great eh?

As I’m sure many think last night’s soccer result is the icing on the great british cake. From birth we’re infused with this idea that we’re ‘great’, it’s even part of our bleedin’ name. Which other country includes such a term in it’s moniker? And so many times in the so-called referendum debate was heard the refrain “make britain great again”. We’re a relatively small island just off the European continent and we’ve just been beaten by a much smaller island.

And another definition of great is: “the honours course in classics, philosophy, and ancient history at Oxford University” and just remind me who makes great play of his learning on just this course? Why bunter of course, and like me he got an ordinary lower second class degree.

As in so many things, not just soccer and politics, our inadequacy and underachievement results from inadequate management and this, I believe, is a consequence of our class system. The sooner more people understand this and we sort it properly the sooner we can make this benighted country a green and pleasant land.

650 (4)

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

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The grinning gargoyle’s bilious vomit.

Still feels very strange and my mood not altered by my fears of bunter and duck-face being fully realised. They are like little boys who’ve pulled off a successful prank against their more knowledgeable elders and the buzz of the game has been replaced by cold, hard reality. Already we have all of the brexit leaders pulling back on the mendacious bollocks they’d fed the poor populace: little change on immigration, no extra money for the NHS and other public services and at a stroke the United Kingdom becoming an isolated Englandshire. bunter in particular is rapidly being shown up for the inadequate charlatan that he is. Whilst they have brought about the fracturing of an already fractured country there will be an increasing fracture between bunter, duck-face and the grinning gargoyle and those who voted for leave.

Watching and listening to the grinning gargoyle is possibly the hardest to stomach, it feels as if he’s vomiting his bile over the rest of society. Already we are witnessing the results as people vomit their racist bile at anyone they consider ‘other’ and suddenly this country is an even more unpleasant place.

And the Labour party too, it’s fault lines widening at an alarming rate.

Seem to be many ‘regrexiters’, those who regret voting leave. Are there any who regret voting remain?

But life goes on, except for those who die. And my life last Saturday was spent in a place called Brownsword Hall, a rather grandly beamed place in olde worldly style in the middle of Poundbury. Poundbury is an adjunct to Dorchester where prince charlie has had built his paean to a bygone architectural age. It now covers quite a large area with it’s broad boulevards and vague unreal feel. Jonathan Meades, one of my heroes, calls poundbury a “Thomas Hardy theme park for slow learners” in one of his brilliant programmes ‘The Joy of Essex’. Unfortunately for us stallholders the hall was as empty of punters as the surrounding streets, I took a whole £5 for a whole day’s effort. And as I write this I get a phone call from my beautiful wife Kate who is beautifying a client called Anne who is running a country fair this coming weekend in nearby Kingston and I book a stall, quite a co-incidence. But not as much of a con-incidence as the one I read about while sat at my stall not selling anything last Saturday. It involves one of our former partners, a Frenchman called Emile Deschamps and plum puddings. He is first introduced to this dish at school by a Monsieur de Fortigbu. 10 years later he sees plum pudding on a restaurant menu when in a Parisian street. He goes inside to order a slice only to be told the last one has just been sold to……M. Fortigbu! Years later he’s at a friend’s dinner party when she is about to serve plum pudding, Emile wonders aloud if M. Fortigbu might be coming when the doorbell rings and of course it’s M. Fortigbu, but he hadn’t been invited he’d been invited to another place for dinner but come to the wrong place!

Anyway, I digress, as I’m sat behind my customer free stall I observe the behaviour of stallholders in the weird environs of poundbury. Most seem remarkably upbeat and chat and laugh with each other as there are no customers to chat and laugh with. Then they look more at each other’s wares and then begin to buy some, although no show any interest in mine as their stuff is mainly knitted toys, driftwood ornaments, home-made greeting cards and the like. I liken it to the survivors of an air crash in a remote area who are reduced to eating each other. Some might say the ultimate destination for capitalism. I didn’t think brexit would affect us this quickly.

And this war imagery is a trope our country still suffers from, did you see the ucrappers video they put out the other day that began with film of spitfires? And then I read a review of a new book by American Sebastien Junger; Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging (he wrote The Perfect Storm), because I had lots of time to read on Saturday. He is interested in the rise of post traumatic stress disorder amongst war veterans and posits the theory that it’s less to do with their traumatic war experiences and more with the “sense of alienation they experience on return. With it’s toxic politics, yawning rich-poor divide and racial tension”. Makes sense to me as one assumes that when they are off soldiering in wars there is a greater social cohesion, that they support each other, there is greater camaraderie, egalitarianism and self-sacrifice. To then return to a society that is increasingly the opposite and one that doesn’t properly support them, well?

One interesting analysis of voting patterns was that although older folk generally voted leave the much older folk, those who had actually experienced war, generally voted remain.

I’m suffering from PBSD.

leave gutter cartoon

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

 

Indefuckingpendence.

It’s 2.35 a.m. and I’ve gone through a number of emotions already, starting with a rather arrogant confidence soon punctured by early results and watching the odds for remain and the pound plummet. A hefty leave lead depressing me but Lambeth and Wandsworth both turned the tide and currently remain are leading.

And now it’s 10.32 a.m. and ‘independence day’ is here and the grinning gargoyle calls all those who voted remain unreal, extraordinary and indecent. And he calls it independence day for the UK, which it will be as Ireland unites and leaves along with Scotland.

And all will be well when bunter and duck face gove take the reins and all the poor folk who think all their troubles will be sorted and their lives made better!

Little do the little englanders know what they’ve done says me from my big fucking ivory tower.

Even felt a little sad for condom features but he brought it on himself.

Here’s to an Iceland Ireland final in the soccer.

I’ve used it before but only a Kliban will do for me now:

bksentence (1)

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

PS I think bunter is beginning to realise what he’s done or is it just my fevered sleep-deprived brain.

 

Going home, but where is home?

It has struck me lately that this referendum bollocks is actually a very English question, and this is something that has been exercising minds for a while. And, like it is for so many, much of our apparent ‘understanding’ is built upon myth, distortion and delusion. We English love to extol our ‘Englishness’ and included in our ‘Englishness’ is something called tolerance. And yet, unleash the racist dogs like the grinning gargoyle and the brexiters do and so many people run with it and suddenly our already benighted isle is an ugly place. Suddenly it’s been made OK to express our incipient racism; too often when I talk to others they bring up ‘immigration’ or ‘immigrants’ in one form or another. This makes me and others like Hector feel deeply unsettled.

Many years ago when I was a young teacher, teaching at Forest Hill Boys School I was duped by older, more knowing and lazier staff to do the main weekly assembly. I asked whether there was any theme, format or whatever and was told to do whatever I wanted, potentially dangerous with someone like me. So, struck by a song then in the charts by Fun Boy Three called ‘Going Home’ https://youtu.be/wPTT31z2vNc I created an assembly around the song and called it ‘Tolerance, Understanding and Respect’. I played it at the beginning and some listened but many carried on their conversations, well, I was a new young teacher and of little power and consequence. I then unfurled the title and spoke about the song and how we are easily indoctrinated to ways of thinking and behaving when within various cultures. As an example I told them I was going to do a bit of magic and get them to say a certain word I’d already written down without telling them the word. I asked all the Tottenham Hotspurs soccer team supporters to raise their hands. I then asked them what they thought of the Arsenal soccer team, as one they shouted “rubbish”. Somewhat relieved I showed the word I’d written earlier. I finished by playing the song again and this time it was listened to in silence.

Over the ensuing years it seemed that as a culture we have progressed, and although racists and racism still existed it appeared that more people were becoming aware and changing their ways. This progress has been shattered in recent weeks and my illusion of progress has been shattered too.

Much was clarified for me in an essay by Geoffrey Wheatcroft in yesterday’s Grauniad: ‘Europhobia: a very British problem’. He writes that behind much of the current ‘debate’ is the turmoil around what is our national identity. That much of our national history is based on myth and that we’ve had regular identity changing migrations, after all the name England comes the invading Angles from Germany. I particularly loved the quote from a Czech-born American scholar (see, we’re all ultimately mongrels) called Karl Deutsch with his definition of a nation:

“a group of people united by a mistaken view of the past and a hatred of their neighbours”.

He also writes of referenda playing into the hands of demagogues, hitler used 4 of them to gain power; Attlee and Thatcher knew this. Sadly so many of us are deluded by the nationalistic illusion. And bunter calls for independence day, he truly is a deluded illusion that is deluding so many.

The lunatics have taken over the asylum.

'I'll probably vote for the party with an immigration policy that doesn't appear to be racist but actually is...'

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

 

 

 

Inflammatory.

Took a very old woman called Nan, she’s 100 this year, to the dentist today. Took less time than my first trip with her as we manoeuvred her aged body into and out of the car more efficiently. Despite her bodily frailty her mind and voice are still in good order. She told me how she was bothered by the nature of the debate around the referendum. I asked which way she was going to vote and she told me she’d already voted and was bothered. Our local tt mp, slaver drax, had visited her sheltered housing to talk to the residents and give out pro-brexit literature and because that was all she had received she followed his coercion and voted to leave. She now regrets it and is concerned that if the brexiters win by 1 vote it will be her fault. I assured her, much as I reassured Hector last night, that remain would win the vote.

After dropping Nan off I pondered what the slaverman had done and felt some antipathy towards him as he’d imposed himself on vulnerable people and presented a very biased picture. Is this right that our parliamentary representative behaves in such a way? I heard recently from a reliable source that he has flirted with joining ucrap, one can only hope that after the referendum he will fuck off.

I am acutely aware that my tone might be deemed inflammatory, that is such an apposite descriptor.

N2IoWl

And he said it on my birthday.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan

The mood has changed.

Mood, one of many words that when you repeat it sounds funnier with each repetition. And like a herd of cows mooing too many of us allow the thin veneer of civilisation to be removed and allow the ‘gut feeling’ to surface, that ‘gut feeling’ that gives licence to dark moods. Whipped up by the mooing and braying of the likes of bunter and the grinning gargoyle we let loose the dislike, fear and hate of the ‘other’. The grinning gargoyle stands like mr toad in front of a poster that is openly racist, like a gatekeeper on the road to a hadean hell. A road that he’d like to take us that leads to the australian hell on the islands of Nauru and Manus where asylum seekers are incarcerated in appalling conditions:

The worst I’ve seen – trauma expert lifts lid on ‘atrocity’ of Australia’s detention regime

Exclusive: In his 43-year career, Paul Stevenson has worked in the aftermath of the Bali bombings and the Boxing Day tsunami but says nothing he witnessed was as bad as the treatment of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus

by and

 

This is the australian system the brexiters want.

S’pose we could use Sark or even the Isle of Wight to do a similar thing here.

It’s a road that even writers in right wing rags like the Spectator don’t want to be on:

“A Day of Infamy

16 June 201

Events have a multiplier effect. And when they come in bunches the effect can be overpowering. This was already a sad and demeaning day, even before we heard the ghastly news a Labour MP, Jo Cox, had been murdered outside her constituency surgery in Yorkshire.

Politics is, figuratively speaking, a contact sport. It is a hard business because it is an important business. It matters and it matters even more when the stakes are so very high. But just as class will out at the highest level in sport, when the stakes are the very greatest and everything seems to be on the line, so character reveals itself in politics too. Even, especially, when it really counts.

A referendum is one of those moments when it counts. There is no do-over, no consoling thought in defeat that, at least, there’s always next season. No, defeat is permanent and for keeps. That’s why a referendum is so much uglier than a general election. The ‘wrong’ people often win an election but their victory is only – and always – temporary. There will be another day, another time. An election is a negotiation; a referendum is a judgement with no court of appeal. So character reveals itself. The poster unveiled by Nigel Farage this morning marked a new low, even for him.

The mask – the pawky, gin o’clock, you know what I mean, mask – didn’t slip because there was no mask at all. BREAKING POINT, it screamed above a queue of dusky-hued refugees waiting to cross a border. The message was not very subtle: Vote Leave, Britain, or be over-run by brown people. Take control. Take back our country. You know what I mean, don’t you: If you want a Turk – or a Syrian – for a neighbour, vote Remain. Simple. Common sense. Innit?

And then this afternoon, a 42 year old member of parliament, who happens – and this may prove to have been more than a coincidence – to have been an MP who lobbied for Britain to do more to assist the desperate people fleeing Syria’s charnel house, was shot and stabbed and murdered.

Events have a multiplier effect.

It may be that eyewitness reports he shouted ‘put Britain First’ as he attacked Jo Cox will prove as unreliable as such reports often are. It could be there was no political motivation for this apparently senseless murder. He has been named locally as Tommy Mair: his younger brother, Scott, had this to say:-

“I am struggling to believe what has happened. My brother is not violent and is not all that political. I don’t even know who he votes for. He has a history of mental illness, but he has had help.We wouldn’t have to ask quite so many awkward questions if this proves to be just – a relative term – another deranged act perpetrated by a suspect with a long history of mental illness.

But we know that even lone lunatics don’t live in a bubble. They are influenced by outside events. That’s why, when there is an act of Islamist terrorism, we quite rightly want to know if it was, implicitly or explicitly, encouraged by other actors. We do not believe – at least we should not – in collective guilt or punishment but we do want to know, with reason, whether an individual assassin was inspired by ideology or religion or hate-speech or any of a hundred other possible motivating factors. We do not hold all muslims accountable for the violence carried out in the name of their prophet but nor can we avoid the ugly, unpalatable, truth that, as far as the perpetrator is concerned, he (it is almost always he) is acting in the service of his view of his religion. He has a cause, no matter how warped it may be. And so we ask who influenced him? We ask, how did it come to this?

So, no, Nigel Farage isn’t responsible for Jo Cox’s murder. And nor is the Leave campaign. But they are responsible for the manner in which they have pressed their argument. They weren’t to know something like this was going to happen, of course, and they will be just as shocked and horrified by it as anyone else.

But, still. Look. When you encourage rage you cannot then feign surprise when people become enraged. You cannot turn around and say, ‘Mate, you weren’t supposed to take it so seriously. It’s just a game, just a ploy, a strategy for winning votes.’

When you shout BREAKING POINT over and over again, you don’t get to be surprised when someone breaks. When you present politics as a matter of life and death, as a question of national survival, don’t be surprised if someone takes you at your word. You didn’t make them do it, no, but you didn’t do much to stop it either.

Sometimes rhetoric has consequences. If you spend days, weeks, months, years telling people they are under threat, that their country has been stolen from them, that they have been betrayed and sold down the river, that their birthright has been pilfered, that their problem is they’re too slow to realise any of this is happening, that their problem is they’re not sufficiently mad as hell, then at some point, in some place, something or someone is going to snap. And then something terrible is going to happen.

We can’t control the weather but, in politics, we can control the climate in which the weather happens. That’s on us, all of us, whatever side of any given argument we happen to be. Today, it feels like we’ve done something terrible to that climate.

Sad doesn’t begin to cover it. This is worse, much worse, than justsad. This is a day of infamy, a day in which we should all feel angry and ashamed. Because if you don’t feel a little ashamed – if you don’t feel sick, right now, wherever you are reading this – then something’s gone wrong with you somewhere.

Jo Cox was, by all accounts, a fine parliamentarian and a fine woman. She has been taken from her family and her constituents but her death strips something from all of us as well. I cannot recall ever feeling worse about this country and its politics than is the case right now.

Events have a multiplier effect. So do feelings.”

When I am asked, which has been all too frequently in the past couple of years, “are you allergic to anything?” I typically reply nigel farage. Do so many folk in this country really want the likes of him to have power?

47c9446c-16d8-46f8-bcc2-280f72b4c2f6-620x423

Keep on remaining, love Duncan.