Szyzygy's Blog

March 5, 2010

It’s not only English patriots wot can’t spell it’s noo-Labur two

Filed under: Politics — syzygy @ 8:58 pm
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From Linda Gilroy MP’s website, in an insultingly sparsely churlish obituary of Michael Foot, former leader of the Labour Party, one of the last of the old guard of politicians with morals, honour and integrity, comes this little piece of typographical inexactitude. She obviously cared enough about her party’s former leader to not even bother to pass a spell-checker over her obituary, which could have been run up in less time than it takes sitting in the 1st class carriage of the First Great Western to get from Plymouth to Ivybridge.

He was a towering intellectual and a great orator – but also a fundementally decent man. even in his nineties he could declaim passionately about the things that mattered to him.

No wonder educational standards are in decline if some of our elected representatives can’t even get it right in the fulsome 3 sentences which they deign to lavish.


February 24, 2010

Orthographically challenged English Democrat alert

Filed under: Politics — syzygy @ 12:19 pm
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In a recent blog post, Dean Lacey who is proud to say he’s English and is apparently standing as a PPC for the (new?) English Democrat party introduces some interesting new ways of perverting the English language such that many primary school children could have made a better fist of the job. I don’t however honestly think I could vote for someone who fails to grasp the importance and primacy of the English language whilst loudly proclaiming to be proud to be English. If Mr Lacey wants to convince me that it’s time for change, then he could reasonably begin by sorting out his spelling, failure to correctly capitalise proper nouns, and to adequately deploy punctuation. Anything else I might have missed? Oh, yes, Mr Lacey, if you want to voice my opinion, you’d better sort your act out and make sure you can articulate (and correctly spell) words with more than two syllables that don’t just constitute platitudinous slogans…. If this is amongst the best that the English Democrats can do in terms of prospective parliamentary material, they’re doomed from the word go….

November 14, 2009

Reflections on kleptocracy as a mode of government

Let us disabuse ourselves of the vaguest notion that we live within an ordered and coherent democracy. The depth and sheer quantity of instances of abuses of political power by the existing status quo of all political persuasions represented within Whitehall and its inbred idiot cousin, the Civil Service, long since disqualified the sensible use of the term to approximate reality. If this were the Monty Python sketch about parrots, the customer, in this case the electorate, would have long since realised that the parrot was not merely resting, but that it was, in point of fact, extinct, an ex-parrot, nailed only to the perch by the yellow press and the other apparatus of state ideological process, the media, the judiciary, and all the other ancillary paraphernalia associated with and pertaining to government. But what, I hear you ask, what has Parliament ever done for us? Well there are the roads (in a frankly shocking state of disrepair, for the dubious pleasure of using which which the motorist is taxed to the quick), the scandalous state of the National Health (a drain on the public purse of an extravagance beyond the wildest dreams of any expenses fiddler and almost as broken as the banking system),  and more particularly a war on drugs based more on political opportunism than science and available evidence.  A war on drugs which effectively entails the electorate paying for the prejudices of a few, in which some of the more dangerous (in terms of both social and health risk)  substances are legal and effective cash-cows for the government, while the criminalisation of others of comparative or lesser evil has led to an extent and depth of both  organised and disorganised crime contributory to a society sadly teetering on the verge of several nervous breakdowns.  The recent sacking of Professor Nutt illuminates the nub of the problem; we, as a society, are not only paying for the exercise of the prejudices of a few, but are also subject to a legislative process which is not based on science or evidence but on political expediency and whim. Then of course the government has also given us the expenses scandals. And the Hutton whitewash.  The list is almost endless, a depressing litany of widespread abuses and scandal. None of the parties with representation in parliament, I feel, realise just how hated and despised they are.

Kleptocracy, a reasonable definition of which may be found here  in Wikipedia, goes a long way to explaining this unsatisfactory state of affairs, a state of affairs in which this country is  perilously close to the brink. Given the goverment’s hand in glove relationship with the alcohol industry, one could go a step further and characterise it to an extent as a narcokleptocracy. The government and the opposition aren’t joined up enough in their thinking to see how suspiciously and cynically the electorate, their customer base, now regard them. It is estimated that fewer than 60% of the enfranchised population are likely to vote at the next election; I would say from conversations with people in real life that this is a figure in the wild flights of fantasy – more than 2/3 of the people I have spoken to say there’s just no point in voting, although some of these inevitably will in deeply misguided optimism that their vote might just make a difference to the outcome.  I can’t really disgree with this line of argument and it is hardly suprising; the two parties with enough of a habituated or politically stupid enough percentile of the electorate to vote for them are fundamentally indistinguishable and are both equally prone to kleptocracy on both the grand and petty scale – let’s not forget the arms to Iraq scandal, the perjuries,  etc, etc of the previous junta, but one must hope that a change might make things better, much as experience has taught us time and again that it won’t.

They have gone on with this long enough in the name of democracy; I am of a mind to report the lot of them to the Advertising Standards Agency the next time one of these simpering mendicants has the gall to spout forth on the importance of democracy blah blah blah. Well I would do, but like all regulatory authorities it is firmly in the back pocket of the kleptocracy. The circle is complete. The government not only controls processes of the government it also controls and owns the checks and controls on government. The ballot box cannot in its present implementation save us from these thieves and liars.  It can however hurt them.  It really doesn’t matter who you’re voting for, the government will always get in. So here’s an idea for doing something different next time round. Let’s make their positions a little more tenuous by not voting for sitting candidates. Let’s also send the alleged opposition, otherwise to be referred to hereinafter  as the “kleptocrats in waiting”,  a similar message by not voting for them either.  If there is a viable third party (other of course than the BNP or similar manifestly unsavoury organisations),  a vote for them, by enough people would send a shiver down the back of the kleptocracy. 

What is needed is wholesale political reform on an unparalleled level; the status quo know that voting for this is like turkeys voting for Christmas, and is not something likely to occur unless we as a society make it occur. If we want the better and more equitably governed society that we deserve, and we manifestly can’t go on like this forever, we need to move towards real enfranchisement, real democratic process, and real accountability of all organs of and pertaining to the state. We need to remove from the political vocabulary the concept of a “safe seat”; there should be no such thing for the fairly obvious reason that an unaccountable representative with no fear of his/her electorate is more prone to disregard the wishes of the constituency and the electorate at large than would otherwise be the case.  Once they are sitting uncomfortably, then we can begin.

I will not vote labour or conservative – I will vote! – more democracy Facebook group:

November 7, 2009

Notes from the future: The origins of Open Source Democracy

If nothing else, the peremptory sacking of David Nutt by Home Secretary Alan Johnson in October 2009 exposed the aching chasm which  existed between rational thought and political thought, such as it was in early 21st century Britain.  In the grips of a deep recession, a failing Labour administration, confronted by a Conservative party even more devoid of political wisdom and insight than themselves, sought to establish clear leeway between themselves and their opponents by a number of headlining manouevres. David Nutt, an eminent scientist, whose contribution to knowledge in the sphere of psychopharmacology was of the very first order, was to be their patsy. Unfortunately, as events subsequently transpired, it was to not only rebound on themselves, but to bring into question the very legitimacy of a mode of political representation which had existed, largely unchanged, since the mid-19th century. 

David Nutt, a quiet-spoken and eloquent advocate of scientific principle could not have appeared more reasonable than his simian aggressor, and a very clear delineation in their intellectual capacities was immediately more than superficially apparent. Moreover he was right: when comparing and categorising risk, objectivity was paramount.  Mr Johnson’s pretext for sacking Professor Nutt was that he had in some way stepped into politics by stating the blindingly obvious during the course of an academic lecture. The populace were unconvinced and an obviously tired and emotional Johnson did not help his case by addressing them as though they were a round of postmen to be whipped up in fury and led out on strike at protest at t’management.

A number of MPs, seeing the writing writ large upon the wall, could not have been more suprised than Belshazzar himself to have been found weighed in the balance and found wanting; questions were asked in the House, an Early Day Motion was hurriedly tabled to the effect that this House believes that Government policy on alcohol and drugs misuse and harm should be based on scientific evidence. But it was too late, the British public, much like the bosun of an 18th century man of war, removed the cat from out of the bag, lashed the prisoner to the gratings and flogged him round the prevalent media.  They were evidently not remotely amused. Decades of parliamentary abuse of privilege, compounded by fiascos such as the cheap sell-offs of public assets under the previous administration, the whitewashing of the state-instituted murder of Dr David Kelly in the Hutton Report, the expenses scandal, had taken their toll.

People began to wonder how it was that an uneducated former Marxist postman from Bow could wield such exorbitant power. The conclusion that they were forced to was that it was a symptom of a much deeper malaise, that the very process of government itself was broken, and that the unpleasant phenomenon of Alan Johnson was yet another case of jobs for the boys. The technological mechanisms for real democratisation and  enfranchisement of the electorate had been in place for many years; the internet was ubiqitous. The existing status ante quo had however made little if any attempt to embrace the technology to extend the reach of democracy. 

Social networking sites were to prove to be a fertile breeding ground for opposition. The wikia picked up the events faster than the mainstream media, and both Johnson and Nutt’s entries in Wikipedia were objectively modfied within hours of events occurring. It would only be a question of time before someone would ask the question “if paid for government is as broken, expensive and fundamentally bloated as Micro$oft software, why isn’t there an open source alternative?” The inexorable rise of Open Source Democracy had begun…..

September 29, 2009

The Last Wobble…

Filed under: Politics,Uncategorized — syzygy @ 6:08 am
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Today the unelected blancmange nominally in charge of the British ship of state, James Gordon Brown, will deliver a keynote speech at the Labour party conference, and, according to the lead article on the BBC website at time of writing, in it he will be announcing a crackdown on anti-social behaviour. I don’t as a rule write on Politics with a capital P, but the prospect of this uninspiring and intellectually unprepossessing individual pontificating on the subject of antisocial behaviour strikes me as not being unakin to Herr Hitler delivering a speech to the Nuremberg rallies on the public need for humility and self-deprecation, minus, of course, the erstwhile Reichskanzler’s undoubted passion, charisma and flair for oratory.  The government which the former Chancellor Mr Brown nominally leads has somehow contrived to effect even more damage to the weft and weave of British society than the last one, a singular achievement given that the oppositional administration prior to the much-vaunted Neu Labour was the strangled afterbirth of Margaret Thatcher’s demented vision, the central philosophical tenet of which being that “There is no such thing as society”, led, lest we have  forgotten, by yet another charmless political nonentity, John Major.

In the years since Britain fell under the new-Nazi New Labour yoke, the rich have become ineffably richer, the poor irrefutably poorer, and the middle-classes reduced to desparation. The dumbing down of Britain, a central project of this administration, has continued apace. Once upon a time there were lies, damned lies and statistics. Now there are just lies. The spur for Mr Brown’s forthcoming tirade was a piece of headline news  in which a mother of a handicapped child, driven to desparation by continual attacks by groups of (what will be characterised no doubt as deprived children in desparate need of social attention) vicious thugs and yobs upon her home, person and property, doused her car in petrol, and committed suicide alongside her daughter.  The govenrment’s response? The Independent Police Complaints Commission (a misnomer if ever there were, being not remotely independent, yet another wing of the of the administration) is to investigate to see whether the police’s response was “proportionate”.  I kid you not. The greasy mechanism of spin is both tireless and and circular. There is nothing in there about addressing the real issues, which, as anybody in Britain knows boil down to the simple fact that the perpetrators of such iniquities have more rights than their victims, and that the police are terrified to act for fear of upsetting one of these little darlings.  This is of course the logic of the madhouse in action, and not particularly suprising when you look at the inmates in overall charge of the asylum.

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