The Hammer and Sickle that Released the Bubonic Rats up Your Flares

if you are new to this, it is just a little project. I write a blog post a day, sometimes on a building I’ve seen, a memory, some grumpy politics, or incoherent science idea. I am trying to work out what I think by thinking it through, typing it out and offering it up for your judgement. Expect typos. I wrote them fast and spell and grammar check a few hours later, normally with horror. 


We have fallen for it again, lucrative spite, profitable propaganda and paid by the word graffiti. The world that has time to be virtual as the real world is not taxing enough has been lured to another newspaper, the newspaper that is most adept at manipulating rabid froth. We’ve been played and the ad revenue is secured.

Like all good people who should be spending their time doing something productive, like mending a fence for an infirm neighbour or sitting in a tree counting clouds, I read the piece by Geoffrey Levy about the Miliband’s dad. It’s furious desire to put us in fear of a future where Ed Miliband gets to power, holds a seance with Ed Balls, and then unleashes the malevolent spirit of Stalin, Mao and any dead Redgraves upon Britain seemed so ham-fisted that it smelt both rank and impotent. 

I don’t know much about Ralph Miliband, so I can only comment on the arguments put forward by the journalist Geoff Levy. You may tell me later, “ah but did you not know about his support for some genocidal Troskyists?” and I will reply, “no, that is not what this was about, it is about the potency of this published argument”. 

The headline informs us “This Man Did Hate Britain” or “The Man who hated Britain”.

The first piece of evidence – he stood at Karl Marx’s grave and declared he would be faithful to the workers’ cause.

So what is a country? Is it the people in it, its factory owners and castle keepers, or a set of ideals and values that float in the ether that may be more often name-checked and referenced than practically used. I would think that the most important thing to preserve in a country are its people, to aim for the best possible lives for the largest number of people and that the values of equality, democracy, kindness are shared and possible ideals for all. 

So I am not sure how desire to support the people who make the majority of the population means you must be against the interests of the country. Surely the interests of the people should be the interests of the country?  

Geoff then uses the words of Damian McBride, a man desperately peddling his hair shirt from station to station, to proclaim that Ed Miliband is in the politics game to revive his father’s legacy. Are we to believe that is everything he ever said, the broader conceits of his father’s work, what exactly?

Socialism is littered through the article, as if the very word Münch imagined being deafeningly screamed as his shock eyed subject desperately tried to block it out. 

Then social ownership sprouts up. The horror of putting the means of production into the hands of the masses may be more gut churning if the the return to private ownership had not seen such rises in the cost to the consumer and such frequent signals that the first aim is maximising private profit. I don’t look back at a golden age of nationalisation, but I do think the high government expenditure to shore up private profit and bonuses has created an illusion of private enterprise that is nationalisation in cost but without the public gain. 

So many of us complain of fuel bills and public transport costs, I’ve even seen it in the Mail, yet still public ownership is more despicable than lavish wages, seemingly ensured even after gross failure. I would say there is a greater hatred of Britain from those who profit from its people and then, while taxpayers pay for their mistakes, they ensure their tax is sheltered elsewhere. 

Unions are obviously ghastly, we all have our 70s memories of being “held to ransom” by them with increasingly mythic images of streets resembling the boozed up mind of Hieronymous Bosch. Though the unions “holding us to ransom” sticks in our craw, and the images of their Bolshy faces and placards brings a bleak nostalgia, we seem near oblivious to those who held us to ransom, and still do, in the financial sector. The unions created images that were easy to malign during their “ransom holding”. The white collared CEO did not need to take to the streets when they needed more of our money, they knew all the nice people and could do it around an oak table with fresh running espresso and the sort of biscuits Prince Charles likes to bake. 

Geoff continues to leaf through Ralph Miliband’s teenage diary like a spurned boyfriend in an attic. 

I am boring myself, so I imagine you are gone now. 

What surprises me is that, of all the evidence shown, there is nothing truly incendiary. There are questions of our class based society, a jabbing at our institutions, and some mention of our nationalism – some letters most from his juvenile diary.

I still can’t see evidence of hating a country if a country is its people, not its rulers. 

The left of the past made mistakes, many seemed to be blind to the atrocities of Mao and Stalin, even when they were revealed. Meanwhile on the right, deals and support of right wing dictatorships who organised death squads in stadiums and genocides is deemed somehow different, perhaps because they overtly knew what was going on and didn’t give a fuck – money is money, a deal is a deal.

I am not left or right, I don’t know what these things mean anymore and I can’t always be bothered to read the pamphlets, but I am confused at how calls for fairness and balance in wages and opportunity can now be deemed aggressive communism.

When the next generation wonder why we let so many things get out of hand, when they question us on our lack of action on climate change or a society divided more than before Attlee, will our only answer be, “well, we were worried it would damage the share dividends”. 

Now what I meant to say was that we shouldn’t be distracted by these articles that lure us with bile….oops.

I am on tour – Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Newtown, East London and many more. Also doing new shows in Hammersmith with Brian Cox. Details HERE

Happiness through Science DVDs HERE

FOOTNOTE – actually, taking it all into account, I probably would be classed left.

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3 Responses to The Hammer and Sickle that Released the Bubonic Rats up Your Flares

  1. Niall says:

    I think this also links to goldacre’s joke re. the daily mail and its obsession with all substances causing or curing cancer. It seems to be in what Melanie Klein would call the ‘paranoid schizoid’ position seeing everything in black and white, good and evil. If it were a human I have no doubt it would be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, from there you hope it would try to learn and seek treatment. No wonder you look so exhausted trying to force it on them. I do DBT and it can be tiring.

  2. I second Simon Booton-Mander X

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