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Nov 102013
 

Today (at least it is when I’m writing this) is Remembrance Sunday in the UK; traditionally a day to commemorate the sacrifice of ordinary men in the two world wars.

I did not watch the ceremony at The Cenotaph, or attend any of the more local ceremonies, although I have in the past. But one thing that is a noticeable change since my childhood – there is a much greater emphasis on the sacrifices made by our armed forces in all wars up to and including the present.

Fair enough; I don’t have a problem with commemorating the war dead from any war, but the the armed forces already have a day – Armed Forces Day – and Remembrance Sunday is special. It is special because it remembers the two world wars when ordinary men were called to service in their droves; whereas other wars involved soldiers, sailors, and airmen who had chosen to be shot at for a living.

Before WWI, there was nothing like Remembrance Sunday despite all the wars that the UK fought before – nothing for the Boer War, the Crimean War, the Napoleonic Wars, and nothing before. There were war memorials constructed – as a resident of Portsmouth, I can visit an unusually large number, but as for national ceremonies … excluding the burial of heros such as Nelson, they had to wait until after WWI.

Perhaps we need to move the Armed Forces Day to next to Remembrance Sunday to more clearly distinguish between the two days.

Perhaps we also need to make the commemorations somewhat less military in nature – encourage those whose relatives served in the two world wars to attend in place of them. After all the number of world war veterans is dwindling; it won’t be too long before none of them are left, and it would be a great shame to leave Remembrance Sunday to the politicians and the present-day military.

 

Sep 072010
 

Today there has been a lot of coverage of the London Blitz that started 70 years ago today; where the Nazi’s war machine began waging total war against civilians in London. But perhaps we should look a little deeper than the media’s claim that this was the beginning of a new era in total warfare.

Pcasso's Gernica

Picasso’s Gernica.

Despite the media’s claim that the London Blitz was the dawn of a new era of warfare against civilians, the terror-killing of civilians had been practised earlier by the Nazi’s during the Spanish Civil War – at Gernika (note that I use the Basque spelling which seems more natural to us odd-ball English people). This happened three years earlier than the London Blitz in 1937 and in retrospect was clearly a honing of tactics by the Nazis.

The scale of course was quite different – between 400 to 1600 people were killed at Gernika whereas the London Blitz killed around 20,000 civilians with even more killed in other cities in the UK. We should remember the victims of the Blitz both in London and elsewhere, but we should also remember the Basque victims of the Nazi terror bombing and their other victims too.

Perhaps we need to have a national day of mourning for the victims of all such terror bombings of civilians.

Oct 222009
 

The BBC have invited Nick Griffin – the head of the BNP neanderthals onto Question Time (a public question and answer forum with a panel of politicians of various kinds). Of course there is a lot of fuss about this – any self-respecting person of almost every political persuasion is horrified at the prospect of seeing the BNP use national TV to peddle their filth. The BBC’s argument is that the BNP has achieved sufficient electoral success for them to be invited to take part – along the same lines as the Green party receive invitations.

The BBC has pointed out (quite rightly) that their role is not to impose any form of political censureship and if the BNP has achieved the level of electoral success that allows other political parties to be included in programmes such as Question Time, then they cannot legitimately not include the BNP. Given the amount of time that has passed since the BNP achieved its electoral success in the last European elections, the fault for “allowing” the BNP to take part in Question Time must be passed directly to those in parliament who hae not passed legislation prohibiting the BNP from being heard on TV or radio (as happened to Sinn Fein in the 1980s).

There is an argument that says that because we have free speech, we should allow Nick Griffin to spout any kind of rubbish he wants to on Question Time. Well, perhaps although our tradition of freedom of speech is not unlimited. And certainly Nick Griffin’s freedom of speech does not give him a license to spout his rubbish on Question Time.

Of course Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time does allow us to more easily see how foolish and immature his views are. Interestingly he has already portrayed just how deranged he is even before the programme when he was making comments on the way to the studio.

He claimed that the reason that the Labour Party had paid for protesters  to show up outside the BBC studios. Whilst I do not have any evidence to refute this, it does seem more than a little ridiculous to think that the anti-fascist protesters would need paying to turn up. Especially when you consider that protesters have shown up outside regional BBC offices – why would anyone pay for them to appear there when they could have been paid to appear in London ?

Let’s have a look at some of his statements …

“I am the most loathed man in Britain”

I somehow doubt it. He just isn’t that significant. Compare Nick Griffin with some of the British monsters like Harold Shipman.

“We are the aborigines here”

Presumably meaning that the English white people originally arrived in the UK shortly after the last ice age finished. Well perhaps there are some still left but the UK has seen immigration ever since the ice age – first of all Celts (yes! they didn’t originally come from here), Angles, Saxons (the BNP of course lump the two into the mythical “Anglo-Saxons”), Vikings, and Normans.

And of course the Romans who undoubtedly left more than a few genes behind. Which undoubtedly included a few ‘black’ genes given that they also (in their later days) included “native” troops in their army and shipped them around to where they might be needed. Wouldn’t it be funny if Nick were “tainted” with a bit of “black blood” ? I’m not normally given to using such phrases; I don’t believe in them, but old Nick would certainly be upset if he found out he wasn’t “pure white”.

At least in the UK, the whole concept of “indigenous” people at least in terms of “aborigines” is foolish in the extreme and shows an immense ignorance of British history. Really quite peculiar for someone thinks they are as patriotic as Nick undoubtedly thinks he is.

The reason behind Nick’s blatant racism is that he is terrified of being swarmed under by hordes of non-British immigrants. Even ignoring that immigration makes Britain a more dynamic and interesting place, such fears show that the racists are the kind of people who need to take their socks off to count beyond 10. If you look at the statistics, 92% of the current population of the UK is white. We’re hardly in danger of disappearing!

“I can’t explain …”

In relation to his allegedly changed views on the truth of the Jewish holocaust in WWII. Of course the obvious conclusion when he claims he cannot explain himself due to European law is that his views have not changed and that he still denies the holocaust. Or perhaps he refuses to accept the holocaust because he would loose his core supporters if he did.

And of course there is no European law in force in this country against denying the holocaust; that clause of the law can be blocked in individual countries who feel that it is an unacceptable limit on freedom of expression. And yes the UK opted out of that bit of the law. It is interesting that someone who has previously denied the holocaust and is a European politician is ignorant of this!

“You can stay …”

In response to a question from an Englishman asking whether he (not white enough for Nasty Nick) would be allowed to stay in a BNP controlled country. Kind of contradicts the BNP website (and the constitution) where it is campaigning for a white Britain. Which one is it ? Are you confused Nick ? Or just lying ?

“Adolf (Hitler) went a bit too far”

Which was not something that Nick said on the programme itself, but something he is supposed to have said in a video. The interesting thing that came out in the programme is that Nick consistent denies having said embarrassing things in the past even when there is clear evidence that he did say such things.

It was plainly obvious that you simply cannot believe any denials Nick makes.

Oct 202009
 

Now we all know that the BNP are the lowest form of scum in the political cesspool … even low and putrid enough that they cause other politicians to feel nauseous. But in a long history of astonishing ineptitude and a quality of thought that would bring shame to any self-respecting cockroach, they have managed a piece of grossly offensive stupidity. They are using various military images to promote their pathetic and ridiculous creed. One of the images used is the that of a spitfire which previously caused a row in early 2009. In addition the BNP have tried to lay claim to the British Legion’s poppy symbol which is also pretty offensive.

The opposition to the BNP using military images comes initially from some old generals. Now I’m hardly a fan of the British military and I’m certainly not normally on their side. But they’re definitely right – using the military images to inflate the BNPs “Britishness” is definitely wrong. And offensively wrong given that many of those involved in the British military (including the WWII military!) were not the kind of people that the BNP would approve of. Personally I’d say there’s a lot to be said to being the kind of person that the BNP would not approve of – after all there is no chance that anyone would mistake you for being one of them!

The BNP would have you believe that the immigration “issue” of today is comparable to the attempted invasion by the Axis forces in WWII. This is preposterous in numerous ways and shows pretty well that the members of the BNP are at best woefully and dangerously delusional. First of all, an invasion is vastly different to a migration; in fact an invasion does not even require permanent residence for many of the invasion force. Even more an invasion is a rejection of our society and standards whereas a migration is an acceptance of the same (the migrant might change his or her mind later on).

Secondly the war against the Axis forces was not simply defeating an attempted invasion of Britain. It was bigger by far than that. The war started before the attempted invasion and went on long after the invasion was turned back. It was very much the realisation that the cancerous beliefs of fascism could not be tolerated and that defeating fascism was of sufficient value that the masters of capitalism felt that allying ourselves with the “evil communists” was the lesser of two evils. Whilst Nick Griffin is no more than the palest shadow of a buffoon alongside someone like Hitler, and the BNP are similarly shown to be inadequate alongside the Nazi party, they are very much cut from the same mould.

Nick Griffin and his mindless thugs (look at their criminal records sometime) would be very happy in a world where Britain had been defeated by Nazi Germany. After all they could persecute their favourite ethnic minorities in any way they wished.

Comparing the “struggle” against immigration to the struggle against fascism and Nazi Germany is a slap in the face of every veteran who fought in WWII.

I notice that the BNP website today still shows :-

  • A red poppy (pah!)
  • A photograph of a spitfire (perhaps not the same photo they used in early 2009 which was flown by a Polish pilot)
  • And a picture of Churchill.

I somehow doubt that Churchill or his descendants would be too pleased about his image being used to popularise the BNP scum. The funny thing is that this great British leader may not have been quite British enough to be allowed to join the BNP – his mother was American and there is a chance that her descendants include Iroquois and/or Jews (neither of which are any form of “stain” of course), and considering his father came from the British aristocracy was likely to be not quite so British as the BNP would like. If you read the BNPs constitution, the clause concerning membership (quite possibly to be removed shortly) restricts membership to a wide variety of different “folk” people (indicating a rather confused grasp on British history), but excludes various proto-French ethnic groupings which could well exclude Churchill (at which he breathes a huge sigh of relief, or would if he could).

The BNPs big “thing” is race. They might well appear on TV or in other forms of media campaigning on other issues, but it’s still written large in their constitution that they want to return Britian to some pre-1948 mythical “white” utopia. Well first of all, the whole white thing is a bit mythical in itself – it’s only when you look at us from a distance that we look white; look a bit closer and you start to see differences (English, Welsh, Scottish, etc.). Secondly Britain has long been a home to people whose ancestors weren’t European.

And it is doubtful that the proto-English that the BNP want us all to revert to were all that concerned about “racial purity”. The Saxon warlord who defeated the last Celtic king around these parts, and went on to found the House of Wessex was called “Cerdic”. His name indicates that his ancestry included some Celtic blood somewhere (the most popular theory was that his mother was Celtic) in addition to his Saxon blood. For the benefit of those whose history is as poor as the BNPs most undoubtedly is, this “House of Wessex” later went on to unite the newly formed kingdom of England – the most important Saxons of the “Anglo-Saxon” peoples.

And now that I’m been writing of the BNP, I’m in urgent need of a long, hot cleansing bath to take away the stench.

Sep 112009
 

Alan Turing was a computer scientist and a homosexual at the very dawn of electronic computing, and contributed enormously to the winning of World War II by being one of those behind the code breaking efforts at Bletchley Park. When you consider his contributions to the war effort and his contributions to the new field of computer science, his sexual orientation was the least important part of him. Yet because of his sexuality, he was prosecuted, lost his security clearance (which was particularly devastating because of the lack of other places he could make his contributions), and harassed by the British security services.

Eventually he committed suicide; almost certainly because of his harassment by society that couldn’t see past his sexuality and see his vast contributions and potential.

There are those who say he shouldn’t be forgiven because he was a homosexual and that is forbidden by god. That position is contemptible and not worth commenting on.

There are those who say he shouldn’t be forgiven because he broke the law of the time. Well the law was immoral and wrong. In many ways we are obligated to break laws that are immoral.

There are those who say he shouldn’t be forgiven because there were many other men persecuted because of their sexual orientation. Perhaps 100,000 men, or even more (oddly enough homosexual women were not persecuted to quite the same extent (although I’d welcome pointers to prove me wrong … well sort of)). There is a point to that objection, but forgiving a particularly shining example of such harassment is the first step on the path of getting all those persecuted men pardoned.

And Alan Turing is a good start to that process because even those who do not like homosexuality can be brought around to believing that Alan at least deserves to be forgiven because of his immense contributions.

But most of all he should be pardoned because he didn’t really do anything wrong, and honoured because of his contributions.

Nov 092008
 

Today is Remembrance Sunday; a day to remember those killed in war. It should perhaps be on the 11th November (this year on a Tuesday), but the British government is too cheap to give us all a day off for remembrance.

As this is the 90th anniversary of the armistance of world war i, it is perhaps understandable that some concentrate on the dead of that war. As a general rule one of the things we remember when we remember the dead of the wars, is that they died for our freedom. For the wars since that is definitely on the true side, but perhaps not for WWI …

After all WWI started when the Austrian-Hungarian “dual monarchy” declared war on Serbia after Serbian military intelligence had been involved in assisting the assassination of a Grand-Duke. Russia was pulled in to support Serbia, and the rest of the European ‘powers’ were similarly pulled into the war.

But that is over simplistic – historians are still arguing over the causes of WWI. But what is clear is that there was initially no great villain that needed bringing down although many of the men who volunteered to fight were led to believe (in the case of Britain) that Germany was some sort of great villain.

To those who survived WWI, Rememberance Day was less a day for remembering those who died for our freedom, than just remembering the dead. It is difficult to appreciate the level of casualties today, but one clue is on the lists of the dead given on memorials in almost every little village. Probably just about everyone living in Britain in the 1920s would have been close to someone who had died in WWI.

To put it into statistical terms, Britain lost 2.1% of its population in WWI compared to 0.93% in WWII.

Some of the blame for the horrendous level of casualties can be placed at the door at the incompetant military leadership who took far too long to adjust to 20th century warfare from their 19th century mindsets. Or in the words of more than a few, the British army were “Lions led by donkeys”.

Jul 242007
 

Format: DVD

IMDB entry: here

A “foreign language” film with subtitles with an absolutely fascinating story set in WWII where a Dutch jew infiltrates the regional German headquarters for the resistance. An incredible number of plot twists and turns, together with a fascinating insight into how life was like for someone on the run in occupied Europe during the war. And even in the aftermath.

A film well worth checking out and don’t let the subtitles scare you off!

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