Saturday, 25 June 2022

Staying On Track

Another day of the rail strike. Against compulsory redundancies, and in favour of wages that kept pace with price inflation. That's it. What would be the point of any trade union that did not fight for those two causes? But if the RMT lost, then no union would ever again be able do so, and trade unionism in Britain would be dead.

Of course, if the RMT won, which would necessitate concessions to it by the Government that heavily directed the railways, then the present Leadership of the Labour Party would look absolutely ridiculous, having held out obstinately while the Conservatives had not.

Fares on the heavily subsidised railways nevertheless go up in line with the Retail Price Index, so why not wages? Executive salaries certainly do not fail to keep up with the cost of living. This dispute does not involve the drivers, but what if it did? They are not overpaid. They are well-unionised. Get yourself well-unionised.

And the staff in the ticket offices are invaluable to the safety of elderly and disabled passengers. No robot will ever be able to do what they did. Human interaction will never be obsolete. If we saved it here, then we could restore it elsewhere. But if we did not, then we could not.

A Boil, A Plague Sore, An Embossed Carbuncle

1.7 million people were estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week ending on 18th June. That was around one in 35 people, an increase of 23 per cent on the previous week.

Monkeypox turns out not to have been made up by Chris Morris back in the day. Polio is back. And now, so is foot and mouth disease. This really is Britain, right now.

Friday, 24 June 2022

All Bridges Have Been Destroyed?

And so Ukrainian forces have been ordered to withdraw from Severodonetsk. Crimea has gone back to Russia. The parts of the Ukraine that the largely Ukrainian Soviet elite had put into the Ukrainian SSR in order to make its independence impossible are going to become Russian satellite states, although they are economically and culturally too Soviet for today's Russian Federation.

No additional state, including Sweden or Finland, is ever going to be allowed into NATO. A much more stable and coherent Ukraine will become constitutionally neutral, and all of this will require the denazification that no one any longer disputes is necessary to some extent, nor did anyone dispute that at all until very recently, although denazification is not being made a condition of potential EU membership, because it never is; being in the EU subjected us to the legislative will of many of the most terrifying people.

All of this was on the table before the Russian invasion. This war has been going on for eight years. But in the stage that the world has admitted to having noticed, it is now on the brink of turning out to have been completely avoidable even in its own terms.

The Court Shoe On The Other Foot

The Government that enacted the Human Rights Act waged a sustained campaign against civil liberties. Both that Act and the European Convention on Human Rights were powerless against that assault, as they have been against most of the austerity programme, against the wars, in the cause of Julian Assange, and so on.

I myself was convicted after a judge had specifically instructed a jury to "disregard" the concept of conviction beyond reasonable doubt, and then imprisoned because my enemies had been politically well enough connected to have me charged with an offence to which there was no defence, so that all that mattered was to be well enough in with the highly politicised Crown Prosecution Service. All in all, much as with the EU and workers' rights, or the monarchy and whatever it is that that is supposed to be for, it is impossible to see what the fuss is about.

Little involving Winston Churchill and almost nothing involving David Maxwell Fyfe ought to endear itself to us. The lately revived suggestion that they never intended the Convention to apply to Britain serves only to illustrate its roots in the "Wogs Begin At Calais" mentality of the old Imperial elite, which never quite gave up on the idea of extending the Empire deep into Europe, all the way down to daft 1980s stories that the Queen was going to become "Queen of Europe", and to no more sensible suggestions that Tony Blair was going to become its President.

But in fact Churchill and Maxwell Fyfe were even more concerned to check social democracy and the advancement of the lower orders in Britain than anywhere else. Notably, they made no attempt to patriate the interpretation of the Convention. For that, it took Blair. Still, when both the High Court and the Supreme Court declined to injunct the Rwanda flight, then they knew that Strasbourg would do so, and the Supreme Court would not otherwise have granted leave to appeal. If the option of kicking things upstairs had been removed, then our own judges would just do what the ones across the Channel would otherwise have done. Nothing would change.

Calmly And Without Rancour

The Rolling Stones have been the biggest band in the world for as long as there has been a biggest band in the world, but one day that will be someone else.

Whereas the House of Windsor has been the most famous family in the world for as long as there has been a most famous family in the world, and it always will be, entirely regardless of its constitutional status in this or any other country.

The republican windrush through the Caribbean makes it all the more imperative that the Windsors be given something to do other than becoming, as they very well might even in spite of themselves, a global lightning rod for Anglo-Saxon disaffection wherever and whenever there were disaffected Anglo-Saxons. 

One such better use would be as the personification of a Royal Prerogative that was in reality being exercised in the interests of economic equality and international peace. We might with great profit resume the direct appointment of Regius Professors, for a start. A British republic would be no more classless than Ireland, or France, or Germany, or Italy, or the United States.

Wading Through

I do not know who has more to fear today. The Republicans, that the white Evangelicals and the Catholic working class could now go home. Or the Democrats, that the white Evangelicals and the Catholic working class could now come home. In any case, all that the Supreme Court has done has been to send abortion back to the states. Put not your trust in princes. This ruling is welcome enough, but it is very far indeed from being sufficient.

Each and every individual human life is absolutely sacred from the point of fertilisation to the point of natural death. That principle is the foundation of all morality. We struggle against evils that include direct abortion, indirect abortion at least except where any other course of action would result in the loss of both lives, euthanasia, assisted suicide, destructive experimentation on embryonic human beings, human cloning, human-animal hybridity, “saviour siblings”, capital punishment, and unjust war, if any war be just, but certainly including total war, preemptive war, the international trade in arms, and the manufacture, possession or use of nuclear, radiological, chemical or biological weapons. Their victims are disproportionately working-class people and people of colour.

Therefore, we struggle against evils that include poverty, racism, sexual promiscuity, pornography, eugenics, marginalisation of people with disabilities, lack of due respect for old age, refusal to celebrate the infinite beauty of every human being as the image and likeness of God, refusal to respect the dignity of parents as the first educators of their children, classification of human beings solely or primarily as economic units, and policies likely to give rise to armed conflict. Their victims are disproportionately working-class people and people of colour. And while they remained, then there would always be at least as many abortions as there were now, if not even more.

Everything Was Moving Slowly

In the very New York Times, Christina Caron writes:

Elysse was 14 when she first started vaping cannabis. It didn’t smell, which made it easy to hide from her parents. And it was convenient — just press a button and inhale.

After the second or third try, she was hooked. “It was insane. Insane euphoria,” said Elysse, now 18, whose last name is being withheld to protect her privacy. “Everything was moving slowly. I got super hungry. Everything was hilarious.”

But the euphoria eventually morphed into something more disturbing. Sometimes the marijuana would make Elysse feel more anxious, or sad. Another time she passed out in the shower, only to wake up half an hour later.

This was not your average weed. The oil and waxes she bought from dealers were typically about 90 percent THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana. But because these products were derived from cannabis, and nearly everyone she knew was using them, she assumed they were relatively safe.

She began vaping multiple times per day. Her parents didn’t find out until about one year later, in 2019. “We got her in a program to help her with it. We tried tough love, we tried everything, to be honest with you,” Elysse’s father said of her addiction.

Starting in 2020 she began having mysterious bouts of illness where she would throw up over and over again. At first she and her parents — and even her doctors — were baffled. During one episode, Elysse said, she threw up in a mall bathroom for an hour. “I felt like my body was levitating.”

It wasn’t until 2021, after a half dozen trips to the emergency room for stomach illness, including some hospital stays, that a gastroenterologist diagnosed her with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, a condition that causes recurrent vomiting in heavy marijuana users.

Although recreational cannabis is illegal in the United States for those under 21, it has become more accessible as many states have legalized it.

But experts say today’s high-THC cannabis products — vastly different than the joints smoked decades ago — are poisoning some heavy users, including teenagers.

Marijuana is not as dangerous as a drug like fentanyl [really?], but it can have potentially harmful effects — especially for young people, whose brains are still developing.

In addition to uncontrollable vomiting and addiction, adolescents who frequently use high doses of cannabis may also experience psychosis that could possibly lead to a lifelong psychiatric disorder, an increased likelihood of developing depression and suicidal ideation, changes in brain anatomy and connectivity and poor memory.

But despite these dangers, the potency of the products currently on the market is largely unregulated.

‘I felt so trapped.’

In 1995, the average concentration of THC in cannabis samples seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration was about 4 percent. By 2017, it was 17 percent.

And now cannabis manufacturers are extracting THC to make oils; edibles; wax; sugar-size crystals; and glass-like products called shatter that advertise high THC levels in some cases exceeding 95 percent.

Meanwhile, the average level of CBD — the nonintoxicating compound from the cannabis plant tied to relief from seizures, pain, anxiety and inflammation — has been on the decline in cannabis plants. Studies suggest that lower levels of CBD can potentially make cannabis more addictive.

THC concentrates “are as close to the cannabis plant as strawberries are to frosted strawberry pop tarts,” Beatriz Carlini, a research scientist at the University of Washington’s Addictions, Drug and Alcohol Institute, wrote in a report on the health risks of highly concentrated cannabis.

Although cannabis is legal for recreational use in 19 states and Washington, D.C., and for medical use in 37 states and D.C., only Vermont and Connecticut have imposed caps on THC concentration.

Both ban concentrates above 60 percent, with the exception of pre-filled cartridges, and do not permit cannabis plant material to exceed 30 percent THC. But there is little evidence to suggest these specific levels are somehow safer.

“In general, we do not support arbitrary limits on potency as long as products are properly tested and labeled,” Bethany Moore, a spokeswoman for the National Cannabis Industry Association, said in a statement. 

She added that the best way to keep marijuana away from teens is to implement laws that allow the cannabis industry to replace illegal markets, which do not adhere to age restrictions, state-mandated testing or labeling guidelines.

The Food and Drug Administration has sent warnings about various cannabis products, including edibles, but so far federal regulators haven’t taken action to curb potency levels because cannabis is federally illegal, said Gillian Schauer, the executive director of the Cannabis Regulators Association, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that convenes government officials involved in cannabis regulation across more than 40 states and territories.

California lawmakers are now considering adding a mental health warning label to cannabis products specifying that the drug may contribute to psychotic disorders.

National surveys suggest that marijuana use among 8th, 10th and 12th graders decreased in 2021, a change partly attributed to the pandemic. 

However, over the two-year interval from 2017 to 2019, the number of kids who reported vaping marijuana over the last 30 days rose among all grades, nearly tripling among high school seniors.

In 2020, 35 percent of seniors, and as many as 44 percent of college students, reported using marijuana in the past year.

Elysse got sober before entering college but soon found that seemingly everyone on her dorm floor habitually used weed.

“Not only carts,” she said, referring to the cannabis cartridges used in vape pens, “but bongs, pipes, bowls — absolutely everything.” 

Each morning, she found students washing their bongs in the communal bathroom at 8 a.m. to prepare for their “morning smoke.”

After a few weeks, she began vaping concentrated THC again, she said, and also started having dark thoughts, occasionally sitting alone in her room and sobbing for hours.

“I felt so trapped,” said Elysse, who has now been clean for nearly two months. “This is not fun in any way anymore.”

Teens are particularly affected by cannabis.

Michael McDonell, an addiction treatment expert at the Washington State University college of medicine, said that more research is needed to better understand how much more prevalent psychosis and cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome have become among teenagers and others using high potency products.

Even so, he added, “we definitely know that there’s a dose-dependent relationship between THC and psychosis.”

One rigorous study found that the risk of having a psychotic disorder was five times higher among daily high potency cannabis users in Europe and Brazil than those who had never used it.

Another study, published in 2021 in JAMA Psychiatry, reported that, in 1995, only 2 percent of schizophrenia diagnoses in Denmark were associated with marijuana use, but by 2010 that figure had risen to 6 to 8 percent, which researchers associated with increases in the use and potency of cannabis.

Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which can often be alleviated by hot baths and showers, is also linked to prolonged, high-dose cannabis use.

As with psychosis, it’s unclear why some people develop it and others do not. Dr. Sharon Levy, the director of the Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, said there is “no doubt that higher concentration products are increasing the number of people who have bad experiences with cannabis.”

When her clinic opened in 2000, marijuana was illegal in Massachusetts. At the time, Dr. Levy said far fewer kids came in with psychotic symptoms “and we almost never saw cannabis hyperemesis syndrome.” Now, she said, those numbers are shooting up.

Psychotic symptoms while high can include hallucinations, trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality, strange behaviors (one young man would spend his days tying plastic bags into knots) or voices talking to them in their head, she added.

If a teenager displays these symptoms, getting that person off cannabis “becomes an emergency,” she said. “Because maybe, just maybe they’ll clear up, and we’re preventing someone from developing a lifelong psychiatric disorder.”

‘Oh well, it’s just weed.’

Laura Stack, who lives in Highlands Ranch, Colo., said that when her son Johnny first confessed to using marijuana at the age of 14, she said to herself, “Oh well, it’s just weed. Thank God it wasn’t cocaine.”

She had used marijuana a couple of times in high school and cautioned him that marijuana would “eat your brain cells.” But at the time she wasn’t overly concerned: “I used it, I’m fine, what’s the big deal?”

“But I had no idea,” she added, referring to how marijuana has changed in recent years. “So many parents like me are completely ignorant.”

Initially, her son did not have any mental health problems and excelled in school. But he eventually started using high potency marijuana products multiple times a day, and this, Ms. Stack said, “made him completely delusional.”

By the time he reached college, he had been through various addiction treatment programs. He had become so paranoid that he thought the mob was after him and his college was a base for the F.B.I., Ms. Stack said. 

At one point, after he moved out of his childhood home, he threatened to kill the family dog unless his parents gave him money.

His mother later discovered that Johnny had obtained his own medical marijuana card when he turned 18 and had begun dealing to younger kids.

After several stays at mental hospitals, the doctors determined that Johnny had a severe case of THC abuse, Ms. Stack said. He was prescribed an anti-psychotic medication, which helped — but then he stopped taking it.

In 2019, Johnny died after jumping from a six-story building. He was 19. A few days before his death, Ms. Stack said, Johnny had apologized to her, saying that weed had ruined his mind and his life, adding, “I’m sorry, and I love you.”

A recent study found that people who used marijuana had a greater likelihood of suicidal ideation, plan and attempt than those who did not use the drug at all.

Ms. Stack now runs a nonprofit called Johnny’s Ambassadors that educates communities about high-THC cannabis and its effect on the adolescent brain.

There’s ‘no known safe limit.’

It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly how much THC enters someone’s brain when they’re using cannabis. That’s because it’s not just the frequency of use and THC concentration that affect dosage, it’s also how fast the chemicals are delivered to the brain.

In vaporizers, the speed of delivery can change depending on the base the THC is dissolved in, the strength of the device’s battery and how warm the product becomes when it’s heated up. Higher doses of THC are more likely to produce anxiety, agitation, paranoia and psychosis.

“The younger you are, the more vulnerable your brain is to developing these problems,” Dr. Levy said. Youths are also more likely to become addicted when they start using marijuana before the age of 18, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Furthermore, there is growing evidence that cannabis can alter the brain during adolescence, a period when it is already undergoing structural changes. Until more is known, researchers and clinicians recommend postponing cannabis use until later in life. 

“I have kids asking me all the time, ‘What if I do this just once a month, is that OK?’” Dr. Levy said. “All I can tell them is that there’s no known safe limit.”

Dr. McDonell agreed that avoiding drug use entirely is always the safest option, but said that some kids might require a more nuanced conversation.

He advised having open discussions about drugs with middle-schoolers and teenagers, while also educating them about the dangers of high potency cannabis products compared to those that are mostly made of CBD.

“I think that’s something we’re all struggling with as a community,” he added. “How do we get this information to parents and kids fast enough?”

By The Byes

Oliver Dowden is a real loss to Boris Johnson, of whom he had hitherto been one of the strongest supporters. But along the Red Wall, Keir Starmer's Labour has so far managed only a score draw, losing Hartlepool while winning back Wakefield.

Labour barely has won back Wakefield, a seat that in any case it had held until two and a half years ago, meaning that there should be no chicken-counting up here. Labour has just taken eight thousand fewer votes at Wakefield than it did in 2019, and its lowest number of votes there since 1931, because there is no policy reason to vote Labour rather than Conservative, or indeed vice versa. It is purely a matter of whether or not you like or respect Johnson, and even that advantage for Labour, insofar as it is one, is one fixed penalty notice away from being blown to smithereens.

By the starkest of contrasts, the result at Tiverton and Honiton is the most sensational since North Shropshire, which was the most sensational since Chesham and Amersham. Thatcherism at the time was a force both of and for social liberalism, and it was ferociously Eurofederalist, with any opposition to that project derided as "Loony Left". The Thatcherite heartlands became the backbone of the Coalition, and they expressed their approval of its record by giving its Prime Minister an overall majority in 2015.

The South then largely voted Remain, in accordance with Conservative Party policy at the time. That party installed a Thames Valley Remainer as Leader and Prime Minister without any sort of election, but it replaced her with Johnson, so that if the 2015 Parliament had run its course, then scores of seats would have turned from Blue to Yellow in 2020. It is no surprise that they are now preparing to do so in 2024.

Imagine the Conservatives as the third party in a hung Parliament, having to chose between a Labour and a Lib Dem Leader as Prime Minister. That will not happen next time, or the time after that, but it could happen. There was wishful talk of their coming third in the Blair years, but they never lost Chesham and Amersham, or North Shropshire, or Tiverton and Honiton, in the Blair years.

Then again, coalitions between the CDU and the SPD are normal in Germany, while Blue-Red and Red-Blue arrangements, often to keep out the Lib Dems, have existed in local government forever. It was a coalition with the Conservative Party that gave the Leadership of Derby City Council to Chris Williamson.

And why not? We who seek to strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, could and should hold the balance of power after the next two General Elections, before winning a third outright. We would be more than capable of cutting a deal with a clique that believed only in its own birthright to rule. That would be preferable to trying to deal with a faction that believed, as first principles, in permanent austerity at home and in forever war abroad.

The former runs the Conservative Party at the moment, while the latter is trying to take it over while already controlling the Labour Party, the Lib Dems, and the SNP. After these by-elections, then the coup is no doubt back on to restore to hegemony the economic and social liberalism that the use of soft power where possible but hard power where necessary had made unquestionable at home, so that the use of soft power where possible but very hard power where necessary could spread it across the whole wide earth by means of an unquestionable alliance between the European Union and the United States, an alliance with Britain at both its cultural and its military heart. 

This coup offers us nothing, and we must do nothing to cheer it on. On the contrary, after everything that will have happened by the end of this Parliament, then it is by Johnson that the Labour Right must be defeated. It would never be able to recover from that humiliation. I am not advocating a vote for the Conservatives. We need to get enough of our people elected to create a hung Parliament either next time or the time after that. Then we could tell the smug and entitled Labour Party to get lost. Who is to say that we would get less out of the other side? Less than the nothing that we had always got out of Labour? How? Just so long as the other side had never again been led by those who were planning their return at the moment. This coup is against our interest.

The Representatives Challenge: Day 322

Blogger will no longer publish this. It is taken down automatically. Do take a look.

This post will appear daily until further notice.

Chris Grieve Watch: Day 252


I have never heard of you, and I was not in Durham that Thursday evening. Or any evening in that period. I was on a tag.

Why do people feel the need to suck up to Kamm like this?

This post will appear daily until you account for yourself.

Adam Langleben Watch: Day 251


I have never heard of you, and "JLM" sounds like a pop group, although not one with which I have ever communicated.

Why do people feel the need to suck up to Kamm like this?

This post will appear daily until you account for yourself.

Labour Candidate Watch: Day 282

282 days after the Cabinet reshuffle that called a General Election for May 2023 (even if it may or may not now have been put back a year), there is still no Labour candidate at North West Durham, which in 2019 Labour lost for the first time and by only 1,144 votes.

By contrast, I have been a candidate for North West Durham at the next General Election since even before the last one, fighting to strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty. Contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com.  

Or contact nwdclp.campaigns@gmail.com if you wanted permanent austerity at home, if you wanted forever war abroad, and if you did not want a mixed-race MP for this seat. This post will appear daily until someone had proven to be so pro-austerity, so pro-war, and so racist, that even the Labour Party was sufficiently impressed.

The Adrian Hilton Challenge: Day 322

Adrian Hilton, I had to Google you, and I still have little or no idea who you are, so when, exactly, have I ever "stalked" you at all, much less "for longer than [you] care to remember"? 

This post will appear daily until further notice.

The Oliver Kamm Challenge: Day 322

Oliver Kamm, whose signature to this do you claim that I forged? Name the name.

Oliver Kamm, when, exactly, have I ever been found to have accused anyone of child abuse?

Oliver Kamm, when, exactly, have I ever called for anyone to be murdered?

And Oliver Kamm, since I am a declared and active candidate for the parliamentary seat of North West Durham, are you? If not, why not?

I could go on at very great length, but these questions will do for now.

This post will appear daily until further notice.

The Clergy Challenge: Day 322

I invite each and every bishop, priest and deacon of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle to contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com if he thought that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me. Not legally guilty; Bill Cosby is legally innocent. Factually and morally guilty. No name would be published except at the request of its bearer, but if anyone ever did get in touch, then the readers of this site would be the first to know. The current total is zero.

Since, as private citizens, none of them has resigned as a Patron of my parliamentary campaign at North West DurhamI invite each and all of the 12 archbishops and diocesan bishops of the Red Wall dioceses of Birmingham, Hallam, Hexham and Newcastle, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Northampton, Nottingham, Salford, Shrewsbury, and Wrexham, to contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com if he thought that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me. Not legally guilty; Bill Cosby is legally innocent. Factually and morally guilty. No name would be published except at the request of its bearer, but if anyone ever did get in touch, then the readers of this site would be the first to know. The current total is zero.

And since none of them has resigned as a Patron of my parliamentary campaign at North West Durham, I invite each and all the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land, the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem, the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem, the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem, the Ethiopian Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem, the Maronite Patriarchal Exarch of Jerusalem and Palestine, the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, the Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, the Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarch of Jerusalem, and the Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarch of Jerusalem and Amman, to contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com if he thought that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me. Not legally guilty; Bill Cosby is legally innocent. Factually and morally guilty. No name would be published except at the request of its bearer, but if anyone ever did get in touch, then the readers of this site would be the first to know. The current total is zero.

The scandalous allegation against me on 2nd March 2020 was recanted under oath at Durham Crown Court on 11th of that month, calling gravely into question my convictions the next day by exposing that key character witness as unreliable, a fact that was not mentioned in closing statements or in summation. Unless, as is widely assumed, the real reason for them is the content of this book, then the sanctions imposed upon me in my absence on 2nd March 2020 are void. I had not received a written apology by 30th September 2021, nor was any such thing to be published in full in The Northern Cross.

Financially, I would then have settled for the reimbursement of my victim surcharges. One would not wish to have to sue the Church. But while I am not yet in a position to act on it, I must now declare my intention in principle to do so. And if I were to be defeated at the next General Election, then I would seek to have that result overturned in the courts on grounds of undue spiritual influence by the Safeguarding Office of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, naming all relevant persons in the court papers. It has come to this.

This post will appear daily until further notice.

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Chris Grieve Watch: Day 250


I have never heard of you, and I was not in Durham that Thursday evening. Or any evening in that period. I was on a tag.

Why do people feel the need to suck up to Kamm like this?

This post will appear daily until you account for yourself.

Adam Langleben Watch: Day 250


I have never heard of you, and "JLM" sounds like a pop group, although not one with which I have ever communicated.

Why do people feel the need to suck up to Kamm like this?

This post will appear daily until you account for yourself.

Labour Candidate Watch: Day 281

281 days after the Cabinet reshuffle that called a General Election for May 2023 (even if it may or may not now have been put back a year), there is still no Labour candidate at North West Durham, which in 2019 Labour lost for the first time and by only 1,144 votes.

By contrast, I have been a candidate for North West Durham at the next General Election since even before the last one, fighting to strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty. Contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com.  

Or contact nwdclp.campaigns@gmail.com if you wanted permanent austerity at home, if you wanted forever war abroad, and if you did not want a mixed-race MP for this seat. This post will appear daily until someone had proven to be so pro-austerity, so pro-war, and so racist, that even the Labour Party was sufficiently impressed.

The Adrian Hilton Challenge: Day 321

Adrian Hilton, I had to Google you, and I still have little or no idea who you are, so when, exactly, have I ever "stalked" you at all, much less "for longer than [you] care to remember"? 

This post will appear daily until further notice.

The Oliver Kamm Challenge: Day 321

Oliver Kamm, whose signature to this do you claim that I forged? Name the name.

Oliver Kamm, when, exactly, have I ever been found to have accused anyone of child abuse?

Oliver Kamm, when, exactly, have I ever called for anyone to be murdered?

And Oliver Kamm, since I am a declared and active candidate for the parliamentary seat of North West Durham, are you? If not, why not?

I could go on at very great length, but these questions will do for now.

This post will appear daily until further notice.

The Representatives Challenge: Day 321

As already stated on the day after my release: "The instant that Labour lost control of Durham County Council, then I was granted an unsolicited tag for more than 10 weeks of future good behaviour. I invite each and every Member of Parliament for the area covered by Durham County Council, each and every member of Durham County Council, and each and every member of Lanchester Parish Council, to contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com if they thought that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me. Not legally guilty; Bill Cosby is legally innocent. Factually and morally guilty. No name would be published except at the request of its bearer, but if anyone ever did get in touch, then the readers of this site would be the first to know." The current total is zero.

Furthermore, I invite each and every other candidate for the parliamentary seat of North West Durham to contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com if they thought that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me. Not legally guilty; Bill Cosby is legally innocent. Factually and morally guilty. In this case, names most certainly will be published, including as part of my election literature. The current total is zero. If that remained the case when the next General Election was called, then my literature would state that each and all of my opponents, by name, did not think that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me.

This post will appear daily until further notice.

The Clergy Challenge: Day 321

I invite each and every bishop, priest and deacon of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle to contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com if he thought that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me. Not legally guilty; Bill Cosby is legally innocent. Factually and morally guilty. No name would be published except at the request of its bearer, but if anyone ever did get in touch, then the readers of this site would be the first to know. The current total is zero.

Since, as private citizens, none of them has resigned as a Patron of my parliamentary campaign at North West DurhamI invite each and all of the 12 archbishops and diocesan bishops of the Red Wall dioceses of Birmingham, Hallam, Hexham and Newcastle, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Northampton, Nottingham, Salford, Shrewsbury, and Wrexham, to contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com if he thought that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me. Not legally guilty; Bill Cosby is legally innocent. Factually and morally guilty. No name would be published except at the request of its bearer, but if anyone ever did get in touch, then the readers of this site would be the first to know. The current total is zero.

And since none of them has resigned as a Patron of my parliamentary campaign at North West Durham, I invite each and all the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land, the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem, the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem, the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem, the Ethiopian Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem, the Maronite Patriarchal Exarch of Jerusalem and Palestine, the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, the Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, the Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarch of Jerusalem, and the Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarch of Jerusalem and Amman, to contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com if he thought that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me. Not legally guilty; Bill Cosby is legally innocent. Factually and morally guilty. No name would be published except at the request of its bearer, but if anyone ever did get in touch, then the readers of this site would be the first to know. The current total is zero.

The scandalous allegation against me on 2nd March 2020 was recanted under oath at Durham Crown Court on 11th of that month, calling gravely into question my convictions the next day by exposing that key character witness as unreliable, a fact that was not mentioned in closing statements or in summation. Unless, as is widely assumed, the real reason for them is the content of this book, then the sanctions imposed upon me in my absence on 2nd March 2020 are void. I had not received a written apology by 30th September 2021, nor was any such thing to be published in full in The Northern Cross.

Financially, I would then have settled for the reimbursement of my victim surcharges. One would not wish to have to sue the Church. But while I am not yet in a position to act on it, I must now declare my intention in principle to do so. And if I were to be defeated at the next General Election, then I would seek to have that result overturned in the courts on grounds of undue spiritual influence by the Safeguarding Office of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, naming all relevant persons in the court papers. It has come to this.

This post will appear daily until further notice.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Stay The Course

If a hugely profitable and heavily subsidised industry is under a very heavy level of State control, then should it pay wages that kept pace with price inflation? And should any trade union representing that industry's workers fight for that with every weapon in its armoury?

Well, there you are, then. We can win this one. And we must. Ably assisted by the class contempt that moved interviewers to have done no preparation before they faced the formidable Mick Lynch, who is already the breakout star of this summer.

Chris Grieve Watch: Day 248


I have never heard of you, and I was not in Durham that Thursday evening. Or any evening in that period. I was on a tag.

Why do people feel the need to suck up to Kamm like this?

This post will appear daily until you account for yourself.

Adam Langleben Watch: Day 248


I have never heard of you, and "JLM" sounds like a pop group, although not one with which I have ever communicated.

Why do people feel the need to suck up to Kamm like this?

This post will appear daily until you account for yourself.

Labour Candidate Watch: Day 279

279 days after the Cabinet reshuffle that called a General Election for May 2023 (even if it may or may not now have been put back a year), there is still no Labour candidate at North West Durham, which in 2019 Labour lost for the first time and by only 1,144 votes.

By contrast, I have been a candidate for North West Durham at the next General Election since even before the last one, fighting to strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty. Contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com.  

Or contact nwdclp.campaigns@gmail.com if you wanted permanent austerity at home, if you wanted forever war abroad, and if you did not want a mixed-race MP for this seat. This post will appear daily until someone had proven to be so pro-austerity, so pro-war, and so racist, that even the Labour Party was sufficiently impressed.

The Representatives Challenge: Day 319

As already stated on the day after my release: "The instant that Labour lost control of Durham County Council, then I was granted an unsolicited tag for more than 10 weeks of future good behaviour. I invite each and every Member of Parliament for the area covered by Durham County Council, each and every member of Durham County Council, and each and every member of Lanchester Parish Council, to contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com if they thought that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me. Not legally guilty; Bill Cosby is legally innocent. Factually and morally guilty. No name would be published except at the request of its bearer, but if anyone ever did get in touch, then the readers of this site would be the first to know." The current total is zero.

Furthermore, I invite each and every other candidate for the parliamentary seat of North West Durham to contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com if they thought that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me. Not legally guilty; Bill Cosby is legally innocent. Factually and morally guilty. In this case, names most certainly will be published, including as part of my election literature. The current total is zero. If that remained the case when the next General Election was called, then my literature would state that each and all of my opponents, by name, did not think that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me.

This post will appear daily until further notice.

The Adrian Hilton Challenge: Day 319

Adrian Hilton, I had to Google you, and I still have little or no idea who you are, so when, exactly, have I ever "stalked" you at all, much less "for longer than [you] care to remember"? 

This post will appear daily until further notice.

The Oliver Kamm Challenge: Day 319

Oliver Kamm, whose signature to this do you claim that I forged? Name the name.

Oliver Kamm, when, exactly, have I ever been found to have accused anyone of child abuse?

Oliver Kamm, when, exactly, have I ever called for anyone to be murdered?

And Oliver Kamm, since I am a declared and active candidate for the parliamentary seat of North West Durham, are you? If not, why not?

I could go on at very great length, but these questions will do for now.

This post will appear daily until further notice.

The Clergy Challenge: Day 319

I invite each and every bishop, priest and deacon of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle to contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com if he thought that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me. Not legally guilty; Bill Cosby is legally innocent. Factually and morally guilty. No name would be published except at the request of its bearer, but if anyone ever did get in touch, then the readers of this site would be the first to know. The current total is zero.

Since, as private citizens, none of them has resigned as a Patron of my parliamentary campaign at North West DurhamI invite each and all of the 12 archbishops and diocesan bishops of the Red Wall dioceses of Birmingham, Hallam, Hexham and Newcastle, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Northampton, Nottingham, Salford, Shrewsbury, and Wrexham, to contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com if he thought that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me. Not legally guilty; Bill Cosby is legally innocent. Factually and morally guilty. No name would be published except at the request of its bearer, but if anyone ever did get in touch, then the readers of this site would be the first to know. The current total is zero.

And since none of them has resigned as a Patron of my parliamentary campaign at North West Durham, I invite each and all the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land, the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem, the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem, the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem, the Ethiopian Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem, the Maronite Patriarchal Exarch of Jerusalem and Palestine, the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, the Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, the Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarch of Jerusalem, and the Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarch of Jerusalem and Amman, to contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com if he thought that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me. Not legally guilty; Bill Cosby is legally innocent. Factually and morally guilty. No name would be published except at the request of its bearer, but if anyone ever did get in touch, then the readers of this site would be the first to know. The current total is zero.

The scandalous allegation against me on 2nd March 2020 was recanted under oath at Durham Crown Court on 11th of that month, calling gravely into question my convictions the next day by exposing that key character witness as unreliable, a fact that was not mentioned in closing statements or in summation. Unless, as is widely assumed, the real reason for them is the content of this book, then the sanctions imposed upon me in my absence on 2nd March 2020 are void. I had not received a written apology by 30th September 2021, nor was any such thing to be published in full in The Northern Cross.

Financially, I would then have settled for the reimbursement of my victim surcharges. One would not wish to have to sue the Church. But while I am not yet in a position to act on it, I must now declare my intention in principle to do so. And if I were to be defeated at the next General Election, then I would seek to have that result overturned in the courts on grounds of undue spiritual influence by the Safeguarding Office of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, naming all relevant persons in the court papers. It has come to this.

This post will appear daily until further notice.

Monday, 20 June 2022

It Gets Up Your Nose

At the end of a working week, Boris Johnson can party from four o'clock in the afternoon until half past four in the morning. I cannot imagine what might have damaged his sinuses.

Whatever it was has also made him think that there were agency workers on hand to take over the jobs of trained rail workers, or that agencies might want anything to do with such a scheme.

Will this also be attempted against striking barristers? And having out-Righted every previous Labour Leader by forbidding Labour MPs from joining the picket lines of the rail workers, then what will Keir Starmer say about those of his brethren at the Bar?

Chris Grieve Watch: Day 247


I have never heard of you, and I was not in Durham that Thursday evening. Or any evening in that period. I was on a tag.

Why do people feel the need to suck up to Kamm like this?

This post will appear daily until you account for yourself.

Adam Langleben Watch: Day 247


I have never heard of you, and "JLM" sounds like a pop group, although not one with which I have ever communicated.

Why do people feel the need to suck up to Kamm like this?

This post will appear daily until you account for yourself.

Labour Candidate Watch: Day 278

278 days after the Cabinet reshuffle that called a General Election for May 2023 (even if it may or may not now have been put back a year), there is still no Labour candidate at North West Durham, which in 2019 Labour lost for the first time and by only 1,144 votes.

By contrast, I have been a candidate for North West Durham at the next General Election since even before the last one, fighting to strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty. Contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com.  

Or contact nwdclp.campaigns@gmail.com if you wanted permanent austerity at home, if you wanted forever war abroad, and if you did not want a mixed-race MP for this seat. This post will appear daily until someone had proven to be so pro-austerity, so pro-war, and so racist, that even the Labour Party was sufficiently impressed.

The Adrian Hilton Challenge: Day 318

Adrian Hilton, I had to Google you, and I still have little or no idea who you are, so when, exactly, have I ever "stalked" you at all, much less "for longer than [you] care to remember"? 

This post will appear daily until further notice.

The Oliver Kamm Challenge: Day 318

Oliver Kamm, whose signature to this do you claim that I forged? Name the name.

Oliver Kamm, when, exactly, have I ever been found to have accused anyone of child abuse?

Oliver Kamm, when, exactly, have I ever called for anyone to be murdered?

And Oliver Kamm, since I am a declared and active candidate for the parliamentary seat of North West Durham, are you? If not, why not?

I could go on at very great length, but these questions will do for now.

This post will appear daily until further notice.

The Representatives Challenge: Day 318

As already stated on the day after my release: "The instant that Labour lost control of Durham County Council, then I was granted an unsolicited tag for more than 10 weeks of future good behaviour. I invite each and every Member of Parliament for the area covered by Durham County Council, each and every member of Durham County Council, and each and every member of Lanchester Parish Council, to contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com if they thought that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me. Not legally guilty; Bill Cosby is legally innocent. Factually and morally guilty. No name would be published except at the request of its bearer, but if anyone ever did get in touch, then the readers of this site would be the first to know." The current total is zero.

Furthermore, I invite each and every other candidate for the parliamentary seat of North West Durham to contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com if they thought that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me. Not legally guilty; Bill Cosby is legally innocent. Factually and morally guilty. In this case, names most certainly will be published, including as part of my election literature. The current total is zero. If that remained the case when the next General Election was called, then my literature would state that each and all of my opponents, by name, did not think that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me.

This post will appear daily until further notice.

The Clergy Challenge: Day 318

I invite each and every bishop, priest and deacon of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle to contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com if he thought that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me. Not legally guilty; Bill Cosby is legally innocent. Factually and morally guilty. No name would be published except at the request of its bearer, but if anyone ever did get in touch, then the readers of this site would be the first to know. The current total is zero.

Since, as private citizens, none of them has resigned as a Patron of my parliamentary campaign at North West DurhamI invite each and all of the 12 archbishops and diocesan bishops of the Red Wall dioceses of Birmingham, Hallam, Hexham and Newcastle, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Northampton, Nottingham, Salford, Shrewsbury, and Wrexham, to contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com if he thought that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me. Not legally guilty; Bill Cosby is legally innocent. Factually and morally guilty. No name would be published except at the request of its bearer, but if anyone ever did get in touch, then the readers of this site would be the first to know. The current total is zero.

And since none of them has resigned as a Patron of my parliamentary campaign at North West Durham, I invite each and all the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land, the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem, the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem, the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem, the Ethiopian Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem, the Maronite Patriarchal Exarch of Jerusalem and Palestine, the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, the Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, the Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarch of Jerusalem, and the Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarch of Jerusalem and Amman, to contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com if he thought that I was factually or morally guilty of any criminal charge that had ever been brought against me. Not legally guilty; Bill Cosby is legally innocent. Factually and morally guilty. No name would be published except at the request of its bearer, but if anyone ever did get in touch, then the readers of this site would be the first to know. The current total is zero.

The scandalous allegation against me on 2nd March 2020 was recanted under oath at Durham Crown Court on 11th of that month, calling gravely into question my convictions the next day by exposing that key character witness as unreliable, a fact that was not mentioned in closing statements or in summation. Unless, as is widely assumed, the real reason for them is the content of this book, then the sanctions imposed upon me in my absence on 2nd March 2020 are void. I had not received a written apology by 30th September 2021, nor was any such thing to be published in full in The Northern Cross.

Financially, I would then have settled for the reimbursement of my victim surcharges. One would not wish to have to sue the Church. But while I am not yet in a position to act on it, I must now declare my intention in principle to do so. And if I were to be defeated at the next General Election, then I would seek to have that result overturned in the courts on grounds of undue spiritual influence by the Safeguarding Office of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, naming all relevant persons in the court papers. It has come to this.

This post will appear daily until further notice.

Sunday, 19 June 2022

Cash and Carrie

In 2018, the entire Lobby will have known that Boris Johnson, as Foreign Secretary and while still married to Marina Wheeler, had attempted to appoint his then lover, Carrie Symonds, as his Chief of Staff on a salary of at least £100,000.

It is now that they have chosen to mention it to the rest of us. And it is now that Johnson, who had hitherto taken such revelations entirely in his stride, has chosen to make a fuss about their decision to do so. The knives are out, and both sides are wielding them.

Father’s Day

Not yet 40 years ago, a single manual wage provided the wage-earner, his wife and their several children with a quality of life unimaginable even on two professional salaries today.

This impoverishment has been so rapid and so extreme that most people, including almost all politicians and commentators, simply refuse to acknowledge that it has happened. But it has indeed happened. And it is still going on.

Since fathers matter, then they must face up to their responsibilities, with every assistance, including censure where necessary, from the wider society, including when it acts politically as the State. Let there be a legal presumption of equal parenting. Restore the tax allowance for fathers for so long as Child Benefit was being paid to mothers.

Restore the requirement that providers of fertility treatment take account of the child’s need of a father. Repeal the ludicrous provision for two women to be listed as a child’s parents on a birth certificate, although even that is excelled by the provision for two men to be so listed.

And make paternity leave available at any time until the child was 18 or left school, thereby reasserting paternal authority, and thus requiring paternal responsibility, at key points in childhood and adolescence. Of course a new baby needs her mother. But a 15-year-old might very well need her father, and that bit of paternity leave that he had been owed these last 15 years.

That authority and responsibility require an economic basis such as only the State can ever guarantee, and such as only the State can very often deliver. That basis is high-wage, high-skilled, high-status employment. All aspects of public policy must take account of this urgent social and cultural need. 

Not least, that includes energy policy: the energy sources to be preferred by the State are those which provided the high-wage, high-skilled, high-status jobs that secured the economic basis of paternal authority in the family and in the wider community.

Harness the power of the State, and deliver an all-of-the-above energy policy based around civil nuclear power and this country'’s vast reserves of coal. Around those twin poles of nuclear power and of the clean coal technology in which Britain was the world leader until the defeat of the Miners’ Strike, let there be oil, gas, lithium, wind, solar, tidal, and everything else, bathing this country in heat and light. This is why we have a State.

Moreover, paternal authority cannot be affirmed while fathers are torn away from their children and harvested in wars. Especially, though not exclusively, since those sent to war tend to come from working-class backgrounds, where starting to have children often still happens earlier than has lately become the norm. 

Think of those very young men whom we see going off or coming home, hugging and kissing their tiny children. You can believe in fatherhood, or you can support wars under certainly most and possibly all circumstances, the latter especially in practice today even if not necessarily in the past or in principle. You cannot do both.

Substances Even Stronger


“I abstain for my brother who cannot” – Joseph Livesey

In recent years, the ‘harm reduction’ approach to dealing with addiction has been prominent in the discourse and drug policies promoted by the Left in western capitalist nations. Typically presented as a public health framework, ‘harm reduction’ has been embraced as part of a political and legal effort to decriminalize all drugs, including “hard” drugs such as cocaine and heroin. These efforts mirror shifting cultural attitudes amongst most Left groups, wherein narcotic and alcohol consumption are increasingly deemed harmless or even positive, as in the case of cannabis.

As with so many positions taken up by the modern Left, this ostensibly progressive response to the ‘war on drugs’ of previous decades is instead a reactionary and anti-working class position of the worst kind. It stems from profound pessimism. The Left has turned towards advocating for mass anaesthetisation of society because, quite simply, it has given up on any idea of the working class becoming the ruling class. This isn’t new. The idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat was dismissed by most Marxist groups 40 years ago under the influence of industrial defeats and ideological eclecticism represented by the Eurocommunists.

While there was always a strand of Leftist thought that tended towards libertinism, this is the only element that has survived the defeats of the working class in the 1980s and 1990s. Since the Left no longer believes that the proletariat can become the ruling class, then efforts to raise the political, cultural and intellectual level of the working class are pointless. No effort needs to be made in developing the kind of collective and self-discipline that the likes of Che Guevara saw as vital in engaging in a serious project of revolutionary change.

In the twilight of the defeat of the organized working class in Britain, the Left joined hands with the bourgeoisie in advocating for mass stupefaction of society. Drugs and alcohol are the consolation prize for increased alienation and atomization. As the British ruling class consolidated their victory over the organized working class, they also further relaxed alcohol licensing laws in 1988 and again in 2003. The Left has now come to embrace the idea of legalizing cannabis, all in the name of harm reduction or personal freedom, with harder drugs on the table. That the individual and his/her community should be left alone, or even supported, to self-medicate in peace has become a core cause of the modern Left.

The Temperance Movement: An Early Working Class Response to Narcotics

One of the many historical legacies of working class activism that has been buried under this avalanche hollow libertinism has been the temperance movement. Initially emerging in the late 1820s, the temperance movement gained coherence with the passage of the liberalizing Beer Act of 1830. The Beer Act This act stood for forty years and enabled anyone who paid two guineas to obtain a license to sell beer, thereby greatly expanding the access to alcohol.

At the time, heavy drinking was condoned and even encouraged for people of both sexes and nearly all ages. The Act prompted temperance activist and former weaver Joseph Livesey and seven other men to create and take a pledge to abstain from all alcohol. This created a sharp distinction between Livesey and the more petit-bourgeois temperance campaigners, who instead preached restraint on the consumption of alcohol. 

The working class temperance movement saw clearly that excessive alcohol consumption was something that, if not actively promoted by the ruling class, then it was at least tolerated by the bourgeoisie. As Engels observed in The Condition of the Working Class in England, the bourgeoisie frequently complained about drunkenness but still went ahead and passed the Beer Act, which vastly worsened the problem.

Though Engels criticized the teetotallers in both The Communist Manifesto (on the grounds of being bourgeois socialism) and The Condition of the Working Class (on the grounds of being ineffective), both he and Marx noted observed the horrific damage wrought by alcohol consumption upon the British working class. On this point they agreed with the working class end of the temperance movement led by the likes of Livesey. Indeed, later temperance-inspired working class movements such as the North American Knights of Labor directly cited alcohol as an impediment to a disciplined labor movement.

The contemporary reputation of the temperance movement is that of a purely religious crusade. While there was an important religious element within the temperance movement, its most distinctive and impactful characteristic was not its association with radical Christian sects, but its links to Chartism and other early attempts to build working class politics in Britain.

At this time, complete abstention from alcohol and the campaign for working class political rights were seen by many as going hand in hand. The arguments made by the likes of Livesey had a clear appeal to the Chartist movement and were to have an enduring influence on the British working class movement. As historian F.M.L Thompson notes in The Rise of the Respectable Society:

The working class produced a long string of leaders who were strong temperance advocates, running from Henry Vincent and William Lovett, the teetotal Chartists, through ‘new model’ trade union leaders of the 1850s and 1860s like Robert Applegarth, and on to the ‘new trade unionists’ and early Labour leaders of the late Victorian years, men like Tom Mann, Will Thorne, John Burns, Keir Hardie, and George Lansbury.

It is stated by contemporary advocates (following on from the case made by Timothy Leary in The Psychedelic Experience) for drug decriminalization that narcotic consumption can have the positive effect of leading to “consciousness expansion”. Contrast this with attitudes of temperance movement and Chartism, who instead believed that the expansion of consciousness would best be achieved through acquisition of greater knowledge and the pursuit of political rights. A huge part of both movements was education.

For example, the temperance movement organized countless well attended lectures educating average people on the risks and dangers of alcohol. Especially during their initial stages, prior to seeing some of their goals expressed in policy, both movements could only depend on voluntary buy-in by those they targeted. The early temperance movement in particular was premised on the idea that people could make a rational and better choice armed with the right knowledge, and given alternatives. To that end, the temperance movement set up numerous ‘Temperance Halls’ throughout Britain, which provided spaces where socialization was possible without having to consume alcohol.

The shared point of view between men like Livesey and the leaders of the Chartist movement was that if workers could shed the binds placed on them by alcohol they could properly begin to take their place within British society including being afforded political rights denied to them by the ruling class. Chartism and temperance were both successful and unsuccessful. The Chartist movement gained enough momentum and popular support so that the bourgeoisie recognized the threat posed by Chartism and met it with a deft combination of repression and some (later) concessions (as with the expansion of franchise rights) that marked the approach of the British ruling class in this period.

And though the temperance movement did not succeed in pushing alcohol consumption out of working class communities, it did shift moral and legal standards around alcohol, going as far as pushing the British government to impose penalties for alcohol consumption, such as minimizing the hours during which alcohol could be served. Temperance also changed the attitudes towards alcohol culturally. Whereas it was common practice (and considered healthful) to serve beer to school children, temperance led to the banning of the sale of alcohol to under 16s via the Licensing Act of 1872.

The influence of the temperance movement within the British working class lasted a considerable time. Early Labour Party leaders such as Philip Snowden were advocates for teetotalism, as were many other Labour MPs hailing from the trade union movement. This influence only truly came to an end in the 1960s when the number of working class MPs terminally declined and the upper echelons of the Labour Party was taken over by the petite bourgeoisie.

In his book The War We Never Fought Peter Hitchens observes that the 1970s Labour cabinet of Harold Wilson was split entirely along class lines, with ministers of working class backgrounds taking a harder line on sentencing for cannabis possession, while the petit-bourgeois ministers (including Tony Benn) favored greater leniency. The advocates for the decriminalization and legalization of drugs in the name of ‘harm reduction’ continue this tradition by arguing that the ‘war on drugs’ has in effect been an assault on workers.

A Return to Intemperance

The contemporary Left, totally divorced from the working class, has happily dumped religion but only to replace it with substances even stronger than opium. The embrace of mass narcotic consumption by the Left is an embrace of all the worst aspects of modern bourgeois society, based as it is around anti-social individualism.

The lesson to be gleaned from the temperance movement and teetotalism is not that abolition of alcohol consumption failed, it is how setting a higher standard for behavior and self-discipline can empower working class movements around wages and political rights, and yield improvements to the status quo in terms of the health and culture of the working class.

What policy framework would be best suited for contemporary drug abuse is a topic for legitimate debate. The ‘war on drugs’ was clearly flawed. But at the very least, and rather than actively advocating for the consumption of what are demonstrably dangerous substances, today’s socialists should be actively educating people of the dangers of drugs, and the physical, intellectual and societal damage drug consumption inflicts.

Socialists must rediscover the attitude shown by the early temperance campaigners as well as the early socialists they helped inspire and abstain from both narcotic and alcohol to help set this higher standard. While self-discipline and abstinence is seen today as a value associated with the political right, we must not forget that it was through the efforts of decades of collective working class effort that succeeded in spreading these values at a time when they were almost completely absent in most communities with regards to alcohol consumption.

The path back to making socialism into a serious working class politics again must start at a rejection of the bourgeoisie’s prescription of narcotics to treat the hyper-alienation and atomization their mode of production inflicts. Rebuilding the movement depends upon fostering a new layer of socialists prepared to give up the “cure” offered by capital and focus relentlessly upon real solutions, that is class struggle.