Friday, 12 December 2014

Russell Brand and Question Time

Russell Brand
Russell Brand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For a long time now I've had zero interest in politics. I suppose I had the stuffing knocked out of me by the incessant stream of left of centre associates that seem to be striving to get their credentials for joining the Soviet Union's League of Militant Atheists. Sadly some people when hearing about 'faith' or 'God' or the like compartmentalise it all into some 'God box' that demands the most strident ripost. They seem to lose the ability to reason and discern whenever God gets mentioned and treat everything linked to faith as a monolithic entity, which it isn't. And in turn they appear to me to become more infantile and stereotypical in their behaviour and manners. One or two excepted of course. But that's why I've had no interest in politics for a long time now.

In the same vein the whole concept of celebrity bores me to tears. Take a 'celebrity' and it all comes down to behaviour to get media coverage and all the while the scenario is being manipulated behind the scenes by Svengali-like men who play the system to line their pockets.

So when Russell Brand appears yapping on about 'revolution', 'occupy' and other lefty mantras my blood freezes. The conjoining of celebrity, infantilism and a new book is just too much for me to bear.

Last night I caught the final few minutes of BBC's Question Time and saw Russell Brand looking rather deflated and perhaps sad amongt the Lab and ConDem clones who were spouting their parties mealy mouthed mantras. I certainly didn't see anything that got mentioned in the reviews or on Twitter regarding clashes and audience heckling. However I did look at Brand's Twitter feed and actually followed the link to his latest blog post where he talks about the show. And I have to say I now see him in a different light. Not the vacuous celebrity and, dare I say it a 'bit of a cock' but someone who underneath the veneer of the media circus actually cares about people. He was able to talk about Christians and people of faith without subconsciously turning into Uncle Joe, and he shows a real passion for humanity and people, as he says:
The Britain of the future will be born of alliances between ordinary, self-governing people, organised locally, communicating globally. Built on principles that are found in traditions like Christianity; community, altruism, kindness, love.
It's a breath of fresh air to find that sort of ethos amongst the left and it's really made a mark on me. So much so that I've even resurrected my Twitter account @lansburyslido.

Heartening.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Babi Yar

As the Western powers seem determined to allow the flourishing of fascism in the Ukraine it's worth remembering the famous poem by Yevgeni Yevtushenko. The poem Babi Yar speaks of the anti-semitism that led to the massacres of Jews, Gypsies and Soviets at Babi Yar in the Ukraine during the Second World War.

BABI YAR

By Yevgeni Yevtushenko
Translated by Benjamin Okopnik, 10/96

No monument stands over Babi Yar.
A steep cliff only, like the rudest headstone.
I am afraid.
Today, I am as old
As the entire Jewish race itself.

I see myself an ancient Israelite.
I wander o'er the roads of ancient Egypt
And here, upon the cross, I perish, tortured
And even now, I bear the marks of nails.

It seems to me that Dreyfus is myself. *1*
The Philistines betrayed me - and now judge.
I'm in a cage. Surrounded and trapped,
I'm persecuted, spat on, slandered, and
The dainty dollies in their Brussels frills
Squeal, as they stab umbrellas at my face.

I see myself a boy in Belostok
Blood spills, and runs upon the floors,
The chiefs of bar and pub rage unimpeded
And reek of vodka and of onion, half and half.

I'm thrown back by a boot, I have no strength left,
In vain I beg the rabble of pogrom,
To jeers of "Kill the Jews, and save our Russia!"
My mother's being beaten by a clerk.

O, Russia of my heart, I know that you
Are international, by inner nature.
But often those whose hands are steeped in filth
Abused your purest name, in name of hatred.

I know the kindness of my native land.
How vile, that without the slightest quiver
The antisemites have proclaimed themselves
The "Union of the Russian People!"

It seems to me that I am Anna Frank,
Transparent, as the thinnest branch in April,
And I'm in love, and have no need of phrases,
But only that we gaze into each other's eyes.
How little one can see, or even sense!
Leaves are forbidden, so is sky,
But much is still allowed - very gently
In darkened rooms each other to embrace.

-"They come!"

-"No, fear not - those are sounds
Of spring itself. She's coming soon.
Quickly, your lips!"

-"They break the door!"

-"No, river ice is breaking..."

Wild grasses rustle over Babi Yar,
The trees look sternly, as if passing judgement.
Here, silently, all screams, and, hat in hand,
I feel my hair changing shade to gray.

And I myself, like one long soundless scream
Above the thousands of thousands interred,
I'm every old man executed here,
As I am every child murdered here.

No fiber of my body will forget this.
May "Internationale" thunder and ring
When, for all time, is buried and forgotten
The last of antisemites on this earth.

There is no Jewish blood that's blood of mine,
But, hated with a passion that's corrosive
Am I by antisemites like a Jew.
And that is why I call myself a Russian!

This translation copied from http://remember.org/witness/babiyar.html
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Friday, 7 February 2014

The Right to Strike

Acetate stencil commemorating the life and dea...
Utah Phillips (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was watching BBC Question Time the other night and the great and the good were waffling on about removing the right of tube workers to withdraw their labour. Most of the Parliamentary politicos seemed to think restricting the right to strike for public transport workers might be a good thing. I expect our government of millionaires will be contemplating the same thing. After all they managed it with GCHQ.

It reminded me of a quote from Utah Phillips which I couldn't quite remember so I posted this on twitter:
The right to strike is not a right conferred upon the masses by the elite and is not theirs to withdraw
Summed it up for me. Anyhow, here's the most excellent quote from Utah:
The state can't give you freedom, and the state can't take it away. You're born with it, like your eyes, like your ears. Freedom is something you assume, then you wait for someone to try to take it away. The degree to which you resist is the degree to which you are free...
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Sunday, 2 February 2014

Oh the integrity of them all!

Seems that someone else is getting involved in the saga around politicising OFSTED.

Seems that David Laws is accusing Gove of acting politically over the appointments and de-appointments.

Hold on, David Laws?

Yes, that David Laws.

Just to remind ourselves.


Oh the integrity of them all!

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