Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Johnnie 'Marbles' May-Bowles

The man who attempted, but entirely failed, to defeat a tag-team comprised of an octogenarian media mogul and his 6stone Chinese wife has been named as Johnnie May-Bowles.

Nice shirt 
May-Bowles, dressed in the uniform of the 'oh so working class' movement UKuncut (mid 30's comb-over and a 1990s lumberjack shirt) attempted to attack Rupert Murdoch during his appearance at the Culture, Media and Sport select committee. May-Bowles brands himself as 'Johnnie Marbles' in a pathetic attempt at ridding himself of the upper-middle class yoke of his privileged upbringing and University education at Royal Holloway. A typical member of the champagne-socialist group 'UK Uncut', May-Bowles has successfully managed to accomplish several things:

1.) Dilute the pressure on the very person he wished to attack
2.) Completely expose the contradiction within himself and within the organisation of which he is a part  
3.) Make a family name of Wendi Murdoch

Johnnie May-Bowles is a wannabe stand-up comedian. It may be that this has been a profile raising publicity stunt for his own means. However, it is difficult to imagine that any newspaper in the happy NewsCorp family is likely to print anything complimentary about him. In fact,  this has been yet another of UK Uncut's failed publicity events, almost on a par with fellow self-loathing middle-classer Charlie Gilmour's defamation of the Cenotaph. Therefore, I suggest that rather than accept UK Uncut as part of the fabric of modern society, we should treat them with the same kind of contempt in which they have held parliament and our nation's war dead.

UK Uncut have no cause or indeed even a basic grasp of economics or the rule of law. They are comprised of a group of pseudo-intellectual champagne socialist 'wannabes'. Time to hang up the humus guys.

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Saturday, 16 July 2011

Why we cut our defence budget & increase aid spending

Every week on television, in the newspapers or online we see or hear about DFID (the Department for International Development) spending money on aid abroad, while we face public spending cuts at home. Indeed, the last Labour government gave £800million a year in aid to China, and the current government gives millions each year to India despite both economies being larger and faster growing than our own. This week the UK development secretary Andrew Mitchell committed the UK tax payer to a further £53million in order to help ease the effects of drought in East Africa. In-fact, despite the Coalition government's controversial current and planned spending cuts across all other departments, DFID's budget has been 'ring fenced'. However, having trawled DFID's website, I can find no justification for their existence or indeed for this amount of public expenditure. So, what's going on? Surprisingly, the answer is essentially '9/11'.

Future friend or foe?
As ever, the policy in practice is founded in a seemingly abstract academic political theory, in this case from the arena of Critical Security Studies (CSS). Without going into laborious detail, the idea is that it is 'emancipation, not power or order which produces true security', which translates as the idea that true security is achieved only when the individual is able to live a life free from threat.

Among the populations of the West, such threats are commonly perceived as foreign military attack or more recently, the actions of those engaged in terrorism. Against this backdrop, CSS argues that most wars or terrorist actions  are undertaken in order to improve the living conditions and political aims of those who live in societies where the threat to individual security is more likely to be famine, thirst, rape or genocide as it is to be war or terrorism. Quite simply, emancipation from exposure to these threats is the type of security that those in the developing world are willing to fight and die for.

In the developed and the developing world, all countries have traditionally spent vast treasures on the formation and maintenance of conventional armed forces i.e. land, naval and air power, in order to protect against threats posed by those states or non-state actors who are willing to fight and kill us. Surely then, in the field of international conflict and security, prevention would be better than cure? 

Indeed, CSS argues that money spent on the emancipation of individuals from such threat motivations (hunger, disease etc) in the developing world also keeps us safe here in the West. i.e. our own national security is linked to the individual securities of those who might become our enemies. 

Essentially, sharing our resources with those who are dying from socio-economic threats will bring about emancipation from such threats, and will also
prevent the kind of anger which has expressed itself through terrorism against the West in growing regularity since the 1980's. Imagine for a moment an Afghanistan of the 1990s which was emancipation from the threat of hunger, violence and lack of education. It is difficult to imagine that such a country would have ever become the breeding ground for terrorism as indeed it became in the period before 9/11.

Te government is slashing defence spending and increasing the budget for DFID. It is hoped that by spending less on traditional armed forces, like tanks, aircraft carriers and battalions infantry, and more on International Development, the UK is ensuring the emancipation of those who might become our enemies from the reasons that they would want to do so. It is hoped that in the long run, prevention will be cheaper than cure.   

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Friday, 15 July 2011

Response to: 'A History Lesson for William Hague'

HuffPost UK published a Tom Stevenson article entitled 'A History Lesson for William Hague'
(available here: 

This is my response:

Your piece makes an articulate and almost informed case as to why the UK shouldn't delve into the internal domestic affairs of the state of Iran, but what you overlook is the actual point at stake here which is that:
Concerns over Iran's nuclear program are not directed at Iran's INTERNAL domestic politics or affairs, rather at the effect of the acquisition of such a capability will have on Iran's EXTERNAL international relations. Quite skilfully, you have drawn the focus of the debate onto whether 'we' have the right to interfere in Iran, and thus removed the focus  from what is really at stake here; whether the peoples of the Middle East have the right to live at liberty and in a secure and stable region.

Consequently your article is both flawed and one sided, not a position I believe that you have deliberately formulated, rather more likely the unseen Foucaultian indoctrination which seems to stem from reading far too much pro-Palestine, anti-Israel, anti-Western rhetoric in left-leaning publications these days. It might be worth recognising at this point that whilst Israel is certainly guilty of some levels of human rights violations it remains, at present at least, the only democratic country in the Middle-East.

In your article, you briefly discuss '...the US and Israel...' as being in possession of  '...huge nuclear arsenals and extensive records of aggression...' and thus question; '...if Hague cared about peace in the Middle East as he says, he would not be silent on these threats'. Threats to whom may I ask? Israel has never threatened to use her nuclear weapons aggressively, rather they are held as deterrence (for further information on the key differences here, please research Nuclear Deterrence Theory).

Whether you or indeed I like it, Israel is the regional hegemon in the Middle-East; a position it occupies despite huge international and journalistic pressure from those such as yourself, and despite having a population of less than 8million souls. There are 2 reasons for this vital hegemony:
1.) Israel proved itself very adept in conventional warfare in 1967 and 1973 thus establishing itself as an effective regional power
2.) It has either developed or acquired a modest Nuclear arsenal in order to ensure that it does not require to fight any more such conventional conflicts, thus ensuring regional stability.

The net result of this hegemonic position has been long decades of Middle Eastern stability within Israel's sphere of influence, thus avoiding the kind of massed slaughter as witnessed in the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s. Some relatively minor interventions in Lebanon and the 'occupied' territories have indeed occurred but so too has Israel demonstrated its enormous capacity for restraint; not least during Iraq's Scud missile attacks on Tel Aviv during 1990 and 1991. One wonders whether a nuclear armed counter-hegemonic Iran would have shown quite so much restraint?

If you want 'a lesson from history', perhaps you should look at what happened to us here in the West during the 1973 oil crisis which occurred as a direct result of a challenge to Israel's hegemonic position.  A nuclear armed Iran would create:
At best, a new cold war in the region, forcing oil prices up and up (and thus food, textiles and heating)
At worst, an aggressive nuclear armed state capable of a new holocaust which would not only see death and destruction in the Middle-East, but starvation and mass anarchy in the entirety of the developed world.

So sorry  to '...scare [you] with stories of a demon in the East.'.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Is Rebekah one of the family?

Having scoured the internet for information about Rebekah Brooks' parentage and failed, I got my thinking cap on.

'My priority at the moment is this one' said Murdoch, referring to Rebekah Brooks nee Wade. This prompted many to ask, what exactly is the hold this lady has over him?

Perhaps if we add the two questions together we may find the answer to both... could it be that the biggest scoop of all is that Brooks is in fact the secret love child of Rupert? It hasn't been mentioned before, but is it... could it be possible? See for yourself with this amazing facemorph:


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Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Boutique Leftism

Porter: Questioned over antisemitism
In this article, we discuss the theory of Boutique Leftism in order to at least partly explain why it is that modern lefties are so irritatingly off the mark. From Ed Miliband to Aaron Porter, a seemingly disparate group of 'left wing intellectuals' seem to be stringing together incoherent lists of causes into some kind of unholy daisy chain of utterly unrelated and often entirely contradictory polices. The net result is that the right find it increasingly difficult to engage in any kind of meaningful policy debate with the leftists for two principal reasons. Firstly, that the daisy chain of issues do not in anyway form a coherent body of policy around which a counter argument can be formed. Secondly, that the left have seized the 'moral high ground' on all issues and defend this high ground behind false barricades of political correctness.

What is Boutique Leftism?

Just like shopping in a Boutique, this kind of leftism makes it is possible to buy into issues made and designed independently of one another, with no real correlation to each other. In this way it has been possible to position the left as the focus of attention in a positive way, surrounded as they are by niceties and not engaged in depth with anything necessary or industrious. Often, the stock of the boutique is fringe or 'alternative' in nature, with different issues holding similar but individual appeal. This ensures that the left can attract broad support for any of the given items by appealing to the broadest possible range of tastes, without having to form any kind of cohesion between these individual issues. By cherry picking the issues that suit this need, the left can almost guarantee to have at least one item on their shelf that appeals to most lefties, and also to avoid those items which are disdainful or distasteful, and so the cycle of support and create is self-perpetuating. By way of example, here are just a few of the items in their basket at present:

Support for the Palestinians/hate for Israel
No to public spending cuts
Support for freedom of speech and democracy
No to tuition fees
Down with NewsInt/Rupert Murdoch
Support for the Unions

On the face of it, these items/issues are such familiar themes from the left that they might even begin to form the backbone of policy. But they don't. The problem for the left is the complete lack of any kind of cohesion between these items and that further, this kind of flaky cherry picking is in fact counter-productive and highly contradictory. Allow me to expand:

No to public spending cuts/no to tuition fees: 
Utterly impossible demands
If there is no money left (there really isn't, let's not argue about this) in the pot and as a society we desire to educate as many University students as are able, regardless of their socio-economic background, and at the same time we wish to maintain high levels of public spending on the compulsory elements of our education system as well as the NHS and policing, then these two points are entirely contradictory. We EITHER need higher tuition fees to pay for expanding university education, OR we need to cut public spending elsewhere in  order to find the money for Universities. This is basic economics, and economics and politics are one and the same.

Lovers once, Murdoch & Labour
Down with NewsInt/Rupert Murdoch/Support for the Trade Unions: 
The unions and News International are identical in every way. Both have a body of membership who pay a relatively small subscription in order to be part of a large machine which lobbies and pressures in their interests. Both News International and the unions have very highly paid leadership with almost no public accountability, and both seek to influence polity for their own interests and the interests of their paid membership. The only difference here is that New International can switch political allegiance from time to time, the unions never do.  

Support for freedom of speech and democracy/Support for the Palestinians:
Democratic accountability; Hamas style
Israel remains the only county in the Middle-East to be classified as a 'democracy' by the UN and Freedom House. Further, you simply can't be on the left of the spectrum, thus opposed to the fascist extreme right AND support Hamas. Their record on human rights, equality for women and religious minorities are deplorably undemocratic and decidedly fascistic in nature.

Therefore, Boutique Leftism has two features. First, it is largely expressive. It expresses great sympathy with the poor and the marginalised, but fails to engage in any serious and complex analysis of what might make their condition better. Indeed, whilst it waxes lyrical about standing up for the 'disadvantaged' at home and abroad, it does so from the position of a kind of middle-class self-interest rather than in any meaningful or understanding way. Second, boutique leftists understand the old adage that the surest way to ward off criticism is by making it yourself and placing it at the feet of others. This second point explains why those on the left seem to lurch from one issue to the next without any meaningful direction of travel, almost hopping from one piece of moral high-ground to the next whilst never venturing into the valleys of reality. This lack of cohesion ensures that solid policy thinking is impossible because of the often contradictory nature of the items selected, and gives the distinct impression of band-wagonism. 

If Mr Miliband(wagon) is to make any serious inroads as leader of the opposition, he must understand this article and begin to jettison contradictory issues in favour of cohesive policies which have real depth and credibility. He will only be able to do this if he stops listening to those who shout loudest, but very often know the least. My advice is to ignore anyone with a placard. 

For now at least, the Conservative Party remains in government and, with it's coalition partner, firmly in command. Miliband is lurching about in the PMQ shop, interested in different items as dictated to him by the placard wavers and the left wing headline makers. Mr Cameron at least is able to stand firm behind the counter/dispatch box and continue with his course of fiscal responsibility with a degree of integrity and continuity, even in these difficult times. It is with hope that I commend this article to the blog; hope that enemies of the Left recognise the contradictory nature of their boutiquism, and use it to eject them from the UK political shop altogether.

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Sunday, 10 July 2011

A future war in Sudan is now inevitable

This week witnessed the birth of the world's newest state; the Republic of South Sudan. The jubilant scenes and triumphalism depicted by the world's media would have us believe that this is a victory for self-determination, and the first step towards peaceful prosperity in this enormous corner of Africa. However, history is littered with examples which show us that the future for South Sudan will be anything but prosperous and certainly not peaceful.

Despite the hope, the only seeds being sown in Africa are seeds of civil war, murder and famine. The examples of Rwanda, Burundi and others have been completely ignored and the lessons of building in the 'West's' own image remain unheeded.

Hope and Naivety

Ever since the treaty of Westphalia in 1648 the world has been organised by way of ring-fencing geographical areas of land and the people that live within it; and calling that tranche a country or 'state'. The Westphalian system is one which has produced very mixed results. In some cases, like that of Britain and the United States, the Westphalian structure has led to stability and therefore prosperity. In these and similar cases this has been because of sheer luck, rather than design, the 'state' has been insulated by geology, ecology and meteorology against the socio-economic effects of  natural disaster, famine and severe extremes of weather. In these states, survival is almost naturally assured and both national and individual advancement (and enlightenment) is therefore both possible in and enabled by statism.

Nationalism meets Tribalism
However, in others states the notion of statehood itself has led to division and instability. Whilst the state system has meant that we in the West have been kept secure enough to prosper and advance, statism based on geography, religion and perceived ethnicity has also been the very reason why some states 'fail'. An essentially European invention, Westphalianism forces tribal cultures outside of the West to live in false allegiance to a nation with which they recognise no histiographical foundations. It forces ancient moral codes to 'modernise' to Western ideals in less than a generation and ancient hierarchies to contort into western notions of 'civil' society and order.

Against this backdrop, South Sudan has been born, it's legal basis provided by Wilsonian and Kantian ideals of 'self-determination' and legitimated by those states which have emerged as the most successful in the international community, the United Nations security council. However, with the establishment of a state in the south, so too is the north of Sudan significantly altered. Recent history provides us with many north/south divisions in this manner, namely Vietnam, Korea and now Sudan. In each case, those successful heirs of Westphalia have backed the south over the north (curious quirk of fate?) and, in each case this division has led to deep and protracted conflict which has cost millions in what Kant's Perpetual Peace described as 'blood and treasure'.

In South Sudan, the flash-points are already there. In a Foucaultian sense, South Sudan is an essentially tribal society maladjusted to nationalism and reinforced by a commercial system founded in bribery, violence and coercion. Geographically, the border is undefined and has no set internationally recognised for delineation, huge resources of crude oil lay only just inside the south with no port from which to export it, except through a shaky agreement with the north. In addition there are, as ever in Africa, internal divisions within the new state and southern South Sudanese separatists have already begun attacks from within even before the celebration hangovers have cleared. Therefore, whilst we celebrate the birth of a nation, it is difficult not to predict its terminal illness.

One day in the future, those of us in positions of power in the West will realise Ken Booth's assertions that 'emancipation, not power or order, produces true security'. We can only hope that this realisation doesn't come too late for South Sudan.

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