Friday, June 20, 2008

People Just Want To Dream

Adding those sidebar links back one post at a time (3)

Got the hair dryer treatment form AVPS's Phil in the comment box a few posts ago for my laxity in restoring the blogroll in good time, so this post's just for him. As a wannabe Menshevik Internationalist (Brooklyn Cell), I know my place in the great scheme of things when a Bolshevik (Burslem Branch) pulls you out of the dustbin of history for a quick admonishing.

Still adding the blogrolls back in stages - if nothing else, it's a good excuse to check out blogs again - and this post focuses on the political blogs sidebar. They come under the umbrella title of 'People Just Want To Dream' for no other reason than the fact that it's the title of one of my favourite Microdisney songs and I had to get an impossibilist dig in there somewhere.

Being the lazy type, I've fallen back on Andy Newman's Top 101 Left Blogs post from last September, to reintroduce the blogroll. Those were the halcyon days of British Left blogging when the Shiraz Socialist bods were still on speaking terms with Socialist Unity blog, and the SWP's rank and file had yet to truly fall out of love with Gorgeous George.

Who'd have thought back then that those times qualified as the good old days?

  • Socialist Unity Blog - Andy Newman and friends. Yeah, I know, you're supposed to be dismissive about the blog. Andy Newman is a supposed megalomaniac . . . the blog did a flip on Gorgeous George . . . it's soft (or hard?) on China's imperial adventure in Tibet . . . yada yada yada.
    What can I say, it's a readable blog that is regularly updated and for every four posts that aren't my cup of tea there's one that's of interest. And you have to have a sneaking admiration for anyone who's able to put a rocket under the collective arses of the SWP's Central Committee. Couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of political chancers.

    I like the fact that there is ongoing series of reviews of political films on the blog - films both old and new - and Andy's review of Lindsay Anderson's 'If' from a few month's back caught my eye.
  • Splintered Sunrise - Excellent blog from Ireland. No idea who the blogger is but I understand that he is an ex-SWPer who retained his sense of humour and knows where the bodies are buried. Very gossipy, very well written and very funny.
    He also does a nice line in blog post titles. 'Everything I need to know about Leninism, I learned from midnight movies' is a particular favourite.
  • Stroppy Blog - Is Stroppy Blog one word or two? A socialist-feminist blog with three or four contributors, ranging from Labour Left types to the AWL to the SSP. Gets immediate kudos for not taking blogging too seriously.
    This recent post from Cat on the Scottish Socialist Party's commitment to free public transport caught my eye because it reminded me that the Campaigns Dept of the SSP nicked the best marketing idea that the SPGB ever came up with. Now, if only they would up the chutzpah by nicking our socialist politics. I'd need never leave my armchair.
  • Mac Uaid - Socialist Resistance blogger who, if you listen to some SWPers who are still smarting from the Respect implosion, was the mini-me to Andy Newman's Doctor Evil during the big fall out.
    Socialist Resistance? Bona fide Fourth Internationalists. The Mandel franchise and everything. Socialist Resistance has at various times been known as Socialist Outlook and the International Socialist Group. Best known for Ken Loach's man crush on its leader Alan Thornett.

    They're currently doing the eco-socialist bit, and some critics (who aren't members of the SWP) have sneered that they went from being the democratic fig leaf for the SWP in Respect Mark 1 to the socialist fig leaf for Galloway and others in Respect Renewal. All jolly japes, very incestuous and convuluted, and makes US daytime soap operas look like Chekhov by comparison.

    No, I don't know what that previous sentence meant either.
  • Dave's Part - Consistently readable blog from Dave Osler. His excuse for consistency is that he is a properly trained journalist . . . which most of us would consider cheating. He's been known in the past to write the only readable columns in otherwise dry as sawdust left journals - hello Red Pepper and Labour Briefing - and I got the shock of my life one time when I was watching the news on American TV one time, and his voice piped up as a talking head expert on some shipping disaster:

    Me: That voice on the TV has left comments on my blog.

    Kara: Yeah, but not for the longest time.

    Me: . . .

    Kara: yes?

    Me: . . . He's a reformist. He's busy.

    Check out his latest post, 'Why Tony Benn is wrong to back David Davis', and work your way down.
  • Shiraz Socialist - The Don Quixote and Sancho Panza of UK left blogging but nobody can work out if Jim D is Quixote to Volty's Panza or the other way around. I guess it depends what day you click on their blog.
    Jim D is a long time AWLer and Volty was an AWLer when I knew him at London University ten years ago but the blog has an independent streak to it. How else can you explain the perverse insistence on blogging about jazz?

    Check out Volty's post on why he'd vote for Obama if he was living in the States. Then check out this YouTube clip of Barack wrapping himself in the flag. It'll end in tears for Volty and the rest.

    Hat tip to Will Rubbish for the YouTube clip.
  • The Scottish Patient - Kevin Williamson's blog was always a favourite blog in the sidebar. He's currently blogging mostly about his new radio show/podcast, which I have downloaded but I've yet to listen to. I promise that I will . . . if only for the Jimmy Shand techno crossover tunes.
    I'm sure come the start of next season the blog will be ticking over once again with posts aplenty about the hibbees but in the meantime here's a picture of the red and white tablecloth Kev was using earlier today to mop up his tears.
  • Random Pottins - A blog that I really should click on more often. Good heavyweight journalism on subjects that I don't know enough about. I loved this wee snippet lambasting Frank Furedi from Pottins's post on the RCP turned Sp!ked mob:
    "Furedi himself had written under his academic hat criticising the "safety culture", and complaining that trade unions were devoting too much attention to their members' safety at work. I could not help reflecting that, in a bourgeois democracy at least, the casualty rate among university professors was nothing like that in the building trade." [From 'Pirates, spies and cultural advisors']
  • Ian Bone - Bash Street Anarchism from Britain's second most famous anarchist. Big on expletives, capitalised letters and knockabout humour. He also mixes footie and politics better than me. BASTARD anarchist.
  • The Early Days of a Better Nation - The personal blog of Sci-Fi novelist Ken MacLeod. Being a proper writer, he doesn't blog that often but when he does it's usually interesting. (That's my half-arsed way of saying that with his background in science fiction, I only understand about 55% of what he's havering about.)
    The good news is that he once voted for the SPGB. The bad news is that it looks like the SPGB is the one group on the left that he's never been a member of. Go figure.
  • A Very Public Sociologist - The bastard that prompted this overextended bullshit post. I'd consign him to hell if he wasn't already there. Awful taste in music but a very good blogger for all that. Nice take on self-reflection in his political life posts and I also like his branch notes posts. If I ever decide to politicise my blog, I'll steal use Phil's as a template.

    I never mentioned it at the time but I will now: I liked Phil's post on the radical film maker, Peter Watkins, from a few months back. So much so that I cut and pasted the piece over to the unofficial Socialist Standard page on MySpace.

    For all that, Phil's still on the SPGB's shitlist for the article he wrote on us in a former political life. Phil will one day discover that bound volumes of the Socialist Standard are not just for reading.
  • Adventures In Historical Materialism - SWP blogger who goes by the pseudonym of 'Snowball'. Has been known to melt in the comments box of other blogs when asked awkward questions but I don't think that's why he's got that user name.
    I haven't just linked to him to knock him down. A genuinely interesting blog which is a great source for links to labour history and he has an excellent sidebar. (I'm always jealous of a good sidebar.)

    As the footie's still consuming my thoughts, here's a link to an old post from 'Snowball' on football and politics, 'Histomat's guide to the World Cup'. I'm sure it will raise a few hackles.
  • Where's my smelling salts?


    Will said...

    Hoo yee Impy!

    On that Obama youtube ad...

    You want sick political ads? This one is worse:

    It is not a parody.

    Steve Platt said...

    Oh, the joys of t'internet! This is possibly the only post on the entire web that manages to mention Burslem and Brooklyn in the same breath. Remarkable enough in itself but coming from the only SPGB member in New York ... I don't suppose you support Port Vale as well by any chance?

    Darren said...

    If it's a choice between Port Vale and Stoke City, of course Port Vale. Martin Foyle was a canny player.

    Bristol Rovers over Bristol City.

    Notts County over Notts Forest.

    Bradford Park Avenue over Bradford City.

    SPGB over the Labour Party.

    Can you see the pattern?

    stroppybird said...

    Hi Darren

    Thanks for the link.

    btw its one word, Stroppyblog .
    Not that i'm that fussed and my name gets shortened and altered as well.

    I'm going to update my links this week and just realised you aren't on there, which was a slip up. Will add you.

    oh and re Dave and his media tarting, yep its a bit confusing as he has two media identities. Sometimes on talking about New labour, sometimes shipping (his dayjob!).

    Darren said...


    No worries about the links thing. I'm not fussed.

    I put you on the sidebar because I like to check out your blog. ;-)


    voltaires said...

    Hiya dude, cheers for the link once again. You're wrong about Nooman's Uriah Heep Blog though.

    Incidentally Jim and I were looking more for a comparison with Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant...

    Darren said...

    "Incidentally Jim and I were looking more for a comparison with Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant..."

    If you two are down as Jimmy and Cary, does that make Sean Insertpsuedonymhere, Katherine Hepburn?

    bob said...

    Who is Britain's number one most famous anarchist?