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Posts Tagged ‘Brendan O’Neill

Spiked Does Funny on the People’s Vote March, Transgenderism, Universal Credit Dependency, and Mansize Wank Tissues.

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The Old Ones Are Still the Best.

I like a larf, me.

Spiked is on rare form this week, with top tips like “Bring back the mansize tissues”, Universal credit as an answer to why “many today are so dependent on the state to get by”,  and “Why isn’t transgenderism ‘cultural appropriation’? We chastise white women who have afro hairstyles but cheer men who dress as women.” by Brendan himself.

Not to mention defending the Italian far-right against the Brussels Tyrants.

But this – oh my aching sides! – is surely the best:

The People’s Vote march changed my mind on Brexit. Luke Gittos. 

It was the middle-class, puntastic placards that clinched it for me.

 As we assembled in London’s Mayfair, a working-class Leave voting stronghold, of course, I was blown away by the level of banner bantz.

‘Bears for Brexit’, and was carried by a group of very burly men with beards. I assume they were woodsmen of some kind.

After all, I saw at least 200,000 young people on that march. All we need to do is allow them to vote 87 times each and we will have a majority. That is what I call democracy.

They say this is pretty funny as well:

Luke Gittos is the author of Why Rape Culture is a Dangerous Myth: From Steubenville to Ched Evans.

So why the bleeding fuck do they publish this load of New Age cack that’s there today?

 

Daily life for our forefathers was harsh. The natural world was a brutal environment where life was competitive, callous, ferocious, merciless and short. Like all animals, we faced daily hazards and threats: freezing, drowning, disease, dying of hunger, thirst, and death from predators. This was not David Attenborough’s natural world, a spectacle we can enjoy from the comfort of our heated living rooms on plasma TVs. This was the savage natural world we, like all natural objects, came to exist in; not a Garden of Eden, but a gladiatorial arena ‘steeped in blood’.

Human consciousness, our ability to think abstractly, to develop language and speech, to cooperate and collaborate – in short, our sociality – enabled us to develop the collective imagination and creativity to overcome nature’s limits.

The example of flight illustrates this beautifully. One of the prices we paid for bipedality was that while our arms and hands were freed, they were not wings. Nature ‘forgot’ to give us wings. We could not escape predators by leaping into the air and flying out of harm’s way. Nor could we travel long distances over natural barriers like mountains or rivers. We do not have the size, strength or indeed the appendages to make this possible.

We are able to fly today as individuals because as a society we developed, over centuries, often in the face of a great deal of human scepticism, the knowledge of the materials to manufacture aeroplanes, the expertise to design jet engines and fuels to power them, and the grasp of the laws of aerodynamics. Our ability to fly, once limited by nature, is now a freedom, a new human need as commonplace and safe as walking, and far more impressive than anything conjured up by nature. In overcoming nature’s limitations, mankind has truly shown itself to be collectively ingenious — a species that can fly despite lacking the biological make-up for flight. The expertise developed to achieve this served change far greater than just flight. It helped to push the boundaries of knowledge and expertise in many other areas of human endeavour.

Contrary to the elite narrative, these accomplishments could never have been achieved in isolation from the mass of society, no matter how smart the individuals involved. The elite narrative presents a one-sided story of how innovation works. It mystifies innovation as being solely driven by the experts, while underestimating the critical importance of the many. In reality, experts are not born; they are created by society, through solving the problems confronting society.

Norman Lewis. The Enduring Wisdom.

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“For National Populism”: the Man-Crush of Spiked (former, Revolutionary Communist Party) for Viktor Orbán.

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Orban’s Gallant Defiance of EU Elites.

A few days ago Frank Furedi was doing his chivalrous bit by coming to the aid of distressed demagogue Hungary’s PM, Viktor Orban,

The Hungarian government’s values are very different to the technocratic outlook of the EU federalists. The best way to describe the Hungarian government’s outlook is conservative, traditional and Christian. It is also democratic and very human. These are values that the EU oligarchy is determined to abolish, to erase from the European landscape and history, in order that it might replace them with its own technocratic cosmopolitan outlook.

Frank Furedi.  THE EU’S SHAMEFUL CRUSADE AGAINST HUNGARY

Furedi launched this crusade for Orbran and now his minions are now following.

The former High Up of the RCP and ex-Editor of Living Marxism Brendan O’Neill  has leapt into the fray in the right-wing Spectator.

Tory MEPs were right not to denounce Viktor Orban

You would never know it from the shrill media coverage, but Tory MEPs’ refusal to back the EU’s censure of Viktor Orban’s Hungary is one of the most principled things they have ever done. They are, of course, being denounced as Orban apologists, as cheerleaders for the authoritarian turn Hungary has taken under his prime ministership. Nonsense. They have taken a stand against authoritarianism. Against the authoritarianism of the European Union, whose technocratic arrogance has now reached such dizzy heights that it presumes the moral authority to punish nation states for doing what their own people, the electorate, have asked them to do. That is a far greater crime against democracy than any committed by Orban.

Good on the Tory MEPs who refused to back the anti-democratic censure of Hungary. And shame on those who are denouncing these Tories as bootlickers of Orban’s regime. It brings to mind the way that those of us who opposed the war in Iraq were written off as stooges for Saddam. Grow up, everyone: you can be critical of a foreign government while also opposing any tyrannical attempt by outsiders to overthrow or throttle that government.

What lies behind the New Course?

The Chief explained in August 2017.

Residing in Hungary for much of last year, I could see that the attacks levelled against that country by the EU-influenced media were motivated by the same impulses driving the anti-populist crusade across Europe. These attacks said more about the undemocratic spirit of Brussels than anything that was going on in Budapest.

WHY I WROTE A RADICAL DEMOCRATIC DEFENCE OF POPULISM

This book, appearing last year, to all the loud ‘umph of a falling hazelnut, intends to be a kind of alternative to Chantal Mouffe’s For a Left Populism (2018)

..one of the reasons I was so enthusiastic about Brexit, and remain so, was precisely because I see the EU as detrimental not only to public and political life in Britain, but also to the future of Europe. My book is devoted to explaining how the values espoused by the EU oligarchy are actually alien to the longstanding values of European civilisation.

The EU continually upholds the identities of minorities, regions and ethnic and other groups, but the one identity it singles out for attack is that of the nation. The EU prides itself on its celebration of identity politics and diversity; but its love affair with diversity doesn’t extend to appreciating the diversity of this continent’s national cultures. In my book, I argue that the EU is carrying out a culture war against national pride and consciousness.

National sovereignty is important for two reasons. First because it provides the largest terrain that humankind has discovered so far where democratic accountability can be exercised and have real meaning. Popular sovereignty can occur within a local community, a city or a nation – but it cannot be exercised in a territory larger than the nation. And the second reason national sovereignty is important is that it provides a context for the cultivation of a real, felt identity. There are other possible ways for people to develop their identities, but for most people the nation constitutes the largest area within which their identity can be forged and gain real purchase.

Having asserted the case for “identitarian politics” Furedi continues,

 in the course of researching this book, I came to the conclusion that, from the EU’s perspective, the main crime of the Hungarian government is that on many issues it promotes values that directly contradict those of the EU.

It is interesting to set these claims beside those made by Chantal Mouffe (who will be the subject of a full length  reply on this Blog, here is a very critical review in French, in which it is also published: Populisme de gauche, du nouveau ? Sur le dernier livre de Chantal Mouffe KHALFA Pierre) defending her new book, For a Left Populism (2018).

 She asserts that,

The only way to fight rightwing populism is to give a progressive answer to the demands they are expressing in a xenophobic language. This means recognising the existence of a democratic nucleus in those demands and the possibility, through a different discourse, of articulating those demands in a radical democratic direction.

This is the political strategy that I call “left populism”. Its purpose is the construction of a collective will, a “people” whose adversary is the “oligarchy”, the force that sustains the neoliberal order.

Guardian

This raises the obvious point that the demand “out with the immigrants” has no progressive content, nor does a demand for “sovereignty” rub up against markets, capitalism, or any of the left’s targets. That is the mechanisms which create inequality, injustice and oppression.

To put it at is starkest: those who claim that the ‘strain’ on public services ’caused’ is caused by migration and the EU ‘elite’ freedom of movement policy,  divert anger against austerity towards migrants…

Mouffe also claims that her alternative, “cannot be formulated through the left/right cleavage, as traditionally configured. “

It needs,

to bring these diverse struggles together requires establishing a bond between social movements and a new type of party to create a “people” fighting for equality and social justice.

Let us leave aside the point that such a “people” is something which has yet to be seen and touched, and how exactly does a “collective will” take decisions,  outside of her theoretical abstractions.

More significantly Mouffe’s examples, Podemos and La France insoumise, are widely different.

The first is a genuine mass movement with links to social movements (it was formed in the wake of the anti-austerity Movimiento 15-M), which, while not founding Podemos, are in close relation with a democratically organised organisation. Podemos has a proper elected leadership, conferences and internal debates, even ‘tendencies’. It takes decisions, hard ones in the case of the separatists populists of Catalonia, where they recognised national rights without giving way to the creation of ‘sovereigntism’, either of the Spanish state or the Catalan bourgeoisie.

La France insoumise (LFI), by contrast,  is a top-down Rally led by a Chief, Jean-Luc Mélenchon a “Party-Movement dedicated to training actors “in the art of becoming historical agents”. There is a simulacrum of internal democracy for its (massive, I am a ‘member’) on-line ‘membership, conferences of delegates in which a majority are chosen by lot, and policy decided by the Trainers. There are no internal tendencies (unlike their allies in Ensemble). LFI has recently been accused of drifting towards the nationalism which right-wing populism thrives on.

Feurdi and his mates have a simpler answer: they consider not just the kernel but the whole populist nut of people like Orban worth defending.

All the works of Lenin, Trotsky,  Marx, and Engels, all the ideas about capitalism, modes of production, class struggle, have evaporated.

The slate is clean.

The populists, Orban in case you asked,  are the Nation-People incarnate, proudly felt.

Woe betide ‘elites’ who attack them!

 

From Revolutionary Communist Party to Spiked: The Archives Speak!

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1980 The Next Step 8.pdf

Ever Wondered why Spiked is so Quiet on Corbyn’s Past? 

France had its former ’68’ Maoists, above all from the Gauche prolétarienne (1968 – 1974), who became right of centre, and left-of centre, anti-communist liberals.

It even had Benny Lévy (also Pierre Victor; 1945–2003) who from a hard-line Marxist-Leninist leader and ideologue of the group ended up a student of the Torah in Israel.

Whatever else you might think he was serious, as this citation indicates,

To be Jewish. To be, in an absolutely singular manner… a thought of the Return. The Return to the Sinaï… The thought of the Return (la pensée du Retour) requires a critique of the atheology of the modern Jew . Theology of the silence of God after Auschwitz, critique of theodicy, finally return to the notion of absolute Evil, these are the points through which one must pass in a critical manner. In this sense, this book addresses itself at any man, insofar as he is still sensible to the question of the origin of evil.

This biography is worth reading and thinking about: Philippe Lardinois, De Pierre Victor à Benny Lévy, de Mao à Moïse ?, Luc Pire, 2008

Britain, belatedly, had the hard-line Revolutionary Communist Party (1978 – 1997).

Odd as it seems the group behind Spiked was one of the more forceful – or barking – organisations on the British far-left, though not doubt without the kind of Oxbridge paternity that would have paralleled the GP’s best known members’ background in the École normale supérieure.

Today former members write this,

THE TERRIBLE PRICE OF A ‘PEOPLE’S VOTE’

To overthrow the Brexit vote would be to overthrow democracy itself.

The Remainer elite is feeling excited. Why? Because it thinks it might finally have beaten down the democratic desires of ordinary people, especially the poorer, less educated ones. It is hopeful that its relentless fearmongering, its highly moneyed, deeply cynical campaign to depict Brexit as the worst thing to happen to Britain since the war, might finally be paying off. This is the truth behind the Remainer elite’s wild cheering of a poll analysis that seems to reveal that more and more constituencies have shifted towards having Remain majorities: it spies in this alleged shift an important victory for its campaign of delegitimising the democratic vote for Brexit and sidelining the rough, ill-informed people responsible for that vote.

Their one time leader and ideologue, Frank Furedi, screams:

THE FLIGHT OF THE ELITES FROM THE NATION STATE

When leaders lose faith in the nation, geopolitics becomes more unstable.

And this: SELL OUT BREXIT? NO DEAL

It does not look probable that anybody is going to write a serious biography of Brendan O’Neill, or Frankie.

But there are people out there interested in their past (I admit I have a couple of copies of the Revolutionary Communist Papers mouldering away somewhere and a pamphlet….)

The Revolutionary Communist Tendency / Party…

(Splits and Fusions. An archive of British Trotskyist publications)

Love them (?)  or hate them, the Revolutionary Communist Party were a significant component of the British far left of the 1980s.

Originating as a split from the Revolutionary Communist Group (Fight Racism Fight Imperialism), itself a split from the International Socialists, the Revolutionary Communist Tendency published 8 issues of a magazine Revolutionary Communist Papers before establishing the rather stylish tabloid paper The Next Step in 1979. TNS was, at first a 24 page theoretical review before becoming a weekly paper in 1985. The issues of TNS up to that point are consecutively numbered. From 1985 they are numbered 1 – 40-odd repeating each year.

The main preoccupations of the RCP were Ireland and anti-racism as reflected in their front organisations the Irish Freedom Movement, publishing Irish Freedom magazine, and Workers Against Racism

The RCT published a series of Revolutionary Communist Pamphlets whilst the RCP followed up with a number of books and pamphlets, often under the Junius Press imprint and a theoretical journal Confrontation (we will scan some copies of this in due course)

 

Spare a Thought for the Pro-Trumpists.

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Ipswich Protest: C’est dur, dur, d’être bébé Trump.

Donald Trump visit: London protesters stage ‘one of UK’s biggest rallies in years’

Protesters young and old, from the UK and beyond, were united in their opposition to the US president, writes Sky’s Mark White.

Organisers claimed 250,000 people turned out for the huge demonstration in London.

While police have not given an official estimate, to my eyes this was one of the biggest rallies in recent years.

It was mass mobilisation by many disparate groups, all united in their belief that President Donald Trump should not have been afforded an official welcome to the UK.

It must be hard from the admirers of ‘Mr Brexit’ to put up with this:

And this:

Not to mention the latest spluttering about “fake news” – Trump’s recorded interview in the Current Bun.

So hard that they have spluttering into their Chlorinated Earl Grey and Texan Cornish pasties all day:

Portada de Daily Mail (United Kingdom)

DAYS OF MIDDLE-CLASS RAGE

Writes horney handed son of toil, TOM SLATER DEPUTY EDITOR

The Trump protests are more about therapy than politics.

..therapy, not politics. And if there’s anything truly striking about political life today, it’s not the illiberal blowhard that is Trump – it is how hysterical, disconnected and feeble the left has become.

Followed by even hornier Brendan O’Neill.

It is censorious to brand Trump a bigot for criticising the mayor.

Did you say censorship?

Reach for the genetically modified Bourbon!

Football: a Lament for the Two Englands.

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Résultat de recherche d'images pour "baudrillard sur le football"

Pseudo-Cosmopolitan Sneers Get Robust Answer From Spiked online.

 

“England for him was no longer a real place, but a consecrated isle in the lake of forgetting, where the God of the English still strode through an imaginary Eden, admiring His works.”
― Roger ScrutonEngland: An Elegy

THE TWO ENGLANDS.

Brendan O’Neill

There’s the England where we gathered in pubs and parks to go wild for the team, and in the process made new friends, hugged strangers, helped inebriated people into Ubers, and there’s the England that frets that this heaving mass of fans will turn violent and harm women and girls.

“Human beings, in their settled condition, are animated by oikophilia: the love of the oikos, which means not only the home but the people contained in it, and the surrounding settlements that endow that home with lasting contours and an enduring smile.”
― Roger ScrutonHow to Be a Conservative

And,

There’s the England that pursues of the promise of nationhood, and the England that views the nation as outdated. There is the England that feels national pride and sometimes even waves the English flag, and there is the England repulsed by such ‘jingoistic’ behaviour. Even in London itself, you can have a working-class estate adorned in England flags not far from Corbynista-inhabited parts of London where the only flag you’re likely to see is the EU one. Two Londons. The England that sees itself as a nation, and the England that sees itself as a small cog in the pseudo-cosmopolitan machine of Brussels whose wise counsel is apparently preferable to the opinions of ordinary Brits. Especially the ones who wave that bloody flag and beat their wives when England lose.

“When the chips are down, Orwell argued, our workers do not defend their class but their country, and they associate their country with a gentle way of life in which unusual and eccentric habits – such as not killing one another – are accepted as the way things are. In these respects, Orwell also thought, the leftist intellectuals will always misunderstand the workers, who want nothing to do with a self-vaunting disloyalty that only intellectuals can afford.”
― Roger ScrutonHow to Be a Conservative

I know which of the two Englands I prefer. Like millions of others, I experienced it many times over these past few weeks, and I know it is not the foul, prejudiced, violent land of the new technocratic elite’s nightmares, but rather is a place where people value collectivity over individual identity, talent over race, and pulling together rather than waiting to be enlightened by those who presume to know more than us. En-ger-land – it’s not so shabby.

Brendan O’Neill

For further information on the new politics of Spiked see:

John Cleese Joins Brendan O’Neillism: Blasts “Lazy, Fat, Beer-Sodden Belgium Bastards.”

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Biggus Dickus Rails at Lazy Fat Belgium Bastards.

The world is in the grip of Brendan O’Neillism.

After Paul Embery’s whinges about Left Wing Zealots, John Cleese, star of the occasionally funny Monty Python is replaying his old parts.

It all began with this (Telegraph)

John Cleese has accused the BBC of “social engineering” after its head of comedy said Monty Python’s white Oxbridge males were out of step with modern television.

Cleese joked that Python’s members met the BBC’s diversity targets because they included a “poof” and “no slave-owners”, and suggested his Ministry of Silly Walks sketch would now be considered “a slur on the handicapped”.

Shane Allen, who runs the BBC’s comedy output, said earlier this week that sketch shows should feature “a diverse range of people who reflect the modern world”, and that times have moved on from Python’s “six Oxbridge white blokes”.

The noted wit replied,

 

Shane Allen, who runs the BBC’s comedy output, said earlier this week that sketch shows should feature “a diverse range of people who reflect the modern world”, and that times have moved on from Python’s “six Oxbridge white blokes”.

Having got a taste for political controversy the leading Brexiteer (Artists 4 Brexit) has tweeted this.

Which provoked this reply,

Hasselt is Dutch-speaking (he later corrected his tweet to “pseudo-Dutch”, which is at least linguistically accurate).

Belgians are lazy, fat drunkards, John Cleese? Hold my beer

Cleese remains undaunted.

But nobody beats the O’Neill at this kind of thing…

Anti-Trump emotionalism has become a menace to reasoned debate.

…anti-Trumpism looks increasingly like a rash and elitist pseudo-movement in which signalling your sorrow and shame is far more important than putting forward a political critique or political ideas. ‘I fucking hate Trump’ – that’s all they have.

Written by Andrew Coates

June 22, 2018 at 12:33 pm

Brendan O’Neill Gets Offended at the “Orwellian War on History”.

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“Everyone’s smashing statues” Says Upset Bendan O’Neill.

 

Brendan O’Neill is the author of A Duty to Offend (2015). He is Editor of spiked  and a columnist for the Big Issue and Reason. He writes widely for a variety of other publications, including the Telegraph, the Spectator and the Australian.

He is also a former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, a split from the Revolutionary Communist Group, which was a split from the Socialist Workers Party.

A Duty to Offend takes little time over  those who take this responsibility to heart, such as Charlie Hebdo (a publication few had heard of, he notes – not bleeding on this Blog ) and a great  many words on those Offended.

This set a pattern. In the O’Neil world Snowflakes, Trigger Warnings and whatever US term of the minute is recycled in the media, are flung around. in Spiked and by the man himself.

As in today’s Sun,

BRENDAN O’NEILL

The CPS’s decision to crack down on online mockery is a recipe for tyranny

In elevating online slights to the level of hate crime, the CPS has written a Snowflakes’ Charter…

All those snowflakes and professional offence-takers who think a cross word is as bad as a slap in the face will relish this opportunity to land their critics in the dock.

A man of many words his take on life, for the benefit of anybody who does not wish to plough further, can be boiled down and served up in the following,

Every leap forward in history, every freedom we enjoy, is a product of individuals having given “offence” — having offended against the orthodoxies of their age. Offensiveness is not just something we have to grudgingly accept. Offensiveness is the motor of human progress.

But now apparently O’Neil is Offended.

An Orwellian war on the past.

The control of public space is an attempt to control thinking itself.

Everyone’s smashing statues. From Islamic State hotheads sledgehammering ancient artefacts in old Mesopotamian cities to plummy students at Oxford demanding the removal of busts of old colonialists, waging war on the past is all the rage.

A Year Zero mentality is on the march. People seem hellbent on wiping out history, making it invisible, and starting society all over again, cleansed of the likenesses of dead people of whom they disapprove.

In truth, there’s nothing good in this mob-like erasure of history. It’s a reactionary, even Orwellian, movement. The urge to ethically cleanse public life of “bad history”, to shove down the memory hole any bust or tribute to past folk whose values make us bristle today, is intolerant, illiberal and profoundly paternalistic.

During the past week, the irrational fury against inanimate objects moved up a gear. First, there were the disturbances in Charlottesville, Virginia, when disagreements over a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee descended into violent clashes between leftists and neo-fascists.

….reeks of PC paternalism. The idea that minority groups can’t cope with seeing statues of dead people who did some dodgy things is an affront to their intelligence and autonomy. It infantil­ises them, even suggesting they will feel physically wounded by history: after all, “there is a violence” to these statues.

..

it’s a low, brutal form of censorship, and we should have no truck with it.

Offensive innit?

What would Orwell have said?

Well he would have said that it is wrong to conflate the genocidal rule of the Islamic state with movements against the public reminders of contentious figures of the past, that honour them.  He would then have talked about the past being honoured, starting perhaps with his own experience of Imperial rule in Burma.

In Moulmein, in Lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people – the only … by-products of imperialism; ask any Anglo-Indian official, if you can catch him …”  Shooting An Elephant.  1936.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 22, 2017 at 12:04 pm