Random Quote. No 43.

English: own picture taken with own camera at ...

English: own picture taken with own camera at Gandhi Museum Delhi5 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always”


MK Ghandi.

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Boston Marathon Bombing

Sorrow, for those killed and injured and their families, is the most important thing to begin this post with.

For investigators, the first 24 to 48 hours after an event such as this, are the most important. For the media they are the most frustrating.

For investigators, keeping an open mind is important, it is all too easy to leave stones unturned if you have guessed a stone turned has uncovered what you seek. And when seeking someone so deluded that they think killing and maiming, children and parents watching a sporting event, could in any way serve any cause, it is of paramount importance to leave NO stone unturned.

For the media, this means they have only the first line, or at best the first paragraph of the story. They have a fine line to tread, between reporting the event, the trauma, fear, courage and tragedy: and slipping into a goulish voyeurism. They must find a balance between, not knowing who the perpetrators are and responding to the general publics own speculations.

And in the mix is always the murky world of politics.


Has some right-wing commentators already complaining of Liberal media bias.

Recently I saw or read dozens of US reports/blogs/opinion pieces, in which the British inclination to ridicule politicians even on the day they died was deplored, Bill O’Reilly springs to mind as an example.

Yet those same people are now happy to try to use the deaths, pain and anguish of people who did not choose the political limelight, to play political games: the phrase ‘double standard’ springs to mind.

From the reporting I have seen Bostonians seem determined not to let the bombs cowe them in any way, and to stand united.

Politicians could prehaps take note.


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Ding dong the witch is dead!

Margaret Thatcher Gallery

Margaret Thatcher (Photo credit: Loco Steve)



Inevitably after a fairly long time without blogging, the theme that has returned me to my keyboard is the death of Margaret Thatcher.


Now, up front I have to note that as a youngster in the late 70’s and early 1980’s not only did I vote for her, but as a member of my local conservative party I actively campaigned on her behalf. I was, as the saying goes a true believer. As was my father who aquired the nickname ‘maggies man’ where he worked, and as was my mother the daughter of a company director, and deputy head of a private school


I bought it all: the unions were destroying the country, people on benefits were scroungers, if someone worked hard they would be successfull, etc, etc.


But something changed for me, in about 1985.


It wasn’t a moment in history, or a policy advocated by the conservatives, I simply met someone who was well informed who argued with me.   Essentially I was challenged to ask questions. And slowly over a few months, my ardent support of Thatcher and her policies crumbled.


Factually, Thatcher did not cut the subsidies which were propping up the mining, steel and manufacturing industries, they were transfered to support banking and financial services, and communities based on the heavy industries left to fend for themselves. Thatchers government was spending if anything a little more on subsidies at the end of her career as government was at the beginning, except they were being paid to rich areas, rather than poor ones.


Factually, Thatcher fought and won the Falklands war, but also supported Pinochet, who had usurped a democratically elected president, and worse still funded and armed the Khmer Rouge in exile.


And all those years ago this is what convinced me Thatcher was not, and never had been worthy of my support, whatever her right hand appeared to be doing, often her left was doing the opposite.


If she had been a stage magician, she really would have cut her assistant in half, but convinced you she hadn’t, by parading an identical twin through the blood of the slain sibling.


I noticed a phrase I liked recently concerning the “inhabitants of Thatcherland”, which seemed to sum up those who continue to buy into her narrative. Touting phrases like “there was no other way”, “Thatcher saved Britain”, ect. Thatcherland, exists only in the minds of the followers, a magical world in which there is only ever one solution to a problem, only ever one opposing argument, where bad things “we do” can be ignored, and in all the intervening time nothing new has been learned.


The backwash of her death seems to have thrown up similar duplicity in todays conservatives. Some reporting noted, it had been agreed that parliament would not be recalled in the event of her death, yet Cameron did so.


Its worth asking, were the unions too strong before Thatcher? And they probably were, but the really odd thing is that Thatchers Policy and Legislation put in to deal with the problem, were almost identical to those proposed by the Labour party of the time.


A song by writers persecuted in the US for their Socialist views, Arlen and Harburg, almost made it to no 1 in the British Charts (The Scots and Welsh would have had it as no 1, only south east England prefered the forgettable track that actually made it.) Yet Ding Dong the Witch is Dead, was ‘banned with spin’ from radio 1’s chart show. Only a small section played with a ‘news report’ to ‘explain’ why it was in the chart. Following Newsnight on Saville, misreporting other abuse scandals, and the sycophantic reporting on Thatchers death, the BBC is unfortunately beginning to look more like a state broadcaster than it ever has.


The same thing seems to be happening with Thatchers Funeral: Its not a ‘state funeral’, but it is in central london, with full military honours, and a parade through the city. With her body lying ‘not in state’ in the palace of Westminster. A ‘State funeral with spin’.


Somehow this seems ironically appropriate, for the politician, who didn’t ban homosexuality, or ban plays about homosexuality, but stopped any public organisation, e.g. schools, councils ect, from saying or supporting anything which showed homosexuality in a positive way. A ‘ban with spin’.


The cry of those living in ‘Thatcherland’ has been that public displays despising Thatcher, are ‘disrespectful’. Yet in a time of austerity £10 million, ($16 million €12 million) spent on her funeral is more than the annual budget to tackle domestic violence in the UK, some would say that is disrespectful of people (particularly but not exclusively women) trapped in abusive relationships.


It has been in my mind for some time that the political right, seems to imagine that if they feel angry, or disgusted, or saddened by something, then everyone else should change what they think, say, feel and do to accommodate this. Comments typical of this mind set I have encountered, include the ‘ashamed to be British’ soundbite.


Well the reaction to Thatchers death, has not made me ashamed to be British, it has made me inordinantly proud to be British. When Reagan died, is was cringeworthy the way the US lauded him, even Tricky Dicky Nixon, got treated with kid gloves when he died. Which seems fundamentally hypocrytical to me.


The word ‘respect’ has been bandied about by the inhabitants of Thatcherland, as if holding a political office, or even just being a politician demands respect. There might be ordinary respect for persons, but beyond that respect has to be earned. And I reserve the right to withold my respect where I feel it has not been earned. Thatcher did not earn respect, she conned it out of people with slight of hand.


Anyone choosing to become a politician should not expect respect.


But of course if someone wants to respect a politician, they are free to do so, my personal choice is Tony Benn, purely on the basis that he tapes all contact with the media, and subsequently never gets misquoted.


I can’t help thinking that the real objection of the inhabitants of Thatcherland is that those expressing ‘disrespect’, won’t just go along with their favoured narrative. It was supposed to be all old news, the objectors long defeated, the battles all won, a heroine cast in bronse never to be torn down. They thought vainly that a period of mourning would let the story be told their way without objection, but the British decided this would be a lie.


What will happen at the funeral? Frankly I don’t know. I suspect ‘Ding Dong the witch is dead” will be chanted by some during periods of silence, some will turn their backs on the Hearse as it passes. Will it be dramatic, possibly possibly not. The Boston Marathon Bombs change things a little as peolles minds turn to that tragedy.


Does it matter? Probably not at this point, the other stories of ‘Thatchers reign’ are back in the mix, the division is out in the open not hidden by the eulogies of the establishment. The myth of ‘consensus’, the ‘spell’ is broken.


All in all, in the end, “Ding dong the witch is dead” turns out to be a wholey appropriate epitaph for Thatcher.


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A blogger returns

Ok I haven’t posted in quite a while. I found I had got to a point where I had too much to think about, and not enough constructive things to say, and too much real life to deal with to put enough effort into writing anything I thought I might want to read.

If I wouldn’t want to read it I’m sure not many other people would either.

But, now I think I might be able to come up with a few helpful things.

So as they say, ‘watch this space’



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Random Quote. No 42.

Wilson appointed Louis Brandeis, the first Jew...

Louis Brandeis: Supreme Court Associate Justice 1916 - 1939

We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.

Louis D. Brandeis

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