John Terry the History Teacher

We owe a great debt of thanks to John Terry. In his own inimitable style, in a clarity and eloquence far exceeding even the best of history teachers, Mr Terry has reminded us that Europe, with Britain as no exception, has a long, bloody five hundred year colonial history, and that that history has been singularly defined by a deep seated poisonous racism, a racism that persists at all levels of society to this very day. It's in our police forces, in our media institutions, in all levels of government, left as well as right, and deeply ingrained throughout the entire social fabric of our imagined civilisation. Head Teachers are tainted by it, Members of Parliament are tainted by it, your local white bobby is tainted by it, and of course our white middle class sports governing bodies simply ooze it. It is in the very DNA of our European being. No amount of global immigration, integration, assimilation, multiculturalism, and similar well-meaning platitudes and initiatives has been able to shake it. And when we delude ourselves that we are finally free of the debilitating toxins, along comes a streetwise history teacher, the likes of Mr Terry, to remind us all over again. What a history teacher he has proved to be.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 26 May 2018 07:33 )

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Hillisborough ( Dont mention the war)

In all the countless pages of commentary on the Hillsborough enquiry findings I could find just one fleeting mention of Britain's colonial war against Ireland and that was from Simon Jenkins who deigned to mention Bloody Sunday in one of his pieces. Hooray for Mr Jenkins. For the rest of Britain's rabid pro-imperialist media, Britain's long running war against Ireland had absolutely no connection what-so-ever to the tragedy that befell those Liverpool football fans all those years ago. And yet, if we care to remind ourselves, Britain, at the time of the Hillsborough tragedy was at the height of its bloody campaign to crush the body and spirit of those brave Irish republicans who had the temerity to claim self-rule for not just 26 counties but for all 32 counties of Ireland. So what exactly is the connection between the two? The linkage may be circumstantial in some commentator's eyes, but the more one dwells on the political realities of the day, the more the linkage becomes tangible and intelligible.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 26 May 2018 07:44 )

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Simon Jenkins versus Polly Toynbee; A Tale of Two Editorials

'Credit to The Guardian, 1/6/12 for publishing two diametrically opposed editorials on the meaning and significance of the Queen's Jubilee circus. Simon Jenkins piece was as dispiriting as Polly Toynbee's was uplifting. The guts of Jenkins article is that the monarchy is a rather harmless affair mercifully free of the grimy politicking associated with elected presidents. Don't take the thing too seriously, just enjoy the pageantry and the nation bonding that it provides. He could not be more wrong. The monarchy is far from being a harmless, above-the-fray institution. Based on the hereditary principle, the monarchy reinforces and entrenches the class privilege that permeates every institution the entire social fabric of this country. Jenkins just doesn't get it but Toynbee certainly does. I've not always been a great fan of Toynbee, who has a little too much faith in the reforming credentials of the Labour Party for my liking, but in this editorial I don't think she could be bettered. I was planning on doing a piece on the Jubilee myself, but to be honest Toynbee has said everything that needs to be said and probably a darn sight more eloquently than I could ever manage.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 26 May 2018 12:44 )

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Stadiums of Hate, Panorama, BBC, 28/5/12

UEFA 2012 - to boycott or not to boycott  that is the troublesome question. In fact, it is not so much a question as a murky swamp that once you dip your toe in, there seems no easy way out. Here is the problem. Everybody has their own list of who should face a sporting boycott. For me Israel should be high on the list for its arrogant, openly racist, neo-fascist treatment of its Palestinian neighbours. The United States of America and the UK, its willing lap dog, should definitely be on any boycott list for their wholly illegal war in Iraq, not to mention their 12 year collective punishment of the Afghan people in response to the criminal behaviour of a relatively small band of Islamic religious fanatics. And while on the topic of Islamic bigots, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain should be high on the boycott list, given their medieval treatment of women and gays in their barbaric kingdoms.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 26 May 2018 12:45 )

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Singularity University

A fascinating feature article in The Observer 29/4/12 put together by a Carole Cadwalladr nearly gets us believing that in the very near future everything is going to be rosy on Planet Earth all thanks to an exponential growth in science and technology. To achieve this remarkable feat of human engineering, many of the top brains in computing and science plus a liberal sprinkling of forward thinking entrepreneurs and philanthropic billionaires have gathered together in a high powered, can-do think tank, enigmatically called the Singularity University, in order to brain storm all those stubborn earthly problems like poverty, hunger, disease and environmental degradation. Throw in a huge dollop of blue-sky thinking and hey-presto all those nasty little obstacles to human progress can be dealt a terminal blow. Cadwalladr is not entirely convinced and neither am I.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 26 May 2018 13:07 )

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