Lack of Forgiveness 444

This blog is severely hampered by flu. I hate flu. In a globe-trotting life I have had a number of illnesses that became life threatening – peritonitis, typhoid, cholera, cerebral malaria, pulmonary embolism, pulmonary hypertension (thankfully misdiagnosed) severe arrhythmia. I was once declared dead and awoken by a cockroach eating my nostril as I lay naked on a corpse trolley in Kaduna. I refuse to die because of the thought of the people – Jack Straw, Islam Karimov, Alisher Usmanov, Tony Blair, John Reid etc – whose day I know would be momentarily brightened by news of my demise. But for sustained misery and feeling really, really awful and uncomfortable, a week with the flu, while not nearly as dangerous, is pretty well as unpleasant, at least to me.

As I lie in a sweaty bed, my thought are perhaps unsurprisingly not happy and light. I am paying keen attention to all the proposals for how to move forward the Independence movement after that check, and am struck by all the calls to reach out to No voters and bring them in.

I have no idea how to reach out to No voters because I find the majority of them stupid beyond my understanding. This is not because they desired an end result different to that I desired. That is a perfectly legitimate choice. It is because, by voting No, they are going to get an end result which is not what they wanted at all, and that was very obvious. Asking me to reach out to these unbelievably thick people is like asking me to go for a drive with someone who, against my advice, drove the wrong way down a motorway, causing a lot of people to get hurt as a result.

Through their No vote they are going to get five more years of Tory rule – which most of them absolutely did not want. And it is going to be Tory rule that lurches further and further to the right. It seems no proposition was too right wing to be applauded to the rafters by the Tory Conference.

Tax cuts for the rich. Benefit cuts for the poor. Openly declared government in the interests of multinational corporations. Censorship of the internet and severe restrictions on freedom of speech. The government intercepting all communications. Even more detention without trial. Permanent war in the Middle East. Leaving the European Convention on Human Rights and in consequence the Council of Europe – the first country to leave the body set up in 1946 to prevent the rise again in Europe of just the sort of proto-fascist measures the Tories wish to impose. To be followed by leaving the European Union.

All of these are direct consequences for Scotland of the No vote. This is much more profound than the entirely predictable and immediate dishonouring of the pledges on Devo-Max by Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and Brown. Brown’s call for a petition to request him to work for what he assured the electorate was already “a done deal” is beyond contempt. It should do for his reputation what the tuition fee betrayal did for Nick Clegg.

Frankly I have no interest in any devolution measures that do not give Scotland control of its oil and whisky revenues, and those are not on offer. But there were people who voted No – 23% of No voters them according to Ashcroft – because they wanted the promised pretend “powers”. Well, you are not going to get those either.

Mostly, of course, those stupid No voters acted under the crass assumption, against all modern precedent, that the opposition could win a general election from a position of just 2 per cent ahead, eight months out. And the even more incredible belief that the Labour Party was still in some significant way different from the Conservative Party.

The consequences of what is coming will fall disproportionately on the poor, with even greater escalation of the UK’s astonishing wealth gap. There will be still more damage to the social fabric that Scots hold dear.

Now there are hard-hearted right wingers in Scotland, in the Tory Party and the leadership of the Labour Party, who wanted everything that is coming in terms of neo-con policy prescription. Those No voters who are wealthy and successful and want to get ahead further on the backs of the poor, made the correct intellectual choice to achieve their ends. They are deeply unpleasant sociopaths, but they are not stupid.

But those No voters who voted No because they believed a fair and caring society was achievable within the present structures of the UK, are so stupid I am astonished that their cerebral cortex can transmit a signal that sparks respiration. They are probably not capable of ever noticing their error.

I am not going to reach out to you, No voter. You are either evil, or quite extraordinarily thick. You will forever be a long way beneath my notice. This will be the last thought I ever give you. To quote a great line from Casablanca:

Peter Lorre: You despise me, don’t you Rick?
Humphrey Bogart: If I gave you any thought, I probably would.

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444 thoughts on “Lack of Forgiveness

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  • nevermind, there's a future, still

    “It would be necessary to get some MP’s interested in the case to start the process, I think, as the ISC doesn’t deal with individual complaints.”

    What better than your own MP, Ba’al, who did not vote for the current bombing madness. I have already written to him and thanked him for his effort, but do not know whether he has any time for this issue, his penchant are finances.

  • John Goss

    “I do not need to be told that we are living under a regime, thank you.”

    I know you don’t. But as one who has written many times to Theresa May and her colleagues and got standard letters in reply I consider it a waste. An open letter is better. Or is that what you and Iain had in mind?

    My point Nevermind was to try and change the way candidates are selected and devolve it back to the local constituency. All party members should be pushing for that.

  • nevermind, there's a future, still

    Thanks John, Kobane is being sacrificed by Turkey, with its own urdish population watching in disbelief as their relations over the border are slaughtered by the superior weaponry supplied to IS by the USUKIS via saudi paymasters.

    The Kurds are hoping mad and it is a gamble as it could easily lead to internal strife in Turkey. They have received their embassy staff back in return for IS prisoners and the sooner Turkey acts upon its Parliamentary vote to support its own ethnic population in the east, the better for Turkeys future.

    @ Ian Orr. should you want to email me privately, I hereby give permission so that the moderator can send you my email address.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    My guess is that a strong SW’ly will pile up the tide through the Pentland Firth, and it is additionally pissing down, which is why Fred is confined to his armchair with a bottle of whisky Engerlish gin, and a laptop on which to tell people to fuck off and die. Am I right?

    Nevermind: He certainly doesn’t have much concern about the funding of CFoI.

  • fred

    “My guess is that a strong SW’ly will pile up the tide through the Pentland Firth, and it is additionally pissing down, which is why Fred is confined to his armchair with a bottle of whisky Engerlish gin, and a laptop on which to tell people to fuck off and die. Am I right?”

    Fuck off and die retard.

    Got it into tour tiny brain yet that I am not here to discuss me, not here to discuss you. I raised the subject of the Kurds and if you retards can’t discuss the subject not the person then I will reply with flames.

    Got that cunt?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Re. Moazzem Begg – this looks like a more accessible problem:

    Cage said the Treasury this year had advised it to remove Begg as a signatory to its accounts so as to ensure it was “not inconvenienced unduly as a result of your connection with him”. Although the group complied, its direct debits and standing orders were halted and the accounts shut.

    As far as I know, despite the closure of the case with a formal not guilty verdict, the accounts are still closed. Public pressure on a bank might be more fruitful than trying to penetrate the underground state, and the actions of the banks need explaining, if only to other customers whose ethnicity is in some unknown way relevant to the handling of their accounts.

  • John Goss

    Ba’al I take it the necessity of spooks was tongue in cheek!

    I wrote to my MP, thinking that Moazzam Begg was also in my constituency, but he’s over the border in Roger Godsiff’s constituency of Hall Green. But despite that Steve McCabe did respond and often does. I was thankful for that because he had no need and MPs are busy people.

    “As I understand it Mr Begg has been detained and charged with specific offences which means he will have a full trial in a British court with full access to legal representation and under the spotlight of a fairly vigilant media. If, as you say, he is innocent then one would have fairly high expectations that this will become clear through the judicial process. Whatever your general criticisms of anti terrorist legislation I cannot see how you can be absolutely certain that it has been misused in a situation where someone has been arrested, charged and will be tried in open court.”

    While I did not agree at the time, and have subsequently been vindicated in my judgement, he is entitled to his opinion and belief that we have a fair judicial system and fair police procedures. But you see Begg was arrested and held in custody for 7 moths and not charged in open court (also there is anti-terror legislation now where courts need not be open). Because they can hold people without a case against them. All the anti-terror laws since 2000 need looking at. Most need abolishing.

  • John Goss

    “Re. Moazzem Begg – this looks like a more accessible problem:

    Thanks for posting that Ba’al. I wanted to get the Coop presure group to take this up on behalf of Coop account holders on the premise that if it can happen to one it can happen to any. Still working on this. But it would not do any harm if others wrote too.

    As to the Guardian posting now they have not much option. What I can tell you is that there was a legal gagging order on mentioning Cage’s accounts had been closed on the grounds, I think, it was sub judice. Only Peter Oborne of MSM had the courage to publish. We need more Peter Obornes. I did a small piece for my blog but that does not reach many. It contains a link to Peter Oborne’s article.

  • fred

    “No, sunshine. You should be out there picking. One to me.”

    Two distinct ethnic groups, the Palestinians and the Kurds. Both entitled to but denied statehood. Both being ethically cleansed from their ancestral lands to make room for a theocratic regime made up of people from other countries to create a state.

    Yet when I draw attention to the plight of the Kurds I am met with ad hominem attacks. This makes me wonder how much of the support I see for Palestine is genuine concern for the Palestinians and how much is down to hatred of the Jews.

  • Tom

    I don’t think the reality of a newly independent Scotland would have been as rosy as you assume. Like any new country it would have faced political and economic instability, complicated by the long union with the rest of the UK that would have had to be unravelled fairly quickly. Rather than feeling independent, Scotland would have spent years grovelling to international institutions from a weak position, while all the while struggling to maintain present spending and jobs (never mind increase them).
    There was too much risk and too little to gain from voting Yes. Real change, as usual, will come incrementally.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    *F* My ‘attack’ if you choose to call it that, was merely a response in kind to your near- invariable reply to opponents of your view. Which is unnecessary, intentionally offensive, and does your cause no good. It had nothing whatever to do with your views on the Kurds.

    Which I partially share, but will say that given the considerable mayhem the PKK inflicted on Turkey in the course of its ambition to add a good chunk of Eastern Turkey to its previously nonexistent Kurdish State, I can at least see the reason for the Turkish army to be passing the popcorn and maybe cheering a little as the Kurds get pasted. It’s something the Turkish Army used to do for itself during the Saddam era, you will recall. I imagine the Turks have an insight into the perils of arming one potential enemy to defeat a more immediate one. As to whether we should be helping the Kurds, moral considerations suggest we should, but practical, financial, and arguably strategic ones suggest otherwise. It’s all gone horribly wrong in the Middle East, and will continue to go wrong until we stop winking at Saudi Arabia’s excesses and licking Israel’s arse.

    Not hearing very much about Shi’a brutality to Iraqi Sunnis, btw. Comparable with ISIS, apparently. Where do *we* stop?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Thanks for the Oborne article, John. With which I can only agree. It’s particularly worrying, as a side issue, that they seem to be putting the frighteners on the Joseph Rowntree Foundation – an eminently respectable charity. About the only thing we’ve got to wave in the faces of recruiters to violent and illiberal causes is a just society under the rule of an equitable law – and that appears to have gone.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Ba’al I take it the necessity of spooks was tongue in cheek!

    No. Deadly serious. Sorry. One of those ‘do it to the other guy before he does it to you’ things, in the certain knowledge that he’s thinking exactly the same. The issue is not the existence of intelligence organisations, but of their scope and accountability.

  • John Goss

    My problem Ba’al with secret societies and secret services is that they can say they are there to do good, but not in reality be doing good – in this case protecting security. Your ordinary third degree Freemason is probably up to no harm. But, like the spooks, it is a pyramid, top-down organisation where those holding it up have no idea what is happening at a higher level. MI5, MI6 and Special Branch’s records for success are abysmal. Jean Charles de Menezes, Mark Duggan and now Moazzam Begg srping immediately to mind. Abolish the lot worldwide, abolish nuclear weapons, and let’s have a real world that decent people can call home.

  • Malcolm S


    interesting blog that makes a number of valid points about all that would be wrong with a Conservative government being voted into power in 2015.
    I am one of those that you choose to brand as ‘too stupid’ to believe a fair and caring society is achievable within the present structures of the UK. I realise just how much the deck is stacked against us and that this would have been (and may still be) much easier to deliver in an independent Scotland than Westminster but I refuse to give up hope that it can be achieved.
    We are still a democracy and the power still lies in the hands of the people. If we want to see lasting change for our society then, given that (in the short term at least) we have been denied the opportunity to deliver that through independence, the tactics need to change.
    We need to educate more people to what is happening and and get them to open their eyes. Not many have experienced the things you have that opened your eyes, have you really become so forgetful of the time before you had your eyes opened that you dismiss any that can’t yet see it as ‘too stupid’? Even if so, do you really think the way to mobilise more people to your cause is by insulting them and choosing not to even engage with them?
    We have around 8 months until the general election. That’s 8 months to encourage the people to utilise the power that democracy gives them, 8 months to assist them in freeing themselves from the shackles that the current system places on them. That 8 months would be far better spent campaigning to put a more fair and caring government in charge (perhaps the green party?) than alienating those that we need to get on board by informing them they are “too stupid”.
    If your aim is to move the independence movement forward now I suggest that we start by showing the no-voters that didn’t believe Scottish independence was ever about creating a fairer society that this is exactly what was driving the movement. The best way to do this is by keeping this movement going within the UK.
    If you think about it, campaigning for change in the UK is a win/win – either we will achieve it or we will strengthen the case for an independent Scotland by proving it that change can’t be delivered through Westminster.
    I appeal to you to use your considerable influence to encourage the whole of the UK to give this a shot.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Abolish the lot worldwide, abolish nuclear weapons, and let’s have a real world that decent people can call home.

    Wing of pork, please, and a bit of the Big Rock Candy Mountain for afters. Before hell freezes over, please – I’m in a hurry.

  • Iain Orr

    Ba’al Zevul, John Goss, Nevermind, Je and all others who have commented here or on Craig’s earlier thread about Theresa May and the wrongful arrest of Moazzam Begg: Thanks for these reactions. Some clarifications.

    First, the reason for proposing to write to the Home Secretary is not any naive expectation that she will agree to identify those organizations whose actions and inactions led to the CPS and police detaining and prosecuting an innocent person on false charges. However, her reply can be part of the evidence of her failure to defend the rule of law. That is a core value of our [notional] democracy, under any government and any Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Justice (so perhaps the letter should be copied to Chris Grayling). It is meant to appear to third parties, including parliamentarians and editors, precisely as (in John’s words) “a good letter … being sent to a reasonable person.”

    Second: yes, John, I envisage this functioning as an open letter in that the reply – or the lack of any reply – would then be sent to targeted MPs who might be willing to pursue the issue in PQs, debates, Early Day motions etc as they thought most likely to keep the issue alive. The aim, eventually, is public acknowledgement by a significant number of politicians that this botched and dishonest case against MB amounts to deliberately attempting to pervert the course of justice. I don’t expect ministers in the coalition to say this. But the dangers of the security state (SS) could have a place in the he 2015 manifestos of the SNP, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Greens; and in the personal manifestos of a few Labour, LibDem and Conservative candidates.

    Third my draft (text above at 1.08 am) deliberately did NOT ask for classified documents to be made public. And in asking May to name the people or organizations responsible for keeping crucial information from the CPS, I was simply allowing for the remote possibility of some un-named junior officer being told to fall on his/her sword. I propose now, thanks to Ba’al’s comments, only to ask that the organization(s) be identified.

    Fourth: while the interview with MB on the Today programme ( 2 hours and 10 minutes into the programme: ) is relevant to what he has been doing ever since he was released from Guantanamo Bay, it would be a mistake to widen the scope of the letter to include his visits to Syria and his offer to mediate over at least one of the recent UK hostages. (I will comment separately on some points from this morning’s interview which don’t bear directly on writing to the Home Secretary.) There are many other issues that are primarily about MB or about UK foreign and defence policies. This issue is the narrower one of a specific example of parts of the state acting to undermine the rule of law. It’s an issue where the reputations of the CPS and the police have been tarnished – and an innocent person persecuted – by “persons unknown”. That’s scary, especially if demonizing Moslems is connived at by some government agents, including Teresa May.

    Finally, grateful if the moderators would share my email address with those above and any others who wish to be involved – even if not as signatories – in developing a final text of the letter and how best to send it and to follow up, including the related issues of continuing coercion of MB and Cage through the banking system. Please let the moderators share your email addresses with me. My aim is to send off a letter by email within the next two or threer days. Please make it clear if you would like to be co-signatories of a letter that I send off on behalf of several people; or if you would rather send an individual letter to the Home Secretary and/or other parliamentarians, drawing on the shared draft.

  • John Goss

    Ba’al, it’s never been tried because we’ve never got the right people into power. I agree as things stand it is a pipedream, but with decent people at the helm it could be a reality.

    Anyone who had hope of a lasting ceasefire in Ukraine can probably forget it. Frankly I don’t think Russia will stand by another time after brokering the peace deal with the OSCE. Nuland has not visited Kiev since February, the last month there was any semblance of peace in Eastern Ukraine.

    Perhaps the peace-rally at the weekend where thousands turned out in Kiev has something to do with Nuland’s visit. I never believed that Poroshenko would keep his word. After all, one of the biggest embarrassments of twentieth century history was Neville Chamberlain coming back from Berlin waving a piece of paper and claiming “I have Herr Hitler’s signature.” Peace in our time, eh?

  • lysias

    John Goss, I consider Rabbi Lewis’s quote to be self-contradictory. If he hates those who hate, that must mean he hates himself.

    Far better the message of Christianity: love even your enemies. You may have to fight them to preserve what you love more, but you must not hate them. Hatred is a sin.

  • nevermind, there's a future, still

    Thanks for your explanations over the distrubiong prospect that the courts and police are being led by sinister unknowns who got it wrong, Ian, I will still be a signatory and it should be sent to as many outlets as possible.

    I have given the moderator permission to give you my email which, afaik, has not changed since we last met. Steph sends her best wishes.

  • John Goss

    Iain Orr, thanks for the explanation. I think I have written to you before Iain so you should have my email address.

    Meanwhile in Guantanamo Bay reports are that Shaker Aamer has been beaten by the Forcible Cell Extraction (FCE) team. He is already a sick man. I have just written to my MP and Philip Hammond about this mistreatment and even the fact that he is still there having been cleared for release seven years ago. He has obviously been tortured before in Bagram and probably Guantanamo. They call him “The Professor” because of his knowledge. I have copied this from a facebook message I received.

    “For our Twitter followers. Please retweet here >

    Please Lobby your MP via Just type in your postcode, click your MPs name and their full contact details will be provided for you. Please Lobby by email, letter, phone or in person. Feel free to drop them a tweet too

    Here are the details for the Foreign Secretary. Full contact details within >

    Everyone can take at least one one action Forward any responses to [email protected] Thank you all for your continued support:)”

    If you write to Philip Hammond use his email address as foreign secretary.

    [email protected]

  • Iain Orr

    Je: thanks for the link to the Today interview with Moazzam Begg (which I had just missed). I did not find Sarah Montague as unsympathetic an interviewer as you did. It was, if anything, an unexpected sign of independence by the BBC to interview him at all, especially in that prime post 8.00am slot. In the earlier parts of the interview there were fewer interruptions than usual in such political interviews; and Moazzam Begg came across as impressively as he usually does, eg when talking at public meetings.

    The interviewer’s attempts to get him to issue a blanket condemnation of IS – even though he had already condemned the beheadings as “atrocities”– was essential if the BBC was not to have coals heaped on it by interventionist extremists. However, many viewers will have twigged that it is illogical to interview MB about his readiness to mediate on behalf of hostages and of the possibility – indeed the need – to negotiate with IS; and at the same time to expect him to denounce the organization with which he or others would be negotiating. MB dealt far better with these hostile questions than would many politicians (I have IDS particularly in mind)..

  • Peacewisher

    I’ve just heard, regarding Moazzam Begg, that David CAmeron is now publicly asking him to come forward with any information he may have about ISIS. Moazzam was in custody for 7 months, and could easily have been asked about ISIS then, so the statement seems to be “out of touch”.

  • John Goss

    Peacewisher, I saw that Cameron interview on BBC1 news. He has a kind of evil fluid running through his veins and I bet the decision to have him arrested in the first place goes right to the very top: Cameron and May. The statement Cameron should have made was “If Moazzam Begg has any information about the secret services and Jack Straw’s involvement in extraordinary rendition and torture: let him come forward.”

    Whatever happens we must not let this shower of shit get back into power ever. They are crazy.

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