Saturday, November 30, 2013

National Novel Writing Month

Comments from characters in the book

“I am glad Xavier has written this book about The Swinging Fist but I am disappointed that he doesn't mention the very high quality of Old Hogshead ale and the very reasonable prices. Some of his comments on Firewater are a bit wide of the mark too. Lots of people enjoy it. Overall it is a good book though. Krix

“I was hoping this book would enable me to have a fling with a nicely-manicured young man who wasn't gay. I can guarantee that Terrence wouldn't have noticed. But I am afraid that is Xavier all over. He was just too busy trying to save the world to give a thought to his mother.” Geert Hollands

“A first class book all round. I am very pleased with how Xavier has portrayed the characters and events in The Town. My role could have been given a bit more prominence but it would be churlish to cavil in my view. Wolf-Dietrich Von Raitenau

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Land of Whose Fathers?

This pamphlet by Geoff Jones is an education both for those who have only started to question the "official" history of Wales but for those who have been active in the movement elsewhere in the UK for years.

It reminds us of the tremendous capacity of the working class to seek to change society and of the resilience of workers who have been defeated to carry on the struggle time and time again.

The Labour traitors would much rather that the outspoken workers' leaders of the past should be forgotten. This is because those men and women put the present canaille of political leaders to shame.

This book is a useful antidote. Moreover it is a message of hope. The ruling class have "finally defeated" socialist ideas many many times and every time they have come back. Often stronger than ever :)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Crusade against Trade Unions

Owen Jones has tweeted that "This blatant co-ordinated crusade against Unite/trade unions by Murdoch lobbyists and the Tory frontbench has become a McCarthyite witchhunt."

It is also true that the cowardly ditching of the trade unions by Miliband has encouraged the Tories to seek to turn the clock back.

Clegg - who most people trust as far they could comfortably spit a rat - has pretended that the government will crack down on "poor management practices" as well as attacking the trade unions. And I'm the queen of Sheba.

It is of course only irresponsible trade unions which will be affected. From Clegg's speech it is clear that he means those trade unions who fight for their members.

If you think back to the police treatment of the miners under Thatcher you can see where Tory propaganda about "Trade Union bullying" ends up.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tories rewriting history

The Tories are attempting to purge all pre-2010 election pledges and statements from the Internet, according to the New Statesman. 

Computer Weekly originally tumbled onto the scam, but the NS article enumerates Cameron's ongoing hypocrisy on the issue. Just one example here, you can read the article for yourself online if the Tories haven't contrived to make it "disappear"!

As remarkable as it may seem, Cameron told Andrew Marr the weekend before the general election that a Conservative government would not cut any front-line services.
What I can tell you is, any cabinet minister, if I win the election, who comes to me and says: "Here are my plans," and they involve front-line reductions, they'll be sent straight back to their department to go away and think again. After 13 years of Labour, there is a lot of wasteful spending, a lot of money that doesn't reach the front line.
Since then, 5,870 NHS nurses, 7,968 hospital beds, a third of ambulance stations, 5,362 firefighters and 6,800 frontline police officers have been cut.

The Conservative Party are even trying to get content removed from the Internet Archive. 

Older readers might remember "Oceania is at war with Eurasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia." This was Orwell's parody of the changes in line of the Communist Party when they ceased to be allies with Hitler and became antagonists. 

The Stalinists do not have a monopoly on trying to rewrite history when it is inconvenient. And of course we cannot forget (although New Labour have forgotten!) those pesky 'weapons of mass destruction' which Saddam was supposed to have.

If you shake hands with a politician, make sure you still have your watch afterwards. In fact why not count your fingers to be on the safe side? 

We need a new workers' party. This lot of politicians are worse than useless.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Forbes foaming at the mouth over Kshama Sawant

Forbes Magazine has an article calling for Kshama Sawant (and by implication all Socialist teachers) to be sacked. The headline is quite explicit "Why Is Seattle Socialist Kshama Sawant Allowed To Teach
Economics?" and the article goes on to ridicule economics in general and Socialist ideas in particular.

The ruling class has no interest in democracy if it gets in the way of their profits. Little things like freedom of speech and free expression will just have to go if they are inconvenient.

Forbes Magazine is the foremost advocate of unfettered capitalism. This view seems to have survived the banking crisis.They do not seem to have a grasp of colloquial English because they describe themselves as "the capitalist tool." I think we can all agree about that.

Kshama Sawant is a socialist candidate in the Seattle City Council election. The core issues of Sawant's campaign are a minimum wage increase to $15 per hour, rent control, and increased taxes on the
wealthy. She promised to donate the portion of her salary as a City Council person which exceeded the average salary in Seattle.This is anathema to the politicians whose main activity is finding ways to increase their expenses.

No wonder Forbes has been provoked into this disgusting hate campaign.



Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dulce et Decorum Est

Remembrance Sunday

Today we can all thrill to the sight of mass-murdering war criminal
Tony Blair wearing his poppy with pride. What began as a remembrance
of those who died in war is being hijacked by people who glory in war.
I pray that the politicians and generals who send better people than
themselves to die in battle will be forgiven.

War is a multi-million dollar business. Tony Blair and G W Bush traded
blood for oil. The shareholders of arms companies rub their hands in
glee at every opportunity to sell more guns to regimes around the
world which have questionable morals and human rights records with
Amnesty International.

And before I get to the poem, I must mention "God Save the Queen." She
is not my queen. I didn't vote for her.

"Dulce et Decorum Est pro Patria Mori" was a phrase they taught public
school boys. "It is sweet and fitting to die for your country." or
better yet get your servants to go off an die on your behalf

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardentfor some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Wilfred Owen
8 October 1917 - March, 1918

Friday, November 08, 2013

A game of cards

This is the first hand in the game of cards between Krix and Xavier  in Salt Wars. It may make it easier to understand.

Monday, November 04, 2013

CBI oppose living wage

The champagne charlies of the CBI are choking on their caviar because they cannot afford to pay a living wage. They said exactly exactly the  same about the minimum wage. If the minimum wage was brought in, industry would be ruined.  They would all be begging in the streets. They aren't

Fortunately for them directors can vote themselves massive bonuses so the poor dears won't starve :-)

Notoriously in the nineteenth century employers 'proved' to their satisfaction that cutting working hours to ten hours a day would lead to ruination. Each time they pull this stunt it has less credibility.

Click here

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Salt Wars Excerpt

  • The locked room

The door was an unusual one to see in a flat. It appeared to be solid oak. In fact Xavier knew that within it there was a core of steel. There was no handle and there was no sign of any keyhole that could be used to unlock it. Xavier paused on the landing and tapped an app on his smartphone. There was a sound of electric motors as the mortice deadlocks opened.

He stepped into the darkened room and lit a candle. The growing light illuminated a dark bare room. The walls had been painted midnight blue. The most striking feature was the white pentacle on the black floor with arcane symbols drawn around it. There were five new candles, one at each point of the pentacle. Inside the pentacle there was just enough room for Xavier to lie down. He thought again about the idea of getting a mattress but he put that idea away for another day.

He carefully lit the candles in sequence before shutting the door. He then painstakingly created a ring of holy water around the pentacle. None of this was necessary, he told himself. Yet it did put him in the right frame of mind for the night.

There flashed through his mind an uncomfortable vision of what his adoptive mother Geert Hollands would think of all this if she ever got to know about it. Geert was the most devout of atheists but she had been baptised a Catholic. Consequently, she was cross when Xavier skipped Mass but she was equally cross that he attended it at all. Xavier had always found that she could be just a little bit difficult to please. He imagined that she would be doubly offended by these proceedings. But he imagined that then she would smile and call him “Zee” because she knew that was something which somehow offended him very deeply.

His father, the scientist Terrence Hollands, would simply have harrumphed and got back to his newspaper and his absolutely foul pipe. This last thought put Xavier in mind of the incense burner but he thought that he was pushing the health and safety issues far enough with the candles.

The central heating had clicked into life so Xavier was able to slip out of his t-shirt and chinos without a shiver. He piled them neatly on the floor and made sure that they were well away from the candles. (There, mum, he was thinking about your lectures on fire at least) He lay naked in the centre of the pentacle with his head in the northernmost of the five triangular points.

Xavier looked up the ceiling. At first it seemed that it was all one rather dull mirror in which he could see his own naked body in the pentacle as if he were viewing it through a glass darkly. Then one of the sensors detected a hand signal which he made and the screen, which covered the whole of the ceiling, came to life.
“The Mirror of Eternity” logo and the trademark swirling galaxies appeared on the screen. He was rather proud of this opening sequence and consequently there was a slight smile on his lips as his consciousness slipped away.
Tilly too was falling asleep. Her real name actually is “Tilly” it is not short for Matilda or Chantilly and she hates, positively hates, being called a “buxom barmaid” because she thinks she is more than her job or her breast size. “Excuse me, look at my serious face, I am more than my job or my breast size OK.”
She was sliding her sinuous sexy naked body (as Xavier might have put it) into her single bed. She had had a long evening shift at Ye Olde Boar and she would be asleep in 1,2....

She snored. And then with no transition at all , she found that she was sitting on the bed... or perhaps it was her astral projection – she could not always be sure. She was watching without any trace of alarm as a misty figure started to take shape in the corner of the room.

She could still see the wallpaper through it but she could also see that the mist was definitely taking the familiar shape of her boyfriend, Xavier Hollands.

“Ah if it isn't my buxom b...” and a surprised Xavier felt the back of Tilly's hand.

She was at least as shocked as he was.

“I could touch you!”

“I know” said a fully formed Xavier, ruefully holding his cheek.

“You've done it Zee! You have created a hard astral projection.” She looked down at his naked body and refrained from any comment about exactly how hard.

Xavier wanted to know the exact time. He was not allowing himself to be distracted by Tilly's lovely nakedness from the experimental data. (She reminded him she was “part of the experimental doodah remember!”)

“The thing is, there is no displacement in time. It is still Tuesday, right?” (Tilly nodded) “So I am still in the sealed room at home *and* I am in this room on the other side of town at exactly the same time.”

“And you are naked.”

Xavier claimed he had hardly noticed (Tilly was incredulous) but of course he had no clothes. Neither did Tilly.

“I am sorry about your face.”

“I've always been sorry about my face.” Xavier gave his “little boy” grin.

“Here. Let me kiss it better.”

Tilly gave Xavier a long lingering kiss. When she came up for breath she ran her hands over his body.
“And your astral projection is getting harder and harder!”

And thus began the strangest experiment in Xavier's frankly strange career.