Browsing a big U.S. news blog earlier I chanced upon a post written by an American commentator whose stance is on the religious right. He was lambasting the U.S. Senate and Congress for voting to impose on the President a timetable for withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
This person argued that the tide is turning in America’s favour and it would be “cowardly and unchristian” to pull out before the goals of the occupation have been achieved. (He did not actually say what those goals were, presumably because like the people who ordered the invasion he has never actually known.)
It all just made me wonder what part of “you got your arses kicked again, get out before it gets really embarrassing” America’s political right have a problem getting their heads round. The message of the Iraqi resistance seems pretty unambiguous.

All Hail The House Of Lords

It may yet turn out to be the ultimate irony of the Blair era. After reforming the House of Lords by removing many of the inbred old farts and stuffing it with cronies, the upper chamber has shown itself to be more pugilist than poodle and more responsive to public opinion that the democratically elected Commons. They have overturned the irrational decision to build the new, lucrative Supercasino in Manchester.
Nobody will ever know the grounds upon which such an indefensible choice was made but you can bet the treasurer of the Labour Party is wondering how to fill a big hole in the budget this morning and a few M.Ps. are wistfully thinking of the farmhouse in Tuscany they planned to buy with the bung or the offshore trust they intended to set up to mask the income from that promised non-executive directorship that will now never come their way.
Do you think I’m suggesting gambling is corrupt? Honestly, would I?
Fortunately members of The House of Lords are too rich to be influenced by bungs and too demented to be influenced by political pressure so driven by resentment of the control freaks in government they have managed to do the right thing.

Machiavelli getting bigger

It was revealed today that the advertising revenue attracted by the internet has passed that spent on ads in print media for the first time.

This coincides with preparations to relocate Machiavelli to a privately owned site where we can expand the operation into a multi media co – operative. It will be several months before the new venture is fully up and running and even after that we will continue to have a presence here.

Onward and upward.

Who is a Fit Candidate To Succeed Blair?

Who is a Fit Candidate To Succeed Blair?

The excitement is mounting over the Labour leadership contest (yawn!) Will Brown ascend to the Imperial Throne on a surge of popular acclaim or will the “Stop Brown” movement gain momentum and thwart him at the last minute. And who cares?
Unless a complete outsider emerges from the pack to snatch victory on an Old Labour ticket all of the possible contenders are tainted. by having been part of Blair’s corrupt and undemocratic government. Who among them has spoken out against the illegal war, who has resisted the obscene rush to privatisation, who has steadfastly stood his ground against the rush to the right?
Whatever result the arcane electoral process throws up we can be sure that in the years between now and the next General Election the Labour Party will polarise in a more self destructive way than the Tories did after their defeat.
The mechanism that will make this inevitable is being cranked up even now as Blair, realising his party has done with him because he is no longer a winner, tries desperately to ensure his politics live on. Thus he has hamstrung his successor with a series of measures that have put the Government in thrall to America in the field of defence and foreign policy and to big business and big finance in all areas of domestic policy.
And that is one hell of a legacy to hand anybody. Only an idiot would want to take on the job of sorting the mess out.
Can we afford to have yet another idiot as Prime Minister?

Apologise For The Slave Trade? Sheer Hypocrisy.

Don’t politicians make you puke?
The scramble to “apologise” for the iniquities of the slave trade last week was, predictably, led by “King Kenute” Livingstone who has moved on from trying to turn back the tide of climate change with hollow gestures and is now looking to turn back the anti – Labour tide and attract votes. I am sure King Kenute’s hollow gesture will go down with the Black community leaders whose support he is courting but in reality it is just another shabby and cynical ploy in the New Labour catalogue of sleaze.
But can an apology for a wrong one has no part in, made to people who were not wronged mean anything at all?
We do not “owe an apology” to our black community because that is a generalisation which includes many people who came to Britain of their own free will, to make careers and give their families the real or perceived advantages of living in a wealthy western democracy. We owe an apology maybe to the families of Damilola Taylor and Anthony Walker who died because our shallow and self serving politicians were too busy spinning the truth to give their attention to mere details like the problems faced by minorities in inner cities.
We owe to all people who come to live in our nation having applied though the proper channels, respect for their humanity and equality in employment opportunity, education, welfare and matters of law. To those who enter illegally we owe respect for their humanity and dignity and to those brought here from Africa, the Far East and Eastern Europe whose status is no different to slaves we owe the protection of a nation that claims civilised values.
But as for the African slave trade, ended 200 years ago, well everybody knows it was a crime against humanity but there have been many crimes against humanity and who can realistically apologise for them all, and on whose behalf?
I know for a fact my ancestors were not directly involved. The Thorpe’s were gentleman farmers who lost their lands because they supported the wrong side when Bonnie Prince Charlie tried to seize the throne* and the Redefines were Yorkshire wool merchants.
There was a kind of slavery going on during the early part of the Industrial Revolution though, that both families would have been marginally involved in. It was a kind of slavery that saw thousands of poor British people dispossessed and forcibly evicted from their homes to live in degrading conditions and work at demeaning jobs for poverty line wages, denied the freedom to change employers or try to better themselves. This particular injustice was responsible for widespread misery and suffering and directly brought about the astronomical infant mortality rate in the industrial towns during the nineteenth century.
We do not hear of politicians falling over themselves to apologise to the descendants of the British peasantry for the wrongs perpetrated under The Enclosures Act. I wonder is this because there are no votes or photo – opportunities in it?
We should remember the victims of the slavers, we should remember the victims of the nineteenth century land – grabbers and of the great depression of the twentieth century. And we should respect their memory by ensuring that we never go there again, that we never allow financial interest cloaked in a robe of bogus morality to hijack our view of what is right or wrong. Which means we need to make a pretty sharp about turn right now.

*The Thorpes later regained prosperity by getting themselves involved in smuggling brandy, wine and tobacco on the North Yorkshire coast around Robin Hood’s Bay – I’m rather proud of that.

AN EXAMPLE of what makes the apologies hypocritical

They Call Us Racist? – pot, kettle etc.

Whenever an African leader starts shouting about the inherent racism of the wealthy nations it kind of sticks in my throat a bit. No sane person could deny that there is racism in Europe and America and that it must be dealt with through education and political reform.
But when a politician with the track record of Mugabe tries to blame Africa’s plight on Euro – American racism I just start to think:
and they call us racist. ‘nuff said?

The Seven Profitable Habits of Self Help Gurus

Ever your guide and mentor, Little Nicky has been alarmed at the proliferation of business blogs selling self help programs here recently.
Don’t be conned, you too can be a rich, successful Self Help Guru, just follow Little Nicky Machiavelli’s guide (below.)

The title is a shameless parody of Steven R. Covey’s multimillion selling “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” of course. And why not, he is one of the leading exponents of a craft I am about to debunk.
Around fifteen years ago, as a consultant, I frequently used to come across people who would speak of Covey’s book in the reverential tones religionists reserve for their sacred texts.
The book (Covey’s book not The Book) was about success, or as D.H. Lawrence put it “the bitch goddess success,” so it was perfect bedtime reading for the driven young executive because it seemed to offer the obsessively ambitious a shortcut to their goal.
Another book that made somebody rich bore the title “In Search of Excellence.” This looked at the qualities that make a successful organisation.
In a society built of selfishness the self – help industry had tapped a rich vein.
Since then self help books have become a major industry.
It could be said that the books enslaved people as effectively as an addictive drug and the psychology of self help is certainly similar, the unfulfillable promise is there, the great secret will be revealed of how to achieve not the best time you ever had but: promotion, wealth, status, happiness, a fulfilling relationship, perfect mashed potatoes – no, scrub that one – and popularity. All anybody needs to do is read the book, apply its techniques and everything will just happen.
And if it doesn’t, you are a failure, loser, dick – head, a no – mark. Go down that road and you only have one place to turn. More self help.
Surveys have shown that despite the self – justifying claims of those who followed the advice offered in self help books, they have not actually done better on average, nor have their businesses. Publishers may produce the one person in a hundred who can truthfully say …

CLICK HERE to read all The Seven Profitable Habits Of Self Help Gurus.