Upcoming Speaking Engagements 429

I shall be quite busy speaking in the next few weeks:

Friday 24 February 8pm in The Elephant and Castle, Lewes, Sussex. The Headstrong Club (entry £3). I shall be attempting a wide ranging radical analysis of world events encompassing Trump, Brexit, Putin, Corbyn, China and where ordinary people stand as the world order changes. I love Lewes, which has the most fascinating radical tradition dating back to Thomas Paine and beyond, and still retains that vibe in an extraordinary way.

Saturday 25th February 1pm to 7pm, Gustav Tuck Lecture Theatre, University College London. Conference on “Noam Chomsky’s The Responsibility of Intellectuals, 50 Years On.” Speakers are Neil Smith, Nicholas Allott, Chris Knight, Craig Murray, Milan Rai, Jackie Walker, Kriszta Szendroi, and Noam Chomsky himself (by live video-link). The event will be broadcast live here.

I had to send an abstract of my talk for Chomsky to see so he will be able to respond, which makes me feel like a worried schoolboy. I am scheduled to speak at 4.20 for 35 minutes. Chomsky will be speaking at 5.15.

Thursday 2nd March Leeds University Palestine Solidarity Group and Leeds Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Talk entitled “Palestine/Israel: A Unitary Secular State or a Bantustan Solution?”. Venue and time details to follow.

Tuesday 7th March in the Black Abbott, Borrowfield at 7.30 pm talk to Montrose SNP Branch on the Next Independence Referendum. I understand they will be inviting other SNP branches in Angus.

Thursday 9th March 6.30pm Talk to Motherwell and Wishaw Rotary Club on Lessons from my Diplomatic Career.

Saturday 11th March 11am, Tigh Na Sghire, Portree, Isle of Skye screening of London Calling and discussion of BBC Bias. London Calling – Skye (PDF)

And a few longer term but interesting ones:

Sunday 26 March, Pacific Quay, Glasgow, BBC Bias Protest

Saturday 15 April, Doha, Qatar, Al Jazeera Forum. Speaker on “State Crisis and the Middle East.”

Thursday 11 May 2.30pm Upper Room Town Hall, Chipping Campden. Sikunder Burnes, Master of the Great Game. Chipping Campden Literary Festival tickets £7.

As I constantly repeat, I am very disorganised so if you are inviting me do keep nagging if I don’t reply, and once confirmed do keep reminding me!

429 thoughts on “Upcoming Speaking Engagements

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  • Sharp Ears

    That dangerous woman, Katie Hopkins, was holding forth on LBC earlier.

    She is off to Sweden for a week to ‘get the story’ behind the alleged molestation of Swedish women by Muslim immigrants.

    To think she obtained entry to Sandhurst. She left after a year due to epilepsy. She would have done well on the UK’s killing fields.

  • bevin

    RoS There really is no evidence that Putin or the government had anything to do with the killing of Nemtsov.
    It ought not to be news to you, but it clearly is, that you must not believe everything you see on BBC, especially when an opponent of the government is concerned.
    One of the problems with these wholesale and untested allegations against Putin is that it tends to normalise assassination- ‘Putin does it all the time, why shouldn’t our government knock of the odd Scot Nat? ”
    You bring evidence that Putin wanted Nemtsov dead and that there is any evidence that anyone, apart from a mugger in a very violent city (thanks America!) killed him on state orders and you will have a right to post warmongering propaganda under the guise of concern for human rights. Until then you are just running off at the mouth and employing the BBC to assist you.
    You might want to search Nemtsov on the johnhelmer.net site.

    • Republicofscotland


      So in your opinion Putin who has remained virtually unchallenged in power in Russia, since 1999 as either PM or president, and you think he hasn’t (we shall say disposed) of anyone to remain undemocratically, in power for such a lenght of time.

      Or are you just claiming that of Nemtsov?

      No doubt the untimely deaths of these high profile journalist politicians, activists etc, had nothing to do with Putin.

      Alexander Litvinenko – 2006.
      Anna Politkovskaya – 2006.
      Sergei Magnitsky- 2009.
      Natalia Estemirova – 2009.
      Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova – 2009.
      Paul Klebnikov – 2004.

      Of course I have some sympathy for Russia, as the west tries to break the Russian economy through sanctions and intimidation. However I’m not deluded enough to believe, that Putin doesn’t lead Russia with a iron fist.

      • TH


        Kind of a conspiracy thinking from your side.
        Why dont you show evidence instead? Unless you are lacking it that is.

        • Republicofscotland


          Tell me then, why do you think Putin has managed to remain in power for 18 years in one form or another, is it because he’s such a nice guy?

          As for Bevin advice to read John Helmer’s take on it, well, that’s the same John Helmer that was allegedly a KGB agent in the 1980’s codenamed “Socrates.”

          • michael norton

            It might be because he is super intelligent, a strategist and perhaps the best person 4 the job?

          • TH


            Its not 18 years, Medvedev have ruled for some years.
            Same with lets say Merkel who have ruled for 12 years.

            Merkel and Putin have probably alot of good qualities making them popular to keep ruling their countries, dont you think? I mean check the opinion on Putin by the public, the approval is very high. Anyhow that wasnt what I was asking.
            Having said that I do think there is alot of foul play in Moscow no doubt, but to blame Russia for everything is so tiresome to read and doesnt benefit anyone.

          • Republicofscotland


            In 2008 and early 2009, that the transfer of presidential powers that took place on May 7, 2008, was in name only.

            Putin continued to retain the number one position in Russia’s effective power hierarchy, with Dmitry Medvedev being a figurehead or Russia’s notional president.

            It gave the appearance (especially to the west) that Russia, was a liberal democracy.

            As for Putin’s popularity rating being high, it should be, with the west doing Russia down at every turn, it has galvanised the Russian publics support for Putin, in a similar fashion as to Erdogan’s popularity spike after the (alleged) Gulen failed coup.

            As for blaming Russia for everything as you put it. I’m not, I’m merely pointing out that Putin, isn’t some sort of democratic saviour, holding the west at bay, as he tries to turn Russia into some sort of Shangri-La.

          • TH


            I think you are misreading Russia. Russia doesnt care if its considered a “liberal” democracy by the liberal elite in the west, its not in the first place – so to say that Medvedev-was-just-a-puppet argument is just nonsense imo.
            Also Putin like any other politician is judged from what he accomplish, and thats why you have a strong support for him by the public. But sure the hysteria by the west sure helps.

          • lysias

            FDR stayed in power in the U.S. for over 12 years. Konrad Adenauer was in power for 14 years.

            Something sinister about that?

          • Republicofscotland


            Der Alte, served 13 years, 1949-1963.

            Putin 18 years (As PM or President) and counting.

          • TH


            “Putin 18 years (As PM or President) and counting.”

            The problem is of course why you consider that such a big problem, again his approval rates is really what matters here and that number is still very high.

          • bevin

            “..that’s the same John Helmer that was allegedly a KGB agent in the 1980’s codenamed “Socrates.””

            I see, so that allegation automatically disqualifies his arguments from consideration. I guess you regard McCarthy as a Scots name. the Intelligence agencies grow fat off people like you.

        • bevin

          I agree. I hold no brief for Putin but I am very suspicious of allegations such as these, especially when they are encouraged by The Establishment.
          Essentially I have learned that if the Murdoch Press or the BBC say it is true, all that one has to do is to check to see whether the NY Times and the Washington Post agree.
          If they do it is almost certainly false.
          By accusing him of every crime in the calendar- it is mere months since the headlines were screaming out that he had twenty billion dollars in a Panama tax shelter, an allegation which turned out to be not only false but an alternative to publishing the details of Cameron’s dealings- people like RoS confirm his innocence to me.
          Unfortunately he also discredits the cause of Scots Independence by reminding us that, underneath it all he is just another bourgeois of the sort that Hamish Henderson and Hugh MacDiarmid used to sing about.

  • Bhante

    Does a VPN protect the privacy of your internet communications, or does it make them reliably extra vulnerable?

    Apparent NSA front company “PureVPN” is pressurising its customers to accept massive 84% price reductions on a Sticky Password lifetime plan which makes all online accounts accessible (jointly to you and the NSA of course) for all online accounts like email, social accounts, bank, and other websites etc. Includes auto log-in to recognised websites and auto web form filler – very useful for all those pesky personal details the NSA would just love to keep handy.

    All this in addition to keeping your internet channels encrypted and annonomised, safe from all eyes except of course NSA and their few thousand allies, through whose servers your communications will no doubt conveniently pass (unencrypted on the fly naturally).

    These offers come via PureVPN’s “Customer Happiness Lead” with an impending deadline which gets replaced by a new impending deadline as soon as it is reached – it seems they really are far more interested in getting everybody on the planet’s communications going through their servers than in legitimate commercial profits.

    This company – which I am totally convinced is a front for the NSA (not just on this ground but also many other grounds) – was being pushed by the Guardian to “protect internet privacy” post-Snowdon, but appears to be doing the precise opposite of that. Once you “protect” all your passwords with one master password known exclusively to you and the NSA, you’re in their pocket for life. The company is supposedly based in Hong Kong, but nowhere can you get any information on who the people are who run it, what are their backgrounds, who owns the company, or what other companies it might be connected with. Combine this with their suspicious marketing techniques, and you’d have to be naive indeed to trust them.

  • RobG

    Shortly before Christmas there was another major terrorist attack, this time in Germany. A truck was driven into the Christmas market next to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin, leaving 12 people dead and 56 others injured. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, which came one day before talks on Syria were held in Moscow, where Russia, Iran and Turkey pledged to expand a fragile cease-fire deal involving Syria’s government and the opposition. Uncle Sam & Co were not invited to these talks.

    The Berlin attack was an almost exact re-run of what happened in Nice last summer, which also happened just one day before Syrian peace talks took place.

    Why do people find it so hard to understand what’s going on here?!

    • Republicofscotland

      “The Berlin attack was an almost exact re-run of what happened in Nice last summer, which also happened just one day before Syrian peace talks took place.
      Why do people find it so hard to understand what’s going on here?!”



      I made that very point in here several threads back, I even pointed out that a German prosecuter, thought that very thing as well. There are claims that the German (Bfv) knew the perpetrator, and actually had interactions with him.

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile as the world continues to fall over itself to gain Chinese business and investment. HRW, has pointed out 280 human rights lawyers, and activists were briefly detained and interrogated across the country.

    About 40 remain in custody, most in secret locations without access to lawyers or family, some beyond the legal time limits, most have been accused of being part of a “major criminal gang” that “seriously disrupts public order.”

    The government has shut down or detained staff of a number of nongovernmental organizations, (NGOs) and arrested and imprisoned many activists.

    Chinese prisons are full of activists, journalists, bloggers and humanitarian rights workers who have been stitched up and imprisoned unfairly.

    Meanwhile no one has a idea as to how many people are executed in China, as the Chinese authorities don’t release that kind of information.

    I have to say in Britain’s defence, that at least I can openly complain, or rail about political matters, for now anyway.

    • Loony

      I am sure your complaints and railings are welcomed by those in authority.

      Your latest complaint concerns the quality of Chinese prisoners “who have been stitched up and imprisoned unfairly”

      Consider that the Chinese incarceration rate is 118 per 100,000 people. This compares with a US incarceration rate of 737 per 100,000 people and a UK incarceration rate of 148 per 100,000.

      So what can we conclude from this: Either China is largely lawless and they simply do not bother to lock up dangerous criminals, or China has low crime rates (when compared to either the UK or the US) and so needs to lock up less people. I do so wonder what the answer might be.

      • John Spencer-Davis

        If the alternative was a Chinese jail I would probably be law-abiding too. Your figures include those sentenced only, whereas the USA and UK figures include unsentenced prisoners. These are, I believe, official figures provided by the Chinese government – how accurate they are I do not know. How many prisoners are held unsentenced is not clear. The figures also do not include those subject to house arrest. And how many of those 118 are people sentenced because they are political dissidents? I have no idea, but neither do you, I am sure.

        • Loony

          I have no idea how many Chinese prisoners are political dissidents. But then I don’t need to know. Assume that they are all political dissidents – then that means there is no crime in China. Assume that none of them are political dissidents then that means that crime rates in China are less than one sixth of crime rates in the US.

          The story of prisoners – is that vast amount of people imprisoned in the US – looking at China a country with a vast population, and a completely different history and cultural and cultural background is just more misdirection.

          • John Spencer-Davis

            What on earth are you talking about? Your issue was with RoS asserting that dissidents have been stitched up and imprisoned unfairly. If you don’t think that’s true, of course you need to know how many dissidents are part of that 118.

          • Republicofscotland

            It’s more than likely that in China, most are executed, without a fair hearing, rather than held long term in prison.

            Where as in the US, prisoners are given a fair hearing then imprisoned. However private run prisons need the prisoners to operate, ergo backhanders to the judiciary and sentators, to impose stricter laws, has seen US incarceration figures shoot up to the highest in the world.

  • michael norton

    RoS The United Kingdom is so useless according to u
    yet we are now flogging electricity to the Frogs as their Nukes are sliding into decay.

    France was a net electricity importer for a second straight month in January as a prolonged cold spell pushed peak demand to its highest in five years against a backdrop of low nuclear and hydropower supply, grid operator RTE said on Friday.

    France imported a record 0.95 terrawatt-hour of electricity last month on a net basis, RTE said, adding that the country had been increasingly dependent on Britain to cover its shortfall since November 2016, when several nuclear reactors were offline.

    RTE said France, usually a net power exporter thanks to its 58 nuclear reactors, was a net importer in its exchange with Spain for the first time since April 2016.

    Peak electricity demand in France hit 94.2 gigawatts on Jan. 20 during a cold snap, its highest level since February 2012, RTE said in its monthly report.
    Brexit as soon as possible and as Hard as possible.

    • michael norton

      France needs to spend between 50-100 billion re-vamping its 58 very old Nuclear Reactors.
      Many are past their design age.
      This might be a signal of French decline, too.

      • RobG

        Go look up ‘neutron bombardment’. All these reactors quite literally eventually fall to bits. All of them, worldwide, were given a twenty year licence to run. Now many of them have been running for thirty or forty years and are a disaster waiting to happen. You’re quite correct what you say about French nuclear reactors. I should also point out that the USA has more than one hundred operational nuclear reactors, all of which are now falling to bits. A prime example is Indian Point, which has now been running for almost 30 years and is less than twenty miles from downtown Manhattan.

        Total insanity.

        Just like the mountains of highly toxic nuclear waste that no one knows what to do with.

        And just like the fact that for nearly six years now there’s been three full-size commercial nuclear reactors in complete and ongoing meltdown at Fukushima. I’m sure you’re read about it in your favourite rag just recently. Not.

        I think I’ll call it the ‘dumb death of the human race’.

        But it’s ok, really, because there’s heaps of money to be made out of cancer.

        Beam me up, Scotty…

      • Loony

        Did you read the link you posted?

        You know the bit about an argument can be made that Scotland exports substantially all of its wind generation to England. It was not so long ago that this form of generation was classified as “spill generation” and people wanted paying to take it.

        Now wind generation is receives material direct and indirect subsidies – the people paid to produce it don’t want it – so they forcibly export it to England.

        There is a massive subsidy to Scottish wind generators. Naturally as the Scots are so liberal and multi cultural most of this money never passes through Scotland on its way to Wall Street, a little bit finds its way into the pockets of absentee landowners. But hey if allying with Goldman and absentee landowners allows me to gouge English pensioners then that;s all I need to know Viva Goldman. Viva the landowning aristocracy. Death to English pensioners!!

        • Republicofscotland

          “There is a massive subsidy to Scottish wind generators. Naturally as the Scots are so liberal and multi cultural most of this money never passes through Scotland on its way to Wall Street, a little bit finds its way into the pockets of absentee landowners. But hey if allying with Goldman and absentee landowners allows me to gouge English pensioners then that;s all I need to know Viva Goldman. Viva the landowning aristocracy. Death to English pensioners!!”



          Your first sentence is correct, however I’m pretty sure 40 years of squandering Scottish oil by Westminster more than makes up for, those miserable little grants that David Cameron and now Theresa May have put a end to.

          The rest of the paragraph I’m afraid is incoherent babble.

          Incidently Longannet, now closed, had to pay tens of millions more pounds to get its power on the grid, than a similar power station closer to London. Talk about rigging the game.

          • michael norton

            When The S. N. P. has full and utter power over the poor people of SCOTLAND, they will rape them until they are almost dead

          • Rob Royston

            The SNP will never have full and utter power over the people in Scotland. New parties will immediately be formed once Independence is secured. A lot of Scots only vote SNP to consolidate the Independence vote.

  • Sharp Ears

    Hoffman of the JNF heckled Jackie Walker yesterday at the UCL meeting. ‘You are not a J*w’ etc. He was reprimanded. In this Twitter thread.

    Now I see he is pushing a petition attacking Jenny Tonge. He is fanatical.

    [email protected] 55m55 minutes ago
    @GideonFalter @antisemitism @BaronessDeech @bobblackmanmp @Offord4Hendon https://www.change.org/p/house-of-lords-commissioner-for-standards-expel-baroness-tonge-from-the-house-of-lords … Tonge Must Go – Sign and Share

        • Sharp Ears

          Here they are again –

          Me and My Shadow
          Shades of night are falling and I’m lonely
          Standing on the corner feeling blue
          Sweethearts out for fun
          Pass me one by one
          Guess I’ll wind up like I always do
          With only
          Me and my shadow
          Strolling down the avenue
          Me and my shadow
          Not a soul to tell our troubles to
          And when it’s twelve o’clock
          We climb the stair
          We never knock
          For nobody’s there
          Just me and my shadow
          All alone and feeling blue
          When the sun sets on the far horizon
          And the parlor lamps begin to glow
          Jim and Jack and John
          Put their slippers on
          They’re all…

          The bells chime in unison, yet again. Habbabkuk and Villager get vicarious thrills each time they use a certain Christian name.

          Perhaps the moderator will delete their comments and the moon is made of cheese.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      I’m calling Hoffman out as a liar on Twitter at the moment and his reaction is to accuse me of complicity with anti-Semitism.

    • Habbabkuk

      I am sure that the competent authorities in a future independent Scotland will act vigorously to stamp out that benighted, barbaric practice.

      (Cue: some gormless commenter – Scourgie? – to write about the Jewish practice of male circumcision. Habbabkuk would remind anyone so tempted that it is said on good authority that circumsised males make better cocksmen!)

      • glenn_uk

        “It has been said”, indeed – what is this good authority?

        We’ve been through all this BS before, and in any case – if it really is true “that circumsised males make better cocksmen”, let them decide it for themselves when they’re old enough to make an informed choice.

        You wouldn’t have a problem with allowing someone to make an informed choice before the irreversible cutting off of a body part takes place, surely?

        • glenn_uk

          Heh, yeah… maybe she’s just, ahem, suitably predisposed to say that to all her clients “friends” 🙂

    • Alcyone

      Evil bastards! I can’t bear to read the article. At what age do they do this?

      And, where are our human rights activists, petitioners and so on?

      At Chomskyfest? Where they can’t even crank up a webcast!

      • Anon1

        Hold tight, Alcyone. Our feminist SJWs are busy castigating men for mansplaining. They will get right onto this afterwards I’m sure.

        • glenn_uk

          Not that we agree on much, granted, but I do not understand why this gets a pass from anyone in the least concerned about human rights. I know you don’t either, but despite coming at it from an anti-Muslim angle, at least you’re on the right side for once.

          There have been no prosecutions for FGM in this country, if what I heard on the radio the other day is correct. How can all this go on, without anyone apparently knowing or reporting a thing? An even bigger mystery to me, is why it’s usually the older women who facilitate this horror, in the face of opposition by a lot of the male-folk in a community.

          • Anon1

            You had better start to understand, Glenn. It gets a free pass because you will be called a racist if you mention it. Feminists will say nothing about it as long as there is a woman who has been asked out for a drink in the workplace. The left will excuse it. The police will ignore it.

            You are right, though. Zero prosecutions to date. It has been illegal for 30+ years, but the police won’t touch it. Will not go near it.

          • glenn_uk

            Has there been even a single documented case of such concerns being dismissed, and the person mentioning it being called a racist?

            Or is this kept so tightly in the community, it’s like expecting one of the old lags to spontaneously fess up to the beat-down of some undesirable new inmate?

          • Anon1

            The police won’t do anything about it for fear of upsetting the comoooniteee. That’s why there hasn’t been a single prosecution.

  • J

    Upton Sinclair author of The Jungle and Oil (There Will Be Blood) among many other things, wrote: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Which is as good a description of the impasse as any, although you could supplant “salary” with many other words such as pleasure, profit, ideology and so on.

    From this interesting article by James Bradley:

    “…to understand the inability of conventional realist fiction (and indeed the novel more generally) to accommodate the experience of climate change we need to look to the fact the realist novel is itself a product of capitalism, and as such serves to regulate and order our experience in ways that disguise the unpredictable and exceptional nature of the world we inhabit, and by extension the hastening convulsions engendered by climate change. Quoting Franco Moretti he argues that the realist novel is designed to keep ‘the “narrativity” of life under control – to give a regularity, a style to existence’ through ‘the relocation of the unheard-of toward the background … while the everyday moves into the foreground’. This, Ghosh argues, ‘is the irony of the “realist” novel: the very gestures with which it conjures up reality are actually a concealment of the real’.

    It’s generally about the dilemma of functioning as a writer or artist against the backdrop of where many of us recognise that we reside. The section above refers quite directly to one of my pre-occupations, how so much of what we read, see, do and interact with is simply a manifestation of the problem and very often a structural element of it. When we understand our predicament at all, how do we simply get on with whatever it is we’re paid to do once we recognise that we are probably employed (or only likely to be employed) in ways that make the problem worse?

    How we think about the problems, what we understand them to be, how we imagine them or simply imagine ourselves has a direct bearing. How do we escape the bounds of imagination enforced by many if not most of the media we love? As ZIzek is fond of pointing out, ideology is often operative where we feel pleasure, where we are invited to fully enjoy ourselves, entertainment is almost always the process of accepting or receiving ideology. Our culture (largely an American import, probably through proximity of language) being one of enjoyment, whose most singular and emphatic injunction is simply “enjoy” asks us to forget and immerse.

    “…find ways of recording and memorialising what is being lost, of resisting not just the assumptions of hypercapitalism but the amnesia it induces, the constant Year Zero of a post-fact society.”

    • glenn_uk

      Very interesting. Upton Sinclair was a fascinating character, way ahead of his time. Your working of “salary” with our other personal satisfactions is a good one. To supplement this natural inertia from a form of behaviour which keeps us comfortable, we have this:


      If you suspect something is seriously wrong (for example, the environmental catastrophe we are blithely marching into), what could more satisfying than the assurance of supposedly impartial experts that say everything’s fine, just go ahead with business as usual? Hey, don’t worry about it – do nothing, don’t concern yourself. As you were!

      Denial is not just a river in Egypt – it’s an essential survival mechanism. But in the case of climate change, it – along with greed and stupidity – will likely mean our highly untimely collective demise.

        • glenn_uk

          Would you like to challenge the actual points being made, instead of sliming the messenger? I assume you’re talking about Guy Mcpherson, so please take a look at this, and address the points being made:


          If you’d rather play to the crowd and scoff and snark instead, I’ll understand totally – doing otherwise is a bit beyond you.

    • bevin

      The thing that I really like about Upton Sinclair was his run for the Governorship of California on a platform of paying pensions to old people and dealing with unemployment “End Poverty In California” was the platform.
      This is from Wikipedia. And it is quite good:
      “…In the 1920s, the Sinclairs moved to Monrovia, California, near Los Angeles, where Sinclair founded the state’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Wanting to pursue politics, he twice ran unsuccessfully for United States Congress on the Socialist ticket: in 1920 for the House of Representatives and in 1922 for the Senate. He was the party candidate for governor California in 1930, winning nearly 50,000 votes.
      “During this period, Sinclair was also active in radical politics in Los Angeles. For instance, in 1923, to support the challenged free speech rights of Industrial Workers of the World, Sinclair spoke at a rally during the San Pedro Maritime Strike, in a neighborhood now known as Liberty Hill. He began to read from the Bill of Rights and was promptly arrested, along with hundreds of others, by the LAPD. The arresting officer proclaimed: “We’ll have none of that Constitution stuff”.[26]
      “In 1934, Sinclair ran in the California gubernatorial election as a Democrat. Sinclair’s platform, known as the End Poverty in California movement (EPIC), galvanized the support of the Democratic Party, and Sinclair gained its nomination.[27] Gaining 879,000 votes made this his most successful run for office, but incumbent Governor Frank F. Merriam defeated him by a sizable margin,[28] gaining 1,138,000 votes.[29][30] Hollywood studio bosses unanimously opposed Sinclair. They pressured their employees to assist and vote for Merriam’s campaign, and made false propaganda films attacking Sinclair, giving him no opportunity to respond.
      “Sinclair’s plan to end poverty quickly became a controversial issue under the pressure of numerous migrants to California fleeing the Dust bowl. Conservatives considered his proposal an attempted communist takeover of their state and quickly opposed him, using propaganda to portray Sinclair as a staunch communist. Sinclair had been a member of the Socialist Party from 1902 to 1934, when he became a Democrat, though always considering himself a Socialist in spirit….”
      Then there were giants…

      • J

        Aye, it’s an age of pygmies wielding corporate megaphones. Still, that age is breaking down rapidly as we move away from the bullshit of the entertainment industries as a whole. The left as such must take advantage or simply get out of the way.

      • J

        On this topic: I got rid of my television nearly fifteen years ago. In retrospect it was the single most emancipatory act of my life. That more than anything allowed me to begin the long process of imagining a different way of being.

        First and foremost, “what binds me to the ruling ideology?” Television is the premier link in that chain.

        • bevin

          Yup. 2001 did it for me too, so far as TV was concerned.
          I bet that there were plenty of Germans who ditched the radio shortly after it broadcast news of the Reichstag fire.

        • glenn_uk

          Interesting. I use my television mostly to watch films and plays, but it’s still quite obvious that it eats up a heck of a lot time that could be otherwise spent. I’m not convinced this is a complete waste of time, though.

          It’s occurred in recent years that our lives are quite limited, and there is little point in having more wealth than one is likely to spend. By drawing down on my resources, and by spending in a vastly more judicious manner than advertising would have you believe was possible, I should be able to live my life without requiring any further work or expecting any public assistance, while still remaining very active and doing plenty of travelling.

          Is there any good reason for building up wealth, beyond the point where you have enough to have a reasonable life?

          • John

            Do you guys get those pathetic ‘enforcement team has scheduled a visit’ letters from Capita too ? I had a collection of over 50 at one point, when my wife got somewhat sharp and consigned it to recycling. Was going to sell it on eBay …

          • John Spencer-Davis

            I think most people in this society don’t feel very safe. In a properly constituted society, people would not be terrified of being made redundant fifteen years before their retirement age, spending those fifteen years in the dole office filling in pointless job applications while having their benefits cut, having to move around because their housing benefit doesn’t cover their rent, not being able to give their children a decent life, fearful of the future for their children, and so on.

            Wealth accumulation can give someone a measure of assurance against that kind of thing, for themselves and their family, which, however wealthy and privileged the person is, probably lurks at the back of the mind. Indeed, the more wealthy and privileged the person, probably the greater the fear of losing wealth and privileges. That probably has quite a bit to do with obsessive pursuit of money.

            I think they are very good reasons

          • John Spencer-Davis

            Sorry, cut that last sentence, I should have deleted it. They’re not good reasons except psychologically.

      • glenn_uk

        Bevin: If you’re interested in Upton Sinclair’s run for the position of Governor of California, you really should listen to this in-depth, long-form interview:


        Nation contributing writer and author of the new ebook When Hollywood Turned Left: The Election Campaign That Changed Politics in Films Forever, Greg Mitchell explains the historic importance of Upton Sinclair’s leftist candidacy for Governor in California, Hollywood’s reactionary past, how Hollywood began to turn left, how the Sinclair race pushed FDR to the left, the story of the first attack ad, the liberalism of modern Hollywood and class politics in modern Hollywood.

        I’d recommend subscribing to The Majority Report on a regular basis in any case, it’s very informative and quite entertaining, having along some relevant SME almost every programme.

  • Sharp Ears

    RIP Sir Gerald Kaufman, aet 86.

    He last spoke in the HoC in April 2016 on the occasion of the Queen’s 90th birthday,

    A friend of Palestine too,
    ‘Sir Gerald was a member of the Jewish Labour Movement and was known for his criticism of Israel, calling senior politicians from the country “war criminals” in 2002.

    Mr Corbyn said: “Gerald came from a proud Jewish background. He always wanted to bring peace to the Middle East and it was my pleasure to travel with him to many countries.

    “He loved life and politics. I will deeply miss him, both for his political commitment and constant friendship.”‘

    Labour MP Gerald Kaufman dies at 86

    An obituary. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36704050

  • Sharp Ears

    RIP Sir Gerald Kaufman, aet 86.

    He last spoke in the HoC in April 2016 on the occasion of the Queen’s 90th birthday,

    A friend of Palestine too,
    ‘Sir Gerald was a member of the J….. Labour Movement and was known for his criticism of I….., calling senior politicians from the country “war criminals” in 2002.

    Mr Corbyn said: “Gerald came from a proud J….. background. He always wanted to bring peace to the Middle East and it was my pleasure to travel with him to many countries.

    “He loved life and politics. I will deeply miss him, both for his political commitment and constant friendship.”‘

    Labour MP Gerald Kaufman dies at 86

    An obituary. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36704050

  • Sharp Ears

    The WHs piece of fiction wins Best Documentary Short. A travesty. ‘Documentary’ No.

    ‘when Hollywood turned left’…. Never.

    Read John Pilger’s Hollywood’s New Censors, written in 2009 but still true.

    ‘These are extraordinary times. Vicious colonial wars and political, economic and environmental corruption cry out for a place on the big screen. Yet try to name one recent film that has dealt with these, honestly and powerfully, let alone satirically. Censorship by omission is virulent. We need another Wall Street, another Last Hurrah, another Dr Strangelove. The partisans who tunnel out of their prison in Gaza, bringing in food, clothes and medicines, and weapons with which to defend themselves, are no less heroic than the celluloid-honoured POWs and partisans of the 1940s. They and the rest of us deserve the respect of the greatest popular medium.’

    • Sharp Ears

      Good piece on RT.

      ‘Patrick Henningsen, a geopolitical analyst at 21st Century Wire.com in an earlier interview to RT late last month explained how the footage was obtained.

      The “film itself is not a real documentary,” he said. “All of the footage used in the film was provided to the producers by the White Helmets themselves. This film production crew – Netflix productions – did not film any of the so-called rescue scenes.”

      “What this film is essentially a PR cushion for a $100-$150 million covert op, which is basically an NGO front funded by USAID, the British Foreign Office, various EU member states, Qatar, and other various and sundry nations, and members of the public, who quite frankly in my opinion and many others, have been duped into donating their money for this rescue group, that is anything but. It essentially functions as a support group alongside Al-Nusra and al-Din al-Zenki and other known terrorist groups operating in Syria. That is a fact that has been proven by a number of eyewitness testimonies.”’

      Film about Syrian White Helmets wins Oscar amid allegations of terrorist ties
      Published time: 27 Feb, 2017 03:47

      • J

        The first time I became fully aware of these ‘Crowd Funded War’ efforts was the Kony 2012 campaign. I watched it’s short but visible arc from outside the media advocacy bubble, and strangely inept it was from beginning to end. That didn’t stop liberal support for it. I have to admit, the ‘White Helmet Campaign,’ while it lasted, was altogether more successful.

        Academics should be doing research on this phenomenon because it’s such a delicious model for the deep state to employ they won’t stop using it.

        Think about it: increase liberal incomprehension and harness their moral outrage, not only to push liberals further into an embrace with the deep state through further self delusion but also get them to directly fund the neo-liberal/neo-conservative war efforts directly, all the while believing that they are ‘doing the right thing.’ Features added distance between the actual state actors and any potential messy outcome, turns potential opposition to naked imperialism into a mass produced demand for ‘humanitarian intervention.’ Perhaps even go on to win coveted entertainment industry award. Beautiful really.

        To highlight the strangeness of the times, a film like Team America is more accurate as documentary than supposed factual, Oscar winning documentary.

  • Anon1

    Hilarious scenes at the Oscars. Surprised they haven’t blamed it on Trump, Russian hackers, Brexit yet

  • Brianfujisan

    Good to Hear Craig will Speak at the Event..Glasgow BBc.

    The Education.. Uni Paper By Craig n Robin McAlpine, Allyson Pollock and Adam Ramsay… Is a great Work..

    Anyhoo..It was great Be at the Inverclyde for Indy To See and listen to Robin..

  • Republicofscotland

    Looking back at the Labour conference in Perth over the weekend, there appeared to be more empty seats than at a Donald Trump media event (Trump’s banned the likes of the BBC, CNN and the NYT).

    Corbyn took the stage at the conference and immediately launched into anti-Scottish independence mode, claiming that a independent Scotland would be forced to join the Euro, which as well all know is nonsense. Corbyn then moved to defend Theresa May’s Brexit bill.

    I find Corbyn’s staunch opposition to Scottish independence rather annoying, since it’s well documented that he (Corbyn) is a long standing supporter of Irish self-determination.

    This week Scotland will see the arrival of Theresa May, to bolster her odious Tory branch office north of the border, in denouncing a second indyref.

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile for all those bleeding hearts in here that claim terrorism, is rife in Britain, and who also voted for Brexit, this may interest you.

    There’s a good possibility that Britain will lose its membership of Europol and Eurojust, two intelligence agencies that help to keep our islands safe once we leave the EU. Add in that Britain will probably also lose the advantages of the (EAW) the European Arrest Warrant as well, once we exit.

    At the moment the current head of Europol, is Rob Wainwright a Welsh born MI5 officer.

  • Republicofscotland

    Catalonian ministers are to go on trial at the Supreme court in Madrid, their henious crimes? Helping to organise the 2014 Catalonian vote on whether to have a independence vote.

    Also accused are, over 300 town mayors in the Catalonian region. Eighty percent of Catalonians voted in the trial run in 2014, for independence a overwhelming majority, yet the Spanish courts, with Rajoy’s blessing are putting Catalonian ministers on trial.

    This disgraceful wrong doing is a slap in the face to democracy, and has already attracted concern from the likes of, Canada and Ireland.

    Catalonia was only absorbed into Spain around 1714, a similar time that Scotland became part of the union, hopefully Rajoy will see sense, and pull back from prosecuting those ministers. No one wants to see a outbreak of violence, but it could be on the cards.

    I can see Catalonians declaring a UDI in the near future, and who could blame them for doing so.

  • michael norton

    Is Saint Theresa May’s Brexit strategy about to be derailed by 2nd Scottish IndyRef?
    United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May fears First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will call for a second Scottish independence referendum the moment negotiations for Britain’s exit from the EU are launched next month.

    Bring it on, the sooner the better.

  • michael norton

    Jez we can
    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn yesterday sparked controversy after telling the S. N. P.
    that it should forget a second independence referendum, and that it should be “ASHAMED” of how it has governed SCOTLAND
    for the past decade.

    “There is no appetite for yet another referendum,” Corbyn said while speaking at a party’s conference in Perth.

    “To the S. N. P.
    I say this, Listen to the people and respect democracy.

    “The Scottish people are telling you to get on with your day job and start fixing the mess you have made.

    “But maybe that’s too much like hard work for the SNP. Far better for them to call for another referendum to divert attention away from their appalling record on colleges, social care, the NHS and transport,” he added.

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