the range of knowledge is so vast that the expert himself is an ignoramus as soon as he strays away from his own speciality? Most people, if asked to prove that the earth is round, would not even bother to produce the rather weak arguments I have outlined above. They would start off by saying that ’everyone knows’ the earth to be round, and if pressed further, would become angry. In a way Shaw is right. This is a credulous age, and the burden of knowledge which we now have to carry is partly responsible.
As I Please


Another thing I am against in advance—for it is bound to be suggested sooner or later—is the complete scrapping of our present system of weights and measures.
Obviously you have got to have the metric system for certain purposes. For scientific work it has long been in use, and it is also needed for tools and machinery, especially if you want to export them. But there is a strong case for keeping on the old measurements for use in everyday life. One reason is that the metric system does not possess, or has not succeeded in establishing, a large number of units that can be visualized. There is, for instance, effectively no unit between the metre, which is more than a yard, and the centimetre, which is less than half an inch. In English you can describe someone as being five feet three inches high, or five feet nine inches, or six feet one inch, and your bearer will know fairly accurately what you mean. But I have never heard a Frenchman say, ‘He is a hundred and forty-two centimetres high’; it would not convey any visual image. So also with the various other measurements. Rods and acres, pints, quarts and gallons, pounds, stones and hundredweights, are all of them units with which we are intimately familiar, and we should be slightly poorer without them. Actually, in countries where the metric system is in force a few of the old measurements tend to linger on for everyday purposes, although officially discouraged.
There is also the literary consideration, which cannot be left quite out of account. The names of the units in the old system are short homely words which lend themselves to vigorous speech. Putting a quart into a pint pot is a good image, which could hardly be expressed in the metric system. Also, the literature of the past deals only in the old measurements, and many passages would become an irritation if one had to do a sum in arithmetic when one read them, as one does with those tiresome verses in a Russian novel.

The emmet’s inch and eagle’s mile
Make lame philosophy to smile:

fancy having to turn that into millimetres!
As I Please


The Delusion of Individual Freedom under Totalitarianism
“The fallacy is to believe that under a dictatorial government you can be free inside. Quite a number of people console themselves with this thought, now that totalitarianism in one form or another is visibly on the up-grade in every part of the world. Out in the street the loudspeakers bellow, the flags flutter from the rooftops, the police with their tommy-guns prowl to and fro, the face of the Leader, four feet wide, glares from every hoarding; but up in the attics the secret enemies of the regime can record their thoughts in perfect freedom — that is the idea, more or less. And many people are under the impression that this is going on now in Germany and other dictatorial countries.
Why is this idea false? I pass over the fact that modern dictatorships don’t, in fact, leave the loopholes that the old-fashioned despotisms did; and also the probable weakening of the desire for intellectual liberty owing to totalitarian methods of education. The greatest mistake is to imagine that the human being is an autonomous individual. The secret freedom which you can supposedly enjoy under a despotic government is nonsense, because your thoughts are never entirely your own. Philosophers, writers, artists, even scientists, not only need encouragement and an audience, they need constant stimulation from other people. It is almost impossible to think without talking. If Defoe had really lived on a desert island, he could not have written Robinson Crusoe, nor would he have wanted to. Take away freedom of speech, and the creative faculties dry up. Had the Germans really got to England my acquaintance of the Cafe Royal would soon have found his painting deteriorating, even if the Gestapo had let him alone. And when the lid is taken off Europe, I believe one of the things that will surprise us will be to find how little worthwhile writing of any kind — even such things as diaries, for instance — has been produced in secret under the dictators.”
As I Please


The Absurdity of War.
‘ It is commonly assumed that what human beings want is to be comfortable. Well, we now have it in our power to be comfortable, as our ancestors had not. Nature may occasionally hit back with an earthquake or a cyclone, but by and large she is beaten. And yet exactly at the moment when there is, or could be, plenty of everything for everybody, nearly our whole energies have to be taken up in trying to grab territories, markets and raw materials from one another. Exactly at the moment when wealth might be so generally diffused that no government need fear serious opposition, political liberty is declared to be impossible and half the world is ruled by secret police forces. Exactly at the moment when superstition crumbles and a rational attitude towards the universe becomes feasible, the right to think one’s own thoughts is denied as never before. The fact is that human beings only started fighting one another in earnest when there was no longer anything to fight about. ‘
‘As I Please’ 29/11/1946.


Marx and Christ.
“…the claim that ‘there is nothing new under the sun’ is one of the stock arguments of intelligent reactionaries. Catholic apologists, in particular, use it almost automatically. Everything that you can say or think has been said or thought before. Every political theory from Liberalism to Trotskyism can be shown to be a development of some heresy in the early Church. Every system of philosophy springs ultimately from the Greeks. Every scientific theory (if we are to believe the popular Catholic press) was anticipated by Roger Bacon and others in the thirteenth century. Some Hindu thinkers go even further and claim that not merely the scientific theories, but the products of applied science as well, aeroplanes, radio and the whole bag of tricks, were known to the ancient Hindus, who afterwards dropped them as being unworthy of their attention.
It is not very difficult to see that this idea is rooted in the fear of progress. If there is nothing new under the sun, if the past in some shape or another always returns, then the future when it comes will be something familiar. At any rate what will never come—since it has never come before—is that hated, dreaded thing, a world of free and equal human beings. Particularly comforting to reactionary thinkers is the idea of a cyclical universe, in which the same chain of events happens over and over again. In such a universe every seeming advance towards democracy simply means that the coming age of tyranny and privilege is a bit nearer. This belief, obviously superstitious though it is, is widely held nowadays, and is common among Fascists and near-Fascists.
In fact, there are new ideas. The idea that an advanced civilization need not rest on slavery is a relatively new idea, for instance: it is a good deal younger than the Christian religion. But even if Chesterton’s dictum were true, it would only be true in the sense that a statue is contained in every block of stone. Ideas may not change, but emphasis shifts constantly. It could be claimed, for example, that the most important part of Marx’s theory is contained in the saying: ‘Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ But before Marx developed it, what force had that saying had? Who had paid any attention to it? Who had inferred from it—what it certainly implies—that laws, religions and moral codes are all a superstructure built over existing property relations? It was Christ, according to the Gospel, who uttered the text, but it was Marx who brought it to life. And ever since he did so the motives of politicians, priests, judges, moralists and millionaires have been under the deepest suspicion—which, of course, is why they hate him so.
As I Please. 25 February 1944


‘Why Socialists Don’t believe in Fun’ (1943)’
‘I suggest that the real objective of Socialism is not happiness. Happiness hitherto has been a by-product, and for all we know it may always remain so. The real objective of Socialism is human brotherhood. This is widely felt to be the case, though it is not usually said, or not said loudly enough. Men use up their lives in heart-breaking political struggles, or get themselves killed in civil wars, or tortured in the secret prisons of the Gestapo, not in order to establish some central-heated, air-conditioned, strip-lighted Paradise, but because they want a world in which human beings love one another instead of swindling and murdering one another. And they want that world as a first step. Where they go from there is not so certain, and the attempt to foresee it in detail merely confuses the issue.
…Nearly all creators of Utopia have resembled the man who has toothache, and therefore thinks happiness consists in not having toothache. They wanted to produce a perfect society by an endless continuation of something that had only been valuable because it was temporary. The wider course would be to say that there are certain lines along which humanity must move, the grand strategy is mapped out, but detailed prophecy is not our business. Whoever tries to imagine perfection simply reveals his own emptiness. This is the case even with a great writer like Swift, who can flay a bishop or a politician so neatly, but who, when he tries to create a superman, merely leaves one with the impression the very last he can have intended that the stinking Yahoos had in them more possibility of development than the enlightened Houyhnhnms.”


Via Orwell..
Notebooks of Samuel Butler. ‘Style’

‘I never knew a writer yet who took the smallest pains with his style and was at the same time readable. Plato’s having had seventy shies at one sentence is quite enough to explain to me why I dislike him. A man may, and ought to take a great deal of pains to write clearly, tersely and euphemistically: he will write many a sentence three or four times over—to do much more than this is worse than not rewriting at all: he will be at great pains to see that he does not repeat himself, to arrange his matter in the way that shall best enable the reader to master it, to cut out superfluous words and, even more, to eschew irrelevant matter: but in each case he will be thinking not of his own style but of his reader’s convenience.’


Yeats. (Astrology & Fascism)
‘How do Yeat’s political ideas link up with his leaning towards occultism? It is not clear at first glance why hatred of democracy and a tendency to believe in crystal-gazing should go together. Mr Menon only discusses this rather shortly, but it is possible to make two guesses. To begin with, the theory that civilisation moves in recurring cycles is one way out for people who hate the concept of human equality. If it is true that “all this”, or something like it, “has happened before”, then science and the modern world are debunked at one stroke and progress becomes for ever impossible. It does not much matter if the lower orders are getting above themselves, for, after all, we shall soon be returning to an age of tyranny. Yeats is by no means alone in this outlook. If the universe is moving round on a wheel, the future must be foreseeable, perhaps even in some detail. It is merely a question of discovering the laws of its motion, as the early astronomers discovered the solar year. Believe that, and it becomes difficult not to believe in astrology or some similar system. A year before the war, examining a copy of Gringoire, the French Fascist weekly, much read by army officers, I found in it no less than thirty-eight advertisements of clairvoyants. Secondly, the very concept of occultism carries with it the idea that knowledge must be a secret thing, limited to a small circle of initiates. But the same idea is integral to Fascism. Those who dread the prospect of universal suffrage, popular education, freedom of thought, emancipation of women, will start off with a predilection towards secret cults. There is another link between Fascism and magic in the profound hostility of both to the Christian ethical code.’


Swift Anarchism & Orthodoxy
‘Part IV of Gulliver’s Travels is a picture of an anarchistic Society, not governed by law in the ordinary sense, but by the dictates of ‘Reason’, which arc voluntarily accepted by everyone. The General Assembly of the Houyhnhnms ‘exhorts’ Gulliver’s master to get rid of him, and his neighbours put pressure on him to make him comply. Two reasons are given. One is that the presence of this unusual Yahoo may unsettle the rest of the tribe, and the other is that a friendly relationship between a Houyhnhnm and a Yahoo is ‘not agreeable to Reason or Nature, or a Thing ever heard of before among them’. Gulliver’s master is somewhat unwilling to obey, but the ‘exhortation’ (a Houyhnhnm, we are told, is never compelledto do anything, he is merely ‘exhorted’ or ‘advised’) cannot be disregarded. This illustrates very well the totalitarian tendency which is explicit in the anarchist or pacifist vision of Society. In a Society in which there is no law, and in theory no compulsion, the only arbiter of behaviour is public opinion. But public opinion, because of the tremendous urge to conformity in gregarious animals, is less tolerant than any system of law. When human beings are governed by ‘thou shalt not’, the individual can practise a certain amount of eccentricity: when they are supposedly governed by ‘love’ or ‘reason’, he is under continuous pressure to make him behave and think in exactly the same way as everyone else.
Politics Versus Literature.


Clive James on Orwell
‘Political language – and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists – is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.’ But you guessed straight away: George Orwell. The subject stated up front, the sudden acceleration from the scope-widening parenthesis into the piercing argument that follows, the way the obvious opposition between ‘lies’ and ‘truthful’ leads into the shockingly abrupt coupling of ‘murder’ and ‘respectable’, the elegant, reverse-written coda clinched with a dirt-common epithet, the whole easy-seeming poise and compact drive of it, a world view compressed to the size of a motto from a fortune cookie, demanding to be read out and sayable in a single breath..”


Socialism, Capitalism and Fascism
‘What this war has demonstrated is that private capitalism – that is, an economic system in which land, factories, mines and transport are owned privately and operated solely for profit – does not work. It cannot deliver the goods. This fact had been known to millions of people for years past, but nothing ever came of it, because there was no real urge from below to alter the system, and those at the top had trained themselves to be impenetrably stupid on just this point. Argument and propaganda got one nowhere. The lords of property simply sat on their bottoms and proclaimed that all was for the best. Hitler’s conquest of Europe, however, was a physical debunking of capitalism. War, for all its evil, is at any rate an unanswerable test of strength, like a try-your-grip machine. Great strength returns the penny, and there is no way of faking the result.
When the nautical screw was first invented, there was a controversy that lasted for years as to whether screw-steamers or paddle-steamers were better. The paddle-steamers, like all obsolete things, had their champions, who supported them by ingenious arguments. Finally, however, a distinguished admiral tied a screw-steamer and a paddle-steamer of equal horsepower stern to stern and set their engines running. That settled the question once and for all. And it was something similar that happened on the fields of Norway and of Flanders. Once and for all it was proved that a planned economy is stronger than a planless one. But it is necessary here to give some kind of definition to those much-abused words, Socialism and Fascism.
Socialism is usually defined as ‘common ownership of the means of production’. Crudely: the State, representing the whole nation, owns everything, and everyone is a State employee. This does not mean that people are stripped of private possessions such as clothes and furniture, but it does mean that all productive goods, such as land, mines, ships and machinery, are the property of the State. The State is the sole large-scale producer. It is not certain that Socialism is in all ways superior to capitalism, but it is certain that, unlike capitalism, it can solve the problems of production and consumption. At normal times a capitalist economy can never consume all that it produces, so that there is always a wasted surplus (wheat burned in furnaces, herrings dumped back into the sea etc. etc.) and always unemployment. In time of war, on the other hand, it has difficulty in producing all that it needs, because nothing is produced unless someone sees his way to making a profit out of it.
In a Socialist economy these problems do not exist. The State simply calculates what goods will be needed and does its best to produce them. Production is only limited by the amount of labour and raw materials. Money, for internal purposes, ceases to be a mysterious all-powerful thing and becomes a sort of coupon or ration-ticket, issued in sufficient quantities to buy up such consumption goods as may be available at the moment.
However, it has become clear in the last few years that ‘common ownership of the means of production’ is not in itself a sufficient definition of Socialism. One must also add the following: approximate equality of incomes (it need be no more than approximate), political democracy, and abolition of all hereditary privilege, especially in education. These are simply the necessary safeguards against the reappearance of a class-system. Centralized ownership has very little meaning unless the mass of the people are living roughly upon an equal level, and have some kind of control over the government. ‘The State’ may come to mean no more than a self-elected political party, and oligarchy and privilege can return, based on power rather than on money.
But what then is Fascism?
Fascism, at any rate the German version, is a form of capitalism that borrows from Socialism just such features as will make it efficient for war purposes. Internally, Germany has a good deal in common with a Socialist state. Ownership has never been abolished, there are still capitalists and workers, and – this is the important point, and the real reason why rich men all over the world tend to sympathize with Fascism – generally speaking the same people are capitalists and the same people workers as before the Nazi revolution. But at the same time the State, which is simply the Nazi Party, is in control of everything. It controls investment, raw materials, rates of interest, working hours, wages. The factory owner still owns his factory, but he is for practical purposes reduced to the status of a manager. Everyone is in effect a State employee, though the salaries vary very greatly. The mere efficiency of such a system, the elimination of waste and obstruction, is obvious. In seven years it has built up the most powerful war machine the world has ever seen. But the idea underlying Fascism is irreconcilably different from that which underlies Socialism.
Socialism aims, ultimately, at a world-state of free and equal human beings. It takes the equality of human rights for granted. Nazism assumes just the opposite. The driving force behind the Nazi movement is the belief in human inequality, the superiority of Germans to all other races, the right of Germany to rule the world. Outside the German Reich it does not recognize any obligations. Eminent Nazi professors have ‘proved’ over and over again that only nordic man is fully human, have even mooted the idea that non-nordic peoples (such as ourselves) can interbreed with gorillas! Therefore, while a species of war-Socialism exists within the German state, its attitude towards conquered nations is frankly that of an exploiter. The function of the Czechs, Poles, French, etc. is simply to produce such goods as Germany may need, and get in return just as little as will keep them from open rebellion. If we are conquered, our job will probably be to manufacture weapons for Hitler’s forthcoming wars with Russia and America. The Nazis aim, in effect, at setting up a kind of caste system, with four main castes corresponding rather closely to those of the Hindu religion. At the top comes the Nazi party, second come the mass of the German people, third come the conquered European populations. Fourth and last are to come the coloured peoples, the ‘semi-apes’ as Hitler calls them, who are to be reduced quite openly to slavery.
However horrible this system may seem to us, it works. It works because it is a planned system geared to a definite purpose, world-conquest, and not allowing any private interest, either of capitalist or worker, to stand in its way. British capitalism does not work, because it is a competitive system in which private profit is and must be the main objective. It is a system in which all the forces are pulling in opposite directions and the interests of the individual are as often as not totally opposed to those of the State.
From Lion and The Unicorn


The Danger of the Educated Masses
“From the proletarians nothing is to be feared. …They could only become dangerous if the advances of industrial technique made it necessary to educate them more highly.”
From Goldstein’s Book. 1984


The Death of Immortality
‘Since the decay of the belief in personal immortality, death has never seemed funny, and it will be a long time before it does so again. Hence the disappearance of the facetious epitaph, once a common feature of country churchyards. I should be astonished to see a comic epitaph dated later than 1850. There is one in Kew, if I remember rightly, which might be about that date. About half the tombstone is covered with a long panegyric on his dead wife by a bereaved husband: at the bottom of the stone is a later inscription which reads, ‘Now he’s gone, too’.
One of the best epitaphs in English is Landor’s epitaph on ‘Dirce’, a pseudonym for I do not know whom. It is not exactly comic, but it is essentially profane. If I were a woman it would be my favourite epitaph—that is to say, it would be the one I should like to have for myself. It runs:
Stand close around, ye Stygian set,
With Dirce in one boat conveyed,
Or Charon, seeing, may forget
That he is old and she a shade.
It would almost be worth being dead to have that written about you.’
As I Please


“Now, I find it very rare to meet anyone, of whatever background, who admits to believing in personal immortality. Still, I think it quite likely that if you asked everyone the question and put pencil and paper in hands, a fairly large number (I am not so free with my percentages as Mr. Dark) would admit the possibility that after death there might be ‘something’.
The point Mr. Dark has missed is that the belief, such as it is, hasn’t the actuality it had for our forefathers. Never, literally never in recent years, have I met anyone who gave me the impression of believing in the next world as firmly as he believed in the existence of, for instance, Australia. Belief in the next world does not influence conduct as it would if it were genuine. With that endless existence beyond death to look forward to, how trivial our lives here would seem! Most Christians profess to believe in Hell. Yet have you ever met a Christian who seemed as afraid of Hell as he was of cancer? Even very devout Christians will make jokes about Hell. They wouldn’t make jokes about leprosy, or RAF pilots with their faces burnt away: the subject is too painful. Here there springs into my mind a little triolet by the late A. M. Currie:

‘It’s a pity that Poppa has sold his soul
It makes him sizzle at breakfast so.
The money was useful, but still on the whole

It’s a pity that Poppa has sold his soul
When he might have held on like the Baron de Coal
And not cleared out when the price was low.

It’s a pity that Poppa has sold his soul
It makes him sizzle at breakfast so.’

Currie, a Catholic, would presumably have said that he believed in Hell. If his next-door neighbour had been burnt to death he would not have written a comic poem about it, yet he can make jokes about somebody being fried for millions of years. I say that such belief has no reality. It is a sham currency, like the money in Samuel Butler’s Musical Banks.’
April 14, 1944


‘And why is it that most of us never use a word of English origin if we can find a manufactured Greek one? One sees a good example of this in the rapid disappearance of English flower names. What until twenty years ago was universally called a snapdragon is now called an antirrhinum, a word no one can spell without consulting a dictionary. Forget-me-nots are coming more and more to be called myosotis.
Many other names, Red Hot Poker, Mind Your Own Business, Love Lies Sleeping, London Pride, are disappearing in favour of colourless Greek names out of botany textbooks. I had better not continue too long on this subject, because last time I mentioned flowers in this column an indignant lady wrote in to say that flowers are bourgeois. But I don’t think it a good augury for the future of the English language that ‘marigold’ should be dropped in favour of ‘calendula’, while the pleasant little Cheddar Pink loses is name and becomes merely Dianthus Caesius.”