Sunday 26 September 2021

The Sunday Ishmael 26/9/21: Scum news

  • Starmer's useful "Win Woman"- a female John Prescott.
"We cannot get any worse than a bunch of scum, homophobic, racist, misogynistic, absolute vile [inaudible] Banana Republic, vile, nasty, Etonian [inaudible] piece of scum.”
To applause, she added she had "held back a little".
It's just not elegant. Two scums, two viles, an incorrect adjectival usage and two inaudible insults. At least a public school education confers the ability to insult with wit, grace, panache and a  sprinkling of Latin. Anyway, should Sir Keir find himself in the unlikely position of occupying the top job, he intends removing charitable status from the public schools to yield £1.7 billion to invest in the state school system, to level up and therefore improve the quality of insult. Well, that's what he's saying this year. Remember his Ten Pledges in the 2020 Labour leadership election? Good, cos he doesn't. Here they are:
"Based on the moral case for socialism, here is where I stand.
1. Economic justice
Increase income tax for the top 5% of earners, reverse the Tories’ cuts in corporation tax and clamp down on tax avoidance, particularly of large corporations.
2. Social justice
Abolish Universal Credit and end the Tories’ cruel sanctions regime. Set a national goal for wellbeing to make health as important as GDP; Invest in services that help shift to a preventative approach. Stand up for universal services and defend our NHS. Support the abolition of tuition fees and invest in lifelong learning.
3. Climate justice
Put the Green New Deal at the heart of everything we do. There is no issue more important to our future than the climate emergency. A Clean Air Act to tackle pollution locally. Demand international action on climate rights.
4. Promote peace and human rights
No more illegal wars. Introduce a Prevention of Military Intervention Act and put human rights at the heart of foreign policy. Review all UK arms sales and make us a force for international peace and justice.
5. Common ownership
Public services should be in public hands, not making profits for shareholders. Support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water; end outsourcing in our NHS, local government and justice system.
6. Defend migrants’ rights
Full voting rights for EU nationals. Defend free movement as we leave the EU. An immigration system based on compassion and dignity. End indefinite detention and call for the closure of centres such as Yarl’s Wood.
7. Strengthen workers’ rights and trade unions
Work shoulder to shoulder with trade unions to stand up for working people, tackle insecure work and low pay. Repeal the Trade Union Act. Oppose Tory attacks on the right to take industrial action and the weakening of workplace rights.
8. Radical devolution of power, wealth and opportunity
Push power, wealth and opportunity away from Whitehall. A federal system to devolve powers – including through regional investment banks and control over regional industrial strategy. Abolish the House of Lords – replace it with an elected chamber of regions and nations.
9. Equality
Pull down obstacles that limit opportunities and talent. We are the party of the Equal Pay Act, Sure Start, BAME representation and the abolition of Section 28 – we must build on that for a new decade.
10. Effective opposition to the Tories"
You see, it doesn't matter. Say anything to get the job, then forget all the pretty, empty promises. If his strategy to effectively oppose the Tories is to have Attack Dog Rayner as his Deputy Leader with her uncouth playground name-calling, and his only remonstration is to say, "I wouldn't have put it that way myself", then we can be assured that the top job will forever elude him. His present position is hardly a job for life. They are calling it Starmer's Last Chance Conference. 
This morning, Andrew Marr 
reminded Sir Keir of Pledge 5 - Common Ownership, which ordinary people might construe to mean nationalisation. Not so, as Sir Keir was at pains to point out, especially when it comes to the energy crisis. I couldn't follow the reasoning, which was as sophisticated as one might expect from a Knight Commander of the Bath (a prestigious award that the British ruling class award to themselves, stemming from the ritual bathing of candidate knights. I know, I know, shakes head in despair) and Queen's Counsel, (a senior barrister appointed on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor); but he was pretty emphatic that there would be no nationalisation. Oddly, in light of Pledge 7, he also emphatically expressed his opinion to Marr that even more foreign drivers, poultry workers and hospitality staff should be shipped in to do the jobs that are paid at a level that excludes the British worker. Which, even more oddly, left Grant Shapps, Conservative Member of Parliament  for Welwyn Hatfield since 2005, and Secretary of State for Transport, to give us the traditionally Labour line that the Conservatives want to skill up our own labour, improve pay and conditions and stop undercutting jobs with foreign labour, whilst granting 5000 visas for foreign drivers and 5,500 visas for foreign poultry workers.
Has anyone else noticed that something terribly strange seems to have happened to Shapps?
He used to be quite a personable young man.
In a move borrowed from the doomed Matt Hancock, he broadcast from a carefully-curated nook in which the Union Jack was strategically draped, a book on railways was prominently displayed, face forward, to remind us of his job,
his red boxes were open, their confidential documents spilling out 

and, peeping out of the bookcase behind him, could be seen a book cover bearing the top of his head from healthier days and his name in very large print. 
Anyway, Grant says there's lots of petrol. The country is awash with petrol. There's plenty to go around. These apparent shortages are created by panic buying. What you must do, you panickers, is to take a deep breath, focus on your breathing and buy your petrol in a calm, possibly sedate, manner. Be Sensible. Fill up only when you need petrol. Do not fill up when you already have a full tank of petrol, because that just won't work.

Yes, its Conference Season! Brighton! Hotels! Late Night Drunkenness! Promiscuity! (oops, sorry, networking). Here's mr ishmael on Conference:

WHERE'S THE UNIONS?    drafted 9/12/2010

Sometime in my lifetime, maybe before, trades union leaders, most of them, came to see themselves as an informal arm of govament;  it's true,  there was McGahey and Scargill and Red Robbo, but there was also Len Murray, Lord Murray, eventually, if you please, slithering in and out of Downing Street;  there was Tom Jackson-Moustache of the Post Office Workers but  there was also the repulsive and incompetent Alan Johnson, currently doping so well as shadow to wee George Spunkface.

Before the 2005 election something called the Warwick Agreement was struck between union bosses and the Labour Party*.

I remember, once, seeing a letter from Harry Fletcher,* lifetime deputy boss of NAPO, the probation officers' union, or professional association,  as they prefer it to be styled; it was in response to a very genuinely urgent grievance felt by a member:  I am sorry I have been unable to get back to you, I have been busy lunching with ministers;  honest, not invent, helping to formulate strategies, or some such, he would have been, useless little turd.  On another occasion, at a NAPO conference,  word went around from the leadership, then the unpardonably loathsome Judy McKnight,  that angry members should not heckle and barrack the pipsqueak,  NewLabour arsehole,  Paul Boateng, as he angrily threatened to draw a ministerial red line through the entire probation service; we shouldn't heckle him because it would seem racist, him being a Man of Colour and everything, and probably mess up hers and little fat Harry's chances of a peerage, or a QUANGO, at the very least.
Or that we would all be bamboozled by his nauseating, ever so humble performance at the TUC - which in every previous year he had always treated with absolute contempt?

A few years ago a speech from the PM would still have generated a polite ovation. Not any more. For the most part, delegates sat in stony silence and, as the BBC's Nick Assinder reported, even when promised that the government would not renege on pledges in 'the Warwick agreement' made in June, 'they were far from overcome with excitement or gratitude'.

What seems to have escaped the New Labour policy wonks is that trying to shift the focus of the debates that are likely to take place in the run-up to a general election away from the war and onto domestic issues does not necessarily make anybody feel much better. Most right thinking punters are every bit as pissed off with privatisation, tuition fees and government-inspired hysteria over the 'war on terror' as they have been appalled at the unremitting carnage in Iraq.
Even for a Blair at his smooth talking best, winning the hearts and minds of a hostile TUC was never going to be easy - the forked tongue being especially visible given that all the pally chat came at the same time as 104,000 civil servants face the sack.

But that would be to miss the point. Blair's main purpose was to lend credibility to the Big Four union leaders whose loyalty to the Labour Party has been put under enormous stress in the last couple of years because of their own members' bitterness at New Labour's agenda. This anger has erupted on the industrial front in the last few weeks with very successful strikes on the Yorkshire buses and at British Airways. And the political expression has been evident in the sensational results for Respect candidates in Stepney and Millwall.

Despite all the assertions of still being completely in charge and raring to go, Blair is actually up to his eyeballs in the brown stuff and that is the real reason why, as one commentator put it, 'he presented delegates in the Brighton conference centre with a notably different prime minister from the one they have come to expect... there was no lecturing, threatening or casting aside. And there was absolutely no reference to the "forces of conservatism" or "wreckers". Calculated, deliberate and utterly self-serving as usual, the distinct shift of tone adopted by Blair actually marks the culmination of a long spell of backdoor scheming all designed to bring leaders of the four biggest unions - Amicus, Unison, the TGWU and GMB - back on board in the run-up to an election. Those with any sense inside the New Labour machine realise that the support of the Big Four is absolutely essential. Like it or not, the party still relies heavily on union cash to survive. If the recent disaffiliations of the RMT and FBU were to spread to the GMB, Labour HQ would be driven to panic stations. The Big Four are every bit as important when it comes to the Labour Party conference because of the block voting system. Yet according to one 'senior union figure' quoted in the Guardian, 'The new generation of union leaders don't have any personal loyalty to Tony Blair... they may not have moved against him over Iraq, but the war legitimised their thinking that they owe him nothing and they don't have to be deferential towards him.'

But rather than press home their advantage and blow Blair out of the water, leaders of the Big Four - and Brendan Barber of the TUC - have settled for a bit of pretty shabby horse trading. Tony Woodley of the TGWU made this clear in the Morning Star on the same day as Blair's speech to the TUC: 'The disappointments the movement has with the government's record - and there are many - will be tempered by the realisation that we have to work for a Labour victory at that election, whenever it comes.'

In the weeks since the Warwick agreement leaders of all the main unions have gone out of their way to talk up the concessions which they said had been made by the government. Woodley claimed that ministers had made 'several significant concessions'. Similar claims have been repeated by Prentis, who states categorically that the net result of the concessions made at Warwick is that 'it will be harder for PFI to be carried out at the expense of the workforce and that it will be easier to invest in public services without using PFI'.

Yet the Warwick agreement is not really an agreement at all. It is more a shopping list of demands put in front of the Labour Party chairman, Ian McCartney: issues from skills training to rights of migrant workers, action to tackle workplace violence and uprating of redundancy. All very laudable aspirations in their own right (56 of them in all) but you will have a job finding a copy of an actual agreement anywhere, least of all from the Labour Party.

One or two very minor concessions have been made on employment rights at Labour's conference and some of these might even find their way into the manifesto, but what happens after that is anybody's guess. It certainly doesn't seem to fall into the category of 'major concessions', let alone herald the death knell of New Labour's market-driven manifesto. Away from the national policy forum, every other indicator points to the fact that both Number 10 and Number 11 Downing Street have not the slightest intention of budging from their 'reform agenda' for public services. Why bring Milburn and Mandelson back and why line up 104,000 civil servants for the sack if what you have in mind is to head for what Derek Simpson dreamily informs us is going to be a 'historic, radical and progressive third term'?

Warwick actually provides a very dangerous smokescreen for the government to neutralise the Big Four, all the better to leave Mark Serwotka and the Public and Commercial Services' Union out on a limb. This would be a disaster for every other union. It would put the government's privatisation plans right back on track. Rather than spending hours listening to Wee Ian McCartney, the Big Four would be much better employed getting round a table with all the other unions in the TUC and making joint plans for mass demonstrations and strike action in defence of the PCS.

Too late, now, of course

mrs. ishmael's notes:
*The Warwick Agreement, named after the University of Warwick, where it was made,  was agreed in July 2004 prior to the 2005 General Election, between many of Britain's main trade unions and the Labour Party, which helped form Labour's 2005 election manifesto.The affiliated trade unions were organised into a group called TULO (Trade Union & Labour Party Liaison Organisation). The Agreement covered five policy areas:
Fairness at work
Public services
Other commitment 
 It brought Blair's New Labour Party in for a third consecutive victory.

*mr ishmael trained blog dog, Buster, to bark at Harry Fletcher whenever he appeared on the television: Harry Fletcher Alert, he would cry, take cover. 

Paul Yaw Boateng, Baron Boateng (born 14 June 1951)  was the Labour Member of Parliament for Brent South from 1987 to 2005, becoming the UK's first Black Cabinet Minister in May 2002, when he was appointed as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. In 2003 he was named on the list of "100 Great Black Britons" Following his departure from the House of Commons, he served as the British High Commissioner to South Africa from March 2005 to May 2009. He was introduced as a member of the House of Lords on 1 July 2010. In November 2011, Boateng's son Benjamin, aged 27, was jailed for almost four years for a sex attack on a woman.
Baron Boateng

 mr ishmael's essay today is: 

WHERE'S THE UNIONS?    drafted 9/12/2010

"Why don't you write a book, my friend said to me, for forty years. There's enough books, don't need any more fucking books, books're the last thing we need more of. The last time he asked, a couple of years back, I wanted to say Well, in a sense, I have, it's called stanislav, a young Polish plumber."

Both anthologies of the work  of mr ishmael and Stanislav :  Honest Not Invent and Vent Stack - are available to purchase for mere money at Lulu or Amazon. It is cheaper to buy from Lulu. Register an account with Lulu to save a couple of quid, as going straight into the link provided below seems to make paypal think it's ok to charge in dollars, and apply their own conversion rate, which will put the price up slightly for a UK buyer. Once the new account is set up, follow our link; a pop-up box asks for age confirmation - simply set the date to (say) 1 January 1960, and proceed. (If you type the title, the anthology will not appear as a search result until the "show explicit content" box - found at the bottom left by scrolling down - has been checked.  You may also see the age verification box, as above, at this point.) 
 The full title is "Vent Stack love from stanislav" by ishmael smith, and the cover you'll see is red with white titles and a picture of Buster the Previous Blog Dog having a green thought in a green shade. 

Link for the paperback:


shorter link, which might make it easier if you wish to paste it into an email and tell a friend:

 Honest, Not Invent is available in paperback or hardback.
Link for Hard Back :

Link for Paper Back

At checkout, try PROWRITINGAID15, WELCOME15 or TREAT15 in the coupon box, which  takes 15% off the price before postage.  If this code has expired by the time you reach this point, try a google search for " voucher code" and see what comes up.  
With the 15% voucher, the book (including delivery to a UK address) should cost £10.89
Birmingham Pride 2021. Shame I missed it.


mongoose said...

This is the eternal weakness. The critical flaw in the plan. A long time ago, the 1990s, I think, I was listening to R4 Today as I brushed my teeth and a Labour MP said that all Tories were [something]. (Scum, vermin, whatever. I forget the epithet used.) The interviewer asked doubtfully, "Even Churchil?" "Yes!"

The point being that the Left hates the Right and thinks itself morally superior merely by force of existence. Yet the Right does not hate the Left. The Right just thinks that the Left is mistaken. This is the tribal slight that isn't that makes the likes of Ms Rayner spit her silliness.

In America, the left's stealing of elections because they are allowed to because their cause is just is now plain to everyone. In Rotherham, white children with cervixes are still hawked about by subcontinent adults without cervixes and the while, the police are painting their faces in rainbows and talking bollocks that would have had their parents kicking their arses up and down their terraced streets.

What is Labour for? I have been asking this question here for more than a decade. Still no answer comes.

mrs ishmael said...

It's the class rage, mr mongoose. Emotion, not logic. The huge inequalities of wealth and power in this country trigger a visceral response to the suits, haircuts, vowel sounds, confidence, air of entitlement, the ability to put together a cohesive sentence. As we saw with our Angela. God bless her, she won't apologise.
I read one article protesting that the human capital of Eton should not be discriminated against because their elitist education was not their fault. Small children of eight years old were and are abandoned by Mummy to the care of a boarding Prep. school. The child doesn't know or care about the financial commitment from the household's finite resources (all resources are finite)to ensuring those pudgy little bare legs are placed on the Success ladder. A Prep school, for our foreign friends, is so-called because it prepares the child to enter one of the great Public Schools, and then take up the burden of running the country. Of men now in their forties and fifties, seven in ten are senior judges, six in ten are senior officers in the Armed Forces; they comprise more than half of the permanent secretaries, senior diplomats, leading media figures, bishops, ministers of state, lord lieutenants and the England cricket team. (figures derived from the Sutton Trust and Social Mobility Commission report Elitist Britain 2019 and quoted by Richard Beard)
All that sounds like a caste system, in which a minority rules the majority of the population, with a casual sense of entitlement. Is it surprising that this evokes the howl of rage voiced by Angela Rayner?
Removing charitable status from the Public Schools would do nothing to level up the disadvantaged. The tax income yielded would be frittered away on other concerns of state, the great Public Schools would weather the set back by inviting donations from their alumni, the minor (and cheaper) Public Schools would go bankrupt, bursaries and scholarships would be removed, and the impact would be to remove what little upwards social mobility there is in the system. The Beeb would be against it. Here's a radical solution: remove all the children from state education and place them in Public Schools, without allowing the current teaching and management staff to leave, and transfer the Public School children to the state schools nearest to their homes. Their parents would either very quickly set about endowing the state schools lavishly to improve the education and opportunities of their children, or send the kids to elitist schools in America. I understand that is happening in Higher Education - because Oxbridge operates quotas weighted against Public School applicants, those gilded young people are now gracing the Ivy League Universities of the Eastern United States. One can only hope that they stay there.

Mike said...

Its a long time, certainly including when I was living in England, but also now Down Here, that I voted positively for someone I respected as a person and with policies I respected. Voting now for me is entirely defensive; ie voting to ensure a particular person or policy is defeated. Fortunately, Down Here we have elections every 3 years and we have some weird form of counting which after 27 years I still don't understand. The good news is that the outcome is that nothing really dangerous happens.

mrs ishmael said...

I know, mr mike, there isn't a party that would represent my political views - these days it all has to be strategic voting to keep the worst options out of power.
The Labour Conference is getting exciting: Andy McNab (oops, McDonald) has launched his SAS grenades in an effort to sabotage Keir Starmer. Gave him the opportunity for walking about on the seafront hand in hand with his wife and brief against Starmer and his 10 pledge pact to win over the left to gain the leadership of the party
As mr mongoose says, what is the point of Labour anymore? Too factionalised to be a credible cohesive government in waiting, and too removed from their supposed working class constituency, with their wokery preoccupations. Embarassing, really.
Not to worry - they will all be going down with covid, as there is not the slightest evidence that any of the delegates or their hangers-on, spads and supporters exercise even a shred of infection control. Here's a clip of Conference enjoying itself at Dawn Butler's Jamaica Night:
£5 per head and a free glass of rum punch. Sadiq Khan showed up. I'm surprised Michael Gove didn't gate crash - he likes dancing.

mongoose said...

But Angela is just positioning herself, isn't she, mrs i? She is the stroppy, disappointed, single parent Mum. "Uv bin on benefits, me. I know wot itz loik to 'ave the fucking Tories spit on ya." A one-trick pony.

Normal ordinary Labour people think that the UK is a rich enough country to look after folk who need a hand-up. Angela pretends - if she is pretending - that she wants to fight a class war against the scum of the Tories. Unfortunately the normal ordinary Conservative just thinks that the institutions and habits of the past have lessons to teach us that are valuable still. You know, like families bringing up kids and not nicking grannies' pensions outside Post Offices.

There is nothing coherent about Angela. There is nowhere for her to go that Comrade Corbyn hasn't already been. And look how well that went. That the dalek Starmer is hopeless as a political leader is true. His whole life has been about finding two or three critical inconsistencies in a position and hammering away at them until they are visible to all. That works against a penniless, inarticulate NED who has been found halfway up or down a drainpipe at the dead of night with a telly under his arm but it isn't going to work against an Eton charmer who can make jokes in Latin.

We had this conversation, mr i and I, a few years back when the Coalition was repealing civilisation. There was the window to work out what the Left can be for, how it can be reunited with the sane members of the 'Shooters and the non-balaclava-wearing Greens. Well, there is a window here again. Labour failed to take their chance then. It seems that they want to fail to take it again.

mrs ishmael said...

It goes down very well with the Class Warriors, mr mongoose - Angela has a following and she seems strong enough to have defeated Starmer when he tried to move against her. But she is not leadership material, even if she can do a good stand up routine at PMQ.
I don't think that Labour wants to win an election. They certainly don't conduct themselves as if they want to.They are too preoccupied with their problems - a question of first we'll sort ourselves out and then we'll make a bid for the country. By then, of course, it will be too late. The last time they gained power it was by removing many of those inconvenient Old Labour principles. I remember being given a thorough telling off by a New Labourite during a conference back in the very early Nineties, who, with great conviction and assertion bordering on aggression, informed me that the only important thing was to be in power, because you can't change anything from the Opposition benches. If the old Clause IV is preventing Labour getting elected - ditch it and adopt a new one, written by Blair.
The current Labour Party doesn't have that determination, that "eyes on the prize" drive. And Keir, in his attempts to hold it all together, to pull the teeth of the left, to placate the wokery faction, to distance the Party from anti-semitism, to keep the Unions on side and to tolerate Angela, by trying to upset nobody, upsets everybody. Seems a decent enough bloke, Keir - but he doesn't have the terrier tenacity to keep his Party in order and all facing in the same direction. Gnasher could do it, if she gave up her Scottish ambitions and went to play with the big kids.
Just resign yourself to another hundred or so years of Conservatism.

ultrapox said...

in its modern neo-imperialist war-mongering configuration, the british labour party has become decadently divorced from its traditional left-wing values...

and whilst the weltanschau of this new world ordered neo-liberal labour party might not yet quite be defined by the popular view that "wogs begin at calais", i certainly believe the core philosophy of its champagne-socialist members could now neatly be condensed into the notion that "socialism ends at dover" - or even hampstead heath.

nurse natchit said...

dear mr ultrapox,

i run my hospital ward in wild west wales with an iron-fucking-fist, and i can assure you that foreign patients - including the english ones - are never allowed to dilly-dally and take up valuable bed-space here - however for strictly operational reasons, i'm still open to the internationalist ideal of cheap foreign labour being granted entry into the uk in order to keep the nhs from sinking in a sargasso sea of seething capitalist corruption.