Jump to content


Supreme Elitists
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Gaudet

  1. and the cherry on top of the Starmershite cake Labour leader? As if.
  2. Keir Starmer’s stance on rail strikes raises questions over strategy In a gritty promotional video for his 2020 Labour leadership bid, Keir Starmer called himself a “proud trade unionist” who had worked with unions “all my life”, including as a legal observer on the picket line in Wapping when Rupert Murdoch took on the print unions. As RMT members prepared to walk out on the first of three days of industrial action this week, however, Starmer made clear not only that he would not be observing this particular industrial dispute at close quarters - but he expected his frontbench team to stay away, too. The Conservatives have spent weeks somewhat desperately attempting to blame Starmer for the strikes despite the fact that the RMT is not affiliated to Labour, and Starmer himself had said he did not want the action to go ahead. Banning even the most junior frontbenchers from attending their local picket line, in a memo on Monday, appeared to be an attempt to prevent the Tories gaining any more ammunition for these attacks. Yet the main impact of Starmer’s diktat was to spark a public row with frontbench colleagues, just as Labour is keen to present itself as the party of government. At least four junior frontbenchers defied the leader’s instructions and proudly tweeted pictures of themselves alongside RMT members with their flags and banners on Tuesday morning. Starmer will now have to decide whether to discipline them – though Labour sources say no final decision will be made until the weekend. Labour’s Scottish leader, Anas Sarwar, handpicked by Starmer for the role when his Corbynite predecessor, Richard Leonard, was ousted, took a different approach, visiting striking rail workers to show solidarity while stressing he blamed the government for failing to resolve the dispute. Starmer’s allies are bullish: they believe picking a fight with the party’s leftwingers will remind the public that he is very different to his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, and underline the fact that Starmer’s Labour looks “outwards, not inwards”. And neither do they mind a war of words with leftwing union leaders such as Unite’s Sharon Graham, who has already cut back financial contributions to the party as she focuses more on winning battles in the workplace than at the ballot box. Advertisement Yet many MPs privately expressed concern about the picket line ban. Three of those the Guardian spoke to, from different wings of the party, described it as “imbecilic”, “pointless” and “dumb”. Some raised questions on ideological grounds because it appeared to signal that Starmer is distancing himself from the trade unions that play such a key role in Labour’s past and present. That appeared to contrast with his prospectus for the Labour leadership, in which he promised to “work shoulder to shoulder with trade unions to stand up for working people”. Indeed, Labour voters tend to support the action being taken by the RMT. A YouGov poll carried out this week showed 45% of the public were against the RMT strike, with 37% in favour. But among Labour voters, 65% were in favour, and 18% opposed. Other MPs questioned whether Starmer had merely played into the Conservatives’ hands, by stoking an internecine row – and drawing more attention than necessary to the Labour MPs who did attend picket lines.Sign up to First Edition, our free daily newsletter – every weekday morning at 7am BST It is also unclear how Starmer will respond if there are further strikes later in the year involving unions affiliated to Labour, such as Unison, whose members – nurses, for example – may evoke more public sympathy than rail workers. Frustrated MPs have long complained they are unsure what Starmer stands for – what his political project is. After Tuesday’s’ fresh outbreak of internal tension, some fear a worryingly large part of it is about drawing dividing lines within his own party. Keir Starmer’s stance on rail strikes raises questions over strategy | Labour | The Guardian Labour civil war looms as frontbenchers defy Keir Starmer to join picket lines Party leader accused of ‘hiding’ over crippling rail strikes as top MPs break ranks to support transport workers Labour civil war looms as frontbenchers defy Keir Starmer to join picket lines (telegraph.co.uk)
  3. Thousands march in London over cost of living crisis Thousands march in London over cost of living crisis (msn.com) Workers have lost an average of almost £20,000 in cumulative earnings since 2008 because pay has not kept pace with inflation, the TUC said, adding that it was the biggest loss of “real wages” since the 1830s.
  4. How we ended up with such a stupid generation of leaders, from Johnson and Biden to Putin and Xi Jinping How we ended up with such a stupid generation of leaders, from Johnson and Biden to Putin and Xi Jinping (msn.com) The role of stupidity in determining the course of history is often underestimated by historians. They neglect it as too crude and shallow a factor to be the cause of crucial events, preferring to unearth more sophisticated and intellectually respectable explanations. Calling a leader “a fool” may be pervasive as abuse, but is seldom accepted as the underlying reason for a calamitous decision. This is surely a mistake. “Never lose your sense of the superficial,” said the newspaper publisher Lord Northcliffe and his advice applies as much to historic trends as it does to daily news. Yet pundits like to feel that they are digging deeper than a personal failing, and seldom focus on plain and simple stupidity as the reason why leaders make unforced errors. This kind of individual inadequacy is not equally present in all periods and it may be that in some eras the scope for chronic blunderers to do damage is higher than in others. It was certainly high in 1914, for instance, when dim-witted leaders such as Kaiser Wilhelm 11 in Germany, Tsar Nicholas 11 in Russia and the Austro-Hungarian monarchy were making the decisive moves leading to a European war that more intelligent leaders might have avoided as being much against their interests and putting at risk the future of their regimes. We may now have entered a similar period when powerful political leaders are more foolish and incapable of coping with crises than their predecessors. Looking at just the events of the last 12 months, I have drawn up a league table of actions by four national leaders which suggests that they are a bigger fool than anybody had imagined. The most disastrous decision in Russian history Vladimir Putin inevitably comes first because on 24 February he took the disastrous decision to invade Ukraine, having convinced himself that a Russian army of inadequate size would easily topple the government in Kyiv and the Ukrainian army would meekly surrender. Experts explain this piece of idiocy by pointing to Putin’s isolation in the Kremlin, reliance on ill-informed advisors who were really servile courtiers, and a genuine fear that the moment was passing when Russia could stop Ukraine moving into the orbit of the Nato countries. After spending 22 years in power, the Russian leader suffered from arrogance and over-confidence in his own judgement, but a more intelligent man might not have lost his grip on reality and taken what will probably be remembered as the most disastrous decision in Russian history. Biden’s lack of foresight Joe Biden’s foolishness is of a different kind and mostly centres on his making vague and over-optimistic promises to produce results that he cannot deliver. He gives the impression that the White House can solve problems that are at least partly outside its control, such as the calamitous American withdrawal from Afghanistan, though this was largely the consequence of Donald Trump’s deal with the Taliban in 2020 to withdraw US support from the Kabul Government. It was the US military who mishandled the details of the retreat, but it was Biden who took the blame because he had not foreseen the rout that was likely to happen on the ground in front of the television cameras. This habit of over-promising and under-performing is equally true of Biden’s domestic agenda, giving American voters an impression of feebleness and ineffectuality. In the Ukraine war, there is a strange indecisiveness about whether Biden wants the war to end with the successful defence of Ukraine or the total defeat of Russia. On top of this there is an inability to calculate how far economic sanctions against Russia will shape the US politics. Thus the administration was this week scrabbling to prevent the Europeans stopping the insurance of tankers carrying Russian crude, a measure that will provoke a rise in the price of oil and further doom Democratic Party hopes of holding either House of Congress in the midterm elections. Xi Jinping became a victim of his own success China succeeded in suppressing the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic with well organised lockdowns, but then failed to use the time gained to vaccinate the population. Repeated lockdowns are now squeezing the economy and reducing growth without bringing an end to the pandemic any nearer. As with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, the weakness of lockdowns compared to mass vaccination as a means of controlling the Covid-19 virus should have been obvious to Xi Jinping, but he became the victim of his government’s initial success in combatting the pandemic which Beijing is trying to repeat in different circumstances. As for Britain, commentators slide away from describing Boris Johnson as a nincompoop, instead praising or denouncing his political skills in surviving the shambolic consequences of his years in office. In reality, all the nationalist leaders in the world, from Trump to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have stuck like limpets to their office by fair means or foul. The foolishness of slogans replacing policies But at the heart of the Johnson years in Downing Street there is a profound foolishness with slogans replacing policies, contempt for legality and a shambolic approach to government. Targeting the Northern Ireland protocol and sending asylum seekers to Rwanda are aimed at recreating the old pro-Brexit coalition in which English nationalism combines with anti-immigrant feeling. This is a government that feeds off crises of its own making which it hopes will divert attention from its latest scandal and failure. Raw gobbets of nostalgia are served up to stimulate memories of supposedly better times, but over-all there is a lack of seriousness exemplified by Johnson himself and his cabinet of mediocrities, opportunists and fanatics. Some may say that those who are pilloried as stupid are simply acting in their own selfish interests, but this is demonstrably not true of Putin, Biden and Xi Jinping. A more convincing argument is that the perception that leaders today are of lower quality is a mirage; their predecessors were just as bad, but could conceal their incompetence because they did not have to take such weighty decisions. It may also be that we live in a period, like that before the First World War, when leaders commonly beat the nationalist drum and foolishly welcome unwinnable conflict at home and abroad as a way of securing their own grip on power. But one should not lose sight of the simple notion that there are a lot of stupid leaders in the world who are all the more dangerous because they cannot make a sensible decision, even in their own interests. This was true of Saddam Hussein – in some ways an intelligent thug and in others a complete idiot – who launched wars against Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990 that any child shining shoes in the streets of central Baghdad could have told him would bring disaster and kill millions. As a German politician remarked of an earlier conflict, it is “difficult to know where the stupidity ends and the crime begins.” Further thoughts I have always been interested in pure stupidity in history, believing it to be a quality that intelligent people shy away from and underrate, often thinking that this is too crass and simple-minded an explanation for turning points in history. But great events do not necessarily have profound causes. I think I first got the idea from my father Claud Cockburn who made this point about the dangerous stupidity of the Nazis about whom he knew a lot, having fled Berlin a day before Hitler became German Chancellor on 30 January 1933. He moved to London where he started up an anti-fascist newsletter called The Week six weeks later. This little publication flourished and in time Claud came to be regarded as the centre of all anti-Nazi intrigue in London by the German ambassador Joachim von Ribbentrop who became Hitler’s Foreign Minister in 1938. Claud wrote that “the fact that he thought so [that Claud was the centre of anti-Nazi opposition]– that he could be such a fool as to think so – helped to give me a measure of the Third Reich which could employ such an ambassador […] What was terrifying about this man was that he was a damn fool – and could only have been employed by a regime of basically damn fools, who could blow up half the world out of sheer stupidity.” Not that Claud needed further evidence about the evils of the Nazis, which he had witnessed first hand in Germany. As for their ambassador in London, he wrote that “a satisfactory thing about Herr von Ribbentrop was that you did not have to waste time wondering whether there was some latent streak of good in him somewhere. He was all of a piece – and silly into the bargain.” Beneath the Radar The degree of racial division in the US never ceases to amaze and depress me. The politics of crime is inextricably intertwined with the politics of race and they toxify each other. News reporting on mass killings and gun ownership often underplays or misunderstands this but note this particularly grisly incident.
  5. Vote of confidence on the 6th day of the 6th month at 6pm - can't make it up! To bozo or not to bozo? To Hunt or not to Hunt? To Shunak or not Shunak? They will keep him there till the next general elections, no change.
  6. Well, those of us who recently voted (local elections) have happily expressed our disdain at the catastrobollocks leading party - and guess what? For once it worked! Historic Tory strongholds shifted over to Labour or Liberal Democrats for the first time, I know as I live in one of those. Not that Labour under the leadership of inconclusive Starmer will do anything good, but it may be better than the Tories shit show we have endured for over 10 years, one catastrophic decision after another, disaster after disaster since that infamous hung parliament. If the opposition forms an alliance, then there might be a chance next year to dislodge this disastrous embarrassment led by Faff son. Oh and finally there should be an electoral reform too, a proportional representation voting system, something that waffling Kier is not too keen on, because it's convenient to be the other major party in the country while pretending to be democratic. A Labour, Liberal Democrats, Green coalition for example, would work to get rid of Faff & Co. (cabinet of sleeze), otherwise parties on their own will not secure a majority against the Tories, certainly not with their current mediocre leaders. Oh and there is a further dirty manouvre by the usual suspect: the revision of the ministerial code recently announced by Faff to save his arse. Yep, diluting the ministerial code at Faff's advantage to avoid severe consequences on breaches, such has being forced to resign as he should but he won't. Democracy? Yeah right. He has more in common with a certain Russian leader/dictator than he lets on. The irony of it all. Local elections results has been a wake up call, nice to see the Tories shaking a little bit, but I am not sure if people have fully realized how big a catastrophe these Tories have been for the country. Maybe they will, if the opposing parties put out a strong enough campaign. One can dream. Tell you what, the capital without a mayor would be a lovely dream coming true. Better without than with the current "...people have to get used to terrorist attacks in big cities..." now totally devoted to liberalize his beloved ganja, because in a metropolitan area with alarmingly rising crime rates, legalizing certain drugs is very important, of course. A laughter will bury us all. As long as people can celebrate in the next few days, stuffing their faces with cakes, smashing up , everything is hunky dory.
  • Create New...