Monday, 17 January 2011

Study for The Crucifixion of St Peter

From an email to a pal:
'This is the rough i did of the crucifixion of st peter the other night. I've been thinking of doing this picture for a couple of years. It's not a Christian thing - though no one will believe that - but more an image of the calculated domestic nastiness in our own age of conflicting idelogies colliding above the chavs. I'm thinking the background should be an ordinary English tatty suburban park - green railings, maybe even a game of football in the distance...'

OK, St Peter did ask to be crucified upside down, according to the Apocrypha, but still.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

'Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss'*

A FEW years ago I got a lot of stick off friends and enemies for saying the right-wing 'Fundamentalist Anglican' Peter Hitchens had hit the bullseye a few times when attacking new Labour in particular and the political class in general and the fashionable nonsense that had seeped into their policies.
He is far from right about everything - in fact plain wrong on many things - but when I first read his dissections of leftish middle class's doctrinal preoccupations I knew he was on to something. His jibes against New Labour and its armies of supporters, or should I say in the media, arts and local government were delicious to me: truth well-aimed - and he never gets tired of slinging it at the nicely-thank-you inverted snobs, con-men and hypocrites with which our political and civil administration is filled.
Almost everyone who gave me stick subscribed to a widespread political view which persists despite years of evidence which proves it is full of holes and cant; indeed, to use a phrase beloved of my old man, it sticks like shit to a blanket.

It is of course: Tories are scum and Labour is on the side of the angels. Oh yes, don't you worry about that.
After a long, long period where holders of that viewpoint had to keep very quiet for obvious reasons, the good times are coming back. Ed Miliband was in the Times last week denying that Labour's 13-year spending splurge on bureaucracy and civil servants had anything whatsoever to do with the vast structural deficit it faces. This was a lie. Good for Ed; he's shown himself to be cheeky, and you need to be cheeky in the political class. You need brassneck cheek.
Cameron is handing the Labour Angels another gift by bottling it on bankers' bonuses. This shows a lack of pragmatism and balls. When you add that to the Coalition's backing out on so many key areas: EU, immigration, crime, welfare reform, then stir in VAT and tax rises and you start to wonder who the hell this government is representing. Only another four years of it to go. Or is there...?
Which brings me back round to P Hitchens, who had this to say a couple of weeks ago about Dave Cameron and the yellow peril welshing us all on the immigration issue which has turned parts of country into ongoing tinder-boxes and will provide many angry British adults in the future called Osama:

'...the modernised Tory Party, just like its New Labour twin, actively favours large-scale migration. Rich young careerists in pleasant parts of London – who form the core of all our establishment parties – couldn’t function without the cheap servants and cheap restaurants that immigration brings.
Not for them the other side of immigration – the transformation of familiar neighbourhoods into foreign territory. Not for them the schools where many pupils cannot speak English, and the overloaded public services. Not for them the mosque and the madrassa where the church and the pub used to be. Not that they mind that so much. These people have no special loyalty to this country, nor much love for it. They are not significantly different from the Blairite apparatchik Andrew Neather, who last year unwisely said openly what such people have long thought privately.
Let me remind you that he spoke of ‘a driving political purpose: that mass immigration was the way that the UK Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural’. And that he recalled coming away from high-level discussions ‘with a clear sense that the policy was intended – even if this wasn’t its main -purpose – to rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date’.
Well, doesn’t Mr Cameron also like to rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date? I think he does. And of course anyone who complained could be (and always will be) smeared as a ‘bigot’. In fact, the issue long ago ceased having anything to do with skin colour. We have many black and brown Britons who have, over time, become as British as I am – though alas this is less and less the case because the curse of multiculturalism has prevented proper integration, as has the huge size of the recent influx.'

Well said.

Of course, the cry of right-wing press will be heard. I prefer to take my cues from reality. Such as my father, age 74 (still at work in a manual trade, started work 1951), attending a hospital last week for a blood test which he had been told would take an hour but which took about eight hours because there was a queue of 180 people in front of him. Yes, you read that correctly.

He made a little study of the queue, a proper socialist study of nationalities and ethnicities you might call it, and to the best of his knowledge he could only discern four English people in it. Yes, yes, Harriet Harman, I bet there was loads of British passport-holders in the queue. I know which lawyers to consult to buy one as well, should I ever have need.

But well done Labour! You lived the dream. Well, you didn't live it you just inflicted it on your sainted ordinary people who you hate and call bigoted it on the rare occasions you meet them - see Gordon Brown during the election.

One day someone will write a proper history of how a bunch of smartass exam-passing machines who did PPE at Oxbridge and thought everything they read in the Economist about globalisation and Multiculturalism was true and big and clever, and how it might lead them to sing the Red Flag *and* have a platinum mastercard ('the working class? Oh they're around somewhere I'm sure...'), led them, out of sheer arrogance and greed, to create a Nowhere out of a Somewhere. And still end up in £1.6million ex-National Trust property in Dartmouth Park, North London.

Yes Mili Minor, I'm talking about you.

In trying to make Ed Miliband look a good bet for the public in four years Labour's Alistair Campbell-elect, Tom Baldwin, will have his work cut out for him. Don't get me wrong, the strategy part will be easy: gallons of the sweet wine of socialist rhetorical carping: 'there's plenty of money available for you and it's all hidden in a golden chest under David Cameron's bed along with his Eton collar'.
It is selling Ed himself to the public that will prove difficult.
However, I did not return to blogging to write about the opposition. I didn't do it when Labour were in power and now we have another bunch of overprivileged, venal, incompetent cowards in charge I intend to criticise them. I merely draw your attention to Baldwin because he appears to be one of the larger media sycophants of the Blair years and his profile is classic political class, right down to the extreme wealth, Oxford PPE qualification and the 'fanatical loathing' of Tories.
Oxbridge is good at producing such people. If only they could give them such a thorough grounding in ordinary life as they do in Keynesian economics and Marxian critical modes.
Someone called Tanya Gold, who seemed very pleased with herself, wrote the cover feature for the Sunday Times Magazine this week called Marx and Spenders - How the Left took over North London Again. Again? I think she meant that they all sulked because of the war in Iraq, but now they are all voting Labour once again, apparently. 'We're happier in opposition, aren't we?' says some organic knitwear yummy mummy Gold vox-popped in Hampstead. You know it, girl! Carping is the natural state for such people - I can handle that as long as they aren't running anything. Trouble is they *are* running everything, every civil institution bar the Cabinet. But that is another story.

Sufficey to say that Ms Gold's piece about Darmouth Park, Hampstead and Highgate (where I reside) missed the most obvious and grandest irony about it being a colony of champagne socialists. These places are nice to live in because they have resisted everything that the cultural and political Left has imposed everywhere else.

*From Won't Get Fooled Again, words and music P. Townshend 1971

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Email to Mark Brentano

You dear old boy,

I hope you have recovered yourself. I was on a skin-shedder from Boxing Day (which didn't stop me taking £75 quid off the relatives at roulette. Joe Pesci accent: you better do Nicky cos if you don't he'll play the alley bets till he beats you on the margins. Suggestion: Line for a rock and roll song: Play the Alley Bets). The 'Flu still hasn't entirely removed itself from my body but I feel a human being once again. I couldn't get my arms over my head on Wednesday. Didn't stop me taking a turn down to the Royal Standard though, where I consumed three pints of E.S.B. to get my bowels working again and throw something heavy at the contagion. It warmed me slightly and opened up the Limpopo but it was mere palliative care.

I have spent the week reading K Richards' memoirs and they are fun that's for sure. It's all about the turn of phrase. There are not many books which contain astute observations on heroin, Gram Parsons and Bexleyheath Tennis Club. There is a larf or a smile on almost every page.

All in all it puts me in the right frame of mind to play a bit of guitar in your proposed combo. Last time I was on stage was playing the ukulele at an open mic 5 years ago so what I may bring is debatable but maybe me and the serb can weave it up.

Richards says the Altamont fracas was largely caused by the vast amounts of two brands of cheap fortified wine the audience was consuming. One was good old Thunderbird the other Ripple. Thunderbird and Ripple - quite a good name for something.

He also remembers the Stones' piano player and road manager turning to him at Altamont and saying: 'Getting a bit hairy, Keith.' To which the great man responded: 'We've just got to brass it out.'

Like so many areas of life, eh?

See you in the bar and happy new year,