Posts by Rich Lock

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  • Hard News: #GE2015: Proper Mad, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Is that Sun cover trying to remind people (pork, bacon, Milliband's face pulling) that Ed is a yid?

    Given the number of people who have commented on that, you really do have to wonder, as Russell says.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2464 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: #GE2015: Proper Mad, in reply to Zach Bagnall,

    In the 2012 referendum, 2/3 voted against electoral reform, but here we are.

    It was 2011, and the question was: "At present, the UK uses the "first past the post" system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the "alternative vote" system be used instead?"

    That is, 2/3rds voted against changing from FPTP to AV, NOT against electoral reform per se. It might seem like a pedantic distinction, but I think the meme that 'the electorate doesn't want reform' is damaging.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2464 posts Report Reply

  • Envirologue: Too Big to Fail – Why…,

    There's been one or two posts on this thread that have touched on the current consumerist lifestyle, with a side note of resigned acceptance. While we (as a species) all like Comfort and New Shiny Things, I think it also needs to noted that the current culture of continuous upgrades and disposable products was more-or-less deliberately engineered by giving our psychological triggers a damn good spanking.

    Jaques Peretti* did a very good BBC documentary about it - 'the men who made us spend', which is on YouTube, and I highly recommend. First part here:

    *oddly, Jaques Peretti was originally a clubs-and-drugs reporter when he first appeared on my radar, so it feels rather weird to see him doing proper serious reporting.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2464 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Behind Baltimore, in reply to Howard Edwards,

    every district or city has its own police force, i.e. there is no US Police Force (other than the FBI of course)

    There are city/metropolitan police departments in the major cities, separate sherrif's departments in smaller towns, which are separate to but interact with the state police departments outside the town/city limits, plus a plethora of Federal agencies often referred to colloquially as the 'alphabet soup', or 'alphabet boys' - FBI, ICE, DEA, ATF are the main ones, but there's a bunch of smaller less well-known ones, too, such as the treasury dept (which I understand is formally part of the secret service, which itself is separate to the CIA). Plus a lot of states have their own in-state Bureaus of Investigation or other semi-separate organisations

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2464 posts Report Reply

  • Envirologue: Too Big to Fail – Why…, in reply to BenWilson,

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2464 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This Anzac Day, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    I’m not arguing with the work the “Heroes” charities do. I’m arguing with their labelling. As far as I can see, the only pre-requisite for “Hero” status is to join the armed forces. Volunteering to kill people doesn’t seem particularly heroic to me. In order to benefit from the “Hero” charities, you need to have had someone you were trying to kill manage to kill or nearly kill you first. That doesn’t seem to me to justify “Hero” status either.

    On the “Keep Calm and Carry On” bit, I think we differ on cause and effect. The timing was indeed no coincidence. But the “national yearning for a simpler time”, and the lack of social discord and breakdown is a result of the success of rhetoric and propaganda that has convinced the UK masses that the huge degradation in their public services and employment is something outside everyone’s control (like their experience of war), to be soldiered through. This lets The City off the hook, and lets the Government off the hook for not doing more to recoup national losses from The City. The people SHOULD be marching in the streets, but (unlike in the 70s and 80s) they’ve now been successfully convinced that that would be un-British or something.

    I think we're both reaching the same conclusion, but ascribing different weight to different signs/evidence.

    The word 'hero' has become incredibly over-used. However, I do have some sympathy for charities using it. Despite it's devaluation, I don't think any other word would have had the resonance that causes contributors to reach into their pockets.

    Yes, the people should be marching in the streets. My own theory is that the last large protest of any coherence and significance (the 'not in my name' anti-war protests in 2001/2002) were so roundly ignored - the parliament of the day couldn't have said 'go fuck yourselves' more clearly without actually saying it - that it's taken the legs out from under people. They're still a lot of angry people out there, but they're also despairing: 'if that didn't work, what will?'

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2464 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This Anzac Day, in reply to Sacha,

    Not into military history but it seems the first war wasn't finished properly (Germany not properly defeated) so after a couple of decades the second one started.

    The period 1914-1945 is sometimes referred to (somewhat contentiously) as 'the second thirty years war'.

    French/German antipathy, and the roots of the French mindset that saw the post-WW1 settlement as justifiable, go back far further - to the battles of Austerlitz (1805) and Jena/Auerstedt (1806), and the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine in 1806.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2464 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This Anzac Day, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    That may have been the case when you were a lad, but on our recent stay in the UK we were shocked and pretty horrified at how obsessed with WW2 the UK appeared to be.
    As far as I could tell, this suited the ends of the State very well. First, there were all the attempts to recreate the sense of “all in it together"-ness of WW2, as some sort of “isn’t this GFC jolly” thing. Thus all the "Make Do and Mend", "Dig for Britain", and all the "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters.

    The language was hideous. All of it was “… for Heroes”. So there was “Help for Heroes”, “Hounds for Heroes” (I thought this was some charity that arranged for returned soldiers to get retired greyhounds, but now I come to look it up, I find it’s slightly better, in that it provides assistance dogs to returned soldiers with disabilities), and, more locally (we were living on the edge of an Air Force village in Buckinghamshire, so doubtless got more exposure than most) the Horses, Hounds and Heroes Family Fun Day. Yes, really.

    I suspect the UK's WW2 obsession has more to do with national myth and a yearning for a simpler time of national solidarity than it does anything else. The 70 years since the end of WW2 have mostly been marked by loss of global power and influence, internal civil division, and extended periods of economic gloom.

    It's not coincidence that the popularity of 'keep calm and carry on' exploded around the time The City imploded and took the economy with it, and all the politicians stood around the hole, lost for words and looking like the exposed powerless incompetent idiots they mostly are. I don't think 'the state' really drove it at all.

    I saw Paul Mason talk in 2012, after the riots, and just before the jubilee celebrations and the start of the olympics. He mused that he considered that things might 'get interesting' around those times, implying that there might be some sort of renewed flare-up of civil disorder. As it turns out, he was 180 degrees wrong, and both events actually worked more to 'solidarity' the country than otherwise. However, it will be interesting to see how things work out this year with the election and all: The Kippers are on the rise, and Scotland is looking somewhat unsettled.

    As for “… for Heroes”. These charities were set up when it became clear that the standard of care provided for badly-wounded and disabled returning servicemen and women was absolutely inadequate. It never quite became a front-page national disgrace, mainly because the right-wing press were never inclined to join the necessary dots, but they're basically filling a hole the the state can't/won't.

    There were sustained attempts by politicians here in the UK to hijack the WW1 centenary last year and turn it in a more jingoistic direction, but fortunately they mostly failed.

    You're right that there are troubling signs: the military toys in the shops seem to be aimed at younger children than I remember from my youth, and are more 'real', than they are fantasy/historical (it ain't robots and aliens who are the villains...). But I don't really see how an air base open day is different to the Navy base open day I went to in Devonport a few years back.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2464 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This Anzac Day, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I’m surprised Aldi didn’t jump on that bandwagon as well.

    Also, the use of war to sell stuff has gone on as long as we've had wars:

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2464 posts Report Reply

  • Envirologue: What has Neoliberalism Done…, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Air New Zealand. NZ Rail. Both run down and badly needing investment.

    Which nudges up the other point: Too big to fail. And the associated sub-point about privatising the profit and socialising the risk.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2464 posts Report Reply

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