Sunday, 21 April 2019

Christus Surrexit, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Surrexit in vere, alleluia, alleluia!

Imperial Preference?

The polling cards will soon arrive for the European Elections. We ought to go down fighting by voting for the Brexit Party.

Many of us would have liked a Lexit List, but no one in a position to organise one seems to have bothered. So here we are. We are never going to leave the EU. In for another five years means in forever. No second referendum. Just never leaving.

England is like Athens, Rome or Venice of old. The city-state Republic matters. But fundamentally and ultimately, the Empire does not. England outside London matters less than Northern Ireland, with about two thirds of the population of Greater Manchester.

You see, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and to an extent Wales and indeed the Irish Republic, are client states of the imperium, which can be bullied a bit, but which more often have to be cajoled, or bribed, or occasionally even acceded to.

But provincial England is precisely that. A collection of provinces, of satrapies, of colonies. If the chips were down, then we would matter less than at least two actual colonies, in Gibraltar and in the Falkland Islands. In one of those cases, those chips are now down.

Another hung Parliament is coming, however, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. It has become a local commonplace that I am on 30-30-30 with Labour and the Conservatives here at North West Durham, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post.

I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Emaciated

And it was Yvette Cooper who started all of this. The present Government has kept it going for another nine years and counting. But it started under New Labour. Specifically, it started under her, most labour MPs' preferred Leader, even if it was not ever thus.

Another hung Parliament is coming, however, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. It has become a local commonplace that I am on 30-30-30 with Labour and the Conservatives here at North West Durham, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post. I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Who Gives A CUK?

From across four existing political parties, a thousand people have applied to stand for the CUKs at the forthcoming European Elections. One thousand. And the CUKs think that that is a triumph. Remainers, at least have the self-respect to vote Lib Dem.

Beyond that, the overall shape of the three polities of England and Wales, of Scotland, and of Northern Ireland, is now such that, regardless of who led any party, another hung Parliament is coming, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it.

It has become a local commonplace that I am on 30-30-30 with Labour and the Conservatives here at North West Durham, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post. I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

No Laughing Matter

Forget the fact that the Ukrainian Presidential Election looks likely to have been won by a comedian, and concentrate on the fact that it looks likely to have been won by an opponent of Petro Poreshenko. The plates are shifting. They are shifting whether we like it or not, although there is in fact a lot to like, especially by comparison with what has gone before.

A correct answer to “How much would it cost?” is always, “Less than one of your wars.” Due to the newfangled use of military action for purely policy reasons, there must be no British military intervention except in a specific British national interest and with the approval of the House of Commons.

We need an end to this country’s poisonous relationship with Saudi Arabia and with the other Gulf monarchies. We need withdrawal from NATO, which commits us to the defence of Turkish Islamists and of Eastern European neo-Nazis, soon to be joined by Latin American caudillos, while charging us two per cent of our Gross Domestic Product for the privilege.

We need bilateral peace treaties with all other European countries including Russia, with the United States, and with Canada. We need peace treaties with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and with the Collective Security Treaty Organisation. There must be no foreign military bases on British soil.

We need the renationalisation of BAE Systems as the monopoly supplier to our own Armed Forces, with a ban on all sale of arms abroad, and with a comprehensive programme of diversification in order to preserve the skills that were currently employed in the arms industry.

Although it is obvious, when said out loud, that nobody is ever going to invade the British Isles, we need the cancellation of Trident in favour of rebuilding the conventional Armed Forces, in favour of care for veterans, in favour of flood defences, and in favour of an all-of-the-above energy policy based around civil nuclear power and around this country’s vast reserves of coal, with the commanding heights in reformed public ownership, with no need for fracking even in its own terms, and with the requirement of the approval of the House of Commons before energy or water prices could be increased.

In the case of Trident, we could pay the affected shipyard workers quite eye-watering sums in compensation, and still save amounts that there were scarcely the adjectives to describe. “Would you press the nuclear button?” is a bad science-fictional question that would not be asked in any serious country. A correct answer to “How much would it cost?” is always, “Less than Trident.”

At least in the House of Commons, British political understanding of these matters ranges from the limited to the totally absent. Another hung Parliament is coming, however, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it.

It has become a local commonplace that I am on 30-30-30 with Labour and the Conservatives here at North West Durham, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post. I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

A People's Vote, Indeed

Labour MPs will block any commitment to a second referendum, and in so doing they will be pushing at an open door to Jeremy Corbyn's office. 

But their motivation will not be fear of losing their seats. They run almost as little risk of that as their Conservative counterparts do. People will vote for the Brexit Party at the European Elections. But not at anything else.

Yes, the Conservative Party's only permanent principle is that the country ought to be run by the sons of certain families and by the products of certain public schools, especially Eton. Everyone has always understood that. 

And on that universal understanding, that party has come either first or second at every General Election that there has ever been. It has won most of them, and it has held some seats continuously since the first half of the nineteenth century. 

By contrast, principled right-wingery, most recently in the form of UKIP, has never got anywhere when it came to elections to the House of Commons. And it never will. The potential voters for it simply do not exist.

Yet the overall shape of the three polities of England and Wales, of Scotland, and of Northern Ireland, is now such that, regardless of who led any party, another hung Parliament is coming, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. 

It has become a local commonplace that I am on 30-30-30 with Labour and the Conservatives here at North West Durham, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post. I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Letting Them All In

The presence of Alka Sehgal Cuthbert amounts to an endorsement of the Brexit Party by Spiked. Watch out for that in so many words this week. All eyes are now on the Morning Star, especially if certain other rumoured Brexit Party candidates did materialise after all.

The thing is, whereas the Star are proper old Tankie supporters of immigration controls, Spiked are proper old Trotskyists who therefore believe that there should be absolutely no controls whatever on immigration. That is now the position of at least one of Nigel Farage's candidates. I fully intend to vote for the Brexit Party, but I am just putting that out there.

Another hung Parliament is coming, however, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. It has become a local commonplace that I am on 30-30-30 with Labour and the Conservatives here at North West Durham, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post. I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

The Teardrop Island

If the church bombers in Sri Lanka are Islamists, then remember then when exactly the same people do exactly the same thing in Syria, they are our side.

Saying that they are not is what makes Jeremy Corbyn a loony and a threat to national security.

Or if they are Buddhists, then that is not an aberration within Buddhism, but the norm, or at least well within the mainstream.

For more on Buddhism as no more a religion of peace than Islam is (no less so, but no more), then see also Tibet, Myanmar, Mongolia, Japan, Thailand, and beyond.

In fact, an examination of the relevant texts shows that violence in general and war in particular are fundamental to Buddhism.

A rare balanced treatment of Buddhism and violence was broadcast in August 2013. The subject is also addressed in great detail here.

At least in the House of Commons, British political understanding of these matters ranges from the limited to the totally absent.

Another hung Parliament is coming, however, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it.

It has become a local commonplace that I am on 30-30-30 with Labour and the Conservatives here at North West Durham, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post.

I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Toadmeister Watch: Day 129

I repeat my challenge to Toby Young to contest this parliamentary seat of North West Durham. Either that, or he has conceded every point here.

His party took 34 per cent of the vote at North West Durham last time. Labour, it and I are now universally accepted as being on 30-30-30, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post. 

But I do not stand against people. I stand for things. Another hung Parliament is coming, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it.

I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

This post will appear here daily until further notice.

Yaxley-Lennon Watch: Day 149

I warmly welcome Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who calls himself "Tommy Robinson" but who would have to give his real name on the ballot paper, as the UKIP candidate for this parliamentary seat of North West Durham. Or, at any rate, as a candidate for this seat, of any party or none.

Either that, or he is running scared of the white working class. After all, I am mixed-race, and the sitting MP, who will presumably be the Labour candidate, has a mixed-race child. We are both impeccably middle-class (Google the house prices in Riding Mill, whence she hails), as the Conservative and the Liberal Democrat candidates will doubtless also be. 

From his own point of view, then, beating us ought to be a doddle.

Not that my candidacy is in any way conditional on his. Another hung Parliament is coming, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. I will stand for this parliamentary seat of North West Durham, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

This post will appear here daily until Yaxley-Lennon officially runs away with his tail between his legs by denying that he is a parliamentary candidate for North West Durham.

Pidcock-Kamm Watch: Day 150

Either Laura Pidcock is proud that she is now Oliver Kamm's endorsed candidate for this parliamentary seat of North West Durham, or she will tweet the following:

"I reject the endorsement of @OliverKamm, and I have made a donation to @NeilClark66's legal fund against him," followed by the link to Neil's fund.

This post will appear here daily until that tweet has been posted.

Henig Watch: Day 156

Rather magnanimously, considering how he became the Leader of Durham County Council in the first place, the Durham Miners' Association has permitted Simon Henig to sit on the platform of the last two Durham Miners' Galas.

On both occasions, he has of course shared that platform with the principal speaker, Jeremy Corbyn. It is therefore the least to be expected that @SimonHenig will tweet the simple formula, ".@jeremycorbyn is not an anti-Semite." This post will appear here daily until that tweet has been posted.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Has Tulsi Gabbard Blown It?

Marijuana legalisation? Just say no.

In which case, just say no to Tulsi Gabbard,  until now by far the best of the bunch? I only ask.

Toadmeister Watch: Day 128

I repeat my challenge to Toby Young to contest this parliamentary seat of North West Durham. Either that, or he has conceded every point here.

His party took 34 per cent of the vote at North West Durham last time. Labour, it and I are now universally accepted as being on 30-30-30, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post. 

But I do not stand against people. I stand for things. Another hung Parliament is coming, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it.

I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

This post will appear here daily until further notice.

Yaxley-Lennon Watch: Day 148

I warmly welcome Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who calls himself "Tommy Robinson" but who would have to give his real name on the ballot paper, as the UKIP candidate for this parliamentary seat of North West Durham. Or, at any rate, as a candidate for this seat, of any party or none.

Either that, or he is running scared of the white working class. After all, I am mixed-race, and the sitting MP, who will presumably be the Labour candidate, has a mixed-race child. We are both impeccably middle-class (Google the house prices in Riding Mill, whence she hails), as the Conservative and the Liberal Democrat candidates will doubtless also be. 

From his own point of view, then, beating us ought to be a doddle.

Not that my candidacy is in any way conditional on his. Another hung Parliament is coming, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. I will stand for this parliamentary seat of North West Durham, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

This post will appear here daily until Yaxley-Lennon officially runs away with his tail between his legs by denying that he is a parliamentary candidate for North West Durham.

Pidcock-Kamm Watch: Day 149

Either Laura Pidcock is proud that she is now Oliver Kamm's endorsed candidate for this parliamentary seat of North West Durham, or she will tweet the following:

"I reject the endorsement of @OliverKamm, and I have made a donation to @NeilClark66's legal fund against him," followed by the link to Neil's fund.

This post will appear here daily until that tweet has been posted.

Henig Watch: Day 155

Rather magnanimously, considering how he became the Leader of Durham County Council in the first place, the Durham Miners' Association has permitted Simon Henig to sit on the platform of the last two Durham Miners' Galas.

On both occasions, he has of course shared that platform with the principal speaker, Jeremy Corbyn. It is therefore the least to be expected that @SimonHenig will tweet the simple formula, ".@jeremycorbyn is not an anti-Semite." This post will appear here daily until that tweet has been posted.

Friday, 19 April 2019

A Kick In The Ballots

I probably shouldn't be doing this on Good Friday, and I promise you that I am about to go to church. But if the European Elections ever happened in Britain, then Brexit never would. In for another five years would mean in forever. No second referendum. Just never leaving.

How, then, should we indicate our displeasure? Well, I would have liked to have given Jeremy Corbyn the European Election victory that had eluded Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband. But this is where we are. The Brexit Party is not UKIP, with its nutters and its Nazis. Those have stayed in UKIP. They are not in the Brexit Party.

For Lanchester Parish Council in 2017, I characteristically voted for Labour, Independent, Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates, plus two with No Description. Most of choices were elected, across the first four of those categories. 

I repeat that this has been pretty much my usual pattern throughout my adult life. No one has ever put up 15 candidates, but I have always used all 15 of my votes. On each occasion, most or all of my preferred candidates have been successful.

Until 2017 and the issue of the Teaching Assistants, I repeatedly voted for the two County Councillors for Lanchester until that election, of whom one was Labour and one was Independent.

At General Elections, I have voted Labour in 1997, Labour in 2001, Independent because of Iraq in 2005, Independent because of the all-women shortlist in 2010, proudly for Labour's Pat Glass in 2015, and for the Teaching Assistants' Liberal Democrat champion, Owen Temple, in 2017.

Actually, let me qualify that. I agreed with a lot of what Watts Stelling had to say. Iraq in 2005 and the all-women shortlist in 2010 were why I did not vote Labour. Watts was why I voted for Watts.

At my four European Elections, I have voted for the Socialist Labour Party, for Respect, for No2EU, and for Labour in the absence both of No2EU and of Stephen Hughes; we have mutual friends, but he is just wrong about the EU. And this time, it really does look as if I am going to be voting for the Brexit Party.

Meanwhile, Remainers, make sure that you vote Lib Dem, not CUK. I would still like Labour to win these Elections. It is certainly going to do very well. But the big losers need to be the Conservative Party and the CUKs. And for that, the big winners need to be the Brexit Party and the Lib Dems.

Beyond that, another hung Parliament is coming, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. It has become a local commonplace that I am on 30-30-30 with Labour and the Conservatives here at North West Durham, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post. I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Toadmeister Watch: Day 127

I repeat my challenge to Toby Young to contest this parliamentary seat of North West Durham. Either that, or he has conceded every point here.

His party took 34 per cent of the vote at North West Durham last time. Labour, it and I are now universally accepted as being on 30-30-30, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post. 

But I do not stand against people. I stand for things. Another hung Parliament is coming, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it.

I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

This post will appear here daily until further notice.

Yaxley-Lennon Watch: Day 147

I warmly welcome Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who calls himself "Tommy Robinson" but who would have to give his real name on the ballot paper, as the UKIP candidate for this parliamentary seat of North West Durham. Or, at any rate, as a candidate for this seat, of any party or none.

Either that, or he is running scared of the white working class. After all, I am mixed-race, and the sitting MP, who will presumably be the Labour candidate, has a mixed-race child. We are both impeccably middle-class (Google the house prices in Riding Mill, whence she hails), as the Conservative and the Liberal Democrat candidates will doubtless also be. 

From his own point of view, then, beating us ought to be a doddle.

Not that my candidacy is in any way conditional on his. Another hung Parliament is coming, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. I will stand for this parliamentary seat of North West Durham, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

This post will appear here daily until Yaxley-Lennon officially runs away with his tail between his legs by denying that he is a parliamentary candidate for North West Durham.

Pidcock-Kamm Watch: Day 148

Either Laura Pidcock is proud that she is now Oliver Kamm's endorsed candidate for this parliamentary seat of North West Durham, or she will tweet the following:

"I reject the endorsement of @OliverKamm, and I have made a donation to @NeilClark66's legal fund against him," followed by the link to Neil's fund.

This post will appear here daily until that tweet has been posted.

Henig Watch: Day 154

Rather magnanimously, considering how he became the Leader of Durham County Council in the first place, the Durham Miners' Association has permitted Simon Henig to sit on the platform of the last two Durham Miners' Galas.

On both occasions, he has of course shared that platform with the principal speaker, Jeremy Corbyn. It is therefore the least to be expected that @SimonHenig will tweet the simple formula, ".@jeremycorbyn is not an anti-Semite." This post will appear here daily until that tweet has been posted.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

The Crucial Juncture

The collapse of the Conservative vote will mean that Labour might very well win a second European seat in the South West. So Andrew Adonis is not a paper candidate.

Labour will top the poll here in the North East, of course. If it did so nationally, then Jeremy Corbyn would have achieved something that none of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown or Ed Miliband ever did. I would like that to happen, and I would like to be part of it.

But Adonis is a Labour candidate, several other hardcore Remainers are also being allowed to stand for Labour, and George Galloway has accordingly felt moved to endorsed the Brexit Party, with plenty of other people from the Left coming onto Twitter and elsewhere to agree with him.

Nigel Farage is also a supporter of Julian Assange, and his party at large is a lot sounder on that issue than Corbyn's is.

All in all, then, can anyone give me a reason not to vote for the Brexit Party?

But Leaves The Greater Villain Loose

Yes, half of England is owned by less than one per cent of the population. We have known that for a very long time. We have known it, not least, through 13 years of government by New Labour.

So much, then, for New Labour, to which most Labour MPs will remain fanatically devoted even after Change UK has been hammered at the forthcoming European Elections.

Another hung Parliament is coming, however, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. 

It has become a local commonplace that I am on 30-30-30 with Labour and the Conservatives here at North West Durham, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post.

I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Collusion, Indeed

The Mueller Report, every word of which we had already expected, is not the story.

The story is Donald Trump's Yemen Veto, which compounds his betrayal, in the case of Julian Assange, of the anti-interventionists whose votes had swung the Presidency for him.

Although he was better than the alternative, and nobody could have a more corrupt relationship with the Saudis than the Clintons have, Trump is a very bad President. But he did win.

And although Trump did win, he is a very bad President. He can only be beaten, and he will only deserve to be beaten, by a better candidate on the issues.

Healthy Discussion

Shotley Bridge Hospital is nearing the end of its life.

There will be a session of the future of healthcare in these parts at Lanchester Community Centre on Tuesday 30th April between 1pm and 3pm.

To book a place, telephone 0191 3898609 or email my.view@NHS.net.

The Shameful Yemen Veto and Trump's Foreign Policy


Trump had the gall to cite his supposed opposition to “endless wars” in his statement explaining his shameful Yemen veto:

As I said in my State of the Union address in February, great nations do not fight endless wars. My Administration is currently accelerating negotiations to end our military engagement in Afghanistan and drawing down troops in Syria, where we recently succeeded in eliminating 100 percent of the ISIS caliphate. Congressional engagement in those endeavors would be far more productive than expending time and effort trying to enact this unnecessary and dangerous resolution that interferes with our foreign policy with respect to Yemen.
If Trump follows through on ending these other wars, there is nothing for Congress to do. The only reason there would need to be “engagement” from Congress is if he chooses to prolong them.

I don’t believe for a second that Trump actually wants Rep. Ro Khanna and Sen. Bernie Sanders to focus on the illegality of our ongoing military presence in Syria, and if they were able to get houses to pass another war powers resolution to force Trump to complete the so-called withdrawal that he ordered last year I wouldn’t be surprised if he vetoed that resolution, too. 

He brings up these other wars to deflect attention from the fact that he is refusing to end U.S. involvement in the one war that he can end immediately. Trump’s rhetorical opposition to “endless wars” has proven to be nothing more than that. 

His Yemen veto shows that he will do everything he can to keep an unjust and horrific war going for as long as possible when it is within his power to end U.S. involvement and to try to bring the conflict to an end. 

There was never any doubt that he would veto the resolution. Now that he has vetoed it, I hope we can dispense with the last of this nonsense that Trump is any kind of non-interventionist or opponent of foreign wars.

As Ishaan Tharoor observes, Trump’s veto gives him full ownership of U.S. support for the war on Yemen. 

He could have easily done what Congress demanded, and in doing so he would have put significant pressure on the Saudis and Emiratis to halt their campaign. 

That would have been the right thing to do, and it would have been popular as well. 

Instead, Trump has fought opponents of the war every step of the way, and during the debate his Congressional allies have used every procedural trick to delay final passage of the antiwar resolution that Trump just vetoed. 

It is significant that Trump won’t withdraw the U.S. from the one war where the benefit from doing so is most obvious and the costs are practically non-existent. 

When push comes to shove, Trump always ends up choosing the relatively more hawkish option because he foolishly fetishizes “toughness” and because he has surrounded himself with hard-liners with disastrous effect. 

He would rather act as the Saudis’ yes-man and the errand boy of weapons manufacturers instead of doing what is in the best interests of both the United States and Yemen, and that will be one of his main foreign policy legacies.

Truth Itself Is Behind Bars In Julian Assange's Cell


As the cell-door slammed behind the world-renowned publisher Julian Assange, the Champagne corks were popping in some surprising salons.

Liberals across the world, forever telling us that they'd “die for our right to say it” turned out to be dying for the Trump Justice Department to get their hands on the ghost of what they used to be, or wanted us to think they were. 

The commentariat plumbed to new depths of depravity in their glee at the incarceration of a damaged whistleblower, for seven years unable to leave his tiny room. 

How odd he looked, how unkempt, a “demented gnome” in the words of Channel 4's international editor Lindsey Hilsum. 

Publications throughout Europe and North America which once vied with each other to publish WikiLeaks scoops vied instead to heap ordure on the fallen hero Assange. 

Liberals showed they are not so much lipstick on the pig of power but a part of the pig, somewhere around its hindquarters.


Faith in the British Justice system to stand up to the US securocratic juggernaut was scarcely improved by the judge at Assange's first hearing – on the charge of skipping bail – insulting the accused as a narcissist in the dock. 

One must hope for fairer treatment further up the judicial tree and all is not lost there. 

Despite its upper-class character (or maybe because of it), the British judiciary is relatively speaking the last uncorrupted institution in the country, leaving a wrecked parliament, government and media sprawling in its wake.

Britain does have a long history of harboring dissidents from the wrath of other peoples regimes. Throughout the 19th century revolutionaries from Marx through Garibaldi and throughout the 20th too.

I led a campaign on behalf of the then leader of the Saudi opposition, Mohammed al-Massari, who was threatened with deportation at the behest of the British arms dealers BAE and their best friends in the British Foreign Office.

By the time we reached the hearing before Judge Pearl, many abandoned hope but I never did. 

Sure enough, the honorable judge delivered what I described as a “Judicial Caning” to the Home Secretary Michael Howard and sent the weapons merchants packing. Massari lives on in London still. 

The request for extradition by the US Justice Department could scarcely be more political. 

It relates (for now) to a single count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion with Chelsea Manning, who was in the process of exposing the perfidy of War Crimes committed by the US Government's forces in Iraq. 

There is no charge of hacking on the part of WikiLeaks let alone the “hacking” of the Democratic Party's National Committee (in truth a leak and not a hack in any case). 

Once on US soil however prosecutors would be free to add to the indictments against Assange sufficient to send him to the electric chair, or at least into the dungeons never to be seen or heard from again. 

This possibility of judicial creep will cast a long shadow over the British courts in the months to come – and European Courts too. 

The danger of Assange being punished grotesquely disproportionately for what after all turned out to be whistleblowing on actual grave crimes, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity may well influence British judges accordingly. 

Certainly, I would rather take my chances before a British judge than a British MP, government or newspaper editor. 

Julian Assange is a friend of mine and I have stood by him through dark days and fine, and can show you my scars. 

But more importantly, he is a friend of the truth. Everything he published turned out to be true, so help me God. 

And as I said last weekend outside the grim prison walls of Belmarsh Prison (where he shares accommodation with Al Qaeda and ISIS prisoners whose terrorist offenses were begotten by the very war crimes Assange exposed) he is an honorable political prisoner with nothing to be ashamed of.

If we allow him to be incarcerated for publishing the truth then we might as well check in behind those bars ourselves, for we will never be truly free again.

Black Holes and Human Triumph

Emily Dinsmore writes: 

Black holes have long been one of the dark and ungraspable mysteries of modern physics.

Scientists are confident that they exist, and can even view the effects the massive, light-warping bodies have on objects within the universe.

But they have never managed to see one — until last week, that is, when astronomers announced they had taken the first ever image of a black hole, located in a distant galaxy.

So 10 April 2019 is a day that will go down in both scientific and human history. From here on, we can say that we have seen a black hole, something that no one before us had seen.

The supermassive black hole in question is a staggering 55 million light years away from Earth. If we were travelling at 300,000 kilometres per second it would take us 55 million years to reach it.

Eight connected ground telescopes, positioned across four continents, together make up the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) which produced the image.

In April 2017, the EHT scanned the sky simultaneously for 10 days. 

Scientists then analysed and computed the data output for two years to produce the image of the black hole, which was in the centre of supergiant galaxy Messier 87.

The image of the luminous, red and yellow halo, set against a black backdrop, is already iconic. 

What you see in that image is not a black hole itself, but its shadow, illuminated by the bending of light and matter at the event horizon. 

An event horizon is the boundary between normal space as we understand it and the black hole. 

It is often described as the point of no return, because once that boundary is crossed, the gravitational pull of the black hole is so strong that nothing can escape it, not even light. 

The image of the black hole has been widely shared and celebrated. And rightly so. It is a triumph for science, for technology and for humanity.

The image provides evidence in support of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, written in 1916. 

Einstein was the first to theorise the existence of black holes, by proposing that massive objects can change the shape of space and time. 

Three years after Einstein came up with the theory of general relativity, a component of it was proven experimentally. 

Arthur Eddington, a British astronomer, found that during the darkness of a solar eclipse, nearby stars to the Sun appeared to move position. 

As per Einstein’s theory, the huge mass of the Sun was deflecting the light of the nearby stars.

One hundred years on from this first experiment, the EHT has unlocked new evidence to back up Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

He argued that gravity can alter the fabric of spacetime – the model used by scientists and mathematicians which combines 3D space with time – as we understand it.

The image of the black hole’s shadow proves this: the glowing halo shows the light and matter bending into the black hole in a swirling vortex because of its immense gravitational pull.

Sheperd Doeleman, director of the EHT, said last week that ‘we have seen what we thought was unseeable’. 

And this previously unthinkable breakthrough opens up a new era in physics.

It is often said that humanity pales into insignificance when compared with the vast, expanding abyss of space. 

But the image produced by the Event Horizon Telescope proves that, although we may be cosmologically insignificant, literally no object, no matter how terrifying, how mysterious, or how far away, is beyond our grasp or understanding.

The Birth of The Transsexual Empire

Julie Bindel writes:

“Transsexualism has taken only twenty-five years to become a household word,” reads the opening line of the 1979 book, The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male. 

The author, Janice Raymond, a renowned academic and feminist campaigner, caused a massive kerfuffle when she published the work, which seriously tackled the theory and consequences of diagnosing the feelings of body dysphoria and the unbearable desire to live and present as the opposite sex. 

Raymond wrote TTE as a response to the rising rates of sex-change surgery in the US. She had long been concerned about the medical practices that negatively impacted women, such as unnecessary hysterectomies and caesareans. 

This led her to question the medical consequences of the bodily mutilation inherent in transsexual surgery, and the detrimental effects of taking lifelong hormones. 

She predicted that the handful of gender identity clinics treating adult transsexuals – the first of which opened in 1967 – would become what she calls ‘sex role control centers’ for so-called deviant female and male children. 

“Such gender identity centers are already being used for the treatment of designated child transsexuals,” she wrote, before arguing that these centres would proliferate. 

There are now at least 40 such clinics treating children’s ‘gender dysphoria’ in the United States, and in England there are seven treating adults, and only one at present that specialises in under 18s, but with calls for more.

This is in spite of concerns about the effects that such treatment might have on individuals legally considered too young to make most major life decisions. 

Small wonder, then, that 40 years after it was first published, TTE is perceived as an important foundation stone in gender critical feminist thinking. 

In 1979, the word gender was understood to be separate from the word sex. Sex was what defined a person biologically; gender was understood to mean the sex-appropriate behaviour that was socially constructed. 

Today, gender has replaced the word sex in common parlance, as if gender itself were biological. Raymond foresaw this shift. 

“As I saw it then and see it now, transsexualism goes to the question of what gender is, how to challenge it, and what reinforces gender stereotyping in a role-defined society,” wrote Raymond in her preface to the 1994 reprint of TTE

When I interviewed her recently for this article, she added that “only feminism can challenge the idea of the ‘male’ and ‘female’ brain and notions of ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’ being innate”. 

And only feminism can defend the rights of those born into the bodies of women – though it sometimes feels as though we’re not allowed to call ourselves ‘women’ anymore. 

Instead we’re uterus-owners, egg producers, chest feeders and even non-men. Abortion providers now often use the term ‘pregnant people’ rather than ‘pregnant women’ so as not to exclude trans men. 

One of Raymond’s transsexual interviewees, quoted in TTE, proclaimed: “Genetic women are becoming quite obsolete, which is obvious, and the future belongs to transsexual women. All you have left is your ability to bear children, and in a world which will groan to feed 6 billion by the year 2000, that’s a negative asset.” 

Today, trans women are asking for womb transplants and the ability to breast feed. By demanding the ‘right’ to give birth, they are rendering natal women obsolete. 

Forty years ago Raymond wrote, “Masculine behaviour is notably obtrusive”. She was referring to the level of notoriety achieved by the trans woman Renee Richards “in the wake of the Tennis Week Open”. Richards fought to compete on a level playing field with natal women. 

The New York Times review of TTE read: “The transsexual propagandists claim to transform ‘women trapped in men’s bodies’ into ‘real’ women and want them to be accepted socially as females (say, in professional tennis).” 

Not only was The Transsexual Empire prescient – so too was the response to the book.

Raymond experienced the kind of backlash that is endured by anyone who questions trans women’s rights today. 

Martina Navratilova was hounded on Twitter after she wrote a piece examining transgender participation in women’s sport; upon the publication of TTE, the transsexual lobby accused Raymond of bigotry and said the book constituted ‘hate speech’. 

Navratilova was thrown out of an advocacy group for LGBTQ sportspeople, which accused her of ‘transphobia’; Raymond was turned down for grants, reported to her university and publicly harassed and threatened with violence on a regular basis. 

With the advent of the internet, a cesspool of vitriol aimed at anyone who dissents from transgender orthodoxies has gone viral. 

Since I first wrote about the issue I have come in for the same treatment as Raymond, as have scores of other women. 

And the bullying doesn’t stop there. Today, many lesbians who will not date trans woman say they feel under pressure to do so or risk being labelled transphobic.

In recent years, the term ‘cotton ceiling’ is used by some trans-activists to describe the difficulties faced by male-bodied trans women in persuading lesbians to have sex with them.

Recently published research on the ‘cotton ceiling’ phenomenon found that significant numbers of lesbians have encountered bullying and sexual harassment by ‘trans lesbians’. 

Reading the chapter, “Sappho By Surgery”, it’s hard not to think she must have a time machine: she writes that men who asserted they were women would also claim to be ‘trans lesbians’ and expect access to natal women’s bodies. 

“It is significant that in the case of the transsexually constructed lesbian-feminist,” wrote Raymond, “often he is able to gain entrance and a dominant position in women’s spaces because the women involved do not know he is a transsexual and he just does not happen to mention it.” 

Four decades ago, Raymond saw how in a society obsessed with gender rules which determine how women and men should behave, that it would become easier and more acceptable to change bodies rather than behaviour. 

Did she also foresee how aggressive and demanding trans activists would eventually become, where ‘mis-gendering’ a trans person can be treated as a ‘hate crime’ and reported to police? 

“Yes” she tells me. “I always suspected that transsexualism would change women’s lives in a way that would attempt to define us out of existence.”

Toadmeister Watch: Day 126

I repeat my challenge to Toby Young to contest this parliamentary seat of North West Durham. Either that, or he has conceded every point here.

His party took 34 per cent of the vote at North West Durham last time. Labour, it and I are now universally accepted as being on 30-30-30, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post. 

But I do not stand against people. I stand for things. Another hung Parliament is coming, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it.

I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

This post will appear here daily until further notice.

Yaxley-Lennon Watch: Day 146

I warmly welcome Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who calls himself "Tommy Robinson" but who would have to give his real name on the ballot paper, as the UKIP candidate for this parliamentary seat of North West Durham. Or, at any rate, as a candidate for this seat, of any party or none.

Either that, or he is running scared of the white working class. After all, I am mixed-race, and the sitting MP, who will presumably be the Labour candidate, has a mixed-race child. We are both impeccably middle-class (Google the house prices in Riding Mill, whence she hails), as the Conservative and the Liberal Democrat candidates will doubtless also be. 

From his own point of view, then, beating us ought to be a doddle.

Not that my candidacy is in any way conditional on his. Another hung Parliament is coming, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. I will stand for this parliamentary seat of North West Durham, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

This post will appear here daily until Yaxley-Lennon officially runs away with his tail between his legs by denying that he is a parliamentary candidate for North West Durham.

Pidcock-Kamm Watch: Day 147

Either Laura Pidcock is proud that she is now Oliver Kamm's endorsed candidate for this parliamentary seat of North West Durham, or she will tweet the following:

"I reject the endorsement of @OliverKamm, and I have made a donation to @NeilClark66's legal fund against him," followed by the link to Neil's fund.

This post will appear here daily until that tweet has been posted.

Henig Watch: Day 153

Rather magnanimously, considering how he became the Leader of Durham County Council in the first place, the Durham Miners' Association has permitted Simon Henig to sit on the platform of the last two Durham Miners' Galas.

On both occasions, he has of course shared that platform with the principal speaker, Jeremy Corbyn. It is therefore the least to be expected that @SimonHenig will tweet the simple formula, ".@jeremycorbyn is not an anti-Semite." This post will appear here daily until that tweet has been posted.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Julian Assange Is Now The Litmus Test

Without Parallel

The derivation of the word "Easter" from the name of a pagan goddess is peculiar to English and German (which got it from Anglo-Saxon missionaries), and those were hardly the first languages in which the Paschal Mystery was ever celebrated. Likewise, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is entirely without parallel in mere mythology.

The example usually cited is the early Egyptian cult of Isis and Osiris. Osiris is murdered by his brother Seth, who then sinks his coffin in the Nile. Isis, wife of Osiris and most powerful of goddesses, discovers her husband's body and returns it to Egypt. Seth, however, regains the body, cuts it into fourteen pieces, and scatters it abroad. Isis counters by recovering the pieces. How does this resemble the Resurrection Narratives in the slightest? Some much later commentators refer to this as an anastasis, but the fact that they were writing in Greek rather illustrates how far removed they were.

In all the mystery cults, no early texts refer to any resurrection of Attis, nor of Adonis, nor, as we have seen, of Osiris. Indeed, according to Plutarch, it was the pious desire of devotees to be buried in the same ground where the body of Osiris was held still to be lying. Of Mithra, popular among Roman soldiers and often invoked at this point, it is not in dispute that stories of death and resurrection were devised specifically in order to counter the appeal of Christianity.

There is no suggestion that any pagan deity was ever held to have risen from the dead never to die again, nor to have appeared in the flesh several times thereafter (and soon thereafter, at that), nor to have been recounted doing so by eyewitnesses, nor even to have lived and died, never mind risen from the dead, at a specific, and quite recent, point in investigable history.

You might deny or dispute this in investigable historical terms, although good luck, because you'll need it. The historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth can be very hotly denied on the Internet by people who have that particular bee in their bonnets, but it is subject to no scholarly dispute whatever. But the present point is that, uniquely, any such investigable claim is made at all.

It is also contended that Attis is supposed to have come back to life four days after his death. There is one account of Osiris being reanimated two or three days after his death, though only one, not four. And it is even suggested that Adonis may have been "resurrected" three days after his death. In the case of all three, there is no evidence for any such belief earlier than the second century AD. It is quite clear which way the borrowing went.

There is, furthermore, no evidence whatever that the mystery religions had any influence in Palestine in the first century. And there is all the difference that there could possibly be between the mythological experience of these nebulous figures and the Crucifixion "under Pontius Pilate".

Hellenism and the Roman Empire did not view the Christian message as merely another legend of a cultic hero, just as neither the philosophical Greeks nor the pragmatic Romans dismissed it as either harmless or ridiculous. Just look at how they did react to it.

As Rousseau said, men who could invent such a story would be greater and more astonishing than its central figure.

SATs Can CUK Off

As Labour announces its intention to abolish the hated SATs, see the supposedly Conservative Government scrambling to defend the legacy of the last Labour one, which it backed up to the hilt at the time. Jeremy Corbyn rarely, if ever, "voted with the Tories". They voted with the Blair Government when, as was not really all that often, he voted against it. And when he didn't, come to that.

The Loony Right think tank circuit that was personified to the point of satire by Jonathan Simons on this morning's Today programme was always able to pour any old idea into Tony Blair's empty head and guarantee that he would try and put it into practice. Nowhere did it do this more than in the field of Education, Education, Education.

It has less success with the vastly more intelligent and better-read Gordon Brown, but it still had quite a bit. Lest we forget that Brown's first act as Chancellor of the Exchequer had been to sign away democratic political control of monetary policy, a surrender that had previously only been advocated on the outermost fringes of the Hard Right, and never made by any Conservative Government. 

David Cameron was truly the Heir to Blair, as Michael Gove would have been, and would be, truly the Heir to Cameron. But that little world is having very little success with Theresa May, and it is inconceivable that Corbyn would have them in the room.

Indeed, it is now so desperate that it has set up its own political party (been there, done that), which its media outliers insist on portraying as moderate, mainstream, centrist and popular. They will continue to do so even after Change UK has failed to win a single seat in the European Parliament, and even after all of its MPs have lost their seats.

Those media types howled and howled at the Leveson Report. But they are now adamant that Julian Assange is "not a journalist". You see, he does not hold what is essentially their State license, with its strict condition of never publishing anything that might discombobulate a similarly licensed politician.

At the forthcoming European Elections, vote for Julian Assange. You can do that by voting for Corbyn's Labour Party, thereby giving Corbyn the European Election victory that neither Blair, nor Brown, nor Ed Miliband ever achieved. Or you can do it by voting for the Brexit Party of Nigel Farage, thereby giving the pro-Assange parties the first and second places nationally, with more than 50 per cent of the votes cast. I shall probably do the former, but either will do, so long as it delivered that overall result.

And you hardcore Remainers, of whom there are a lot in the country that now has the largest and best-organised pro-EU movement in Europe, vote for the Liberal Democrats rather than for the CUKs. All of the CUKs' MPs were elected on a manifesto commitment to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union, whereas, much as I disagree with them, the Lib Dems are honest Remainers elected on that ticket. 

Only three CUK MPs have ever been Ministers, and while one of those did briefly attend Cabinet, she was never a member of it. By contrast, eight current Lib Dem MPs have been Ministers, and three of those have served in the Cabinet, two of them for the five years that began at the Election that brought Chuka Umunna and Luciana Berger into the House of Commons for the first time.

The Lib Dems opposed the Iraq War, and all of their current MPs who were MPs in 2003 voted against it. All the CUK MPs who were MPs in 2003 voted in favour of the Iraq War, and their Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Defence, Mike Gapes, vigorously defends that war to this day.

Change UK, you see, sees itself as optimistic, but in reality it is motivated by the rage and bitterness of the people who are economically comfortable, socially confident, and culturally dominant, but who have never attained the political hegemony that they think was promised to them by Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.

Well, no, they haven't. Boo, hoo. What is more, the Hard Remain path into Parliament, and it does exist, goes via the circle that begins in academia and then passes through schoolteaching, social work, charities, and independent wealth, bringing it back round to academia again. In a word, the Lib Dems.

They are the voice of the people who will vote at elections for the most pro-EU candidate on the ballot paper. They could not have less interest in tired caricatures of Thatcherism and New Labour, "thrusting" and "go-getting" and "blue skies thinking" all over the place. Again it is in the area of education policy that the irreconcilable difference is most apparent. The Lib Dems have also just announced their intention to abolish SATs.

More broadly, the key intellectual tools for political advancement are rapidly becoming heterodox economics, especially Modern Monetary Theory and certain forms of Marxism, together with Classics, especially Latin. Although not necessarily in that order. Almost everyone has to teach themselves those things. They are certainly never going to come up on SATs. But that is no longer a particularly difficult thing to do. The basement and back bedroom Assanges of Left and Right are in the ascendant. The knuckle-dragging CUK Boys and their WAGS, such as have organised the demand to extradite Assange to Sweden, are in steep decline.

So vote Labour for Jeremy Corbyn and Julian Assange. Failing that, then vote for the Brexit Party for Julian Assange. Or if you absolutely must, then vote Lib Dem against the CUKs. Here in the North East, we might well end up with one of each, as we ended up with one of each of Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems in 2004.

Beyond that, another hung Parliament is coming, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. It has become a local commonplace that I am on 30-30-30 with Labour and the Conservatives here at North West Durham, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post. I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.