One of the odder items on Paul Foot’s lengthy CV was his parliamentary candidacy in the 1970s for the Socialist Workers’ Party.

If someone were to write a long article which began with four paragraphs about Mr Foot, and which then focused on the modern SWP’s unwise support for tyranny and fascism (with digressions covering the 1970s German militant left’s equally unwise support for tyranny and fascism, and a long interview with a random Israeli army deserter who opposed Zionism), it might be reasonable to view that as some kind of attempt to smear Mr Foot as an antisemite and a supporter of fascism.

And if the article’s author were to claim that “my post is about Paul Foot’s party, not Paul Foot” as a defence to claims of wrongly pissing all over a good man’s reputation, then it might be reasonable to suppose that the author was somewhat intellectually dishonest.

If said author were known continuously to pervert the values for which they claimed to stand (a ‘socialist’ who rates George Bush over Paul Foot?) and engage in the same casual smearing and lawyerly missing-of-the-point on almost any topic where socialists or liberals were involved, this might be evidence in favour of the same point.

In somewhat related news, I’m giving up reading Oliver Kamm, and have removed him from my blogroll. Remember kids, don’t confuse being erudite with being correct…

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Crete, smashing, super

I’m following the general trend, and going on holiday for a week of metaxa, sun and more metaxa – bloggage should resume on July 25 or 26.

Have fun without me. Feel free to leave comments about banana-slapping and/or people killed by mad world leaders; if you get bored of that then try any of the excellent sites on the right of the screen. (Blood and Treasure and Jonny Billericay are my latest additions).

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Aaagh, my eyes

Peter Cuthbertson has written a post with which I entirely agree.

If your god really is all-powerful, then he’s not exactly going to be harmed by my saying that he doesn’t exist and that you’re an idiot for believing in him. And while my words may sting, you can at least comfort yourself with the knowledge you’re going to heaven and so forth.

I assume the reason some religious people refuse to accept the sentiments above is because such words tempt them into abandoning their silly superstitions and having fun, which would be terrible.

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Eff eff ess

I broadly like the anti-war left (although their tendency to assume that Islamists are somehow not wrong, stupid, and opposed to all sane progressive goals is unfortunate). They even turned out to be closer to the correct position on Iraq than pro-war left-ish-ists like me. But sometimes… bah.

Geordie blogger Bykersink quotes Billy Bragg in his blog title and elsewhere, which makes him inherently cool. Although he’s a lot more pro-nationalisation than I’d generally view as reasonable, he’s still well worth reading. And I hope no-one’s under any illusions on my views about evil corrupt bigot George Bush.

But this is just fucking stupid (the link probably won’t work because Haloscan is rubbish, so you’ll either need to scroll down the Haloscan box or move your eys down a couple of centimetres):

I said month for month Bush has killed more [Iraqi] people than Hussain. God knows what Bush could achieve if he was in power as long as SH.

No wonder the conservatives think we’re shrill…

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Silly Odeon

UK cinema chain Odeon has one of the world’s ghastliest websites. Said ghastly website is also illegal, since it doesn’t meet the Disability Discrimination Act’s standards (being only accessible through MSIE).

Public-spirited ubergeek Matthew Somerville created an accessible site last year, which scraped the listings information on the useless site and presented it in a useable format.

A year later, Mr Somerville has received not one, but two semi-comprehensibly worded letters from Odeon’s marketing director, Luke Vetere, demanding that he remove the accessible site. These strongly imply that Mr Vetere either has no understanding either of online marketing or the Data Protection Act (both somewhat crucial to his job role, one might have thought), or is acting on orders from someone with no understanding of them.

Anyway. Email Mr Vetere and tell him what you think of his company’s policy (here’s my effort). Email Mr Somerville and tell him what you think of his plans. Should you (or someone you know) be unable to use the ghastly Odeon website for disability reasons, I’d also recommend getting in touch with the Disability Rights Commission.

The most boggling thing about the whole debacle is Mr Vetere’s claim that Odeon has “received an increasing number of complaints from customers about [Mr Somerville’s] website”, and the potential privacy risk it’s brought. Even if ‘increasing” means ‘increasing from 0 to 1’, this still means that some cocklord was sufficiently incensed by the possibility that Mr Somerville could have illicitly obtained details of which films s/he likes to make a complaint to Odeon…

Actually, I suspect the relevant person complained with a letter saying something like “I’d like to complain about your appalling website. At first I thought this good website was your website, but then I realised it wouldn’t sell me tickets. Then I went to your website, and it was rubbish”. You don’t get to work in marketing without being devious. Which is lucky, since most people who work in marketing have no other obvious skills.

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Shoot Blunkett in the balls

As evidence of how minimum sentences are a wrong-headed idea supported only by lunatics and fascists, I cite Mr David Walker of Dinnington, South Yorkshire.

Mr Walker unwisely drank 16 pints of lager (I imagine Carling or similar; if he’d been a real man he’d’ve been on the Duvel). Even less wisely, he then proceeded to shoot himself in the balls with a shotgun.

I suspect this may have taught Mr Walker his lesson.

Nonetheless, under blind cunt David Blunkett’s new gun crime policies, the judge sentencing Mr Walker for illegal gun possession was obliged to give him the five-year minimum term anyway.

Never mind the BBC, I want to stop paying taxes to fund this ‘tough on crime’ lunacy (which, rather like airport security and chip-and-pin cards, is entirely made up to appease stupid people. In this case, people who are stupid enough not only to believe the risk of crime is significant, but also that draconian punishment is the best way of stopping it).

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“When the revolution comes, I will be shot by both sides” – Rachel Polanskis

“There’s no worse scenario than being shot by both sides” – Valentin

“Paralysis and paranoia, shot by both sides” – Marino Guida

“The bleak, doom laden Shot By Both Sides is a classic” –

A resounding verdict, I’m sure you’ll agree. Although I’m aware the last one is cheating.

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This week’s theme

The comments sections of blogs are rarely places to look for demonstrations of ground-breaking and rational thought. This comment from Kevin Drum’s blog is no exception to the general rule – but it does shed worrying light on the right-wing psyche.

[in the event of a smallpox outbreak in America]

will Americans look to Ted Kennedy or Michael Moore to make speeches bashing “another Bush intellegience [sic] failure” if this happens? Will we want to convene a bipartisan investigation? Should we hurry to the UN and ask for the Security Council to pass a new resolution? Will we march in the streets, shouting “Bush is a chickenhawk! Release those National Guard pay records, Mr. Presdient [sic]!”

Or will Americans want to nuke Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, North Korea, and any other state that might possibly be responsible?

The sensible answer is A. The conservative who made the comment believes that the best description of what America will actually do is B. I’m not as convinced as I’d like to be that he’s wrong.

It’s far from implausible that bioterrorists will attack the West at some point during the next 20 years. If idiots were to deal with this by nuking millions of innocent Muslims, there’s a fair chance that the (rather more) millions of remaining Muslims would be quite annoyed. And any subsequent terrorist attack would be morally justifiable, since its targets would consist of perpetrators and tacit supporters of genocide. I don’t necessarily see this as a recipe for an end to terrorism.

Obviously, taking as many steps as possible to avoid a bioterrorist attack would be sensible. But we also need to ensure that in the horrible event that the intelligence fails, we don’t let the macho headcases dig our graves for us.

And if this involves rounding up the armchair hawks in the dead of night and shooting them in the back of the head, so be it.

(thanks to Chris Lightfoot for inspiration, and for proof-by-exception of the comments rule mentioned earlier)

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