has happened to the man? The recent actions of Tony
Blair, the once proud doyen of 'Cool Britannia',
it would seem is in the latter stages of the biggest
mental implosion since David Icke prophesised a
watery doom for Derry and Kerry all those years
Thankfully, as yet, we have been spared the spectacle
of Tony in a turquoise shell suit telling us that
the end is nigh. Or, perhaps it is just fortunate
that no two other counties in Ireland rhyme! Nevertheless,
it is nearing the point when some tabloid wag will
publish one of those separated at birth pictorials
of the 'Primus Inter Pares' and the former Grandstand
anchor man and Coventry City goalkeeper.
The strains of 'Things Can Only get Better' must
have a totally different meaning for Tony now as
when he used Peter Cunnah's tune to suggest that
the Tories days were over in the build up to the
'97 general election. I for one am delighted to
think that a song written by a Derryman is probably
haunting the mind of a British Prime Minister.
The corruption that is the natural by-product of
a long time in power has surfaced with menace and
venom within the Labour Party. As if that was not
enough the 'Iron Chancellor' lurks a little less
sourly in the sidelines, as his peripheral role
evaporates and compels him beaming shark like towards
the spotlight. It is perhaps a pity that there will
be little left for him to work with when he gets
there. A pity because I would have loved to watch
Gordon Brown make an utter balls of everything as
he surely would have. Blair may well be a thoroughly
untrustworthy character, but charisma compensates
for a lot of flaws. Brown's charm does not extend
much beyond that of his Toby-jug façade.
I think his China effigy would have sold a lot had
he born born into the seventeeth century, laden
as it was by a fondness for grotesque curiousities.
Just like Labour policy, 'Cheap as Chips'!
That Blair's own end at the zenith of British political
life is near is not in doubt. Blair has told us
as much himself. His recent expression of regret
that he made a mistake in intimating his departure
was fiendish in its admission. Fiendishly deliberate
mistakes are always fiendish. He managed to set
the cat amongst the pigeons again, and kept the
story alive at the same time. A grudging respect
for this type of cleverness is compulsory. Pilate
like he washes his hands of the party cracking before
his and his nation's eyes and creates a little bit
more of scorched earth in the process.
After a decade in which he has finally decimated
any remaining notions that the British Labour Party
are socialist in outlook, perfected the art of government
PR, solved the 'Irish Question' (Ha, ha), devolved
the 'Celtic Peripheries' in his desire to have a
strong financial centre in England, and plunged
his nation into an illegal war against basically
anyone who looks vaguely like a Muslim, he says
he is leaving.
The poor man has had enough. Gone are the TV interviews
and 'transparent' public briefings full of saccharin
sincerity, replaced by chat show musings on God,
guilt, the universe and the fact he is obviously
being heavily directed towards Catholicism by the
ball and chain. The brightness in the eyes has faded
to a dull shadow and the boyish haircut has surrendered
to a more prominent display of forehead with more
than a smattering of snow on the thatch.
are no more proper Muslims than the Protestant bigot
who murders a Catholic in Northern Ireland is a
No this is not Mary Mc Aleese or Fr Alec Reid loosing
the plot again, but words from Tony Blair's mouth
speaking recently at a Reuters event that religious
extremism - including the term Islamist extremism
- should be labeled as such. Mr Blair said he realized
his remarks were going to be controversial, but
there was an "interesting debate" being
conducted within government about how to counter
extremism in British communities.
The "interesting debate" he spoke of to
counter extremism in 'British' communities has been
going on for quite a while, as we are only too aware
of in this little corner of the world. We can only
presume that all prior debates of this nature concerning
the little local difficulty of the past 35 years
here, were of such poor quality that this is why
the perceived solution was to send the military
in to quell the 'problem'.
Is this why the new Prevention of Terrorism Act
(2005) is more draconian than its predecessor? The
incarceration of terrorist suspects, more or less,
at will, is hardly a new phenomenon in the United
Kingdom. It's just that now it is more likely to
be a result of dawn swoops in the terraced streets
of Birmingham, Manchester and London, than the side
streets of Belfast or Derry. Spin is one thing.
It is entirely another thing, and a dangerous sign,
when you start to believe it yourself. Poor, poor
The failure of debate to resolve such issues is
hardly surprising as this mythical debate rarely
transcends how hard the hammer must be dropped in
order to secure what you want and what you need.
Those whose thoughts and words deviate from the
central line, are dissenters not to be trusted and
certainly not to be listened to. God help you if
you believe the TV rhetoric and do not realize the
double speak is not the real policy.
the public knew the truth, the war would end tomorrow.
But they don't know and they can't know."
These were not the words of Blair, but of David
Lloyd George, to the editor of the Manchester
Guardian, CP Scott, in 1914. Again however they
could have been spoken at any time since the re-invasion
of Iraq and the launch of T.W.A.T (That's the
war against terrorism to you
and me)! Could it be that T.W.A.T has adopted T.U.A.S
as a working fire breathing mechanism? The USA and
Britain have taken the tactical use of the armed
strategy to extremes in this case.
The attitude of the powerful to the chattels like
ourselves who have put them there in our misguided
idiocy rarely changes. Leopards we were always told,
have exactly the same issue with their spots. The
Romans knew the value of our idiocy, but at least
had the grace to admit it. At least Julius Caesar
the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to
whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for
patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both
emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind.
And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch
and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed,
the leader will have no need in seizing the rights
of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused
with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer
up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly
so. How do I know? For this is what I have done.
And I am Caesar."
The difference this time is that, instead of a readily
identifiable nation or group of nations the USA
backed by the 51st state et al have chosen to take
on the entire Islamic world. The citizenry of the
world however have not been blinded by this supra-national
patriotism. Its rights, however, are constantly
being seized. It is one thing volunteering to be
killed or be expected to die for one's country but
I'm fucking sure I'd do it for the Yanks as well,
in a frenzied blood lust for Texas tea.
Little wonder that the ultra-sensitivity of the
Muslim world in relation to the images of the Islamic
God and prophet have caused such a furore. I do
not in any way condone the reaction of Islam to
the publication of those damn cartoons. The beliefs
of a religion that tells me that because I do not
believe in Allah, I will have my arse roasted for
eternity is anathema to me. That any image of Mohammed
or Allah is an insulting one, is also as idiotic
to me as a western Christian that I am expected
to believe that Jesus Christ was a blonde haired,
blue eyed white man. If Catholic dogma has been
right all along, then I'll be roasting long before
the turban heads' satanic equivalent gets hold of
The dreaded order from any editor to a lowly trainee
hack is to be told on a rainy Monday morning to
take to the streets and canvass the opinion of the
local population. The embarrassment levels of approaching
strangers in the streets to ask what they think
is akin for me to having teeth extracted without
anaesthetic. Nevertheless, it was that very type
of order than befell a colleague and myself in the
days after those stinking cartoons surfaced again.
Derry is not a place that people take well to being
stopped in the streets by shirt and tie wearing
men. The reasons for this are obvious. It used to
happen quite regularly here, for other sinister
As ever some people simply did not have an opinion
about the cartoons, or indeed much else. Some did
talk, but did not want to have their thoughts published,
perhaps for fear that the Jihad may visit their
own front doors. Despite assurances that I am fairly
sure that Al Quaeda cells are not operating in Derry
City centre, nothing could stir their political
cogs and their mouths from grinding to a rusting
Yet, it was those who did speak that caused my total
bemusement. Almost without exception they launched
into an ill-informed rant against the Islamic world.
Tolerance, it seems, is something that either side
of the divide has failed to learn after almost four
decades of butchering each other. It proves that
tolerance cannot be easily achieved; That it will
not benefit from financial incentive or peace dividends
or idiotically over simplified TV adverts. Only
time can cure this sickness. Time and the forgetfulness
it induces. 'Wouldn't it be great if it was like
this all the time?' No, it fucking well would not.
It would be stupendously boring and I would have
nothing to write about.
I stopped a young guy in a shopping centre. He had
long hair and was well dressed in that expensive
pseudo-hippy middle class student prick type of
way. He had a guitar case slung nonchalantly about
his shoulders and he smiled as I approached him.
I posed the question about his views on the Islamic
reaction to the publications of the cartoon and
he agreed that he would like to make a comment.
The news that morning was that six Muslims had died
in stampedes during protests over the cartoons.
have the solution to this problem," he said.
I doubled checked his name in my notebook, in anticipation
that I may be addressing a future Nobel Peace Laureate
and that I had found him first.
solution is that every newspaper in the world should
print one of those cartoons everyday until all the
fucker's trample each other to death," said
the hippy. Jesus, talk about judging books by their
covers. I looked for a hint of a sarcastic smile
on his face, to see if he thought that he succeeded
in causing a sensation. He had, but there wasn't
even a glimmer of a smile of any type. He was serious.
So, purely in the pursuit of journalistic impartiality
I told him to fucking catch himself on and be about
his business elsewhere.
We have witnessed a certain political party here
having to make sure that they took the majority
of there people with them in order to sustain the
wish list of an executive dictate. However, it would
appear that if you strive for freedom, the first
victims of its attempted achievement are the principles
of free thought and speech, especially with regard
to those you claim to represent.
or no voice, the people can always be brought to
the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you
have to do is tell them they are being attacked,
and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism
and exposing the country to danger. It works the
same in any country."
This is not a quote from a recent USA cabinet meeting,
but the chilling words of that little charmer Herman
Goering on how to control the masses. I think this
should be noted well by Islam. Our political classes
already know all about it. Religion is a far more
powerful inciter of hatred than any man can ever
be. Apart, that is, from Paisley.
Another master war-mongering publicist, Winston
Churchill, who was familiar with this island too,
said of Iraq in 1921:
the responsibility for the control of Iraq to the
Royal Air Force, thus recognizing the ability of
air power to maintain effective control of a mandated
territory with the maximum economy in the deployment
In 1919, Churchill, in the irony of all ironies
authorized the RAF Middle East Command to attack
Iraqi rebels with chemical weapons. As Secretary
of State at the British War Office he said: "[I
advocate] using poisoned gas against uncivilized
tribes [and] against recalcitrant Arabs as an experiment.
[I do not understand] the squeamishness about the
use of gas [...] We cannot in any circumstances
acquiesce in the non-utilization of any weapons
which are available to procure a speedy termination
of the disorder which prevails on the frontier."
A British Royal Commission who sought to support
Churchill's policy in the Middle East as far back
as 1913 said: "We must become the owners, or
at any rate the controllers at the source, of at
least a proportion of the oil we require."
Further confirmation that little has changed in
that region came from Sir Arthur Hitzel, Head of
the British governments India Office Political department
in 1919. He said:
we want to have in existence, what we ought to have
been creating in this time is some administration
with Arab institutions which we can safely leave
while pulling the strings ourselves. Something that
wont cost very much, which the Labour Party can
swallow consistent with its principles, but under
which our economic and political interests will
be secure. If the French remain in Syria we will
have to avoid giving them the excuse of setting
up a protectorate. If they go, or we appear to be
reactionary in Mesopotamia , there is always the
risk that King Faisal will encourage the Americans
to take over both, and it should be borne in mind
that the Standard Oil company is very anxious to
take over Iraq."
So it would appear to be a case of, new century,
same old shite. The personalities have changed since
that gnarled, drunken old cigar chomping butcher
had British pilots chucking canisters of mustard
gas out of Tiger-Moths over the desert.
no moral right may the ownership and control of
the natural and material resources of a territory
be regarded as the absolute monopoly of the people
who happened to be settled there."
There were the words of Phillip Snowden the Labour
Party Chancellor of 1921. Children, this is the
value of history. This shows us that once upon a
time to be a member of the Labour Party, was to
be a S-O-C-I-A-L-I-S-T. Now, I know it's a big word,
children, but you can do it, you can learn what
it means. It also meant that you had to have a conscience.
Tony, please stop talking Shi-ite!
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