Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Reasons To Be Cheerful!

I've done it again. Despite forcing myself to spend at least a part of each day doing this 'relaxing' thing (in practice, mostly analysing the cackhanded post-human theorising of lots and lots of Battlestar Galactica and wanting to be as cool as Starbuck) I've worked my normally robust immune system down to the shell and am now holed up in bed shivering, feeling sorry for myself and drifting in and out of fever dreams in which a giant robot with the head of Nick Griffin chases me through central Brighton.

This morning, I was in Westminster to do an interview. The mood in parliament has ceased to be panic-stricken and is now subdued, depressed. The Election Results That Must Not Be Named and string of resignations have left the place stunned, and even the infamously costly tropical trees in the foyer look like they're expecting a chainsaw at any moment. So I've decided to remind myself and everyone patient enough to have read this far that not everything is utter pants. There are, in fact, some reasons to be cheerful.

1. Firstly and most importantly: justice, of a kind, for the Saro-Wiwa claimants against Shell. The oil company has agreed to pay millions of dollars of compensation to the families of nine environmental protestors executed by Nigerian troops in 1995, which dreadfully cynical anti-business Penny Red readers might interpret as a sign that there was sufficient evidence to prove that Shell had arranged for those men and women to be murdered and many others injured and mutilated. The case has been ongoing for over fourteen years, and many did not expect it to make it to the courts in New York, such were the obstacles thrown in its way. And although no verdict was reached, this really is a stunningly important precedent for international business law, reminding corporate giants that it's just not okay to shit all over people's lives because they happen to be poor and live somewhere rural. One year ago I sat in on a meeting in which Baroness Shruti Vadera scorned the idea of any international corporate justice system; today that noble goal just got a whole lot more achievable.

2. Yes, almost a million people voted for the BNP, and yes, that does make me bloody ashamed to be British. But it was only a tiny increase on their proportion of the vote in 2004, and look, look, right: today Nick Griffin got egged by anti-fascists outside the Commons, where, if you'll recall, he still doesn't actually have a seat. The racist scumbag was forced to abandon a press conference after the brave lads and lasses from Unite Against Fascism turned up with hearts full of hope and hands full of poultry produce. Nice one.

3.No, really. Watch the video. The BBC newsreader is loving it. Especially when he fumbles delicately over describing the 'er, thickset men...security, I think, is the word...that escort Nick Griffin wherever he goes. Yes, gosh, there are an awful lot of cameras here now, and you can see the eggs...' Gods bless Auntie Beeb.

4. Not everybody has slammed their laptop shut in disgust, and the blogosphere is doing us proud in these dark days. Great new initiatives include the Asian Women's Carnival, the second round of which is up today and makes for fascinating reading. Compass, too, are doing sterling work drawing our attention back to the important stuff: read Salma Yaqoob's cross-post to the Guardian on the New Left, and Carola Becker's clarion call to remind us why welfare reform is still a crucial campaigning topic - even if the Labour party are by now so ashamed of the plans that they've forced them off the schedule for the party conference in September.

5. Look. We live in a world where a sickly neonate leftist hack can pop across the road to the corner shop and buy a magical painkiller that simultaneously gets rid of the horrid aches and pains and stops her falling asleep; where said poorly journalista can munch on said painkiller in front of a high-speed internet portal allowing her access to more current information than she could ever possibly digest at the click of a button; where fresh tomato soup, soothing episodic science fiction and fan heaters can be had even on a startup writer's measly half-salary. We are living in the future. That really makes me happy.

6. No, look, isn't the future great? A hundred years ago I might have died of this flu. Now I'm enjoying a lovely half-day off work, work which incidentally I'm allowed to do because here and now young women are allowed to earn a wage, contribute to the world of media and citizenship, have some control over their reproductive capacity, enjoy sex, travel and education, and generally have options that aren't marriage, church and early death in childbirth. The future is stunningly fantastic. Also, they make computers the size of paperbacks. Apologies, I tend to get a little techno-utopian when I'm feverish.

That's as much as I can think of for now. Please comment and add your own reasons to be cheerful. Tell me about what you last enjoyed eating. Post funny pictures of cats who can't spell. Youtube yourself singing the shitty English lyrics to The Internationale whilst tearing up BNP pamphlets. Anything.


  1. Not quite sure we should be so proud of the egging, it's not exactly the manner in which I'd like to see the BNP disposed of.

    BSG is good yes. Starbuck is faintly irritating though. As a series it's a very interesting depiction of women in power.

  2. Well if you insist…


  3. Personally I really was hoping that the Saro-Wiwa case would make it to court, just to see the evidence get reported out to the wider world, make headline news the way it should have done back when he and the others were executed.

    I worked in Nigeria at the time and it opened my eyes to so much that the world seemed to have turned it's back on or pretended not to see.

    I know it would be unlikely to reach a conclusion within years given expensive lawyers and multiple appeals cases, but part of me really hoped they'd have their day in court. Shell's payment and proclamation of innocence is unlikely to convince anyone and, to be honest, $15million isn't going to hurt them at all, but at least some level of justice has been done.

    Get well soon L,


  4. Yeah... the techno utopia is pretty sweet. It's a pretty inclusive elite as elites go.

    I also think that egging is not necessarily the maturest of responses. Such tactics always run the risk of further legitimising ridiculous viewpoints. However, having watched the video it is pretty funny/inspiring

  5. Via Ben Goldacre, a flying dildo would have been much more inspiring.

  6. That egg video is brilliant. The BBC are great...

  7. It does have quite strikingly bad English lyrics, doesn't it? It's a real shame.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. The Bragg version isn't as bad as the original in terms of the translation. Unfortunately, he's not very good at singing.

  10. Nick Griffin?

    What could be better? Bacon and Eggs!


  11. Red El, the long haired one.9 June 2009 at 20:54

    I also have the deathplague at the moment, and thus have been off work today. Standing up makes my head hurt in a way that doesn't go away for at least ten minutes after sitting down, and in a job that is based entirely on getting up to fetch things and sitting back down, that is a problem.
    So instead I have been drinking M&S apple juice, reading the interwebs, and spreading the news of Griffin's egging.
    I will also not die of the flu, and shall cure it with the magic of fruit juice and lots of goth music.

    "Temple of Love" is making my head better even as I type.

    To add to your utopian technology, they may be making the tiny little book sized computers last even longer and become even more efficient- news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8085044.stm

  12. Bollocks; the correct flying dildo link is here...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFcZm7UUYIg

    What's making me cheerful is that I'll soon be on holiday. What's dampening that is that it's all downhill from here (then again, the same's true for skiing and people seem to enjoy that...).

  13. It never fails to make me happy to think about all the wonders in this world that have been created by humanity in its many guises; temples, palaces, tombs, works of art, gardens and parks, cities...

    And that I live in such an unimaginably futuristic future that I could actually visit them all.

    My mind reels when I think what a person in antiquity, or even during the Enlightenment, would feel if you told them that yes, they can see the Pyramids, the Parthenon, the Coloseum and Stone Henge. In a week.

  14. Yes, the egging of Nick Griffin was most enjoyable. I've written up a first hand account of it at the-sauce.org

  15. Erm! In the remade version of Battlestar Gallactica the character Starbuck was thoroughly heterosexual became a brilliant officer by means of hard work and innate talent and didn't waste her life bleating about how the chips were stacked against her because she was a woman!

  16. I like the thought of being a Street Scene Enforcement Officer - "You will dance and sing NOW!"

    Just a thought - if a giant robot has Nick Griffin's head, doesn't that mean that Nick Griffin doesn't have his head any more? "Off with his head!"

  17. Get better yer little rascal.

    I'm a proud chainsaw warrior blazing my way through tonnes of fallen branches every winter to feed my beautiful open hearth fire. Any tropical indoor timber will be gratefully received.

    PS I don't do heads

  18. Now that's a good use of eggs!
    It cheers my up somewhat after the step forwards for the more extreme right wing parties in the European Parliament elections.

  19. I think Nick Griffin is kind of cute in a boss-eyed way. I definitely do him.

  20. Yeah, male chicks get killed so the egg production system can continue ensuring there are enough eggs to throw at the bnp. Were there no rotting vegetables?

    Whilst it was undoubtedly brave of the protesters to risk the wrath of the bnp and also the police, what did it prove? We know many people abhor the bnp. What is needed is cunning ways of exposing the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the bnp.

  21. Oh, and PS. Was less than delighted when the Lib Dems (ignoring my written request they NOT leaflet me) send a letter saying they sympathised about the number of family houses being turned into homes in multiple occupation.

    Well, that's put me firmly in my place. Fancy me thinking that single people deserved to live inside. I'm either going to find my tent or join a family.

  22. I only have one BNP pamphlet, and I am keeping it, for it is awesome, it goes on about being British but has Polish air force fighting for Britain, an American doctor rambling about immigration and NHS, and an Italian couple wanting to rely on UK state support when they retire.

  23. Not entirely anonymous10 June 2009 at 18:34

    @ Vanilla Rose. Egg throwing may not be the greatest of initiatives against the BNP, but it's a start, and good entry point for students who want to get their arses in gear and start other, more high brow schemes like the "Hope not hate" campaign, and the genius move of the leaked BNP party details.

  24. I think pelting Griffin with eggs was wrong, wrong, WRONG! Those eggs could have made a good omelet or could have been scrambled and eaten by a hungry person needing a square meal. The protesters should have taken a lesson from our monkey cousins and thrown fresh shit at Griffin!

    Waste not want not!

  25. We're still in a world where Nick Griffin can be pelted with eggs without the perpertrators being shot & there are some people plucky enough to do it to ensure that things stay that way.

    There's a cause for praise. Two, in fact. :D

  26. Hmm- these UAF types have got the same spoilt bourgeois faces that those student chappies had back in '68.

    The likes of That Straw Feller and 'Permatan' Hain if I remember.

    Col Bloddnok (ex MI5)

  27. "The racist scumbag was forced to abandon a press conference after the brave lads and lasses from Unite Against Fascism turned up with hearts full of hope and hands full of poultry produce. Nice one."

    No not nice one. Bloody stupid and short sighted one. There is nothing I'd like to do more than throw eggs, lit fireworks, half bricks or petrol bombs at BNP Fascisti; but what are UAF to say the next time someone on their rallies, or anyone else, gets assulted by the BNP? A stunt like that just gives the BNP an excuse to bring more of their thug behaviour into British politics.

    Ian Dury and the Blockheads.

  28. Check out more on the shitty philosophising of Battlestar Galactica:




  29. Those lyrics in full, in esperanto. Loving the net.

    Levigxu, proletar' de l' tero,
    levigxu, sklavoj de malsat'!
    La Vero tondras en kratero,
    sekvos finofara bat'.
    La paseon plene ni forvigxos,
    amasoj, marcxu, kresku ni!
    La mond? en fundament? sangxigxos,
    ne nul?, sed cxio estu ni!


    Por batal', por la lasta
    unuigxu nia front',
    internacia estos
    la tuta homa mond'!


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