Four more years

I’m proud of our mayor: "You can’t expect to work for the Daily Mail group and have the rest of society treat you with respect and as if you’re a useful part of society. You are not."

It’s hardly controversial to claim that – particularly if you’re a member of an ethnic group that’s suffered under fascism – you probably shouldn’t work for an organisation which continues to support it. Were I a right-wing hawkish twat, I’d accuse Mr Livingstone’s critics of being ‘objectively pro-fascist’.

Incidentally, whatever happened to Gerald Kaufman? Until a couple of years ago, he was reasonably sensible, if annoyingly smug. He now seems to have taken an ‘anyone who talks to Muslims is a crazyite; the BBC lied and Dr Kelly died; we must bomb more places otherwise we’ll surely all die’ worldview…

Update: it’s been pointed out to me that Ken himself is an ex-Daily Mail Group hack. This is equally reprehensible, although it’s pleasing to know he’s put those days behind him and repented.

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Quality thread

Lovely three-person thread from Mr Free Market. The summary is:

"As a libertarian, I hate Africans"

"As an ex-Zimbabwean farmer, I hate Africans"

"As an ex-soldier, I think we should shoot the Africans"

And sometimes people still ask me why I’ve turned more liberal since I started blogging.

On the other hand, some libertarians make very good points. I’m not saying that *exclusively* cos they’re bashing Bono, although that is obviously a factor…

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Guest post from Melanie Phillips

Brave Dash Riprock rightly slates BBC spy drama Spooks for daring to have a plot centering on extremist right-wing Israeli groups. This is a scandal, and proves that the BBC should be abolished and its directors horsewhipped.

Extremist right-wing Israeli terrorists don’t exist, and certainly wouldn’t, for example, shoot their own Prime Minister. The concept that a bunch of right-wing maniacs would aim to destroy the peace process through political assassination is almost as ridiculous as the concept that the state of Israel would itself engage in political assassination. To suggest either is the kind of blood libel that could only be spread in dhimmified Eurabia.

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Missing the point

Pro-Milosevic hack Neil Clarke has written an article in the Guardian claiming that Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland are barely better off now than it was in 1989.

Assorted right wing pundits have waded in to debunk the article.

The problem is that – although I strongly suspect Mr Clarke is talking out of his arse – none of them succeed. Scott Burgess raises Mr Clarke’s dodgy past but doesn’t address the article; while Tim Worstall and L’Ombre de l’Olivier just talk anecdotally about how appallingly bad Russia and Romania were under the Communists.

This doesn’t work. Russia and Romania are fucked; they were fucked in 1900, they were fucked in 1990, and they’re fucked now. Only someone brave, foolhardy or both would even bother trying to compare standards of living in Russia 15 years ago to now. In both cases, they’re low.

However, largely because they had the benefit of 200 years of Western civilisation before turning Communist, Hungary, East Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia were always way ahead of the rest of the region. Stories about how knackered the Russian economy was in 1988 – however true they are – don’t have any bearing on the civilised bits of Eastern Europe.

A more helpful argument, which I don’t have the time to make, would focus on *actual* unemployment and GDP rates…

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They don’t read Burke, either

James Wolcott is on form: "The cultural conservatives of decades past actually read T. S. Eliot, Irving Babbitt, F. R. Leavis, and other custodians of tradition. Today’s cult-cons scrutinize cartoons for butt-cracks and tabulate penis references in sitcoms, and then wonder why no one wants to sit next to them in the sauna."

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Random linkage

#1: Some marauding Vikings are planning to buy and merge Iceland, Kwik Save and Somerfield into a single chavvy empire. I recommend that they buy Burberry and Max Power next.

#2: A London porn magnate has shown New York’s gangsters how to be cool: "Do you know why we’re here, you British bastard?" one of the men said. Bailey tried to keep his dignity. "If you know I’m British, [you know] this approach won’t get you anywhere."

#3: Congrats to Tory brat Peter Cuthbertson, whose column in National Review Online is probably the least ignorant thing ever published in that journal. Especially for its wonderfully optimistic (for me, not for he) conclusion: "The Bush administration may soon wake up to a Britain whose prime minister’s pro-Americanism exists only to the extent that America is leftist and liberal, and whose effective commitment to her paramount goals and needs in these difficult times has vanished."

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