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British Helicopters Smell Like Victory

The belated decision to deploy attack helicopters in Libya may have come too late to save thousands of lives in Misratah, especially, but at least it is another clear sign that Gadaffi is running out of steam, and that he is a spent force.
If NATO intelligence thought for a second that there was the remotest chance of a helicopter being shot down and its crew held to ransom, there would be no decision to deploy them. The risk assessment must therefore conclude that Gadaffi no longer has any significant anti-aircraft capacity. As they say.
It's Health and Safety making sense.
And now that the Russians have finally come to their senses, and are prepared to lean on Gadaffi until it hurts, the young men from Tripoli outside the Libyan embassy in London last week will soon have even more to sing and dance about than the mere prospect of freedom.


The Rape of Free Speech

As the Injunctions absurdity drags on, and last week's controversy about rape relativity dies away, much to Ken Clarke's relief, it must be remembered that the two issues are inextricably linked.
The press isn't interested in freedom of speech, only in money. And mainly in the money to be made from perpetuating degrading stereotypes of women, debasing sexuality and emotion, and feeding the manufactured addiction to Celebrity, all of which ultimately combine to cause real assaults and rapes in the real world. To drag the 'Human Rights' of the press into this debate is a rape of Freedom of Speech, not championing it. Blazing hypocrisy, not the Sword of Truth. If injunctions have the effect of destroying 'Celebrity Culture', or even just making it less profitable, they will have done a great service. The depths of the celebrity disease can be seen by one of the first Tweets to come to hand on the footballer in question. Apparently his injunction is a betrayal of his adoring public, which a corrupt legal system allows:
'Because he has a right to trick you into thinking he's a good guy.'Who says he isn't? What is this? 1850? The fact is that he did what the Twitterer wanted to but couldn't, and so deserves toasting. This would be blazing hypocrisy if it wasn't quite so pathetic and disgusting.
The private lives of footballers are not in the Public Interest, and not even very interesting to the public, they are commodities to be bought and sold. And at present the tabloids are furious because Twitter is able to give this information away, and know that their days are numbered if this crucial source of profit is denied them and they have to revert to proper journalism.
The secret plans and backroom dealings of corporations and politicians are not as profitable a commodity as celebrity pillowtalk. But even if they were, the media can hardly be expected to attack its fellow corporations with the same gusto it does a footballer or variety artiste. That would not go down well at boardroom level.


Is Ian Hislop a Virgin?

We must thank parliamentary privilege for revealing today that Fred the Shred was an adulterer. Now we know that he was a lousy banker and cost the country billions. Before that, we were never sure. Just as we must be eternally grateful to Private Eye for the news that Andrew Marr was no saint either. And as such, was a hypocrite to ask politicians any questions about their private life.
But if Marr had been the only reporter to know about the Profumo scandal, would he have been 'hypocritical' to write the story? Indeed, if all journalists in 1960 led lives as blameless and boring as Ian Hislop, would Private Eye even exist?
Why should profitably famous people be punished more for their marital indiscretions than anonymous wastes of space? The Sun is not interested in what happened in your office photocopier room unless a suitable fantasy figure was involved. At least when the revelations emerge on Twitter, nobody seems to make much money. And that is the real measure of freedom of speech in this society, after all. How much money can be made from it. The argument is not about Human Rights at all, but a restraint of trade dispute.
This entire shitstorm is also about our moral and sexual identity crisis. If we had a healthy attitude to sex and relationships, there wouldn't be any money in pillowtalk stories, and nobody's careers would be in danger, and therefore no need for lawyers. But since the private lives of the rich and powerful are a prized media commodity, and help to feed our inhibitions, there is a lot of money at stake, and therefore a lot of law. Privacy has become a copyright issue, and nothing to do with morality, as the Anglesey Babes will soon find out.
The Injunctions Affair is a clear example of how our morality and laws are shaped by the sale-price of goods, not by any immutable philosophical edicts from on high.

Hitler was a Human Being Shock Discovery

So now that Lars Von Trier has been burned at the stake, should we go after Hitler's biographers? After all, they were actually paid to understand Hitler, and (if they were any good at their job) to even sympathise with the young Hitler, seeing as they would have researched the circumstances of formation. Websites like Buzzle would have to go on the bonfire too, of course. And all the literature which deals with Hitler as a real person rather than the Angel of Death.
Hitler was, believe it or not, a human being almost identical to everyone else, originally. So for anyone to claim they do NOT understand him is an admission of human failure, and the real cause for concern. Either that or they believe that there are Evil Monsters walking the earth doing the work of The Devil and causing all the trouble in the world. Which makes them as paranoid and fit to be tied as Hitler himself.


Orwell Turns in His Grave

 A fellow tory party hack on the same site as yesterday's winner of the Orwell blog Prize claims this morning that "a very high percentage - probably most - of the rape allegations made are false. " Which is a bad sign.
Who was on the panel who elected this soft-core tory sentimentalist? With his rambling decorative cameos of squalid Hackney streetlife, leading to his scintillating conclusion that The Poor must be helped.. And that nobody should 'seek public office or a grant in Tower Hamlets if you’re not willing to conform to the standards of the Islamic Forum of Europe.' No mention of the real problems people have to face, just a slickly P.C. vehicle for the usual tory bigotry and political ignorance.
Orwell is turning in his grave. Not only is the prizewinner merely another radio phone-in bore who got lucky, but a self-confessed and blatant apparatchik, which automatically disqualifies him from any association with Orwell, whose political beliefs were completely free of party interference. 
By this time next year the Orwell Trust will have to rethink its policy, or sack its judges, or something, otherwise their main function will be to distort and defame Orwell's memory as much as the reactionary press has done since his death.
On the same site, Why doesn't the Right protest in Britain? comes to the conclusion that it's because they're too clever to waste their time. Protest is a waste of time. All action is a waste of time, in fact. Only making money makes any sense. Unlike the stupid Egyptians who protested very successfully. The answer to their dilemma is very simple.
The reactionary mindset is docile, conformist, confused and frightened, and only prepared to act against those weaker than itself. So naturally it is not prepared to undergo the risks of demonstrating its convictions in public. Neither does it enable the individual to join in solidarity with others, as it is inherently suspicious of and hostile to its fellow man, which is what makes it reactionary, or 'Right-Wing' as the meaningless euphemism has it.
So the short answer is, they don't have the guts, and  don't have the numbers. They're a bunch of bully-worshipping cowards who always need someone else to fight their battles for them. And as they are now seeing in the Arab Revolution, protest most decidedly works, and it is driving them to distraction. Tough. It's a hard world for the obsolete and defunct. No matter how prettily they package their product.
Far from being in the tradition of Orwellian breadth and political freedom, the winner of this year's prize is nothing but the usual petty tory mythology of winners and losers and heroes and vagabonds. And all wrapped up in a cosy decorative style packed with lots of lovely squalor, darling! An introductory box of chocolates from the Big Society Bandwagon. (AKA Cutting with Conscience). Not a word of genuine political understanding, just party policy from a prospective tory MP. 


'Bin Laden Down and Insane Blues

It's almost worthy of a chapter in Revelations, where madness seizeth the multitude and driveth them wailing across the land and the streets and the retail outlets thereof. Let the sightings of Osama Bin Laden in supermarkets begin! He can't be dead because Obama says he is. And Obama has now gained so many brownie points from the operation that he has probably rescued his second term, which is what really hurts.
But it doesn't need to be that way, with Osama's help. All he has to do to bring down the Obama presidency now is to crank up the old camcorder, do the gig in his usual inimitable style, and post it off to AJ. Job done. So why doesn't he? Because he's dead.
I suspect that there is far too much wish-fulfillment behind the pose of 'scepticism' adopted by many at this time. If Osama were alive, Obama might yet be doomed. Which is comforting. Unless you overlook the fact that no sane president would ever dangle that sword of Damocles over his own head. Not even Nixon did that. And however dull and lifeless he may be, Obama is no Nixon.
Maybe America should be asking whether Obama is alive.


The Glorious Spiritual Leader Brutally Martyred

And now that the veritable Tsunami of outrage has spilled onto the streets in the form of mass violent demonstrations outside US embassies across the Islamic world... The Chant everywhere is: 'Osama Bin Laden - The Prophet's Son!'
No hang on. That never happened, did it?
That was Glenn Beck and Kelvin McKenzie talking. Not me. In fact, the Islamic world seems to feel the same way that everyone else does, on balance. That Bin Laden might have meant well, but allowed himself to be manipulated, and ended up killing the people he meant to free, and serving the powers he meant to destroy.
We need a modern Shakespeare to properly interpret the tragedy of Osama Bin Laden. And modern political methods to achieve political change. The methods of the C12th can never succeed.
The judgement of Pakistan can be pretty much left to the 'Aneurin Bevan Prosecution'.
If the Pakistan military didn't scrutinise every property within ten miles of its equivalent of Sandhurst, it is run by idiots not fit to manage a flock of goats.
If it did monitor the Bin Laden bunker, it would have discovered Bin Laden, who had been there for years. In which case it protected him. Given the ridiculous location, it might well have actively helped him. It stands doubly condemned. It is a failed nuclear state, and another legacy of the Cold war's attempts to crush civil liberty.
The Arab Spring started digging the grave of Global Jihad four months ago. After Tahrir Square it was already gaping wide. It seems fitting that its figurehead was dumped in it at this point. God's will, obviously. He knows when the Game is Up.
The real story today is not the understandable celebration of New Yorkers but the total apathy of the entire Muslim world. Not the minor demonstrations in Manhattan, but the yawning silence across three quarters of the globe.


Al Qaida R.I.P. February 18th 2011

Bin Laden's death won't effect AQ operations because AQ effectively died as a political force in Tahrir Square on February 18th 2011. A real, modern, relevant, positive, political force has emerged as an alternative to the negative, supernatural medieval agenda of Jihad. Young men do not want a harem of post-mortem virgins, and young women do not want a lifetime's imprisonment and the annual birth-bed, they want freedom to enjoy life here and now. 
Naturally, the conspiracy theorists are loving it. So if you come across one, and you will, the question to ask is: If you were Sammy B today, sitting there watching the reports of your own death over your bacon and eggs, what would be the first delicious line of the video-speech you were planning in your head?
"To quote the illustrious American author Mark Twain...' No maybe not.. What would you (OSB) think would be the nicest way to break the news to the US people and the American President?
When George Bush Jnr falls off his dune-buggy we can all have closure.

The Royal Rentamob

Now that the Chinese plastic bunting has been packed away for another ten years, the message sent by the royal wedding is clear. Communities only matter when the royalty needs an endorsement. But that they will only co-operate if given a day off work at the taxpayers and employers expense. So the Royal Rentamobs brandishing their Sainsbury's sausage rolls will turn out again and adulate on command. But they want paying for their trouble.


Royalty Almost As Popular as Morecambe and Wise!

Yes. We don't know how lucky we are to have the monarchy. 24 million people in the UK watched the wedding on TV. Twenty Four.. 
That makes the royalty almost as popular as Morecambe and Wise. Who regularly pulled figures higher than that. And did it more than once a lifetime. And on a microscopic budget. And without paying everyone in the country a days wage to watch.
And with those same inducements (and the months of incessant groundwork) Royalty even succeeded in being more popular for a day than Simon Cowell's X Factor, from which they no doubt learned a lot.
Yes, we must say to Will'n'Kate -

Didn't They Do Well!

Gadaffi Kills Own Grandchildren

Reports today that  Saif-al Arab Gadaffi and three of Gadaffi's grandchildren have been killed in an allied airstrike. Which is a taste of tragedy for their relatives, and very stupid of the Alliance.
Nevertheless, the question of the Denialists is - will they apply the same rigorous standards of verification to these deaths which they insist on when thousands of innocent Libyans are slaughtered by Gadaffi's troops? If Gadaffi's word is good enough for them about his family, then the people's mass testimony should also be good enough for them. 

Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if Gadaffi killed them himself. He is that desperate and deranged, after all. And in a very real way, he is the cause of their deaths.