Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The death of the Exmoor Emperor

Britain’s largest wild animal- a truly magnificent beast- killed by a trophy hunter. Can you understand the mentality of the person who did this? No, me neither.

More on this appalling story here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Julia Gillard is a warmonger

This piece, which I co-wrote with Tom Switzer, appears in The Spectator Australia.

And it’s one, two, three, what are we fighting for?

It’s 45 years since Country Joe McDonald penned his classic anti-Vietnam war protest song ‘I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die’. It’s high time the record was reissued and a copy got sent to Julia Gillard, who thinks Australia should spend another decade fighting a war that makes even less sense than the one which so enraged Country Joe and his fellow peaceniks back in the Sixties.

For while US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron are looking for the quickest way out of the Afghan quagmire, Australia’s former secretary of the Socialist Forum can only promise us yet another decade of bloodshed. When you have an Australian Labor Prime Minister who’s more keen on a certain war than the leaders of Britain and the US, you know you’re living in very strange times.

You can read the whole article here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wayne Rooney's world: petulant, selfish and arrogant

Neil Clark: To pull this stunt in a week when half a million people face losing their jobs is obscene.

This piece of mine appears in the First Post.

The 1992 film Wayne's World featured a heavy metal enthusiast who broadcasts shows from the basement of his parent's house. The 2010 version is not so endearing. It features an arrogant, loutish and overpaid footballer who threatens to leave the club which has made him into a world star - until they agree to sign him up to a new, improved five-year contract.

You can read the whole of the piece here.
UPDATE: Last night I was on Stephen Nolan's BBC Radio 5 Live programme debating the subject of Wayne Rooney's greed and the obscene salaries paid to a tiny few under the 'free market' system, with David Myddelton of the uber-Thatcherite think-tank the IEA. You can listen to the debate here.
Just click on the link to the 23rd October programme- the discussion comes at 1hour, 21.30 minutes in.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Five Years on- and a victory to celebrate

Apologies for the lack of blog posts in last few weeks- normal autumn/winter service will be resumed very shortly.

This month sees this blog reach its fifth anniversary. Since October 2005 there have been 1,685 posts and I hope you’ve enjoyed at least a few of them. Thanks for reading this far- and I hope you’ll stay around for the next five years.

Since 2005, we’ve seen the Iraq war totally discredited and the neocon/liberal imperialist warmongering project derailed.

The President of the United States thinks the Iraq war was wrong. So too does the new leader of the British party which led the country into war. And Britain’s Deputy PM says it was illegal- which of course it was. Meanwhile it was David Miliband’s support for the Iraq war- and the fact that Blair and Mandelson were backing him- which destroyed his chances of becoming Labour leader.

There’s been a lot of bad news this week about government cuts (more on them later), but there’s one piece of news that should make all of us on the anti-war side happy: the cuts in UK military spending and what they mean in practice.

The government has decided that Britain will no longer be able to mount military operations on the scale of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the deployment in Afghanistan's Helmand province…

Cameron's announcement marks the end of Tony Blair's concept of "liberal interventionism", first set out in his 1999 Chicago speech during the Kosovo crisis.

Read those two paragraphs again and savour them.

There are still many important battles to be fought- over public ownership and defending the NHS and the welfare state-but one important battle has been won.

‘Liberal interventionism’ is dead.

As a certain character in a 1970s sitcom would have put it: Oh Dear. How Sad. Never Mind.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

An Open Letter to Ed Miliband

This column of mine appears in the Morning Star. 
It's also posted over at the CPO website.

Dear Ed - if I may -

Congratulations on winning the contest for Labour leadership.

In your leadership campaign you presented yourself as the candidate for change. You've said that new Labour is "dead" and that a new generation has now taken over.

But in order to convince those thousands of former Labour members and voters (myself included), that the party really has changed from the days of Blair and Brown and will once again put the interests of people before capital, mere words will not be enough.

Nothing could demonstrate better that a clean break has been made with the new Labour years, than for the Labour Party once again to embrace public ownership.