Alphabet letters

Our Alphabet Soup is Rotten

Alphabet lettersDonald Trump’s threat to freeze World Health Organisation funding has sparked a flurry of press interest and comment from around the globe. Not surprisingly, these hot takes on the situation range from “orange man bad” on one side of the aisle to “4-D chess” on the other. In fact, neither of these knee-jerk responses teaches us anything useful as they miss a much bigger and far more revealing picture

Whatever you might think of the President’s current attitude to the WHO, taking a step back to gain a wider view shows that far from being some Trumpian outlier, questioning the legitimacy of the WHO is in fact part of a wider pattern of dissent. The sense of weariness, disenchantment and growing hostility towards the alphabet soup agencies entrusted to run international affairs with no direct democratic mandate is now palpable, especially here in the West. Everywhere we look, nationalism is on the rise as once unimpeachable institutions are revealed to be rotten with corruption, incompetence and shameless self-interest.

This shouldn’t be surprising really, as Oscar Wilde pithily pointed out how bureaucracies primarily exist to meet their own needs and only secondly to execute the functions they were designed to carry out.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look.

Read More
Dice on stock prices

EU Solidarity was a Fair Weather Fantasy

Dice on stock prices“Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick, a shadow on the wall.” Varys of Lys

So now we know. Now we know for certain that when the chips are down, Brussels has neither the authority nor the inclination to act when it really matters. Right across the continent, borders are going up and countries are looking to their own institutions for answers and action to combat the Coronavirus threat.

The current crisis has finally exposed the myth of European solidarity for the dangerous fair-weather fantasy it always has been. As Italy and Spain struggle to cope with the spiralling crisis, their calls for medical and financial aid from Brussels have effectively come to naught. Despite decades of tall talk about being stronger together, this crisis has revealed that the EU’s obsession with ever closer union was only ever driven by a pathological lust for raw political power. When the chance finally arrives to put these lofty ideals into action, both Brussels and EU member states are nowhere to be found. Platitudes about solidarity lie trampled in the dust as countries pull up the drawbridge and leave the stragglers to fend for themselves in a display of self-interest that will not soon be forgotten by Italy, Spain and many others across the continent.

In fairness, it’s only natural for nations to look to their own security in a situation like this, and it would be foolish to criticise them for acting in the best interests of their citizens. Still, it’s very telling that in times of real crisis, the most enduring and efficient power structure remains the much maligned nation state, not the EU, the UN, the WHO or any of globalism’s impotent alphabet institutions.

Read More
The Matrix

The Matrix (1999)

The MatrixThe whole world is taking a surreal turn with this unprecedented coronavirus lockdown. The strangely quiet streets and the almost alien media images look like they’re happening in some less fortunate yet faraway facsimile of the place we call home. We’ve become so used to lives of unrestricted indulgence and profound comfort that just a single empty supermarket shelf somehow seems unreal, a mistake, an affront to all that we know to be true and take for granted.

It’s hard to escape the idea that the world in which we live is somehow becoming detached and decoupled from the world flickering on our TV screens. We haven’t changed, so it feels increasingly like there’s something wrong with reality.

With one half of our existence muffled through social isolation and the other amplified through social media, there’s never been a better time to flick through that old movie collection and break out The Matrix. It is without doubt the biggest, most influential and greatest memetic movie of them all.

Set in a world where nothing is real, except for everything we experience, The Matrix gives form to every nagging doubt we’ve ever explored about free will and social control, while suggesting that nothing we know can ever be truly authentic…whatever authentic actually means in a world where everything is a dream.

Read More
Home Office petition

Grooming Gangs – Publish and be Damned

Home Office petitionWho’s afraid of Britain First? Quite a lot of people it seems. I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to learn just how influential they are in the wake of the latest in a long and wearying line of grooming gang scandals. This particular kerfuffle is a little different though, as the action is taking place right in the heart of Whitehall rather than in some grey, far flung northern town.

It’s hard to know which is worse, the wholesale abuse of vulnerable young girls by grooming gangs, or officialdom’s complicity first in turning a blind eye and then actively suppressing the truth of this industrial scale exploitation.

Now it seems that Home Office Mandarins have determined that not even our elected Home Secretary should be permitted to see her own department’s report into the organised ruination of so many young women and girls. It goes without saying that if the Home Secretary is essentially being told to jog on by her own department, the unwashed rest of us have no chance when it comes to seeing this mythical report. Not in the public interest, you see.

Naturally, the usual suspects in the Twittersphere are happy to endorse this politically motivated suppression, arguing that “far right extremists” (cue scary music) will exploit the report’s findings for political ends. Of course that hoary old chestnut makes about as much sense as defusing a bomb that’s already detonated. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, the far right are already exploiting the establishment’s complicity and cowardice by claiming that the institutions designed to protect us from harm are actively conspiring to let that harm to continue. You know you’ve stepped through the looking glass when Britain First actually has a point about something.

Read More
Matryoshka doll

Who’s Behind Biden?

Matryoshka dollWow, it must really suck to be a Democrat right now; I mean, seriously!

With Super Tuesday out of the way it’s looking more and more like the party’s top brass has decided to throw its weight behind Joe Biden as the best and only hope of beating Bernie Sanders to the nomination. Of course there are plenty of delegates still to play for and anything could happen, but it’s clear that the DNC will not permit Sanders to clinch the nomination, even at the cost of running Joe Biden against a rampant and increasingly popular Donald Trump.

Even if Sanders manages to force a brokered convention, anyone but Bernie is now the unofficial party line and delegates will act accordingly. Letting slow Joe face Donald Trump in the general election might seem like a suicidal strategy, but when it’s the only available option the decision-making process becomes extremely simple.

The DNC top brass must surely know that backing yet another ageing neo-liberal who’s showing clear signs of failing health is not a way to win elections.

So why do it?

It’s mostly because they don’t really have much of a choice at this late stage; but that doesn’t mean they can’t yet pull something that resembles a rabbit out of the hat. Everybody in the world knows that forgetful Joe has no chance against the Donald, especially as Trump’s quite willing to go there when it comes to Hunter Biden and the whole Ukrainian gas thing. In fact it’s reasonable to wonder whether Biden can even make it to election day without his cognitive performance deteriorating rapidly.

Read More