May wins: Election Special. Plus: Striking a blow for intelligent pensioners everywhere. And: The Guardian – Hell hath no fury like a 50-year-loyal reader scorned.

“I have accepted in the interests of national unionism that the earth is strong, stable – and completely flat.”

 

“…if they rumble me, already at 34 a lifelong Labour voter, I could end up as several trays full of bleeding, raw-meat canapés…”

Election Special

Three words I never imagined I would hear in my lifetime:

“Labour wins Kensington”.

This election has thrown up many wild surmises and strange portents, but the idea that one of the country’s wealthiest boroughs should in a thousand years by a majority of 20 votes have elected a Labour politician to represent it, the posh part of London where indeed your Uncle Bogler first drew breath and shortly afterwards inhaled his first Capstan Full Strength, is possibly the most unexpected.

I can only conclude that so much property has been flogged off at inflated prices to UHNW (Ultra-high net worth) foreigners laundering their ill-gotten gains, Qataris and so forth, that their much put-upon housekeepers, bored chauffeurs and window-box trimmers are the only ones actually living in Kensington during the week, who are eligible to vote.

I recall, indeed who could ever forget, being invited to an election-night party at the Knightsbridge cottage home of Lord St Aubyn, an old school chum of my stepfather’s.

It was 1984, and Mrs Thatcher was in the process of securing a resounding majority from a nation grateful for her torpedoing of the Argentinian capital ship, the General Belgrano, with the loss of hundreds of young lives, in a cowardly attack while it was steaming away from the Falkland Islands.

The tiny house – more of a pied à terre – was packed with identical-looking 30-something city boys wearing identical striped Jermyn Street shirts and red braces, their identically self-satisfied, blue-jowled faces flushed with champagne and the smell of power.

“They set up a terrible baying noise”

Each time the TV anchors announced another Conservative gain, they set up a terrifying animal baying noise and stamped their Gucci loafers like rutting stags. Rare news of Labour MPs clinging on to their traditional heartland seats produced a low, threatening rumble of hatred, boos and howls of derision – cries of ‘out with the smellysocks!’.

It was clear these Masters of the Universe were historically unaware of where their money had come from in the first place.

After about forty minutes of this I thought, God, if they rumble me, already at 34 a lifelong Labour voter, I could end up as several trays full of bleeding, raw-meat canapés, and fled into the chilly March night.

I don’t recall that Lord St Aubyn received a thank-you note from me, rude I know, but ever since that awful night when the scales finally fell from my eyes, I have hoped (in the Trumpian sense) to someday witness the beautiful sight of a Tory MP dangling from every lamp-post in Whitehall.

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“…I feel I have as much right to satirise the Golden Orb as anyone sipping cocktails in libtard snowflake Manhattan…”

 Too much of a coincidence

The election has been a satisfying victory for we conspiracy theorists.

Who would have dreamed last Thursday that Her Majesty’s Government would end up as the hostage of a tiny bunch of incomprehensible flat-earthers from Belfast?

Clearly, some hidden hand is engineering all these close-run things producing political turmoil around the world?

It is surely not a coincidence that the US Congress has found itself since last November in a similar situation, a minority government dominated by wealthy loonies who believe the world was created in six days and global warming will be fixed by God.

If you haven’t been keeping as close an eye as I have on the incredible events in America – perhaps you’ve not yet retired, I can recommend it – you will not for instance have heard Senator Mark Green of Tennessee defending the disastrous Trumpcare health bill, that on independent analysis threatens to deprive 23 million of the poorer sort of person of their affordable medical insurance while putting $ billions more in the pockets of the wealthiest, whitest 1 per cent.

Sen. Green’s thesis is that the poor don’t need health insurance because Jesus will take care of them. If they have insurance, he argues, they will be less inclined to go to church and pray for salvation; consequently if they get sick it’s their fault.

I assure you he is not the only Republican to express similar sentiments.

Indeed, we find Republican administrations all over the country emboldened by the election of President Trump to pass barbarically regressive legislation, for instance criminalizing the popular protest that is protected by the First Amendment.

Lawmakers in Elk Bend, Minnesota were forced to flee the building after passing a law enabling the county to arrest and charge protestors for the costs of policing demonstrations against themselves; such that had forced them to flee the building. In Washington, a GOP lawmaker recently introduced a bill that would consider protesters to be domestic terrorists (salon.com). North Carolina is hoping to make any kind of public protest illegal, Tennessee having already tried to pass a law protecting car drivers from prosecution if they accidentally run over and kill a protestor blocking the street.

Now, we all know that 97 per cent of the population of Tennessee wake up every morning in their coonskin caps to find themselves still living in the seventeenth century. They can count their lucky stars and stripes on the seven fingers of each hand for Jesus’ love and mercy every day of their blessed lives, and look forward to another sunny afternoon burning witches, scalping injuns, defending the Alamo and marrying their first cousins.

Draining the Swamp: Mr Trump goes to Wall Street.

But this is now the tradition proclaiming Trump as the Great Reformer, returning the US and indeed the world to the era of commonsense, no-nonsense, working-class, outdoorsy American exceptionalism; a viewpoint that is one thousand percent flat-out contradicted by everything the man has said and done since he bullshitted his way into office on a minority vote, appointed five Goldman Sachs executives to his otherwise oil-soaked cabinet and set about lighting a bonfire under every piece of socially progressive legislation that has ever helped the ‘common man’ survive the heartless brutalities of the ruling elite; while drilling the hell out of their cherished monument lands.

(There are currently moves to permit uranium mining in the Grand Canyon and fracking under formerly protected national parks. EcoWatch reports that the federal government is privately subsidizing with taxpayers’ money the already vastly wealthy fossil-fuel bidness to the tune of $700 billion a year.)

America: land of living history

Living in so many time-zones, America must indeed be a strange place. I’ve never been there, never had a desire to go there, but unlike President Trump I am in a very small sense a US taxpayer. I have an IRS number, thanks to a residual trust fund set up by the great-grandfather I never met, whose Irish daughter from Delaware married my gold-digging English paternal grandfather.

Consequently though with every word I write I drift further away from ever being allowed entry via General Kelly’s closing homeland security gates, I feel I have as much right to satirise the Golden Orb as anyone sipping cocktails in libtard snowflake Manhattan or snarfing at their own jokes and cynically milking the witless audience whooping it up on one of those terrible late-night ‘comedy’ shows.

While from the safety of distance I have observed pithily on the subject of time-zones that America has 21st-century technology, mid-20th-century infrastructure, a 19th-century political system, 18th-century justice and 17th-century religious beliefs, based on a 16th-century sense of entitlement to steal anybody else’s land in the name of God and the Crown.

Living history, indeed.

It seems too much of a coincidence, as I say, given events in the USA, that Theresa May has delivered her political agenda into the clutches of a tiny handful of politicians belonging to a minority party founded by that monstrous, bellowing bigot, the Revd Ian Paisley*.

As does the Republican-controlled Congress, so do DUP members of Parliament include proclaimed anti-abortion, anti-same-sex marriage, homophobic, Islamophobic, anti-Catholic, climate-change denying, alt-right fundamentalist Christian Bible truthers and six-day creationists (to be taught in schools, etc….).

Most importantly, they demand the return of loyalists’ right to have a British Union flag flying provocatively over Belfast City Hall – one of the most contentious issues of recent times. A campaign strangely reflected in the recent controversy over flying the Confederate flag and displaying the statues of heroic slave-owning Civil War generals in darkest Alabama.

You see where this has to go?

But at least the minority of DUP followers voted to Leave the EU, unlike the rest of the population of Northern Ireland, so that’s alright.

Strong and stable, then. Not a coalition of chaos.

*We do not forget, however, ‘Dr’ Paisley’s remarkable late-life conversion and friendship with the late Martin McGuinness, former commander of the Provisional IRA.

The flat-earth society awaits the arrival of the mothership.

A time of contradictions

Someone who will no doubt be delighted by this happy turn of events is Mr Jim Dowson.

The Pumpkin has previously commented at length, based on various press and webnews reports, on the activities of this Belfast-born, DUP-supporting, refugee-hunting, alt-right Christian ‘millionaire’ disruptor, who applied his US Patriot News website last year to helping secure both victory for Donald Trump and the Brexit vote – as he believes.

‘Now where did I put my pen?’ Mr Biros Johnson, author of ‘The Idiot’s Guide to Managing Stationery’.

Although Mr Dowson will be disappointed that thanks to significant Tory gains over the Scottish National Party he has been unable to secure a second independence referendum for Scotland, another of his disruptive ambitions, nevertheless Mrs May seems fixed on course for the ‘hard Brexit’ he has campaigned for (ie total economic separation from Europe and an end to EU immigration).

Assuming, that is, she survives the attempts by Boris Johnson, Michael Fallon, Amber Rudd and others to replace her as leader, there being no creature as feral as a Tory scenting blood-loss.

It is of course a time of contradictions, where the old left-right political certainties no longer hold. There is a problem with hard Brexit, specifically in Ireland, where the DUP is in fact supporting the idea of a ‘soft border’; a ‘harder border’ with the Republic would undoubtedly lead to a return to smuggling, gang warfare, IRA violence, Loyalist violence and the complete breakdown of the already fragile Good Friday agreement.

Mr Dowson might not mind that. As described on Wikipedia, in 2012 he co-founded the Protestant Coalition, described as an ‘anti-politics party’, in the wake of which there were violent demonstrations over the vote in Stormont to ban any flags from being flown over City Hall:

“Dowson, a Christian fundamentalist, also led an anti-abortion campaign, the UK Life League. In May 2011 he and (Paul) Golding had launched a new far-right, nationalist movement in Britain, Britain First, to protect “British and Christian morality” and campaign against Islam, immigration and abortion.

Dowson left Britain First, apparently feeling that burning mosques was ‘un-Christian’. At the same time there was some interest in his fundraising activities.

Nevertheless he has been videoed supposedly supplying equipment by night to a party of Bulgarian neo-Nazis hunting down Syrian refugees along the border. His Budapest office is home to his self-styled ‘Knights of Malta’ group, as well as to former BNP leader, Nick Griffin; the Knights’ funding, it’s reported, comes in part from Konstantin Malofeyev, a deeply conservative nationalist oligarch who is a patron of the Russian Orthodox church and yet another ‘spiritual advisor’ to President Putin.

So there’s plenty to feed your conspiracy theories there, guys.

Get to it!

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Who guards the Guardian?

There are two kinds of people, aren’t there. People who read a newspaper because it reinforces their deepest prejudices, and people who read one because they love a bloody good argument before breakfast.

Were I entirely in the latter category, I should purchase a paper copy of the Daily Mail every day, however I don’t. I have an aversion to people who use words like ‘purchase’. The Daily Mail reinforces my deepest prejudice against the middle class, and against the half-human child-eating succubus who edits the paper on a salary of nearly £2 million a year.

Instead, I’ve been a Guardian reader for almost 50 years.

Much of the time I do it because of the pain it causes me. Guardian writers are so fucking smug. Yet their suburban university-educated liberal opinions broadly sit alongside and seldom disturb my own rather more furious vision of the world. I find them trustworthy on facts, anyway, whatever the angle.

Of course, I stopped buying the printed paper version several years ago, while trying simultaneously to give up drinking a bottle of wine every night. I came back to the online version, which is for now at least paywall-free (why call it a ‘paywall’, like something Donald Trump would insanely demand Mexico should pay for? Of course no-one is going to pay for something that prevents them from enjoying it. Call it a ‘special offer’ or something.)

However, I am getting sick and tired of The Guardian‘s prejudice against me.

Here, for instance, is Zoe Williams pontificating sonorously on the election outcome, having invented a new word, ‘subliminating’:

“It is entirely right that, one day, someone would have the genius idea of putting something in a manifesto that actually offered something to the under-60s. We have had decades of decisions made in the interests of the older voter, which have locked the young out of everything, from housing in their own country to the freedom to move to a better one.”

You see? I’m the one who’s been prevented by ignorant and deluded middle-class Daily Mail readers from moving to a better country by their grossly irresponsible, shortsighted and selfish action in voting to drag Britain out of the EU, preferring to transfer our precious ‘sovereignty’ to Boris fucking Kerfuffle Johnson.

Yet for the past year The Guardian has been moaning lazily in cliche-ridden article after cliche-ridden article that, because I’m in my late 60s, while squatting in toadlike isolation in my £1 million, five-bedroomed house and forcing my children to flip burgers to pay exorbitant rent for living in my wine cellar, I must have voted Leave and screwed it up for everyone younger.

Of course I bloody didn’t, and I don’t know anyone here of my own generation who did. What do you think, we’re stupid or something?

Fuck you.

I’m the one who can’t now risk selling up and retiring abroad as I’d been planning, to teach, paint, make music and live on flavourful ripe tomatoes, bread and artisanal cheese and rough red wine, in case I get chucked back out again.

Not only that, but here on the BogPo I was warning as long ago as 2013 that we were heading for the brink of the White fucking Cliffs of Dover. Did you take any notice, bloody Guardian? No, you just sailed on smugly imagining no self-respecting Islingtonians could possibly take issue with your remote-viewing psychic analysis of the state of the nation.

Then for a year after the disaster of the referendum your failed sociologists and Sir Simon Jenkins have wasted thousands of column-inches wringing your liberal hands over the poor misunderstood middle-class and desperately trying to work out what’s gone wrong with the nation when the fish-porters of Sunderland are able to pervert the course of the future?

Wankers.

Yet day after day The Guardian‘s well-paid columnistas continue to drip this ageist poison into the ears of the millennial libtard readership (that’s the second millennium, not the first, which I remember so fondly) whom they are hoping to cultivate beyond the inevitable paywall, insinuating – nay, declaiming that it’s the elderly who are responsible for their economic misery.

Bollocks to that, frankly.

On the one hand you have the Mail, edited by the bullying chauvinist son of a military service-shirker who, unlike Ralph Miliband, sat out the war in New York quaffing champagne with movie stars, blaming it all on the immigrants.

On the other, is The Guardian persuading my 20-something children by my second marriage that euthanasing the old man with the tiny house in the thundering outskirts of a busy seaside town and paying off his retirement mortgage is the only solution to their economic woes.

Well.

Guardian readers who are increasingly confronted with heartbreaking messages about supporting free journalism with voluntary (for now) subscriptions and cash donations, and who may have read with alarm that the title lost £69 million last year and is treating its journalists as if they worked for Sports Direct, need to know about an item that appeared in Private Eye a couple of months ago.

According to the Eye, the Scott Trust, that owns The Guardian and guarantees its independence, is sitting on a cashpile of £700 million.

The Boglington Post. Striking a blow for intelligent pensioners everywhere.

 

Postscriptum

“Hell hath no fury like a 50-year-loyal reader scorned.”

OMG. Only a day after I wrote this piece, the Guardian editor, Katherine Viner, has announced that as part of her extreme austerity agenda, it and its Sunday sister paper The Observer are to go … tabloid.

Her weaselly excuse being that it is somehow an inevitable development of print technology in the 21st century.

That is the fucking end of civilization as we used to know it. The Berliner format was a thing of rare beauty, that gave the paper its distinctive market appeal, branding its readers as a cut above.

If this was Ms Viner’s idea, she should be boiled in oil, doused in animal slurry and handed over to the Taliban for re-education.

Oh, sorry, she is the Taliban.

The paper was getting dire enough as it is, months of snide articles briefing against Jeremy Corbyn being followed in the wake of the election with a wave of sycophantic, hypocritical drool hailing him as the New Messiah; in most cases by the same writers, clearly under marching orders from the appalling Viner woman.

I vow here and now that I will never touch this scabby little organ with a bargepole, ever again. You have now totally fucked it with me and I am converting my laptop thing to the New York Times forthwith.

Hell hath no fury like a 50-year-loyal reader scorned.

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A ruddy good show

A propos well-paid Guardian columnists, Matthew D’Ancona today contributes a bizarre piece confessing that he ‘radically’ failed to notice that there was a groundswell of support building for Jeremy Corbyn, ‘like many other Commentators’.

Yes, Britain is a long way from North London, isn’t it.

Having confessed that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, he then goes on to anticipate – indeed, to request – in arrogant Guardianista fashion, publication of a timetable for Theresa May’s resignation.

Finally, on the topic of the inevitable Tory leadership backstabbing bloodfest, that has already begun, he writes thus:

“…do not discount Amber Rudd. In fact, give the home secretary the serious consideration she deserves. In the seven-way shouting match of the BBC leaders’ debate on 31 May, she stood in for the prime minister, though her elderly father had died only days before, and did so with poise, dignity and emotional intelligence as six other politicians berated her. She looked like a leader in waiting.”

Of course, he doesn’t fancy her. As leader of the charge to rehabilitate the saintly Ms Rudd, and sounding like a thoroughly polished and professional PR practitioner looking for a special advisor role in Downing Street, Mr D’Ancona has obviously failed to read the newspaper that has employed him for many years; he may be losing his memory, or he has a ‘radically’ different take on reality from most of us.

On 21 September, 2016, for instance, David Pegg and Holly Watt reported:

“Amber Rudd’s business career has come under scrutiny following a Guardian investigation that reveals her involvement with two companies in an offshore tax haven, and another where her co-director was jailed for fraud.

“The Guardian has also discovered new details about her previous career in venture capital during the boom and bust 1990s. One enterprise led her to become a co-director of Monticello, a company that was at the centre of a share ramping investigation.

“She was also involved in a company prospecting for diamonds in Siberia that was traded on a notoriously unregulated stock exchange.”

This was shortly after her white-haired old ‘venture capitalist’ father Tony had been investigated for the umpteenth time by the financial regulator and declared to be totally unfit to be trusted with other people’s money.

The authors of The Guardian report concluded:

“Though there is no suggestion she was involved in any wrongdoing, the disclosures may cause her some embarrassment…”

Well, if I were Michael Gove or Boris Johnson, Michael Fallon, Nicky Morgan – any Tory politician indeed circling just offshore scenting blood in the water, I’d say they just may.

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And what’s the naughtiest thing Amber Rudd ever did?

No, not running through wheat. According to an old school chum, on their last day at Cheltenham Ladies’ College she tied the legs of the chairs together in the dining-hall!

And then became a merchant banker.

Lock her up!

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The posh man in his tumbril, the poor man in his shed. Plus: The Art of the Steal. Dear Clive James.

“£25 thousand is not really all that much to spend on an attractive, habitable, craftsman-made garden feature: a faux- pastoral scriptorium for a literary troglodyte.”

“And now the news where you are….”

Hi.

This is where I am, right now.

It’s my little ‘garden room’, at the end of my not very long garden (you’re standing on the other end to look at it), where I work, rest and play, every day.

(As the fence is falling over you can’t really see, but the garden path continues on past the rotproof timber-clad structure to an area of wilderness, approximately two feet by six, at the back. Now read on…)

Annoying friends have borrowed the tiresome magazine lifestyle-column expression ‘man-cave’ to describe it; although a cave is possibly somewhat darker and gloomier than my well-lit 10′ x 12′ workspace and more inducive of brooding melancholy, even lengthy periods of hibernation. Only the self-indulgent electric guitar (mine’s a Gibson LP, yours is a Fender Strat) and the empty wine bottles might connect them.

Before condemning the perfectly satisfactory roof of the main house, thereby putting the kybosh on the sale (it was four and a half years ago. I’m still here; so’s the roof), the insensitive, semi-qualified building surveyor sent by a risk-averse Lloyds Bank on behalf of one prospective purchaser asked caustically, if I had perhaps constructed my second home myself, from a kit?

But no, moron. I had it purpose-designed and built by a faraway design-and-build company specializing in garden rooms ‘as seen on TV’. That’s why it’s so thermally efficient that if you shut the window you’ll be dead within the hour for lack of oxygen, because I couldn’t afford the extra £600 they wanted for air conditioning, and other expensive extras besides.

In fact the whole project, which I must stress was considerably hampered by the problem of obtaining access to the site either from the back – the garden is dropped by some eight feet from the road above – or below, you have to deliver through the house, with its ever-so tight turning off a narrow hallway – from a busy road where there is no stopping allowed on this side; and the additional constraint of working in a garden that’s only four feet wider than the building.

(Yes, I’m aware that the foregoing paragraph does not work syntactically. I’m trying to think of a way to fix it. Leave me alone.)

For that and reasons of opting for the best quality fixtures and fittings, the ‘high-performance’ self-cleaning double-glazing, the recessed downlighters, the tropical hardwood floor (if Ivanka Trump can specify extinction for the rainforest to adorn her dad’s palatial habitations in corrupt and rutted feudal demesnes around the world, so can I), the whole caboodle (not a kit) cost a shade under £16 thousand.

I went off on a jazz holiday and let them get on with it, else I should have become a nervy wreck.

But I’ve been making good use of it since. This is my 608th Post to the BogPo, and all Posted to you free of charge from my coffee-table in The Little House on the Prairie, as I’ve wittily named my shed. (The prairie, as you can just about see, being an area of grassland all of 10 feet by five.) It is my home-from-home, my sanctuary – my inspiration.

The reason I had it built in the first place is somewhat convoluted, but essentially my student son was living with me at the time and there was an overwhelming need to escape the sound of Rise Against! churning over the staccato death-rattle of computerised warfare. I had conceded that, since his bedroom was only eight feet by seven, plus a few inches, he should have the sitting-room (12’4″ x 12′) for use as his study area.

No sooner had the last workman departed, perhaps a little more satisfied with his handiwork than I’ve been, but never mind, Peter naturally moved out to live with his mates in a damp, mould-infested, £100 a week student hovel with stinking, stained carpets and broken furnishings, lacking any form of legal fire safety precautions, just across the road from a low tavern, taking with him his extensive collection of Rise Against! downloads, his post-ironic lava-lamp and his global gaming computer that he built himself from a kit.

Nevertheless, I have remained in the habit of saving electricity by not living in the house – other than to shit, cook and sleep, usually in that order. (There’s a handy drain for peeing in the garden.) I’m extremely attached to and perhaps even mentally imprisoned within my man-cave, my home office, my garden studio, my personal space, my eco-pod – whichever lifestyle magazine you choose to read will furnish you with an appropriate apophthegm.

What has not resulted from the commissioning of this practical and useful extra room, however, is a shitstorm of onlined criticism from the trolling community and Guardian columnistas whining enviously like so many bitches-in-the-manger at the non-public-spirited expense of it. While grimy little children yet queue at the workhouse soup-kitchen door, etc.

You know how it goes, the politics of envy.

A bunch of sheep

My old school chum, Dave Cameron, on the other hand has been widely ‘outed’ today for acquiring a genuine imitation Northumberland ‘shepherd’s hut’ – a sort of tumbril on iron wheels, for use as a writing hovel while he pens the memoir of his disastrous Prime Ministership that no-one is going to pay £25 to read in hardback; for which he has no doubt secured an advance equivalent to my entire lifetime’s earnings (envy not being the sole preserve of the illiterate).

The main complaint seems to be that he paid £25 thousand for it; not including the heritage Farrow-and-Ball makeover Mrs Cameron has given it. It seems a little harsh, even while one contemplates her disloyalty to George Osborne in her choice of decorative materials supplier. Twenty-five grand is hardly taking bread out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, you’d easily pay that nowadays for a Golf GTi or a wedding with kilts and a chocolate fountain.

The man was a low-range millionaire even before he became Prime Minister; he’s just come into another half a mill from his late dad; while Samantha is outrageously rich in her own right. They can easily afford it! Is that a reason why they should not have it? Only in nasty, envious, curtain-twitching little Britain would even well-paid journalists not only think, but actually dare to tell the former Prime Minister that just because he can afford a new garden shed, doesn’t mean he should be allowed to have one.

I feel that £25 thousand is not really all that much to spend on an attractive, habitable, British-craftsman-made garden feature: a faux-pastoral scriptorium for a literary troglodyte. From Sam’s point of view it gets her unemployed booby of a husband out of the house for a few hours each day; and it is the case that many famous writers have opted to escape from domesticity by the same means.

Roald Dahl, for example, wrote his lumpen prose for sick kids in a succession of garden sheds. Dylan Thomas had his boathouse at Laugharne, handy for the pub. I myself once visited Ayot St Lawrence in Buckinghamshire, home of George Bernard Shaw, with its modest, unpretentious structure in the garden. Shaw was a keen uptaker of new technology; so, while other writers have sought a solitude which the mobile phone now denies us, having perhaps the keenest sense of self-importance of all he had installed an enormous bakelite telephone in his shed; a detail that impresses me even 40 years later.

I imagine, too, that Leo Tolstoy probably kept an entirely separate country estate for the purpose of obtaining a little peace and quiet while penning the first few drafts of War and Peace. Is Suzanne Moore going to begrudge him that as well?

So, no. Unfair. On behalf of all solitary strivers in garden sheds great or small, dry-lined or planked, plain or fancy, with downlighters or guttering candles, I protest.

Mr Cameron is entitled to many things, eternal damnation for his optimistic miscalculations over the Brexit referendum certainly being the most pressing.

But a posh garden-shed is small reward for his years of service, however inept. It makes him almost one of us.

Leave the poor man alone!

 

The art of the steal

“The Tate (UK’s leading modern art gallery) has come under fire after it asked members of staff, many of whom are not paid the London living wage, to contribute towards a boat for the departing director, Nicholas Serota, just one week after their canteen discount was taken away.

“A notice which went up in the staff rooms of both Tate Modern and Tate Britain on Wednesday asked employees – including security, cleaners, and those (who) maintain the galleries and work in the cafe and gift shop – to ‘put money towards a sailing boat’ as a ‘surprise gift’ for Serota.” – Guardian Today, 28 April.

Whouawahwouaah… eerie flashback music….

We were all summoned up to the boardroom, where Mike, the MD, had prepared a long and lugubrious presentation, graphically showing us the bad news.

Yes, we had twice exceeded our collective annual sales target during the year. Indeed, we’d broken the target for the whole year during August, so the MD had DOUBLED it and we’d broken it again by December.

But sadly, all that extra effort had led to costly errors and money having to be passed back to the clients, all the extra activity we’d generated had doubled our cost of sales too, so we’d doubled our turnover at the expense of having made no profits at all.

Look, here’s a graph, and another one, and an even sadder one… see, how we’ve actually LOST money.

So the bad news was that staff wouldn’t be getting any annual bonus this year. But a bit of good news, we’d all be receiving a £10 shopping voucher with our company Christmas card.

Two weeks after Christmas I encountered a smiling Mike in the corridor. We hadn’t seen him around for a few days, so I asked him if he’d been anywhere nice?

‘Yes’, he said, ‘I was at the Boat Show’ – a major annual event for yachties held at the Earl’s Court exhibition centre in London.

‘Buy anything?’ I asked him, nonchalantly. ‘Yes’, he said, ‘I bought a new yacht for the business.’ (He kept a boat down at Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, that he faked VAT invoices for chartering-out to non-existent clients and used to ship cash over to a bank in low-tax offshore haven, Jersey.)

‘How much did that cost?’ I pushed on, regardless. ‘A hundred and ten thousand’, he replied, smugly.

‘In that case’, I told him, ‘you can stuff your fucking job.’ And I quit then and there – although he was a malicious little bastard and forced me to work out my notice and have a crappy leaving party I would rather not have gone to. (I got my revenge when my dog had a burst of diarrhoeia in the back of my unasked-for, embarrassing little company car and I handed it back covered in shit.)

Mike was mortified. He literally could not understand why I was so angry: the company was his, any money we made was his, he was paying us so we belonged to him, to the company, he had total ownership of our lives, our time – generally about 14 hours a day otherwise you got a bad-breath ‘hairdryer’ lecture about showing disloyalty.

I once asked for a raise, he glared at me with his fishy, pale blue eyes magnified by pebble glasses, as if I had crawled out from under a rock and asked me pointedly, ‘Who would you like me to fire so you can have a raise?’

Now however he buckled. He knew I was the agency’s profit-centre, a high-output conceptual copywriter wearing also a business development hat, whom he had under-remunerated from the start and who could now make a substantial case for a big profit-share.

‘You can have a directorship!’ he blurted. Well, for a start the idea of being in business with this bullying little creep, who liked to invite selected execs up to his house to watch porno on his big satellite dish that could get Danish TV, and was pimping his wife and 13-year-old daughter, I actually found pretty nauseating. Worse was to come.

‘Director of what?’ I asked.

‘I’m thinking of setting up a new company’, he explained earnestly, still trying to con people to the end. He outlined a business plan, until I stopped him. ‘You mean, you want me to be a nominee director of a shell company you can sideline your profits into so you can make a tax loss on the main business?’

‘Something like that’, he replied sheepishly.

A fortnight later I was offered a job with another agency, and took one of the account managers with me. (Dear Reader, we were married a couple of years later.)

Tate union rep Tracy Edwards said:

“Our members are on zero-hours contracts, they are struggling to pay the bills each month, so to ask them to donate towards a boat – well, I can tell you the staff are not happy at all. It’s really rubbed people up the wrong way.

“Another worker confirmed that the staff’s 10% canteen discount had also been taken away last week.” (Ibid.)

Yep, I know exactly how that feels.

Fucking shits.

x

Dear Clive James

Writing in last weekend’s Saturday Guardian, the venerated Australian polymath, TV personality and compulsive poet complains ruefully of a fellow Aussie, apparently; a troll, who has messaged him complaining that he is still alive.

If you are unfamiliar with the backstory, James, who must I suppose be in his late seventies, has been ‘dying’ for several years now, after being diagnosed with leukemia. Not to be unkind, or to put too fine a point on it, he has made something of an industry out of this precarious state of being, hovering as it were halfway between this world and the next, as if on a long-haul flight from Sidney.

James has written muchly and richly on the topic of his impending departure, churning out whole books and collections of self-valedictory elegiacs and a weekly ‘not dead yet’ newspaper column delineating the experience of living with Death’s shadow forever hovering in the corner of one’s eye, and here he is, years later, still at it.

On the one hand, obviously, we must be profoundly grateful James has thus far been spared. His literary output continues to be mordant, insightful, vastly knowledgeable, wry and reflective, as ever. His precarious state of health offers us a new appreciation of life. He is, in short, a bit of a national treasure; although perhaps eclipsed a little by his fellow Antipodean valetudinarian, Barry Humphries. I am yet puzzled that neither of these exemplary colonials has been rewarded with a knighthood – or, in Humphries’ case, a Dodgy Damehood.

And no-one would seriously wish anyone dead, who was not either a Conservative politician or, on occasion, John Humphrys.

Yet we know what the Aussie troll means, sort of, don’t we?

Clive James continues to deprive us of the tantalising reward he has been holding out for so long, like a parent refusing to part with the children’s Christmas presents before Twelfth Night, the opportunity of actually grieving for him, of celebrating the life well-lived. He subsists on our delayed gratification; our anticipation of sadly enjoyable Radio Four obsequies, favourite moments off the telly, contributions from past celebrities we had forgotten existed, the republication of past essays.

There dwells in our nearby town a certain person who too has gone about for several years now in a state of darkest morbidity, informing one and all of her imminent demise. ‘How are you today?’ one would ask solicitously. ‘I think I’m dying’, she would reply, ‘I feel awful.’ ‘Have you seen your doctor?’ you would ask, hopelessly. ‘They can’t do anything. They say I’m probably just depressed.’ To which there is no answer.

Turning 60, seven years ago I determined to take up two activities whose gratifications I had deliberately delayed since childhood, being the sole offspring of theatrical parents: to act on the stage, and to sing solo, again on the stage, in the jazz idiom.

Anticipating redundancy from my job, an axe that fell two years later, I wasted literally thousands of pounds of my pension ‘pot’ on musical instruments; acquiring guitars, a piano I cannot play – later exchanged for a more practical electronic keyboard; amplifiers, microphones, wobbling piles of sheet music. I studied with what teachers I could find, spending more thousands on attending residential workshops here and in France, acquiring dozens upon dozens of CD recordings.

Thus I have made a number of increasingly encouraging appearances on stage. Having had the foresight to grow my own, strangely woolly white beard, contrasting oddly with my otherwise still dark-brown hair and moustache, I have been consistently cast above my age range in comic parts, generally old sailors or pirates, ensuring a steady stream of unpaid work twice a year. I am currently playing the old Jew in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, as sympathetically as possible I hope, being a non-Jew myself. (You can’t get the actors here.)

And in December I had my first and so far my only unpaid gig as a jazz singer, outside the supportive yet respectfully critical confines of professionally supervised workshops. It was not an unmitigated success, less from a performance point of view than because of the unexpected obstacle of having to compete with a woman selling ‘smoothies’ from a powered blender in the area next to us, in the awkward key of E; while the only member of the audience was a ten-year-old girl whose parents urgently dragged her away.

Halfway through the programme we had carefully rehearsed, my dying friend wandered in. ‘Oh hello’, she said. ‘Are you here?’ and, grabbing the microphone off the stand, announced that she proposed to sing ‘Autumn leaves’. It being, on reflection, quite an appropriate swansong; which she proceeded to warble while the pianist struggled to find her key and I prompted her with the actual lyrics. Happily, as one by one the leaves sadly fell, by the end she was still very much alive and wandered off again in a haze of antidepressants to continue her campaign of morbid disruption elsewhere.

I expect you have anticipated my feelings, then, on the subject of those who cling to this world like oversubstantial wraiths. While, as I said, one would not seriously wish anybody gone before their time, after all at 73 John Humphrys could simply hang up his soapbox and retire, the sound of their fingernails squeaking down the blackboard of life can sometimes be a little aggravating.

None of us can know the hour of our departure in advance, the random omnibus of Fate is even now charging towards us all from around the blind bend of Eternity, and so one cannot really blame those who succumb to an excess of premature morbidity in the exercise of their profession. It makes for a good story.

Journalists in particular have taken to biographising for our benefit, the remnants of their truncated lives lived under medical sentence; articles and broadcasts usually prefaced with misplaced regret that we do not ‘talk about death’ enough in our thoughtless pursuit of material happiness. A new Puritanism stalks the country.

And, oh my God, it’s a May Bank Holiday Saturday and once again the sports field half a mile away has come alive with the echoing, tinny cry of the tannoy, the splintered shards of unidentifiable muzak punctuated for the next 48 hours with unintelligible announcements, that shatters the relative peace of the valley and drills through the expensively double-glazed windows of my little garden studio.

There is no escaping the racket. Death’s silent dominion can seem too remote a consolation at such a time of year.

Spring. Who needs it.

The Boglington Post – A matter of belief; Return of the Teenager! You have to be Caracas – Police brutality, Quote of the Week, Human Extinction and more.

“A report by the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee (PACAC) said MPs were deeply concerned about the allegations of foreign interference in last year’s Brexit vote.” – Guardian Today, 12 April

A matter of belief

My colleague over at The Pumpkin has been struggling for two weeks to point out to anyone who would listen, basically nobody, that approximately two-thirds of the way through the Congressional Intelligence Committee hearing on 20 March, a brief and apparently unnoticed exchange took place between the Ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff and FBI Director, James Comey.

As I can’t summon the energy to sit through five hours of video coverage again, I’ll paraphrase:

Do you believe the Russians could have interfered with other elections (than the US election), such as in Europe or with Brexit? asked Schiff. Yes Sir, I do, replied Comey.

The exchange has not been reported anywhere in the British media.

Now, anyone could say what they ‘believe’. Christians and Muslims have detailed theories about all sorts of things that aren’t objectively true, but which form the basis of a belief system that extends to the entire cultural context of their lives and even to honor killings, acid attacks on women, terrorism and internecine warfare.

The Director of the FBI, by contrast, has to be someone whose logic is a bit more remorseless and factual than merely extending to a fervent belief, for instance that the biological offspring of the Creator of the universe, born of a virgin on Christmas Day, was executed, rose from the dead and walked on water.

(A recent poll in fact showed that only 17% of a sample of 2,000 British adults believe in the literal truth of the resurrection. The number rises to 50% in the case of professed Christians.)

When the Director of the FBI says he ‘believes’ something, he is exploiting a euphemism. Packed into that one word is a world of secret knowledge, of informers and researchers, of cyber-security experts, of tappings and snoopings and hackings and interrogations, evaluations and briefings, cross-referrals and triangulations, reports and filings leading to the establishment of legally enforceable hard facts concerning criminal or subversive activities that may not, at this stage of the investigation, be spoken of in open committee hearings.

Mr Comey had earlier confirmed by a complex series of signs, nods and winks and masterfully polite evasions that his organization is indeed embarked upon a number of separate investigations relating to ‘any’ communications between the Trump campaign staff and Russian ‘diplomats’ or ‘oligarchs’ – disruptive players seeking, the media surmises, to undermine the democratic process – if not also to ensure the election of some ‘useful idiot’ or compromised politician who will, directly or indirectly, further their hegemonic ambitions.

The Three Brexiteers: Davis, ‘The Doctor’ and Doris (r)

Who better fit the latter category than our three Brexiteers: Davis, ‘The Doctor’ and Doris, and their gormless Empire Loyalist, neo-Thatcherite henchmen (plus the odd useful female)?

What set of circumstances could better improve the opportunities for Mr Putin and his cronies to shore-up their borders with the European Union and regain influence over the border states, formerly part of the Soviet empire, even occupying territory to keep them from falling into the clutches of the evil NATO, to disrupt Europe’s security, than a good, well-rigged election?

Indeed, my colleague at The Pumpkin has also been speculating in every corner of the media, wherever a person of no standing can obtain a readership; and in emails to politicians, on this very question, a point about how and why the registrations database had been caused to crash 48 hours before registrations closed:

“…there were clues that a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS) using botnets – a network of computers infected with malicious software – was used to overwhelm the site… the committee’s report said. While the incident had no material effect on the outcome of the referendum, the committee said it was crucial that lessons were learned for future votes that must extend beyond purely technical issues.” (Ibid.)

What the report of the report does not however go on to say, is that a DDOS attack (and the sudden, unexplained emergence of what the Committee suggests was 500 thousand new voters, reported at the time to have been two million) was not the only possible use of botnets: for, as we know – there have been other reports that suggest this – the US election campaign was also marked by a surreptitious campaign of disinformation, using detailed analysis of individual voting intentions (‘data-harvesting’ from personal social media uploads and conversations) to target specific messages to potential opposition voters.

Were that to have occurred in Britain – and there are wealthy eccentric, Europhobic  ‘disruptors’ such as Mr Arron Banks and Mr Jim Dowson who have come forward to say that is certainly what they intended to do; also reports that a British company, Cambridge Analytica, allegedly owned by the ultra-rightwing US hedge-fund manager, the multi-billionaire Robert Mercer and his ultra-ultra-rightwing daughter Rebekah, hefty backers both of Republican candidates ($22 million) and the Breitbart News website, was engaged in just such ‘data-harvesting’ activities – then it could very well not be said that: “the incident had no material effect on the outcome of the referendum”.

That’s just wishful thinking.

Belief.

x

Life after Brexit

A Commenter on a Guardian news story about pension rights for British expats writes that he was standing on London Bridge with a female friend, an entirely English person, who happened to be talking on the phone in French to a colleague in France.

And a man came by and shouted ‘Fuck off back to Paris, you French cunt.’

It seems difficult and risky to move elsewhere in these trepidatious times, but I really don’t want to live any longer in this fucking awful dystopian ‘dictatorship of the cretins’, which these dogshit-ignorant arsewipes are so proud of that they cannot accommodate living on the same planet as, or even maybe being, someone with an actual education, culture or good manners; who might (but does not) come from 30 miles away across the Channel.

Do you?

x

Life after life

…it is evident that the maximum methane global warming potential temperature trend of 50 intersects the 2 degree centigrade temperature anomaly line in mid 2027 at which time humanity will completely  lose our ability to combat the earth atmospheric temperature rise. This diagram also indicates that methane will be an extremely active global warming agent for the first 15 years during the early stages of the extinction process. At the 80 o F (26.66 oC) Permian extinction event temperature line (Wignall, 2009), which has a 12.177 oC temperature anomaly above the 1980 mean of 14.49 oC,  the lifetime of the minimum methane global warming  potential veil is now some 75 years long and the temperature so high that total extinction of all life on earth will have occurred by this time.

2012 paper by Prof. Malcolm Light: Global Extinction within One Human Lifetime as a Result of a Spreading Atmospheric Arctic Methane Heatwave and Surface Firestorm (Arctic-news. blogspot.co.uk/p/global-extinction-within-one-human.html. Passage refers to a graph.)

The good news for millennarians hoping soon to meet their invisible friend Jedoof is, the process is moving faster and faster. The 2012 paper is way out of date.

“…a polynomial trend based on NOAA July 1983 to January 2017 global monthly mean methane data points at twice as much methane by 2034. Stronger methane releases from the seafloor could make such a doubling occur much earlier.” (Ibid.)

Mr Trump is very happy this evening. After three months of total fucking chaos and incompetence the more extreme elements of his military are now in firm control of the White House. The Pentagon has won out over the CIA and is insanely going back to dropping huge bombs on peasants hiding in caves in Afghanistan. We’re back to Vietnam: the theatre of war Trump avoided serving in. The US army is damned if it is going to forgive a past regime that let itself be beaten by asymmetricals wearing flip-flops. Now it’s payback time.

Having spent years criticising US military adventurism abroad and won an election on a non-interventionist platform Mr Trump is now entirely in favour of anything that prettily explodes, US troops being sent by the thousand into Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen – a carrier fleet to North Korea, threats against Russia, China – a quadruple increase in civilian ‘collateral’ deaths from US airstrikes in just two months.

Let’s remember, the violence in those regions did not erupt spontaneously: it is the legacy of past Western interventions, and don’t let any conservatives tell you otherwise.

The compulsive lying old mobster thug, Trump has thus already laid the murders of many ‘beautiful’ children onto his financial crimes and given military hawks such as Mad Dog Mattis and HR McMaster their severely shaven, curiously shaped heads.

His knowledge of foreign affairs is clearly zero, his diplomatic service has been so hollowed out that he has no expert advice on traditional theatres of US power projection, no capacity to conduct diplomacy, and is simply making policy on an increasingly sick and senile hoof. He has done a 180-deg. handbrake turn on literally every campaign promise he made: maybe he just doesn’t remember what he said, and doesn’t care: the scam is going off nicely so far.

For God’s sake, impeach him. Arrest him, before the crazy orange fucker kills us all. What is the FBI doing? Why is it taking them so long, when everything is out there in open space for all to see?

Get on with it, Comey. Man up, lovely eyes. You already have enough ammunition to put him in prison for the rest of his worthless life.

x

More anon

Readers, Spammers, Likers, Followers and People No Longer Reading This, muh Bogl, will know that from time to time I wonder about why it is that some totally obviously spam messages get through the WordPress filter while thousands of other messages, some of which might actually be genuine, don’t; and ask why people are bothering to do this,  praising my stuff to the skies in an unknown language in which the words are real but the syntax isn’t.

Just to update you, I’m no longer getting messages from ‘Pussy’, my number one fan is now someone (or a program) calling themselves ‘Gay Porn’.

Does WordPress seriously imagine I am going to Approve any of this botty crap for onward transmission to actual humans? It must have a purpose, a function, a reason – but no-one tells me what. Who bothers to send this stuff, and why? It is not as if they are even after my bank details.

It would be great if you could actually talk to WordPress about it, but they also seem like an alien lifeform. I should write to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, maybe, and ask if he couldn’t go back to the drawing-board and invent us a new worldwide web, free from all this spying and passwords and Russian shit.

Postscriptum: RIP – The teenager returns!

Yes, the lad has returned, and in only five hours accomplished what I had not been able to face, or even to contemplate doing in its technological complexity, conducting the last rites for muh li’l Asus laptop thing, that fell to pieces after almost six years of constant hammering, cunningly transferring soft stuff and setting up magical things.

How do they do it, with no special training? I don’t even have to stick pieces of cardboard over the trackpad anymore, to stop the words flying about!

Consequently you are reading the first words sent   from muh NEW laptop thing, courtesy of Messrs Hewlett and Packard.

Congratulations.

x

“Beating and killing and jailing and torturing people is not going to put food back in the mouths of the security forces either, their moms, wives and kids.”

You have to be Caracas to work here

Demonstration in Venezuela. (Reuter)

A question I’ve long wanted an answer to is why so many youngish working-class men are always so willing to put on riot gear and beat the crap out of a bunch of unarmed demonstrators?

It happens everywhere. A demonstrator was killed in Venezuela last week, hundreds of mostly students injured, gassed, arrested and disappeared into police cells for some enhanced conversation.

The protests in Caracas against the presidency of Nicolas Maduro have a perfectly sensible rationale: oil-rich Venezuela is virtually a failed state. With the slump in oil prices, corruption and economic mismanagement, people are going hungry, normal household goods like toilet paper have disappeared; the shops are empty. Inheriting the downside of Chavez-ism, Maduro has no answer but a brutal police crackdown and blame the USA.

So these guys who put on riot gear and flak jackets and masks and helmets and throw pepper spray and teargas, rubber bullets and buckshot, shoot off water-cannon, they have families: mothers and fathers, wives and kids, who are all suffering under an incompetent regime. Their own mothers and wives are queuing for hours every day for a little overpriced bread and bottled water. There’s 1,000 per cent inflation: the bread costs three times as much by the evening as it would have in the morning, and three times as much the next day.

Yet day after day the riot squad is happy to be ordered out on the streets to brutalise other people just like themselves, their fellow citizens who only want better politicians to take over and put things back in order again, feed the people – not the leftwing elite holed up in the palace, in the assembly. These demonstrators are not funded by the CIA anymore, this is not a rightist putsch to get the landowners and the business community back in power; it’s a plea for social justice.

Beating and killing and jailing and torturing people is not going to put food back in the mouths of the security force, their moms, wives and kids. But the world over, it’s always the way. A brutal dictator – take your pick – can always rely on an army of thugs and goons to do their dirty work even at a cost to their own standard of living. Why?

Okay, the cops are getting paid by the government. They took an oath to support the State. But history shows that time and again, these revolutions eventually succeed in toppling the regime; usually to replace it with something worse, but change does eventually come; the shops do fill up again.

So loyalty to a lousy failing President clinging to office is only staving off defeat. The day when there won’t be anyone in government to pay the goon squads will come, and they will have to transfer their loyalty to someone else.  Even now, their wages are depreciating faster than they can buy stuff – even food to feed their own kids.

What is the point? What do they gain?

You’d think the police, the armed forces, the informers and the torturers would side with the people who want to bring about change, to restore the economy, put food back on the table, deliver a better life; not with an increasingly desperate and authoritarian President who has no answers to the problems affecting them and their families, and whose personal career ambitions are causing such great harm to the ordinary people.

But they don’t.

In country after country, decade after decade we see heavily armed police, paramilitaries, the army all too happy to go out and shoot and gas and beat and imprison and torture the very people who might do them some good.

It’s frankly inexplicable, other than in terms of the worst aspects of human nature:

They enjoy it.

“We’re kickin’ down your doors”. Welcome to Trumpworld. (A/G Jeff Sessions abandons ‘constitutional policing’. Justice Department says ‘anything goes’.)

x

“The dreadful reputation British soccer hooligans gained thirty years ago has never been allowed to go away”

Match-fixing

And in Madrid, eight Leicester City football fans were beaten and hauled off to police cells last night in advance of tonight’s Premier League championship match against Atletico.

Winesses report that about 300 fans were drinking mostly peacefully in a square where they had been told they could congregate, when riot police arrived and charged at them, hurling chairs and bottles and hitting the fans with rubber truncheons. BBC journalist Phil Mackie was on hand to witness the unprovoked attack:

“As I was talking to them there was a charge. Police officers just charged a group of Leicester fans who were, as far as I could tell, just walking past and chatting to each other. Three of them were pushed to the floor and hit with batons and bundled into the back of vans and taken away.” – BBC News

The eight arrested have been charged with ‘causing a mess’. Perhaps there was an element of retaliation there for Monty Python’s Inquisition sketch? Spanish police also claim six of their officers were ‘attacked’.

This sort of thing happens almost every time British football fans go abroad, however well-behaved and amenable they are. The dreadful reputation British soccer hooligans gained thirty years ago has never been allowed to go away and is invariably used as an excuse for police provocation, brutality and overreaction: the ritual duffing-up of the fans and the pressing of spurious charges has become part of the sport.

Of course, the roughhousing and  intimidation has only one purpose: to improve the chances of the home side by causing consternation, press criticism and discrediting the behaviour of the visiting team and its supporters, who can never win.

Cheating, in other words.

x

Quote of the Week

Mr Charles Chestnut, a Rochdale, Yorks. man who burned down his new ‘dream home’ in Wales after a dispute with the Halifax Building Society over non-payment of his mortgage, has been gaoled for five years.

“When asked by judge, Geraint Walters if he had any submissions to make, Chestnut, who represented himself, said: “I would like to go free please.” – Guardian Today

This surely ranks alongside the Spike Milligan epitaph: “I told you I was ill”, as one of the best victim statements on life that I have ever seen. And another I’ve just heard from theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, guesting on Sam Harris: “I get paid to hallucinate”.

The BogPo: wake up Britain, you’re being Disrupted! (Plus: A guide to Big Dada – and, NEW: “I am vindicated” syndrome).

“We needed stronger leadership, so I got Lars von Trier  to give me a fakeover.”

WARNING: DO NOT VOTE FOR THIS WOMAN.

Wake Up, Britain, you’re being Disrupted!

Okay.

We have less than a week to go before May triggers Article 50 to take us out of the EU.

Once that happens we’re bound on an irreversible course that will almost certainly lead to the breakup, not only of Europe, but of the UK. I bogld about that last bit in The Pumpkin – Issue 13, if you care to look; and how a Belfast-born political disruptor, anti-abortion fanatic and alt-right website owner based in Eastern Europe, Jim Dowson, backed by a Christian-right Russian billionaire close to Putin, is now set on splitting Scotland away.

Now.

“Millionaire” Mr Dowson also boasts of his work on-line, encouraging people to vote for Brexit. Have his claims resulted in the merest suspicion that the referendum may not have been conducted “on the square”, as the Freemasons put it? Or is it simply accepted that in a democracy people are free to campaign for any cause they believe in, in any undeclared, underhand way they please – even the overthrow of the State?

A clue to Mr Dowson’s activities and interests (other oligarchs are available) may be found in a Guardian article of 20 March. I warn you, they are somewhat incoherent:

“I have been a fanatical defender of the union, but I am a pragmatist, and England is finished. It is not just finished because of the Muslim problem and immigration, but also because as of now we are looking at permanent Tory rule … This is a global network that I believed helped elect Donald Trump and backed Brexit to win. “

theguardian.com/politics/2017/mar/20/jim-dowson-back-scottish-independence-patriotic-news-agency-far-right

So did Dowson interfere in the referendum process as an undeclared pro-Leave lobbyist? Was he acting alone?

Nobody picked up on it.

A few months ago, the BBC’s Chief Political Correspondent, Laura Kuenssberg, who has since been subjected to a campaign of vilification in social media, published a piece on the BBC website speculating about the clandestine use of ‘bots’ by the Leave side in the EU referendum campaign. This followed an earlier report in June of a disrupt:

“An online petition calling for a second EU referendum has been hijacked by automated bots adding false signatures. Posts on the 4chan** message board indicated that some users had scripted programs to automatically sign the petition. Thousands of signatures appeared to have come from people in Vatican City and Antarctica.

“The House of Commons petitions committee said it had removed 77,000 signatures and was investigating.” (BBC News)

Did this indicate a level of external interference in the referendum itself? Resulting, perhaps, in the crashing of the voter registration website in the last 48 hours of registration and the addition of another two million voters who appeared to come from nowhere?

Nobody picked up on it.

A couple of months later, an article in The Guardian referred to a US company, Cambridge Analytica, owned (possibly) by the Breitbart News backer and ultra-rightwing multi-billionaire IT whizz, Robert Mercer, that had apparently been ‘data-harvesting’ millions of voters in the UK, secretly analysing their likely voting intentions and responding with a flood of personalized disinformation bots on behalf of the Leave campaign (about whose real intentions the BogPo has already intensively, and with fruity swearing, speculated). CA has downplayed but not denied the allegation.

Cornell University (ironically founded by a great-uncle of Kathy Cornell Gorka, a White House advisor on the dangers of Muslims – See Pumpkin 13) has conducted a study of the use of bots in political campaigning: arxiv.org/abs/1606.06356

The opening summary paragraph states:

“Political bots are automated accounts that are particularly active on public policy issues, elections, and political crises. In this preliminary study on the use of political bots during the UK referendum on EU membership, we analyze the tweeting patterns for both human users and bots. We find that political bots have a small but strategic role in the referendum conversations: (1) the family of hashtags associated with the argument for leaving the EU dominates, (2) different perspectives on the issue utilize different levels of automation (i.e. it’s an iterative process. Ed.), and (3) less than 1 percent of sampled accounts generate almost a third of all the messages.”

Nobody picked up on it.

Now, all this activity is not illegal, but it’s unfair, because it’s not what people are used to. Voters get used to election tactics, but this is something new, when someone from your Contacts folder pops up to tell you, by the way, such-and-such a candidate is a child-killer and a drug addict, you’re inclined to believe it. False: it’s not anyone you know, it’s a bot. And when both sides are bludgeoning you incessantly with the phonus-bolonus, it can get wearing – people will switch off.

And that’s the idea. Boredom brings down democracies.

On Monday, Mr James Comey, the head of the FBI, answered a question at a Congressional hearing to obtain confirmation that the security services were investigating both Mr Trump’s claims of having been “””wiretapped””” by President Obama*, and possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

The question from the excellent inquisitor, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff was, did he think the Russians were interfering elsewhere, as perhaps with the Brexit referendum?

And the equally excellent, and imposingly tall Mr Comey replied ‘Yes, I do’.

And nobody, not even the media, has picked up on it.

Now there is evidence that not only was Russian military intel, the GRU, ‘Guccifer 2’ hacking the Democratic party servers for info useful to the Trump campaign, but they then ‘weaponized’ the data against the Clinton campaign, using bots to flood social media with misdirection in response to individual voting preferences. They also did this to supporters of Bernie Sanders, with a massive campaign of disinformation helping to persuade his voters, who, you may remember, he had asked to vote for Hillary when he gave up his bid for the White House, not to vote for her.

So we know they can do it. And the aforementioned Irish  ‘millionaire’ Dowson (I can find no evidence that he is a millionaire. Where does that come from?), who has extensive East European, English nationalist and Russian connections, has boasted of the disruptive ‘meme’ he created on his US Patriot News website, alleging the existence of a worldwide paedophile ring involving Clinton. Did they do it here too?

Nobody in Britain has yet picked up on it, to join the dots; or seems to understand that the FBI believes the EU referendum was in all likelihood interfered with by the Russians as a disruptive tactic in their new-style hybrid warfare, as well as by rightwing US ‘disruptors’ linked with wealthy, non-official Leave campaigners in the UK; and that the BBC and the Guardian and even Cornell University know there is evidence the EU campaign was targeted in a campaign of disinformation by automated computer-generated bots masquerading as genuine information sources:

Yet nobody has picked up on it.

Because, as the following instructional clip from Rachel Maddow on MSNBC (21 March) explains,

That’s what the Russians DO.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vy1vk1mZhiw

And for a more official summary nearer to home, of the unofficial ‘dark money’ campaign that helped swing the UK referendum for the Disruptors, read:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/apr/01/dark-money-threat-to-uk-elections-integrity?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=219998&subid=19570602&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

So will somebody in authority, like Parliament, the police or MI5, the Electoral Reform Society – anybody – please pick up on it?

And quickly?

Because we’ve been conned!

Is the Government blind to this? Does it just not want to worry the British people that the Russians and their fifth-columnists on the alt-right are even now waging cyberwar on us? Have they just not picked up on it? Or has the Thing, this global crusade for racial and religious purity and the confusing disruption of our political, economic and social institutions funded by Russian ‘laundromat’ money, prising open the divisions and contradictions in our liberal democracy, already penetrated the higher echelons of the British government to put the blinders on – as it has the White House?

Mrs May, you were in charge of the national security apparatus for six years, can you tell us, possibly?

Postscriptum

And here’s another story worth reading, concerning Russia’s disruption tactics, on the BBC News website, two days after Article 50 got triggered – and no mention of interference in the referendum:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39401637

Postscripta, please add to brain:

*Mr Trump is now claiming he was at least partly right about being wiretapped – having been informed by the CIA that, yes, they did listen in to some conversations in which he was a participant. Unfortunately for the President, a man for whom the word ‘consequences’ seems fraught with difficulty, it has not apparently occurred to him why his voice was inadvertently recorded on those CIA files?

It was because, not him, but the thus-far anonymous people he was conversing with, were themselves suspects under surveillance.***

Oops.

That did not however stop the sucky little asshole with the terrified eyes, Congressman Nunes, inexplicably Republican chair of the Intelligence Committee, from immediately running down to the White House on the orders of the doe-eyed Congressional leader Paul Ryan, who is in deep doo-doo with Trump over his crappy American Healthcare bill, that seems likely to disaffiliate millions of poorer Trump voters, to show Orange Satan the CIA report, in clear breach of his duty of confidentiality to the committee – and then unilaterally cancelling the second hearing.

Most of the unfolding disaster is being put down to ‘inexperience’. Right, we’ve never experienced incompetence and venality on this scale, anywhere.

**The 4Chan site has been linked to Internet subcultures and activism, most notably Anonymous, the alt-right and Project Chanology. (Wikipedia). An open website guaranteeing anonymity and storing no data, 4Chan is an ideal breeding ground for disruptors.

***And it now appears accusations of British snooping were also partly accurate, in that the initial intercepts of conversations between the Trump camp and the Russians came from standard traffic monitoring by GCHQ, who are miffed that they passed the intel on to the CIA, the FBI, the NSA in late 2015 and no-one took any notice, presumably because they were focussed on their own monitoring of Mr Carter Page, a deniable, no-account former Trump campaign advisor, self-imagined man of mystery and go-between on ‘foreign relations’.

Both Mr Page and Russian spokes deny Page ever met with ‘oil’igarch, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, which probably therefore means that he did.

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BIG DADA: A Guide

Who are the Disruptors?

The Pumpkin identifies disruptors as political activists with no party allegiance who seek to disrupt conventional channels of communication and institutions in order to bring about change in random and unspecified directions and create chaos, from which a ‘new politics’ will emerge.

Funded in part by a flood of Russian money, the Disruptor movement is being enabled and amplified by borderless communications and social media networks.

In that sense they resemble the artists, writers and musicians of the late 19th and early 20th century, mostly from Central Europe, inspired by political revolution and the emerging horrors of industrialized warfare, who promoted manifestos calling for the destruction of conventional society and the creation of a new order arising from the wreckage: groups like the Futurists, the Stridentists, Wyndham Lewis’ Vorticists, the Ashcan School and most successfully the Dadaists, building on the writings of Kropotkin and other anarchist or nihilist movements.

Some disruptors will by the nature of the activity simply be ‘merry pranksters’ – teenage hackers, acting with no more ultimate motive than to do some mischief and earn kudos. Others however find the internet and its influence on, especially, the millennial generation a useful vehicle for turning teenage anarchy to their advantage in putting forward an alt-right, Christian-right, racial purity, revivalist agenda.

There is in the view of The Pumpkin little difference in execution between the cynical radicalisation programmes of extreme Islam and the attempts by the alt-right, etc., to engage the idealism, naivety and adventurous spirits of young people via their social media for some dark project leading to supposedly exciting and beneficial social change, exploiting their hormonal uncertainty and natural altruism; like the recruitment tactics of religious cultists such as the Moonies and the Scientologists; the Hitler youth or the Comsomol.

(The symmetry between the Disrupt and IS is there to see. It’s always about the corruption of innocence.)

There is evidence of Russian, Balkan, North Korean and Chinese State involvement in disruptive tactics – not only the ceaseless hacking and probing denial of service attacks on banks and hospitals and utilities and local authorities and transport undertakings, but the further weaponization by the military of Big Data. Under the so-called Gerasimov Doctrine of hybrid warfare we will not be conquered by invasion, or by counterproductive nuclear strikes; rather by an insidious process of undermining our faith in our institutions.

Others in the background, ‘useful idiots’ – very wealthy (mostly) men – seek to advance their own private networks by destroying the centrist, liberal-democratic consensus they perceive is weak, failing – corrupted by multiculturalism – but which nevertheless persists in its attempts to rein-in their lucrative transactions. The suspicion must be that some at least of the $billions pouring out of Russia from the criminal skimming of former State-owned assets through dodgy banks, offshore trusts, insanely overpriced art auctions, arms traffic and property megadeals is being used to fund these willing and greedy Western accomplices in the takedown of the West.

Disruption is the modern equivalent of the old military tactic of  ‘harrying’ – mounting low-cost, lightning raids here and there along the enemy’s defensive lines, to disrupt communications and movements; to take a few prisoners, seize supplies; to demoralise and test the strength of the enemy. If my personal data were among the millions of mobile phone company records seized in some spectacular hacking operation, as I’m sure they must have been (I was a Yahoo! subscriber for years) I shouldn’t be too concerned: the Russians probably aren’t going to do much with the information, they just want to send a message that our Western technology is weak and cannot protect us; but they will use it if provoked.

This is polygonal politics: economic,  religious and cultural warfare in the internet era, and our politicians had better understand it and find ways to combat it, soon.

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At last, I am vindicated!

A woman in Australia has walked free from court after her baby died when she forgot he was in the car, on a hot day.

It is not a precedent one would wish to set, obviously. People have a natural attachment to babies, a protective, hopeful instinct that ignores the awful teenagers they will grow into one day, the drug addicts, jihadis, corporate lawyers and US Presidents they go on to become. People still get upset, hearing about babies left to die like dogs in hot cars.

It’s a brave jurist who exonerates a parent for such a careless approach to their duties. The poor woman, what was her name? Lindy Chamberlain, who battled for years to explain that they went for a picnic in the Outback and a dingo must have taken her baby while her back was turned? The poor woman went through hell for years, accused of all sorts. ‘A Psychologist’ had not yet been born who would tell the court, yes, there is such a thing as ‘Taken baby syndrome”.

Australia often has hot days, I’m told, so one might think the Coroner would have asked the obvious question; not: “Why did you forget your baby was in the car?” but: “Why did you leave your baby in the car in the first place?”

But then, I wasn’t there. I cannot account for the circumstances; unlike in my own situation.

The BBC reports:

“A psychologist told the inquest he believed Ms Zunde suffered a memory lapse called “forgotten baby syndrome”.

“If you are capable of forgetting to post a letter, you are capable of forgetting to take your baby out of the car,” said Matthew Mundy, an associate professor at Monash University. “Your memory is limited, it’s limited in the number of things you can remember at any given time, and it’s limited in the amount of time you can remember a thing for. Your brain at the neural level doesn’t discriminate between [posting] a letter, a baby or remembering to pick up your mobile phone.

“In his opinion the lapse could happen to anyone, he said.”

Exactly!

So my reprehensible behaviour in frequently forgetting to collect my infant son from his nursery during those months of turmoil, when my business was failing and I was stuck in meetings with the bank for hours while struggling to meet all my other commitments to creative output and to pay the staff wages, so that I would often of an evening find myself having to do a U-ey and hurtle at illegal speed the twelve miles back from my home driveway where the realization usually dawned, to find the poor mite cradled in the arms of a fuming ‘pudding’, as I called the dumpy little creche nurses, sitting locked-out on the doorstep, finally has a name! A syndrome!

That’s one in the eye for the wife:

“Forgotten baby syndrome”.

It explains, certainly, why I have no idea currently where I have left my mobile phone. I haven’t seen it for days. The battery will be flat by now, so there’s no point in emailing my son – about whom I still forget for long periods – and getting him to phone it, so I can identify its whereabouts.

Letters, too, sit in the Documents file on muh li’l laptop, unprinted – perhaps I have forgotten that the toner has run out again – or in envelopes ready to go, with expensive first-class stamps on, on the bureau, unposted, until I think better of sending them and tear them up. Complaining to utility companies and writing to my MP about the traffic makes no difference, they shrug it off, the world turns, a politely worded but anodyne defence is received, no action taken – why create all that aggro? Just forget it.

Unposted letter syndrome, lost phone syndrome… life’s a beach, ain’t it? I spent the better part of £600 on a new laptop three weeks ago. I still haven’t found the energy, the commitment to spend another week setting up all those files, the passwords, the lost data, the fumbling back and forth to read the instructions from one machine screen to another. It’s just sitting there, one tiny light winking futilely. Soon it will vanish under the pile of angry letters accumulating around, the cat sleeping on top of it and be forgotten.

“Forgotten laptop syndrome” will be added to the list of my many syndromes, exculpating me from the failing memories of my past, the unbidden responsibility to the future. Life can be so simple with the right diagnosis.

“Simple life syndrome”.

The joy of letting go.

 

The Pumpkin – Issue 13: Jim’ll Brexit: There is no end to this conspiracy. And: Hey everybody, Rex Tillerson!

It’s Budget Day on the Hill

Okay guys, I found the money, Vladimir lent it to me. Let’s get spending.

Jim’ll Brexit

The question The Pumpkin would like to ask is, to what extent is Russian interest in the US election a continuation of the old Cold War and Putin’s ambitions to destabilise the West – or is it something quite new and excitingly different?

While the media focus is  on the Congressional Committee hearing at which FBI Director, James Comey, confirmed with his lovely eyes that the security police are looking into connections between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence, hopefully not forgetting the money-laundering, the ‘Enemies of the People’ may be ignoring other, perhaps more disturbing connections between far-right Christian fundamentalist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic groups in Eastern Europe, possibly funded by Russia, to members of the current Trump administration.

Former Methodist minister and convicted criminal, Jim Dowson is a virulent anti-abortion campaigner and extreme Protestant  loyalist from Northern Ireland (no jokes about ‘Orange men’ now. Ed.), with connections to Hungarian and other East European nationalist groups who like dressing up and marching around.

He’s frequently labelled in the press, ‘millionaire Jim Dowson’, although The Pumpkin’s limited researches have been unable to establish any source for that fact. He owns no businesses, seemingly; is CEO of nothing. Wherefore then, apart from having been a fundraiser for nationalist charities (and not apparently well trusted in the role) does he become a millionaire?

dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/exclusive-bnps-scots-fundraiser-is-criminal-1025700

Among things we have established is that he is an unpleasant piece of work who delights in publishing the names and addresses of employees of family planning clinics. He has also been videoed dressed in camouflage gear on a ‘hunting expedition’ with armed vigilantes on the Bulgarian-Turkish border – hunting Syrian refugees.

According to Wikipedia, who got the info probably from the anti-fascist group Searchlight:

“Dowson has been observed in eastern European countries with his latest venture, the Knights Templar International (KTI)*, along with former BNP (British National Party) leader Nick Griffin and a Hungarian anti-abortion campaigner, Imre Teglasy.

“Dowson’s last sighting, according to the Daily Mirror, was on the Turkey-Bulgaria border with the KTI supplying equipment to a vigilante paramilitary group, the Shipka Bulgarian National Movement, to hunt down asylum seekers.

“Dowson was subsequently reported as having developed close links with Russian extremist Aleksandr Dugin, with Dugin aiding Dowson in the establishment of a Belgrade office for his internet activity in support of the ‘alt-right’.”

* No immediate relation to the late-medieval religious order that committed unspeakable atrocities against the Muslim population of the Holy Land.

nytimes.com/2016/12/17/world/europe/russia-propaganda-elections.html

Now, Dugin is a bit different: not your average fascist bully-boy, he is a well-bearded Russian philosopher – the son of a KGB man – respected on the far-right, and spiritual guide to Vladimir Putin. He has said he wants to bring on the ‘end-times’. Thus he fits in almost perfectly symmetrically with Steve Bannon. Described as a modern Rasputin, Dugin in turn is sponsored by “Konstantin Malofeyev, a multimillionaire with ties to the Russian Orthodox Church” (Independent. See below).

Dugin is said to have been instrumental in bringing about a rapprochement between Putin and the increasingly paranoid and authoritarian Turkish president Erdogan in the wake of the shooting down in 2015 of a Russian fighter over the Syrian border: thus, Islamic Turkey is moving out of the ambit of Europe and more towards a pro-Moscow line of pragmatic non-opposition to the war-criminal Bashar al-Assad.

Russia and Turkey being two countries where, it may be noted, President Trump’s sacked National Security Advisor General Mike T Flynn was doing bidness last year. Turkey is, of course, a NATO country.

“…Dugin, whose views on the evils of liberalism have been cited by Bannon and other far-right leaders … also moved Russia a step closer to fulfilling his vision of unwinding the US-led global order, in part by luring Turkey away from NATO and creating a “Russo-Islamic pact” that includes Iran.” (Ibid.)

Dowson is linked too with László Toroczkai, the extreme right-wing mayor of Assotthalom, in Hungary – the village where, the BogPo reported some time ago, Muslim migrants are ‘banned’ from settling, even to the extent that specially designed traffic signs are to be found, excluding people wearing Islamic dress. (BBC report)

And alt-right watchers will have noted the name of Nick Griffin, one-time leader of the British National Party, who is now based in Hungary – not a million miles from Dowson’s Russia-funded Budapest office, one might assume. Clearly, they have patched up their differences following Dowson’s departure from Britain First – a group he founded, but whose attacks on mosques he felt were ‘un-Christian’.

This story is positively trammelled with such weird contradictions: indeed, the KTI website specifically states that attacks on other religions are against the Biblical traditions of Christianity. There seems to be an element of fantasy in Dowson’s crusade for some long-ago, lost age of purity and chivalry. This puts him in the same league as some of Trump’s immediate circle: not racist, but purist, could be Stephen K Bannon’s motto.

But all agree, the coming war will be between Christianity and Islam for the soul of the world.

The founder of an alt-right website called ‘The Patriot News Agency’, Dowson also interferes in other countries’ elections. Again from Wikipedia:

“Dowson described his strategy as spreading “devastating anti-Clinton, pro-Trump memes and soundbites into sections of the population too disillusioned with politics to have taken any notice of conventional campaigning.”

Yet Dowson has no apparent dog in the US election fight; nor any specific reason to support Trump, other than a generalised desire to cause trouble benefitting the Russian campaign of destabilization.

Among the ‘memes’ he is alleged to have spread is the story of Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager, John Podesta, operating a worldwide paedophile ring from the basement of a Washington pizza restaurant – a story so preposterous that only forty per cent of Donald Trump’s supporters were inclined to believe it.

And his next ‘project’ is to bring about Scottish independence and the dissolution of the United Kingdom. According to the New York Times:

“The ex-Orange Order member, who along with his family is based in Northern Ireland but spends considerable time running the rightwing agency in eastern Europe, claims his networks have a global reach of 50 million online viewers, 17 million of whom live in Britain.

“A one-time member of the far-right Britain First organisation, which he resigned from three years ago, Dowson said he would be directing the pro-independence online media campaign from his bases in Hungary and Serbia as well as in Britain, including from an office in Stirling.

“(He said) ‘This is a global network that I believed helped elect Donald Trump and backed Brexit to win.'”

For many people prepared to overlook the obvious point that Britain held real powers within the EU and extended its influence into Europe, rather than having genuinely been in the position of surrendering sovereignty to “unelected bureaucrats in Brussels” – a meme so simple and easy to spread among the British Dumbfucks that even Dowson might have thought of it, Brexit was about ridding Britain of foreign influences. For some, like Dowson, the Brexit campaign was a moral crusade to restore the ethnic and religious (i.e. Christian) purity of the British race; although he now sees that it might have to lead to a federal Ireland rather than a hard customs border.

How like Islamic fundamentalists Christian fundamentalists are.

theguardian.com/politics/2017/mar/20/jim-dowson-back-scottish-independence-patriotic-news-agency-far-right?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=218243&subid=19570602&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

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Power Hungary

Dr Sebastian L v. Gorka “attended St Benedict’s School in west London, and received a lower second-class honours (2:2) Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and Theology from Heythrop College, of the University of London.” (Wikipedia). Heythrop was founded in 1614 in Louvain, Belgium, at the height of the Inquisition, by the Society of Jesus – the Jesuits, to whose stern moral code its website suggests it retains some residual connection.*

Born in Britain to Hungarian refugee parents, nationalists who fled from the Soviet repression of 1956 (we gave refuge to 27,000 Hungarians, rather more than we seem to have managed with the desperate Syrians), Gorka re-migrated to Hungary in 1992, where he ended up in 1998 as an advisor to the authoritarian nationalist premier, Viktor Orban.

In the meantime he had somehow converted that pretty poor degree into a PhD in Political Science from Corvinus University, Budapest, and become an expert on Islamic terrorism. In 1996, he married an American heiress from an old Methodist family in the ironmongery business, Katherine Fairfax Cornell. A trawl of the sources fails to produce an estimate of her worth, or indeed that of the family business, that nowadays makes architectural steel products. All we find on their website is that the company used scab labour to break a strike in 1987 and probably turns over $10 million a year.

Yet what Katy Cornell Gorka’s family has in common with Donald Trump is that girders from the original iron smelting works took “New York’s buildings from four stories in the 1850s to thirty stories by 1899.” (Wikipedia). Even the Statue of Liberty stands on Cornell iron.

“Katharine C. Gorka is the President of the Council on Global Security, a think tank that works to develop, advocate, and build support for policies that will promote freedom of belief and defeat extremist ideologies*. From 2009 to 2014 she served as Executive Director of the Westminster Institute, based in McLean, Virginia. Her company, Threat Knowledge Group, provides counter-terrorism training and expertise to the FBI, Special Operations, local law enforcement and military. She co-edited the volume Fighting the Ideological War: Winning Strategies from Communism to Islamism and appears frequently in the media, including FOX News, Breitbart, EWTN, CBN, and al-Hura. Most recently she co-authored the report ISIS: The Domestic Threat.” (Amazon book page biography)

*The website for this organization is non-responding. A message merely says it is not currently available.

On November 30 2016, The Intercept reported that Gorka had been appointed to be part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s transitional “landing team.” (Wikipedia) Her role, like her husband’s, was to advise der Trumpenführer on the causes and growth of Islamic fundamentalism. (You recall, he ‘knows more about ISIS than many generals, believe me’. Gorka’s input may be why he thinks so.)

Yet there is something quite peculiar about her.

Living in Hungary for 12 years, Katy Gorka is a former director of the National Forum Foundation’s Budapest office – whose URL brings up only ‘Freedom House’, a think tank founded by the Roosevelts in 1941. “The organization’s annual Freedom in the World report, which assesses each country’s degree of political freedoms and civil liberties, is frequently cited by political scientists, journalists, and policymakers. Freedom of the Press and Freedom of the Net, which monitor censorship, intimidation and violence against journalists, and public access to information, are among its other signature reports.” (Wikipedia/Freedom House website)

Political freedom? Civil liberties? Freedom of the press? Almost nothing could be further from the domestic policies of Viktor Orban, to whom in 1998 Katy’s husband Sebastian was an ‘advisor’. But amid all the high-minded talk about monitoring the kind of intimidation against journalists which her Presidential employer is busy practising, she is also a contributor to Steve Bannon’s Breitbart News – an alt-right website pushing a racially pure, Christian agenda; often of false news, and whose former editor warned the press a month ago to ‘shut its mouth’ and think carefully about what they print about the President in future.

And one of Trump’s first executive orders, which none of the media has seen fit to protest about, was the gagging of  public access to information in the shape of the normal dissemination of news and scientific papers through the federal Environment and Parks agencies, and NASA’s Earthwatch program. Where did he get that from? He’s not thought to have any ideas of his own. An unusual approach to ‘freedom of belief’.

In 2012, ‘Dr’ Sebastian Gorka applied to become an American citizen.

“We are deeply concerned by reports that Dr. Gorka concealed the material fact of his membership in the Vitézi Rend, a far-right anti-Semitic Hungarian organization, when he applied for U.S. citizenship. As you know, it is unlawful to make a false statement in naturalization proceedings (18 U.S.C. 1015) and procuring naturalization by concealing a material fact or willful misrepresentation is punishable by denaturalization (8 U.S.C. 1425, 8 U.S.C. 1451).”

So wrote three US Congressmen recently upon learning that Gorka is, or may be, an illegal immigrant.

businessinsider.com/sebastian-gorka-vitezi-rend-nazi-trump-2017-3: 3 US Senators calling for inquiry into his immigration declaration

According to some sources, through his father Gorka – who includes in his full name the telltale lowercase letter ‘v’ for Vitez – is a virtually lifelong member of Vitézi Rend, an extreme Hungarian nationalist group with maybe as many as twenty thousand members. His membership has been admitted by its leaders, although he’s denied it. How did anyone know? He appeared on TV wearing a jacket of the type worn ceremonially by members of the society, the Bocskai tunic, and sporting their pin-badge – which he later explained was only a tribute to his late father.

Again, when we look at the origins in the 1920s of this secretive society we find that same element of East European chivalric mysticism and a yearning for racial purity, enshrining the virtues of the knightly warrior caste that had once stood against the advance of Islam, that formed such a strong part of the National Socialist ideology in Germany in the 1930s. Indeed, the Order of Vitez, founded by Admiral Horthy to celebrate the heroism of fallen Hungarian soldiers of the First World War, was encouraged by – and perhaps even assisted – the Nazis during the occupation in 1944 as they hastened to eliminate 800,000 Jews ahead of the advancing Red Army.

Gorka is a naturalized American citizen. He gained his citizenship in 2012 but his acceptance may now be in doubt as it is reported he made no mention on his application form, a compulsory question, of his membership of Vitézi Rend, which is listed in the US as a banned organisation for its associations with the wartime Nazi occupiers in Hungary.

In addition to being cited as a member of and contributor to, a speaker at, numerous academic institutions and think tanks, in January 2017 Gorka assumed the position of Deputy Assistant Security Advisor on Terrorism in the Trump Administration. How did Trump get to know about him? Gorka immediately became a member of an internal White House team known as the Strategic Initiatives Group, which was set up by Trump’s Chief Policy Advisor, Steve Bannon, together with Trump’s annointed, his son-in law Jared Kushner, to act as a counterweight to the normal channels of advice the President might receive on matters such as national security and foreign policy, to prevent him being led astray by outside experts infected with things like knowledge and sanity.

thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/31/steve-bannon-builds-a-new-node-of-power-in-the-trump-white-house.html

While some academics and military people say he’s pretty sound on Islamic jihad, basically arguing that the West is at war with Islam already, the peer-reviewed journal of terrorism research, Terrorism and Political Violence, has never used him as a reviewer, because according to associate editor Lawrence P Rubin, he “is not considered a terrorism expert by the academic or policy community.” (Wikipedia)

From 2014 to 2016, Gorka was an editor for National Security Affairs for the Breitbart News Network, where he worked for Stephen K. Bannon.

Surprise, fucking surprise.

Everything to do with Trump sooner or later comes back to Bannon, Breitbart and the illegal movement around the globe of vast sums of Russian money: the so-called “Global Laundromat”.

How much of that money is finding its way over to ‘whiter-than-white’ organizations led by agitators, disruptors and misty-eyed, medieval-Christian revivalist ‘millionaires’, we wonder?

*On re-reading, I have just spotted this potential connection with Steve Bannon, who is associated with the conservative leader of the Jesuitical Catholic fringe group, Opus Dei, Cardinal Burke.

Correction: Cardinal Burke is not the ‘leader’ of Opus Dei but merely ‘associated’ wiith the leadership.

Postscriptum, 1 May

Following a shakeup or ‘palace coup’ instigated by ‘Mr Kushner’ and the new Pentagon hawks installed in key advisory roles – a military takeover – both the Strategic Initiatives Group and ‘Dr’ Gorka are no longer part of White House policy advisory arrangements; Steve Bannon is no longer a permanent member of the Security Council although he retains his role as ‘senior policy advisor’.

Ivanka Trump is now the ‘First Daughter’ – her stepmom remains a prisoner in the penthouse at Trump Tower in New York – and officially in post as ‘advisor’ to Orange Daddy. She continues to advertise Trump businesses, including Trump Tower, Manila – Mr Trump has welcomed the squalid little thug, President Duterte of the Philippines , to the White House, in line with his general policy of admiring ‘strong leaders’ who remind him of his father.

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There is no end to this conspiracy.

I’m trying to remember what I was doing at the age of 42. It’s a bit hazy. I think I’d just started a small PR business with an ethical charter, supporting small environmental businesses and NGOs by devising joint promotional programs with bigger clients needing to improve their ‘green’ credentials. It folded five years later because none of them would pay their bills on time.

At 42, billionaire investment manager Constantin Malofeyev (see above) is one of the movers and shakers behind a religious revival movement that has captured the White House without a shot being fired. From Vanity Fair:

“As a believer in the Russian empire on a cultural and religious level, Malofeyev’s goals align with those held by some of Europe’s fringe parties. Both would like to see the weakening of the European Union.

“In 2014, Malofeyev attended a Vienna-based conference for Europe’s far-right parties. Also in attendance were Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s National Front, who openly supports Putin (she has called for the removal of sanctions) and accepted at least 9 million euros in Russia-backed loans in 2014; and Austria’s Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the Freedom Party, which was recently defeated in national elections.” (Presumably not the outcome General Michael T Flynn was hoping for at Trump Tower in December when he discussed doing a bit of PR for him. Ed.)

vanityfair.com/news/2016/12/mike-flynn-nazi-sympathizers)

thinkprogress.org/trump-russia-sanctions-1b20f8d48ded#.46jtlm8e1

The Pumpkin is sort of waiting for the links between the Brexit campaigners and Putin’s Christian-right crusade to become more obvious. A less obvious link might be to Mr Paul Manafort, Trump’s erstwhile campaign manager, said to have been the recipient of a $12.7 million fee for ‘campaign advice’ (Oh, come off it! Ed. Really, where do I sign?) to the exiled Ukrainian kleptocrat, Viktor Yanukovitch; and also, of a $10 million a year PR retainer for several years from the Russian government.

The Daily Beast (August 2016) reported:

“The Associated Press has also found that Manafort helped route “at least $2.2 million in payments” from the Party of Regions “to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012” and did so in possible violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. (Was either of those firms possibly linked to General Flynn, The Pumpkin asks, idly? Or Mr Tony Podesta?)

“According to a leaked document that was “brought” to Vladimir Putin’s presidential administration, the takeover of Crimea may have been mooted in mid-February 2014, as independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported. Likely prepared in part by “Russian Orthodox businessman” and future separatist-financier Konstantin Malofeyev, the text envisioned a “launching of the process of the ‘pro-Russian drift’ of the Crimea and eastern Ukrainian territories” along with a “PR strategy” in advance of “referendums raising the question of self-determination and further possibilities of annexation to the Russian Federation.” The Daily Beast.

I guess if it can work in Ukraine, and Britain, it can work in Texas or Arkansas.

Remember the Alamo. Remember Dunkirk! Build that wall!

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A Game of Leapfrog

Over in France the waters are just as murky.

Already under investigation for allegedly paying his wife half a million Euro out of public coffers to do a few hours’ secretarial duty, with only days to go before the first round of Presidential elections that could see the alt-right ‘Marianne’, Marine le Pen, do well, former Prime Minister Francois Fillon is now accused of taking money from a Lebanese ‘businessman’ to fix a meeting between the head of global French energy company Total, and… President Putin.

An  article in the venerable satirical journal Le Canard Enchainé, reports that Fillon’s consultancy company 2F Conseil had earned $50,000 for setting up the 2015 meeting. According to a Guardian report:

“Fillon’s spokesman vigorously denied the allegation, saying Canard Enchaîné’s “insinuations” were “completely without foundation”. The Kremlin dismissed the report (encouragingly) as “fake news”.

“The claims are the latest in a string of accusations levelled at the beleaguered rightwing candidate, who languishes third in the opinion polls for the first round presidential vote in a month. He is also under scrutiny for accepting an undeclared €50,000 loan from a French businessman in 2013 and for the gift of bespoke suits worth up to €48,000 from another wealthy friend.

“Fillon has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing … saying … “I’ve made mistakes. Who hasn’t?”

Quite so. It explains perhaps why The Pumpkin has almost nothing in the bank, having made the mistake of failing to become a highly paid political lobbyist. (Oh, I thought you said ‘hobbyist‘!).

Thanks to social media, the vast amounts of dirty money sloshing around and the power-seeking ambitions of extra-national third-party actors it’s getting too easy for disruptors in the Kremlin and elsewhere to try to affect the outcome of elections, in what is increasingly evident is a deliberately orchestrated campaign to shake up the existing alliances in the West.

Their task is made easier still by the appalling venality of politicians like Fillon and, in Britain, George “eight jobs” Osborne.

As has been widely reported, with no prior journalistic experience the former Chancellor of the Exchequer has accepted an offer presumed to be somewhere in the mid-six figures to become the new editor of the London Evening Standard, formerly a newspaper but now the personal fiefdom and social diary of exiled Russian oligarchs the Lebedevs, père et fils.

That bloody country just won’t lie down.

And while The Pumpkin is conspiracy theorising, Mr Osborne and his friend, Mr Cameron, showed blinding incompetence in their ‘leadership’ of the failed campaign to keep Britain in the EU, focussing on what the Leavers dubbed ‘Project Fear’, an entirely negative assessment of the economic risks which they plugged relentlessly at the expense of any more positive reasons for remaining in Europe.

Is this a reward?

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Hey, everyone! Katy Gorka?

‘Hillary for President’ contributions to the 2008 primaries:

  • Gorka Enterprises LLC: $750
  • ‘Cornell’: $550

Big spenders! But get this… Hillary’s campaign coffers in 2008 also contained $800 electo-bucks donated by… 21st Century Fox TV!

Nothing like hedging your bets. Or mislabelling your post.

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Hey, everyone! Rex Tillerson?

A story on today’s Guardian quotes ‘sexy Rexy’, Trump’s normally taciturn Secretary of State, as saying he didn’t want the job. (It shows. Ed.)

He was looking forward to retiring to his ranch in Texas, he says, to enjoy his grandchildren (good luck with that, Rex – most people won’t get to enjoy theirs), his Old Age pension buoyed up by $245 million in free Exxon shares, but after Trump – whom he hadn’t previously known – offered him the post out of the blue at a surprise meeting called to “discuss the world”, and presumably how to end it, his wife told him: “God isn’t through with you yet”.

I’ve always felt I was appointed to high office by God, haven’t you?

I felt, you see, that God wanted me to be the boss of a bloated global corporation that endlessly lies and cheats and gouges the poorest people on earth while raping it of its commons for my own obscene enrichment and that of my billionaire friends at Davos, that tramples God’s Creation into the methane-pluming ground, heedless of warnings of the dire future it’s creating for the very survival of Mankind (we’re making the eye in that old needle as big as we possibly can.)

Sadly, as the Almighty is only a figment of the boundlessly optimistic American imagination, I’m sitting here writing this stuff instead.

Mysterious ways, and so forth.

Next time, eh?

Did the Russians fuck with the referendum? And we’ll leave the comments page to ‘Mr Osborne’.

Her Majesty the Queen today signed the bill giving Theresa May the go-ahead to send a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, formally invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, requesting permission for Britain to leave the European Union.

The Dumbfucks have won. And I’ve taken down my Remain poster. I may slit my wrists later.

Postscriptum: 20 March

Whooosh… over to Capitol Hill, where the excellent Democrat Representative Adam Schiff, chairing a Congressional hearing, put one very interesting question to FBI Director James Comey, who had just repeated for the umpteenth time that there was no evidence that President Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower, even with the help of the British – something demented Orange Satan is STILL continuing to insist is true, even though his only source was Fox News, who got it from Steve Bannon.

Asked if he believed that Russian intelligence could have been in any way likely to have interfered with Brexit and European elections, Comey replied, in so many words, ‘Yes’, he did.

Let’s hope this tiny incidental detail gets magnified out of all proportion in tomorrow’s press, as no-one appears to have noticed it yet: the FBI believes Russia interfered in our referendum.

Time for a re-run.

 

“The turkeys didn’t bother to wait for Christmas, they voted for Easter.”

Tuesday morning dawns

Urgh. Was that last double vodka before bed a good idea? On top of the wine?

I seem to remember, too, posting a fairly blunt and offensive comment just before I toddled off, on the worthy and wholly undeserving of scorn Guardian Today website, having immediately read that 300-odd gutless, supine and hypocritical, £75k a year Members of the House of Commons, most of whom would at one time have supported the Remain camp, had voted down two perfectly sensible and civilized amendments the House of Lords had inserted into the bill allowing the dried-up old stork, Theresa May, to trigger Article 50 on the basis of having no plan at all for getting out of the EU.

Davis, ‘Doctor’ and Boris (centre)

One amendment tried to offer some residency protection for two million EU nationals living perfectly legally in the UK, many of them with British families; hopefully thereby also to protect our own citizens working or retired abroad. Who could possibly object to that, or argue with any sanity that it ‘ties Mrs May’s hands behind her back’ (it’s a thought. Ed.) when it comes to her comedy trio of hapless negotiators, the Wilson, Kepple and Betty of Chevening House,  trying to screw some sort of hastily cobbled-together ‘deal’ out of the 27 before we float away and sink with all hands?

What it tried to do, a last despairing gesture, was to offer some kind of hope that we still live in a decent and humane society, an open democracy where our elected representatives can still stand up for the right.

Sadly not.

Nor, it seems, do we any longer live in a Parliamentary democracy. It has been the unelected Mrs May’s devout wish that Parliament should not stand in her way when it comes to Brexit, a theoretical process she once decried, but now over which she has grasped total control, embodying as she does, like fucking Boudicca on her chariot, ‘the Will o’ the People’.

So the second amendment proposed by the Lords, who have also now folded their arms for fear that Dacre of the Mail will set his patriotic bloodhounds on them, was that Parliament should have a vote on any final deal.

And she has got her wish. The turkeys did not bother to wait for Christmas, they voted for Easter.

Pathetic, pusillanimous, scared little self-protecting baboons, lacking all resolve in the face of threats of deselection by the Dumbfucks in their constituencies, they voted to save their own fat or scrawny arses, selling their principles for a peck of power – little realising, or maybe they did, that they’ve just committed the British constitution and the sovereignty of Parliament to a dictatorship.

Like her friend Mr Trump also unelected by the majority vote, Mrs May, who clearly massively overestimates herself, seems intent on ruling sola through an unelected, faceless cabinet of assorted advisors and cronies, in a bubble of dubious provenance and with no published strategy other than to take charge. Seriously, does she appear to have any political friends and allies outside her own inner circle of PR wonkettes?

Are we to expect an alt-right, Christian fundamentalist platform to emerge? Will the Daily Mail rename itself Breitbart News? Is there some massive corruption of the billionaires and the free, unfettered movement of stolen capital behind the coup? Has Britain too been taken without a shot being fired, by the Putin global power machine?

These are dark days. We are all good little boiled frogs now.

x

Oceans apart

A mystery Tweet has apparently been posted on McDonalds’ official bulletin board – and then hurriedly taken down – describing Mr Trump as a ‘Disgusting excuse of a President’.

Unimpressed, Mr Trump is known to be a fan of the fast-food restaurant chain for undiscriminating fat people with baseball hats and no teeth. His favourite burger is said to be ‘Fish Delight’.

So do we now have another clue as to his sexual preferences? ‘Fish Delight and pipi-shake to go. And make it fast, Pussy.’

To spoil the show, however, it appears that even this is an example of the President’s alternative fake news machine (brain): there is no such mouthwatering recipe on the McDonalds’ menu as Fish Delight. It’s actually called, in Franglais, ‘Filet-o’-fish’.

No excuse. None. So bad.

 

Okay, I’m sorry, but.

By: Ernst von-und-zu Bogl, professor emeritus of Crony Capitalism and Influence-Peddling Studies at the University of Wagga-Wagga, Australia. ©2017. @tryprovingit.con

Hailed by some in the business as ‘fake news’, not without justification, it’s been reported just now that the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, is to be the new editor of the London Evening Standard; believed to be a newspaper, as well as the personal social diary of owner, Yevgeny Lebedev.

It is almost impossible, in my view, to counter the 99.999% probability that since this time last year we have somehow wriggled through a wormhole in space/time, to find ourselves in another universe – of which, I am told, there are many.

This universe bears a strong relationship to, and may very well therefore be the same, as the one in which Oxford mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as the author Lewis Carroll, woke up in 1871, shortly before creating his best-selling children’s story, Alice Through the Looking Glass.

According to a BBC report apparently based on a press release and a few hastily telephoned quotes,

“Mr Osborne had ambitions to be a journalist as a young man. He failed to get a place on The Times’ trainee scheme after graduating from Oxford University in 1992 and was briefly a freelance reporter on the Daily Telegraph’s diary column.” (for which read, intern with wealthy parents and an allowance enabling him to barely survive living in a dumpster).

“If at first you don’t succeed…” is of course the Osborne family motto.

‘Mr Osborne’, who resigned his post as Chancellor last June after he and his close friend, ‘Mr Cameron’ failed to get a majority for the Remain side in the EU referendum, fully intends to carry on as the £75k a year-plus-expenses backbench Conservative MP for Tatton, in well-heeled Cheshire; although his liberal leanings were, apparently, one of the reasons why his appointment makes so much sense, according to Aleksandr Lebedev’s socialite son Evgeny, who manages the title for papa.

Another is presumably his experience at devising austerity policies.

There is no word as yet of ‘Mr Osborne’s salary, but it is unlikely to be less than the mid-six-figures. ‘Mr Osborne’ has also in the last fortnight taken up a £650k a year ‘advisory’ post, hardworking one day a week for top global fund management porker, BlackRock.

And then there’s the family business, the top-people’s wallpaper company Osborne & Little (£200 a roll). Oh, and he has also become visiting  ‘Kissinger Fellow at the McCain Institute for International Leadership’ in the USA. Yes, that’s the wanted war-criminal and geriatric Nazi, ‘Dr’ Henry Kissinger and chipmunk-faced ex-POW Senator John McCain, who President Trump doesn’t much like.

Blimey, he’s going to need his Bob the Builder hard-hat to cover all that ground.

His new employer – the father, not the son – is an interesting character, isn’t he. An ‘oligarch’, although Forbes magazine has pushed him out of the billion dollar bracket, the former KGB economics specialist Alexander Lebedev owns, or owned, a Russian investment bank that is in turn a part-owner of Sberbank (see previous Pumpkin).

He is reportedly no friend of Mr Putin’s. According to The Telegraph, he risks assassination or imprisonment if he should return to Russia.

Curious, because he has often defended Putin in print. In April 2016, writing in his own paper (Lebedev promised publicly on acquiring his British newspaper empire, including the now-defunct Independent, that he would never interfere in editorial policy), the philanthropic proprietor used his pages to distance himself from allegations that Putin was skimming sales of State assets and laundering vast sums, instead using the piece to settle some old scores with fellow oligarchs he claimed were colluding with Western banks to launder their ill-gotten gains; writing:

“…the executives who stole from me did so with the help of blue-chip banks and law firms in London, Switzerland and New York. Highly paid, professional British, American and Swiss bankers and lawyers — not just “dodgy Russians” — assisted in suspicious, and in many cases, absurdly bogus transactions.”

A quite extraordinary thing to claim in a column in a local newspaper! (Except that London is where much of the money ends up being invested in insanely overpriced properties.)

We, that is the Editorial board of The BogPo, of which I myself am the sole oligarch, hope and trust fervently that the new Editor of the Evening Standard will maintain as rigid an editorial framework as his predecessor (now the editor of the increasingly bland and supine, formula-driven Today show on Radio 4), Ms Sarah Sands.

And by the by, I’m sure readers will wish to lift a magnum of Bollinger and join me in wishing Sir Philip Green many hearty congratulations on his 65th birthday!

– Herr Professor Doktor Ernst von-und-zu Bogl, is owner and editor-in-chief-at-large of The Boglington Post.

(Sent from aboard the BHS Arcadia, Boglèry-sur-Mer, France-sud)

 

 

 

The Boglington Post: Another Enormous Brexit Lie…. Not Feeling Hungary… Death by Financial Services… + Bonus material

Suck it up, Brexwits.

So call me a liar, punk –  if you’re elite enough.

“Liam Fox, the international trade minister, accepted last week he did not know of any new free trade deal that did not also include liberalisation of migration rules between the two countries signing such agreements.” – The Guardian, 10 February.

Another enormous Brexit lie

The principal reason people voted to Leave the EU last June was, of course, a mass outbreak of cretinism.

Definitive, detailed research carried out for the BBC last month showed conclusively that those voting for Brexit were, as I suspected all along,  a confused rabble of credulous, self-deluding, elderly dimwits and skinhead internet trolls who had failed their GCSEs, left school at 12 and flunked the police entry exam, but nevertheless thought they had a perfect right to decide the future of the country based on their detailed knowledge of Daily Mail front-page headlines over the previous thirty years.

Asked generally by none-too-scrupulous pollsters why they had voted Leave, of course 99 per cent of them mentioned that there was too many of them furrin immigrants comin’ ‘ere, being housed at the public expense, claiming asylum, spreading diseases, starting-up successful tech companies, propping up the NHS, chewing garlic and generally driving down wages.

Enthusiastically taking up this theme, basing her profound knowledge of the public mind purely on an ‘in-out’ vote with no room whatever for grey areas, Mrs May, the enigmatic Prime Minister, a shoe-in (haha) from leafiest Thameside villaville, announced that ‘regaining control of our borders’ by massively reducing inward migration from friendly EU countries was ‘The Will of the People,’ and vowed to follow the rubric to the letter.

Now we’ve discovered it was another massive voter fraud. A fraud, that is, on the mass of voters.

Because the best estimates we’re getting, now Parliament has lent its sovereign voice to the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, indicate that inward migration ‘might’ fall by 15 per cent or so, only it’s not possible to say how much it might also go up by at the same time, if we have to let in hordes of American refugees fleeing the police state of Der Trumpenführer in exchange for repatriating Ford Motors’ Dagenham plant to Deerborn, Michigan, where they can make American cars great again, wid’ fins an’ all.

(Kindly note that in one of his unread Executive Orders, the Orange Precedent has proposed to close down the agency responsible for consumer protection. Yes, he has. Another of his Execution Orders effectively abolishes any local oversight of animal welfare. What kind of monster have you elected, American baboons, who can’t even sign his own name but just draws a picture of a spring unravelling, and hates dogs, cats and horses?)

I’ve been asking the question of my beloved Spammers, Likers, Followers and those no longer reading (25 yesterday, what’s going on, Man?) for over three years:

“What is the point of replacing a working set of trading arrangements that allow us to operate pretty much anywhere within a safe framework to quality standards we helped to design, with instead a ragbag of hopeful, one-off deals with nasty countries that manufacture dangerous electrical fittings and children’s toys with metal spikes for eyes, who will be out to screw us?” (Something like that, I seldom quote myself accurately.)

Now the Fantastic ‘Dr’ Fox, our Bounceback Brexit Business Baboon and ‘disgraced former defence minister’ (New Statesman) has had to admit, he can’t stop vast numbers of foreign fuckers swarming in from darkest Turkey in the wake of some terrible deal to export fridge-magnets to Ankara.

I warned you about this character. I told you he shows more loyalty to the USA than he does to you, and you wouldn’t fucking listen.

So suck it up, Brexwits.  Migrants is a comin’.

Only you won’t know where from!

Sorry folks, party’s over.

Feeling too elated this weekend? Annoying joyousness of the heart? Spring in your step? Love in the air? Need bringing down to earth with a bump?

http://arctic-news.blogspot.co.uk/

Nice knowing you.

Not Feeling Hungary

I’ve been reading about a little village adrift somewhere out on the Great Gromboolian Plain that has passed new by-laws and put up official-looking road signs banning Muslims and all displays of Islamic culture. According to the BBC report:

“The new local legislation bans the wearing of Muslim dress like the hijab and the call to prayer and also outlaws public displays of affection by gay people. Changes are also being brought in to prevent the building of mosques, despite there being only two Muslims living there currently.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-38881349

Laszlo Toroczkai is the mayor of Asotthalom, “a remote village in the southern Hungarian plains, situated around two hours from the capital Budapest.” He says:

“We primarily welcome people from western Europe – people who wouldn’t like to live in a multicultural society,”  he told the BBC. “We wouldn’t like to attract Muslims to the village.”

We are not told how many gay people there are in the village, or how many people from western Europe it attracts to live there, but it reminds me of the long-running joke in the show Little Britain about Dafydd, the only gay in Llanddewi Brefi (a small village in mid-Wales, small Welsh villages being known for their intolerance of difference, apparently. As an Englishman I’ve occasionally felt that too.)

It’s possible the two Muslims go around holding hands, behaviour between male friends that is totally accepted in Muslim countries and not really at all gay, although it might look it. Or maybe they’re actually buggering one another silly, we aren’t told.

Now, the Hungarian metropolitan elite is dubious about the legality of all this, arguing that it’s racist and against the constitution. But is it? There’s a history of vicious persecution of religious minorities in Hungary going back more than a thousand years.

Hungarians are either a proud warrior race, or a bunch of nasty, intolerant thugs, depending on your point of view. Mr Toroczkai puts it thus:

“We can see large Muslim communities in western Europe that haven’t been able to integrate – and we don’t want to have the same experience here,” he says. “I’d like Europe to belong to Europeans, Asia to belong to Asians and Africa to belong to Africans. Simple as that.” (Ibid.)

As ordered, presumably, in the Bible. There’s clearly not a lot of logic in the idea that people who are barely represented on the demographic map should not be allowed to live somewhere because they can’t integrate in numbers, integration being a two-way process, but ignorance and intolerance make strange bedfellows. I’d have trouble integrating with small Hungarian villagers and I’m white and Western. So would you.

The total Muslim population of Hungary is only 5,500 – a little over zero per cent. The majority polled regard themselves as Hungarian. It wasn’t always so. I’m grateful to muh gudfriend, Ms Vicky Pedia, for the information that – the history is complicated – Muslims first arrived in Hungary in the 10th century, practically before the West existed, and have been there ever since.

Even then, when there were only around 30 Islamic settlements in the whole country, Muslims were persecuted.

“In the 11th century, St. Ladislaus and later Coloman passed laws against the non-Christians (Synod of Szabolcs). These laws subdued Islam by coercing Muslims to eat pork, go to Church and intermarry and to forbid them from celebrating Friday. – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Hungary

Any Muslim caught, basically, not eating pork or offering it to their guests  could be dragged off to Budapest for a dressing-down from the king, while the informant would be granted a share of their property. These rules were pretty extreme and quite similar to laws in other European countries passed against their Jewish minorities. But they kick-started the Hungarian goulash industry.

In the 16th century, large parts of Hungary were under Ottoman (Islamic) rule and apparently integrated. The Ottoman Grand Vizier, Kanijeli Siyavuş Pasha (d. 1602), was a Hungarian-born Muslim. In 1944 Hungary was occupied by Germans. 800,000 Jews were killed before Hungary was ‘liberated’ by the Soviet army. Stalin relentlessly persecuted Muslims, but the Germans courted them as allies and potential supporters in the eradication of the Jews – although hundreds of Muslims in Eastern Europe were accidentally murdered by SS ‘Einsatzgrüppen’ goons who couldn’t tell the difference just from a short-arm inspection, both Muslims and Jews being Semitic peoples practising circumcision.

The collaboration with the Nazis led to reprisals after the war and may very well be partly the cause of modern Islamophobia in the east. (History Today – http://www.historytoday.com/david-motadel/muslims-hitlers-war)

With the arrival through Greece of hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Syrian civil war moving north towards Hungary, and the passing of welcome-in quotas by the Council of Europe, of which Hungary is supposedly a member, Hungarian “Christian” sensitivities have once again been outraged and, encouraged by the re-election of the authoritarian nationalist, Viktor Orban,  racial purity defended on the Right. A fence was hastily thrown up to keep the desperate Syrians out.

But the persecution of religious minorities had already begun again.

In 2011, Hungary passed its notorious  Law on the Right to Freedom of Conscience and Religion, which does not include the right of Muslims to any such freedoms. “It recognizes only 14 religious groups. Islam is not included in this list and Muslims have to apply to get official recognition.” (Wiki.)

“It’s very important for the village to preserve its traditions” says Mr Toroczkai. Presumably he means the traditions of persecution rather than the traditions of actually being an Islamic republic. “If large numbers of Muslims arrived here, they would not be able to integrate into the Christian community.” (I know, you’re making mayonnaise, you put in too much oil…)

To which one can only wonder, why the hell should they ‘integrate’?

What’s so great about Christians, that they go around persecuting minorities of two, for holding hands on a Friday? I suppose it’s only a matter of time before some prissy little postcard village in England or Germany starts putting up signs banning whoever, whatever.

Metropolitan elitists, possibly?

I don’t recall Western countries putting up razor-wire fences when a quarter of a million Hungarians fled from the advancing Red Army tanks during the 1956 Soviet putsch against a peaceful centrist revolt. Britain took in 27 thousand.

Fuck ’em, send ’em back, useless spongers.

(News just in: residents of Leipzig have started putting up a fence unofficially around a refugee resettlement centre.)

Death by Financial Services

Maybe I’ve wrote about this before.

Since my mum died in December, I’ve been on a twin-track strategy of trying to clear her apartment so the new landlords can send in workmen to turn it from a slum created by the previous landlord into a £6,000 a month Central London cash cow, or possibly a multimillion pounds demolish-and-rebuild luxury sale proposition; while at the same time ploughing through boxes and boxes of yellowing tragic papers I’ve lugged back to my tiny sitting-room to try to find anything left of the £130,000 she was apparently worth just 13 years ago so we can all get a break from Brexit and Trump for a couple of weeks.

It’s been pretty dispiriting on both fronts, without even beginning to consider that my amazing mum just died, leaving me a chain-smoking, whisky-drinking, 92-year-old friend short of a Christmas party for two. I’m a rather elderly orphan now, living on my own with just Hunzi and Katz.

That’s a bit of a lifestyle changer, knowing you’re next on the list.

Most dispiriting is that in terms of her finances, her total net worth when she died was probably less than £3,000; the final numbers aren’t in, but we sold pretty well everything; while the £130,000 investment bond side of the financial equation ended up as worth just £102 when you take away fees and redemption penalties. And to think that once upon a yesteryear, after months of battling my stepfather in the High Court, she actually owned two properties in Knightsbridge.

For about five minutes.

£102 is not a lot to show for 70 years of exposure to professional financial advisors, a breed of optimistic middle-aged ex-merchant-banking baboons it behoves every single young person to understand they should avoid and ignore and shun and disparage and mock and throw stones through their chintzy Sunningdale windows and write rude words on their gated compound walls throughout their lives, if they know what’s good for them.

That’s a list of not-to-go-nears, including: bank managers, credit card issuers, solicitors, accountants, tax consultants, Independent Financial Advisors (IFA = I know Fuck-All), Chancellors of the Exchequer, fund managers, stockbrokers, insurance underwriters and actuaries, financial PRs and marketing people, City journalists, company agents, estate agents, property developers, share tipsters, taxi drivers – and, finally, ex-husbands; all of whom have been to a special school where they teach you to exude overwhelming confidence and knowing sophistication without a shred of expertise or knowledge to back it up: a School for Scoundrels (it was a movie. See it.)

And they all get a special dark green polyester tie with a bold crest you’ll come to think of as a perfect target, to wear along with the blazer with the shiny buttons.

Anyone, in short, who affects to be able to predict the financial future with such certainty as to dare to advise you what to do with that £50 windfall you got from Auntie Ethel on your birthday. Don’t listen, they’re lying to you. Spend it now on something you like, anything, before the Financial Services industry gets its sticky mitts on it.

You’d do better giving it away to a rough sleeper. At least it won’t end up being invested by an ‘expert’ in fucking BP shares, like mine did.

There’s a financial instrument known as an ISA, a partly tax-exempt savings scheme with a grudgingly generous upper limit cooked up by some previous government money-baboon to encourage saving and boost bank liquidity. Once upon a time an ISA would generate a few tens of pounds a year in tax-free interest. No longer: the interest rate on a typical ISA is nowadays less than half of one percent and still dropping. Inflation is at two per cent.

But it could still go lower. Would you have known when you created it that you might end up actually paying the bank to hold your £15,000 ISA? Take it out,  mate. Invest it in a campervan, certain types such as the VW Caravanette hold their value remarkably well and may even appreciate over time. (Warning: investments may go down as well as up, as if. You may lose your house if you do not keep up the unaffordable repayments. Terms and conditions apply, naturally.)

Only, don’t take my word for it. I’ve still got the ISA.

(to be continued)

Suffer little children

I’m sorry, some news just makes me mad as hell.

“The private security company G4S is to take over from a children’s charity the contract to provide welfare support to detained families facing deportation, the Home Office is expected to announce on Friday.

“The Home Office has privately insisted that the much-criticised private security company can provide the “same key aspects of welfare support to families” as have been delivered by the current providers, Barnardo’s. – The Guardian, 9/2/17

Is there a reason to replace Barnardo’s, a charity established over 130 years ago with the original object of caring for London’s teeming horde of orphans and rejected children, other than the growing suspicion that the cosy relationship between G4S and the UK Home Office may be a corrupt one, given the inept, not to say brain-dead, management of custodial facility contracts by this blundering poster child for Thatcherite privatisations?

Is there any hope for terrified families in the clutches of these, frankly, thuggish goons? Do I want my tax money to go to this Dickensian bunch of money-grabbing capitalist pigs? (No, I don’t. Let those poor people alone, Tory cunts.)

“Kent police investigating alleged abuse at Medway child prison, run by G4S, made five more arrests. The same day a report by prisons inspectors revealed that a child at another G4S prison, Parc, in Bridgend, Wales, had been strip searched while held under restraint, one guard had been dismissed for using “excessive force”, and children reported being verbally, physically and sexually abused.

“G4S-run Medway secure training centre has been under close scrutiny since BBC Panorama broadcast undercover footage, in January, of children there being subject to physical and emotional abuse.” – Open Democracy UK

http://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/shinealight/carolyne-willow/five-more-arrests-and-another-critical-inspection-report-for-g4s-chil

G4S was founded as The Wackenhut Corporation in 1954, in Coral Gables, Florida, by George Wackenhut and three partners (all are former FBI agents). In 2002, the company was acquired for $570 million by Danish corporation Group 4 Falck (itself then merged to form British company G4S in 2004) (Wikipedia).

The list of their incompetently managed contracts is a long one and includes the standout failure to recruit and train enough security staff for the London Olympics, a contract worth £284 MILLION, so that the army had to be called in to bail them out at the last minute.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controversies_surrounding_G4S

As is the list of individuals whose ‘security’ they have managed to compromise, in too many cases fatally.

Why then does the Home Office keep throwing public money at these tossers to replace existing contractors and formerly stable, properly trained, state-run workforces?

We should be told.

In the meantime we can only guess.