More BBC Bolsheviks

Posted on December 06, 2012

Steve Baker MP, one of the libertarians on the green benches, has an interesting report over at the Commentator about the BBC. He has complained to the Corporation that a recent BBC News piece about the ways in which China’s murderous totalitarianism is supposedly superior to democracy neglected to mention that the author, Martin Jacques, was formerly a senior figure in the Communist Party.

Needless to say, Auntie replied to say that she sees no reason why it might be misleading to portray Jacques simply as an “economist”, with no mention of his political affiliations.

Steve’s article is worth a read – and I suspect this won’t be the last we’ll hear of the case.

Furthermore, it seems Martin Jacques isn’t the only fan of communist revolutionaries who walks the BBC’s corridors.

Newsnight’s famously lefty Economics Editor, Paul Mason, was tweeting away earlier this week celebrating the fact that moving the Beeb’s HQ to the West End meant the arrival of “6000 unionised media workers…in Soho” would push the media world to the Left.

His comparison of choice was to call New Broadcasting House the “Putilov Factory of [the] media economy” – after the St Petersburg factory widely credited as the hub from which communist ideas spread in the run-up to the Russian Revolution.

It’s a slightly odd choice of heroes to worship – we’d best hope that the impact he hopes the NUJ will have on London’s media won’t be as negative as the impact the Putilovites had on long-suffering Russians.

For that matter, let’s hope the Beeboids don’t suffer the same fate as their Putilov predecessors. Having sparked the revolution, the factory’s workers soon became disillusioned and denounced the Soviet state as a “dictatorship”.

Their reward for criticising the masters they put into power was for 200 of them to be executed by Lenin’s secret police. Perhaps the BBC’s Bolsheviks should be careful what they wish for.

Did Evan Davis call Owen Jones a Communist?

Posted on October 02, 2012

The Today Programme is no stranger to unfortunate mis-pronunciations – as Jeremy Hunt found out to his cost.

Yesterday, they ran an interesting piece by Evan Davis exploring the unity or otherwise of the Labour Party, and asking what has happened to the hardline Labour Left. As part of the package, Evan interviewed the posterboy of the Angry Young Left, Owen Jones.

I’m sure Evan meant to introduce Owen as a “columnist”, but listening to the recording here, it does sound as though it came out slightly redder than that…


Gorgeous George’s Twitter Twaddle

Posted on August 10, 2012

George Galloway has never been far away from the top of the Talkers of Nonsense League, but yesterday he managed to excel himself. “Gorgeous” George, renowned for fulminating against “imperialists” for their violent and oppressive ways, has turned his fire on that notorious running dog of capitalism, water-boarding enthusiast and plutocrat, the, err, Dalai Lama.

That sound you can hear is the snapping of the last thread even vaguely connecting Galloway to reality.

Never one to stop digging if he finds himself holding a shovel and standing in a hole, the Mustachioed Maoist didn’t exactly cover himself in glory when pulled up on it, either:

@wallaceme he is neither vicious nor an imperialist. But he does think he’s God and he does want to take Tibetans into the obscurantist mist

— George Galloway (@georgegalloway) August 9, 2012

So that’ll be the Dalai Lama, a follower of Buddhism – a religion with no God whatsoever, still less a belief that leading priests are themselves God on earth – who in Galloway Land “thinks he’s God”. It seems George needs to do a resit on his religious studies GCSE.

It wasn’t a good day on Twitter for Bradford’s answer to Rasputin. Having rejected the Tibetans’ right to live freely, and then fundamentally misunderstood one of the world’s major religions, he merrily tweeted agreement that he is a “tankie” – ie a hardline Stalinist who supported the crushing of the Hungarian Uprising by Soviet tanks.

Perhaps Galloway may want to reconsider whether Twitter is for him…

The Labour Representation Committee: Back in the USSR

Posted on July 09, 2012

There is a fascinating internal struggle going on within the Labour Party at the moment. The GMB Trade Union declared their intent to ban Progress, the arch-Blairite pressure group, from the party, and appear to be well on their way to doing so.

Atul Hatwal’s Labour Uncut article on the topic drew attention to some of the factions on the hard left of the party who aren’t coming in for the same kind of criticism allotted to Progress. So I wandered over to the website of the Labour Representation Committee, a leftist pressure group who quite cheekily took their name from the original name of the Labour Party itself.

There I found this remarkable gem of a blogpost, identifying the LRC – which is chaired by John McDonnell MP – as an eager ally of the Assad regime in Syria. Which, at a time when Assad is murdering civilians by the thousand, is pretty classy.

It’s worth reading the whole piece as a classic case-study in deluded, old-school leftism, peppered as it is with references to “world capitalism and imperialism”, “bourgeois nationalism” and “the world masses” (whose official spokesman is, of course, taken to be Cuba).

For now I’m going to give you just one staggeringly brilliant quote:

“Sensing its end coming near, capitalism prepares for war not against Syria, or Iran, but against the USSR”

Err, against who?

It’s bad enough having Parliamentary representation for a group that harks back to the beliefs of the USSR, but it seems the LRC think the Evil Empire still exists. If their campaign to save Bashar Al-Assad’s skin is motivated by a desire to preserve the Soviet Union, then they may be in for a nasty shock next time they look at a map…


++ Update ++

Though Cowards Flinch has done some digging into the backstory of Marie Lynam, the LRC blog author (who the LRC’s leadership are desperately trying to distance themselves from in the comments below), and points out that she is apparently a member of the Fourth International Posadists.

The Posadists are a really hardcore Trotsykite cult clique who are actually odd enough to have their own Fortean Times article – thanks to their ideological leader’s weird beliefs, which included campaigning for a nuclear war as soon as possible and the idea that UFOs were sent by an alien socialist utopia.

In that respect, they’re kind of like the Scientologists, except they believe in taking everyone’s money rather than just that of their own members. Should the LRC really have Posadists blogging for their site?

Pieing Murdoch and “9/11 Truth”: The protesters Dale Farm could probably do without

Posted on September 21, 2011

One of the most interesting aspects of the Dale Farm traveller saga is the way that in the last week or so the site has largely been taken over by hard left activists. In fact, according to most reports many travellers have moved out, leaving these political protesters as the majority of the Dale Farm site’s residents.

This isn’t a new tactic – the SWP and others have long made a hobby of trying to hijack other people’s issues for their own ends. It doesn’t do the original cause any good, because their issue becomes subsumed in the broader ideological mush peddled by the hijackers. More disturbingly, the people actually affected by the issue (whether you agree with them or not) swiftly lose control of their own dispute to a clique who are more interested in having a battle than in reaching a solution.

At Dale Farm, for example, there are worrying reports from Kevin Rawlinson of The Independent that some protesters tried to stop him coming to meet traveller families who had invited him in on the grounds that “invitations from residents [are] irrelevant because they’re running by consensus now”. (Though he later noted that only some protesters took this approach).

As an illustration of this takeover, let’s look at two of the cuckoos in the Dale Farm nest.

The first was last seen making a titanic tit of himself whilst custard-pieing Rupert Murdoch – yes, it’s none other than Jonnie Marbles, AKA blundering class warrior Jonathan May-Bowles. The travellers must be delighted that they have someone with such good judgement on their side.

The second is called Dean Puckett. Mr Puckett rose to fame earlier this week as one of two protesters who had concreted their arms into a barrel at the entrance to the site only to find that the High Court was delaying the eviction by a slightly awkward four days. As well as sharing May-Bowles’ apparently poor protest judgement, Puckett has an even more colourful history. When he’s not making himself into an installation that looks like one of Mad Max’s garden ornaments, he’s also a film-maker, a former resident of the Kew Bridge Eco Village squat, one of Brian Haw’s Parliament Square campers and, err, a prominent 9/11 Truther.

As well as having made a film (“The Elephant in the Room”) all about the 9/11 “Truth” movement which seeks to rehabilitate its reputation by promoting a supposedly acceptable face of conspiracy theorists, he has now teamed up for a new film (“Crisis of Civilization”) with Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed, whom he recently filmed mulling conspiracy theories about the death (or, as he calls it, “supposedly” the death) of Osama bin Laden.

You can’t help but feel the travellers at Dale Farm would have stood a better chance going it alone.

Ken chickens out in public – but is Jasper still advising him in private?

Posted on April 27, 2011

You read it here first that Ken Livingstone would be sharing a platform with Lee Jasper at the TUC rally next week. Since I broke the story it’s been followed up by Andrew Gilligan, and the Evening Standard – and now Ken has backed out of the event, citing “family commitments” that he apparently didn’t know about last week.

There seems to be more to find out here – this looks very much like an attempt by Ken to rehabilitate Jasper by re-establishing a public relationship with him. The question is, did their relationship ever stop in private?

Jasper has taken up the case of Smiley Culture – the 80s popstar who recently killed himself during a police drugs raid – as his latest publicity vehicle political issue. On 5th April the Standard reported:

Mr Jasper, who quit as one of Mr Livingstone’s closest aides after allegations over his conduct, warned that the black community was at “boiling point” over the incident.

On 26th April The Sun reported on the Smiley Culture case:

Ex London Mayor Ken Livingstone said the black community is at “boiling point” over his death.

Spot any similarities?

Jasper was Ken’s race and policing advisor for 8 years – is he still advising him behind the scenes? I just put in a call to Joe Derrett, Ken’s media guy, who denies outright that Jasper is part of the Ken campaign team. As for whether he’s giving informal advice, it’s the uncertain press officer’s standard answer: “not as far as I know”.

Funny, Ken and Lee must just be so likeminded after their years together that they use the same words when giving comments to the papers…

Ken Livingstone and Lee Jasper reunited

Posted on April 23, 2011

Do you remember Lee Jasper? As Ken Livingstone’s Director for Policing and Equalities in City Hall for 8 years, Jasper was one of Red Ken’s closest advisors and confidantes. Having been suspended in February 2008 due to a storm over alleged dubious dealings at the London Development Agency, he resigned in March 2008 when it turned out he was secretly sending “sexually charged” emails to a woman who ran projects that he helped to get taxpayer funding for.

Jasper’s reputation soured the entire Ken campaign in 2008 – and since then Ken has steered well clear of him, at least in public. The message has been that this is a new, clean Ken Livingstone, without dodgy mates like Jasper on his bandwagon any more.

How surprising, then, to see the list of speakers at the TUC’s May Day Rally in an email sent out by Lambeth TUC, and since sent on to  me:

Ken Livingstone (Labour Party NEC member and candidate for London Mayoral election)
Matt Wrack – FBU General Secretary
Tony Benn
Sarah Veale – TUC
Lee Jasper – Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts
Eylem Ozdemir – Refugee Workers Cultural Association

It seems the old band is back together again. (And yes, you did read that right – Jasper really has set up a group that believes the cuts are racist, and he really has called it “BARAC” in a heroically desperate attempt to get some Obama-glitz-by-association.)

According to his propaganda, we are meant to believe that Ken Livingstone has changed, but here is, once again, sharing a platform with the same old cronies, banging the same old drum. The leopard hasn’t changed his spots – and who really believes he’s been trying to?

How close are we to seeing an anti-cuts terrorist group?

Posted on March 29, 2011

It’s pretty clear now that Saturday’s riots – like most riots – were counterproductive for the anti-cuts movement. That’s good news; had the public somehow been moved to support violence and vandalism there would be something very wrong indeed.

It does raise a serious concern, though. How will the hard core of anti-cutters and so-called anarchists (who actually want a bigger state, which is far from anarchism as you can get) react as their failure becomes clear?

The psychology of these agitators is complex but worrying. They have a persecution complex, they fetishise violence and crime and they are utterly convinced that everyone agrees with them, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

In their world, any Government that doesn’t do what they want must be a Gaddafi-style dictatorship, and any indication that the public don’t back them is a sign of an oppressive bourgeois establishment who are just as bad as the totalitarian Government. They seem increasingly divorced from the real world and antipathetic to wider society.

Add into that the hefty leavening of sociopaths who gravitate toward extremism and wanton destruction and you have a potent mix.

I fear that this core – not, I should emphasise, the wider halo movement around them – could easily tip over the edge from public order crime to much more sinister activities.

They have already started widening their list of targets whom they judge legitimate – just look at the absurd attack on charity-owned Fortnum & Mason.

Only a few years ago, SHAC (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty) were following scientists and investors far down the business chain to their homes and attacking and intimidating them and their families. Plenty of people in the anti-cuts hard core will be students of that terror campaign – and even the small core of the anti-cuts mob have more people and resources than SHAC.

Back in the 1960s and 70s, on the Continent a mass leftwing movement spawned groups with a very similar psychology and rhetoric to the rioters we see in Britain today. Their response to failure after failure was to become more and more extreme – shedding those who thought they were going to far, and following their “war against society” philosophy to its logical conclusion: terrorism.

It’s not inevitable – it may not happen in this case, or if it does it could be stopped – but we don’t seem too far at all from spawning a Baader Meinhof Gang or a Red Brigades for the 21st Century. 

That’s a scary prospect, and everyone, from the police and the Government to the Unions, UKuncut and the vast majority of peaceful, democratic anti-cutters, must work together to nip any tendency like that in the bud.

A good start would be for the Left to denounce the violence we saw on Saturday – something UKuncut signally failed to do on Newsnight last night.

Join me at the Free Tibet march tomorrow

Posted on March 11, 2011

Yesterday was the 10th of March – the 52nd anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan Uprising, in which over 80,000 Tibetans were killed by the Chinese authorities for daring to demand liberty an self-determination.

As a supporter of the Free Tibet movement, I’ll be helping to commemorate that event and support Tibetans’ demands for freedom at a march tomorrow, Saturday 12th March, from Victoria to the Chinese Embassy in Portland Place. The full details, times and route are online here. If you’d like to come along too, either I’ll see you there or comment below or tweet at me, and we can arrange to meet.

For those of you who haven’t been to such an event before, the Free Tibet movement is brilliant – a friendly alliance of Tibetan exiles, Buddhists, hippies and anti-Communist freedom activists pulling together in a common cause. If you’re free tomorrow, please come along.