Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Prime Minister Speech: Channeling UKIP

I listened to the whole of Theresa May's Brexit speech, disagreeing as she went, beginning with her first claim: "The British People voted to leave". 

No Theresa. 1.3 million out of 60 million people in the UK voted to leave. That was the majority result. 1.3 million out is not the "British People".

Here are some more of her immortal one-liners:

"Trade is so important I made a special department" [and put it in the care of .. er..Liam `Werrity` Fox]

Scientists are just wrong to fear Brexit. [Scientists are always wrong if they take a different view to Conservatives].

The country is coming together. [No it isn't. Political polarisation is increasing all the time.]

At the very end, after crooning about the sweet deal that would result as a result of her negotiations, she suddenly switched to Tough Mode. Britain would not accept a punitive Brexit that discourages other from leaving EU. We would retaliate against such deal with a trade war.
This is a fair summary of what she said. 

What kind of Brexit deal does the PM think the EU wants to create? Does she really believe that they will go for a deal that encourages other states to leave? Of course the deal is going to be tough, and a trade war is going to be even tougher. 

The discussion that followed on BBC2 carried a beaming Suzanne Evans who said May was "channelling UKIP". As indeed she was. 

So we can conclude that the PM has been taken hostage by the Eurosceptic (and climate sceptic) hard line right within the Tory Party, and has succumbed to the Stockholm Syndrome. This is understandable: Theresa was a bit of a loner before becoming PM, and that, combined with being a total Billy-No-Mates in the EU, has driven her into the ideologically crisp embrace of the Right, who will, of course, persuade her to bow down before the Golden Idol of Donald Trump.

We live in interesting times.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Lines on the inauguration of Donald Trump

The USA has had a dump 
And dropped upon the world a lump
Of self regarding vanity
-The Leadership of Donald Trump.

Hope says he's just a harmless chump
But reason fears we'll hear the crump
Of shells and bombs; calamity
Of conflict caused by Donald Trump. 

Says Washington's a filthy sump;
He says he's going to drain the swamp.
But reason says he'll swamp the drain
With effluents from Donald Trump.

Lawyers will form a solid clump 
Around the doors of Donald Trump
Sex, fraud and blackmail, chronic pain
To the misrule of Donald Trump.

Wealth and self-love the hot air pump
That lifted him while on the stump.
He'll come down with a mighty bump
The gilded con-man Donald Trump.

Richard Lawson 16/1/2016

Saturday, December 17, 2016

War is a disease. Let us get rid of the effective cause - explosives

Aleppo demonstrates to the world once more that war is a disease of humanity.

So how can wars be stopped? Look at the disease again. What causes the deaths and injury? 

Explosives, mainly, and for the sake of simplicity, let's look at explosives. Basically, we are taught by the news that there are good explosives, bad explosives and silly explosives. Good explosives are fired by "our side", bad explosives are fired by "their side" and silly explosives are used in wars in which we have no interest.

So the disease model is of a body which is being infected with bad bacteria, and we send good bacteria to fight the bad bacteria, and an abscess forms. When the war has run its course, as all wars do, the abscess is sealed off, but resentments in the group memory persist.
Humanity has about 44 such abscesses in its body at the moment. 

Now it is clear that this "good bacteria/bad bacteria" model, with the good sent to neutralise the bad, is ridiculous and worthless. Clearly, the dichotomy is false. All killing is bad. All wars have mixed values, none more so than Syria, which is a confused mess of competing alliances and oppositions and interests. 

It would be much better to do away with bacteria in the first place. In other words, to do away with the explosives that magnify the power of war.

It is true that there were wars before there were explosives, and that the main instrument of the Hutu-Tutsi genocide of 1994 was the machete, but it is equally true that explosives greatly magnify the corpse-productivity of the individual soldier. This is why our soldiers are equipped with machine guns rather than swords.

Now there are legal explosives and illegal explosives. Let's start with the illegal ones. The beauty of it is that with the exception of acetone based species, explosives can be detected at range by trained sniffer dogs, bees, and other approaches.

Sniffer dogs are inexpensive and an established technology. They can be deployed extensively while other approaches are developed. They can be deployed at borders, and even driven around the countryside with their noses to the wind. If they react, they can be moved upwind until the source of the odour is located, be it an arms cache or ammunition factory.

The beauty of concentrating on ammunition and explosives rather than on armaments is that a dog cannot distinguish between a lorry containing arms and one containing sewing machines, but it can point to a lorry containing explosives.

Therefore we have the means and ability greatly to reduce the amount of ammunition on the planet. We can even generate electricity while disposing of ammunition, if bullets are fired at a robust Pelton wheel attached to a generator.

So why not? The objections will come from arms companies and their bought politicians. This is where a world wide popular movement is needed to motivate a majority of reasonably non-corrupt politicians to begin to work together to reduce the amount of illicit ammunition on the world market.

This is already Green Party policy - PD 434 here.

Of course there are other measures available. The United Nations needs to build on and develop the Arms Trade Treaty, especially the parts relating to ammunition.

So we do not have to sit back and watch Aleppo suffering silently. We can begin to build the political will to stop the Aleppos of the future.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Spite of Christmas Present - poem

“God bless us every one”
said Tiny Tim.

Scrooge begged,
“Spirit, don’t let his place be empty”

God said,
“Go forth and multiply.”

And the result: his corner of the room
packed out with Tiny Tims
on this and every Christmas
waving their crutches.

Look how their stumps kick out
no longer weighted down by booted feet.
Look how the masters of the blast that
ran away with their mobility
gaze on the symbols of the Nazarene.

God blast us every one!
a landmine now for every leg
for every brain a bullet
and for the poor,

a sharp machete blade.

(c) Richard Lawson