Saturday, November 11, 2017

Capitalism means war

A work of art represents the thousands who died while the generals treated them as "cannon fodder". The generals got medals and hypocritically commemorate the "glorious dead."

Those who survived the Great War, greeted the 11th of November as the end of the slaughter and the beginning of peace. They would have been mystified to see generals and royals using it as an opportunity to celebrate war almost a hundred years later.
Since the end of the Second World War, there has not been a single day of peace. In my lifetime there has been one imperial war of conquest after another.
The red poppy is an ambiguous symbol. On the one hand it represents remembering those who fell in war and the money is used to support those soldiers who suffered as a result of war. On the other hand it is used by generals and the royal family to glorify war. If anyone dares to criticise this disgusting militarism they are immediately accused of disrespecting the fallen and being too mean to help the military victims of warfare. This has been characterised as "Poppy Fascism".
Socialist internationalism is the only basis on which militarism can be opposed. The people of Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan are some of the poorest people in the world. What with the ruthless bombing campaigns of American Imperialism and the disgusting brutality of the Taliban and ISIL their sufferings have been made worse.

Ironically the Kurds who routed ISIL have been the victims of a vicious campaign waged by the Iraqi regime.

War is not "insanity". To the arms merchants, to the royals and generals, to the politicians it makes perfect sense. For the working class it is indistinguishable from psychosis. 

Derek McMillan

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Review of Gunpowder

The Gunpowder trilogy on the BBC has drawn criticism for the violence and cruelty which it portrays. This is understandable. However, the tortures shown in such shocking detail were historically accurate. So was execution by hanging, drawing and quartering.

Any depiction of royalty which gives a romantic fairy-tale view of the splendour of the court and ignores the methods by which the autocratic rule was maintained is frankly dishonest.

The second episode in which Catesby (played by Kit Harrington) witnesses the burning of two "heretics" (actually Jews) in Spain is a fair indication that the methods of autocracy did not vary much between the regimes in Britain and Spain.

The persecution of Catholics in this country was clearly depicted as a means by which the aristocracy, and in particular Lord Robert Cecil (played by Mark Gatiss),  enriched themselves. Religion was used as a means of social control and as a pretext for torture and murder.

The interchange between  Fr Henry Garnet (played by Peter Mullan) and Cecil in the final episode is particularly telling. Cecil accused Fr Garnet of causing the gunpowder plot. Although he is not named by any conspirator and is depicted as opposing the plot, his preaching was enough to hang him. He responds by drawing attention to Cecil's role in causing the troubles. You cannot expect that people who are so persecuted will not respond in kind.

Anne Vaux (Liv Tyler) plays a strong female character in a period when patriarchy kept women firmly "in their place". I wouldn't dream of giving the plot away (no pun intended) but for most of those involved it was unlikely to end well.

Although gruesome, this is a very good series and well worth watching.

Friday, October 20, 2017

50 word story

At the border of Myanmar the police asked if I was a Muslim or a Bhuddist. Thinking fast, I claimed that I was an atheist. The police were having none of it. Pointing a gun at me the policeman said, "So are you a Muslim atheist or a Buddist atheist?"

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bosses' Law

The two most significant movements in my lifetime were in fact illegal. The fight against the Poll Tax was illegal but it defeated the Poll Tax and brought down the hated Margaret Thatcher.
The massive illegal strike wave when a Conservative government imprisoned five dockers in 1972 ended in a humiliating defeat for the Conservatives.
Unite the union is not advocating murder or arson (whatever the Daily Mail may pretend!). However, unjust laws have to be opposed.


I don't have a vote in the Tory leadership election but I think Jacob Rees-Mogg is the nineteenth century's answer to Momentum and he can put those working classes in their place. Also "Moggy Moggy Moggy Out Out Out" has a certain resonance to it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Our practice nurse told me they used to practise taking blood samples from each other during training. How widespread is this? Do cops practise beating each other up? Do lawyers practise lying to other trainee lawyers? As for OFSTED bullies, let's not go there. 

Thursday, September 07, 2017


MPs define "unskilled" as anyone earning less than £30,000. MPs earn a lot more than £30,000 and the job requires no specific skills whatsoever.

There is however, a "magic money tree" for MPs salaries and perks. Who can forget Adolf Duncan Smith and his £39 breakfast at our expense? The Mirror calculated that

"Iain Duncan Smith's breakfast cost 557 times the amount to be spent on kids' morning meals."

The crackdown on "unskilled" migrants is racism pure and simple. The BBC has been quick to find businesses which oppose the government's plans. That is not the same as saying that it is immoral and disgraceful.

Yet again Teresa May has taken the opportunity of a demonstration by nurses against low pay to show her contempt. Apparently nurses are to be dismissed as "this, that and the other." I can think of a few things nurses might say about May!