Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Three Cheers for the Daily Telegraph (and Guido Fawkes!)

Well, I don't write much for the Daily Telegraph so I can't be accused of being a toady and I certainly don't agree with many of their editorial positions.

But bravo to the paper for spilling the beans over MPs expenses. It would have been easy for the Telegraph, which supports the Conservatives, merely to have published the details of Labour MPs expenses. But to their credit they've turned their guns on the Tories too. The Daily Telegraph has done the British public a great service, unlike The Times which has throughout taken a much softer, elitist line. (is it any wonder given the unpopular editorial positions it is taking at present that the sales of The Times are now down to a paltry 600,000 a day and the paper is losing around £1m a week ?)

Bravo too to the blogger Guido Fawkes, who has also played a blinder on this issue.

I've long maintained that the real divide in British politics is not between Labour and Conservative, but between the MPs and the rest of us. After the latest revelations does anyone out there disagree?

Public contempt for British parliamentarians- of all parties- is at an all time high.

So what's the answer for those who feel totally disgusted with the behaviour of our elected representatives and who want something very different?

Watch this space for some suggestions.


Anonymous said...

Isn't the reason why you don't write for the Telegraph that you got caught out telling them things that weren't true?

Neil Clark said...
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Neil Clark said...

Wow, the Oliver Kammite trolls are really upset by my last blog post, aren't they! How dare that dreadful Neil Clark highlight the fact that Stephen Pollard didn't even get the name of the Pope right in a Times article!

In answer to your question: Er, no.

Number of Daily Telegraph articles by Neil Clark prior to my critical Dec 2005 review of 'The Left-Wing Case for a Neo-Conservative Policy' by Oliver Kamm: 1

Number of Daily Telegraph articles by Neil Clark after December 2005:3

So after the review was published I went from being a very, very occasional contributor to the DT to being just a very occasional contributor to the DT.

So sorry to disappoint you and disprove your thesis.

any readers not knowing the background to 'anonymous' and his comments:

or, if you're interested in reading more about an obsessional three and a half campaign of smears and attacks by an embittered writer against the journalist who critically reviewed his book, just type the name 'oliver kamm' into this blog's search engine

olching said...

I'm not quite as jubilant, Neil. For sure, the crooked MPs need to be punished, but I am rather less enthusiastic at the thought of the media (and/or twats like Guido Fawkes) dictating politics and policy. There's something deeply undemocratic in the pillorying of parliamentary democracy because it's being done an utterly corrupt and decadent class, namely the (mainstream) media.

There is something distasteful about well-fed hacks (who themselves benefit from dodgy-ish claims processes) acting as moral arbiters (and in the end as catalysts of moral outrage and emotions).

This is of course separate from the issue of MP crookedness.

Hope all is well.

jock mctrousers said...

The answer is of course: simultaneous spontaneous worldwide workers revolution with guidance from a world-wide Leninist revolutionary vanguard party. Just like that! Nothing else will do.

Neil Clark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neil Clark said...

hi olching: the noteworthy point is which media outlet is taking the softest line on the politicos- namely The Times.
what the neocons really fear is good old fashioned populist campaign against politicians- they are very happy with the present system where they can wiled maximum influence.

anonymous: you're really getting flustered today aren't you! I've lost count of the number of emails I've received from you urging that I respond to the allegations of a certain leader writer of a very serious newspaper.

Perhaps while you're there you'd like to comment on an observation left by PJD on yesterday's post regarding the fiasco of Stephen Pollard's article on The Pope in the Times:

Interesting, if you search for "Thomas Ratzinger" on Google it comes up with quite a few hits. It appears this misnaming of the pontiff stems articles about a BBC documentary in 2006 which was about him allegedly cover up child abuse by priests while he was a Bishop.

It makes you wonder where Pollard had copied this error from as his article doesn't mention child abuse.

where do YOU think Mr Pollard got the name of 'Thomas Ratzinger' from, anonymous? Any suggestions?

And while you're there, here's something else you might like to pass comment on.

You seem to be a huge fan of a certain Times leader writer Oliver Kamm and his writings on Kosovo.

Do you have any comment to make that in December 2007, at the same time he was writing on Kosovo, praising the 1999 NATO war against Milosevic, the financial services company he co-founded bought a sizeable number of shares in the company whose subsidiary, Alferon Management owned the privatised Ferronickeli nickel complex in Kosovo, which had been sold off in controversial circumstances. Mr Kamm has to my knowledge never mentioned this business transaction of the company he was employed by in any of his writings on Kosovo.

Any comments on the above, anonymous?

here's the sources:

and to whet your appetite:
The notification relates to persons connected with Mehmet Dalman, namely BSI SA and WMG Blixen Master Fund Limited (funds under management of WMG Advisors LLP)
The notification is in respect of the holdings of BSI SA and WMG Blixen Master Fund Limited (funds under management of WMG Advisors LLP) 6. Description of shares (including class), debentures or derivatives or financial instruments relating to shares 390,000 Ordinary Shares (a percentage of which are held on swap) 7. Name of registered shareholders(s) and, if more than one, the number of shares held by each of them BSI SA, which has an interest in 140,000 Ordinary Shares. WMG Blixen Master Fund Limited, which has an interest in 250,000 Ordinary Shares.

Neil Craig said...

Between MPs, quangoists, windmi8llers & all government servants making a living off the state without producing anything
excluding those concerned with drainage, medicine, roads, housing, education, viniculture, and any others contributing to the welfare of Jews of both sexes and hermaphrodites

olching said...

Yes, Neil, but my point is that the Barclay Bros (and other media outlets) are interested not in the substance of the matter (expenses), but in undermining parliamentary democracy to such an extent that we move from parliamentary democracy to a media-democracy (and indeed, some might argue we already live in such a state). It's of course a dangerous state of affairs to find ourselves in.

Essentially the media are not so much attacking politicians, but (by attacking politicians) attempting to gain an ever-growing influence over the way policy and public opinion moves. The irony that it is the Barclay Bros (as bankers!) that are leading the way is lost in all this frenzy.

I'm not saying excuse the crooked politicians; I'm just saying we should be careful with whom we get into bed.

Anonymous said...

Neil: why do you hide this very interesting story about Kamm's hedge fund and its transactions in the comments sections of a post?
Don't you think a national newspaper might be interested?

At the very least you should make it a blog post on its own. Kamm is widely loathed but people think the positions he takes regarding Serbia and Kosovo are motivated by hatred of Serbs. I don't think anyone is aware that his hedge fund actually made money out of Kosovo privatisations.

Roland Hulme said...

"I've long maintained that the real divide in British politics is not between Labour and Conservative, but between the MPs and the rest of us."

Couldn't agree with you more. Well done for saying it like it is.

jock mctrousers said...

I agree with anon's last post - that's good stuff Neil. You got him bang to rights. Smite him good and proper.

DBC Reed said...

The fears for democracy being hi-jacked by the media are interesting but the fact is that we don't really have much parliamentary democracy.We have representatives of the notion of Property owning democracy in all parties and no opposition.There is not a political party saying that house prices should come down and stay down.All the media supports the idea of spreading homeownership as widely as possible
and talks of "fears" when house prices dip and "hope" when they rise even farther beyond affordability .They do not treat wage inflation so indulgently.
The left-right issue is just a play fight that conceals the fact that politicians wish to stay in power by shoveling unearned,untaxed capital gains towards the homeowning majority that decides elections.That policians get more money out of housing fiddles than they deserve is appriopriate when so many voters do the same with"liar loans" etc.

olching said...

DBC, I don't disagree with you regarding the notion of political choice. Neither do I really disagree with Neil, but I am injecting some much needed pessimism cum realism into this media-driven frenzy.

As I said, we should be keeping a watchful eye on those doing the drumming.

Roland Hulme said...

One day a florist goes to a barber for a haircut. After the cut he asked about his bill and the barber replies, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.' The florist was pleased and left the shop.

When the barber goes to open his shop the next morning there is a 'thank you' card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.

Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replies, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.' The cop is happy and leaves the shop.

The next morning when the barber goes to open up there is a 'thank you' card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.

Later that day, a college professor comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replies, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.' The professor is very happy and leaves the shop.

The next morning when the barber opens his shop, there is a 'thank you' card and a dozen different books, such as 'How to Improve Your Business' and 'Becoming More Successful.'

Then, a Member of Parliament comes in for a haircut, and when he goes to pay his bill the barber again replies, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.' The Member of Parliament is very happy and leaves the shop.

The next morning when the barber goes to open up, there are a dozen Members of Parliament lined up waiting for a free haircut.

And that, my friends, illustrates the fundamental difference between the citizens of our country and the Members of Parliament.

Undergroundman said...

Seumas Milne seems to disagree with Neil Clark here,

'It's hard, however, not to agree with the actor Stephen Fry, that the blizzard of petty corruption revelations, orchestrated by a newspaper whose owners live in tax exile in the Channel Islands, has got out of hand. We shouldn't confuse wisteria claims, he suggested, with "what politicians get really wrong, things like wars, things where people die".

Milne is wrong because he fits the facts to the prescriptions of the creed no less than neoconservatives do:he want to have things both ways because he still hopes to be able to influence New Labour.

Failing to realise how New Labour's Leninist Party structure, emphasis on propaganda,etc are inherited from Communism and the past involvement of New Labour grandees in radical student politics and the creation of professional party

In the same Guardian piece he sees the petty corruption as a sign of New Labour being 'ideology lite' whilst elsewhere criticising The Party for being in thrall to neoliberal dogma.

As usual he wants things both ways when it suits his 'credibility' as a militant striking populist chords with the disenchanted as he hasn't really had much else to do since the end of the proletarian struggle and the class war following the defeat of the Miner's Strike and the demise of the Soviet Union.

Milne is on the right lines though about one thing.

The expenses scandal combined with the more general drift towards a one party Britain, however, is indicative of a more general rot, the predominance of money power, and the parasitical values of a political rentier class.

How to understand the nature of the reaction to it is difficult.

Yet Olching is partly right that politics could split into two anti-political camps, a media driven populism that undermines politics and makes politicians the servant of neoliberals or else the rabid nationalism and xenophobia of the BNP.

But this is too stark a dichotomy. Unfortunately, it lends itself precisely the media framing strategy that can allow Denis McShane to delegitimise resistance against the elite and being against too strong powers for the EU as 'far right'.

This is the crucial mistake Seumas Milne makes too. New Labour is not 'ideology lite' but neoliberal and democratic centralist. If anything it is like most leftist parties in Central Europe such as Hungary's MSZP wholly 'Market Leninist'

However, to a certain extent the two trends of sinister media and money power and populism are already bound together. People forget James Goldsmith's Party during the 1997 general election. They forget charismatic permatanned creeps like Robert Kilroy Silk and Veritas.

Moreover UKIP are neoliberal and Atlanticist, valuing Thatcher's devotion to the special relationship and fatuous notions of an 'Anglosphere' put forward by neoconservatives such as Paul Johnson but without the EU or what they regards as 'statist' continental 'social democracy'.

Not only is New Labour ideological, so too is the BNP which might be 'toxic' but is far from lacking in ideology. Milne thinks ideological purity on the left e.g as in Communism is real politics whilst on the right it is anti-politics but this is nonsense.

The ideological can be very anti-political as it obvious with the history of Communist and Fascist totalitarianism and as is evident with the neoliberal globalism pursued by fervently pro-liberal left elites and many in New Labour and European ruling parties like Hungary's MSZP.

Zizek calls these elites 'liberal communists', partly because as a 'real' Leninist he detests the manner in which internationalism has been conscripted to serve global capitalism and to reduce the revolutionary truth project to 'inauthenticity'.

Yet Zizek has a point when he writes about,

"Nietzsche's old opposition between active and passive nihilism. Active nihilism, in the sense of wanting nothing itself, is this active self-destruction which would be precisely the passion of the real - the idea that, in order to live fully and authentically, you must engage in self-destruction. On the other hand, there is passive nihilism, what Nietzsche called 'The last man' - just living a stupid, self-satisfied life without great passions".

The policy of massive private debt fuelled consumerism depends upon it to dampen down citizens to passive consumers nihilistically abdicating all responsibility for themselves and for others because they 'just wanna be happy' and because they cannot 'do' anything about the world.

For the 'liberal communists', however, the nihilism into which Europe has descended can only be transcended by the abstract universalism of the global crusade to export Human Rights and market democracies, by military force if necessary.

Though ostensibly political, the aim is anti-political in that it is Utopian, a legacy of the fact so many ex-Trotskyists and radicals like Denis MacShane, Adam Michnik and Gyorgy Konrad have supported the policy of exporting regime change in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The idea behind it is the cynical degeneration of revolutionary hopes: what the people really want is not nationalism and religion but consumerism, hamburgers, shopping malls, Ipods and mobile phones, and an End to History.

Yet whilst liberal communists hope for this New World Order, they advocate selective support for the nationalism of victim nations like the Kosovans or the Georgians because it fits in with the geopolitical designs of US global hegemony, the benign overseer of global revolutionary democratic change.

Nationalism of the sort that challenges this New World Order is Bad, that which supports it or legitimises it is Good. The only basis for political morality has become expediency, whether it advances or not the inelectable triumph of large power blocs.

That's as true of UKIP supporting the USA as it is of New Labour trying to create an Atlanticist power bloc within Europe. Even the BNP has a pan European notion of 'the right to difference' and that's what multiculturalism really ought to mean.

The simple truth is that New Labour is both neoliberalism and toxic anti-politics.

The Third Way is a term first used by Mussolini and in Hegelian terms New Labour has always tried to transcend left and right and is to be equated with neither but some new 'post ideological' politics.

This drivel was accepted by craven left liberals who failed to understand the media driven nature of politics back in 1997 and how dangerous the messianic personality cult of Tony Blair was and how reminiscent of totalitarian politics it was.

The fallout will be nasty as disenfranchised people will turn to the far right because they want to break out from 'political correctness', being sold foreign wars as progress and that New Labour represents a sinister caste
of leftists intent on destroying Britain.

That's where the BNP come in.Even if they won't gain much political power they can frighten the 'liberal Metropolitan elite' into shifting the political agenda in their direction, at least in borrowing its rhetoric to justify the projection of British power through Europe and the alliance with the USA abroad in controlling and 'reforming' oil rich nations in Muslim lands through 'regime change'.

Far from being not 'ideological' as Milne asserts, the BNP is based on Italian ideas of the Third Position and defending Europe from decadence, global corporations, Islamists and Muslim migrants connived at by the globalist Trotskyist elites.

That challenge can be muted by mainstrean parties, whether New Labour of the New Conservatives,defending Europe against what Micheal Gove calls the 'seamless totalitarian threat of Islamism, the unity of the enemy within with the enemy without.

Blair was sensitive to the idea Britain was decadent ( mostly because it's true )and in future years we will see more warlike rhetoric about protecting Britain and Europe from those who do not share 'our core values'i.e Muslims as a pretext for the resource wars and expansion of NATO into Central Asia.

Consumerism could, as JG Ballard said, lead to a kind of Fascism. A scenario not entirely dissimilar to the Britain portrayed in the film Children of Men.

frunobulax said...

Kamm is widely loathed but people think the positions he takes regarding Serbia and Kosovo are motivated by hatred of Serbs. I don't think anyone is aware that his hedge fund actually made money out of Kosovo privatisations.Perhaps. Though I suspect this was just a little windfall for OK. Kamm has various reasons to periodically stoke-up a bit of Serbophobia. Not least he claims Marko Attila Hoare and Ed Vulliamy as chums. And, of course, the bombing of Serbia was the "good war" that paved the way for later escapades.

neil craig said...

Roland my guess is that you made up that story.

Undergroundman said...

Good God. This 'debate' could not be made up.

There is something about it that reminds me of the ubermensch discussion in the film Rope, based on Patrick Hamilton's popular play in the 40s.

The 'real' Conservative is nothing of the sort. Merely a foil for the new conservatives who are the al dominant slimy talkers who just know where history is going to and why they are in control of it.

Such people are, needless to say, obssesive competitive dolts . But they really do fascinate me in a morbid sense.

Kamm sounds strangulated in his enunciation of his politics,far more intelligent than the other two halfwits.

Murray sounds like the kind of tedious lower middle class twat from somewhere like Reading who espouses opinions about politics like some thick headed student radical who uses tired slogans like 'Turn Right' or 'Right Choice'

Undergroundman said...

"You would have to have made the equation that that the liberation of Iraq was not worth a hundred and twenty soldiers".

Opines Douglas Murray to the 'real' conservative who is a set up as a gibbering wimp in this interview.

Should this generation win out, there is no future.

Kamm 's justification for invading Iraq on a hypothetical basis is surreal is surreal.