George Orwell

One big long sledge of Russell Brand

Russell Brand gets a shellacking from Michael Moynihan at The Daily Beast:

Most of us have the benefit of growing up politically in private. Not too many people remember the naive and silly views we held; the late night college bull sessions (during which we discover that utopia is possible, if only they would listen to us kids) are forgotten in the haze of pot smoke and advancing age. But Brand, as he always reminds us, was doing a mess of drugs when all the other kids his age were at university doing a mess of drugs. So Che and Chomsky had to wait.

But now, two decades later, Brand is now doing the rounds promoting Revolution, a meandering and pretentious m?lange of student politics, junk history, and goofy mysticism. Now he will just proselytize and wait. He?s Lenin in Switzerland, Mao on the Long March, Castro in the Sierra Maestra.

Many of Brand?s critics have noted that Revolution is full of vacuous nonsense, like his argument?if that?s the right word?that the economy ?is just a metaphorical device. It?s not real, that?s why it?s got the word ?con? in it.?

And there is always the easy-but-true charge of Hollywood hypocrisy. Sure, it?s amusing that Brand rages about corporations and an economic system that has allowed him to loaf around a mansion muttering about the rich. More low hanging fruit: the $37 Russ-as-Che-Guevara t-shirts available on his website. Or how about when he was ejected from a Hugo Boss event for a spittle-flecked rant about Hugo Boss?s complicity with the Nazi regime, never recognizing the irony of his triumphant escape in a black Mercedes?

The main hallmark of a celebrity socialist is astonishing hypocrisy.

It seems that Russell Brand is a somewhat more eloquent version of Wrongly Wrongson, the blogger formerly known as Martyn Martin Bradbury.

In Revolution, Brand bemoans our ?uninformed populace,? while repeatedly proving his point with fantastically wrong information. It?s unsurprising that he compares Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump to Nazis, but if you have a habit of comparing your enemies to German fascists, it?s probably best to know a little something about German fascism?like ?everyone?s favorite founder of the Gestapo, Hermann G?ring,? who was actually everyone?s favorite founder of theLuftwaffe (the Nazi Air Force).*

* It has been pointed to me that Hermann Goering was, on paper, indeed the “creator” of the Gestapo. But as historian?Edward Crankshaw points out in his book Gestapo, “those who think of the Gestapo as the creation of Heinrich Himmler are closer to the mark than the pedants,” despite Goering technically running the organization?which was then a regional force, limited only to “police work” in Prussia?in the chaotic year of 1933. Indeed, it’s rare to see Goering identified as the founder of the Gestapo (and not the Reichsminister of the Luftwaffe or the president of the Reichstag), and I think it’s safe to assume the Brand is unfamiliar with these distinctions.

Brand writes that after ?the United States said there was an ?increased threat from Third-World nations who were developing technology? that could disrupt U.S. domestic serenity?really, they mean economic hegemony.? The?United States?said that? When I attempted to source the quote, it?existed?nowhere but in Russell Brand?s book.

On the following page he offers this baffling recapitulation of the Cold War?s end, when Mikhail Gorbachev ?allowed a unified Germany to enter NATO, a hostile military alliance, on the condition that, ?NATO would not expand one inch to the East,? the United States agreed. Then they expanded right into East Germany, likely giggling as they went.? Wait, so a defeated Gorbachev ?allowed? a unified Germany into NATO and then, like assholes, a unified Germany joined NATO?

We are told of ?Black Elk, the Native American chief who wrote a now-famous letter to President Franklin Pierce in 1854,? an ?utterly ignored? proto-environmentalist tract. It was ignored at the time because the now-famous letter is also famously a fake. And Brand is confused: the phony letter is attributed toChief Seattle; Black Elk would have a hard time writing to President Pierce, considering he was born more than a decade after he took office.

Many of the quotes are mysteriously sourced, apocryphal, or misattributed. Brand claims that, ?Since Friedrich Nietzsche (deceased) declared, ?God is dead,? we?ve been exploring the observation of British writer G. K. Chesterton, who said, ?The death of God doesn?t mean man will believe in nothing but that he will believe in anything.?? Brand rewrites the quote (the original: ?When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing. They then become capable of believing in anything?), which is from the pen of Belgian writer ?mile Cammaerts, something he could have discovered in a few seconds of Googling.

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Now we know why MPs are members of unions, so they can get multiple votes

When moderates complain about Labour, they’re told they?can join and have their?say.

But will it be an equal say?

No. Because unionists and special interest groups, the very people corroding the party, get more than one vote.


No wonder things just keep getting worse. Talk about a failed attempt at democracy! ? Read more »

How to speak like a politician

Politico has a good article that analyses and teaches you how to speak like a politician.

Complaints about political language are hardly new. In a famous 1946 essay, George Orwell groused that it ?is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.? But if anything, doubletalk and weasel words proliferate now more than ever. They?re a manifestation of both parties? desires to doggedly stay on message amid a rapacious 24-7 news cycle and the compulsion of some politicians to pass judgment?on Twitter, on TV or in Politico?on most of the issues that surface during it.

In doing research for our new book on political rhetoric, we came across five general categories of Washington-speak?the devices that today?s politicians use in their never-ending quests to one-up each other while, at the same time, appearing spontaneous?and productive?to voters. Here?s what you need to know to keep up with the best of them?if that?s what you want to do.

Once you notice these you will be better armed at detecting bull ordure.

1. The polite knife in the back. Politicians like to be liked. So even when sticking it to an opponent, they have an incentive to stay positive. Even casual C-SPAN viewers will recognize the most common forms of this passive-aggressive approach.

Take ?my good friend??politician-speak for somebody he or she often can?t stand. ?My good friend? is most commonly used on the House or Senate floors when addressing a colleague. Usually it?s a thinly veiled way of showing contempt for the other lawmaker while adhering to congressional rules of decorum. When Democratic Rep. Gene Green of Texas first arrived on Capitol Hill in the early 1990s, he recalled, ?The joke we had was, when someone calls you their good friend, look behind you. I try not to say it unless people really are my good friends.?? ? Read more »

Map of the Day


George Orwell?s dystopian novel ?1984?, the world is ruled by three superstates:

– Oceania (ideology: Ingsoc, i.e., English Socialism); its core territories are the Western Hemisphere, the British Isles, Australasia and Southern Africa.
– Eurasia (ideology: Neo-Bolshevism); its core territories are Continental Europe and Russia, including Siberia.
– Eastasia (ideology: Obliteration of the Self, i.e., “Death worship”); its core territories are China, Japan, Korea, and Indochina.

Delingpole on the liberal-left’s weasel words

James Delingpole does not tolerate fools and especially detests the liberal-left, especially when they hijack the language.

Not so long ago ? and indeed for the first five hundred and fifty odd years of its recorded usage ? a subsidy was something quite clearly understood by everyone to mean a cash incentive.

Here, for example, is the online?Merriam-Webster definition:

Money that is paid usually by a government to keep the price of a product or service low or to help a business or organization to continue to function

Here is the one from my Chambers dictionary:

Aid in the form of money; a grant of public money in aid of some enterprise, industry etc; or to support or keep down the price of a commodity, or from one state to another.

This is certainly the sense in which I have always understood the word. I would suspect the same is true for most of you. So I would argue that there is something slippery and disingenuous about that claim above that there is no “internationally agreed definition of what constitutes energy subsidy.” Yes there is. Everyone ? every normal, reasonably well-educated, English-speaking person, at any rate ? would know instantly what constitutes “subsidy”, regardless of whether or not the word “energy” is put in front of it. It means a cash incentive.

What it definitely doesn’t mean is a tax reduction. Why doesn’t it mean this? Well, let’s examine the logic for a moment. Suppose I were to mug you in the street and steal, say, ?100 from you. But then, in a fit of generosity, I decided to hand you back a tenner so you could get a cab home. Could that tenner be reasonably described as a “gift” or a “donation”? Well, yes, I suppose at an enormous stretch, it could just about. “Dono” means “I give” in Latin, so, yes, when I give you back that “tenner” it could be construed as a gift or a donation.

But only by someone lacking in any kind of moral responsibility, or intellectual consistency, or understanding of sense, context and nuance. No sensitive user of the English language would ever employ the word “gift” or “donation” in such a perverted way. ? Read more »

The benefits of sunlight

Len Brown called for more privacy for politicians after I busted on of his sordid little secrets wide open.

Like Len’s mistresses, secrets fester in the darkness…Matthew Norman at The Telegraph explains clearly why any moves to curtail press and media freedoms must be opposed strenuously.

Secrets are onerous, dangerous and destructive things, in public life as in human relationships. They fester in the darkness and become fetid, until eventually they turn toxic. Just as people become ill without enough Vitamin D, so the body politic needs sunlight to stay healthy. ? Read more »