Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 09/03/08

I Can't Think Of A Smart-Arsed Title For This

My lengthy, Pinteresque pauses have been remarked upon.

Well, I'm trying to get on with my project to digitise my old audio cassettes, and I'm in the middle of writing another article for Transdiffusion, so that's mostly the reason.

The rest of it is down to not really knowing what to say about some current events, and the sickening knowledge that - whatever I say - nothing, but nothing will be changed by it. What is the point?

Since I'm sitting here, however, let's take a brief look at one or two news items of recent weeks:

Item: The 'Harry in Afghanistan' story. Well, I suppose it makes economic sense for him to get nearer to his drugs suppliers (and with the restoration of 'democracy' in Afghanistan, the opium supply is flourishing - perhaps due to the soil having had a rest during the years when those evil, mediaeval Taliban banned poppy growing), but the true outrage is this: that the Windsorian (or Hewittian - see here) spare part was only there (fulfulling both his own whim and the desire of his family to get him out of the way for a bit) because our glorious, independent and free media - print and broadcasting - connived with the government to keep the story under wraps. Their reward was to be granted carefully stage-managed 'interviews' and 'photo-opportunities' with the Gilded One. It took an Australian supermarket magazine and an American gossip website to make the whole thing unravel.

As with the Usmanov case last year, our tiger-like fighters for the truth have been exposed yet again as mere mewing pussies with blancmange where their spinal columns are supposed to be.

That there are still people who believe that you can trust the corporate media in this country to tell us what is going on, and to tell us the truth about why it is going on is something which fills me with despair and disgust.

Item: Calls grow for Armed Forces Day

I can only respond by quoting the estimable Justin McKeating at Chicken Yoghurt:

"Sure, we can't send them to war properly equipped and we can't look after them properly when they're injured and maimed. We can't run the inquests or look after their families properly when their sons are killed. But let's have a day to cheer them all up."

Apparently they already have them in Russia (to celebrate the mass murders of Ukrainians, Latvians and Chechens), Italy (to celebrate those who emasculated Abyssinian men and boys whilst - according to fable - keeping the tanks idling in reverse gear), and the good ol' U S of A.

And there, my dears, is the rub. The Cult of the Military is deeply entrenched on the other side of the water. Have a uniform or a medal and you are the object of veneration. Unless, of course, you come back from your corporate government's latest military adventures dead or maimed in body and mind: in which case you'd better be kept out of sight lest you remind the stay-at-home citizenry what war really involves.

The passion for military parades is invariably the sign of a political system which has darkness in its soul, and which needs a circus to distract the masses. And what better circus than one which comprises a group of people you are not allowed to criticise for fear of being labelled 'unpatriotic'? Hence the other brouhaha which has come to light this week, namely the allegation that members of the R.A.F. are being verbally abused in Peterborough when they walk through the town in uniform..

It turns out that there had been one incident. That's right, just one case of someone being shouted at.

Not that this stopped the Tory party's current flying gobshite Liam Fox from fulminating to the media about 'no-go areas', despite the local MP - another Tory - saying that he doesn't think there's a major problem. Nor did it prevent Our Glorious Unelected Leader from spouting crap about how he wants the erks to wear their clobber with pride.

Abusing individual members of the forces (even though they all volunteered for the job) isn't really right: it's a bit rude, it doesn't achieve anything, and it diverts attention away from the real criminals (see below). But in a country where any form of peaceful protest is deemed dangerous (even if - like the Aldermaston marches - there has been no incident of violence in fifty years), it's scarcely to be wondered at if some people pick a high-visibility target. Especially as the military seem to have no idea about how to behave properly in a civilian environment. Anyone who has ever spent time in a garrison town (I had an aunt who lived in Aldershot who told many a story) could tell you that they bring it upon themselves much of the time.

(I'll break off here for a moment to report that some twerp has just parked his jangling ice-cream van outside my house. It's the ninth of March, ferchrisakes! All I can say is that if he goes down to the woods today, he'll get a bigger surprise than he bargained for! Aaaarghhh!!)

Item: Speaking of irritation, cop a load of this:

"Children's Oath To Queen

"SCHOOLCHILDREN are to be encouraged to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen and promise to obey the law in ceremonies similar to those for new immigrants.

"A review of citizenship by Lord Goldsmith, the former attorney-general, will say this procedure could strengthen children's understanding of what it means to be British.

"One idea is for immigrants' citizenship ceremonies to be held in schools where children could also take part. Alternatively the event could be included in citizenship studies, which are part of the national curriculum.

"Sources close to the review, which was commissioned by Gordon Brown, say the plan is designed to help immigrants and citizens develop a "shared sense of belonging".

"It mirrors the pledge by American schoolchildren to the flag, which is made while standing at attention with the right hand over the heart. The pledge is not compulsory but it is common practice in American schools.

"Goldsmith's report also proposes that citizenship ceremonies for immigrants ought to be held in other public places, such as art galleries, as well as schools.

"It recommends immigrants should have "mentors" to teach them British customs and traditions and offer help. The review says they ought to be able to obtain free English lessons.

"Critics questioned the value of British-born children swearing allegiance. Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat youth and equality spokeswoman, said: "I don't think pledging allegiance to the Queen is the answer to young people's problems.""

That's right: our children are to be 'encouraged' (i.e. if you don't do it you'll be frowned at) to swear an oath of allegiance to Lizzie-poos and her ridiculous heirs and successors. It could, says Lord Goldsmith, "strengthen children's understanding of what it means to be British".

Oh, don't worry dear boy, it will, it will.

It could bring them face-to-face with the reality that they are without any constiutional protection from a state apparatus based on a thin crust of semi-democracy over an open sewer of late-model feudal deference, financial, institutional and ethical corruption, and all but untrammelled executive power. Useful to know when you're lining up to be compulsorily fingerprinted and scanned for the government's latest database.

And look who's behind this great idea! Lord Goldsmith. That's as in Lord 'I'm-A-Lord-Because-I-Crawled-Up-Blair's-Arse' Goldsmith. That's as in Lord 'This-Is-My-Impartial-Legal-Advice-Prime-Minister-But-If-You-Don't-Agree-With-It-I'll-Change-It' Goldsmith. That's as in Lord 'I'm-Terminating-This-Investigation-Into-Massive-Corruption-Because-It's-Pissing-Off-The-Saudis' Goldsmith.

I don't think you need to be paranoid any more to belive that we are being lined up for a form of Fascism. If it starts with indoctrination in schools - some of which are already run by fundamentalist nutters of one stamp or another - and continues into glorifying the military and tracking and bar-coding the population in general, then one can only conclude that if it looks like totalitarianism, walks like totalitarianism and quacks like totalitarianism, then it bloody well is totalitarianism, and we'd better wake up from our artificial-colourings-induced stupor pretty damn quick.

Item: Tom Lehrer proclaimed thirty-five years or more ago that satire was dead. It's certainly true that some events in the world make it completely superfluous. Like this:

Blair to teach in the US on faith

I would have thought that Yale would have kept its collective head down, having been the alma mater of George W Bush, but it appears that that institution no longer has any sense of embarrassment, let alone shame.

To allow a war-criminal-designate, a despoiler of fundamental rights and liberties, a serial liar, a man whose moral compass is so confused that you could use the needle to cool a dual-core CPU and a Messianically self-deluded extremist to give lectures on any subject remotely associated with ethics to students at what likes to think of itself as one of the world's premier educational establishments is to invite scorn, derision and calumny - all of it richly deserved. One can only hope that some of Yale's alumni will blush as crimson as its banner with embarrassment at this, even if the College itself seems to be incapable of doing so.

For those of us who are not associated with Yale (at least, not that one, although I did pass through the gates of this one many moons ago when it was something - and somewhere - else), one's only valid response can be a heartfelt cry of "Fuck me to heaven in a bath of champagne!"

Right! Sorry you asked now?