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Insulate, Insulate August 11, 2022: - Politics in the mainstream media is entirely seen through the prism of the relentless race to the right of the Tory leadership election. The only people who can vote are two football crowds worth of overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly male, comparatively wealthy, mostly pensionable, overwhelmingly southern, people. Brexit and the folding of UKIP into the Tory Party has changed the membership profile of the Tory Party. There are not many Dominic Greive comparative liberals still hanging in there. The typical Tory member used to be somebody like Miss Marple and her friends at St Mary Mead. It is now the St…
Winners August 10, 2022: - Saturday will be a proud day for our family, after a very difficult year. Winners, Nadira's first feature film as Producer, will have its World Premiere as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. To be part of the official selection at the world's oldest film festival is a real achievement, and to be given the Saturday evening slot in Filmhouse 1 is something of a triumph. The Director is our good friend Hassan Nazer, who lives in Aberdeen. Nadira and Hassan filmed on location in Iran, with the post-production carried out back in Scotland with the support of Screen…
Freedom of Speech and Graham Phillips August 9, 2022: - The imposition of sanctions against British citizen and journalist Graham Phillips is an appalling violation of freedom of speech - which to have meaning must mean freedom to say things which disagree with the government, the media and/or majority public opinion. Phillips has for almost a decade published and broadcast from Ukraine material which is openly supportive of the pro-Russian section of the Ukrainian population. He has operated from first Kyiv, then Odessa, then the Donbass. Phillips was sceptical of the Maidan protests and the popular revolution narrative. He subsequently for years covered much that the Western elites do not…
Pre-Emptive Murder August 8, 2022: - The lives of the latest fifteen Palestinian children to be murdered by Israel in Gaza, lives ripped from their small, terrified bodies with devastating violence, do not seem of much concern to the powerful in the West, or indeed anywhere. The BBC repeated without question Israel's claim that its latest launch of high explosive at the Gaza concentration camp was to prevent a terrorist attack on Israeli civilians - of which prospective attack no evidence has been produced. No western media has asked for any. Nor has it been explained why the attack would be stopped by Israel obliterating the…
Independence, Justice and the Unionist Lord Advocate July 30, 2022: - The Lord Advocate's "reference" to the UK Supreme Court on whether the Scottish Parliament has the power to instigate an Independence Referendum is carefully wrought to get the answer "No". From the opening pleading on whether the Supreme Court should hear the petition at all - which Lord advocate Bain founds solely on the argument that Independence and the UK Parliament are "reserved matters" to Westminster, therefore she is entitled to make the reference - Bain continually shoots the pro-Referendum argument in the foot. If you believe that Sturgeon and her Lord Advocate are genuinely acting with the intention of…
The Forde Report and the Labour Right July 24, 2022: - Nobody can accuse the authors of the Forde report of having a low opinion of themselves. Its lofty tone reflects profound disdain for the views and actions of mere mortals, and it utters judgments with an air of deep profundity. This is amusing as it is banal in the extreme. The Forde Report is, peculiarly, a Report into a Report. The Forde panel's terms of reference were simply to discover who commissioned the "Leaked Report", and why, who leaked the "Leaked Report", and whether the "allegations" in the "Leaked Report" were true. It is often the case in official, or…
Ithaka July 10, 2022: - Away from the Tory Babel over who will be the top "world-leading" sociopath, I spent the last two evenings in the company of decent people. John and Gabriel Shipton, Julian's father and brother, were in Glasgow and Edinburgh for the screening of "Ithaka", the documentary that follows the fight by Julian Assange's family to have him freed. I was moderating the Q & A. The odd pub may also have been visited. Ithaka is heart-rending, and it has an important message in rehumanising Julian after over a decade of concerted (I use that word advisedly) propaganda aimed at dehumanising him.…
The Death of the British Imperial State July 6, 2022: - All Empires end in ignominy. The United Kingdom is drawing to a close, not with a bang but with a fart. A century from now, the dominant historical narrative will be Chinese, and Chinese historians will puzzle over how Boris Johnson fell over a lie about what he knew of sexual harassment by a very junior member of his government. Learned papers will be written over whether this was truly the cause, or whether the underlying socio-economic crisis caused by inflation and Brexit was the real determinant. Chinese books (or their technological equivalent) will be written on the crisis of…
The UK’s Fake Politics July 4, 2022: - I found this list on the Facebook page of Anya Darr. The information in it checks out, and it is pretty startling. I was anxious to namecheck Anya Darr because she is being evicted from her little cottage while awaiting a fresh disability assessment from the NHS. It is a story typical of the cruelty of Tory Britain. There are plentiful resources for everybody to live comfortably, but many millions of lives are blighted by massive and growing inequality of wealth distribution. Starmer New Labour has now adopted the position of opposing strike action by the working class because it…
Karakalpak Unrest July 3, 2022: - Footage has emerged of the Uzbek authorities cleaning up a huge amount of blood after suppression of protests in Nukus, Uzbekistan. The Karakalpaks are a separate ethnic and linguistic group. Karakalpakstan covers a huge area, but almost all of it is uninhabitable desert. A small majority of the population of the autonomous region of Karakalpakstan are not Karakalpak ethnically or linguistically - they are Kazakhs, Turkmen, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Koreans, Tatars and others - but the regional, arguably national, identity is also strong among these groups settled in Karakalpakstan. Among the historical events that gave the Karakalpak such a diverse population,…
Don’t Look Back in Anger June 29, 2022: - The new bid for Scottish Independence is started. It does not matter how each of us got here, who had which idea first, what might be a better plan, who stabbed who in the back. It is gone. Let it be. Robert the Bruce murdered John Comyn before the high altar of a church during peace talks in an agreed truce. That is, to coin a phrase, the gold standard of bad political behaviour. But he remains our most revered political leader, because he won Independence. Scots did not refuse to fight at Bannockburn because Bruce was a nasty man.…
The Pointless Keir Starmer June 25, 2022: - On Thursday, Labour under Keir Starmer got a lower percentage of the vote in Wakefield than they did in 2017 under Jeremy Corbyn. In 2017 Labour got 49.7%. On Thursday they got 47.9%. I want you to think that through. Inflation is soaring. Consumer confidence in the economy has gone through a steeper plummet, and to a lower level, than at any time since it was measured. Worse than the 2008 banking collapse. Worse than the height of the covid panic. The Tory government of Boris Johnson is highly unpopular. The electorate has formed the view that Boris Johnson is…
Your Man in Saughton Jail Part 2 June 21, 2022: - I was walking down that improbably long central corridor in a group of about eight mainstream prisoners heading for legal visits, when panic broke out among the escorting guards. About a hundred yards further down, and coming towards us, was an overweight and bearded old man walking with a zimmer frame and wearing the maroon shirt of a protected prisoner. Pandemonium broke out as the prisoners I was with saw him; they yelled, screamed and made barking noises. A couple made as though to break from the guards and run down the corridor to attack him, but they stopped after…
No Debt June 19, 2022: - Ukraine inherited none of the Soviet Union's debt, just as Scotland will inherit none of the United Kingdom's debt. Russia was the successor state to the Soviet Union, and thus got to keep the seat on the UN Security Council, the nuclear weapons and all Soviet overseas assets. On the other side of the ledger, as the successor state, it means that Russia got to keep all of the debt also. The agreement was finalised in 1993. It appears certain that Westminster will insist upon being the successor state to the United Kingdom, and thus keep the seat on the…
Standards June 18, 2022: - A brief thought. Can anybody explain to me why Alex Salmond reaching out to ping somebody's hair was charged as sexual assault and unsuccessfully prosecuted in court, but this by an SNP MP: "It was quite a nice night until towards the end of the evening. I was sitting on a couch in the pub with three or four colleagues, and then Patrick perched himself on the arm of the couch and proceeded to start touching me. "He was playing with my hair and making comments about how he wished he had hair. He was putting his fingers on the…
Biden Works to Prolong Ukraine War June 7, 2022: - I was in Turkey to try to further peace talks, as an experienced diplomat with good contacts there, and as a peace activist. I was not there as a journalist and much of what I discussed was with the understanding of confidence. It will be probably be some years before I judge it reasonable and fair to reveal all that I know. But I can give some outline. Turkey continues to be the centre of diplomatic activity on resolving the Ukraine war. It is therefore particularly revealing, and a sign of Western priorities, that I did not come across a…
A Revolutionary Act June 3, 2022: - There is no Establishment pathway to the final destruction of the Imperial British state. It will be momentous; the daft pomposity of the Jubilee celebrations reminds us of how powerful the United Kingdom once was. Only real power can prevent such forms from looking ludicrous. The show continues with the power behind it gone. The British decline from being the greatest world power to the collapse of the metropolitan state has taken only a century. It held world pre-eminence for less than two centuries, approximately Plassey to Hiroshima. This ephemeral parade of military conquest, rape, looting and systematic economic exploitation…
The Power of Lies May 26, 2022: - The comments on Peter Oborne's excellent article on Julian Assange in the Guardian last week are a damning indictment of the media's ability to instil near universal acceptance of "facts" which are easily proven lies. The Guardian chose as its "Guardian pick" to head the section a comment full of these entirely untrue assertions. If you look through all the comments, they repeat again and again that Wikileaks published unredacted documents, including names of US agents, which put lives at risk. The entire basis of most of the comments is simply untrue - and none of the readers seems to…
The Slide Down May 21, 2022: - I am today in Izmir. The last time I was here, eleven years ago, I called on the bereaved family of an aid worker murdered by Israel on the Mavi Mamara. A decade later, as witness the case of Shireen Abu Aqlah, Israel is still carrying out blatant public murder of good people; there has been no progress at all. The only thing that has changed is that the suppression of critics of Israel has become much more intense across social media, mainstream media and political debate. I have in the last 18 years shared a platform with almost every…
Nato Expansion and Turkey May 17, 2022: - I am in Turkey because, if there is to be movement in ending the war in Ukraine, it will happen here. President Erdogan's firm stance on a potential veto of Swedish and Finnish NATO membership is framed in public only in relation to perceived support by those countries for Kurdish resistance groups. But of course it goes much deeper. Erdogan understands that the spectacular advance by NATO eastward that Finnish enlargement in particular would represent, is a slap in the face for Putin that will make a peace deal in Ukraine far more difficult. Any such deal would have to…

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