Polly Toynbee, Counter-Revolutionary 218

It is amusing that Polly Toynbee attacks Russell Brand on the grounds there is a real difference between Labour and the Conservatives, on the day Ed Balls argues immigrants must be kept out by amending the EU treaties – in the same paper!

I have never been a great fan of Russell Brand’s media persona, and for a revolutionary to be shacked up with Jemima Khan’s millions is perhaps some kind of extended exercise in post-modern irony as performance art. But Brand’s perception that the neo-con political parties are all the same is absolutely correct, and his is almost the only voice the media will broadcast saying it. When I have been saying precisely the same thing for a decade it is not news. News, apparently, lies not in what is said, but whether or not it is a celebrity who says it.

Not voting is a perfectly reasonable choice. I would prefer that people voted Green, or independent, or SNP in Scotland or Plaid Cymru in Wales. But Brand’s option of not voting is also valid – the entire system of corporations, media and politicians is designed to block real change.

Polly Toynbee is a very rich woman compared to the rest of us, with a great deal of inherited wealth and a Guardian salary well into six figures, for writing a constant stream of tribal pro-Labour drivel. She quotes with approval John Lydon’s observation:

it’s clear, if you’ve got a pile of money in the bank, you vote for people with piles of money in the bank

Which is absolutely true, and why Polly Toynbee votes Labour. Another irony which flies over the head of the humourless old moneybag-toting harridan.

Toynbee is delighted to discover that the rambling Lydon is not really a revolutionary. The rest of the world had known it was only a money-spinning pose for forty years, and he is pretty right wing.
Extraordinary that Toynbee points out the strangeness of treating Russell Brand as a political guru, and then sets up John Lydon instead. The silly old bat really, really doesn’t get irony, does she? Or is Polly Toynbee in fact herself some kind of monumental performance art installation, designed on every level to project the futility and hypocrisy of New Labour?

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218 thoughts on “Polly Toynbee, Counter-Revolutionary

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  • nevermind, there's a future, still

    I like the casual way Brand dealt with millionaire Lydon’s irks, thanks Mary.
    Re: not voting, many people in this country do it, because it rains, they can’t be bothered to move of the couch, not interested in politics, busy doing other stuff.

    Well, there should be some news for all of us. democracy as we know it has failed and we shall now use a random process of selecting representatives, at very little cost.
    FPTP = 300 million squid

    A lottocracy/demarchy were all NI numbers are taking part, no choice to opt out if you’re 16 years of age or over, will cost us virtually nothing in comparison.

    It would stop party politics as we know it
    It would stop corruption at every level it is used.
    It would, for the first time, create gender balance as it should exist.
    It would create a new politics based around issues and urgencies, were randomly chosen reps align themselves according to the mandate and feedback they get from voters in the constituency.

    There would be no more postal voting for anyone, no more opting out, randomly chosen candidates can accept or reject the nomination, in which case somebody else gets pulled out of the electronic hat. You can only be serving a period of four years, no re elections mean no angles or corners for corrupt practises to occur.
    Civil servants already bending over backwards enabling our moralising politicians would do the same with anyone else, indeed they might find it refreshing to serve a normal jack/jill average, rather than tussle with a bunch of lawyers and solicitors at all times.

    That’s all I have to say on this thread, as much as I liked the sex pistols, the money seems to have changed many ex revolutionaries, hallo Tariq Ali, are now as much interested in making money as they are in talking to people at demo’s, compromisers who dilute the challenge as it exist.

    A lottocracy is the most fair way of selecting a representative with legitimacy in a society that has lost all interest in politics, it cannot possibly be democratic to have continuous minority Governments claiming to be democratic when all we create is political dynasties. It can nor be democratic to run a country supported by only a minority, or two for that matter, with all the possibilities of fraud and lies at the doorstep and manipulation of the media,etc.etc.

    What a shock that would present to the BBC, they could not manipulate us, no more need to be influenced by the MI’s, cause the levers would be broken, they would have a mere four year period to influence random reps, who might not have the skeletons in the cupboard, how could they possibly keep up.

    A recall system would ensure that those who are under duress can be recalled, those who want to leave for personal/medical reasons could do so, after all a reselection would not cost us much.

    Trust that a random computer program is safe enough to guarantee no outside interference during selection, a process that can be achieved off line and without connecting to any other networks. All results would be sent after selection has happened, a few minutes should do the whole country and within two hours all results would be available.


  • mark golding

    Ben – I find a sense of community here on Craig; an understanding lives are affected by the status quo, a ballgame where the ball is never passed to a majority, where the arbitrator is corrupt and partisan, where the rules are enforced, dissidents punished and kibitzers monitored and tagged by Stasi directorates.

    That is the common ground.

  • writeon

    Craig, lovely to hear you sounding so inspired and positive again. Is that ironic enough for you? But, seriously, Brand isn’t a daft as he looks, more irony as I in my younger days made him look dowdy in comparsion. Brand isn’t arguing that one should never vote or that voting per se is stupid or wrong. His point is another, that voting isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, when the choice is between three almost identicle political parties that are really facions inside what amounts to a one-party state. It’s the lack of real choice in a so-called democracy he’s railing at, and after the grotesque farce of the Scottish referendum who can honestly disagree with him?

    The ironies surrounding Toynbee are frankly grotesque. Here’s Toynbee, a child of inherited wealth and power springing from the heart of the Establishment acting as a straight-woman in a comedy double-act with Johnny Rotten to attack another comedian, Russell Brand, for his revolutionary views, which aren’t all that revolutionary at all. All three of them are very rich indeed, so what. One of my ancestors was a French aristocrat who supported the French Revolution because he thought it was the only way to save France and drag it into the new world that was emerging. Have you seen Jemima Khan? Her fortune only makes her seem more attractive to me. I’d never let a woman’s wealth stand in my way.

    What’s rather sad is that the political opposition in the UK seems to increasingly come from bright and powerfully charismatic individuals like Brand, not from organised political parties. I leaving the SNP out of this for he moment. The reason Brand is able to get his message across is because he’s well-off and successful. If he wasn’t his views would land him in a world of trouble. Radical politics as a ‘hobby’ for the rich and powerful, does that sound familiar? It’s kind of what existed before the modern age when the peasants were really under the heel and their views were irrelevant, as long as they stuck to the fields and the plough.

    I think we’ve entered a newish political paradigm, or have returned to it. It’s the post-democratic era and the new one resembles a form of fuedalism, some might even term it fascism re-branded for the post-modern age. As society reconfigures and becomes increasingly stratified and hierachical and the chasm between the rich and everyone else opens even wider, politics mirrors these changes. Arguably, merely voting won’t challenge these big changes, because the voting system is ‘rigged’ in favour of power and wealth, so Brand’s call for a revolution might not be such a bad idea, you of all people should understand this having experienced events in Poland at first hand, no?

  • Ishmael

    Unconditional basic income.

    Solar power sharing program.

    Socialist washing machines.

    The washing machines are important. Like bikes, they are a mature product. No need to make 50 different types with none changeable parts and built to last a short time. Save every family thousands + help the environment.

  • YouKnowMyName


    I wonder if the Intelligence and Security Committee watched Jack Bauer?

    In … surveys, those who always watched the television show 24 approved of killing, torturing, and indefinitely detaining suspected terrorists more than their classmates who watched the show less frequently. To be clear, the sample size is too small to be conclusive. Only the results for torture were statistically significant at the .05 level. And survey results do not prove that watching the television show causes these attitudes.

    Nevertheless, the results suggest that something is going on. Content analysis by the nonpartisan Parents’ Television Council finds that the show depicts torture frequently (averaging one torture scene every other episode) and always favorably; in Jack Bauer’s world, harsh methods are what the good guys use, and they work.

    Taken together, these findings suggest that 24 may either be reinforcing viewers’ prior beliefs about the efficacy of torture , or shaping those beliefs more directly. Notably, the CIA’s own Inspector General came to a different conclusion, finding the effectiveness of harsh interrogation techniques far more questionable.

    from http://cryptome.org/2014/10/spytainment.pdf AMY B. ZEGART ‘‘Spytainment’’: The Real Influence of Fake Spies International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 23: 599–622, 2010

  • writeon

    A lot of the criticisms of Brand seem to come from jealousy, spite, and envy. He cuts a rather dashing figure compared to most men, or most politicians or journalists. Getting up on stage and performing as an entertainer and actor require self-confidence, style, ability and daring. I can see why a lot people who have none of these qualities dislike someone who does. Brand is accused of being a narcisist. This is charge that’s thrown at anyone who dares to be different and not toe-the-line. It’s difficult to think of any actor or performer who isn’t a little vain and arrogant in some way, and successful performers have always attracted women in droves and often, it was in my case, one of the prime reasons for picking up a guitar and getting on stage in the first place. Perhaps Brand only seems so different and irritating, because he is? So few others open their mouths about anything anymore in the world of entertainment and certainly not from a radical perspective, that Brand, by default, seems far more revolutionary than he really is.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    “Excuse me for laughing in the back. Rifkind, Blears and Campbell. No chance.”

    Rifkind is a trouble shooter for the causes of neoconservatism and Zionism.* His time is very much in demand. He does not waste it on truth and justice issues, except to subvert them. He is the miner’s canary of government business. When he sings, be certain there is dirty business afoot.

    *Common goals

  • Ishmael


    My theory is they do try and maybe prime the public, make these things acceptable. Or at least show them through tv. Maybe it’s some kind of need to make it acceptable.

    I still remember the torture shown in the Lost series. I always felt a bit stange about that given the timing.

  • Summerhead

    Well said Writeon. Most of Brand’s critics sound like fusty old windbags from yesteryear.

  • Ishmael

    Ps. Didn’t mean to sound too conspiratorial. But we do know governments are all over the film industry. There was bad torture before, why did we not see it before?

    We didn’t see as explicitly in the mainstream until Lost. After Iraq was set.

    Not saying it was directly planned but it’s certainly a phenomenon.

  • Ishmael

    What bothers me is not that ‘we tortured some folk” it’s the system of torture that was set up. What kind of civilized government, establishment or institution implements these things under their system.

    It’s quite horrifying really. They have gone, it seems, totally out of control. Yet most ordinary people are viciously penalised for the most minor things.

    There is something very wrong with this country.

  • YouKnowMyName

    Thanks Ishmael, yes – I especially recommend the entertaining film ARGO which shows a level of connection between Hollywood & the intelligence community, no conspiracy needed. I had many friends who worked in Iran, now high up in the DTI/BIS.

    but whilst we’re on the subject of conspiracy, it’s no secret that NSA & German BND have co-operated closely since 2004 on telephone tapping in Germany, and Internet tapping in Germany – using selectors fed from the NSA servers several times per day. All well and good, being subject now to ex-post-facto German parliamentary scrutiny, excellent news. Even better is that the target (according to the NSA provided selectors) was mostly RUSSIAN stuff, which in the current climate would go down fairly well nearly everywhere in the EU.

    Incongruously, and fitting this C O N S P I R A C Y meme that you introduced, is that when the BND later checked some selectors they began to notice an amount of stalking for the data/metadata concerning the European defence contractor EADS (now Airbus Group), the Eurocopter/Westland (now AirbusHelicopters) group and varied French government agencies.

    Terrorists, the lot of ’em! er…hang on?

  • Ishmael

    That kid who stole some water, he will have a criminal record for the rest of his life, after god knows what jail does. Yet officials (yes OFFICIAlS) can lie, kill innocents in their thousands, be complicit in torture and get a nice boat. Be just fine.

    Would anyone care to explain to me how i’m meant to square this with any support for the system or the establishment? Maybe if I empty my brain of any notion of justice I could manage it.

  • Ishmael


    Yea. erm. You folks know to much for me to keep up with sometimes lol. Thanks anyway, I do get some bits, i’ll have to read over. So BND is german intelligence. 🙂

  • YouKnowMyName

    Yes Ishmael, there are a lot of acronyms to learn in this business (internet conspiracy) and whats even worse is that as soon a someone like Snowden reveals the sensitive compartmented words such as BULLRUN or PRIME, they all have to be immediately changed! ( this helps the politicos – who can deny that such a program exists)

    think of the pressure that the poor spooks are under – hundreds of meaningless acronyms wasted & now the special ACRONYM computer has to vomit out a new load of SPINYBADGER type strings that no-one has yet guessed! The printing costs, the re-training courses, must add up – over the course of a year – to an enormous amount, plus the inevitable japing in secret meetings as the slower guys/gals use last week’s acronym!

    in fact the stress might lead to hilarious situations like this in 5EYES (another acronym allegedly chosen in honour of the Star-Trek Vulcan hero F’nashgul who had, yes, five eyes, with his pointy ears) …


    They have already apologised, said it was an accident and they won’t do it again!

  • Johnstone

    Not just a pretty face
    She produced (or co produced not sure) one of the best documentaries that I have seen in a very long time…shown on RT a few week ago
    Jemima Khan released the film in collaboration with Brave New Foundation. It made its debut on October 30 at the Sunshine Landmark Theater in Manhattan, New York.Watch UNMANNED: America’s Drone Wars for free at
    http://t.co/4BvR7QLLs6 ( link seems to work)

    The film has director Robert Greenwald investigating the impact of US drone strikes at home and abroad through more than 70 separate interviews.

  • doug scorgie



    “Vanguard Healthcare delivers bespoke CQC registered mobile healthcare solutions, supporting the NHS and other healthcare organisations in providing sustainable, effective and professional clinical services to their patients.”


    Eye operations at a Somerset hospital which led to complaints from some patients, continued despite staff raising concerns with managers.


  • Ishmael

    Geez, Wouldn’t it be nice if they decided not to be so nasty to eachother, or us. The manpower alone. Guess it’s all part of planing the empire and world domination. Seems spooks really do have there work cut out.

    Is that true about the 5 eyes? LoL.

  • Ishmael

    Whatever, I must enjoy some of my day away from the computer, some obviosley don’t get much change. SYOTFS

  • YouKnowMyName

    and you may ask yourself, why, when this thread is about “Polly being a counter-revolutionary” do people persist in using the acronyms GCHQ, BND and referring to accidentally famous people like Begg, and pushing for clarity on ‘torture’ and many other threads

    Internet *can* be easily intercepted, so why shouldn’t it be? – maybe there have even been a few genuine baddies caught
    sadly government ministers don’t understand the technical stuff, so it’s fairly easy to sell them any old line, the technical establishment seemingly being economical with the actualité

    this article in the indy gives a clue simon-segars-interview-looking-forward-to-the-future-and-the-internet-of-things

    we are typing on Craig’s blog comments, that no-one ever reads, using the ‘old-internet’ the internet of computers
    in the very near future, the internet-of-things will be here.

    That means that the IDENTITY AND THE LOCATION OF EVERYTHING will be evidentially determined, forensically recorded, forever.

    Currently the internet-of-things is not reliably encrypted, not effectively privacy-friendly, does not meet the legitimate expectations of the citizens. Does not follow the original spirit of the human rights acts. It may well do so soon, some groups are trying to get it ready – before it is here! some groups – with acronyms – may prefer to have the current level of less protection.

    We don’t yet know what the business-model, the killer-app for the internet-of-things will be.
    It will likely be societally transformational, similar to the revolution leading from Sir Tim’s WWW update to the internet of computers.

    If the intelligence communities persist with their current “take everything doctrine , then lie, obfuscate all the time about it”, if this persists through to the dawn of the Internet-of-things, then society may wish to reflect on the inherent dangers of the newer technologies. I suppose, in a way, the great media philosopher Russell Brand so sagely looked ahead in his 2013 New Statesman piece ululating “Propaganda, police, media, lies.” which I’m sure we all grok.

  • Republicofscotland

    Yes it sounds hopelessly optimistic.

    You have to remember the sort of people who would be involved in these talks. Bureaucrats, lawyers and politicians.


    I think you’ll find that most of the departments required by an independent Scotland already exist, ergo the transition would have been much smoother,and quicker, a outcome backed by Nobel prize winner Economist Joseph Stiglitz.

  • Republicofscotland

    When Sir Tim produces some evidence to support his opinion it might be worth taking account of. I could be tempted to suggest that the boss of an airline that relies heavily on the B777 might have reasons to defend its reputation and reliability.


    Your so called “Temptation” is merely heat and adds no light, suggestions have been put forward as to why no wreckage, jetsam, etc has been found, you offer no theory yourself, just a wait and see attitude, combined with a scornful attitude to other who dare speculate, dear oh dear.

  • Jives

    The whole point of “programmes” such as 24 or Homeland is to brutalise;conditioning the populace to accept that torture is now standard operating procedure.

    Accept it or you may be next,serf!

  • Mary ₪ ₪ ₪ ₪ ₪ ₪ ₪ ₪ ₪

    Some more work for the lads at RAF Waddington and some extra judicial killing to come. When will these wars end?

    UK To Fly Reaper Drones Over Iraq To Battle IS
    The drone is being deployed outside Afghanistan for the first time, as the Kurds call for support in the Syrian town of Kobani.

    Israel is no doubt satisfied with this latest move.

  • Kempe

    ” I think you’ll find that most of the departments required by an independent Scotland already exist ”

    Still, many do not. DVLA being one that comes instantly to mind, a Ministry of Defence being another but that wadsn’t what i was referring to.

    ” you offer no theory yourself, just a wait and see attitude, combined with a scornful attitude to other who dare speculate ”

    Absolutely correct. I base my opinions on evidence and so far we have very little. You can indulge in as much wild specualtion as you like but without evidence to back it up it’s worthless.

  • Republicofscotland

    The whole point of “programmes” such as 24 or Homeland is to brutalise;conditioning the populace to accept that torture is now standard operating procedure.

    Accept it or you may be next,serf!

    And its all done in the name of “Protecting the Public.”

    One day you’re walking down the street whistling and the sun is shinning,the next you’re renditioned, and find yourself in a dungeon in Egypt, being waterboarded, all in the name of freedom and democracy.

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