Sad to think that the UK’s Labour party is destroying itself. It seems to have an obsession with trendy-left-wing identity politics, which has systematically and almost surgically removed its traditional voter base.

Does the Labour party ever want to win an election again?

It looks as if the answer is NO!

The whole mess is simply made worse by the fiasco of their ‘lack of leadership contest.’

Corbyn, bless his flame-red cotton socks, should have done what all others have done in his same position, and GONE! Departed! Taken his leave! Buggered off!

The candidates bidding to lead the scrapheap of Labour need to realise that reassembling the party’s support in its traditional backyard should be the Number One priority – yet it has barely been mentioned by the party’s senior bods.

We are witnessing the slow death of a political party, because the party appears lost in a wilderness of self-indulgence, divorced from all political reality!

And it is not ours:
keep it from us lest we
spend it all on fags n beer
then lollop into A&E so we can
clog the hospitals with our drunken bodies
If you let us touch it we will turn your gold
into fat and generations of worklessness:
your morning is not our morning.
Our morning rises like an ashtray,
our morning with its purple bruises
stumbles through the day.

Natalie Shaw

Perhaps there are certain ages which do not need truth as much as they need a deepening of the sense of reality, a widening of the imagination. I, for one, do not doubt that the sane view of the world is the true one. But is that what is always wanted, truth? The need for truth is not constant; no more than is the need for repose. An idea which is a distortion may have a greater intellectual thrust than the truth; it may better serve the needs of the spirit, which vary. The truth is balance, but the opposite of truth, which is unbalance, may not be a lie.

Susan Sontag
Simone Weil
collected in: Against Interpretation

attention to religion

March 8, 2020

I’ve been greatly criticized for the attention to religion that I give in the books, but I’ve been criticized, on the whole, by people who haven’t read the books. My attitude to religion is that religion is a most interesting and extraordinary human phenomenon. I’m fascinated by it, interested in it, and at some points critical of it. And the points when I become critical are the points when politics come into it, and religion acquires political power — political with a small “p,” for example, within the confines of a single family, or Political with a large “P,” on a national or international scale.

When religion gets the power to tell people how to dress, who to fall in love with, how to behave, what they must not read, what they must not wear, all those things, then religion goes bad….Religion is private thing, and a fine thing and a good thing, as long as it remains private. As soon as it becomes public and political, it’s dangerous.

Philip Pullman
Interview for NPR 14th February 2017

Religion and politics

March 1, 2020

When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way. Their movements become headlong – faster and faster and faster. They put aside all thoughts of obstacles and forget the precipice does not show itself to the man in a blind rush until it’s too late.

Frank Herbert
Dune

…the whole of American life was organized around the cult of the powerful individual, that phantom ideal which Europe herself had only begun to outgrow in her last phase. Those Americans who wholly failed to realize this ideal, who remained at the bottom of the social ladder, either consoled themselves with hopes for the future, or stole symbolical satisfaction by identifying themselves with some popular star, or gloated upon their American citizenship, and applauded the arrogant foreign policy of their government.

Olaf Stapledon
Last and First Men

unprecedented prosperity

February 27, 2020

Despite unprecedented prosperity, we British are not as happy as we should be, at least if the causes of human happiness were mainly economic. It turns out, however, that ever-rising consumption is not the same thing as ever-greater contentment. Yet no one is quite sure what else is necessary. Antidepressants in the water supply, perhaps? Urban life — and in the modern world, most life is urban — has an unpleasant edge in Britain, even in the midst of plenty. You hardly dare look a stranger in the eye, lest he take violent offense; the young, poor and prosperous alike, have imposed a curfew on the old after dark, and on everyone on Friday and Saturday nights; the age at which fellow citizens provoke fear declines constantly, so that one avoids even aggregations of eight-year-olds, as though they were piranhas in a jungle river.

The British state, for its part, is able to bully and regulate at will, thanks to technology — yet it seems to carry out these actions for their own sake, not for any higher purpose. The privatization of morality is so complete that no code of conduct is generally accepted, save that you should do what you can get away with; sufficient unto the day is the pleasure thereof. Nowhere in the developed world has civilization gone so fast and so far into reverse as here, at least to the extent to which civilization is made up of the small change and amenities of life.

Theodore Dalrymple
The Marriage of Reason and Nightmare

The war to end wars…?

December 25, 2019

Man, when preparing for bloody war, will orate loudly and most eloquently in the name of peace. This dichotomy is not an invention of the twentieth century, yet it is in this century that the most striking examples of the phenomena have appeared. Never before has man pursued global harmony more vocally while amassing stockpiles of weapons so devastating in their effect. The Second World War – we were told – was the War To End Wars. The development of the atomic bomb is the Weapon to End Wars. And yet wars continue. Currently, no nation on this planet is not involved in some form of armed struggle,  if not against its neighbours then against internal forces. Furthermore, as ever escalating amounts of money are poured into the pursuit of the specific weapon or conflict that will bring lasting peace, the drain on our economies  creates a  rundown urban landscape where crime flourishes and people are concerned less with national security than with the simple personal security needed to stop at the store late at night for a quart of milk without being mugged. The places we struggled so viciously to keep safe are becoming increasingly dangerous. The war to end wars, the weapons to end wars, these things have failed us.

Alan Moore
Watchmen

On the doorstep, Corbyn went down like a bucket of cold sick. I voted for him, I like him, the electorate do not – we needed to realise and act sooner – not by creating more factionalism and division, but by Corbyn himself backing a unity candidate to take over.

Things may have turned out differently had this happened sooner, it needs to happen now.

Sarah Williams
London-centrism and a manifesto the size of a novel: a Labour candidate on what went wrong
Left Foot Forward

lying

December 10, 2019

The trouble with lying and deceiving is that their efficiency depends entirely upon a clear notion of the truth that the liar and deceiver wishes to hide. In this sense, truth, even if it does not prevail in public, possesses an ineradicable primacy over all falsehoods.

Hannah Arendt
Lying in Politics: Crises of the Republic