In Safe Hands 898


I am in Tbilisi at the moment, where I spent this early morning drinking tea with some of the 2,000 strong Yazidi community. They see their religion as much more closely descended from Zoroastrianism than appears in most accounts I have read.

I very much enjoyed a visit to Tsinandali which was most useful for gaining a Russian perspective of the Great Game. I don’t have my books with me and am suffering a mental block as to whether it was Connoly, Abbott or Malcolm who visited Tsinandali. I had not realised that Griboyedov was married to a daughter of the house, Nina Chavchavadze. The murder of Griboyedov, Russian Ambassador in Tehran, by a mob rates little more than a footnote in British accounts of the Great Game, even though the British had bribed the religious authority to stir up the riots. What revisionist history there has been, has come from the Iranian side and falsely tried to obscure the fact that the refugees Griboyedov was sheltering were runaway slaves from harems.

This is a neglected recurring theme. When Shuja agreed the treaty already negotiated between Macnaghten and Ranjit Singh, the main stipulation he sought to add was that the British would return to him any runaway slave girls. The immediate motive for the ringleader of the attack on Alexander Burnes was that Burnes had refused to intervene to return a runaway slave girl who had sought the protection of another British officer. My fellow anti-imperialist historians have in general been guilty of emphasising rapaciousness by the British in these incidents and overlooking or excusing the slave status of the girls. Both aspects need to be faced squarely to write honestly the full facts of history. Tellingly, it is generally impossible to recover names of the girls involved.

Griboyedov deserves to be remembered for much more than his murder. An accomplished playwright and poet, he was a friend of Pushkin and had links to the dissident groups who attempted revolution in 1825. His murder left Nina a widow at either 17 or 19 by different accounts, and pregnant. She lost the child on hearing of her husband’s death, and never remarried. It is a tragic story which came alive to me in visiting the family home.

Griboyedov had fought Napoleon in the 1812 campaign, but had helped those Napoleonic adventurers Allard and Ventura evade a British blockade and go into service with Ranjit Singh. Griboyedov’s successor as Russian Ambassador to Tehran, Simonicz, had actually fought on the Napoleonic side against Russia, presumably in the Polish Legion. Nina’s sister was to marry a Murad nephew of Napoleon. The political elites of Europe melded quickly after the convulsion.

With which clumsy segue I shall note that the battle against the entrenched political elites of the UK appears to be going extremely well without me. I cannot express without a welling up of real emotion how happy I am that all I have been saying about the stultifying neo-liberal consensus and exclusion of dissent, and appalling burgeoning wealth gap between rich and poor, has found such massive traction between Jeremy Corbyn in England and the SNP in Scotland. I may have gone AWOL for a few days, but the cause of social justice appears in extremely safe hands.


898 thoughts on “In Safe Hands

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  • Republicofscotland

    “Scotland voted Labour and got Labour at consecutive elections. You even have your own Parliament to decide on most matters. Reality check for whinging Scrotes — you don’t always get what you vote for at national elections.”
    ______________________

    Anon1.

    What a load of nonsense, Scotland’s vote very seldom makes a difference in a UK GE.

    Idiots, like you make my day.

    Check the facts.

    http://wingsoverscotland.com/why-labour-doesnt-need-scotland/

  • Resident Dissident

    “If Katherine Viner was so exercised about the death of Rachel Corrie (which she was obviously) why is she tolerating/contributing to this disgusting output against Jeremy Corbyn ”

    Of course we could also turn a blind eye to some of the comments being made by the Corbinistas all over the place to those who disagree – I don’t see much of a rush from Jeremy to disassociate from such comments either. A bit like Tony Benn he always like to announce he is above personalities while leaving others to do the dirty work.

  • Resident Dissident

    I was re-reading the Labour Manifesto of 1983 written by the Bennite NEC earlier today – and what struck me is how easily it could be updated with a few tweaks to form a manifesto for Jeremy Corbyn and probably with exactly the same result nearly 40 years later. Yes people may blame the result on the SDP, the evil media etc. but the electorate are not stupid and didn’t desert Labour in 1983 because they were forced too. And austerity was far greater in 1983 than it was today – just look at the unemployment figures and benefit/pension levels mentioned in the 1983 manifesto.

    http://www.politicsresources.net/area/uk/man/lab83.htm

  • RobG

    Resident Dissident, Thatcher was hugely unpopular during her first term (there were major riots up and down the land). Contrary to popular belief, the SDP really didn’t make much difference in the 1983 election (the SDP only returned 8 MPs). When Michael Foot was elected Labour Party leader in 1980 he was consistently miles ahead of Thatcher in the opinion polls. It was only the Falklands war in 1982 that got Thatcher a second term; and even then, the Tories had to call the GE a year early to capitalise on it.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    RD…Ah, that visits the ‘old solution to an old problem’ meme, as voiced by Yvette Cooper (all media). Strange that she, whom the Guardian in its little puff piece today, characterises as a deep and clear thinker, hasn’t recognised that the old problem – the appropriation of the fruits of the labour of the workers by a largely parasitic elite – hasn’t gone away. And it hasn’t gone away because Labour and, in turn, NuLabour lacked the bottle to apply the old solution. Corbyn’s support arises from this. Cooper doesn’t define what she thinks the new problem is, but the evidence is that it is the problem of getting NuLabour even closer to the rich and further away from the street: for which the offered remedy is the very old non-solution of changing the system from within, tricked out in a flat hat from Oxfam. Unfortunately, that’s the point – long passed by NuLabour – where Orwell’s pigs and men become indistinguishable.

  • Resident Dissident

    “And it hasn’t gone away because Labour and, in turn, NuLabour lacked the bottle to apply the old solution.”

    Oh you mean the one they tried to apply in the Soviet Union and China – which ended up creating two of the most unequal societies in the world. Perhaps the time has come for a little bit of Nordic/European social democracy (which certainly isn’t what Jeremy Corbyn is advocating) – which when it comes to equality has a rather better track record. Despite what some here think I can see rather a lot of alternatives between Corbyn’s Bennism and the Tories. both practically and in terms of ideology – which is probably where the vast majority of the electorate are as well.

  • doug scorgie

    Habbabkuk (la vita e’ bella)
    13 Aug, 2015 – 8:52 pm

    “Most people, Doug, would say that in a free country (like the UK), donors should be free to withdraw their personal funding if they don’t like the way the party’s going.”
    …………………………………………………………….

    The difference here Habbabkuk, is that big private donors to political parties are using bribery (big donations) and blackmail (threats to withdraw financial support) to usurp the democratic election of this Labour leadership contest.
    ……………………………………………………………….

    The voting on the leadership contest has not even started and these people have threatened to withdraw funding, in advance, if a democratic vote returns a particular individual that they don’t want.
    …………………………………………………………….

    “…donors should be free to withdraw their personal funding if they don’t like the way the party’s going.”
    …………………………………………………………….

    We won’t know “the way the party’s going” until the votes are counted Habbabkuk.

    The message is clearly a threat aimed at all Labour MPs and others entitled to vote in the contest and an attempt by an unaccountable small group of multi-millionaires, with no respect for democracy, to control the outcome.

    In a free AND democratic country this should not happen. An urgent review of party funding is long overdue.

    Perhaps it’s the democratic bit you don’t like about a free and democratic UK Habbabkuk?

  • Mary

    There are concerns now about exactly what exploded, why and the aftermath.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_Tianjin_explosions

    Alarmist headline on Sky News

    Nuclear And Biochemical Experts At Tianjin Site
    http://news.sky.com/story/1535420/nuclear-and-biochemical-experts-at-tianjin-site

    Good excuse to have a go at China.

    Tianjin: China criticised over huge chemical explosion that killed dozens
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/11802114/Tianjin-China-criticised-over-huge-chemical-explosion-that-killed-dozens.html

  • nevermind

    “?An a very good evening to you to, I hope you and your good lady are well!”

    Uoooh, our resident spook hasbarra does not like it when US clients of Craig hear what a nut job and stalker s/he is and what pathetic crap he gets his kicks/pay from.

    Good evening co/unt Habbakuk, you playing around with names again

    Here’s somebody to choke your gullet, boare, probably a close family relative.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Wagenknecht

    Now to the more important point, you are stalking people on this blog, looking up their personal details and being real childish.

    Are you not? you ignominious piece of shit, Don’t you dare open your foul mouth and mention a third and unconnected person here, you threatening bastard, you no good scum you.

    Now you do have my attention, mind your step from now on.

    a pint to anyone who can email me personally, anything about our little stalker friend, he needs a visit and a good spanking over a desk!

  • Resident Dissident

    Daniel I doubt you were doing much canvassing for the Labour Party in 1983 – if you were you would know that the electorate were not stupid then either and we made it rather easy for the SDP/Tories/Press to get their way because much of what was in the manifesto was seen as ridiculous. unachievable and just plain wrong – it just wasn’t seen as offering any solutions to the many problems of those days.

  • Dave Lawton

    Ba`[email protected] 3:12pm “TY Dave. Never mind. The income from the vast ocean of oil* that will ensue will be put in a sovereign wealth fund to benefit the hedge funds who own shell companies in the North”

    It`s not going to take off i.e. fracking. LENR has started going into production so fracking is a non starter.
    As regards the Greenpeace article you posted they lost the plot years ago they have been compromised by Corporate bodies.
    They won`t even accept the results of research they commissioned on energy saving light bulbs
    which shows they are energy wasting and dangerous to your health.

  • doug scorgie

    Philip Hammond’s view of democracy:

    “We have to think about how we respond to an adversary in which all decision making power is concentrated in the hands of one man [Putin] — I have heard it said that it is more concentrated even than under Leonid Brezhnev, when at least there was a Politburo.”

    “The Foreign Secretary went on to blame the West’s democratic process for hampering its ability to respond to crises.”

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d7b88e20-2fc8-11e5-91ac-a5e17d9b4cff.html?siteedition=uk#axzz3ijdPqqgK

    Democracy safe in their hands?

  • doug scorgie

    Habbabkuk (la vita e’ bella)
    13 Aug, 2015 – 9:25 pm

    “Jerusalem and not Tel Aviv is the de facto capital of Israel.”
    ……………………………………………………………………….

    Only in the warped minds of Zionists like you Habbabkuk.

  • doug scorgie

    Habbabkuk (la vita e’ bella)
    13 Aug, 2015 – 9:28 pm

    “Yes Mary that article is a classic case of guilt by association”
    _________________
    “And yes Doug we NEVER see that on this blog, do we.”

    ……………………………..

    Thanks for agreeing with me Habbabkuk.

  • doug scorgie

    Fred
    13 Aug, 2015 – 10:00 pm

    “It’s my belief in democracy which makes me think parties should be working for the people who vote for them not the people who pay for them.”
    ………………………………………………………

    Well I definitely agree with you there Fred.

  • Dave Lawton

    @Mary “There are concerns now about exactly what exploded, why and the aftermath.”

    My guess is that it possible it may be lithium which is used in batteries and they produce quite a few
    in China and lithium is quite volatile.WE will have to wait and see.

  • doug scorgie

    Resident Dissident
    13 Aug, 2015 – 10:29 pm

    Of course we could also turn a blind eye to some of the comments being made by the Corbinistas all over the place to those who disagree – I don’t see much of a rush from Jeremy to disassociate from such comments either. A bit like Tony Benn he always like to announce he is above personalities while leaving others to do the dirty work
    ………………………………………………………………….

    Got any examples and references/links?

  • doug scorgie

    Resident Dissident
    13 Aug, 2015 – 10:38 pm

    “I was re-reading the Labour Manifesto of 1983 written by the Bennite NEC earlier today – and what struck me is how easily it could be updated with a few tweaks to form a manifesto for Jeremy Corbyn and probably with exactly the same result nearly 40 years later.”
    …………………………………………………………

    The issues in that manifesto are as relevant today as 40 years ago ResDis and the problems faced by ordinary people are as bad today as then and we haven’t had a left-wing government since Harold Wilson.

  • John Goss

    Habbabkuk did not think this petition to have Netanyahu arrested for war crimes when he comes to London would have any impact. That was when there were less than 30,000 signatures. Happily the petition has been maintaining an average of 10,000 signatures per day as I roughly predicted. 100,000 signatures are required to make it eligible for debate in the Commons. It has now exceeded 50,000.

    My further prediction is that either Netanyahu will find an excuse not to come and cancel. Or Cameron will go and visit him where they can chat about their mutual genocides, Netanyahu’s in Palestine, and Cameron’s in Libya (you remember his boast about how he had made that country a free democracy?) What evil monsters get to govern countries!

  • BrianFujisan

    No Room For Empaths, or Humanitarians… NONE whatsoever –

    “This is the level you watch, Brian? …..Well, that’s even Sadder! Yes follow that ass if you don’t want to change the World/Your Self”

    So, Now we have Me promoting Chunky as WORSE THAN THE EVIL BASTARDS…That Set Countries Aflame…Lied through Their teeth about nuclear bombing of Japan.. Uh, and always Fancy Words for their Evil.. ( A – The Fav – Democracy ) ( B ) – Fight against Terrorism… ( C ) – It was an Accident ) ( D ) – Collateral Damage ( F ) Anti-semem…..And ON and On WE Go…

    Collateral Damage –

    Innocent Human beings Being – EMPTY From Birth…Dispose Of .. this is the Most Polite term i can think of for some Cameron’s Horrors in Libya / Syria. Nothing can justify this term, we certainly DON’T Do to protect us..the Well Over 99%

    You’re Glass is Empty Old chap..smash it into the fire..the Maids are Paid to Clean it up.. and their Husbands Too…Who Do you want tonight..OLD CHAP..

    EMPTY ..

    The people of that Country Are EMPTY…Non Souls / Spirits it’s Empty throw it away… Land Fill sites, Aka mass Graves.. EMPTY… BUT FOR THE DIAMONDS AND MINERALS THEY ARE BURIED ATOP. IN THEIR OWN HOMELANDS

    EMPTY..

    Mary N RoS..Thank you for compassion

    And By the Way… MOST of my youtube Viewing are –

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JyHELDF_ug

    We Are NOT EMPTY…In Scotland.. I Hope Our Brothers N Sisters South Can FEEL a WE Bit of it

    P.s…………………….Alcyone, You are Now Demoted To Calling me Fujisan… Capital F

  • Mary

    Depressing news above about Regev coming. What has the UK done to deserve it?

    Confirmed. http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/142268/mark-regev-be-announced-israels-next-uk-ambassador

    Taub is off to work in the ICC. No irony there.

    http://www.thejc.com/lifestyle/lifestyle-features/141101/farewell-mr-ambassador-interview-daniel-taub

    Wonder if his offspring killed any Palestinians in Gaza last year.

    ‘…the ambassador and his wife Zehava are returning to Israel. They will find, he jokes, a slew of pop-art posters in their home rather than the artistic paintings which they favour because their eldest two children, out of the close family of six, have “turned the house into a hippy commune” while serving in the IDF. A third Taub offspring is due to join the army soon.’
    http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/ambassador-taubs-farewell-to-a-vibrant-community/

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    Mr Scorgie

    My my, you were busy last night!

    “The issues in that manifesto are as relevant today as 40 years ago ResDis”

    __________________

    Not according to Herbie they aren’t – he is confident that “things have changed” (cf earlier on this thread)

    /////////////

    “and we haven’t had a left-wing government since Harold Wilson.”

    ____________________

    Harold Wilson a left wing govt, eh> That would be news to quite a few Labour left wingers 🙂

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