S.N.P. R.I.P.

The most interesting question from last night’s referendum is why did the SNP heartland vote NO?

Why did the areas which were Salmonds best hope the first to betray him? Only the trendy metro-festival areas votes YES, and mainly it seems on the promise of the People’s Republic of Scotland. So either the SNP voters have been kidding us all along, and didn’t really mean it at the ballot blox. Or, being traditional tories at heart,they were terrified by the visions of Glastonbury on Clyde filling their Tv screens. By the promise of realistic taxes and a Scotland dedication to the welfare state.
Or the SNP were always just a gesture, an illusion courtesy of general political apathy. Elected on miserable turnouts, they were allowed to have their fun as long as they never achieved their stated purpose. And now they have no purpose, which leaves Salmond having to perform some nimble footwark if he doesn’t want his traditional vote reverting to their traditional party, the tories.
As a credible political project, Scottish Nationalism just disappeared in a dour puff of pragmatism.
The SNP could carry on chasing tartan rainbows for another 20 years. But far more likely is some kind of split, allowing tories and labour back into some seats.
Salmond’s greatest achievements may still be ahead, but one of them won’t be Scottish independence. And he has nobody to blame but his own not so braveheartland, which bottled out en-masse. When the time came, these canny refugee tories, who were the SNP simply didn’t fancy a People’s Republic Of Scotland, as touted by the Metro-Jock elite.

A nasty suspicious person might conclude that the entire independence campaign was just a publicity campaign in disguise for Scotland, a nasty suspicious person might.
Lasting as long as it did, and reaching as many networks as it has, it surely has to be worth what, 2 Olympic Gameses in PR terms? And without much of the cost.
So whatever the result, the Scottish economy will benefit, or there’s no justice. And since other forms of prestige projects are last decade and costly, maybe campaigns to Realign the Political Demographic is the way forward for aspiring countries out to pull some free advertising.

It’s just another example of TV becoming reality.  Strictly Independent. Big Britain Eviction Night. In 20 years elections may well be indistinguishable from today’s TV competitions.

London’s Partial Metro System

Real Scale London Tube Map

Real Scale London Tube Map

Hurricane Politics 2014

It’s been compared to the Blitz by some victims, but to me, the Typhoon season of 2014  seems more like the Big Freeze of 1963, only with rain. And while the turbo-charged Jet-stream has brought a series of warm systems from the south this year, with a slight change of direction at source, next winter could bring two months of snow. One year hurricanes, the next, blizzards. Either would be consistent with a climate struggling to convert energy. Our traditional British seasons seem to be coming to an end.
Most intriguing of all is the fact that after two months, Britain still hasn’t thrown up a national charity to help the victims. In spite of such a thing never having been easier, and the obviously vast degree of sympathy, the predominant national response has been either fear, blame, or mean-spirited penny-pinching from those even worse off in the shape of demands to divert foreign aid to the stockbroker belt.
During emergencies it is natural and proper to expect support from the state, and even those ghastly people in Brussels. But how can this government now continue the farce of dogmatic opposition in principle to the role of the state, when it is plain to everyone that the banks and corporations aren’t going to help, either with the current national disaster, or with radical, expensive planning for an all too predictable future. I hear no tories demanding that the free market be allowed to solve the problem (yet) or that the taxpayer should not be required to pay the price. The Unseen Hand of the Market isn’t so all-knowing now, is it? And since good old Victorian philanthropy has also failed, and Global Warming Denialism lies in tatters, as does petty nationalism in the wake of the European aid on its way to devastated areas, what fig-leaf excuses for ideology do reactionaries have left? The steam age economics of climate change are obviously running out of steam.
When the chips are down, it seems all tories are socialists. Nevertheless, it won’t be surprising to see some Spectator nerd penning a column berating the government for rescuing flooded areas, and for planning for global warming, proposing instead that the fittest areas (and wisest market choices) be rewarded and the losers be thrown to the waves as a deterrent to folly and false bargains. The market will be the best protection against climate change. The solution and the cause of all life’s problems, as Homer Simpson says of beer.

The Joys of Jobseeking

This week’s announcement at the Conservative conference that long-term claimants will be forced to work for less than minimum wage shares the same Victorian mentality as all their other raids on the poor. The result of throwing this red meat to the UKIP dog will be damaging and socially divisive, and do nothing but cause more stress-related illness among the unemployed, which is already at epidemic levels if the consumption of tranquillizers and sedatives is any guide. Parading them through the streets in orange suits is not going to help.

It also ignores the truth that there are not now and never have been enough secure jobs for everyone, except in pre-industrial times. It is a ridiculous tail-biting system, but the tories seem happy to apologise for it. So therefore they have to accept the price, that ultimately, the only way to stop the unemployed breaking windows is to keep them comfortable and treat them with a degree of respect.

After all, by reducing competition, everyone not seeking work makes it easier for those who want/need it most. There are plenty in work now who should be grateful for the lack of effort of others. And the last thing employers want is masses of no-hopers and mechanised applications clogging up the recruitment process, which is expensive enough already.

It would help if job centres did more than just process people. The current system merely turns skilled people into untrained Bureacrats. By demanding almost constant Jobsearch, accounted for in triplicate, anyone with any skills at all quickly find that they are wasting through lack of use, making them progressively less marketable, and reducing the chances of a successful application.
In effect, this will tend to homogenise the talents of a generation in a way which the enforced idleness of previous economic depressions didn’t, when the music industry (for one) made work for idle hands to do. The prospects of this benefit-generation producing an Ian Dury or Oasis are thin. And the same goes for other creative sectors of the economy. Blandness (or criminality) will be the cool strategy.

The way out of this spiral of skill-decay would obviously be to provide structured offers of real training. Almost every job on offer now requires some form of training or qualfication, which often costs money. There is no such thing now as unskilled labour, even making the tea on a building site. And while there may be some casual rip-off bar’n’grill-work for teenagers, friends of friends, transients with no responsibilities and other suitably decorative groups, casual vacancies are almost non-existent for most, especially those with families.

But the job centre offers very little training – apart from very basic skills, and lectures about not putting your feet on the desk at an interview. Just mindless nitpicking and red-tape. At present, three applications a week are required to recieve benefit, which is a practical number for those with intermediate-level communication and internet skills – and the equipment and ISP to use them.

From next year, JSA claimants will also have to demonstrate somehow that they have been actively seeking work for 35 hours a week (a reduction to many) and provide evidence via Directgov, one of the lousiest websites in creation according to the JobCentre’s training-supplier of choice. There is no indication how this time will be monitored. Or how much real help will be provided to those without the skills or equipment needed to merely complete the form-filling obstacle-course which will become their lives.

And now this stigmatisation. How it benefits the unemployed to force down the wages of the lowest paid, and make them more frightened and hostile is anyone’s guess. The theory goes that claimants will be ‘giving back’ something for the ‘charity’ they receive. ‘And that this will be good for them’.
Leaving aside the inconvenient fact that many will have contributed throughout their working lives for this ‘charity’, there is another serious issue. They think they can force someone to ‘give’ something? That’s the morality of the mob, surely? ‘Let me be your friend, Don Corleone’.

In a civilised society, not built on slavery, if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth being paid for. It’s why the right to strike is sacrosanct. A right which the banks reserve the right to use, having been on strike for years, refusing to lend money at less than what they regard as a working return.
This is simply good business practice, however disastrous to the economy and people’s lives. It is apparently not ‘blackmail’ or ‘holding the country to ransom’, as it is when train drivers refuse to work for less than they think they’re worth, or under unsafe conditions. A system capable of handling that contradiction is easily capable of punishing the victims of the bankers crimes, not the criminals, as today’s spiteful little edict proves.

Paul Dacre says Love Britain – Love Capitalism

As many have pointed out since the absurd article by Geoffrey Levy on Saturday, the Daily Mail  loved Britain so much in the 1930’s it backed the Blackshirts who were trying to destroy it. And therefore is in no position to defame Ralph Miliband, who was a patriot because he hated what his adopted country had been reduced to. This is not the 1930’s, yet it is certainly reasonable to argue that Paul Dacre hates Britain just as much as the Blackshirts did, and for much the same reasons.

For a supposedly educated man he is incredibly ignorant. The news for him is that by the end of 1945, after decades of capitalist utopia, EVERYONE ‘hated’ what Britain had become, and wanted to make it better. They did, and Dacre overtly hates what they created, the Britain most of us love, which tolerates dissent without branding it as Treason. Which accepts that capitalism is a rat-race with an inevitable pool of people who have to be provided for.

Churchill Hated Britain

In hating this freedom and tolerance, Dacre exactly echoes the policies of the Blackshirts his predecessors supported without reservation. The fortune of Mail-owner Lord Rothermere is built on undermining every aspect of native British identity, and defaming its most loved institutions. The socialist NHS being the prime target, with the BBC a close second. It is also built on paying as little tax as possible to the country he ostensibly ‘loves’. Some patriot.
Churchill also hated the NHS, just as Ralph Miliband hated corporate capitalism and all its devastation. According to Daily Mail logic, that means Churchill hated Britain. Which not even many socialists would endorse. Dacre is clearly stating that Dissent is Unpatriotic. Love Britain – Love Capitalism. This is much more sinister than just one of its routine smear-campaigns and lies.

Ralph Miliband merely hated the devastation and injustice of capitalism, as most of his generation did, and as most still do, when they get the chance. Dacre hates everything which saves us from capitalism, and would prefer we were another US poodle, stripped of all economic or political autonomy, and with a democracy completely at the mercy of profit.
As well as exposing the true Political Correctness of the Daily Mail, this might well give Leveson extra muscle. If the Mail can do this to the leader of the opposition, think what it can do to you.

Woolwich Social-Media Murder

There is little doubt that yesterday’s murder in Woolwich was partly driven by the new ability to bi-pass traditional media outlets. Mobile Social-Media Broadcasting. That’s why the murderers neither destroyed themselves nor ran away. The uncensored footage was the point, the killing was just the crowd-puller. Twenty years ago an attack like this, where the murderers talked to the public, would have been pointless since there would have been no direct exposure.
Obviously, it was also driven by the global war, and by the fact that these are people who have lost their traditional identity (in their case religious) and had to find a new one which expressed their rage. Just like the Boston bombers, Mick Philpott, Raol Moat, and every over Nutjob created by our hate-fuelled society. They are all broken on the same wheel. Insanity is just another word for total alienation.

Whatever the criminology turns out to be, the reasons for this murder are the same as for all the other mad human sacrifices  which turn up every week nowadays. It’s a sick society which creates sick people. Driven to insanity by being in constant competition for jobs, homes and services, while being expected to look and spend like millionaire filmstars, most people are only a few humiliations away from cracking up.

The reaction from the EDL was predictably deranged, and used the same technology. They clashed with police, having threatened reprisals in the area. Mosques were attacked last night in redneck strongholds like Braintree and Gillingham.
These people are fascists who are determined to destroy British culture and replace it with an intolerant fictional Neverland from a past they will not specify. Everything they say points to about 1933 in terms of uniformity and lack of social cohesion. Much before that and women don’t have the vote, and much after and we have the Windrush and everything that followed. Their ideal period of British history seems to be a permanent Great Depression without a functioning welfare state. In reality, they are merely exploiting the death of this soldier to push their twisted ultra-nationalist political agenda. Both EDL and the Islamicists are trying to foment the same war.

Bizarrely, many voices on forums are demanding that families of the murderers should be punished. Collective Guilt by Association, as practiced by the Third Reich in occupied countries. Punish the innocent families for the crimes of the individual – without trial, naturally. Which is a leap to almost pure totalitarianism, as both the Islamicists and fascists want. The murder of a British soldier on home territory somehow means that ‘We are second class citizens in our own country’ according to those who want to believe it. As if British soldiers and Britain itself were immune from the outside world and the consequences of its actions. This absurdity is being used to incite violence.

The great mistake is to swallow the line that this was anything to do with religion. People do not believe in religion any more, they identify with it for all they’re worth, which is a completely different matter and more like being a football fan than thinking and behaving as if an omnipotent Being were watching and judging and controlling everything in the cosmos. Only feudal cultures without mass-literacy truly ‘believe’ that. This is Zealotry, not Faith, and all about asserting the individuality of the person, not following any spiritual path. This perversion of religion is as blatant as the Spanish Inquisition.

The challenge is to provide a positive progressive ideology of peace to replace the current war-economy and dead myths of the past. But nothing Cameron or Boris Johnson or Barak Obama say today will offer any real hope of positive change, just more of the same. The same ‘narrative’, which will be a very popular word over the next few weeks. A different ‘narrative’ must be found to counter Islamism. Not a different ideology, which implies something real, but a different story, which is what a narrative is. Or ‘lie’, in plain English. Young people have to be found another fairytale other than genuine politics to identify with.

When a drone bombs a Pakistani  village of 200 people in pursuit of a star target, it merits a minor report in the media, if any. The casual justification for drone casualties is that war is war is hell. The Daily Mail uses it all the time. But it only ever applies one way. Which is a hypocrisy key to the perversion of young, alienated minds. If this attack helps redress the balance, and increases awareness of the reasons for hatred, it may even be judged by history to be a martyrdom, of sorts.

This was not the result of ‘radicalisation’ but psychosis, if a politicised species. To call it radical is to invert and insult the true, invigorating sense of the word, and pollute true radicalism by association, making every radical in history a murderer. An attempt to poison the word and the idea. This form of Islamism is an ideology of death imposed from above, not growth from the roots. But this particular act was essentially no different to any of the other murders committed by the deranged. The victim might just as well have been killed by any of them. The fact that his deranged killers were politicised Muslims just made it inevitable they would lash out at him. Those who go insane in the comfortable suburbs, or in country villages have nobody to lash out against other than those within reach, and their families.

Michael Pedersen was a soldier, who who rode the horse Sefton during the 1982 IRA Hyde Park bomb attack. Last October, for whatever reason, he calmly killed his two young children, and then himself. If an ex-soldier disintegrates, he is not likely to turn on symbols of the British state. If the same thing happens to a young politicised Muslim, a British soldier is the natural target. There is no difference between the two terrorisms.

If the British Identity is defined by anything it is by Tolerance, in spite of everything the Empire did. We  like tolerance, tolerance pays. All kinds of fascism are by nature intolerant. Which is why, in Britain, fascists have always been unanimously derided as lunatics and casualties. An implicit recognition of the truth that there is no such thing as a reactionary ‘intellectual tradition’ or ‘thought’, merely a neurotic phobia of change and equality. As the mad self-styled historian Dominique Venner demonstrated yesterday in Notre Dame cathedral when he destroyed the world he hated in the only way he knew how. Hardly surprising since we live in a society in love with hatred and only at peace when at war.

All the Fun of the Funeral

It wasn’t all weeping and wailing. Lots of people had a lovely day, for all sorts of reasons.

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How many academics does it take to miss the point? In their new ‘test’, the BBC and ‘sociologists from leading universities’ still fail to grasp the central, abiding reality of class, which is that it is a reflection of bargaining power..

If they’d wanted to save time and tell the truth, they could simply have referred everyone to the term ‘Credit-Rating‘ or ‘score’, which always divided the working class labourer from the working class skilled worker with his own tools, from the lower middle class baker with his own oven and shop, from the business class Miller who supplied all the bakers with flour, from the propertied landowners who grew the corn – all with increasingly more capital to be used as security on loans from the bank. And all higher up on the social scale. There has always been a ‘technical’ or ‘managerial’ or ‘professional’ class to service the needs of business and property, often by swearing black is white on monday and that white is black on tuesday. Their capital is intellectual, but just as bankable as 100 acres of land. The ‘profess-ions’, that go the primrose way to the everlasting bonfire’, as the man says.
Class is a hard economic fact. The clearest explanation of capitalism we have, which is why the disciples of capitalism deny there is a class system, while relying on it every day, and why it is subject to constant attempts to complicate it with ‘culture’ and to throw sand in people’s eyes. Class = Credit Rating. It is a mathematical formula banks have been using since before the steam engine. Nothing to do with flat caps, bowlers or top hats, and simply a matter of how much security you can offer the bank when trying to claw your way out of poverty. See ‘Hobson’s Choice’ by Harold Brighouse for an eezee primer in how it works.
Naturally, different levels of income and their accompanying neuroses produce different class cultures. The traditional immobile working class family, with just enough money to get by, and moderate levels of job security, enjoyed a culture of moderate hedonism combined with domestic cosiness which it is not easy for today’s sanitised aspirational classes to appreciate.

Gold Fever

Now that the Olympic show has left town, the majority view seems to be
‘I was sceptical about the Games before, but the way they’ve turned out has proved me wrong’.
Some have noticed that there has been no mention of the Livingstone team which won the games, or his role in snatching defiance from the horror of the 7/7 bombings. Or more seriously, that in spite of all the thanks to team and family and spectators, there has been no acknowledgement of the fact that every medal and volunteer smile was a collective effort, paid for by the working hours of every British cleaner and bank-clerk.

The claim that supreme individual sacrifice and Elite ‘talent’ wins medals is a myth. Britain’s success at 2012 was as clinical and collective as the East German domination in the bad old days. If only this degree of dedication and effort could be targeted towards real problems, rather than pissed up against the Wailing Wall of sporting ritual, society would be far healthier, and more kids would take up sport for its own sake, and not as a route to Glory and adulation (and lots of money).
I carried my usual sentimental fondness for the Olympics into this month, prepared to forgive and forget its corporate bastardisation in the hope of seeing another Martin Woodruffe or Daley Thompson or Bob Beamon. But now sport has emerged as a replacement for religion, I’m actually worried.
The USSR relied on Stahkanovite Heroes of the Motherland to embody its ideology, and inspire the masses to further sacrifice and effort in the greater good.
The Catholic Church did much the same in its heyday, with saints, and pilgrims and zealots mortifying their flesh in retreats and monasteries.
Sport is now the church of Consumerism. Providing a panacea for our current disintegration, and promoting the doctrine of pointless and wasteful consumption in order to generate higher levels competition for its own sake. A whirling dervish of intense effort and drama which simulates real life, but can never replace it. A 1930’s Hollywood for our times, and a replacement for religion.

I could take the absurdity of incessantly announcing the god-given ‘talent’ on display while simultaneously peddling the theory that hard work and dedication can get anyone Golden Glory. Or the endless circular argument that winning gold was such an achievement and really made all the hard work worthwhile because it meant a gold medal – if it hadn’t been for the news ban. For most of the first week there was no BBC news. And he second wasn’t too sharp either. For anyone wanting their TV news without corporate sponsorship, there was a brief summary of extreme headlines before yet another trailer of the British hopes to come in the tennis pitch or running field.

The DG of the BBC is now the equivalent of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the new religion of Sport. It’s got everything from the glory days of the Vatican. Including mortification of the flesh and the lifetime of complete devotion to a single salvation, and the power of prayer, or ‘positive-thinking’, or magic-thought as it’s correctly known. All the rituals and the genuflections and witchcraft and more.
‘Give us the kids, and we’ll give you the gold medals in ten years’ Sports England is saying, as the Jesuits did. The Devil makes work for unsporting kids to do. Who is coaching David Rudisha? Kenya’s new sensation? A catholic priest.


1) The NHS will have to pick up the tab for all the born-again sporters who haven’t yet been told that you do not do sport to get fit, you get fit to do sport. They’ll find out.
2) Finally, a replacement for religion. And one which worships the same god of Competition as Consumerism, the opposite of what is needed in an age of over-production and plenty. A Sporty Kid is an Obedient Kid! And if your spares can earn a novitiate in your local sports monastery or convent – what an honour! Just like in de Auld Country, so it is.
Most of modern ‘fitness’ is a complete load of baloney funded by dodgy corporations in their own interest. The criminal and political side-effects are depressing to say the least. At best a creepy Narcissistic superman cult, at worst a training ground for hired thugs, but in the middle a massive herd of adrenalin junkies, primed to pounce and as emotionally stable as a rat-trap. That’s what your ‘Sixpack’ culture does, if you really want to know – suppresses pacific abdominal breathing, and enforces Fight or Flight chest breathing. A race of bouncers and enforcers.

Killing words with sport.

After England’s flop in the European Cup, nobody can seriously use the word ‘composure’ again. But then England have ‘composed’ themselves out of so many championships it’s unfair to blame one event, even if it was the one most peppered wit the the mantra.
And now the Olympics have made the word ‘talent’ meaningless. It is crow-barred into almost every sentence regardless of context, almost as a form of punctuation or aid to scansion.
There is no evidence that the greatest sporting minds are inferior in any way to those of Einstein or Beethoven. But this is ridiculous. And how many words have to die to sell burgers and toxic fructose comfort-drinks?

At its best, sport is pure drama. That is why it makes you cry.
But it can’t make anything better on its own. No more than art or science can. We do not live in a sick society because there is not enough sport, there is not enough sport because we live in a sick society. And the virus is money, not lack of ‘role models’.
If there is a ‘positive’ message from sport in general and this games in particular it is that we all put years of hard work into becoming what and who we are, and should be respected equally. And therefore rewarded equally why not? Those who just lurvedBoyle’s opening ceremony should remember that when they vote next.

The Olympic band keeps playing as the HMS Britanic slides under the waves.
Morrissey is a lousy singer and songwriter, but he’s right about the Nuremeburg levels of hysteria. A million British gold medals won’t heal the fatal cracks in society. In fact, it might well make them worse. And as every credible study shows, most of societies problems are caused by inequality. We do not live in a sick society because we don’t have enough sport. We don’t have enough sport because we live in a sick society. And to reverse the cause and effect is to commit a crime against Thought of fascist proportions. Power worship and elitist hero-cults are all politically the same. All ways of distracting people from the things which unite them. If the Olympics was a permanent institution, as many now seem to want in effect, we would be living in a fascist state, for all practical purposes.
cheering because they had willingly suspended both their individuality, and their natural community and family loyalties and sympathies. Surrendering everything to the greater national cause of the ideal of Elite Perfection and Absolute Competition.
Just what do you imagine fascism means if not the obliteration of rational cause and effect in political life? Claiming sport can save us is as anti-rational as claiming that the Jews were to blame for the Great Depression.
The Olympics happens every 4 years. That is not a permanent institution, it is a travelling circus. If it was made permanent, as many screeching zealots are now calling for when they demand that we all become athletes, we would definitely be in a fascist society. One devoted to the cult of the body as never before. Even today, it would make Albert Speer proud to see all the lobotomised Gym-Monkeys dragging their knuckles around London. Unable to look left or right, but with magnificent Abs.
As for the rest of the Hate Festivals, yes, they are partly responsible for the sort of society we are. And it stinks.
The BBC abandoned its news service for most of last week. The top of every broadcast was either another trailer for a forthcoming medal hope, or another interview with yesterday’s winners of the rowing or gallumphing. On all BBC channels, including News24.
That is distorting the political landscape by omission.
Young people were shot and went missing – one of them still is. Floods destroyed dozens of homes.. and life went on with a vengeance. But if you watched BBC, Everything Was Beautiful At The Ballet.
‘Big Sports Jamborees’ are now merely enormous corporate orgies to which the public are invited to buy a very expensive, and therefore elitist, ticket. They no more an expression of common human values than the Royal Enclosure at Ascot.
Epsom Common on Derby Day used to be the East End’s day out. Not any more. So much for the unifying influence of the grand sporting event.
Every Olympics we get this same hysteria, even if we only get a few medals. The hero of the hour returns in glory, politicians and experts drool on about how this will now inspire an new generation of Goody-Two-Shoes Kids only interested in getting tired and doing what as they’re told without question. And a few weeks later, the same people are castigating young people as feral vermin who should be put down. It’s All A Con. Wake up. This is the Abuse of sport, not its epitomy.
The schizophrenia of ministers and the media is all too apparent. As is their desperation to salvage some political points from a disastrous year (and a half) which has undermined the credibility of Consumerism as thoroughly as economic Depression undermined the Weimar Republic. That is not ideology, that is historical fact, otherwise we would all now be basking in a new age of security and rising property prices. Instead of clutching at showbiz for an answer to our problems.

Everyone is forgetting that this was the first Olympics since Tokyo when most people were fairly confident that they were watching performances by clean athletes. Because of the war on drugs in sport, these were events we could trust. This makes a huge difference in how we perceive sport. It is very difficult to wholeheartedly celebrate a victory which you feel is a crime. If you care anything about sport, that is. London was very lucky to stage the games as it came out of decades in the shadow of drugs. It cannot take all the credit for the sunshine.

The fact that God does not exist does not mean that religion doesn’t. In fact, religion exists precisely because there IS no God. Sport is now harnessed to the proposition that the more Gold Medals Britain wins, the better it is as a society. This is pure primitive Voodoo. Magic Thought. An abandonment of rationality of biblical proportions. All the magical properties that the politicians and media have been claiming for Sport could just as well be claimed for Art. The reason for their choice is that Art tends to encourage free minds, whereas sport does tend to domesticate. Which is why an artistic kid is often a rebellious kid. And that would be a disaster.

Spectator-Sport Religion

The Spectator’s Fraser Nelson tastefully chooses Easter to launch a political attack against the BBC in the name of religion. Tasteful, if obviously rushed and off-the shelf.

The more I find out about the history and practice of religion, partly through the BBC’s coverage, the more irreligious I become. There is no ‘Blind-spot’. The channel which produced the first British mainstream documentary on the history of Islam has nothing to be ashamed of. Not even its Olympic commentators failing to explain what a prayer is, which particularly annoyed Fraser Nelson –  apparently, American commentators had to.
What the reactionaries of the Spectator can’t understand is that Progress produces progressive, tolerant  Thoughts for the Day. And there is nothing they can do about it except rail impotently like the insane Lear at the world’s disobedience, while continuing their constant attempt to peddle selfishness as a spiritual virtue.
The saddest part about the protest is not its blatant advertising for Sky, or even its pathetically limp tone, but that like modern religion itself, it simply does not ring true as an expression of faith. It is just another desperate assertion of identity by a species which knows it is facing extinction, an attention-seeking exhibition psychologically identical to fundamentalist Jihad, another reactionary protest-too-much. Like all professions of belief in the incredible. ‘Which go the primrose way to the everlasting bonfire’, as it says in the play.
The truth about both religion and Fraser Nelson come out eventually when confronted with Thought For The Day, when religious figureheads go off-script for a few minutes. The problem is simply a lack of  enough good old-time reactionary religion on the BBC. What Nelson really wants is religious political ‘balance’  Fox News style, presumably.

The speakers are described as being ‘from across the world’s major faiths,’ but almost always from the political left. Their ‘thought’ can often be summed up as: ‘Jesus was left-wing, too.’

For someone claiming to represent religion, Nelson is sadly lacking in scriptural knowledge. Especially concerning the Sermon on the Mount, surely Christ’s definitive political statement. His attitude to private property, for instance, is perfectly clear.

‘Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ (Matthew 6:29)

And is clarified even further by Orwell, a master of clarification often used as a smokescreen by the Spectator:

“It could be claimed, for example, that the most important part of Marx’s theory is contained in the saying:
‘Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’
But before Marx developed it, what force had that saying had? Who had paid any attention to it? Who had inferred from it — what it certainly implies — that laws, religions and moral codes are all a superstructure built over existing property relations? It was Christ, according to the Gospel, who uttered the text, but it was Marx who brought it to life. And ever since he did so the motives of politicians, priests, judges, moralists and millionaires have been under the deepest suspicion — which, of course, is why they hate him so much.” Tribune 1944

The thought of Christ and Marx working together to drive history away from selfishness, property-worship and competition and towards co-operation and community must be a constant terror for the reactionaries of the Spectator. So much so that they choose the holiest time of the Christian calendar to launch a political attack. Their political appetite side-lining their spiritual needs. But not their needs for a nice Easter break in the West Country, in Nelson’s case. I trust he will enjoy the intense spiritual rebirth every true Christian experiences at Easter, in whatever church he chooses. But I doubt it. Such a thing probably hasn’t happened in Britain for 100 years. Other more desperate societies may be different, but even in the most feudal degradation of the extreme past, religious belief was always a matter of constant enforcement and mutual doubt, as the existence of ancient Eygptian grave-robbers and the means used to deter them both prove. If grave-goods really did travel with the departed, there wouldn’t be anything to rob. Both poachers and gamekeepers knew the truth. Five thousand years later, blinded by its obedient middle-class intellectualism, The Spectator is still trying to catch up with what every thief and pope has know since before Moses.


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