Saturday, June 09, 2007

Please visit this blog

Craig Murray has written a post on the Guardian site which should interest readers of this blog. However, it is almost impossible to find it without going through Craig Murray's website. So I'm posting a link HERE.

Please visit, register or sign in, and add your comments to the debate.

You can also click here for Craig Murray's account on his website.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

National British Day: The Advance of Fascism

The Independent. Wednesday 6th June 2007. Deborah Orr: “Now they seek to micro-manage our lives in the name of patriotism and freedom. The idea of a National British Day sounds like a piece of idiocy that needs to be avoided at all costs.”

But this is more than idiocy. It is another resonant echo from the songsheet of instinctive Fascists. Those very people who would recoil in their distress at being described as having the instincts of the thug. For they are so reasonable whilst giving permission to the smiling and unsmiling thugs who in turn execute their policies and their warfare, who now define what our responsibilities must be in order for us to be granted the permission to exercise our rights. Ms Orr manages to complete her entire article without using the term “fascist”. Perhaps she is being cautious.

The clues to the underlying mindset of this government have been evident for some time. I recall my telling my MP in 1998 that it seemed to me that there had been some kind of coup. His expression at that time was somewhat quizzical. I recall that back in 2001, in the backwash of a major charitable regeneration endeavour and involvement in other community ventures, I was becoming increasingly frustrated by what I then perceived as the kidnap of Community and Charitable efforts by the Government to transform them into agents of policy (and Policing). At that time, in informal conversation at my home with the then Director Development of the Borough, I observed that we were seeing the development of "soft fascism". "That's an interesting perception" she said. At the time, it might have been interpreted as my growing cynicism. Perhaps I even hoped that was the case. That trend to fascism is now becoming more overt.

We have a culture of fear.
We have a growing emphasis on the health of the body.
We have the elevation of the corporate and the centralised above the rights and liberties of the individual (Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini)
We have a National Curriculum for "Citizenship" (itself a misnomer since we are constitutional "subjects") and have diminished the range of education in history, in the range of literature and of broad context. (At the school where my partner works, the Head went through the library and instructed that ALL books over ten years old should be discarded).
We have illegal military intervention overseas.
We have the tolerance of the use of British Airports by Extraordinary Rendition flights managed by the US Govenment to ferry political prisoners to client states where the limitations on using psychological and physical torture which are extant within the US and Europe do not apply.

We have vast and increasing monitoring of the people as they go about their daily business. Where no-one is watching the watchers (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?).
We have forms of "thought-crime" (harassment, distress, alarm and offensive T-shirts).
We have the means of imprisonment without trial.
We have the largest prison population in the European Community.
Protest has been disempowered and direct action (such as tree-hugging to disrupt road or runway construction) redefined as terrorism.
We have leaders who adhere to strange forms of religious faith and there is undue influence by certain groups of the "christian" right.
We have the demonisation of "immigrants" and, despite the surface appearance of efforts to the contrary, the demonisation of the Islamic peoples, whether or not born in the UK.
And the government, the media and the zeitgeist are focused on image rather than reason, which conceals the true nature of what is going on while dissenters or whistle- blowers are marginalised.
Meanwhile, in the area where I live, we had a BNP vote of over 20% in May.

We live in very dangerous times. One of the problems I now find is that in raising tangential issues, people don't know, won't understand or don't want to consider the implications of what you are talking about and will at times respond aggressively. For is this not Britain, a land of tolerance for the eccentric, a land of refuge for the displaced, a land where decent people muck in and muddle through, a land where you can express yourself without fear?

All myth now, I'm afraid.

Dodo (“>

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, June 01, 2007

"Voices of play and pleasure"

posted by k

There were children playing in the fountains. It was a hot, half-term day. And the recruiters were in town.

We're having a panic about paedophiles at the moment: people who take children away and hurt them. Yet no-one seemed worried by the smiling men and women in uniform, luring the children with shiny toys and promises of adventure. Even small children went forward, encouraged by their parents if they seemed shy. They wanted to share the adventure.

It was all about half-term fun. The Royal Air Force was offering more than most parents can afford and children queued - alone or with their parents - so that they could clamber over the fancy toys.

There were guns too.

In 1996, almost all handguns were banned in the United Kingdom. So some really big guns were a rare treat. Small children gazed and took turns to handle them. They were shown how to hold them in the correct position and look through the sights at a target.

The biggest treat of all was the shiny red aircraft. Grown-ups and children queued to climb into the cockpit and hear all about it.

Article 38 of the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child says that no country should recruit children under 15 years of age into its armed forces. In 2000 an optional protocol was drawn up to discourage recruitment of young people under 18. Young people under 18 are not supposed to take part in armed conflict. (So far fifteen 17-year-olds have served in Iraq with the British Army.)

Army recruiters are busy in schools
- especially schools in poor areas. Teachers are annoyed - especially since primary schools are included in recuitment visits. Parents are allowed to remove their children from religious education classes, acts of worship and sex education. My children's schools have never warned parents in advance that the army is sending recruiters with a day of activities or a recruitment talk.

Organisations like the Air Cadets take children from the age of 13, involve them in exciting activities (flying, target shooting, life saving ...) and groom them for a life in the army.

Children - some still in pushchairs - enjoyed the display in the square. There were stalls promoting all sorts of aspects of life in the air force. There were placards, banners, leaflets, stickers - all about fun, careers, friendship, training and pay. None of them mentioned killing. None of them mentioned being killed.

Labels: , , , , , , ,