Tag Archives: Boris johnson

Let’s talk about ostracism.

Let’s talk about ostracism.

Facebook is doing it, ancient Athens did it. Isn’t it about time we all embraced the one idea which could save our democracy? Put simply, Ostracism means excluding somebody from society. In the case of Facebook, it simply means stopping them from posting on the app. In ancient Greece it meant banishing them from the country.

To quote Wikipedia, “while some instances clearly expressed popular anger at the person, ostracism was often used pre-emptively, as a way of neutralizing someone thought to be a threat to the state or potential tyrant.”

Now I would be the first to admit that this might be just a little contentious, especially under international law where it is forbidden to make somebody stateless, but the benefits could be considerable.

First let’s consider the class of those to be considered. Much as I see no point in Neil Hamilton, the bribe taking former (although at it again through UKIP and the European Parliament – salary £78,000 pa) MP, ostracism would be too much. Quiet contempt works better here I think.  However, the self-appointed kingmaker Rupert Murdoch, he of News International and Fox in the USA is a different case. Here is a man deigning all knowledge of his employees’ phone tapping exploits then being recorded saying that “we all do it”. How he didn’t go to prison for perjury is a mystery to me. The good news is that he is old, even older than me, so he can’t publish his poison for much longer. Of course, Boris Johnson is a potential for the exit door. This Eton and Oxford educated US/UK citizen and would-be leader of the Conservative party spread lies and misinformation about the EU for many years before actually not standing for the leadership of the Conservative party, finally realising that being Prime Minister might actually involve some work other than that of a stand up comedian. This is the man who actually has US citizenship but said that the US would never join a Union. “You idiot, the US is a Union”.

Of course, there are many more for whom I consider ostracism to be appropriate. Naturally Nigel F*!+%@ springs to mind, dangerous bully with little appetite for either the truth or common decency. Then again Britain’s worst Prime Minister David Cameron, “Austerity, we are all in it together”, he from a school which costs £26,000 per year whilst state schools lack books with which to teach. This list is probably endless so why not think of your own particular favourite nominee for this ancient custom. Time for a revival.


Bluff, double bluff and counter bluff. The real truth behind the Brexit story.

A very bad exit from Europe, with a hard Irish border and many job losses, would probably cost the Tories the next election. However,  if they could cast the EU as a villains and if they were believed, their chances of re-gaining power would be much improved. The danger for the remainers, would be the accusation that they were thwarting “The will of the people”.

And what a magnificent slogan that is. Right up there with “torches of freedom“, “Go to work on an egg“, “Arbeit Macht frei”, “A Reich to last 1000 years,” and “superfast broadband”; phrases to warm the heart of Dr Goebbels and strike fear into the hearts of competent psychologists.  The fact that many thousands of people did actually have an egg for breakfast (until the British food and agriculture minister publicly announce that all eggs contain salmonella) and that many more really did believe that the Hitler’s Reich would last 1000 years, just illustrates the power that slogans have. Let’s face it, we are all pretty dumb when it comes to a catchy slogan. But just how dumb the British people really are remains to be seen.

One of the strangest facts about the Brexit vote was that the people most benefiting from the EU, that is to say the not so well-paid workers and consumers in general, who need state protection against unbridled capitalism, voted for  it. It now seems that in general they treated the vote as a typical protest against the government, a traditional action for a midterm election. “What-ever it is, I’m against it.” What has subsequently become clear is that they did not actually believe that the vote would go against the EU and were told so by most political pundits in the media. Whatever the reasons, here we are with barely a year before Britain exits EU membership and still no real idea what it means. So if the European Union can protect the rights of workers and consumers in general against the machinations of big business who, you might ask, could be against it?

Clearly like most things in life, there are degrees of “against” and it’s worth considering just what those degrees are since the EU is many things. One might suppose that a significant proportion of the “against” would be against the idea of a super-state and fear that that is the direction the EU is headed. They would prefer the EU to be a glorified customer union. Of course, history tells us that what starts as a customer union soon becomes a state. The 26 independent “nations” of Germany in 1834 had, following the establishment of the “zollverein”,  by 1871 become an Empire. Nevertheless, apart from the very very right wing, most, and certainly the business community which is a major source of finance for the Tories, want a customs union of some sort.

Given this, just who are those advocating a hard exit from the European Union. By “hard” of course we mean an exit without a beneficial trading relationship with European Union. Who could possibly want such an outcome? I think I may know the answer. Generally, they are called the hard right of the Tory party. A common thread among this group seems to be education in the private sector, the stronghold of privilege and class distinction within the UK. As has been quoted elsewhere, “Private education in the UK is so good that even the stupid and lazy can succeed”.  And what could be more stupid than Boris Johnson, the poster boy of Brexit, who actually asked rhetorically “can you see the United States joining such a union as the EU?” without realising that in fact the United States is a union of states just like the EU, The United States of Europe (EU), the United States of America. One has to ask if the many thousands of pounds spent on Boris’ education was not wasted but clearly it was not since it seems to have fitted him perfectly for life as a Tory member of Parliament. Similarly with Donald Trump, whose expensive private education in America enabled him to become the President yet seemed unable to overcome the deeply disturbing traumas of his parenting, traumas which he carries with him into his ethical philosophy. A perfect example of the opening lines of Philip Larkin’s poem, “This be the Verse”

But let’s return to the main point. Who are the people who want the UK to leave the European Union. Names seem to be scarce in the popular press and numbers seem to vary between 40 and 60. As far as I can see there are clear economic benefits gained from membership of the EU the alternative entails serious financial risk. To take such a risk there must be a considerable upside. But the upside is hard to find. The notion of “taking back control of one’s destiny” (another key phrase of the Breixteers) is spurious since most pf the population have no control at all apart from the ability to vote in elections which they are able to do within the EU. Destiny is mostly in the hands of the banks and major companies. On an individual level the rules and regulations forced upon Britain are beneficial and not only through the stimulation of trade, itself a path to prosperity. In particular the rules concerning compensation for passengers of airlines, the fact that medical treatment is available throughout the Union, the fact that my mobile phone works seamlessly everywhere and that hormone laden beef from the USA is banned, are just a few of the benefits. Does anybody really believe that a Tory lead, independent British government is on the side of the workers?

For me I think it’s clear that when companies are bigger than states then a bigger state is necessary to ensure, if not justice, then at least a slightly more even playing field. So what are the upsides which Brexit will bring? Here, again, we have to turn to history. I fear the hard right have developed a pseudo fascist mentality in which the nation will be motivated only through suffering. “The worse the better” may have been a key phrase from the Russian revolution in which the pain of poverty finally brings about radical change, but it was a significant factor in the rise of Hitler and German fascism, the direct result of the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the depredation of the resulting economic chaos.

25 years of poison finally kills the UK

Making fun of the EU is the main sport of the UK popular press, right up there with sex scandals. It is the print media version of what, on the internet, is called click bait, a statement so unbelievable that you have to click to find out more. And every click adds income since it brings a new advertising messages. Harmless good fun you might say but of course, as we can now see, far from harmless. Within the UK this steady drip drip drip of poison has completely destroyed the credibility of the Union. Banner headlines have persistently shouted these message:-

EU bans ads for girl-only lodgers
English oaks banned by the EU
Ambulances turn yellow for Europe
EU fanatics want you to sing this dire anthem (The Sun, 3 February 2004, page 6)
Children to be banned from blowing up balloons, under EU safety rules (Daily Telegraph, 9th October 2011)
Brussels bans toys: Party blowers and other stocking fillers are barred in EU safety edict (Daily Mail, 10th October 2011)
Now Euro killjoys ban children’s party toys (Daily Express, 10th October 2011)
“Holiday snaps breach copyright” (Telegraph),
“TAKING photographs of the London Eye and the Angel of the North could soon be banned if the meddling European Union (EU) gets their (sic) way.” (Express).

The response from Brussels has, in every case, been reasonable and well written, explaining exactly why these scare stories are rubbish. But of course we all know that the motto of Journalists is “never let the truth spoil a good story”. So the truth is never reported, the newspapers just roll on to the next exciting rubbish.

The real problem for the EU is that it is a serious organisation offering well researched ideas to improve the lives of its citizens. But as psychology tells us, people are not motivated by reasonable arguments but by emotion. Agains the emotional outpourings of Boris Johnson or Nigel F F F (sorry I can’t bring myself to write the name) what does the EU offer? Just a string of reasonable people making reasonable statements. They just have no chance at all.
And do you think that any newspaper would print this? Dream on.