Thursday, August 31, 2006

I Was Only Obeying Orders - Will's (Tidied Up)

You scored as Soviet Union. You should have fought in the army of the Soviet Union. You believe that the enemy will be conquered by a combination of manpower, political coordination and relentless spirit of resistance.

  • Soviet Union 69%
  • Italy 63%
  • Finland 56%
  • France, Free French and the Resistance 50%
  • British and the Commonwealth 31%
  • Poland 31%
  • United States 31%
  • Japan 19%
  • Germany 13%
  • In which World War 2 army you should have fought?

    The cartoon is the only one I could find of Private Ivan Chonkin. For more details on the Soviet Švejk, click on the link.

    Repeat after me - "There is nothing wrong, there is nothing wrong"

    A Musical Interlude

    Found this excellent song via the good people at Tasty Fanzine, and though I'm not sure about Tasty's description of it as sounding like "Debbie Harry duetting with Iggy Pop" - I think it starts off sounding more like Alison Goldfrapp singing vocals over an old Godfathers' track - its kick arse quality means that it parachutes straight in as the new profile song on the unofficial Socialist Standard MySpace page.

    And of course they have a myspace page.

    Tuesday, August 29, 2006

    Dennis Leary rips Mel Gibson a new one . . . and goes up in my estimation as a consequence.

    Did I ever mention that Fever Pitch was one of my all time favourite sporting movies? Scrub that, it's one of my all time favourite movies . . . full stop.

    I still don't understand the first thing about baseball, though.

    Hat tip to Will Rubbish.

    Monday, August 28, 2006

    Bad Jokes, an old link, repeating myself and that's what happened to Texan Bars

    "A few weeks passed and hearing nothing back from him, I thought no more about the matter and got down to the serious business of contemplating those life inponderables that always keep me awake at night: What happened to Texan Bars? What . . . erm, that's it - it's a recurring thought of mine." - Existencilism

    This post arrives simply as a result of me realising that the title of the last post, whilst trying to be clever-clever, is in fact embarrassingly piss-poor. Therefore, I thought I would scour out some confectionary websites for inspiration - I failed miserably - but I did stumble across the explanation for something that had kept me awake far too many nights (see above):

    Launched in 1975.

    Withdrawn in 1985.

    Reason for its withdrawl (as given by Nestle) was the miners strike of 1984, apparently it was made in Halifax and the strike prevented lorries entering and leaving the plant.
    [From Chocolate Review]

    Did I need another bastard reason to hate Thatcher? I'll burst an ulcer before she bursts a bloodvessel.

    "Sweetshops Cookshops of the Future" - Karl Marx

    A link to another post from Alan J. at Mailstrom that gives me the excuse to post a pic that has been knocking about the desktop for far too long.


    'This Charming Man' is the greatest opening riff in the history of pop music, despite it being overlooked by this shower of numpties.

    Fun for all the family

    Ties are optional, but no trainers or football tops. They run a respectable establishment.

    Sunday, August 27, 2006

    Marx for Beginners

    Nicked this YouTube link from my good SPGB comrade Alan J., who has finally had the good sense to resume blogging at Mailstrom. It's a bit of bugger really, as I've more than once nicked his links and such, and now that he is blogging regularly I'll have to come up with some of my own ideas.

    I'd love to know when the cartoon was originally produced. It smacks of the 1970s and I was half expecting this this bloke to turn up at some point in the film, perhaps dressed as a communard or as a sans-culottes.

    Friday, August 25, 2006

    Radical Profiling

    My sitemeter gets a five minute workout via a nod from here and here, and I discover that I have a doppleganger here.

    Hurricane Katrina: Reflections of a Socialist on an Unnatural Disaster

    I was only able to catch the first part of Spike Lee's Hurricane Katrina documentary, When The Levees Broke: A Requiem In Four Acts, when it was shown on HBO earlier this week, but I'm hoping to catch the second half when it is repeated on August 29th, the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. It's because of that that I am wary of offering a viewpoint on the film, even to the extent of not seeking out reviews of the film that may have appeared in the press and on the net, for the fear that it might colour my final opinion on it.

    However, in the meantime, I would like to point you in the direction of the article, Hurricane Katrina: Reflections of a Socialist on an Unnatural Disaster, which was penned by Stephen Shenfield, a member of the World Socialist Party of the United States. An excerpt from the piece, entitled Who Are The Looters, appeared in a slightly amended form in the August issue of the Socialist Standard.

    He's a Jambo and he grew up in Cowdenbeath: Hasn't he suffered enough?

    "Ernesto Leal was arrested on May 1st, taken from his home and sent to Belmarsh high security Prison where he was kept on a 23 hour lockdown, to await a deportation hearing. After 7 days he was moved to to Forest Bank HMP in Manchester where he was incarcerated for nearly a month.

    He was imprisoned as part of The Home Office round up of foreign criminals, a week before the elections in England, as what has been described as 'politically motivated' and 'a knee jerk reaction to electoral pressures'. He was served with deportation papers, which strangely enough, had Jamaica as the country of deporation, a country that Ernesto and his family have no connection with, Mr Tony McNulty later admitted that this was a 'mistake'.

    Two years ago, Ernesto was sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment for gbh with intent after a pub fight, which was racially motivated. READ MORE.

    Check out the website Friends of Ernesto, and find out how you can help the campaign.

    Jock Tamson's Tommy Sheridan's Bairns

    The SW Platform believes that the 'Time to Go' demonstration at the Labour Party conference in Manchester on 23 September can provide a common focus for every section of the movement and a launching point for a new Scottish left that will be open, democratic, internationalist and committed to the building of a new and better world." - Socialist Worker Platform statement on why they are breaking from the Scottish Socialist Party.

    Canny thinking from the Socialist Worker Platform. Think of all those copies of the Socialist Worker they can sell on the journey from Scotland to Manchester and back again.

    Thursday, August 24, 2006

    Waiting For The (Big) Man

    WEEK 4

  • Inverness Caley Thistle 1-1 Celtic
  • A glitch in the internet connection in our apartment block means that this week's update is even later than usual, so I will keep it shorter than usual. That's a blessing in disguise as the performance of Celtic against Caley Thistle was well below par, and it says something when the pundits on Scotsport agree that Celtic's goalscorer, Stephen Pearson - the bloke who at one point was getting shunted to either Derby or Preston - was their only outstanding player during the match.

    It's not even the end of August but it appears that I have already put the hex on Jarosik who, after playing well in the opening game of the season against Kilmarnock, has gone totally off the boil. One wonders if and when Maloney is fit, Jarosik will face competition from him with Strachan considering the option of playing Maloney in the role of an attacking midfielder. I'm probably talking out my hole, but I wonder how else he is going to get a game with Celtic now that they have signed Vennegoor of Hesselink from PSV. Great to read that the latter is a robust sort of player who likes to put himself about, 'cos after singing the praises of Celtic against St Mirren for not being rolled over it do look like there was a lack of heart and passion at the centre of their display against Inverness. Munro's equalising goal in the last ten minutes was classic penalty box pinball defending, and made me even wish for a nano-second that Balde was somewhere amongst the flailing legs to throw his hulking frame in front of a Caley Thistle player. Oh, and Miller missed some sitters . . . again.

    With reference to the other matches in the Scottish Premier League that weekend, the Scotsport highlight confirmed that the Scottish Patient was perfectly within his rights to rant and rave about Zemmama performance against Motherwell, but he should have also namechecked Benjelloun peformance and Scott Brown's absolutely sublime goal. Pure class, and Hibs are playing Celtic at Parkhead this coming Saturday. Fuck.

    It loathes me to say it but Rangers were outstanding against Hearts, with Chris Burke and that bloke with the weirdest haircut in football particularly impressive in their wing play. Perhaps I'm being so gracious about Rangers currently being top of the league 'cos I just read about Burke getting banjoed by ex-teamate, Fernando Ricksen, in Rangers 4-1 defeat against Zenit St Petersburg. It's heartening to know that it isn't only Celtic that come a cropper via the meaningless friendlies circuit.

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You . . .

    If I was a Supermarket I would, at this point, be dishing out the fancy food hamper and the ten days in Mykonos but as my current finances only allows me to stretch to this, I'll just say a nice big thank you to the unknown New Yorker who, a few minutes ago, became the fifty thousandth visitor after stumbling across the blog via this search.

    The blog has been going for just over two years, and in that time there has been 468 posts - with another 327 posts languishing in draft - involving such wide ranging subjects as Glasgow Celtic, eighties pop music, the vagaries of being a member of the SPGB in the 21st century and . . . er, that's about it. Oh,and there's also been a tendency for me to pepper my posts with bad jokes, piss-poor puns and the annoying habit of alliteration in every other paragraph.

    Apart from friends and family, most visitors to the blog arrive via image searches for Bono, Banksy and a bare-arsed Kika Markham, and a few of those have even stuck around longer than the usual dreaded sitemeter eyesore of '0.00 seconds'. I give you a slobbery big thanks as well.

    Here's to the next fifty thousand visitors, and the next 300 potential posts left in draft.

    PS Even if you haven't asked, I'm telling you anyway. This is my all-time favourite post on the blog as it combines irreverance with the minutiae of ultra-left sectarianism: A killer combination in anyone's book.

    Thatcher Faces Police Probe

    Sadly, it's the wrong Thatcher, but some good may come from the investigation and the resultant story. Someone might actually get round to posting some decent sized jpegs of this famous incident involving Ben Thatcher and Nicky Summerbee from a few years back:

    For those readers who feel I am condemning Thatcher prematurely before seeing the actual footage of the incident on tv, all I can say is that I couldn't help but notice that when I did an image search for Thatcher's 'tackle' on Summerbee on google, yahoo and jeeves about three quarters of the images that cropped up involved Thatcher raising his elbow whilst forlornly chasing after a pacy and skilful forward player. (It didn't matter if he was appearing in Wales, Wimbledon, Spurs or Man City colours, it appears to be a consistent footballing trait throughout his career).

    Thatcher's best defence is that it was Summerbee's and Mendes's fault for letting him draw level with them..

    About A Boy

    >> So macho <<

    Christian hardliner goes for broke

    Scottish nutjob Rev George Hargreaves has unsuccessfully run for election for parliament, Scottish parliament and European parliament and his party, the Scottish Christian Party, Proclaiming Christ's Lordship, is fielding candidates in every seat in next year's Scottish elections. How can he afford this? Well, the Rev used to be called George Jackman, and he wrote the gay anthem So Macho for Sinitta, which sold more than a million copies in 1985 and still generates more than ten grand in royalties every month.

    His political party opposes abortion, euthanasia and embryo research as well as backing anti-abortion pressure group UK Life League, which stages frightening protests outside family planning clinics across Britain. There's only one thing to do: get every TV station and radio station to stop playing the record and 80s compilation albums to stop including it.

    Turns out this is an old story, but I loved the above snippet that I spotted in this week's Pop Bitch nonetheless, and the Reverend is right: it is about loving the sinner, whilst not necessarily loving the sin. I'm sure George is a well-meaning, if misguided, bloke despite the fact that So Macho is one of the shittiest pieces of pop this side of a Paris Hilton demo. George, I forgive you for your musical sins.

    Internet Connection Was Down - Catching Up

    August 21, 2005 | Bill Moyer, 73, wears a "Bullshit Protector" flap over his ear while President George W. Bush addresses the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

    (Photo: Douglas C. Pizac / AP Photo)

    (Hat tip to Becky).

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

  • The Good
  • Knowing the biscuit tin mentality of the Celtic board, I reckon they are expecting to claw the transfer money back from sales of replica shirts with his name on the back.

  • The Bad
  • The board will be loving it and no doubt, as I write, they are applying for planning permission to add an extension onto the biscuit tin, but Celtic drawing Man Utd, Benfica and FC Copenhagen in the Champions League leaves me with nothing but trepidation. United are absolutely flying at the moment and I know it seems like Celtic play them every year anyway, but friendlies, exhibition games and testimonials are hardly the real thing. Even before I saw the draw, I was surprised to read that FC Copenhagen had put out Ajax in the qualifying round. Does that mean Celtic will start out as the perceived weakest team in the group? Perhaps, with the draw being so seemingly difficult, fans expectations will be realistic to the point of pessimism, and Celtic can prove me - and everyone - wrong. I'm looking forward to them doing that.

  • The Ugly
  • Strachan signs another English Championship player in the form of Lee Naylor from Wolverhampton Wanderers. Sorry, as I've been none too impressed with Strachan's last visit to the bargain basement at Molineux, when I read about a player who has played over 300 games for his club, the first thing that sprang to my mind was not 'What a wonderful throwback to that era of loyal servants and the one club man' but more a case of 'How come no one else signed him before now?' Another case of me loving it if and when I'm proved wrong, and I'm forced to eat my words on the blog.

    Saturday, August 19, 2006


    Money Grubbing Bastards

    From Sedgefield With Love . . .

    Received this canny bit of photoshop from this bloke. Not sure where he got it from, but he sends me stuff like this from time to time to prove that he is still breathing. (I worry about his health 'cos he hasn't updated his blog in absolutely ages but he is still a regular writer for the Socialist Standard).

    For the uninitiated, it's a spoof of the film poster for Billy Elliot, which happens to be one of Kara's favourite films. I, on the other hand, think that it's so bad that the Comic Strip's 'The Strike' is a truer depiction of that period in British history.

    We've agreed to disagree.

    Friday, August 18, 2006

    "He's got a head like a fucking orange!"*

    WEEK 3
  • Celtic 2-0 St Mirren
  • Much too late with my weekly update of the SPL season but, in mitigation, I thought I would wait until I watched this week's Scotsport that I got courtesy of the good people at UK Nova. Due to its lateness and my alcohol intake, I'll keep my aide memoire brief this week.

    Featured match on this week's Scotsport was the Celtic versus St Mirren game, which is fair enough as the latter had won their first two games of the season, and none of the other matches in the SPL this past weekend looked particularly appealing in comparison (no derbies, no early season relegation dog fight). That was fine with me as it allowed me a chance to watch some decent length highlights of Celtic, rather than falling back on a few minutes of grainy super 8 like footage from YouTube.

    As it's me, first impressions are a mixture of footballing cliche and flights of fancy: McGeady looked absolutely immense in midfield; Miller's shaved head had a strange colouring which meant his head resembled a small round orange (except when he was missing sitters, then his head took on the colour of a crab apple); Jarosik was absent without leave despite being on the field of play; 'Magic' Zurawski lived up to his nickname with a series of deft touches; and I liked Ross Wallace attacking down the left in the first half, but bit into my cushion too many times in the second half when he was called on to defend. On the subject of Wallace, the guy is the spitting image of Ben Affleck. If Ben Affleck had real hair, that is.

    The first goal - a header from Stephen McManus - was one of those goals which immediately has the goalie and the defenders looking at each other accusingly, playing the blame game, and the clinching goal from Petrov in the second half had Stan doing one of those 'I actually don't want to be here' type goal celebrations, so beloved of want-away players. Apparently, Celtic turned the lights out and closed the curtains when they saw Aston Villa approaching the front door this week, but the sensible thing would be to send him on his way with thanks for loyal and excellent service, and move on.

    With regards to St Mirren, they looked tidy and threatened a few times, with Lappin being especially unlucky when his free kick hit the woodwork in the second half. Celtic looked fluent going forward but it was hands behind fingers time when they were called on to defend. However, I do like the fact that despite initial appearances, they didn't get muscled off the ball by St Mirren, and look a lot more robust than Nakamura floppy hair suggests.

    With regards to the other games, nothing much to report. Rangers looked fancy against Dunfermline without really threatening and Lee Martin, the player they got on loan from Man Utd, has arguably the worst hair cut I've seen in football in recent years. And THAT'S after I've just watched the recent World Cup, so you know that it isn't an idle statement. Hibs looked really out of sorts against Inverness Caley Thistle, which is sad when you consider they have literally become a feeder club for the ugly sisters in Glasgow. Hearts looked good against Falkirk - despite being unable to score - which suggests that last season wasn't a one season wonder.

    With regards to the Scotsport talking heads, I loved listening to Andy Walker's analysis, and he even made a case for Miller playing well despite him not being able to hit a cow's arse with a banjo early season. John Colquhoun took time off from his sunbed to play his counterfoil. The football journalist at the end of the couch, Graham Spiers, despite looking a bit too much like Colin Montgomerie after a stapled stomach op, played a blinder as the football journalist prepared to speak off message about this or that player.

    That's me done - there's more bottles in the fridge to be emptied. Fingers crossed that come Sunday the headline writers won't be recycling 'Super Caley' headlines after the Celtic versus Inverness game, and hopefully come Wednesday a kind person will once again post the latest episode of Scotsport on UKNova.

    *Not me commenting on Kenny Miller, but Ricky Gervais referring to Karl Pilkington.

    Just 'Cos I Want To

    I love it when an old post on the blog gets a comment a year after it was originally posted - it holds out hope for the more recent posts on the blog which have seen less comment than the average World Revolution reading group - so I have no shame in posting a link to this old post that recently received a comment:

    'Anarchy in the UK' by Ian Walker

    Fast forward past my sawdust prose at the start of the post and tuck into the wonderful article by Ian Walker. I wish I'd brought my copy of 'The Other Side of Britain' to the States with me, as I would have definitely transcribed the other Walker pieces from the book for the blog. It reminds me why I should keep up with the blog, if only to be in a position to point people in the direction of brilliant gobbets of writing such as Walker's piece on the Anarchist movement in Britain, circa 1979.

    Thursday, August 17, 2006

    The Most Dangerous Song in the World - A Rewrite

    Interesting article in the latest issue of Industrial Worker, journal of the Industrial Workers of the World, on the workers anthem, 'The Internationale', and the various lyric changes down the years, depending on who the song was beng sung for and by.

    The author of the article, Len Wallace was a member of the Socialist Party of Canada, a sister organisation of the SPGB, for over 25 years until political disagreements led him to resign from the SPC/WSM about 4 or 5 years ago. That was a shame 'cos, in my opinion, he is one of the best socialist writers that I have read in recent years. I understand that he was a founder member of the World in Common group, but I'm not sure if he is still active with them.

    He mentions Billy Bragg's version in the article, and as much as I love Billy Bragg's work usually, I don't think it is one of his better musical decisions. I remember him singing his rewritten version in the Leftfield Tent at Glastonbury a few years ago, for him only to be confronted with a few hundred blank faces. No bugger knew the words to his version. Give me his reworking of the Red Flag that he recorded with Dick Gaughan any day. That tune kicks arse, and puts to bed once and for all the funeral dirge version that the Labour Party has been singing (reluctantly in recent years 'cos it's too old school) these last one hundred years.

    Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    Studs Terkel - Redux

    There was me wittering on about Studs Terkel on the blog recently, when I had totally forgotten that there was a canny article from the Socialist Standard from a few years back that better articulated what was the continuing appeal of Studs.

    Granted the first half of Paul Bennett's article is given over to a discussion of the politics of the think-tank, Project for a New American Century, but the second half of his piece writes of the "other side", and discusses in part Terkel's book, My American Century, which sought to bring together selections from his best known oral histories from the past thirty years into one compendium.

    Good stuff from a good lad.

    Sunday, August 13, 2006

    Rebranding Earth

    I'm a few days late in posting the links up, but I thought I would just let you know that the August 2006 issue of the Socialist Standard is now online, and it can be either read in its entirety as a PDF here or as individual articles at the links provided below.

    The current issue is a bit of a mix bag, opening with an editorial on the Israel's bombing of Lebanon (and Hezbollah's bombing of Northern Israel), which drew a lot of comments and controversy when I posted it on myspace, and it also carries a couple of historical articles that touch on two anniversaries this month: the Battle of the Somme and the Spanish Civil War. The latter anniversary is obviously something that is still debated over ferociously by the various contesting traditons on the left - with the anarchists referring to as the 'Spanish Revolution' - and the SPGB have not been immune from those controversies and debates. Both then and now, there has never been a monolithic position within the Party on what was the correct position to take on Spain within the Party, though that never stopped the Party taking adopting an 'official' position on the question. Such is the way of political parties, and I'm sure that the article in this month's Standard will add to that debate. (On Spain, a couple of Socialist Standard articles from the thirties can be viewed here and here). One year on from Hurricane Katrina, there is an article on the 'looting' in New Orleans, a media obsession at the time of Katrina, and which can only be viewed in the context of the underlying racist and anti-working class nature of the mainstream media. The author of the article, a member of the World Socialist Party of the United States, has written a longer piece on what he terms 'An Unnatural Disaster', which I hope to post a link to at a later date.


  • More Slaughter in the Middle East
  • Regular Columns

  • Pathfinders Radioactive Days & the Sting
  • Cooking the Books Commodity Markets & Was There An Alternative?
  • Greasy Pole Be Kind To A Hoodie
  • 50 Years Ago Drugs and the Death Penalty
  • Main Articles

  • Globalisation - what does it mean? We begin a two-part article on the continuing surge in capitalist globalisation.This month we deal with the globalisation of capital.
  • Foreign takeovers: a non-issue A recent poll shows public opinion in Britain is becoming increasingly perturbed by the changing ownership of the companies that make up the British economy,but does it matter to workers who owns the company that exploits them?
  • Who Are the Looters? A year after hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans we look at what was a media obsession at the time.
  • For Whom The Bell Tolled This summer has seen commemorations for the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Spanish Civil war which remains a conflict shrouded in myth, heroism and controversy.
  • The Battle of the Somme The recent 90th anniversary of the human tragedy of the Somme saw the politicians,the churches and the organisations charged with remembrance giving history a makeover.
  • Thirty-five Billion & Calling Home
  • Reviews and Letters

  • Book Reviews Noam Chomsky by Wolfgang Sperlich; Dining With Terrorists by Phil Rees; & The Imaginary Time Bomb: Why an Ageing Population is not a Social Problem by Phil Mullan
  • Radio Review "Red Elvis" Dean Reed: Death of a Comrade. Radio 2, 11 July. Presented by Mark Lamarr.
  • Letters to the Editors Civil War in Uganda, Defending Galloway & Ban the Ultra-Right?
  • Voice From The Back

  • The Price of Oil, A Tale of Three Virgins & Science and Profits.
  • Friday, August 11, 2006

    Another Piece on Bookchin

    Whilst I'm down there, another article from the dusty vaults of the Socialist Standard. This time it's a review of one of Murray Bookchin's most famous essays, 'Listen, Marxist!':

    'Listen, Anarchist!'

    Before any anarchists out there decide to round up a posse to rip me a new one, please also check out Murray Bookchin 1921-2006 and What Marx Should Have Said To Kropotkin.

    "So, Thatcher is dead, the victim of a rotten egg . . ."

    I hate it when you a good image at your fingertips, but you don't have a plausible excuse to use it. It's my dilemma with the pic above, which I stumbled across amongst a *cough* pile of books in a dusty library stack. (That's me coughing 'cos of the paper dust, not because I'm shameless enough to misquote Harper Lee).

    I guess I could remind readers of this excellent post from *cough* - that bastard paper dust, again - two days ago, but that would to be to err too far on the side of shameless self-promotion. (A typically Thatcherite characteristic.) So I'll save the day by providing a link to this excellent article from the vaults of the Socialist Standard:

    Why The Left Needs A Thatcher

    Published in the May 1989 Socialist Standard on the tenth anniversary of Margaret Thatcher becoming Prime Minister, it was a knockabout piece that stuck the boot into Thatcher, the Labour Party and the left, and thus ties in nicely with the doctored pic above. In fact, perhaps I should have opted for the alternative title of Margaret Thatcher - Militant Class Warrior, which is a paraphrased quote from the article, rather than using the article's opening line instead.

    Mentioning in jest that Thatcher is dead in the title of a blog post in the modern times of RSS readers and keyword internet search engines is how blog whispers get started, and the circulating rumours of the death of one dictator from the eighties is enough for one week, thank you very much.


    A kind reader has sent me the following link. Christ, does this mean that there may be a sub-culture out there that has elevated Thatcher to the status of counter-culture icon or is it just nightwear for the balding middle-aged Monday Club members, who like to wear Mrs T's image close to their man-boobs whilst they dream about their halcyon days alongside Harry Phibbs and 'Guido' in the Federation of Conservative Students during the eighties?

    The more that I think about it, I'm actually dreading the day when Thatcher joins Keith Joseph in the right-wing think tank in the sky; there will be such an outpouring of crocodile tears that I'll have to wear waders and an inflatable life jacket for the two weeks after her death.

    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    Quote of a Late Day

    "Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods, and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books. Instant information is not for me. I prefer to search library stacks because when I work to learn something, I remember it." - Harper Lee

    Totally love this quote, and that's despite the fact that I am the poster boy for people who have minds like empty rooms. Naturally, I didn't find this quote in amongst the library stacks, but stumbled across it on someone's MySpace profile.


    "It's a football team, Jim, but not as we know it."

    Don't mention this to Jim, but somebody found the blog through searching for 'Kilmarnock Jokes' on google. Ouch!

    SWP . . .

    . . . as in Shaun Wright-Phillips scored in last night's friendly against Celtic in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge. (For the record Gary Caldwell scored the first goal in the game for Celtic.) Strachan has played the financial card in interviews, explaining that Celtic have to play these friendly games during the season to generate revenue, and as the crowd last night was about twenty thousand and the result is not a repetition of this, this and this, I guess they can take the money and run with not too much flak coming the team's way this time.

    Noted that Stephen Pearson got a run out last night, so I wonder if that has any bearing on the reports that Billy Davies at Derby County is putting in a bid for him. (I can't be arsed to google, but didn't Davies manage Pearson at Motherwell?) Also, depending on what reports you read, Mo Camara is going to either Derby or Leeds Utd on a season loan. I'm sure that the official line from Celtic Park is that by releasing a few players on loan and/or off-loading some of the fringe players, Strachan will have a bit more money to spend on new players but I can't help feeling it is more a case of reducing the wages bill full stop, rather than freeing funds to invest elsewhere. For me, that's confirmed by the news that Petkov failed to impress Strachan when he was at Celtic Park recently.

    On the matter of disappointing Bulgars, the latest back page tattle is that newly appointed Aston Villa manager, Martin O'Neill, is considering making a bid for Petrov. No idea if this is true but Petrov, at 27 and a tried and tested player of international class for O'Neill in the past, wouldn't be that much of a gamble if the latter looks to meet Celtic's transfer requirements. It's also the case that O'Neill is one of those managers who has a tendency to pick up players from former clubs when he moves on. He done the same with Steve 'Talisman' Guppy at two or three clubs, and there is even speculation that he is also looking at Lennon as a possible Aston Villa acquisition. O'Neill is known for his managerial pragmatism so I wouldn't put it past him to look at former players, and with two old favourites, Hartson and Sutton, already bedded down in the West Midlands I bet there are more than a couple of Chairmen in that part of the country who are putting up 'Get Your Tanks Off Our Pitch' signs as I write.

    On the subject of Martin O'Neill becoming the new manager of Aston Villa, I have to admit that I find it a bit of a weird 'yin. He could have had his pick of jobs if he had bided his time, and I'm sure that there were more than a few Newcastle and Man Utd fans out there who were dissapointed when they heard the news of O'Neill's appointment at Villa Park. Granted, Villa are yet another one of those cliches of English football, the 'Sleeping Giant', of which there are about 27 at the last count, but it's not inconceivable that O'Neill couldn't turn things around for them.

    He has a habit of sticking around at a club, whatever the room temperature, and in John Robertson and Steve Walford alongside him, he has the continuity of a ready made backroom staff. It's also the case that he has the overwhelming support of the Villa fans, who know that they've lucked out with his appointment ( . . . and Birmingham's relegation last season). He is also in a win-win situation with regards to the shenanigans at the top at Aston Villa. Either Deadly Doug Ellis will decide to stay on in the hope that O'Neill will deliver him the success that he has always craved, throwing a bountiful transfer fund at O'Neill in the process, or the new money will come in - that many egos in the mix, I refuse to list them - and they will do the same as Deadly, but more so.

    However, for all that, I do wonder if O'Neill has made the right decision? As has been pointed out in the press, the timing of taking this job now means that the chances of him becoming the next manager of Man Utd have all but disappeared. And my amateur psychology, from all of four thousand miles away, tells me that want O'Neill wants now at this point in his career more than anything else is not just a fresh challenge and the success that could conceivably come with the Villa, but to manage a successful club that would be truly great. Akin to the Forest side of his old manager Brian Clough or the great Liverpool teams of Shankly and Paisley - teams that will be remembered for more than their silverware and I wonder if he can ever achieve that at Villa Park.


    There's a more detailed report of last night's game in today's Glasgow Herald. My favourite newspaper. ;-)

    Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    Americans Vanguardists Don't Do Irony

    Granted it is not as majestic as this piece of journalistic sabotage from yesteryear, but hats off to the copy editor on the editorial staff of the Socialist Worker who let this wee sideswipe against the authoritarian culture of the Socialist Workers Party slip past its editor, Chris Bambery, into its latest issue:

    "I’d like to see the party [the Scottish Socialist Party] run by the rank and file.”
    (Norma Anderson, a member of the Moray branch of the SSP, and a supporter of Sheridan, speaking in response to the political fall out between the contesting factions in the SSP, following the verdict from libel case, and quoted in the Tommy Sheridan defeats injustice article).

    What do you mean the article's author, Esme Choonara, quoted Ms Anderson in all sincerity, and that in all probability neither she nor the copy editor cottoned onto the irony of rank and file party democracy being talked up in the pages of the Socialist Worker? Next thing you'll tell me is that the Socialist Worker Platform in the SSP acted in all sincerity in politically aligning themselves with Tommy,and didn't see it merely as an opportunity to mobilise against what was the old International Socialist Movement platform, whose members made up the bulk of the leadership positions within the SSP?

    I also wonder how this passage from the article, A Win For Machismo, in yesterday's Guardian, ties in the SWP's commitment to rank and file democracy?:

    "At an emergency national council meeting in May, a number of male members of the Socialist Workers Party heckled the women who spoke against him. "They were shouting, 'You cunt' and 'Shut up, you bitch,'" says [Catrinoa] Grant. "It was really scary."

    Christ, I wonder how that ties in with democracy full stop?


    I'd set my heart on there being a street party on a par with Betty's twenty-fifth in '77 or when we chewed on a chilli dog to Chuck and Diane's wedding back in '81, with this song blasting over the nation's airwaves on permanent loop, but to no avail.

    Looks like I'll have to r.s.v.p for this event, after all.

    Tuesday, August 08, 2006

    News of my 15 seconds . . .

    . . .of blogging fame arrives via my sitemeter (relegated to page 2 of the link of course), and my friends and family would be so proud, except I don't know any friends or family who actually read the Glasgow Herald. I'm a tad bemused that a throwaway line is quoted - though I stand by my opinion that the SSP will implode and explode simultaneously - but, party hack to the bitter end, my fingers are crossed that a few people visiting the blog will check out the links to the Socialist Standard as featured on the sidebar.

    It is a shame that this blog post isn't cited in the piece, 'cos I happen to think it is the best blog post I've read on the whole business. And I'm not just saying that 'cos Shuggy was kind enough to link to my post. I also liked this opinion piece on the matter from what, I presume, was the Canadian section of the SIAW which was buried away in the comments box of the Drinked Soaked Trots superblog. I especially like this passage:

    "First and foremost, it should not be overlooked that Sheridan and his leading critics alike all come out of the Militant tradition established by the late Ted Grant, which for decades was firmly wedded to the doctrine of the expedient lie: no, we’re not a party, we’re just a tendency; no, we’re not Trotskyist entryists, we’re just ordinary working-class folk; no, we don’t control constituency Labour parties, or Labour groups in local councils, from behind the scenes, we just publish a weekly newspaper. They've moved on from entryism (largely because the Scottish Parliament's PR system has provided a new opening for them rather than from some deepseated change of heart), but why should anyone now believe anything that any of them say without corroboration?"

    I don't necessarily go along with the bit about why they moved away from entryism: I think there was a genuine political and intellectual shift away from their previous shoddy practice, but hats off to the SIAW for hitting the nail squarely on the head otherwise.

    Albert Who?

    UPDATE 4/18/08

    Hello, welcome and shalom. 

    Visiting the blog via the link from the Guardian's 'Joy of Six: the greatest league title finales' blog post?

    I'm guessing you want the Billy Connolly Albert Kidd anecdote without having to first wade through the obscure music references, bad puns and shameless plugging of the Socialist Standard. I totally understand. I'm exactly the same when navigating my way through a Barry Glendenning article. The Connolly/Kidd anecdote is at the bottom of the post. 

    Thanks for visiting.

    Just realised that some readers of the blog will be totally non-plussed at the mention of the bloke called 'Albert Kidd' in a recent post

    To cut a long story short, "I lost my mind"* Albert Kidd was the Dundee striker - nothing to do with Timex, that was a few years later - who, in 1986, scored two goals against Hearts at Dens Park in the last eight minutes of the game to deprive the latter of the Scottish League Championship. Celtic, by beating St Mirren 5-0 at Love Street - and that's nothing to do with TS but, for the record, he was on the picket line at Timex in an act of solidarity - on the same day snatched the title away from the Jambos** on goal difference. 

    Prior to the final league game of the season, Hearts had gone 31 games without defeat and all they needed was to draw their game against Dundee to win the League for the first time in about thirty odd years. The following week, no doubt still devastated at choking at the final hurdle of the title race, they lost the Scottish Cup final to Aberdeen. A case of double or nothing.

    Due to what was, I presume, the thoughtful act of a Hibs*** fan - or, more likely, 729 Hibs fans caught up in a cyber-stampede as they all simultaneously sought to be the first person to upload the clip - the good people at Youtube have footage of that memorable day at Dens Park. 

    I know the quality of the clip is very grainy, but trust me it wasn't Bobby Ball who scored those two goals against Hearts, it was Albert Kidd. The first talking head who pops up during the clip is John Colquhoun, a member of the Hearts team in '86. I remember watching a long time ago an episode of Halfway to Paradise - an excellent arts show that was made in Scotland that was only spoiled by the fact that it was hosted by Stuart Cosgrove - where Colquhoun spoke passionately of his political beliefs, citing Robert Tressell's Ragged Trousered Philanthropists as a major influence. Heartening then to discover via wikipedia that Colquhoun stayed true to those beliefs by becoming a *cough* football agent.****

    As I'm feeling particularly generous, and as it has now become apparent that I was lying to myself when I said this post would be short, I'll also throw in the Youtube clip of Celtic steamrollering St Mirren 5-0 on that day. 

    Word of warning: I recommend that you turn down the volume on the clip, as the musical accompaniment is mince, and I recommend you play the Undertones' 'Love Parade' instead. Some cracking goals that day - especially the third goal - and it's such a pleasure to watch Danny McGrain in full flow, even if it's only for a few minutes. The bloke looked twenty years older than anybody else on the pitch, but his finesse in breaking up a St Mirren attack on the edge of Celtic's penalty box, and setting in motion a series of quick flowing passes which resulted in Mo Johnston dispatching the ball into the net for the third goal was a joy to behold. 

    Also nice to see Brian 'Choccy' McClair scoring a couple of goals that day. People forget what a great goalscorer he was  for Celtic. They also forget that, like Colquhoun, he was also a bit of a lefty in his day. However, his favourite political book wasn't Tressell's classic, but Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. (Apologies for that bad visual pun - I couldn't help myself.)

    Back to Albert Kidd before I forget. A story that did the rounds that many times that I believed it myself was that Albert Kidd was the recipient of the 1986 Hibs Supporters Player of the Year as a result of those famed seven or eight minutes but, according to this article that I found on the net during my exhaustive research, it was an urban myth that took on a life of its own. 

    With reference to that linked article, I love this wee self-deprecating anecdote that Kidd told to a contingent of Hibs supporters living in Australia, after they invited him to be a guest of honour at one of their piss ups:

    One of the most amusing [anecdotes] was told indeed by Alby [Albert Kidd] himself, and centred on a chance meeting he had with the Big Yin, Billy Connolly in an Adelaide hotel. Alby was attending a function in the hotel the story goes, when he entered the lift, and there by chance was Billy Connolly himself, who was returning from a gig he had just performed at in Adelaide.
    “Big Man!” exclaimed Alby and shook his hand. “Your Scottish?” enquired Connolly, as much out of politeness as anything else. The conversation progressed along normal small talk lines until Billy Connolly asked Alby what he did for a living, to which Alby replied that he was involved in football in Australia. “Really?” asked the Big Yin, “did you play back home?” “Yes, I played for a few clubs, among them Motherwell and Dundee” replied the ever-modest Alby. “Were you any good?” asked the famous visitor. “Well I dunno about that Billy, but I guess my claim to fame was that on the last day of the season I scored two goals against Hearts that cost them……… “ALBERT KIDD!!!” Billy Connolly interrupted mid sentence, bellowing, gazing upon his new friend open mouthed. “I can’t believe it!” “Here I am in Adelaide and I’m in a lift with Albert Kidd…I was at Love Street that day when the news came through and we won the league as a result!”


    *Lost in the eighties, of course I have to have my Spandau Ballet moment.

    **"Jambos" - the nickname of Hearts of Midlothian. Probably something to do with their maroon colour jerseys, or maybe it's rhyming slang for Jammy Sparts on account of the rumour that Karl Liebknecht was once given a trial at Tynecastle. He declined the offer of the six month sentence.

    ***"Hibs" - short for Hibernian. Based in Leith, and with their support historically made up of the Irish Catholic community in Edinburgh, they are Hearts great city rivals. It goes without saying that they were just a wee bit happy at the news that Hearts had failed to win the title. This may be explained away by the fact that Hibs have themselves fallen short in recent decades years. They last won the Scottish Cup in 1902. That's right, 1902. They have been failing even longer than the SPGB. Even Third Lanark have won the cup more recently than that.

    ****Maybe this passage wasn't in the copy of the 'Ragged Trousered Philanthropists' that Colquhoun read: "‘Look at them!’ he continued with a contemptuous laugh. ‘Look at them! the people you are trying to make idealists of! Look at them! Some of them howling and roaring like wild beasts, or laughing like idiots, others standing with dull and stupid faces devoid of any trace of intelligence or expression, listening to the speakers whose words convey no meaning to their stultified minds, and others with their eyes gleaming with savage hatred of their fellow men, watching eagerly for an opportunity to provoke a quarrel that they may gratify their brutal natures by striking someone – their eyes are hungry for the sight of blood! Can’t you see that these people, whom you are trying to make understand your plan for the regeneration of the world, your doctrine of universal brotherhood and love are for the most part – intellectually – on level with Hottentots? The only things they feel any real interest in are beer, football, betting and – of course – one other subject. Their highest ambition is to be allowed to Work. And they desire nothing better for their children!"

    Monday, August 07, 2006

    Sent to Coventry

    Strachan shakes loose the one and half million pounds that has been weighing down his bench this past year.

    No news at this point if Gordon has asked him to pass on the following postcard message to this bloke if and when they bump into each other in the West Midlands.

    Neil Lemon

    WEEK 2
  • Hearts 2-1 Celtic
  • So much for Celtic proving me wrong by bouncing back from the midweek 3-0 defeat against Yokohama Marinos. By all accounts Edinburgh's second team deserved the victory - granted I'm going by what it says on the Hearts of Midlothian fans message boards - and Bednar, in having a legitimate goal disallowed, should have had a hat trick.

    On the plus side, Celtic looked very retro and stylish in their sixties style away kit, and the Celtic goal involved a nice bit of build up play with a good finish from Petrov. (Maybe adding a few pennies on his transfer fee, as a consequence). I'm glad for Petrov, 'cos if he is going south for the winter, it's pleasing that he will be leaving on a good note. News is that Celtic are hoping to sign fellow Bulgarian international, Ivaylo Petkov, to fill the problematic right back position. Surely someone who has played 64 times at International level must be considered a good player? (Wait, did someone at the back mention Christian Dailly?)

    On the not so plus side, Lennon's failed back pass that led to the winning goal shaved another few hundred members off his fan club membership rolls, and Strachan faces a ban after being sent off as a consequence of him performing a St Vitus dance on the touchline during the first half. Some people are saying that it was a result of him having a row with Hearts coach, John McGlynn, but I think it was brought on by the sudden realisation that Celtic should have done all in their power to hold onto to Jackie McNamara. An excellent utility player who would have provided cover for a multitude of defensive sins if he was still playing for Celtic today.

    Nice to see that John Sutton and St Mirren are keeping the Jambos off the top of the league. That's how it should be, and it's not even as if Hearts know what to do with it when they are top of the league. They start getting dizzy, complain of suffering from vertigo and think that every second person who talks to them is whispering "Albert Kidd" in their ear in a sotto voce voice. Even more pleased - and surprised - to see that Falkirk have maximum points from their first two games. If it takes them winning the league to get their greatest fan - as in the Falkirk fan that happens to be a genuine great - published again, then so be it.

    Come on the Bairns!

    Sunday, August 06, 2006

    Car Crash TV

    Painful to watch, and I don't just mean the shaky camcorder camera work. This clip posted on Youtube is, I'm guessing, something that has been put together at short notice by the United Left, the main anti-Sheridan grouping within the Scottish Socialist Party. By all accounts, the two opposing sides are now entrenched and the National Conference of the SSP, which has been brought forward to October of this year, will be the occasion when the rest of us will see who will be left standing from the political fall out between Sheridan and his former colleagues.

    Sheridan and his supporters - which includes the Socialist Worker and the CWI platforms within the SSP amongst others - will be contesting the leading positions at the Conference, and I understand that Sheridan will be standing against Colin Fox for the 'leadership' of the SSP. I'm sure if the Conference and the leadership contest was held today, Sheridan and his supporters would be odds on to win but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a greater fall out in the time between now and October, and I wonder if Tommy will still be considered the 'working class hero' a few months from now.

    From following the case and the reaction to the verdict from a few thousand miles away, it does appear that the immediate reaction to the verdict is that - whether he was telling the truth or not - most people are happy that Sheridan gave the News of the World a bloody nose. Not sure how those same people feel about Sheridan promptly selling his story to the Daily Record, but they seem to be happy to overlook the fact that Sheridan accused eleven colleagues of being liars; Some of whom were his closest political allies, spending the last twenty years working alongside him in the Militant Tendency, Scottish Militant Labour and the SSP and, whatever else you think about the politics of all concerned, were as integral to the growth of the SSP as Sheridan himself was.

    And maybe the thought of SSP members going into the witness box and giving evidence that would corroborate part of the News of the World story against Sheridan does stick in the throat, but I find it less than credible that there was a grand conspiracy involving the News of the World, the 'Establishment' and political opponents of Sheridan within the SSP - "the mother of all stitch ups", no less - that came together to bring down Sheridan. It's the stuff of an over inflated ego and bad political fiction, and my cynicism about the case is compounded by the fact that opportunists such as the Socialist Worker Platform have lined up behind Sheridan. If anyone is seeking to make political capital out of this whole sorry business, it's not the United Left but the Socialist Worker and the CWI Platforms hanging onto the coat tails of Sheridan.

    Whatever else happens, the Scottish Socialist Party, as we now know it, is going to be shattered into a thousand pieces.

    Thursday, August 03, 2006

    Read It In The Books*

    Spotted a link to this meme on Lisa's blog, and as it is too hot to think - I mean, christ, the last post where I mention all but one of the Kaiser Chiefs tracks on their album, Employment, in the body of post about Celtic was a consequence of me trying to use my brain in this weather - I thought I would be shameless enough to nick it, use it and discard it in the time it takes Lisa to watch once again 'Phew Paisley!', the compilation DVD she has recently put together and is trying to get the Renfrew Tourist Board to pick up and market.

    1. One book that changed my life - Sad but true, but it is probably 'The Monument' by Robert Barltrop. An unofficial history of the SPGB that was published by Pluto Press in the mid-seventies, I remember thinking when reading it the late eighties that this was an organisation that, for all its studied eccentricity, was also a tradition that through difficult times had sought to stay true to the original vision of what socialism was actually meant to be about: " . . . a completely voluntaristic society in which we shall freely give according to our abilities and freely take according to our self-determined needs."

    2. One book that I have read more than once: There are too many to mention, but a book I've reread in recent weeks is Gordon Legge's 'The Shoe'. A wonderful book that I know I can always get lost in anytime I have a few hours to spare, and I want to read something familiar and enjoyable.

    3. One book I would want on a deserted island: 'A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius' by Dave Eggers. How else can I remain true to my New York Resolution to Kara that I would finally get round to reading it?

    4. One book that made me laugh: Brian Behan's 'With Breast Expanded' has to be the funniest political memoir ever written.

    5. One book that made me cry: Do people actually cry when reading books? Christ, I feel a bit of a cold-hearted bastard 'cos the last time I can remember welling up when reading a book was that scene in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardobe where Aslan was killed by the witch. I was about 7 or 8 at the time. However, I do also remember crying genuine tears of laughter when reading Alan Bleasdale's Scully and Joseph Heller's Catch 22 a few years after that.

    6. One book I wish I'd written: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. That way I would have known how it had ended, and I wouldn't have fucked up my English Literature O Level exam.

    7. One book I wish had never been written: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius'.

    8. One book I am currently reading: Phillip Pullman's The Subtle Knife.

    9. One book I have been meaning to read: Jonathan Rabb's Rosa

    *Echo and the Bunnymen

    Oh My God, I Predict A Riot

    Trust me, it's the not the stifling New York heat this time but will someone please take my temperature, 'cos I'm not sure if it's a misguided notion of a time honoured tradition or just the modern way but when Celtic travel half way around the world to get gubbed 3-0 by a team I've never heard of, the Yokohama Marinos, AFTER the season proper has already kicked off, then someone has to tell the suits at the club that "You Can't Have It All". A wrecking ball of a result in what was little more than an exhibition game to generate revenue has knocked the team off kilter after what was a good performance against Kilmarnock, and that doesn't bode well for the team talk the Saturday night before the game the next day against R*ngers Lite. I recognise that Strachan fielded a team largely made up of squad players, but players like Riordan, Sno, Marshall, Virgo and Thompson should be knocking on the door of the first team. I can't believe that a player of the quality of Thompson is now considered a bit part player. Surely he would be a valued team mate in any team?

    It doesn't matter if Quinn has warned against so-called "offensive chanting", 'cos if the team are seen to be the subject of a bit of a mauling on Sunday, you can be rest assured that the Celtic fans won't be chanting "Na Na Na Naaa" as a stop gap replacement for a "sack the fucking board" style chant. Quinn strikes me as one of those type of Chairmen who, in the same vein as Doug Ellis and Ken Bates, will at the first sign of pointed and *cough* robust criticism get all pouty and issue press statements to the Celtic fans along the lines of 'everyday I love you less and less, and any more sniping from you lot in the cheap seats and I will be doing an offski with the biscuit tin money'.

    On the subject of Glasgow Celtic and loving someone less and less everyday, that numpty Nicky Campbell has an article in today's Guardian on the subject of the Lisbon Lions. In fairness to him, he doesn't come across as so unctuously smug as he usually does on the radio, tv, 99% of his print journalism and in real life, and he does give proper homage to Jimmy Johnstone, the majestic wee player who combined dazzling football skills with pug ugliness a full forty years before Rooney and Ronaldinho became the nightmare of those ad adgencies who have the brief of marketing the beautiful game and having those two featured prominently in any of their ad campaigns.

    On reflecting on the special quality of those players who made up the 1967 team, Campbell quotes Bono Jim Kerr, who writes of his family: ". . . laughing at the audacity of them. The gallousness - their cheek all against the odds. Jimmy Johnstone turning opponents' legs to spaghetti . . . " and there is no denying that when you see old footage of Jimmy using his nifty footwork to turn a defender this way and that, you can only conclude that if he hadn't become a footballer the wee gem would have been born to be a dancer. Campbell also makes mention of the McNeill and Gemmell in that team that came to fruition when Britain was still listening to Radio Caroline - yes, I know Campbell's former alma mater, Radio One started in 1967 - but a Lisbon Lion that deserves special mention on this blog is Stevie Chalmers - the scorer of the winning goal in Lisbon against Inter Milan - if only because my Dad's proudest moment in his employment history was that for a few years in the late sixties, he was Stevie Chalmer's postman, and remembers delivering his wages to his door every week to be signed the time Chalmers had broken his leg and was off training.

    This coming season there will no doubt be a period of a nostalgia-fest for that great team from forty years ago, and like Campbell's piece, comparisons will be drawn between then and now. Stein legacy lasted well beyond 1967, continuing into the mid-seventies and but for a ferocious battle against Atletico Madrid in the 1974 semi-finals where, by common consent, Celtic were muscled out of a deserved victory, they may have capped it with another European Cup victory; this time against Bayern Munich, led by the great Franz Beckenbaur, 'the Kaiser'. Chiefs, the lot of them, despite being unable to bookend Stein's tremendous achievement that year.

    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    Mel Gibson tries to explain away his temporary bout of anti-semitism

    "It wasn't my fault, kids. They didn't have a tinfoil hat my size".

    Iconic Signs

    I don't think it's coincidental that in the same few days that there are reports all over the media about Fidel Castro temporarily stepping down as Cuba's dictator benevolent and beloved leader major pain in the arse to successive US administrations, whilst he recovers from surgery, and the news that Mel Gibson, director of 'The Passion of Christ', and the man with the first recorded case in medical history of temporary anti-semitism brought on by chugging a bottle of tequila, there is news of this incident of vandalism and/or agistencilism on a religious cave painting in Argyll, Scotland.

    I think it's a sign . . . religious or dialectical, I don't know. Or maybe it's just a sign that I spent too long out in the sun today on what was the hottest day of the year so far in New York. Apparently, it's going to be even hotter tomorrow, possibly topping 110 degrees in some parts of the city. I better get the headgear in place for protection from both the heat and against conspiracy theories that may pop into my head as a consequence of the increased gamma rays.

    Murray Bookchin 1921-2006

    Sad to read of the news of the death of the anarchist/social ecologist, Murray Bookchin, at the age of 85.

    Posted on the blog of the unofficial Socialist Standard MySpace page are the following three articles/reviews on Bookchin and his political thought that appeared in the Socialist Standard down the years:

  • Socialism and Ecology
  • Anarchism, Marxism and the Future of the Left by Murray Bookchin
  • Reflections on Elections
  • There is also an obituary for Bookchin on the Anarkismo website here.

    There were obvious political differences between Bookchin and the political tradition of the Socialist Standard and the Socialist Party, and the aforementioned articles and reviews pulls no punches in detailing those differences, but for all that there is no denying the impact of Bookchin's books on revolutionary politics.