Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The accuser, known only as Nick, has told police that the former MP was part of a group of men who abused him over a decade from 1975, according to Proctor’s statement. He claimed Proctor was directly responsible for the murders of two boys and implicated in the death of a third.

During one alleged sexual assault, he is said to have claimed, Proctor was persuaded not to cut off Nick’s genitals with a penknife only by the intervention of Heath, who was said by the witness to have been present during the sex attack at a large townhouse in London.

Good to see that Ted was as equivocal about castrating rent boys as he was about monetarism.

Also impressive is how long it is taking the Metropolitan Police to realise that they have been done up like kippers. I'm sure the penny must be dropping by now, but how are they going to extricate themselves?

Monday, 17 August 2015

Let them eat Pie!

When they were good, they were the best.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Why Jimmy?

The above photo of Jimmy Savile with Ted Heath, which I'm sure all of you have no doubt already seen, has been propagated by a number of media outlets with the (conscious or unconscious) intention of intensifying the taint of paedophilia that has been attached to the former Tory Prime Minister. However, for myself it has had the effect of increasing my suspicion that the allegations against Savile are without foundation. There are a small number of blogs which are now drawing attention to the apparent fact that very few, if any, of the allegations against Savile have been corroborated to the extent that they would stand up in a court of law. Some of these have taken note of the role of Labour MP's such as Tom Watson and Simon Danczuk in publicising apparent "establishment" paedophilia and thus explain the posthumous persecution of Savile as part of a left-wing attempt to embed a "Tory paedo" meme against Conservative politicians and "family" entertainers. This is sometimes further entangled in the idea of a second-wave feminist strategy to discredit middle-aged white men generally. I have also seen an alternative theory that the whole Savile-paedo furor was promulgated by the Murdoch media in order to discredit the BBC and distract attention away from Hackgate. The problem here of course is that these are just an attempt to replace one conspiracy theory (establishment/entertainment paedophile rings) with another set of conspiracy theories, and thus this illustrates the point that the conspiracy theory has become the dominant mode of contemporary thought. In fact, I would suggest that the most effective way of framing an argument nowadays is to embed it within a conspiracy theory.

Another notable characteristic of the defenders of Savile's reputation is a feeling of grievance that much-cherished memories of a childhood hero, of a "golden age" of light entertainment, have been irretrievably sullied. There is a sense almost that believers and non-believers in Savile's guilt live in different (but entirely internally coherent) cognitive realms, like climate change activists and climate change deniers. To move from believing in Savile's guilt to disbelieving it is therefore akin to adopting a countervailing but equally firmly embedded architecture of "truth". Any attempt at debate between the two parties, should doubts about Savile's guilt gain greater currency in the public mind, will therefore quickly degenerate into a combination of acrimony and petty legalese. However, I think it might be worthwhile to conduct a thought exercise, and ask if there are any obvious sociological reasons why Jimmy Savile might have been particularly prone to posthumous allegations of abuse. On asking this question it quickly becomes clear that Savile was uniquely vulnerable to vilification in ways that are both remarkable and revealing. There is a general idea that the greater the number of allegations against an individual, the greater the likelihood of guilt, but the implausibly large number of allegations against Savile (450 at the last count) itself indicates that a sociological phenomenon has been under way.

The photograph of Savile with Heath illustrates the first factor that makes him such an attractive target for speculation - his ubiquitousness. This itself has two strands, the first of these being his contacts with power groupings that have themselves long been the subject of conspiratorial thinking. Indeed, Savile had connections to the three great reptilian bloodlines of the Ickean imagination: the Royal Family, the Vatican, and the Jews. The second strand is that Savile managed to have himself photographed with just about every famous person of his era, including even Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper. It is therefore almost a matter of routine that once a celebrity or politician has been accused of child abuse to conjure up a photograph of the aforesaid celebrity-politician in the company of Savile. Indeed, in this respect Savile is the gift that keeps on giving. What this also means is that the current furor about powerful paedophile rings could not have been generated or maintained without the initial implication of Jimmy Savile. As such, it had to be Jimmy.

No other individual could have got the meme off the ground.

However, this only gives an initial pointer as to why Savile might be implicated. What this doesn't explain is why the British public have been so keen to accept Savile's implied guilt, and I think that here we have to ask whether there wasn't some widespread but buried resentment of Savile. After all, to be popular is also to be unpopular. Bruce Forsyth memorably estimated that at least 50% of the audience at any show he performed in hated him. And again the above photograph is revealing, in that it illustrates Savile's sycophancy. It is wrong to imagine that just because Savile managed to inveigle his way into being photographed with Heath or Margaret Thatcher or the Royal Family, that he was an intimate of them, or their equal, no matter what he may have subsequently claimed. Savile was an inveterate interloper, the original photobomber, a dalit amongst the Brahmins. His outlandish appearance gained him access to the great and good, but only the fleeting contact of a harmless clown. Even the oft-repeated footage of him furtively pacing around Broadmoor gives him the appearance of an interloper, of being somewhere he shouldn't.

Savile, like Heath and Cliff Richard, also lived that most suspicious of private lives, that of the relationship-averse bachelor. The most illustrative case here is somebody who was not accused of child abuse, but of murder - Christopher Jefferies. There is almost nothing that cannot be projected onto ageing men with no overt interest in sex, and this is a third factor that made Savile such an attractive subject of speculation. Nonetheless, I think there is one more aspect of Savile's life that generated an enormous amount of resentment toward him, and that is his charitableness. It is curious that Savile has not been accused solely of child abuse, but also the abuse of pretty much every vulnerable group in British society, including the blind, the disabled and the geriatric. These are the same people that Savile raised money for, and are also the ones usually packed away into "homes", where abuse, both mundane and bizarre, has always been an occupational hazard. I think there is an enormous amount of repressed guilt inherent in the fact that everybody in Britain knows very well that vulnerable groups have always been filed away to be treated who-cares-how, by the chronically underpaid, in order not to prove an unsightly burden on the rest of society. I think the British public fully understand that they (we) are fundamentally selfish, and Savile's boundless, incessant do-gooding had the unfortunate by-product of bringing this unease to the fore. I think therefore that the notion of Savile-as-abuser has the inevitable taint of projection - he has become the sin-eating receptacle of the abuse that we all tolerate on the margins as a matter of course.

What this tends to indicate (but of course far from proves) is that the Savile story may be even more extraordinary than even the abuse claims suggest. Jimmy Savile may have been the victim of the greatest media hoax of all time.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

The Paranoid Style In British Politics

I have to say even I am impressed at how baroque the historical "inquiry" into VIP child abuse has now become. Ted Heath has long been in the eye of Icke-ian internet conspiracy theorists, for the unforgivable sin of being a very private individual with no obvious interest in sex. Like Christopher Jefferies, in many ways. A police call for information on his paedophile activities has generated a significant number of responses, but then so of course would a police request for information on alien abductions.

Which is what the current frenzy over establishment paedophilia really is - a new opening for the kind of people who twenty years ago would have been explaining how they were transported onto an alien spaceship to have a probe inserted in their rectum. All the familiar paranoid elements are there: the shadowy influence of the secret services, the memory-recovering psychotherapists, the opportunist hoaxers, the occult locations (for Area 57 read Dolphin Square), the hapless official inquiries and the uncompromising true believers. This is why the Establishment will regret opening the Goddard inquiry; the beliefs of the conspiracy theorists are impossible to assuage - any null hypothesis will merely further entrench the belief in a conspiracy. To the rest of the public, the inquiry will simply appear to be an increasingly ridiculous waste of money and police time. This is, by the way, what anti-structuralism looks like when it escapes into the culture at large - the world is turned upside down, the familiar appears grotesque, the previously unimaginable appears plausible. Well, almost.

What interests me though, is how this relates to the pervasive belief on all sides of British politics in a Dominant Ideology. After all, is believing that society is covertly influenced by Neoliberal think-tanks or infiltrating Cultural Marxists all that far from believing that it is governed by elite paedophile rings? It is remarkable how thoroughly paranoia has percolated into British political discourse, and how little this has been noticed. It is fascinating to read the comments section of any online political story, regardless of the source, and realise how the comments are almost universally paranoid, likewise any internet forum that concerns itself with politics. This is how we all think and speak now - there is nothing that remotely resembles its surface appearance.

Thursday, 30 July 2015


Well, up to a point. Doubtless Corbyn is far too left wing to ever be electable, but in a broader sense the poll results quoted above point to the Left’s far greater sophistication than the Right’s when in comes to understanding the real mechanics of power in British politics. Up against a Tory party which suffers the opposite affliction to Labour’s – namely that acquiring or maintaining the status of high office matters far more than any other consideration – true power often belongs to those who can set the agenda and effectively intimidate the Tories into following it.
Cultural Marxism!

You can find this splendid article, and the well-informed comments that follow it here. What is amazing about pieces like this is how they are an almost exact mirror image of the ideological think-pieces on the Left. While the Left imagines itself as weak, the Right imagines the Left as being strong. While the Left considers itself to be marginalised, the Right considers the Left to have insinuated itself into being......the Dominant Ideology.

In fact, contemporary ideologues of both Right and Left share a single philosophical, no theological position, and that is that they are both essentially Gnostic. Both sides believe that they are confronted by a dominant ideology, insinuated into the culture at large by a self-regarding elite, that confounds them at every turn. This "dominant ideology" is a Demiurge type creature that has displaced the true God of the Marxists (Dialectical Materialism) and is currently working to undermine the true God of the Capitalists (The Market). It goes under a variety of names - "Neoliberalism", "Capitalist Realism", "Affective Capitalism" on the Left, "Cultural Marxism", "Political Correctness", "Equality and Diversity" on the Right, and it consists of the basic, but unproven, notion that the public at large are incapable of forming and changing their own ideas and preferences, but are necessarily hoodwinked into their beliefs by elite vested interests. All ideology is top-down because, apparently, Antonio Gramsci said it was.

Oddly though, the rise of Corbyn tends to confound this top-down model. His surge in popularity is an apparent mystery, and is being ascribed to a rising public distaste for silky-smooth career politicians. Perhaps the public are coming to the realisation that "Neoliberalism" no longer works, just as they came to the realisation in 1979 that the post-war consensus no longer worked. Perhaps they're just bored with the current arrangement, they feel that it has gone stale. The idea that ideology can be bottom-up, that the public at large set the agenda, is in many ways a disturbing one. When the public move to the Right, it upsets the Left's Rousseau-esque notions of the essential goodness of humanity. When it moves to the Left, it upsets the Right's conception of the people as being inherently conservative and immersed in tradition. Also, shifts in public opinions and tastes are necessarily opaque; they resist the theorists who derive their own power and prestige from providing explanations for the cascading patterns of history.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The Home Front

During the war the anarchist movement was pretty well a closed shop, as of course it had to be. There was the overt activity – the open, public activity, and there was the underground stuff going on. There was the whole business of having to protect deserters and people on the run. There had to be security. And so the Anarchist Federation, as it was then called, was something that you were only invited to join. You couldn’t just bowl up, or write in and say “I want to join you.”

When I first went to Belsize Road, where the Freedom Press was, I was fascinated and I was interested. I felt I had come home, inasmuch I had found people of similar attitudes. The overt activity of the Freedom group was things like public speaking at Hyde Park and publishing War Commentary, which had an uninterrupted run through the war.

All papers had an uninterrupted run through the war, with the exception of the Daily Worker that was banned for a year after 1940. Because of the invasion of France Herbert Morrison decided that freedom couldn’t be extended to the Communist Party any longer, and their paper was banned until Germany attacked Russia and the Communists changed their line overnight from opposition to support of the war. They started publishing again and became the most outrageous patriots of the lot. Anyone who opposed the war was denounced as an agent of Hitler and the Trotskyists. They were absolute bastards. They used to hassle sellers at Hyde Park. You’d be jostled and papers would be knocked out of your hands.

We sold the bulk of what we printed. We had good sales here in London and a very, very good and active group in Glasgow at that time. Best working class orators I’ve ever heard speaking every Sunday at Maxwell Street, in the heart of Glasgow. In the summer outdoors, and in the winter they took St. Enoch’s Hall and had big meetings there. It was the most influential working class group in Glasgow at the time amongst anti-war people.

The ILP were very strong too. It was still the time when people talked about “The Red Clyde”, and that period of the strong ILP. Besides us and the ILP, the SPGB was the other political group totally opposed to the war.

In fact, they were one of the few organisations where you pretty well only had to go before a Conscientious Objectors Tribunal and say “I’m a member of the SPGB” and you’d get off automatically. They had a splendid record of getting people off and a lot of it stemmed from Tony Turner, because he would go and speak for somebody.

Wartime memories like you've never read before here.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

German Efficiency

Random anonymous quote from the internet:
The funny thing is, I've long suspected that the fetish for all things German is the means by which the post-war generations in places like Britain and the USA compensated for the fact that they could never measure up to the generation that won the war. A sort of "OK, they may have won, but really they weren't that good, they only won by numbers against a superior enemy. Also, I shall prove this to myself by buying a BMW."
It's true though, isn't it?

I've often wondered why British Leyland went down the tubes, while the equally inefficient Fiat and Renault survived. I think it very well may have been sacrificed in the service of the generational ego, a counterpart to the publication of Corelli Barnett's "The Desert Generals."

Also, this explains the weird resentment of Germany, unique to Britain, that lasted long after the War. It wasn't prompted by memories of the War itself (although these were used as ammunition), nor by Britain's diminished status in the world, but was a necessary concomitant of the boomers enlisting the Nazis to boost their generational ego. "German efficiency" was a double-edged sword, because although it could it be used to belittle the wartime generation, it did so by implying that all the generations of Britain were inferior together.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Music about music, musical standards, the record industry, and the general value of education: