Monday, October 31, 2011

No-One's Slave, No-One's Master....Messages From The English Revolution

I was in the UK for a brief visit last week, so I took the opportunity to visit the protest camp installed outside St. Paul's Cathedral. The camp is in danger of being evicted any day now, given the hostility towards it of the Corporation of London (a medieval institution in need of even more reform than the monarchy - see footnote) and the church authorities.

The original objective was to occupy the Stock Exchange, but Paternoster Square is firmly sealed off to all who don't carry permission to enter. It's a good indication of the priorities of our rulers. Oddly, given the claim that this is private land, most of those doing the protecting seem to be familiar looking uniformed public employees paid out of the public purse. I suppose that's what you get when you don't pay much taxes but make contributions to the parties who control the police.

A propaganda campaign against the campers has been carried out which will be familiar to those of us who read similar tales directed against the protestors in Madrid's Puerta del Sol in May and June. They're hurting the local businesses goes the cry. Well in reality the only businesses who might be suffering are those located in the aforementioned private land above. Starbucks beside the camp seemed to be doing very well, and next to it is a shop which sells, amongst other things, camping gear! I bet they're having a terrible time.

The camp seems to be well organised like its Madrid counterpart with an information tent, proper rubbish collection and recycling, and food and cinema organised by the campers themselves. The other ludicrous propaganda act against the camp was the completely unnecessary closure of St. Paul's. The picture below was taken from the steps of the cathedral and shows the distance between the camp and the entrance, there is no impediment of any kind to those who want to enter the building. I attended part of a general assembly held on these same steps, it was just like old times except with less sun and notably cooler.

Updated: Anyone who doubts the medieval nature of the City of London Corporation should read today's excellent column from George Monbiot.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Last In The Line Of Succession

I read yesterday that Spain is now the only country in Europe that doesn't give equal right of succession to the throne for men and women. This follows the UK having finally changed the situation so that the eldest child is the one who gets the right to live well at public expense, regardless of their sex. David Cameron describing this small change to a medieval hereditary institution as being a sign of modernity would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

The situation in Spain is of course different. It requires a change to the Spanish constitution and this, as we know from recent experience, is something that is incredibly difficult to achieve. Perhaps if Angela Merkel could be persuaded to write a letter to the Spanish government on the subject it might help to move things along?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dangerous ETA Terror Cell Identified

Thanks to the tireless efforts of some of Spain's finest investigative journalists, we are able to reveal that the people shown on the front page of today's ABC are in fact members of ETA.

Oddly, for such a dangerous group of terrorists, some of these people look vaguely familiar. Kofi Annan, didn't he work for some international organisation? Bertie Ahern, Gro Harlem Brundtland? These are names that ring bells. Gerry Adams, Jonathan Powell (the one that isn't pronounced 'pole'), Pierre Joxe. Who would have thought that they all work for ETA? But in case you think it's just one mad newspaper making all of this up, let me correct you. El Mundo confirms that these dangerous people are the "pregoneros de ETA", and the especially reliable La Gaceta says that they are "los enviados de ETA". Surely that puts it beyond doubt?

There is another shadowy figure behind the group who didn't turn up yesterday at this so-called peace conference in San Sebastián. Tony Blair was either too busy sorting out the Middle East (a far fetched explanation if ever I heard one) or just not offered enough money to turn up. The latter sounds true to form. Hiding their true intentions, the sinister group called on ETA to definitively cease all violent actions. If it wasn't for our keen nosed news hounds they might just have got away with it.

What would a former Irish prime minister, an ex French interior minister and Gerry Adams know about terrorism anyway? The people who are here to really tell it like it is are from the party of the political manipulation of 11-M, together with their equally opportunist fellow travellers in UPyD. "Push off foreigners!" is the all too subtle message from those who get incredibly nervous the nearer the Basque Country gets to an end to violence. The victims organisations that have been hijacked by the far right simply deny the existence of any ETA victims who don't share their shrill point of view. 

All of this could still change of course. Should Mariano Rajoy win the election and then decide to sit down and talk to ETA, all of those shouting about betraying the memory of the victims will fall strangely silent. There will be no street demonstrations, and the same newspapers that accuse mediators seeking peace of working for ETA will instead churn out editorials praising the wisdom of the great leader. We know this will happen because it's what happened last time the Partido Popular, under José Maria Aznar, negotiated with ETA. In the meantime, watch out for these dangerous people!