Saturday, 29 November 2008


As I see it, the story goes like this. The arrest of Damien Green is fine because he possibly broke the law. You don't want MPs above the law now do you? Whatever Gordon Brown, Robin Cook, Tony Blair and others did in the 90s, or indeed, whatever Gordon Brown did last weekend, with the PBR, is completely irrelevant.

In short, leaks to or by Labour are part of the democratic process. Leaks by or to the Tories need the full force of the law brought down upon them.

Some sections of the left are not covering themselves with glory over this - it is interesting that the defenders of Green have been people like Tony Benn: ie the looney left. The modern, reasonable left thinks that arresting Conservatives for something Labour does all the time is perfectly alright.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Opposition Still Legal

...for the moment.

The NuLab defences:

1) You didn't care about Ponting;

2) If Robin Cook had of been arrested in the 90s, and if you right wingers had of been blogging then, you wouldn't of made a fuss then;

3) The Tories are cunts, so it's ok.

That basically sums up the Left-Stalinist-Centre defences when aksed whether arresting an MP with 9 counter- terrorism officers, holding him for 7 hours and ransacking any property to do with him, on suspicion of er, having helped to leak info in the public interest, you know, like NuLab did all the fucking time in the 90s, with the Supergun and Matrix Churchill stuff among fucking shedloads of others, and have done whenever they liked since then, was appropriate.

New Labour must be destroyed.

We must destroy them.

This is how.

You write sarky and sweary blog posts until May 2010, then you mark any of the boxes on the ballot paper that are not "Labour".

Of course, there will be an election then, and it will not be postponed because of unprecendented national emergency.

Oh - wait, hang on, I am receiving a NuLab transmission from 05/10:

"All these Tory toffs complaining about the election being postponed had nothing to say in 1940, when an election was cancelled due to a wholly fabricated 'national emergency', enabling the Tories to rule for x years [subs: fill in correct number]. They are just hypocrites, who cannot see that the reasons for not having an election have been approved by the independent Electoral Commission. And the Queen. This is a time when we need to pull together, not indulge our differences. And it is no time for whistleblowers...."

I guess I've sort of tuned out.

Normally, fucking the cunts is a good, pleasurable thing.

This time it will be difficult.

NuLab cunts are moist, but tight.

Fuck them. Fucking fuck the fucking fuckers.


Well (shines cuff with little finger in a sort of half-formed light fist, circa 1949 and then 1989, to indicate self-satisfaction): far be it from me to boast, but each and every time I have been to France I have found their prophylactics inadequate....

I guess I'm unusual.


Still - it would be a dull old world if everyone was the same, eh? Heh. Tchoh. I guess it takes all sorts, eh? Cah. What must it be like to - . Heh, but I guess we'd better not - hey! Life's good, isn't it?

I mean, possession of a piece of anatomy of uncontrolled size, is clearly an indication of personality and worth! Obviously! And if that piece of anatomy happens to be the same one used to make babies...well! Who am I to...? Well yes I know that no-one cares about the size of my liver (until it bursts), or my brain (nowt in it anyway), or my lungs - the least said about my spleen the better - hah! - though now you come to mention it, I've been feeling a bit of a bump here recently - have a feel -ow! - do you think - no, I guess I'm being silly. Where was I? Oh yes - the size of my knob is unutterably important. What do you mean, what if a woman has a - well yes I'm straight, what did you think I was? - what if she has, you know, a know...yes, what does that have to do with anything? No of course I haven't thought of it! Does anyone? Well anyway, no I haven't. Is that a problem? Oh, right. Is she? Does she? What, every time? No, I mean, if you're big enough does she feel that - every time? Blimey! Is that really - I mean, are you supposed to feel that when you - you know, if your woman - oh. Oh dear. Am I supposed to feel that? Really? Oh.



Then I guess these prophylactics are ok then. About the right size sort of. After all.

Hey ho.

Anyway, I've heard about this cream. You rub it on, and then, after eight months, maybe, you -

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Oh My God, It's Started

If I remember rightly, that's what the terrorists say in Superman II when their hydrogen bomb goes shooting down the Eiffel Tower (before it's eventually shoved into space to bust Terence Stamp out of his eternal prison).

Well, something has started tonight. Something the government has been doing for years has apparently caused it, but - what do you know - an opposition MP has been arrested and held by the police.

Made in Britain.

Easton on Teenagers

Or rather, Easton on all those awful people who don't like teenagers hanging around telling people to fuck off and shouting with barely repressed rage:

Perhaps the Home Office might like to do a youth survey asking how worried people are about the anti-social problem of adults treating teenagers like vermin.

That's the best he can do - no analysis, no evidence, no attempt to empathise with people, no criticism of youth at all - just a sneer at the adults.

Modern liberal insouciance, with no attempt at impartiality at all - what we expect from the publicly funded broadcaster, of course.

But the problem is this. The behaviour he does not even address is not recorded in crime figures. It doesn't get written down. It just gets listened to and put up with every day of the year by thousands of people. It has happened to me, out here in the bloody back of beyond, several times recently: teenagers who refuse to move, who barge you, who shout at you, swear at you, jump into you - they just don't care and you don't really dare respond.

Behaviour that Easton and his tired, clapped out, in denial ideology just will never recognise. It's a rigorous appeal to the ethics of victimhood against the assumed foamings of middle England (or whatever the "bourgeoisie" are labelled from Islington these days). It's based on the two key words of "perception" and "prejudice" (which are essentials of Easton's argument, in meaning if not actually mentioned).

Key NuLab buzzwords both, applied to the streets, to prevent an immature subset of society recognising the rights of everyone else to live in peace. More than that - worshipping the immaturity and elevating it above the real struggles of life that the swearing and aggression is directed against.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Party Defeated by Mule?

I've been thinking this week about re-arranging posts into a short book (an idea I stole from DK). But most of my output is nonsense: drunken, sweary and self-pitying, it says little of permanent interest.

I did think, however, that I could make something of my posts on the subject of the book.

So I've been re-reading them, and particularly one in which I suggest that a Mule would be the only person who might defeat Ingsoc. A Mule whose mental powers were capable of affecting others directly - not just through torture or fear.

The problem would be that such a character would be obvious from early on in their life. The Thought Police would surely see this child who has an effect on the children around him and either harness him, or destroy him, before he is old enough to act against the Party.

He might act a little like the central character in the fascinating Infancy Gospel of Thomas, which would certainly cause him to be hauled in by thinkpol.

But if he didn't, protected by parents or proles; if he grew to maturity keeping his powers secret, and if he were eventually hauled in for something like facecrime - it would be interesting to see his encounters with the Inner Party....

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


Well done, Harry.

Keep it going, man. Long as you can, mate.

I'll be thinking of you.

Quelle Surprise

Kerry McCarthy, MP, as quoted by LPUK:

I don’t think ‘freedom’ is sacrosanct

This much is obvious. Indeed, the open scepticism shown by this government and its fellow-travellers to the whole notion of freedom (note the scare quotes above) should be a constant source of worry to all of us, until the day when we finally have them removed from office.

Monday, 10 November 2008

After Room 101

Winston, purified, is supposedly filled with "ourselves" - meaning the desires and wishes of the Inner Party. He drinks, he gets up late, he hangs out in Chestnut Tree Cafe, he has a sinecure. He meets Julia and their meeting is awkward, punctuated by a lack of emotion, and precisely the inner hardness and separation that O Brien wanted and that Winston sought to escape from before the moment he first wrote in his diary.

In fact it is not quite the same, for Winston is now no longer aware of that isolation. He drinks heavily and he plays chess, and he worries about the news. His anxious thoughts are gone, but whether O Brien's confident statement that never again would Winston be capable of "ordinary human feeling" is correct is debateable. Take the drinking. Is Winston trying to hide something from himself - disgust? anxiety? Julia? Is he completely capable of those thoughts but merely repressing them - not quite what the Party wanted.

O Brien highlighted "fear, rage, triumph and self-abasement." He mentioned love of Big Brother and loyalty to the Party - but "everything else we shall destroy - everything."

From the final lines of the book, which contrast with an earlier segment, before he was arrested, Winston, in the bliss of the news of military triumph, imagines the "longed for bullet entering his brain" - he delights in this vision, this fantasy of his own death, "his soul white as snow".

With his tears of love for BB and his joy at the news, together with his conquest of the "false memory" that comes to him there of a happy moment of his childhood, Winston has been hollowed out. O Brien has his wish, and Winston, finally belongs to the Party.

And so he wants to die: because the Party want him to die, because they have engineered him to desire death at the point of his "perfection" - which is now, the very end. It is a reaction to his self-discoveries here: there is no self. Only the internalised Party.

Incidentally, the final point of the novel is made: the love of the Party is death. The theme of the novel has been "thoughtcrime is death" - as a totalitarian warning; but now we learn that it is this evil and hollow Party that is death. It is a re-statement of the vital values of civilisation and freedom. As readers we knew this already, as Winston used to know - but it is made with the self-sacrifice of the hero, who gives up, finally, any hero status he had, even in the physical act of survival (which was intended by the Party of course) - and is scooped out.

There is nothing left to do except fulfil the dream, which, we must imagine, would take place at any point of the Party's choosing following this moment.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Wrong Again, Eric

He's at it again, Britain's oldest unrepetant communist once again predicting the downfall of capitalism, just like he did in his terrible book The Age of Extremes.

A word to the not-wise, Eric: it ain't gonna happen. No-one's going back to the socialism you love because it was an oppressive crock of shit with a brilliant record for pig-iron production but bugger all else. Capitalism might well adapt, as it has done before; it might incorporate aspects of socialism, or at least progressivism, as it has done before; but it ain't going away.

Every time someone has something to sell and someone else wants to buy it there's capitalism. However it modifies itself, however we choose to regulate it, it will survive better and for longer than his beloved socialism managed.

Remembrance Sunday

I haven't posted anything of my own, despite always marking this day with a poppy and thoughts and prayers, but instead today i thought I would just round up a few blogosphere Remembrance posts. James Higham gives a lot of the background. Behind Blue Eyes has an excellent post about the day and what it signifies about values. Leg-Iron has closed his blog as a mark of respect. DK quotes Cecil Spring-Rice, though he needn't seem as diffident about it as he does. And Heather Yaxley adds a personal recollection to the day.

That was all. I liked these posts, and I like the different shades of remembrance they bring.

I wonder if Hazel Blears will see it the same way?

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Orwell Diaries Update

Lots of stuff about eggs.

The Disappearance of Syme

This is an interesting moment in the book. Winston foresees it over lunch in the cafeteria - demonstrating a stronger grasp of the principles of Ingsoc than O Brien gives him credit for - but the lingering question is: why does this lover of Ingsoc disappear?

Winston's fear was that he was "too intelligent" - meaning that he understood what he was doing with the Newspeak dictionary, and why, but also that he spoke too clearly about the aim of the project: to narrow the range of thought by narrowing the range of vocabulary. Syme obviously thought - if he did at all - that his obvious goodthinking and his clear bellyfeeling of Ingsoc would keep him safe.

This is where he went wrong. He failed to exercise doublethink appropriately. In his conversations with Winston he should have made it clear that the aim of the reduction in words was to expand the range of goodthinkful ideas and to enable fuller discussion of the principles of Ingsoc.

It kind of begs the question whether, in this case, it was necessary to have "the heretic here at our mercy", in the words of O Brien. What possible kind of re-education could Syme have needed? Apart from the obvious training in doublethink, it seems more likely to me that Syme, not in fact being guilty of an incorrect thought, would simply have been shot, no questions asked.

Could it be, however, that a clear understanding of the true principles of Ingsoc does itself constitute crimethink - when voiced by a member of the Outer Party? If this knowledge spread, then discontent and rebellion could follow throughout the Outer Party, leaving O Brien and his mates (of whom there are few) could be overthrown. The Party is a hierarchy, designed to freeze history with one group permanently in control - the Inner Party. Syme is not of the Inner Party.

Most likely, the understanding of Ingsoc is crimethink when not tagged on to doublethink. Without that the danger of falling into contempt for BB is great. O Brien, being a fanatic, is in no danger at all: his doublethink strategies are excellent. Even here, though, O Brien is as clear as possible to Winston: "The object of power is power." O Brien seems to be able to face and discuss the evil at the heart of Ingsoc, and recognise it as evil, and know that he wants evil. Syme does not recognise that you need to hold this knowledge of evil and also to know it as good at the same time, in order to be truly goodthinkful. His words leave too much open to interpretation, too much that could make a Party member wonder or worry...

On the other hand, we know that Syme frequented the Chestnut Tree Cafe, and that he was too open in his conversations. It is possible that in fact, despite his instinctive goodthinking, he knew he was in danger and killed himself (as Winston knows that many disappearances are suicides).

In the main, however, the disappearance of Syme provides Winston (and the reader) with proof of the evil of Ingsoc; they even murder their own faithful. There were always excuses for the purges of the Soviets - that they needed to secure the revolution - but if you murder your own, you do that in a display of power only. I wonder in fact if it was meant to be another part of the game O Brien was playing with Winston: that Syme's death was nothing to do with Syme, or little to do with him, and everything to do with the thought-criminal, Winston? Clearly when he first speaks to Winston he mentions it deliberately, even teasingly.

The Inner Party like playing games with humanity. That is what they mean by pure power, which is their sole motivation. The games are fun, exciting, rewarding, like hunting. But instead of just killing, first you turn the quarry into whatever you want it to be.

Syme is not really a quarry: more of a diversion. He stands for the wholly contingent nature of humanity and life under Ingsoc. He doesn't even get to stay on the chess team.

Friday, 7 November 2008

The Gift of O Brien

A subtext of the great book is that Winston, despite his love for Julia, and his endemic thoughtcrime, is in some way in love with O Brien. The brutal, fleshy monster seems to be a kind of father figure. In a way of course, he is. O Brien is a teacher, not just of facts, or even of modes of thought, but of life. Without O Brien's instruction, Winston can have no life at all. He is completely dependent on the Inner Party fuckhead for his entire worldview - with the emphasis on "view", for Winston, weakened by torture and the demonstration of the fallibility of reality, has nothing to cling on to at all, not sight, not thought, not Party - only the avuncular evil of the man who wishes to save through total control. Through this dependence - which is a dependence of living, an instinct like that of the warrior in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, faced with the chopping block - he comes to see O Brien as a more or less positive force, even as he decries and hates the aims of the Party ("pure power...what we mean by pure power you will understand presently").

O Brien's gift is the perversion of love. The manipulation of the most human of feelings for the ends of power. O Brien knows how to create love: you begin with some kind of admiration (built of fear, and intimidation, and mystery), then you leave little traces (glances and looks), then you strike, and you show your quarry that you are the desired object: unobtainable, mysterious, promising, caring of you, as an individual.

Of course, Winston should have spotted this straight away: that the indicators of love from an Inner Party member suggested his own death. Instead he sublimated them into dreams and fantasies ("We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness"), from where O Brien was only too happy to use his feelings. As Julia points out, it was obvious from his face: " soon as I saw you I knew you were against them").

O Brien needs Winston's love to make the emptying of his soul possible. Although he calls Winston "a difficult case", this is only true insofar as the ideology of Ingsoc is hateful to Winston. O Brien is not, could never be: so all it takes is a little torture, and the assurance of love, which O Brien knows Winston lost when his mother disappeared, never had with Katharine, and has only just found illegimately with Julia.

Winston, if the truth be told, is an easy case: he can love BB very easily, because he loves O Brien. His love for O Brien is what makes the final scene ("He loved Big Brother") possible: and indeed, it is not BB he loves, but O Brien. His mentor, his confidant, his torturer, his saviour.

We always love those who destroy us.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Why The Photo Was Important

A reader recently got here by googling "Why was the photo of Jones, Aaronson and Rutherford so important?"

Easy. The photo is used by O Brien to prove to Winston the power of doublethink and the impotence of traditional approaches to "the past". Winston, under pain of torture, can do nothing but tell the truth - he saw the photo, O Brien held it in his hand - and O Brien, with one sentence, announces the arrival of a far more powerful mode of thought: "I do not remember it."

Freed from the slavery of truth, the Party mind can be as flexible as the situation demands, and it can forget anything it needs to, whenever it needs to, even to forgetting the act of forgetting. The photo demonstrates that nothing exists apart from what the Party calls into existence and destroys, and that lunacy really is being a minority of one. The photo's destruction and forgetting is a brutal display of power over reality, in a way Winston does not come to understand fully until later.

More Stat Pron

By the way, according to Sitemeter, my readership continues to increase, from "hardly anyone at all" to "very very few people." I got 2,200 visits in October, which is a record, and I imagine that 95% of them are those helpful little robot things. If anything, the percentage of hits coming through CBI has increased, up to around 99%. If it wasn't for him, I'd be down to 4 or 5 a day, like in the pre-blogpower days. I don't mind things being quiet, actually, because it means i don't get involved in all those bloody awful circular arguments you get on blogs. It also means I can say what I like with little fear of being refuted. This is a blessing, because there is nothing worse than those miserable bastards who just do not agree with one. You know the sort - different ideas, different background, different worldview. They're not too bad if they change their minds quickly, but if they don't they become a real pain. So yes, avoiding this is good.

Actually believe it or not I am just like this in real life too. I so loathe and detest confrontation now that I sit on my own all the time reading the paper. At the slightest sign of an argument my pulse races and I lose the faculty for independent, rational, sequential, logical thought. I just start to shake.

I can't really explain this: it's not as if I'm not exposed to other viewpoints all the time. It's more that I just can't stand them: and that my own worldview is so shaky that I feel I am being knocked down when it is challenged. But instead of punching someone's lights out, as my generation has tended to do, I just get all weepy and sad.


Of course it does mean that life round here is pretty dull, but then you need an chill out room in the middle of this wild party we call the blogosphere, don't you?

Yes, Alright

I'm avoiding work. I suppose it's easy to tell with me. As I am less inclined to work, so my rate of blogging goes up. In fact my archives are a neat guide to my liking for work.

I see DK is testing out the idea of a best of DK book. Good luck to him, though I'll probably just surf his archives rather than buy the book. I've been toying with a "Least Crap of TTD" book for a while now but the problem is I just can't be bothered.

More Diaries

Having just finished the second volume of Bernard Donoughue's No10 memoirs (but not being bothered to read volume 1), I thought I would stick with the theme of diaries for the moment, so I'm now reading The Duff Cooper Diaries.

What has struck me in the first hundred pages or so, apart from the extraordinary indulgence of his lifestyle, his casual evenings out with the PM, and his sudden encounter with war in 1918, has been his attitude to love.

The object of his affections is usually Lady Diana Manners (whom he marries in 1919), but he describes his love for her in rollercoaster terms: it appears and disappears day by day and sits sometimes comfortably alongside his love for other women he variously kisses, looks at, or as in the case of an unnamed woman in France, follows out of a restaurant and into her bed. His love does not seem like an animating force, but like a scratch that is more or less irritating.

I often wonder how diarists can separate themselves from their emotions long enough to commit something readable to paper. Does it mean there is a kind of distance between an experience and its impact? How can you write something down while its consequences are still rattling through your veins? Do such people in fact not really experience things at all but merely observe them?

I ask because I've often tried to write diaries of my own. They always stop at precisely the point something ghastly happens, like a work crisis or a love crisis. I cannot record these things, because I can never find the words for them. The feelings always re-emerge, or are too vivid anyway, and anything I put seems trite or simply inadequate. That, or it just seems wrong to be writing things that are really happening and are really awful. The only way I could see to do it would be if I - as a self, as a feeling being - was not affected by the things that happened to me, so that I could sit there as the same, possessed person I had been before, and write it as though it were a story.

Even that is difficult, because I know I am lying, in the sense that I'm not writing a story, but babbling a set of unpleasantnesses or a jagged series of events. This is why for years I've only written poetry, so that I can write in shades of opacity that suit my need to close the actual experience down, and leave myself with only a reflected emotion, which I can write in analogue or metaphor.

Real experience, for me, needs to be left alone to settle or to wreak the havoc it wants to wreak. It is too important to be narrowed and scribed, and the emotion too raw to write, even privately.

Maybe years later. Or sublimated into an imagery that can actually be used; but then you never quite get to the centre of the issue.

All This Stuff About Britain No Longer Being Free Is A Right Wing Myth

But even if it wasn't, it would be sensible to do this because it would cut crime/stop the paedos/make it easier to buy things.

Government's Power Grab (part n)

They're at it again: preparing the ground, building a consensus among themselves, establishing their opponents as simply illegitimate and continuing the process of trying to bring the blogosphere under control.

The modern totalitarians are very effective indeed. They know how to work things.

Firstly you need, definably, to be on the side that is understood by those who matter (government, academia, liberal media) to be the compassionate one. It helps if you can point to a list of laws you've introduced on behalf of special interest groups. It also helps if you can have "science" on your side - especially social studies carried out by people with definite ideologies.

Then you pathologise your opponents, slowly but clearly. You begin with accusing them of being "x-phobic", and when this is mainstreamed, you start on the idea of "offensiveness" and "ignorance" (which merely means "dissent" when used in this context). You discuss the need for "dialogue" (which means the government talking and everyone else listening), and you look sternly upon those who are "unhelpful". Laws are brought in citing some of these words. During this process minor court cases, arrests, fines and stories in the tabloids steadily demonstrate that these words actually do have criminal impact and are enough to have the police interested in you. So, gently, you spread a little fear while denouncing all these stories as myths.

Your opponents being successfully pathologised, it follows that they will need to be controlled in order to promote healthy dialogue and positive contributions. There will be an urgent need to prevent the abuse of science and the spread of ignorance.

You will begin very softly, with a quality mark for the good blogs. You will, however, be building a national firewall and a national electronic database during this time. You will send in your trolls to the political blogs. You will maintain the discussions in Europe about the dangers of untrammelled offensiveness online. Eventually you will discover an incidence or two of racism or some other offensiveness on a blog or two, and this will serve as a pretext for closing down websites.

Finally, because of the huge public outcry in the Guardian and on the BBC following these incidents, laws will be introduced and a Council or a Commission will be created, to which all blog-writers will need to apply. This council will consist of government supporters and one or two pro-government bloggers. Applications for rightish blogs will mysteriously fail to be successful.

This will continue regardless of whether this government stays in power or not: for the other Party will be too afraid to close the Commission down, for fear of being painted as pro-racist or pro-whateverotheroffensivenessmattersatthattime.

World Goes Off Its Head In Delight/Anger

Myself: I couldn't give a toss. One guy wins an election, the other guy loses. Yes I understand the symbolism. And the significance. But it's politics. It's still people bossing other people about. It's still empty slogans ("Change" - although I like it when Tears for Fears say it). There are still wars to be lost, taxes to be raised, laws against liberty to be enacted and who knows what coming in the next few years.

We've had the candidates of hope before, and two of them particularly come to my mind: one who nearly blew the world up (JFK) and the other who tightened the state's grip on the neck of his people for a decade before anyone tried to object (Blair).

Governance is a messy business because life is messy. People with sweet sounding messages will always be forced to compromise or abandon them because things are not sweet or lovely. That is, if they believed what they were saying in the first place.

Things are bastards.

That's why governments are bastards.

The Obama administration will get an easy ride in the media, to be sure, but that doesn't mean it won't do un-nice things at some point.

And change isn't always good. I don't remember the left queuing up to praise the change taking place in the 1980s. In fact, if I remember rightly, they wanted society frozen as it had been in 1974 (before the monetarist policies of Callaghan) and no change from there (apart from steady increases in taxation of course).

Also losing my hair is not good change. I want that change reversed to around 1995 - when I had massive flowing locks of poetic-type hair.