A group protesting against fracking for shale gas at Barton Moss have been left a little red-faced after making an urgent appeal – for gas.
The camp’s supply ran out Sunday morning and they tweeted from their account @BartonMoss “#bartonmoss URGENTLY needs water and gas for the cooker if anyone can help”.
That was Douglas Adams’s description of Sunday afternoons. It won’t make a lot of sense to anyone under 25, because they live in the time of the Internet but, as xkcd points out today, before the internet instead of enjoying peaceful, meditative calm people were just frequently bored.
In the UK there was another problem. Before 1994 there were severe restrictions on shop opening times. That there should be any government regulation of business opening hours is grotesque, Methodist bullying. The weird post-apocalyptic feeling of deserted streets and shuttered shops gave Sundays a unique and bleak, lifeless desolation.
I remember the passage of the shop hours reform legislation. It would lead to appalling exploitation of workers, Labour screamed. People would be chained to supermarket checkouts, unable to have any family life.
Instead, we have some extra employment, some extra flexibility in when we choose to work and when we choose to go shopping. Nobody is complaining about the loss of empty Sunday. In fact, any move to abolish Sunday opening now would be met with incredulity and anger from the general population.
This shows up two things, I think. Firstly, that Labour politics are founded on a belief that people, humans, are intrinsically and unalterably evil and need to be shepherded by an elite to prevent them from mercilessly exploiting others. This is similar to the Christian view of the Fallen nature of humanity, and it comes from the religious as well as the political traditions so even Labour atheists can believe themselves to be one of a Fabian elite.
The second thing it shows is that this view is wrong. The terrible exploitation of vulnerable workers hasn’t happened, we’ve just had more opportunity for employees and for consumers. Labour restrictions in the name of our own good just restrict, they don’t do any good and they do a great deal of harm, suffocating the people they’re designed to help.
Of course, this paternalistic view is present in Conservatives too. But that’s more obvious, we expect Tory Conservatives to treat the mass of humanity with contempt. Labour likes to think it is different. If anything, it is worse. At least Tories are content to leave people alone in their hovels, and not go in after them and badger them about their diets, weight and recreational habits.
There’s a line in a recent Chris Dillow post that says:
Whereas social democrats try to work within the confines of what the public considers “fair”, and try to tweak those perceptions, we Marxists fear that this is a forlorn task because the power of ideology warps those perceptions.
I’m sure Chris know this is how non-Marxists often think of Marxists, that their ideology warps their perceptions. It’s more appropriate to talk of Marxists being indoctrinated than it is most people, who take less doctrinal, more experience-based and pragmatic approaches to issues.
Indeed, Marxism belongs with traditional religions to a bracket of improbable, dogma-based belief systems that require faith to maintain, in the teeth of what could politely be called conflicting data. As with traditional religions, you get ‘Why I am still a Marxist’ and ‘Why I am no longer a Marxist’ essays and columns – Chris himself wrote one – which are very similar to ‘Why I am still/no longer a Christian’ type pieces.
You don’t get ‘Why I am still a slightly conservative pragmatist’ essays in the same way.
So Chris is on very swampy ground, making charges against non-Marxists that are better, perhaps only appropriate if, aimed at Marxists like himself. It gets worse.
What does ‘fairness’ mean? In particular, what is the objective test for fairness?
Obviously, there isn’t one, for a very good reason: nobody agrees what ‘fair’ means. And it’s Chris’s fault.
Not just Chris, but the whole of the Marxist left that for a century or more has been trying to bludgeon through un-argued propositions by disguising them in wrappings labelled ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice’. The egotism and narcissism involved in this approach are extraordinary: my views aren’t just me doing my best to understand the world and what’s best, they’re Objective Truth, Fairness and Justice!
But this is a wrapping for something genuinely vile. The argument being made is summed up in Chris’s final paragraph:
Public opinion might decide what is a successful political strategy, but it is more questionable whether it should decide what is a morally right one. One of my fears about Labour politics is that this distinction is often ignored.
Although people disagree with Chris – because of some mental deficiency in them and not because he might be wrong, or wrong for them as individuals – he feels entitled to impose his own preferred outcomes on them by force, because there’s no other way to do so. Indeed the point of this whole piece is that the failure of Marxists to persuade others of their ideas is because of the mental deficiency of the others, and not because Marxism is a peculiar mid-nineteenth century fallacy, like Homoeopathy or the modern Druid movement.
This has nothing to do with fairness or justice. It is a form of psychopathy.
But so is being a Marxist at all, knowing what that particular faith has been responsible for in the past hundred years.
Ominously, Libya’s chaos is spilling across the region. The country is awash with up to 15 million rifles and other weapons, and a report by the UN panel of experts this month found that “Libya has become a primary source of illicit weapons“. These arms are fuelling chaos in 14 countries, including Somalia, the Central African Republic, Nigeria and Niger. Qatar is helping to deliver Libyan armaments to Syria, where Russian-made weapons bought by Gaddafi’s regime are being given to fundamentalist Islamist rebels.
In what has all the hallmarks of mission creep, a small number of US soldiers are being sent to Tripoli to begin training troops. But a stable future for Libya seems remote, however much the country’s strife is safely hidden away from the headlines. It is dividing along every fracture line imaginable: whether it be ethnic, tribal, regional or political. Most Libyans have failed to even register for upcoming elections.
There is a real prospect of the country collapsing into civil war or even breaking up. Unless there are negotiated settlements to its multiple problems, Libya will surely continue its descent into mayhem, and the region could be dragged into the mire with it.
No wonder western governments and journalists who hailed the success of this intervention are so silent. But here are the consequences of their war, and they must take responsibility for them.
I give such a large quotation because it’s lovely to see Jones worrying about Libya being a source of illegal weapons as though this doesn’t go back to before the little lad was born, as though Libya didn’t turn into the IRA’s main weapons supplier, as though this didn’t extend to being a member of the Axis of Evil WMD-making tyrants – and as though Libya didn’t leave this select club as a result of the Western intervention in Iraq that Jones so strongly opposed.
We’re used to this sort of amoral and cynical banking on the ignorance of the reader from what a friend calls the Justin Bieber of the British left and, as the comments show, he has not underestimated the readership of Comment is Free.
But yes, there will be some consequences of the intervention and some of those consequences will be bad – some will be good, like the eradication of a sadistic, rape-fuelled, torturer state – not that I expect Owen to care very much about this. As a supporter of the Libyan intervention I completely accept this responsibility.
But Jones has never shown any sign of accepting his responsibility for the consequences of his campaigning, and that of others like him: more than 140,000 dead SO FAR, no sign of an end to the violence, all the sectarian division and violence of Iraq but no possibility of removing the tyrant, no possibility of peace, the certainty of genocidal reprisals when Assad regains control, no prospect of the introduction of democracy or the rule of law.
After the dignified restraint of the ‘Dance on the Bitch’s Grave’ street party I organised after Thatcher died (“Ha ha the witch is dead” merchandise is still available from our web store), I was disgusted yesterday to see right wing scum saying they ‘admired’ Tony Benn’s conviction, and complimenting him on his personal life. Some went so far as to say they hadn’t always agreed with his politics and, deep in the depthsiest deeps of the lowest right wing gutter - the lowest of the low, people were quoting things Benn had actually said and done!
It’s at times like this I realise that it’s the personal venom of Tories that marks them out as subhumans. Not for them the calm, evidence-based exchange of Marxist opinions. They can never avoid the personal and their hate shines at every moment. Not for nothing did Aneurin Bevan say Tories are “lower than vermin”.
In Tatchell’s own chapter 9, entitled ‘Questioning Ages of Minority and Ages of Consent’ he asks ‘What purpose does it [the age of majority] serve other than reinforcing a set of increasingly quaint, minority moral values left over from the Victorian era?’
The chapter just after Tatchell’s is entitled ‘Ends and Means: How to Make Paedophilia Acceptable….?’ and opens with an account of sexual activity with two 8 year old boys before describing it as ‘all very normal to a libertarian, even to some open-minded parents’.
Peter Tatchell wrote a chapter in a book published by the Paedophile Information Exchange and this post link was retweeted by Louise Mensch on Twitter today.
Peter Tatchell – Sex Brought ‘Great Joy’. To 9 Year Olds http://t.co/HmKrDG54zu
— Aleisha (@katherine1924) March 12, 2014
Reactions to the involvement of Harman, Dromey and Hewitt in the NCCL when PIE was an affiliated organisation have varied. It was all a long time ago. The past is a foreign country. The 1970s were different. And, for Labour diehards, they didn’t agree with PIE, the affiliation preceded their joining, and so on.
These reactions are based on the idea that it’s jarring, contradictory, unlike them that they might have been in an organisation with links to PIE. I suggest it isn’t.
This is what happens when deeply illiberal people get involved in Liberal causes: they don’t have any instinctive or intellectual basis for judgement. Harman, Dromey and Hewitt are deeply illiberal people. In the 1970s they had the same driving motivation they do today and did when in government. They believe that minorities are oppressed, that most people are wicked and need to be herded by their superiors and that they, personally, are those superiors.
There were civil rights issues in the early 1970s, for women, gays, minority races, on a scale that no longer exists. It was the obvious open goal for the Bossy Tendency. But they weren’t coming at these issues from a liberal perspective, so they didn’t get where the line should be drawn, where the right of adults to sleep with whoever the hell they want in the way they want differed from 50 year old men buggering boys – for this was an extraordinarily misguided association by the NCCL of homosexuality with paedophilia, when it comes down to it.
As for Tatchell, he is similar but not identical. He has consistently championed the right of kids to be sexual. Or maybe that should be the fact that they are. Hormones don’t coincide with legislation about the age of consent in many individuals. But the notion of the age of consent is a good one, the power imbalance between a 50 year old man and a 14 year old girl is too great. And he can be terrifyingly illiberal, as when he wants the fruits of everybody’s labour to be controlled by the sort of obsessive nut who is attracted to full-time politics, something he calls ‘economic democracy’.
So they got the bossiness wrong. But, then, they always do.
UPDATE: Peter Tatchell tweeted me to say:
— Peter Tatchell (@PeterTatchell) March 13, 2014
Israel was hit by 50 missiles today, fired from Gaza just days after a ship carrying a consignment of missiles from Iran, in effect, was captured.
I write this at 21:00 on Wednesday 12th March.
The Telegraph has Cameron in Israel while 50 missiles hit as top story on its front page right now.
The Guardian mentions Cameron’s visit but no missiles, not on the front page, not on the World News Page, nor in the Middle East section nor in the Israel section.
The Independent doesn’t mention the missiles on its front page but does trail a story about a suicide bomber’s brother saying the bomber should receive a VC. Its Middle East page doesn’t mention it, but does mention Israeli soldiers shooting someone at a border crossing.
Another source said: “Bob Crow was essentially a moderate in RMT terms.”
As a matter of mild interest, when does reality ever get a look in with these people?
Although it has attracted a small number of very bright people, Marxism is, in general, cleverness for stupid people. You get to use words like ‘hegemony’ and analyse the world, albeit in unusually fatuous terms.
This is why a Marxian-influenced writer like Richard Seymour can conclude, in the piece Tim was discussing, that Communist China’s military build up is because ‘In a very general sense, militarisation could be seen as an integral aspect of capitalism.’