Thursday, August 25, 2005

Getting old and slow - updated


Everyone gets that feeling at times when they know something is wrong but can’t quite put their finger on why. Yesterday’s story about the 7/7 bus bomber frantically trying to call his ‘button like device’ wielding accomplices was one of those times.

And then it struck me this morning…

If the bloke on the bus was a member of a suicide team he would have known his mates were already dead.

So, unless he thought mobile his cellular network coverage included the Scented Garden of Paradise, it's pretty bloody hard to understand why he would have been trying to call them.

Somebody in Scotland Yard will get round to realising this tiny little flaw in their current lie eventually, so expect to hear a modification to the current fable in the light of new ‘evidence’ at some point in this pathetic farce.


Teensy update for anyone who missed it...

According to the Independent today, the fanatical suicide bomber who blew up the No.30 bus on 7/7 managed to find time in his hectic morning schedule to stop off for a Big Mac at Kings Cross ...

Suicide bomber Hasib Hussain ate a last meal at McDonald's before blowing up the No. 30 bus on 7 July, killing 13 people.

Hussain also made a number of telephone calls, at least one of which was to one of his fellow bombers, before carrying out his attack on the bus which exploded in Tavistock Square in central London. There were reports last night he may also have spoken to the other two bombers.

The final minutes of the 18-year-old from Holbeck in Leeds are believed to have been captured by a CCTV camera as he entered the fast food outlet after coming out of King's Cross station. Detectives have been attempting to piece together Hussain's "missing hour" between the moment he split up from his fellow bombers at King's Cross and got on the bus. The bus bomb exploded almost an hour after the three Tube bombs.

In particular they have been trying to ascertain whether Hussain may have met up with any "fixers" who helped in the multiple bombings which led to the deaths of 52 people.

There appears to be no evidence Hussain met anyone else during his visit to McDonald's and it is, as yet, unclear which route he took to his target.

However, investigators have ruled out the theory that he was forced to change his plan of action because part of the underground line was closed.

It has been claimed that his original plan to board a northbound Northern line train at King's Cross was thwarted after the line was suspended.

However, the particular section was, in fact, open and he could also have used alternative northbound Tube routes from the same station had that not been the case...

Now I've heard about people suffering from Mac Attacks but this is ridiculous ....

Is anyone keeping up with all of this? Tube lines being closed then not closed. Suicide bombers tucking into a quarter pounder with fries immediately before blowing themselves up. Suicide bombers talking to friends who were underground and already dead. And so on and so.


and while were at it, back in Stockwell, the Times reported this today...

POLICE watchdogs investigating the death of Jean Charles de Menezes believe that they have all the relevant closed-circuit television film relating to his shooting but admit that there are gaps...

... Manoel Gomes Pereira, a senior Brazilian Foreign Ministry official, said the IPCC had mentioned that some of the CCTV cameras could have been out of order. He added that the three-man Brazilian mission had been told: "Apparently there are parts of the film which do not exist."

Ain't it grand. I can't speak for anybody else but I feel warm n fuzzy all over just thinking about how lucky we are to have such fine people in charge of seeing that truth and justice prevail.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Will this sh*t ever end?

shoot to kill

I read this story via yahoo news just now:

London Bomber's Desperate Final Calls

One of the July 7 London suicide bombers made three desperate phone calls to his fellow terrorists just before detonating his explosives on a bus, it has been reported.Hasib Hussain, 18, is thought to have been planning to explode his device on a Northern Line train.However, the service was suspended because of a defective train, causing Hussain to abandon his scheme.

Security sources told the Evening Standard that after the time passed when the explosions were supposed to take place, Hussain used a mobile phone to try to call his accomplices with "increasing panic".

But there was no answer as the other three had already detonated their devices.

After wandering the streets, Hussain boarded a number 30 bus on the spur of the moment and detonated his bomb there, the Standard reported.

The Standard said investigators believe the calls prove that the attackers had not originally intended to target the bus.

They also reportedly believe Hussain's actions show there was no mastermind or support network behind the attacks, as Hussain would have called such a person rather than his fellow suicide bombers.

The news follows revelations that the bombs, which killed 56 people, were triggered by button-like devices.

According to The Guardian, each of the four terrorists had to manually set off their device.

This contradicts theories they did not know they were carrying explosives.

The newspaper said earlier suspicions the bombs could have been triggered using mobile phones had now been discounted

Yes, after a brief hiatus due to the leaks from the Stockwell Shooting enquiry, the media is back to printing unattributed shit with full vigour.

  • How can the news that the bloke on the bus was desperately trying to call his friends in any way support the notion that they were four deliberate suicide bombers? If he had just found a bomb in his rucksack, desperate calls to his friends would be exactly what he would be making.
  • The 'suspicion' that mobile phones were used was actually reported as hard fact by the NYPD and based on briefings they had received from Scotland Yard.
  • If there were no timing mechanisms found amongst the 7/7 bombers' remains (watches? cell phones?), how is it the three train bombs went off simultaneously? Or has Al Qaeda taken to recruiting psychics?
  • And what’s a fucking ‘button like device’ when it’s at home?

Anyway, none of this information is ‘official’. So, given last week’s fuck-up, why are the papers printing it at all and how many idiots do they think are going to believe it?

Sadly, I fear, the answer is quite a few.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Why on Earth did we print this crap? pt2

The ‘piano man story’…

Remember that one?

Four months ago the UK papers and TV channels were filled with accounts of the mysterious man found on a beach in Kent…

  • He was wearing a dripping wet suit and tie and refused to say a word.
  • To make matters worse, all the labels had been cut out of his clothing.
  • He was dubbed the Piano Man after the newspapers reported that he played classical music beautifully to his carers 'for hours'

The papers loved that story. And so did the police. Appeals were made to the public and ‘hundreds’ of leads were followed-up. We read that Piano Man was a concert standard pianist and that his amnesia was probably the result of his highly-strung genius crashing off the rails.

Crap like that.

Anyway, he went home to Germany today.

The funny part of the story is the revelation that he actually couldn’t play the piano at all and he only ever played the same note continuously.

I was listening to a BBC account of the story today and was amused at the way the line ‘he demonstrated the skill of a concert standard pianist’ had been subtly changed to ‘he demonstrated a passion for music’.

Well, yes, I suppose sitting at a piano and hitting the same key repeatedly could be described as a passion for music.

Fuuuuuuuuuucking genius…

Parallels with the misreporting of the Jean Charles de Menezes shooting are entirely non-coincidental and they serve as just another example of how thoroughly and disgracefully useless the mainstream media has become in the UK


Actually, the mainstream media is worse than useless, it’s bent as well.

This week has seen the start of a smear campaign directed at the motivations of the people directing the Justice for Jean Campaign here in the UK. Apparently, some of them are associated with George Galloway and organisations that are opposed to the War in Iraq.

So fucking what?

What’s that got to do with the facts of the case?

I attended a vigil for Jean Charles Menezes at Stockwell station a few days after he was killed and George Galloway was the only national figure there. Who else were the Menezes family going to turn to? I didn’t see any representatives from our supposed leading civil rights organisation, Liberty, there; certainly not its over-exposed Director, Shami ‘My husbands a partner in a City Law firm so I can be all very ‘right on’ whilst living very comfortably thank you’ Chakrabarti. Liberty has been the UK government’s bitch since ‘7/7’ and is beneath contempt.


The mainstream media is so busy feeding smears into the public domain and rewriting stories about piano playing lunatics that it is, quite noticeably, still not taking on certain outstanding issues from 7/7 and the Jean Charles de Menezes shooting.

  • Still no arrests or further clarification about what happened on 7th July? What the fuck is going on there?
  • And what about all that missing videotape; from Luton Station, from Kings Cross, from the bus explosion at Tavistock Square, from de Menezes' flat, from Stockwell station? Just how must of this stuff has to go missing or be suppressed before somebody in the public eye declares shenanigans?


Given the general public’s seemingly unending appetite for reality television, the recent behaviour of our police force and its chief has stimulated me to think of literally dozens of ideas for new television program formats. My current favourites include:

The Metropolitan Police’s Craziest Videos – featuring half an hour of blank television narrated by a police spokesman explaining why their CCTVs stop working whenever a policeman takes a leak.

It's a CCTV Knockout - where competing teams of policemen and MI6 operatives 'on secondment' have to rush to crime scenes, grab all CCTV tapes and hard drives and then have less than four days to reformat and return them to London Bus and Underground staff.

CSI London – Compelling true life drama based on the lives and work of Metropolitan Police forensic specialists. Each episode they change their analytical results every five minutes until nobody cares what they are saying any more

Call My Metropolitan Police Bluff – where a panel of celebrity contestants listens to a series of statements from Ian Blair, Head of the Met, and decide whether he’s covering up an illegal killing or not

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Why on Earth did we print this crap?


So, it looks like the mainstream media is gradually realising just how corrupt and stupid this week’s leak about the Stockwell Shooting leaves it looking.

I’ve noticed that some news organisations have recently (i.e. the last 48 hours) started to adopt a slightly more forensic approach to the events since 7th July; drawing up detailed timelines and comparing statements and their respective sources in tabulated formats. You know, the kind of stuff we expect our journalists and police to do rather than a small army of disaffected bloggers typing in their spare rooms, fuming away.

Too little. Too late.

One headline I certainly didn’t see in the newspapers or on the web today was

Why on Earth did we print this crap as truth in the first place? Are we really that rubbish?

Most paper preferred, instead, to concentrate on the role of the police in the Stockwell Shooting story and such semantic and philosophical points as ‘If a Chief of Police says nothing for weeks on end whilst the newspapers recycle lies his minions have put about, is he a scumbag?’, stuff like that.

Another story the mainstream media hasn’t tackled is the motivation behind this week’s leak. That’s actually quite important. As I see it, there are three possible explanations. The person responsible for the leak …

  1. Leaked the information for money
  2. Leaked the information because of a fear that evidence was being destroyed or suppressed
  3. Another, more sinister reason

Personally, I discount Explanation Number 1. The individual who leaked the documents will become, or is already, known to the authorities. If they stole such sensitive documents purely to make money that is plain theft, they will not be able to make a public interest defence and would do hard time.

A lot of people will instinctively believe explanation Number 2, whether they’ve actively thought about the motivation behind the leak or not. Explanation Number 2 could well be what has happened and is a pretty damning indictment of the integrity of the Police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission, though nobody’s come out and and publicly drawn that obvious conclusion yet.

But many of us can’t shake the suspicion that Explanation Number 3 may be nearer to the mark. The information was leaked with some level of official sanction, either to distract public opinion from another story or to defuse the potential reaction or receptiveness to an even more unpleasant account of the Stockwell Shooting.

And, at this stage, we really have no more positive evidence to aid our understanding of what happened.

One thing that does bother me, and others, though…

That story about the policeman who was allegedly watching de Menezes’ flat who failed to videotape his exit because he was taking a leak.

This bothers me because it is yet another instance, or attempted incidence, of video evidence not being available at crucial moments in the events since 7/7. The only difference this time is that we are being supplied with a reason for the video no show. Something human, something trivial; possibly to distract us from the significance of there being no surveillance video from de Menezes’ flat...

There is no hard evidence that the police were actually watching de Menezes’ flat or followed him on the bus to Stockwell Station.

If the police weren’t actually watching de Menezes’ flat that would also explain why they didn’t stop de Menezes’ entering the Stockwell Station, even though they apparently had half an hour to do so.

This could be the information that the leak is intended to distract us from and the implication is disturbing.

Why would the police execute a man who had just walked into Stockwell Station from out of nowhere as far as they were concerned? A man who clearly was not carrying explosives.

And why did the police tell the world he was connected to the bombings when it would have been clear almost immediately that he wasn’t? While we’re at it, where does the story that the train was deliberately held in the station before the shooting and the fact that armed men in civilian clothes chased the train’s driver down the tunnel and held a gun to his face fit in with the ‘leaked’ story?

Nope, the more I think about it the more this entire mess reeks of continued deceit and, possibly, something much more unpleasant.

Expect the mainstream media to only deal with these questions in months’ time or, just as likely, never.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Uncharted waters

Without the slight trace of irony in its reporting, the BBC has superseded this graphic summarising the Stockwell shooting...

with this one...

even though the old version is still available on-line, I’m still sure George Orwell would have had a good laugh.

I, myself, had a good laugh when I read this snippet from a news story today:

A police spokeswoman also refused to explain what Blair meant when he said it appeared Menezes disobeyed orders. She noted, however, that police never said Menezes had tried to vault the barriers at the Underground station or tried to run from police.

This quote gets the heart of one of the key issues that has so enragaged me about media coverage and how it has shaped peoples’ perceptions since 7/7. No, the police never officially claimed these things but they, and the government, were briefing in the background like Trojans. And all those journalists, like good little bitches, faithfully reported those briefings.

I wrote a post about this subject a while ago and the now almost entirely universal practice of reporting news without quoting sources or indicating their probable reliability. Instead of saying ‘Unofficial police sources informed us today’ or ‘My mate from the Prime Minister’s Office told me over a pint yesterday’ the press attributes all information to ‘It’.

It has emerged, it has become evident, it is looking likely, and so on.

The level of this kind of deceptive ‘reporting’ has been increasingly steadily since New Labour came to power in Britain but it has reached a kind of apogee since ‘7/7’.

And where does all of this leave us?

Those people, still thinking we live in a pre Blair, pre 1997 Britain, who believed what they were told will have a hard time rationalising this news. They’re not accustomed to the notion of people being executed on our streets, followed by blatent deceit by the police and government. Sure, it’s one thing to believe that our leaders tell the occasional whopper to cover up a bribery or sex scandal but this is much darker, nastier stuff. Like Americans, the majority of British people believe that their system is essentially a decent one and that truth and decency will always prevail.

It doesn’t.

The media is also acting a little surprised and has sensed that it might be blamed for the lies we were told. It is starting to turn on the police, particularly the Head of the Met, Ian Blair.

Even hardcore cynical bloggers I correspond with are a little adrift. For lots of good reasons we doubted the original account of the Stockwell Shooting put about by the police. We are not surprised at the revelations of the last day or so. What does surprise us is that so much of it came out so relatively quickly. Is someone playing games with us all? Was this material leaked as a distraction away from another story? Is the truth of what happened at Stockwell even nastier than the picture that’s now being painted? No-one has the faintest idea.

And what about the bombings on 7th July? The presentation of that day’s events has the same hallmarks of the Stockwell Shooting; missing surveillance tapes, disinformation circulated through unofficial briefings, inconsistencies in the official story you could drive a truck through, peculiarities in witness statements, assertions made by a Chief of Police whom no one in their right mind could trust any more, it’s all the same.

After yesterday’s leak it should be clear to even the most credulous Muppet that we cannot trust our newspapers, our government or even the people who run our police.

Where the fuck do we go from here?

Stand up Mark Whitby and take your place in history

...utter bollocks, courteousy of the Metropolitan Police and our
State Broadcasting Network, the BBC

Our authorities tell us that they fear the Internet because it is a haven for fraudsters, paedophiles and terrorists. They want greater control put over the Internet so that they can protect us.

They can go fuck themselves

The key reason why our leaders really fear the Internet is not because of kiddie fiddling or people learning how to become commandos through correspondence courses, no, they fear the Internet because it is an uncontrolled communication medium and an enormous archive. Sure, there are a lot of loons out there, plus a fair few spooks doing their best to muddy the waters, but in spite all of that I can still do things like this...

Refer to the excellent and informative graphic that told us ‘What Happened at Stockwell – Plan View’ published by the BBC shortly after the shooting. Having the foresight to archive my favourite media whoppers, I can peruse the sheer deceitful wrongness of it from my desktop at my leisure. It’s a total lie and based largely on semi-official police briefings.

Even more intriguingly, the Internet enables me to recall the testimony of the most quoted civilian witness to the shooting, one Mark Whitby.

We all heard what Mark had to say, and it went something like this…

Mark Whitby said: "I was sitting on the train... I heard a load of noise, people saying, 'Get out, get down'.

"I saw an Asian guy. He ran on to the train, he was hotly pursued by three plain clothes officers, one of them was wielding a black handgun.

"He half tripped... they pushed him to the floor and basically unloaded five shots into him," he told BBC News 24.

"As [the suspect] got onto the train I looked at his face, he looked sort of left and right, but he basically looked like a cornered rabbit, a cornered fox.

"He looked absolutely petrified and then he sort of tripped, but they were hotly pursuing him, [they] couldn't have been any more than two or three feet behind him at this time and he half tripped and was half pushed to the floor and the policeman nearest to me had the black automatic pistol in his left hand.

"He held it down to the guy and unloaded five shots into him.

"He [the suspect] had a baseball cap on and quite a sort of thickish coat - it was a coat you'd wear in winter, sort of like a padded jacket.

"He might have had something concealed under there, I don't know. But it looked sort of out of place with the sort of weather we've been having, the sort of hot humid weather”

Yes Mark, a thickish coat … sort of like a padded jacket … out of place with the sort of weather we’ve been having, the sort of hot humid weather... Would that be the denim jacket on this corpse, lying on a stinking tube train floor with seven bullets in the back of its head?


If anyone knows who Mark Whitby is and who he works for a lot of us out here would dearly love to know.

That picture above, grainy as it is, deserves a moment or two of contemplation. Squalid and ignoble isn't it? That's somebody's son crumpled on that floor. He was killed by people we want to believe are the good guys. And then they lied to us. They might even have got away with it if someone hadn't had the decency to leak some documents. Doesn't the deliberate deceit make this scene even more grubby and shameful? How clean do you feel, tacitly supporting a regime that tries to get away with stuff like this, and usually does? That could be you or someone you care for on that floor and They wouldn''t give a fuck. Their only concern would be how to manage the story.

Let's not forget the British Government joined in on the party, by issuing contradictory stories that the murdered man may or may not have been in the UK with a crooked visa and so offered up a 'reason' why an apparently innocent man would flee from armed police.

The Head of the Metropolitan Police, Ian Blair told us that the people truly responsible for Jean Charles de Menezes' killing were the terrorists the police were hunting. Some people might be thick enough to swallow that. Call me old fashioned, but I'll blame the people who stalked and executed a patently unarmed, unknown man and the Muppet in charge of them who lied through his teeth about the execution for a fortnight afterwards. I'm funny like that. I'm also half tempted to compare Ian Blair to a chunk of particularly unpleasant excrement but that wouldn't be right. Particularly unpleasant excrement doesn't offend, anger or nauseate me as much as Ian Blair does.

The shooting in Stockwell is not just significant in itself. The '7/7' bombings have been subject to the same pattern of media spin, by the same cast of characters, as the shooting in Stockwell. The official account of the Stockwell shooting stank and so does the presentation of '7/7'. Unlike the Stockwell killing, there will be no independent enquiry into '7/7', Tony Blair has already announced that.

Next week Tony might get round to making a horse a senator. Why not? It seems that he can do whatever the fuck he likes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Fucking disgraceful


So, as I’m typing this I’m listening to a Channel 4 news report about information that’s been leaked to them from the independent enquiry into Jean Charles de Menezes’ shooting in Stockwell Tube Station last month.

And the information that has been leaked?

  • JCM was not wearing a bulky jacket.
  • JCM checked through the ticket barrier using his travel pass at a walking pace and even stopped to pick up a free newspaper.
  • He was followed and executed, I’m going to start using that word now, by officers in civilian clothes, not in uniforms. No warnings were issued before he was butchered.
  • In spite of early stories put about that the CCTV in Stockwell wasn’t working (sounds familiar?) it was functioning. The execution and the events leading up to it are on film

Where do you start? Everything we were told is a lie. The official story is now undoubtedly going to be the tired old ‘failure of intelligence’ crap but that won’t explain where the officers who slaughtered JCM thought he was concealing his explosives. Up his arse somewhere?

Nor does it explain why all those lies about what happened were put about with official sanction; including that of the Head of the Metropolitan Police, Ian Blair. He is either a liar or a buffoon. All that crap about his officers having to act in a matter of a split second and that their decision would be vindicated is just that, crap.

Someone should sack him but that almost certainly won't happen. His nose is so far up Tony Blair's rear end he's indispensible.

Fucking, fucking disgraceful.

Monday, August 15, 2005



Well, it’s looking like the Chris Walken running for President story is a hoax. Oh fiddlesticks. And there was me looking forward to televised debates in 2008 featuring lines like …

Five long years, he wore this watch up his ass. Then when he died of dysentary, he gave me the watch. I hid this uncomfortable hunk of metal up my ass for two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch to you.


Let's understand each other. I sang the first hymn when the stars were born. Not that long ago, I announced to a young woman, Mary, who it was she was expecting. On the other hand, I've turned rivers into blood. Kings into cripples. Cities to salt. So, I don't think that I have to explain myself to you.


I'm the Anti-Christ. You got me in a vendetta kind of mood. You tell the angels in heaven you never seen evil so singularly personified as you did in the face of the man who killed you. My name is Vincent Coccotti. I work as counsel for Mr. Blue Lou Boyle, the man your son stole from. I hear you were once a cop so I can assume you've heard of us before. Am I correct?

And it’s probably not going to be. Gutted I am.

Conspiracies and airline food


A couple of days I wrote a post about the strike at Heathrow Airport and said…

Our Brave New World is increasingly staffed by people working on shit money, doing crappy menial work for outsourced contracting firms. As well as offering the claimed economies of scale, the other key advantage to outsourcing is that big firms like British Airways can reduce their own workforce and wash their hands if their contractors fuck up or treat their minimum wage employees like shit. So, when a company like Gate Gourmet tries to screw over its existing workforce of unskilled, largely ethnic minority employees by replacing them with even more desperate ethnic labour, straight off the boat, British Airways can pretend that is nothing to do with them. Clearly, at least some of the staff at Heathrow aren’t buying that bullshit and walked out in sympathy.

This morning I read this story from the Daily Mirror

The catering firm at the centre of the Heathrow travel chaos considered provoking strikes last year to replace staff with cheaper labour, a leaked memo reveals. A secret briefing presented to bosses at Gate Gourmet outlined plans to trigger a dispute.It reads: "Recruit, train and security check drivers. Announce intention to trade union, provoking unofficial industrial action from staff. Dismiss current workforce. Replace with new staff."

The draft document, prepared in 2004 and now obtained by the Daily Mirror, sets out a 15-week timetable for goading employees into striking so they could be replaced with lower-paid Eastern European labour trained in secret.

The scheme bears striking similarities to events of the last week, which saw the company summarily sack hundreds of staff who had taken unofficial action on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Gate Gourmet admitted that the plan had been floated although he insisted it was never actually implemented.

He said: "Current management discarded the plan and its recommendations as entirely inappropriate and undesirable."

The memo names agencies that could find replacement staff, primarily from Poland, and suggests they could be coached in and provided with accommodation for which they would pay rent.

F*ck me, I must be psychic

Scary, but why?


I took this picture in Peckham on Saturday.

Even though I didn’t think so at the time, looking at it now, particularly in larger sizes, I realise that it is sinister and scary.

This one’s none too friendly either

'I'll swallow your soul...'

The thing is I don’t know why.

Really, I don’t.

So, what is it about slightly weather-beaten, anthropomorphic cartoon characters that makes them the stuff of nightmares? I know that they are but the reason why has got me stumped.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Weapon of Choice


The planned follow-up to the last post can wait. I have just seen something much more interesting.

Thanks to Postman Patel for giving me the heads up on the incredible news that Chris Walken is planning to stand for US President in 2008.

Yes, that Chris Walken…

For a man such as myself who is always complaining that the politics of decency lacks suitably charismatic, hardcore figureheads this is fucking stupendous.

Count me in. I’m going to sign-up for the next Green Card lottery just for the outside chance that I may have the opportunity to vote for him.

Are you excited? I am.

The prospect of Walken running for the presidency also excites the movie buff in me, as well my political side.

We can now all spend the next couple of years picking Walken’s ‘Dream Team’ cabinet of Hollywood actors and, best of all, which of their characters they will get to reprise when in office.

Would Walken resurrect his character from the Dead Zone; capable of foreseeing World leaders’ futures just by shaking their hands and then being morally obliged to kill them personally if their destiny is to start nuclear war? Or would he go for something a little lighter, like his routinue in Moby’s Weapon of Choice video and dance his way through his term?

I favour Dennis Hopper for Defence Secretary, but which Dennis Hopper? Easy Rider Hopper? Blue Velvet Hopper or how about Apocalypse Now Hopper? That would liven up those televised press conferences…

Hey, man, you don't talk to the Colonel. You listen to him. The man's enlarged my mind. He's a poet-warrior in the classic sense. I mean sometimes he'll, uh, well, you'll say hello to him, right? And he'll just walk right by you, and he won't even notice you. And suddenly he'll grab you, and he'll throw you in a corner, and he'll say do you know that "if" is the middle word in life? If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you - I mean I'm no, I can't - I'm a little man, I'm a little man, he's, he's a great man. I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent seas...

Or how about

This is the way the fucking world ends. Look at this fucking shit we're in, man. Not with a bang, a whimper. And with a whimper I'm fucking splitting, Jack!

I’m still tossing up whether to make John Malkovich or Steven Seagal Secretary of State. Seagal may seem like a surprising candidate but he's become very spiritual and environmentally aware. Most of his later films feature him chanting mantras then destroying oil pipelines and toxic waste dumps, usually by sitting on them. Part Bruce Lee, part Dali Lama, part Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man. He'd be a valuable addition to the team.

Uma Thurman for Vice President, obviously, on the basis that Walken's would be an equal opportunity administration and she’s hot.

We're all Alf Garnett now pt1


To anybody who knows South London, the concept of a weekend festival called ‘I love Peckham’ is a challenging one, somewhat akin to ‘I love inner city squalor’ or ‘I love street crime’. Peckham is a rough part of town and unlikely to feature in any sequels to 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' or 'Notting Hill'.

Peckham, particularly Rye Lane, the main shopping drag, has a distinctly Third World feel to it. The lower end of Rye Lane is lined with ludicrously overstaffed Halal butchers, greengrocers selling vegetables I’ve never heard of and certainly wouldn't want to accidentally sit on, pounds stores and kiosks offering to unlock mobile phones, wire money to Lagos or sell you foot long cigarette papers.

People in Peckham buy their food in unbranded 25kg sacks.

Impromptu discussions on the street with evangelical Christians are normal

Many of the shoppers walking along Rye Lane, with all the purpose of gas molecules, exude a distinctly ‘new in town, new in the country’ vibe.

I remember browsing in a food store in Peckham once and picking up a 500g can of something. The can was bright red and featured a picture of a cow’s face accompanied by two lines of indecipherable scrawl that may, or may not, have been someone’s language. There were no other clues as to the can's contents.

That’s Peckham.

Anyway, we spent yesterday taking part in the annual ‘I love Peckham’ festival. I have a T-shirt to prove it.

And, unsurprisingly, I got to thinking about what it means to be British these days.


Some of the ethnic groups living in Peckham are familiar to me. They or their parents migrated from former British colonies in the Caribbean, West Africa or Asia. Their skin colour and culture are different but we at least share the same language and some cultural history. They also have some idea of what being British involves, or should I say used to involve. These communities have been around as long as I can remember and are an integral part of the London landscape. And the majority of them are as British as the Queen; HRH Elizabeth Windsor aka Elizabeth Sax-Coburg-Gotha.

But there are a lot, and I mean an awful lot, of people from other countries and cultures living in London right now that share nothing with the people of this land other than common humanity.

Apparently, they’re British too.

I’m not buying it. An increasing number of my fellow countrymen aren’t either and many of them aren’t as fluffy about the subject as I am.

The London Bombings acted as catalyst for a long-overdue, and deliberately suppressed, debate on the subject of our national identity. Unfortunately, the current standard of debate is proving to be just as retarded as not having a debate at all. There’s a focus on Muslims as being the only non-integrated group in British Society that is either ignorant or wicked. People with outright racist views are using terrorism as an excuse to justify their hatred. Other people are being plain stupid when it comes to distinguishing between multiculturalism and multiracialism, or even having some sense of what it means to be British or why a sense of national identity is important.


Friday, August 12, 2005

Reasons not to have Kids pt22


I’ve ducked the decision whether to become a father or not for so long now it’s getting to a point where it might be too late. There are lots of reasons why I haven’t bit the bullet, including such old chestnuts as ‘Do I really want to bring a child into this World?’ but there’s another, much more significant, reason why I fear parenthood so…

Who, but a parent, would in their right mind book their f*cking holidays in August?

After watching the TV coverage of the chaos in Heathrow Airport over the last couple of days there won’t be any mood music or bottles of red wine opened chez nous tonight. No sirreee Jimbob.


The particular dispute that’s causing the current bout of chaos serves as a interesting illustration of the Brave New World that we are all living in.

Gate Gourmet, the company at the centre of the strikes at Heathrow Airport, is one of the world's largest providers of in-flight meals. Reading the rather sketchy company profile put up on the BBC website, I was struck in particular by this bit …

Although enjoying a turnover of 2.4bn Swiss francs (£1bn; $2bn) in 2004, the company hasn't actually made a profit since 2000, and revenues have fallen 35% as the airlines have continued to tighten their belts post 11 September 2001.

The sacking of 350 employees at Heathrow (the company's own figure as opposed to the widely reported 600) came after a dispute over pay, working conditions and the appointment of part time workers, who the full time staff believe are being brought in to replace them.

Its managing director Eric Born said Gate had tried for months to try and find a consensual deal with unions and staff at Heathrow "to resolve the financial crisis and secure the future of the company".

Which isn’t the same thing as saying the number of meals produced since 9/11 by Gate Gourmet has fallen. This attempt to connect reducing workers’ pay and conditions with a terror attack four years ago is what is known technically as a revolting, slimy lie. If demand for in-flight meals had fallen, Gate Gourmet would simply employ fewer staff rather than cut pay and conditions of its entire workforce. Hands up anyone who thinks the Gate Gourmet management team has had its pay cut as a result of its failure to perform over the last four years.

Our Brave New World is increasingly staffed by people working on shit money, doing crappy menial work for outsourced contracting firms. As well as offering the claimed economies of scale, the other key advantage to outsourcing is that big firms like British Airways can reduce their own workforce and wash their hands if their contractors fuck up or treat their minimum wage employees like shit. So, when a company like Gate Gourmet tries to screw over its existing workforce of unskilled, largely ethnic minority employees by replacing them with even more desperate ethnic labour, straight off the boat, British Airways can pretend that is nothing to do with them. Clearly, at least some of the staff at Heathrow aren’t buying that bullshit and walked out in sympathy.

That’s the future boys and girls – a lifetime of job insecurity, working for incompetent management, doing crap menial tasks, in competition with newly arrived 3rd World labour; willing to live five to a room and eating millet.

Sounds fantastic doesn’t it?

Of course, the reason why so many of us let this happen without a grumble is our belief that we, ourselves, would never end up working under these kinds of conditions.

Dream on.

Now, what was I saying about having kids...

More important information from this week's newspapers

Al Qaeda's Executive Vice President, Vending Machine Refills

I was hoping that this week would prove to be a rich trove of silly stories hitting the headlines and I haven’t been disappointed.

I love this one

Pakistan missile test not alarming: US State Dept

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Pakistan's first cruise missile test was conducted in a way that was not provocative, a US State Department spokesman said, although Pakistan did not give advance warning to rival India.

"It's important to us that actions by states on the subcontinent are done in ways that aren't provocative, in ways that aren't threatening. I think that by all accounts that test met that criteria," deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters at a briefing here on Thursday.

Given that Pakistan is ruled by a military dictator, has nuclear missiles, fought three wars with India, including threats of a nuclear exchange in 2002 you’ve got to wonder how it is possible to make an unannounced cruise missile launch ‘non provocative’. Do you paint a smiley face on the warhead? Give it cute, bunny ears? Fit a sound system that plays non-threatening, progressive rock during flight? Whatever the secret is I’m sure the Iranians would like to pick up a few pointers

And then this one…

Heat dashes Palestinian quest for longest sandwich

JENIN, West Bank (Reuters) - Palestinians abandoned a quest to build the world's longest sandwich on Wednesday after health officials told them their 750-metre construction risked rotting in the West Bank summer sun.

Hats off to the triumph of the human spirit. What with everything else that’s going on there at the moment; the civil unrest, the hate, the terrorism, the poverty and the despair, there was still one person who still had the vision to build a 750m long mortadella sandwich in an attempt to get into the Guinness Book of Records. I’m just gutted that I haven’t seen gritty photoreportage-style pictures of Palestinians temporarily exchanging their suicide belts for butter knives, pounds of processed meat and novelty aprons featuring women's breasts or slogans saying things like 'World's Best Chef'. Hang on a minute though, isn't mortadella made with pork? Maybe the mortadella was a a ruse and they were really planning to use Satan's Sandwich Filling (SSF) instead. I'm not sure if SSF actually exists or not but I'm sure someone will get round to inventing it at some point.

And a non silly story about the CCTV image from Luton Station explaining the peculiar anomaly in the frame that supposedly proves the picture is a fake. Personally, I always though the anomaly was a curiosity rather than a smoking gun but a lot of people out there thought otherwise. Material like this is just a distraction from the really silly elements of the 7/7 investigation, such how is it the police have arrested and charged heaps of people over the failed 21/7 attacks but no-one has been charged in connection with 7/7. Why’s that?

One person who is almost certainly not going to be charged in connection with 7/7 is Haroon Rashid Aswat, who’s just been extradited into the UK from Zambia. The UK press has been filled with speculation that he was the ‘mastermind’ behind 7/7. Well, the latest candidate anyway and definitely Al Qaeda’s Number Two in somewhere else or another. You can say whatever you want about Al Qaeda but there’s no doubt those guys are operating a seriously flat management structure – somewhat akin to those American companies where everyone gets to be a VP.

Haroon Rashid Aswat - Executive Vice President Vending Machine Refills and Bringing the Fiery Sword of Allah Crashing Down on Infidel Vermin, Pacific Coast Region - Call Me!

Anyway, if Aswat didn’t coordinate 7/7 he’s definitely wanted for trying to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon.

Yeah, right… Oregon, the perfect place to set up a Jihadist terror base. And if that turns out to be true (thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week) does that mean we all get to take turns bombing the crap out of it, with particular emphasis on wedding receptions?

Good news though, Osama Bin Laden is apparently on holiday in Orlando, so there’s a possibility the rest of the month will be quiet here in London. That would be nice.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I'm always forgetting anniversaries

Whilst responding to a comment on my previous post, it dawned on me that I had failed to mark a notable anniversary.

The bombing of Bologna railway station on 2 August 1980.

Twenty five years ago to the day (plus nine more days).

I’m not sure if the British press remembered either. I don’t recall seeing anything. You would have thought that somebody would have mentioned something. There again, it was only a bunch of wops I suppose.

Bologna is the state capital of Emiglia Romagna, the Italian province where my father’s family originate from. I was spending my school holidays with family in Emiglia at the time and I can still recall the whole of Italy going entirely batshit; in a manner not entirely similar to what happened in London last month.

The resonance doesn’t end there.

Eighty five people were killed and many more were injured. Before the investigation had even got started, the Italian government wasted no time in blaming Communists and, specifically, the Red Brigade as being responsible.

Only they weren’t.

Twenty five years on we still can’t be sure who set the bomb, though most Italians now believe that it was set by anti-Communist neo-fascists pretending to be Communists. The reason why we can’t be sure who did it is that the Italian government started to interfere with the official investigation as soon as some rather embarrassing names started turning up.

Those names included members of two interesting organisations that were intimately linked with the government…

‘P2’ – a very well connected Masonic organisation that occupied itself preparing for a fascist coup in Italy during the 1970s and 80s. In its spare time P2 was also involved in shady deals with the Vatican Bank and possibly also had a hand in the surprisingly untimely end of John Paul I from a 'heart attack'. That would be the same John Paul who had a history of low blood pressure and who was embalmed less than twelve hours after he died, without an autopsy. All thoughts of fascist coups died away in Italy after Berlusconi came to power. There didn’t seem to be any need.

Operation Gladio – a ‘stay behind’ intelligence network set up by the CIA in Italy during the Cold War to resist any future Russian or Communist occupation. When it became increasingly obvious that Russian tanks weren’t going to be rolling along the autostrade, Gladio operatives started to concern themselves with the ‘enemy within’ and used their US supplied weapons stockpiles to kill Italian Communists and launch 'false flag' terror operations to discredit Communists in general.

Now why would I mention all this in the context of the bombings in London last month?

Just whimsy I guess...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

New British Pakistani Plus


The silliest news story of the week so far IMHO is this one:

Britain's Ethnic Minorities 'To Get New Names'

Britain's ethnic minority communities might be given new names in an effort to strengthen their ties to this country.Home Office minister Hazel Blears is to ask minority communities whether they would prefer to be known by US-style terms such as Pakistani-British, rather than simply 'Asians'.The idea is one of a set of proposals to be floated at meetings that Ms Blears is holding around the country to discuss how to steer young Muslims away from radicalism.

However, whilst achieving a truly impressive level of silliness, this story also does a fine job of illustrating the quality of minds currently occupying our government. The people who rebranded the ‘Old’ Labour Party to New Labour are now toying with doing something similar with entire ethnic groups.

Treating people’s identity as if it can be rebranded like soap powder or a chocolate bar could prove to be a lot of fun and it if it proves successful there would also be scope for developing different brands for niche markets…

'New' British Pakistani – Vibrant, yet non-threatening, the New Labour vision of how British Pakistanis should be perceived - suitable for everyday consumption

British Pakistani Plus/ Pakistani Extra – A full-strength, uncompromising blend of Pakistani, suitable for discerning consumers who want their multiculturalism with that ‘straight from the airport’ taste

British Pakistani Lite – For times when you feel like interacting with Pakistanis but only if they dress and talk exactly like you do

British Pakistani Demuslimated - with all the rich ethnicity you’ve come to expect but with 99% of the fundamental religious belief removed. Guaranteed not to keep you awake at night.

Of course, the problem with treating people as if they are soap powder or chocolate bars is that you have to rebrand them every 3–5 years to meet the ever-changing needs of the marketplace but that’s a small price to pay for Utopia.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Invasion of the Islamic body snatchers


August is traditionally the silly season when it comes to news stories. Everyone is on holiday, parliament is closed and there is hardly any football being played.

In that respect, the bombings in London last month have proven to be a Godsend for the newspapers.

It is only Tuesday and I am already in two minds as to which is going to be the silliest story of the week.

I’ll mention my current favourite silly story in the next post but, first off, I was tickled by an item in the Independent yesterday that started with the opening line…

Intelligence chiefs are warning Tony Blair that Britain faces a full-blown Islamist insurgency, sustained by thousands of young Muslim men with military training now resident in this country.

It really is a fine piece of responsible journalism. I recommend it heartily.

Though the word isn’t explicitly used in that article, I am particularly enjoying the gradual uptake by the press of the new verb fundamentalising. Oops, my real time spell-checker is already having trouble with that one. Yes, fundamentalising; the process of turning otherwise harmless young men into demented suicide fanatics, simply by them listening to a ropey DVD of a man in a dress telling them that ‘it’s good to die’.

This is reminiscent of the old chestnut that religious cults have the superhuman ability to programme impressionable young people into a robotic state of total belief. Rather like McDonalds advertising campaigns. I never bought that one myself. Cult followers tend to be lost losers before joining and are more than ready to embrace whatever toss they are told before their guru even first opens his mouth. But the idea of cultist brainwashing and mind control is an entertaining fiction and makes for amusing true life docu-dramas.

...unless somebody accuses US government agencies of dabbling in such things, then that is referred to as what is known as a conspiracy theory. Remember, only bearded men in dresses are capable of brainwashing.

Of course, the idea of ordinary citizens being brainwashed into believing a perverted ideology is in keeping with the whole retro, McCarthyist, 1950’s, Reds under the bed revival currently taking place in British public life. Only it’s not Reds this time, it’s Islamofundementalists.

Our Prime Minister needs to work on a couple of things though. Firstly, ‘Islamofundamentalist’ is nowhere near as snappy as ‘Reds’ or ‘Commies’. I suggest we start using the word ‘Paki’. It’s punchy and to the point.

The other problem is the lack of a simple visual clue to the true nature of the Pakis amongst us. Back in the fifties, when the Americans were making all those films about aliens abducting god-fearing citizens and taking over their bodies to subvert society from within, the aliens would always disappear into a glowing red vapour when destroyed. That’s how you could tell that those aliens were really communists.

So far we haven’t got round to formally colour-coding the Islamic threat. I suggest brown. Islamofundamentalists are usually brown and so is their food.

Well, that’s us all set then. Now all we need is a remake of the Manchurian Candidate, The Paki from Another World or Invasion of the Brown Body Snatchers, featuring lines like...

‘My (Judeo-Christian) God! He’s been fundamentalised. Shoot him! In the back of the head eight times. It’s the only way to be sure’

...followed by the alien interloper disappearing into a puff of brown smoke, leaving our way of life secure for future generations.

Expect black lists, public hearings and mandatory loyalty oaths to follow shortly afterwards.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Omen meets the Eiger Sanction

... strangely, a book title not a headline

So, Robin Cook has accidentally died of self-inflicted natural causes.

Still, he had a good run. He made it to 59.

  • That’s four years older than former Labour Party leader John Smith was when he had his heart attack.
  • Mo Mowlem’s not been looking too well lately and she’s only 55.
  • Claire Short had better look out. She’s 59 as well. No walking holidays in remote places for you Claire.

Now, hardcore conspiracy theorists will undoubtedly make something of Robin Cook’s death. But other groups should also be taking an interest. Actuaries and Life Insurance Companies should be looking over their life expectancy statistics and revising their questionnaires to include lines such as…

  • Labour Front Bench Politician? YES/ NO
  • Cursed with a functioning conscience? YES/ NO
  • Outspoken Critic of War in Iraq? YES/ NO
  • …with popular support? YES/ NO

Tick yes four times and your reward should be monthly premiums comparable with test pilots and shark fishermen

I particularly enjoyed listening to the tributes to Robin Cook on the news tonight from all his pals in the Labour Party – particularly Tony Blair's and John Prescott’s nauseating statements. The gist being that Robin was a good bloke and they all remained really, really good friends, even after he resigned from the government because he knew it was taking us to war on a lie.

Robin Cook’s resignation speech can be found here. What a corker that was. It didn’t change anything though…

‘... Why is it now so urgent that we should take military action to disarm a military capacity that has been there for 20 years, and which we helped to create?

... Why is it necessary to resort to war this week, while Saddam's ambition to complete his weapons programme is blocked by the presence of UN inspectors?

... that explains why any evidence that inspections may be showing progress is greeted in Washington not with satisfaction but with consternation: it reduces the case for war.’

So, even though Cook announced quite publicly, and repeatedly, that the Prime Minister was a fantasist who took the country to war on a pack of porky pies, terminological inexactitudes, whoppers, or whatever euphemisms Cook chose to employ at the time, we are to believe that he continued to be bestest pals with the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister right up until his face hit the heather.

Yeah, of course. Tell us the one about the weapons programs while you're at it too.

Pals or not, if I was Robin Cook I wouldn’t have taken to walking along dark alleyways at night or clambering up mountains in the middle of nowhere. Hadn’t he seen the Eiger Sanction? Maybe not, it isn’t one of Eastwood’s best.

Having said that, I don’t think there’s a secret service assassination conspiracy at work here, no. A cold hard look at the facts indicates that there is only one logical explanation…

Tony Blair has sold his soul to the Dark Lord Beelzeebub and Robin Cook was knocked off the mountain by a large Satanic raven.

It’s obvious really.

I’ve seen the Omen Trilogy. I know how these things work.

Who’s going to bet that Tony didn’t have an enormous black dog with glowing red eyes when he was four?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

What we believe in


… whilst on the subject of which of our Western values are worth fighting for, thanks to Rahid for sending me a link to this story here...

A jury in the US state of Virginia has decided that a man with learning difficulties on death row is intelligent enough to be executed.

Daryl Atkins has twice been sentenced to death for murder, but in 2002 won a Supreme Court ruling that the mentally retarded cannot be put to death.

However, the court said it was up to individual states to apply the ruling.

To escape execution in Virginia, an inmate has to prove he has an IQ of 70 or less; but Atkins scored 76 recently.

He had previously scored 59 in 1998.

The intellectual stimulation he got from constant contact with lawyers in the case is thought to have raised his IQ above the threshold of 70.


Suicide Bombing Hits Theatre Land


A couple of days ago I read a sarcastic blog post entitled ‘Cult of the Suicide Bomber – The Musical’. Clearly some aspect of it lodged in my self-conscious as, since then, random alternative titles for suicide bomber musicals have been popping into my mind. The list so far includes:

  • A Funny thing happened on the way to Fallujah
  • Ali get your gun!
  • Gentlemen prefer bombs
  • Smartbomb on the Roof
  • West Bank Story
  • Joseph and his amazing technicolour suicide belt
  • City City Bang Bang

and my favourite so far…

  • Seven Suicides for Seven Brothers


Is this sick? Probably. But, as with the author of the post that started me off, I am disturbed by the fact that the ‘news’ organisations have wholeheartedly embraced the notion that this country is now producing suicide bombers and have taken to covering the story in an increasingly sensationalist and (deliberately?) ill-informed way.

The Cult of the Suicide Bomber is the title of a two part documentary that is halfway through being shown on Channel 4. It is presented by a former CIA analyst and offers an ‘insight into the mind of the suicide bomber’. The programme title and the fact that it is being presented by an ex(?) US government spook tells you all you need to know. It is prime quality disinformation and, from what I can tell so far, its aim is to strengthen existing preconceptions that suicide bombers are demented. In a peculiar way, I wish that were so.

Self-sacrifice in combat is as old as the hills, particularly when faced with overwhelming force; from Masada to the Kamikazes, Vietnam to the Tamil Tigers. Suicide attacks are what people do when there is no other way to strike back at an enemy. It is a brutally rational act. By 1945 Japanese pilots flying against American fleets knew they were going to be shot down. So why not, the logic went, make that sacrifice count for something by crashing into an aircraft carrier rather than the sea? I have no doubt similar thoughts pass through insurgents' minds in Iraq and Palestine today.

The Cult of the Suicide Bomber downplays that notion and preaches straight to the irrational fundamentalist psycho market.

So, why is it whenever I hear Muslims discussing terrorism, they talk very specifically about us f*cking off out of their countries and business? The only people I hear talking about fundamentalist moral crusades with irrational objectives are … well, you know who I’m thinking of.

The strangest point in the documentary occurred when the presenter quoted a senior Muslim cleric, one of innumerable people described as ‘Al Qaeda’s second in command’, someone like that. I cannot remember the exact quote but it was something like ‘The path to righteousness is washed with the blood of martyrs’. The intention was to illustrate the bloodthirsty fundamentalist nature of our foes. The strange part to me was how similar, possibly deliberately so, it was to another, much more famous, quote…

‘The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.’

attributed to that raving fundamentalist, and author of the US Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson. Fucking nutcase.


Ordinary people in London should be no more afraid of a suicidal bomber than a bomber with an instinct for self-preservation. A bomb is a bomb. Someone like Tony Blair might be more worried, a suicide bomber has a better chance of breaking through security, that is the whole point. For the rest of us, it makes no difference whether the bomber is suicidal or not. However, for some reason, the media and commentators are obsessed with suicide bombers. Obsessed to a point where extreme mental gymnastics become necessary. Here’s a taste from the BBC this week, referring to the 21/7 bombers…

They stripped on police orders to show they were not carrying explosives and sought assurances they would not be shot -- "hardly compatible with being a suicide attacker. That does seem strange," said Professor Paul Wilkinson, a terrorism specialist at St Andrews University in Scotland.

But he said it could not be ruled out that the suspects had surrendered because they hoped to attack again, rather than because they were not truly committed to their cause.

Of course! The terrorists are planning to delay their martyrdom until after they have completed their ‘25 year to life’ prison sentence. They might even be old enough to qualify for a free bus pass; the cunning, cunning bastards.

It serves our leaders well to play up this nonsense, even if the events of the 7th July have been far from convincingly explained. At the last count, we know the following about the four ‘successful suicide bombers’ (as opposed to the ‘Alleged Failed Suicide Bombers’ of 21/7), they…

  • may or may not have used one of at least three different types of explosives
  • may or may not have used timers
  • apparently did not leave any explanation for their actions, although they carried copious quantities of personal ID so that the authorities could identify them
  • based on what we have been told so far, seem to have been completely lacking in the motivations that lie behind the vast majority of suicide attacks
  • were fully recorded on CCTV, which none of us have seen yet, presumably because that would hamper the police investigation. Given that the bombers are all dead and presumably knew what they did that day, I’m personally struggling with that explanation for the video no-show

Here’s another reason, aside from the obvious ones, why we are scared of suicide bombers.

At the end of the day, aside from our own hides, most of us don’t give a shit about very much at all. I am not a great advocate of dying for any cause but I do recognise that there are some causes worth risking your life for. Fortunately, a lot of people in the past thought the same way. So, what causes do we in the UK in 21st century hold so dear that we’d risk our necks for them, collectively or individually?

  • A government that got into power with a fifth of the eligible vote?
  • The Queen, gawd bless her?
  • Our religion?
  • Our culture?
  • Our morality?
  • Cricket on a village green followed by cucumber sandwiches and warm beer?
  • The right to shop on Sundays?

I fear that the true answer is biff all. Jefferson would not have been impressed.

But those pesky towel heads do believe in something. Strong enough to be passionate about and, if pushed, strong enough to die for.

To the likes of us that is really fucking scary. Blair and Bush have taken lately to talking about a War of Ideas or Beliefs rather than a War on Terror. If George and Tony are going to rely on their ideas or beliefs to win the day they, and we, are going to get severely screwed. Just as well they have all those tanks and bombers to fall back on really.