Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Skweeze Me Read Me

Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (57)

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the 57th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

We now have 1319 friends!

Recent blogs:

  • Marx's Basic Theory
  • Another world
  • Marxian Economics in the Modern World
  • Quote for the week:

    "In conflict with them ['social democrats'] for a generation are those who would sacrifice immediate success to sound principles, who have been content to be fewer in numbers if clearer in understanding, who have given transient political issues the 'go-by' and have harped upon social revolution, who have expounded economics and the class struggle, when others were shouting against taxes and tariffs, who have earned for themselves the name of Impossiblist, and have been content therewith. The war has justified them. . . The 'practical socialists' are cutting one another's throats in the trenches." [Manifesto of the Socialist Party of Canada, 4th Edition, 1915.]

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Tuesday, July 29, 2008

    The Hope That Kills Us edited by Adrian Searle (Polygon 2003)

    I mind seein him playin for the Huns in a European match on Sky wan night. Some bunch ae German basturts that were far tae guid for the Huns, eh. 4-3 doon on aggregate, and Tam gets the ba aff their star midfielder like sweeties aff a bairn and gans doon the inside right channel. And I'm stannin in this pub in Ferrytoon, and I'm shoutin at Laudrup, 'Make the run! Make the fuckin run!' Cause I can see where Tam wants tae play it, I can see it openin up.

    So Laudrup makes the run, but the sweeper's right oan tae him, ken, Laudrup's left it tae late. So the ba goes out and the camera pans ontae Tam's pus, and he's got this expression, like, Ah cannae dae anythin wi this cunt. Ah wis pishin masel laughin in this pub. Me and Brian Laudrup! Neither of us guid enough for Tam!
    [From Andrew C Ferguson's 'Nae Cunt Said Anythin']

    I can't speak Spanish . . .

    . . . so I can't help you:

  • Movimiento Socialista Mundial
  • Sunday, July 27, 2008

    High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (Riverhead Books 1995)

    Now, she works for a City law firm (hence, I guess, the restaurants and the expensive suits and the disappearance of the spiky haircut and a previously unrevealed taste for weary sarcasm) not because she underwent any kind of political conversion, but because she was made redundant and couldn't find any legal aid work. She had to take a job that paid about forty-five grand a year because she couldn't find one that paid under twenty; she said that this was all you need to know about Thatcherism, and I suppose she had a point.

    The Historical Place of the Socialist Party of Great Britain

    What with me posting the last of the Hardy economics lectures yesterday, I've decided to also repost Steve Coleman's early eighties talk, 'The Historical Place of the SPGB'.

    I'd previously posted the talk on the blog via ZShare but the links are long since dead and I much prefer using Mediafire anyway. The screen is less prone to freezing on you, and there's not as many annoying advertising pop-ups to deal with.

    I can't be arsed to add much to the blurb that I'd previously provided about the talk, so I'd just recommend that you check out the talk. Save it and forward it on.

    In all probability, I'll also repost the Socialist Thinkers series on Mediafire as well. You've been warned. Free up some space on your hard drive.

    First Part

    DOWNLOAD LINK: The Historical Place of the SPGB

    FILE NAME: 01 Historical Place (Part 1).mp3

    FILE SIZE: ~58.31 megabytes

    LENGTH: 1:03:13

    Second Part

    DOWNLOAD LINK: The Historical Place of the SPGB

    FILE NAME: 02 Historical Place (Part 2).mp3

    FILE SIZE: ~51.39 megabytes

    LENGTH: 55:42

    Link Posted Out Of Necessity

    Brilliant music blog find via the 5P blog, and it does exactly what it says on the tin lid:

    "Dedicated to the songwriting of Paddy McAloon.
    In this blog I have attempted to create an overview of Paddy's work outside of the currently available material of Prefab Sprout and also covers of his songs by other artists."
    [From Tin Can Pot blog.]

    Paddy McAloon has to be one of the best songwriters of the last 25 years. What happened to all those unreleased albums that he'd said he recorded years ago? Some of us are still waiting.

    Posts/tracks that caught my eye in this dedicated blog include:

  • Radio Love - The B side to Prefab Sprout's 1983 single, 'Lions In My Own Garden(Exit Someone)'. Naturally enough, God is mentioned in the lyrics but what is surprising is that though it wouldn't have sounded out of place on the Sprout's debut album, Swoon, the song comes across as much more polished than any track from that particular album. Why was it hidden away as a b side?
  • Kylie Minogue's cover version of 'If You Don't Love Me'. Though I still prefer the original - I think it's one of Prefab Sprout's most underrated songs - I still have a lot of time for this cover version. Sounds brilliant just stripped down to piano and vocals. Just a shame that, just like Kylie, it's too short.
  • 'Rebel Land' from a 1985 John Peel session. Prefab Sprout did a Peel Session? Now that I think about, I guess it makes sense. Signed to Kitchenware Records and with tracks like 'The Devil Has All The Best Tunes', they always had that element of left fieldism to their music, but I first heard them on Radio 2 when Radio 2 was still, erm, Radio 2 . . . Jimmy Young, Pete Murray and a Pre-ironic Terry Wogan. Why the hell I was listening to Radio 2 at the age of 12 I have no idea, and why the hell 'Don't Sing' was put on the Radio 2 playlist leaves me puzzled - Paddy McAloon's musical reworking of Graham Greene's 'The Power and the Glory' - but whatever the case, it meant that I got into Prefab Sprout from the get go. PS - Loved to hear the 1985 Peel Session version of 'Cars and Girls'.
  • The Editors are now 2 for 2 in my book. Couple of years back they did a more than respectable cover version of REM's 'Orange Crush', and they've come up trumps again with their version of 'Bonny', from Prefab Sprout's sophomore album, Steve McQueen. If only the Editors would give up the songwriting lark, there's a decent pub covers band hiding inside them.
  • Lisa Stansfield singing 'When Love Comes Down' is more a curio than a recommendation. She recorded it for a 2005 album but it sounds incredibly dated. Sort of track that AVPS Phil usually recommends as his fav (old) track of the week on his blog. Must be the first time I've heard a Lisa Stansfield track in about 15 years. I preferred her on Razzamattaz.
  • Check out the blog. Twenty years from now there'll be a National Holiday on Paddy McAloon's birthday.

    Saturday, July 26, 2008

    E. Hardy's lecture on Monetarism

    The final lecture from Edgar Hardcastle's series of talks on economics:

    First Part
    DOWNLOAD LINK: Monetarism (Part 1)

    FILE NAME: 02 Monetarism.mp3

    FILE SIZE: ~58.36 MB megabytes

    LENGTH: 1:03:21

    Second Part
    DOWNLOAD LINK: Monetarism (Part 2)

    FILE NAME: 03 Monetarism - Part Two.mp3

    FILE SIZE: ~ 48.76 MB megabytes

    LENGTH: 52:54

    Further Reading:

  • Edgar Hardcastle's Marxist Internet Archive page
  • Friday, July 25, 2008

    E. Hardy's lecture on Productivity

    The fourth economics lecture from Edgar Hardcastle:

    First Part
    DOWNLOAD LINK: Productivity (Part 1)

    FILE NAME: 43 Productivity.mp3

    FILE SIZE: ~56.15 MB megabytes

    LENGTH: 1:00:55

    Second Part
    DOWNLOAD LINK: Productivity (Part 2)

    FILE NAME: Productivity - Part Two.mp3

    FILE SIZE: ~15.28 MB megabytes

    LENGTH: 16:39

    Further Reading:

  • Edgar Hardcastle's Marxist Internet Archive page
  • 0/2

    Damn, so much for my political punditry:

  • Labour lose to the SNP in the Glasgow East by-election.
  • In the mini-contest, the SSP's Francis Curran out polls Solidarity's Tricia McLeish. Cue whispered accusations from the Labour Party that they lost votes over the confusion that people voted for the wrong Curran.
  • The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984)

    Thursday, July 24, 2008

    Moment of Truth?

    The Glasgow Herald editorial calls it a 'Moment of Truth', but the victor in the Glasgow East By-Election tonight will be the 'Don't care, who gives a toss, how did Celtic do against Cardiff tonight?' Party'.

    I can't be too cheeky about such matters. I was meaning to do a regular blogsearch of Glasgow East stories between the calling of the election and the result itself but life, music, books, Brooklyn heat and more music intervened. The one time that Shettleston gets its moment in the political sun, and I'm too busy suffering from the New York sun to fully follow it up.

    The pundits suggest that the Labour Party candidate will squeak by the SNP candidate but it won't matter a jot. Like I mentioned before on the blog, it will be Garscadden all over again.

    Being the Left Trainspotter that I am, I'll put my hand up to the fact that I'll be fascinated to know who will win out between the SSP and the Solidarity candidates in tonight's by-election. Sheridan's celebrity cache means that Solidarity will in all likelihood win that particular contest, and once again the SSP activists will have to rue the day that they bought into the tribune of the people celebrity socialism bollocks, which meant that for so many people that not only was Sheridan the SSP but he was the personifaction of socialism itself.

    Political heroes should be long since dead . . . old black and white photographs with their myth and reputations intact, and political celebrities should only be found in old episodes of the West Wing.

    It will be a bit of shame with the SSP's candidate, Francis Curran, losing out to Solidarity's Trish Mcleish, 'cos I've always liked this clip of her that I found on YouTube.

    She was speaking at a Socialist Resistance meeting in London back in 2006 in the aftermath of the SSP implosion, and I just love the way she calls the 'Generals without an Army', that is the SWP, for what it is.

    E. Hardy's lecture on Rent, Interest and Profit

    The third economics lecture from Edgar Hardcastle:

    First Part
    DOWNLOAD LINK: Rent, Interest and Profit (Part 1)

    FILE NAME: 04 Rent, Interest And Profit.mp3

    FILE SIZE: ~57.81 MB megabytes

    LENGTH: 1:02:43

    Second Part

    DOWNLOAD LINK: rent, Interest and Profit (Part 2)

    FILE NAME: 05 Rent, Interest And Profit.mp3

    FILE SIZE: ~38.25 MB megabytes

    LENGTH: 41:29

    Further Reading:

  • Edgar Hardcastle's Marxist Internet Archive page
  • Wednesday, July 23, 2008

    E. Hardy's lecture on the Labour Theory of Value

    The second economics lecture from Edgar Hardcastle:

    First Part
    DOWNLOAD LINK: Labour Theory of Value (Part 1)

    FILE NAME: 12 Labour Theory of Value.mp3

    FILE SIZE: ~59.58 MB megabytes

    LENGTH: 1:04:40

    Second Part

    DOWNLOAD LINK: Labour Theory of Value (Part 2)

    FILE NAME: 13 Labour Theory of Value - Part Two.mp3

    FILE SIZE: ~33.49 MB megabytes

    LENGTH: 36:21

    Further Reading:

  • Edgar Hardcastle's Marxist Internet Archive page
  • Can-Can County

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (56)

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 56th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1314 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • The Bilderberg Group
  • Did Jesus ever live?
  • What we should not do
  • Quote for the week:

    "The society which organizes production anew on the basis of free and equal association of the producers will put the whole state machinery where it will then belong - into the museum of antiquities, next to the spinning wheel and the bronze axe." F. Engels, Chapter 9, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, 1884.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    E. Hardy on Crises And Depressions

    The internet connection should go down more often. Not only did it prompt me to pick up a book to read, but I also happened to stumble upon an old data CD hiding at the back of the bookcase that includes a series of audio files of economics lectures given by the late SPGB member, Edgar Hardcastle.

    The talks date from the early eighties - I'm not sure of the exact date - when Hardcastle, himself, was in his early eighties, and I'm pretty certain that these Economics Education classes were organised by the old Islington Branch of the SPGB. They may or may not have been organised around about the same time as Steve Coleman's 'Socialist Thinkers' series.

    To be honest, I'm not sure how many talks Hardcastle gave in this lecture series, but I do have five of the talks on the disc and I will post them on the blog over the next five days.

    Maybe anyone out there with bound volumes of the Socialist Standard close at hand can fill in the gaps: (I.E.) When the meetings were held . . . Where they were held . . . In which chronological order the meetings were held . . . And which meetings have I missed in the series.

    As mentioned above, Hardcastle was in his early eighties when he gave the talks. As his linked to obituary outlines, he was the:

    ". . . son of a founder member, he went to prison as a socialist conscientious objector in the First World War, formally joining the Party in 1922. After studying at the London School of Economics under Professor Edwin Cannan he worked all his life as a researcher in the trade union movement, first for the Agriculture Workers Union, then for a short while for the international trade union movement in Brussels, then till his retirement for the Post Office workers' union where he was chief adviser to a succession of UPW General Secretaries."

    He served on the Editorial Committee of the Socialist Standard for over forty years, and represented the SPGB on many occasions in debate. His pen name, when writing articles for the Standard, was 'H', and when he spoke for the Party he was listed as 'Hardy' in the meetings pages of the Standard.

    The use of 'H' as a pen name dates from time in the SPGB's publishing history when the overwhelming majority of Party writers would sign their articles with either their initials or with a pseudonym. I can only guess that he used the Party name of 'Hardy' when speaking for the SPGB because of work commitments.

    To give some sense of the span of his political life, speaking as a representative of the SPGB, he debated an Economic League speaker in 1927; a New Party speaker in 1931; Dr Edward Conze (speaking on behalf of the Labour Party) in 1937; Sir Keith Joseph in 1975; Arthur Seldon in 1981; Paul Hirst in 1983; and Kelvin Hopkins in 1988. (That's from an incomplete wiki list here.)

    A word of warning about the recordings: the sound quality is not the greatest. They are rips from cassette recordings, and it may be a case of having to crank up the volume to number 11 to hear the talks. And if you can hear the questions from the audience on the recordings, you're a superhero character from a marvel comic and i claim my five dollars. If you're a techno geek who can polish and improve the sound quality of these recordings, thanks in advance for any input.

    First Part
    DOWNLOAD LINK: Crisis and Depressions (Part 1)

    FILE NAME: 27 Crises And Depressions.mp3

    FILE SIZE: ~58.16 MB megabytes

    LENGTH: 1:03:05

    Second Part

    DOWNLOAD LINK: Crisis and Depressions (Part 2)

    FILE NAME: 28 Crises And Depressions - Part Two.mp3

    FILE SIZE: ~50.87 MB megabytes

    LENGTH: 55:11

    Further Reading:

  • Edgar Hardcastle's Marxist Internet Archive page
  • Friendlies, Flutes and Riordan's Dutch Auction

  • July 18th 2008 Southampton 0-2 Celtic
  • From the Herald match report:
    " . . . Tommy Kaland was afforded a late run-out for the home side after winning his place in an auction . . . "

    Could that be the solution to Riordan getting a game for Celtic?

    More over at Kerrydale Street.

  • July 19th 2008 Fulham 3-1 Celtic
  • According to the BBC, David Healy disappoints. I like him as well. I'd like him to do well in the EPL.
    101 Goals blog has the lowlights, and Kerrydale Street has more info on the game. Nice goal by Zamora.

    All Points North by Simon Armitage (Penguin Books 1998)

    Colne Valley once had a reputation as a hotbed of radical thought and political activism. It figured strongly in the Luddite uprisings. Enoch Taylor is buried in Marsden, whose looms were pulverized by the hammer of the same name, and William Horsfall was, aptly enough, shot from his horse in Milnsbridge, after saying he'd rather ride up to his saddle girths in blood than give in to the demands of the rabble. Out of the dozens of mills along the valley floor, a handful are still working with wool. The rest are converted into units, full of New Age hippies brewing patchouli oil and making ear-rings out of circuit boards, or moored at the side of the river, rotting away like decommissioned ocean-liners. Weavers' cottages with their double-glazing look down from the hillsides, like old faces wearing new glasses.
    In the 1970s, the Valley fell into a long, pleasant afternoon nap. In their sleep, electors stumbled along to voting booths in junior schools and village halls, and put a cross next to the name of Richard Wainwright, Liberal, who held the seat for donkey's years. He was a good man, and that was all anybody needed to know. On your eighteenth birthday he sent you a signed letter on House of Commons stationery welcoming you to the electoral register, and you sold iy to your fifteen-year-old friend for ID in the pubs in town . . .

    Connecticut Muffin, Courtelyou Road, Brooklyn

    Internet connection has been down in the apartment for the last two days.

    Tentatively picked up a book. And once I rediscovered which way round to open it, discovered that I enjoyed reading the words.

    Back soon . . . maybe.

    Sunday, July 20, 2008

    " . . .Seriously, kid. Enough with the visits to the electric beach.""

    "Cheroin" . . . . "Polish your nipple jewelry?" . . . It's like Quentin Crisp reincarnated himself and said "THIS time, I'm not gonna get hung up on any masculinity issues!!" . . .

    With quotes like that, it can only mean one thing: Project Runway is back for its fifth season and the ever brilliant Project Rungay blog is back with the best blog/tv show tie-in on the blogosphere.

    I'm still entangled up in the second season of Shear Genius but episode 1 of Project Runway has already hooked me in.

    Korto to win. Blayne to melt . . . and I'll go get my gaberdine mac.

    Absolute Beginners (1986)

    Down and out in the sidebar

    What the hell happened to my old George Orwell link? That was a brilliant resource that seems to have gone awol.

    Until further notice, this link will have to do.

    Saturday, July 19, 2008

    Lubo vs Naka?

    Has to be the bloke with a haircut straight out of an episode of Brookside in the eighties, but who played like someone who wouldn't have looked out of place in the Brazil World Cup team in '82.

    The 10th August can't come too soon.

    The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe (Plume/Penguin 1959)

    Sitting in what has come to be called my study, a room in the first-floor flat of a ramshackle Majorcan house, my eyes move over racks of books around me. Row after row of coloured backs and dusty tops, they give an air of distinction not only to the room but to the whole flat, and one can sense the thoughts of occasional visitors who stoop down discreetly during drinks to read their titles:
    "A Greek Lexicon, Homer in the original. He knows Greek! (Wrong, those books belong to my brother-in-law.) Shakespeare, The Golden Bough, a Holy Bible bookmarked with tapes and paper. He even reads it! Euripides and the rest, and a dozen mouldering Baedekers. What a funny idea to collect them! Proust, all twelve volumes! I never could wade through that lot. (Neither did I.) Doestoevsky. My god, is he still going strong?"
    And so on and so on, items that have become part of me, foliage that is grown to conceal the bare stem of my real personality, what I was like before I ever saw these books, or any book at all, come to that.
    [From The Decline And Fall Of Frankie Buller]

    Britpop Quote of the Day

    Lush's Miki Berenyi discussing the release of the Britpop and Shoegazing box set The Brit Box:

    "Is there a band in existence who would feel it a compliment to be compared to Dodgy?"

    Cruel, but funny . . . and I actually bought Dodgy's first two albums.

    Thursday, July 17, 2008

    Glasgow East By-Election latest

    Best Kept Secrets has just posted Easterhouse's 1986 debut album, Contenders, on their blog.

    And yes the track, 'Lenin in Zurich', is as intriguing as its title suggests. The final track on the album, 'Johnny I Hardly Knew You', has Andy Perry doing his best Scott Walker impersonation.

    Scott Walker in Easterhouse. How's that for a family in-joke?

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008

    "Every time a wish comes true, an angel gets his cards."

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (55)

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 55th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1307 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Tomorrow's Enemies
  • Open prison
  • Meat, Money and Malnutrition
  • Quote for the week:

    "Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain." Napoleon Bonaparte, 1815

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008

    Sunday, July 13, 2008

    Garnethill by Denise Mina (Carroll & Graf Mystery 1998)

    "Marie was the eldest. She moved to London in the early eighties to get away from her mum's drinking, settled there and became one of Mrs Thatcher's starry-eyed children. She got a job in a bank and worked her way up. At first the change in her seemed superficial: she began to define all her friends by how big their mortgage was and what kind of car they drove. It took a while for them to realize that Marie was deep down different. They could talk about Winnie's alcoholism, about Maureen's mental-health problems, and to a lesser extent about Liam dealing drugs, but they couldn't talk about Marie being a Thatcherite. There was nothing kind to be said about that. Maureen had always assumed that Marie was a socialist because she was kind. The final breal between them came the last time Marie was home for a visit. They were talking about homelessness and Maureen ruined the dinner for everybody by losing the place and shouting, 'Get a fucking value system,' at her sister."

    Socialism stalled

    Durham Miners Gala 2008.

    On A Raised Beach

    A new template, a name change and a welcome back to the blogger who now goes by the name of 'Brigada Flores Magon'.

    Remember reading this passage years ago in a book whose title I can no longer remember (it was someone quoting McNair, rather it being McNair's biog of Maxton itself), and I'm glad that's it finally found its way onto the net.

    What's another reference to Red Clydeside and the once vibrant radical traditions of the East End of Glasgow in the current hurly burly of the blogosphere? The more the merrier, as it will all disappear from blogsearch come July 25th.

    No Time For Comedy (1940)

    Saturday, July 12, 2008

    Pop Kid Without Needs

    The music mag, Zig Zag, passed me by as a pop kid.

    I've got a sense that I was maybe too young when it was in its heyday. I'm sure I saw it on the shelf at the local newsagents but I think at that point (in the early eighties) it was too much of a goth magazine for my liking. I want to say I once bought a copy because there was a featured article on Marc and the Mambas on the front cover but that might just be false muso syndrome.

    This yabbering is just my way of leading into the fact that it's such a pleasure that Highlander over at Cactus Mouth Informer is continuing to post old articles from Zig Zag on his blog. It's such a simple but brilliantly effective blogging idea. Why isn't there a legion of music bloggers out there scanning in their old NMEs' or Melody Makers'? What's the point of posting out of print classic albums from '79 if all you're posting alongside is yet another cut and paste from Trouser Press? How are you supposed to get the scent of sweat, idealism and bullshit in your nostrils if you can't read the half-manifesto, half-monomania from the lead singers concerned when they were releasing the albums?

    Whilst I'm on a mini-rant - waiting for the kettle to boil brings that out in me - what about the political bloggers scanning in their old Subversions or Now That's What I Call Marxist? I'm usually not the biggest fan of reading PDF's on the net but surely the old political and musical inkies are prime candidates for rediscovery in their original format? I think it shows that the internet and blogging is still largely in its infancy. But that might just be me throwing my toys out of my play pen because I want to read old Sounds articles about Blue Rondo A La Turk that date from 1981.

    Rant over. Kettle boiled. Tea masking. And back to H's excellent series over at his blog. A recent post in his series is a three page article on Theatre of Hate from October 1981. (Featuring an incredibly young Billy Duffy.) Never really got Kirk Brandon and the devotion that he's known to inspire. The music is a bit to clangy, the lyrical sentiments a bit too earnest and po-faced despite their obvious sincerity and I still can't delete from my memory bank an image of him sitting and smiling with Vera Lynn that dates from a mid-eighties issue of Record Mirror. It was the stuff of nightmares. Oh, and Then Jericho stole Kirk's blueprint anyway and just added some nice v-necked jumpers into the pop mix.

    The latest Zig Zag article featured on the blog is a two page Simple Minds article that dates from 1981. You know, when they were still brilliant.

    Here's some articles from Zig Zag that caught the eye:

  • Nice interview with John Peel from the October 1983 issue. 'fraid I was never a Peelite, Too much of a pop kid, I guess. Too busy watching shite tv from 10pm-12pm Monday thru' Thursday. Whatever the reason, it was my loss.
  • From the same issue a three page spread on the Cocteau Twins. I was a pop kid but that didn't stop me buying the Cocteau Twins 'Pearly Dewdrops Drop' and This Mortal Coil's 'Song To The Siren'. Beautiful, beautiful songs and for some of us born too late, Elizabeth Fraser was our Claire Grogan. What can one say about the excellence that was the Cocteau Twins? I think Harry Lauder expressed it best in the Ealing Comedy classic, 'The Third Ned':
    "Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Grangemouth for 30 years under a Labour Council they had cronyism, terror, murder, packed meetings, bogus town twinnings and bloodshed, but they produced Gordon Legge, Isla St Clair, and the Cocteau Twins. In Nottingham they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? Paper Lace."
  • I still think that Jarvis Cocker, Noel Gallagher and Billy Bragg are the three most entertaining interviews in pop music. Back in November 1983, Jarvis Cocker was kept in a state of perpetual fear that the 1967 unsold copies of Pulp's debut album on top of his wardrobe might cascade down one night and suffocate him. Noel Gallagher was having an epiphany in a sitting room in Manchester whilst watching The Smiths perform 'This Charming Man' on Top of the Pops for the first time but Billy Bragg was sticking out like a sore thumb in a Zig Zag issue that also featured King Kurt, Death Cult and Lords of the New Church, with a four page feature to support his debut solo album, Life's a Riot with Spy Vs Spy.
    What with it being 1983, the Billy featured is not so political but the army experience is mentioned and there's also the details of him recently playing the Futurama festival which, 25 years later, only conjures up images of an indie Spinal Tap for this reader. By the by, I've mentioned the Billy Bragg podcasts approvingly on the blog before and I'm happy to do so again. The podcast, 'PJ to top of the indie charts', covers the same period featured in the Zig Zag interview.
  • The November '83 issue also carries an interview with Mark E Smith. Marc Riley has just left the band; Smith makes a casual reference to once held left-wing beliefs that I never knew he held; and, spotted through the interview, are references to Smith's new wife, Brix. Minor pop stardom was just round the corner. If late '83 showed us a Billy Bragg who was yet to be party political, the same period shows a Mark E Smith who had yet to get the crusty curmudgeon persona down pat. For all his personal make up, the bloke comes across as genuinely happy. Strange one.
  • That's the articles that caught my eye, but if the word 'Batcave' means anything to you, there's enough stuff in this very link to keep you happy between now and the start of the football season.

    Friday, July 11, 2008

    Finally realised after twenty years: Socialism is for mugs

    Via Gian Maria's blog:

    Blogging Shorts

    What's the point of having multiple sidebars to click on at random unless you're going to make use of them on a Friday morning?

  • Reads like a Ret Marut short story, but the BBC website carries news of the last living member of the Durruti Column, who's been living in Bolivia for the last fifty years. (Hat tip to Will Rubbish.)
  • This much he knew Lost Karl Marx interview from the the Manchester Guardian Saturday Supplement, March 15th 1882. Hat tip to John Counago.
  • Oldish post from the Madam Miaow blog, but I'm sure the title alone will drag you in, 'Keith Richards stole my last joint': guest post from Charles Shaar Murray.
  • Why be a student lefty, when you can be a graduate lefty? Swap the papersales and megaphone for three day conferences and a defective mic. Ian Bone maps out the next ten years of your life.
  • Trainspotting was on TV tonight. Strictly Sinatra was on the other side at the same time. Has Kelly MacDonald died or something? I'm sure I would have heard mention of it on The Scottish Patient Radio Show. Scottish Patient Kev gets extra kudos for playing Salon Boris on last week's show.
  • Socialist Alliance Mark II or just the new sound of Medway? Neither, but I had to crowbar the Billy Childish link in there somewhere. John Rees, Hannah Sell and Alan Thornett debating on the same platform? It could only happen in the safety of Kent. Click on the link to find out what I'm havering about. Click on this further link to discover what the mumblings about the sound of Medway are all about.
  • American Trotskyism had Saul Bellow, James T. Farrell and Harvey Swados. British Trotskyism had Julian Symons. Latest in the Normski's Writer's Choice series has Martin Edwards discussing Symons novel, 'Bloody Murder'.
  • Whilst I was over at Normski's 'Writers Choice' series, I found Ramachandra Guha discussing Eduardo Galeano's 'Football in Sun and Shadow' from a few years back.
  • . . . and children's author, Jean Ure, discussing Alexander Berkman's 'Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist'. Did I ever mention that Jean Ure used to be a member of the SPGB? She was a member of Croydon Branch for a couple of years in the early eighties. Wrote a couple of funny and entertaining articles for the Socialist Standard during that period. From the Q & A section of her website, it mentions that she has published over a 100 books. I know a comrade from my time in Central London Branch of the SPGB whose been known to collect books - any books - that have been written by people who were once members of the Party. Pound to a penny he's got at least twenty of her books. Once he gets the reserve price for his kidney on eBay, he'll be able to buy the other eighty.
  • Wednesday, July 09, 2008

    SPGB 2008 Summer School: On Religion

    Did socialists assume that the progress science has made in explaining our world would push out religious beliefs? Instead the 21st century has seen religion become even more of a prominent issue.Whether it is the role of Islam in Britain, sectarian conflicts in the Middle East, or the ongoing battle between creationism and evolutionary theory,religion is always in the news.

    Our weekend of talks and discussion will explore socialist views on the impact of religion in society.

    How does faith relate to other aspects of capitalism,such as laws and relations between countries?

    How does a religious outlook differ from a socialst or humanist one?

    Can you be a socialist and have religious beliefs?

    As always the venue for Summer School is Fircroft College, which offers excellent facilities within easy reach of Birmingham city centre.

    Thou shalt have an interesting and enjoyable weekend

    Friday Evening Meal 6.30-7.00 pm

    7.45 Friday evening - Sandy Easton on 'The Real Meaning of Religion'

    Saturday Breakfast 7.30 -9.30 10.00 Saturday - Mike Foster on End Times beliefs

    Lunch 12.30 -1 15

    2.00 Saturday afternoon - Howard Moss asks 'Is Socialism a Faith?'

    Saturday Evening Meal 6.30 -7.00

    7.30 Saturday evening - Gwynn Thomas on 'Islam, Politics and Revolution'

    Sunday Breakfast 7.30-9.30

    10.00 - Adam Buick on 'Evolution and the God Hypothesis'

    Full attendance costs £120 per person .This includes accomodation and all meals Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.A limited number of £60 concessionary tickets are available to those on low incomes. Send a £10 deposit (cheques made payable to the Socialist Party of Great Britain) with your contact details to, Summer School, flat 2, 24 Tedstone Road, Quinton,Birmingham B32 2PD.

    Enquiries to Mike ,

    Neil Peart's drumsticks

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (54)

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 54th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1289 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Government or democracy?
  • The left on the coat-tails of liberalism
  • A capitalist criticises capitalism
  • Quote for the week:

    "In most parts of our country men work, not for themselves, not as partners in the old way in which they used to work, but generally as employees, 'in a higher or lower grade' of great corporations. There was a time when corporations played a very minor part in our business affairs, but now they play the chief part, and most men are the servants of corporations." [Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom - A Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People.]

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Only one F in Fulham

    Not the brightest spark on the Catherine wheel.

    Mods and mockers

    Comedy gold from the Glasgow East by-election:

    Less a case of 'the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton', and more a case of the battle for the soul of Scottish Republican Socialism was lost in the tuck shop queue at St Andrews Secondary School in Shettleston.

    Someone over at the Glasgow East by-election thread on Urban 75 mentions the awkward fact that Trish McLeish "was in the same LPYS, Labour Party, Militant, Militant Labour, SSA and SSP with Frances Curran - and she waits over 20 years to come out with this tosh?" Sad that even the most rebellious mod could have been cowed by democratic centralism for over twenty years.

    Hat tip to 'Fedayn' over at Urban 75.

    Tuesday, July 08, 2008

    The Sweet Forever by George P. Pelecanos (A Dell Book 1998)

    "Karras crossed the avenue, approaching Stefanos and the kid from behind. As he neared them, Karras saw the televisions in the window were all tuned to the same image: Len Bias, wearing that jazzy ice green suit of his, standing out of his chair at the calling of his name.
    All right, it was news. But why were they running the draft highlights again, two days after the fact?
    "Nick?" said Karras.
    Stefanos and the boy turned their heads. The black kid was crying freely, tears running down his cheeks.
    "Dimitri," said Stefanos, his eyes hollow and red.
    Karas felt hot and suddenly nauseous in the sun. He backed away to a government oak, leafy and full, planted by the curb. Karras stepped into its cool shade.
    He closed his eyes and drew a deep breath. It was better there, standing in the darkness pooled beneath the tree.

    Why wait for an alibi?

    AKA 'Recycling comments from other blogs'.

    The Recruitathon has passed for another year, and I have to be honest that I continue to have a tinge of sadness that I no longer have the opportunity to set up an SPGB stall outside the event and experience a two day thousand yard stare parading past our lit table.

    I miss the old days of seeing Tony Benn give a variation on the same speech (and the same anecdotes) year after year. The CPGB and the AWL drawing lots to see whose turn it is to have this year’s ‘incident’ with a middle-ranking apparatchik from the SWP, and, having a pulse and a bank account, being asked to join the SWP about 141 times during the course of the event. (More often than not by the same people who blank you when you're doing the stall.)

    Throw in a smattering of American accented Sparts lovebombing any passing politico who happens to glance at their stall for a nanosecond; the Class War stall doing a roaring trade to Baby Trots with their Class War T Shirts and Class War lighters and a Big Issue seller who’s lucky to sell three magazines all weekend and I could be transported back to any year between 1996 and 2004.

    Yeah, I know that sounds like I'm suggesting that one year sounds like any other but, via this comment from 'Thin Lizzy' over at Socialist Unity blog, it appears that I'm not the only one who suffered from Groundhog Weekend Syndrome:

    "I am delighted that the SWP apparently had another successful Marxism event. However, I don’t believe that we can have total confidence that the SWP leaders are telling the truth about the size of Marxism every year.

    Back on July 15, 2006, Socialist Worker reported that, ‘Some 4,100 activists gathered to discuss and debate a huge range of political issues‘ at that year’s Marxism. However, SWP party notes in July 2007, according to their internal bulletin last Autumn, stated: ’Marxism 2007 was a great success. Over 4,100 people attended the event, up over 400 on last year’. This week’s Socialist Worker proudly reports: ‘Around 4,100 people from across Britain and the world came to this year’s Marxism festival held in central London last weekend.’

    What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.

    Did I mention that the highlight of 'Marxism' every year was the kick arse secondhand bookstalls?

    The Once Green Field of Caroline Street

    Somewhere in the draft section of the blog is a post about the impending by-election in Glasgow East. Usual story: the bloggers block headed me off before I could slam my palm down on the publish button.

    Whatever the excuse, I do declare an interest with regards to the by-election: until boundaries were redrawn before the last General Election, part of what is now the Glasgow East seat was once part of the old Glasgow Shettleston Parliamentary Constituency, which is where both sides of my family are from.

    Shettleston was one of those heartland Labour seats where they could put a Red Rosette on a kewpie doll and it would win by a landslide, but Glasgow East has become front and centre in British political news since the sitting MP, David Marshall, resigned his seat suddenly due to 'health reasons'. What with the Labour Government recently receiving a drubbing in both the Crewe & Nantwich and Henley by-elections, many political commentators are trying to talk up the story that if Labour were to lose the Glasgow East seat (to the SNP) on the 24th it would be the death knell to Gordon Brown's Premiership.

    Of course political commentators have to run with that story. How else are they going to paint political intrigue in the coming weeks? It's the obvious angle to take, despite the fact that, outside of Brown himself falling on his sword, there's no obvious or plausible alternative scenario whereby someone other than Brown might lead the Labour Party at the next General Election.

    There's no stalking horse in place to stand against Brown if worst case scenario happens for Labour and they lose the seat. (Would someone who could secure the support of a fifth of the PLP to trigger a leadership election really put themselves forward as a stalking horse?) Other attempts could be made to try and find parallels with both the fag end of the Thatcher years, and of the later Tory Government years. Where's the Heseltine like-heavyweight, brooding, bristling and waiting on the sidelines for his or her opportunity to finally ascend to the top of the greasy pole? Didn't you notice. Brown was the Heseltine figure on the Labour benches ever since that now famous carve up at the Granita restaurant back in 1994.

    What about the possibility of one of the young turks, such as either of the Miliband brothers, Purnell or Balls breaking ranks and standing against Brown? I can't see it happening, to be honest. They've got enough problems as it is with the possibility that one of them will be the Labour in opposition's version of William Hague in the coming years. That's not an attractive proposition whatever way you look at it.

    What does this all mean for the Labour Government? As it currently stands, it's a dead party walking. The musty whiff of an administration running out of steam, ideas and confidence is now overwhelming and it gets more over powering each and every day, as another financial scandal concerning a Labour hack arrives on the front page, to be followed by the six o'clock news headlines of economic figures that indicate Britain's heading towards recession, and what was once upon a time the 'Strange Death of Tory Britain' narrative has long since been replaced by a 'Strange Death of New Labour Britain' narrative.

    To paraphrase (and bowdlerise) one of SWP's get quick rich slogans from a few years back, for the political chattering classes, we're now living in the 1990s in fast forward motion.

    What does this all mean for the voters (and much more numerous non-voters) of Glasgow East? One of the poorest Parliamentary constituencies in Britain will get its three weeks in the media sun. TV and Print journalists will be tripping over themselves and their metaphors to describe the poverty and the apathy amongst the people in the area, and much speculation will be made of what happens next in the Westminster Village if Labour lose a seat in a part of the world they took for granted forty years ago. ComeJuly 25th, the media bandwagon will have moved on, and the poverty and apathy will still be in place.

    The emptiness and meaninglessness of it all is disheartening for even a cynic like myself. Part of me wishes a repeat of the 1978 Glasgow Garscadden by-election result. It's less of a rendering of a 'plague on all your houses' and more of a 'confusion on all your houses' half-hearted gibe. That'd give the political class something to chatter about for a few more weeks, and they could leave the rest of us in peace and quiet.

    How To Deal With Racists

    Jim, Hak and Normski are right. This is brilliant.

    Monday, July 07, 2008

    Losing my religion

    Christ, someone fetch me a priest. I've had the same song ricocheting around my cranium for the last ten hours and I can't get it out of my head. It's worse than the bastard hiccups.

    I heard it on an old mix tape a few days ago, and when I woke up this morning it was the first thing I thought of and it's been encoring on me ever since. Need to get that tune out of my head anyway I can.

    Please . . . PLEASE . . . TAKE IT OFF ME.

    Wibble, dribble, wibble, rid me of the accursed wobble.

    Sunday, July 06, 2008

    Close Season Blues

    The Euro Championship spoiled me. I'm missing my daily fix of football so much that I've taken to refreshing the picture below again and again to simulate footballing grace and poise.

    More in the 'Classics in Lego' series can be viewed on Flickr here.

    Further viewing pleasure available here.

    Saturday, July 05, 2008

    R. Andom (1976-2008)

    Fred Kite holidaying in Venezuela

    At the time of writing, I believe the quotes below - and the article they're cut and pasted from - to be genuine, but apologies in advance if it transpires that I have fallen victim to a clever marketing campaign for Tariq Ali's sequel to his satirical novel, 'Redemption':

    "Minutes later, president Chávez descended from the plane, greeting comrade Alan in the first place and exchanging a few words with him about the nationalisation of Sidor and other companies. He also mentioned the book Reformism or Revolution, making a complimentary comment. Turning to Nicolás Maduro, he said: "He has smashed Dieterich! Alan has a very sharp sense of humour".

    "During his speech he
    [Chavez] mentioned comrade Alan on five occasions, every time he referred to Marxism and nationalisations: "Here we have Alan Woods, from the International Marxist Tendency. Marxism has been brought back to life!". He mentioned that he had seen Alan's interview with Vanessa Davies the previous evening: "Alan made some criticisms, which I took note of. From a Marxist point of view and I have great respect for Marxist opinions" . . .

    At the beginning comrade Alan Woods was in another car a few hundred metres behind. But at a certain point a member of the presidential guard who was in the same car as Alan asked him: "Alan Woods? Is that you? A motorbike is coming to pick you up to take you to the car driven by president Chávez." So, a few minutes later a big bike picked up Alan and drove speedily, dodging the people and the other cars, until it reached the presidential car. Alan was lifted on to the car and he continued the caravan with the president. From the car it was clear how the revolutionary rank and file are still enormously enthusiastic towards comandante Chávez; men, women and children, all wanted to greet him warmly, showing their support for the revolution. During the journey, president Chávez talked to Alan Woods about several questions. In the middle of the fervour of the people, the president turned to Alan and said: "See, Alan, in spite of all the faults of the Bolivarian revolution, this revolution is still alive", something that could be clearly seen in the multitude which surrounded the car shouting "Viva Chávez!" . . .

    Then, with a gesture of frustration, Chávez said: "You see all this, and still we have not been able to win the governor here." And pointing at the candidate William Fariñas, he asked: "Alan, if this man is elected, what should he do?" To which Alan replied straight away: "He must listen to the people, understand their message and carry it out". "Precisely", said Chávez, "but that is the problem that we are facing. Some governors, after being elected lose contact with the rank and file. They surround themselves with rich people, beautiful women, etc. and lose contact with the people. This is an ideological problem. As long as we do not have governors who are ideologically prepared we will always have the same problem. We must win the battle of ideas. You are a good writer, why don't you write some pamphlets explaining the ideas of socialism in a simple way? Here we could distribute them massively." . . .

    . . . At this point, for the first time, the voice of the President sounded a bit tired: "I cannot do everything," he said. "It is absolutely necessary for the people to participate in this process and to take control in their own hands"."

    It's years since I read 'Redemption', so I honestly can't remember if Alan Woods has a walk on part in that novel but those quotes above are pure comedy gold. I can't wait to read the sequel.

    The Magazine Wrack and Gobby Bastards . . .

    . . . are a couple of new sidebars that I've added to the blog. (Scroll down the page to see what I'm getting at.)

    Pretty self-explanatory and they will be updated when the mood takes me.

    King Suckerman by George P. Pelecanos (A Dell Book 1997)

    "Cooper watched him walk - strut, really - toward the cinder-block bunker. The kid's left hand was cupped at his side, and he kind of swung it on the down-step. As the kid passed below the light of the floodlamp, Cooper could see the four-inch heels in the boy's stacks. Those platforms, the Afro, and the kid's street-nigger strut: a white-boy, wanna-be-a-black-boy cracker. He had the walk down, a little too much with the hand action for Cooper's taste, but not bad. And the kid was cooler than a motherfucker, too, the way he went straight through the door without knocking, not even looking around before he did. Cooper wondered, What's going to happen next?"

    Friday, July 04, 2008

    Quote of the Day . . . of any day

    From Olly Onions Normblog profile:

    Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind?

    "I once loathed the Tories with unchecked enthusiasm; now they have reverted to putting up mediocre, over-privileged Etonites I despise them even more."

    Anon FC

    Who? Where? Why?

    Who's going to go tell the Spartans?

    Yesterday Once More

    The 5P music blog brings the blogosphere news of why July 3rd, 1982 was the most important day in the history of eighties:

  • Best album of the eighties reached its rightful place.
  • Best number one single of the eighties drove a welcome wedge between Stevie Wonder (with Macca) and Survivor stateside.
  • On the same day, a Norwich band by the name of The Happy Few did a Peel Session - which you can hear here - and I thought I was Eder* when kicking a ball six hours a day . . . and I probably needed my haircut.

    A day late but that don't matter: what the hell ever happens on July 4th anyway?


    *July 3rd 1982 was the day after Brazil had dismantled Argentina 3-1, to put the holders out of the World Cup. July 5th was still to come.

    Insert punning headline here

    Once upon a time Wired magazine hit upon the winning idea of asking various writers to come up with a six word short story. I mentioned it in passing on the blog in more than six words . . . naturally.

    Now, Dave O has had a similar idea to Wired magazine on his blog, but this time it's not a short story he's asking readers to try their hand at but political fiction. In his own words, ' . . . can you encapsulate what Gordon Brown is supposedly all about, in seven words or less?'

    I could only think of two:

  • Standard editorial: The return of bleak times
  • James Maxton's biographer; The Labour Party's undertaker
  • Granted they're nothing more than blatant spamming of the Socialist Standard on the one hand and me pretending that I used to read books once upon a time on the other hand, but maybe you can do better.

    Thursday, July 03, 2008

    The dvd from netflix is sitting on top of the telly.

    When is a film review not a film review?

    When it's a film review that is published within the pages of 'Revolutionary Perspectives', the journal of the Communist Workers Organisation.

    Nipped into St Marks Bookshop the other day whilst Kara was getting her hair cut to see how the Socialist Standards were doing. (Put it this way, the issues hadn't leapt from the shelves and they weren't feeling lonely.) Took me about seven seconds to find them because someone had decided to hide them behind the latest issue of 'Revolutionary Perspectives'.

    Can you believe that? Thirty seven different variety of Leninist, Trotskyist and Social Democratic journals on display on the same rack and East Village's only IBRP supporter decides what's most important is that s/he obscures the Socialist Standard from view. If it was such a big deal, the 'Left Numpty' should have went the whole nine yards and bought up all the copies of the Socialist Standard to stick under his or her futon. That's how you ensure working class NYC doesn't get a dose of impossibilism.

    Anyway, I got my revenge by sticking the last copy of 'Rev Specs' inside a bound volume of the Sparts 'Hate Trotskyism, Hate the Spartacist League—a bulletin series of opponent material'. Expect a Spart pamphlet denouncing the Left Communist tradition within 72 hours of a leading ICL cadre finding the CWO propaganda hidden inside their literature.

    Before I cast the issue into the realms of RobertsonLand, I had a quick flick through. Used to subscribe to the magazine back in Britain, and always thought it was a good and interesting read. Though they share the same political terrain as the ICC, they've never been as heavy handed as the latter when it comes to the jargon laden polemics and, refreshingly, they're not as quick off the mark with the scattergun denunciations.

    Therefore I was pleased to see that they had published a review of Persepolis in the latest issue. Bit of a result. We'd just got the DVD of 'Persepolis' via Netflix a few days before, and since Pauline Kael died I've been on the look out for a good Left Communist Film reviewer.

    I flicked to the inside back page to see what cultural communist insight they might have about the film (or the graphic novel) - which I could then pass off as my own to Kara when we watched it later - and what I found instead was a review of a review of the film. It gets worse. A review of a film review that originally appeared in the Socialist Worker, of all places. I'm thinking to myself: 'surely it's just the opening couple of paragraphs and then they'll fast forward to a review of the film itself', but nope, a whole page on what the SWP thought of the film.

    What the hell was that all about? Ex-Swoppie now within the ranks of the CWO, and their parting shot is s/he sticks the boot in over the SWP's take on a film? And it doesn't help me any. Whose opinions am I going to borrow when passing judgement on the film? The Swindon Film Club better hurry up and show the film in the next 24 hours, otherwise I'm toast.

    You can't read the CWO's review of 'Persepolis' here.

    Tweaking the template

    Apparently - if you look right - you can now subscribe to my blog. Why you would want to, I have no idea. Maybe you're a relative, or an SPGB spotter or maybe you have impeccable taste in popular music. Thing is, I've just described someone who doesn't ring any bells.

    And it gets better. You can now subscribe to all the comments on the blog. Yep, all seven of them. Just read one a day, and that way you can drag things out for the full week.

    Wednesday, July 02, 2008

    Panini-Zufallsbekanntschaft #12

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (53)

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 53rd of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1272 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • The Bin Man (Garbage Collector)
  • Joe Hill : Songwriter to the Working Class
  • Did Communism Collapse?
  • Top quote for this week:

    [From the Socialist Party lecture, 'What Marx Should Have Said to Kropotkin'.

    "Three things:

    1. "Don't call me a State Socialist! I was putting forward a case for abolishing the State while you were still a toddler".

    2. "With regard to paying people in labour-time vouchers in the early days of Socialist society, you were right and I was wrong. This was a silly, unworkable idea".

    3. "Like me, you're a Socialist. We both want a stateless, moneyless, wageless society. Why then do you feel you have more in common with non-socialist opponents of the State than with me? After all, your disagreement with them is over ends, while you're disagreement with me is only over means".

    Adam Buick

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Political anecdote of the day

    A funny anecdote concerning Arthur Scargill via a comment by 'Adamski' in response to a so-so post on Socialist Unity blog about Spain winning the European Championship:

    "There is an anecdote about Arthur Scargill & the miners of South Wales that perhaps puts things in the correct perspective:

    In 1972, Arthur Scargill rang Dai Francis the leader of the South Wales miners and said, ‘Look, Dai, we need pickets up at Saltley, in Birmingham.’

    Dai said, ‘Where’s that?’ Arthur explained.

    ‘Yes, we can organise them. When do you want them?’

    ‘Tomorrow, Saturday.’

    Dai paused.

    ‘But Wales are playing Scotland at Cardiff Arms Park.’

    There was a silence, and Scargill replied,

    ‘But Dai, the working class are playing the ruling class at Saltley.’

    Needless to say a big delegation of miners from South Wales were present at the Battle of Saltley Gate.

    I have a wee difficulty imagining Arthur Scargill saying the above. Not because I don't think he's capable of such dry wit. I still remember that classic reply of his in the BBC documentary, 'True Spies', to the disclosure that during the 1970s, senior Trade Union leaders were talking and co-operating with Special Branch in the state's operation against what they considered 'subversives' within the trade union movement:

    - BBC Interviewer: Does that surprise you, over 20 trade unionists, senior members of the trade union movement talking to Special Branch?

    - Scargill: Yes it does surprise me, I thought it would be many more than that.

    No, I am wee bit surprised because if the anecdote was truly verbatim, surely it would have read as follows:

    ‘Look, Dai, Arthur Scargill says that we need pickets up at Saltley, in Birmingham.’

    Dai said, ‘Where’s that?’ Arthur explained.

    ‘Yes, we can organise them. When do you want them?’

    ‘Arthurs Scargill says Tomorrow, Saturday.’

    Dai paused.

    ‘But Wales are playing Scotland at Cardiff Arms Park.’

    There was a silence, and Scargill replied,

    ‘But Dai, Arthur Scargill says that the working class are playing the ruling class at Saltley.’

    Only three people will get that joke, but it's the same three people who actually read this blog.

    Further Reading:

  • Quote of the Day

    “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.” Jack Handey

    Tuesday, July 01, 2008

    The ink's still wet

    Quick one

    If you cast your eyes to the right hand side of the blog, you'll see a new Socialist Standard front cover. The July issue has hit the news stand, and if you click on the image it will take you to the contents page of the current issue.

    Give me a couple of hours days weeks and I'll have a post up on the blog with the details of another stupendous addition to the socialist canon.

    Historias de fútbol (1997)