The Judge RANTS!
A Grab-bag Of Grouches
The coming of Spring has at the very least relieved me of the desire to, or necessity of, commenting on current matters. We had a very pleasing spell of nice weather in the third quarter of March, which meant that I could get all the essential start-of-season weeding done. I also gave the grass its first cut of the year before the end of that month; an unprecedented act which had its expected consequences in having to give it another cut within three weeks, and it'll need doing yet again soon. The annual bellum contra taraxacum is also now in full effect (dandelions are described as 'perennial', and don't I know it).
Events out in what we laughingly call 'the real world' do impinge from time to time despite my best efforts to exclude them, so I've kept them back for the grimoire of grump you may be about to read.
- As predicted, the war in/on/over/through Ukraine has provided us with a full-spectrum dominance of propaganda, one in which the behaviour of those flacks and fluffers who have the nerve to self-identify as 'journalists' has varied between the breathless and the shameless. 'Breathless' in the fashion described in the words of The Editor in the first section of this poem, the sheer avidity of the tone being universal to all wars, but especially to ones where editors and all-wise columnists know that they themselves will not be anywhere near harm; and 'shameless' in the way that mere assertions are presented several hundred times a day with the voice of absolute certainty.
And so we have the constant use of the formula "n says...", where 'n' represents Zelenskiy, an (often un-named) 'Ukrainian official', NATO, the US, GCHQ or Liz Truss (as if anyone anywhere listens to what she utters). And so the Western state-corporate media have succeeded in their aim gently to bludgeon their respective populations into enthusiastic support - or at least an acquiescence which is largely mute for fear of being accused of Giving Succour To The Enemy - for The Official Line.
Of course, as I said before, it helps mightily if you have managed to manipulate things so that it is practically impossible for anyone to get any other perspective on goings-on.
The main result of this saturation bombing of bullshit is that it is deemed inadmissible to point out even the obvious truths that, for example, a large section of the Ukrainian military is overtly fascist in its inner and outward show; that said military had been bombing and shooting the civilian population of Donbass for eight years before Russia's invasion, to no more than the odd 'tut' from the Western 'leaders' who are now in such a froth over what Russia has allegedly done, and despite the fact that various 'newspapers of record' had reported on the true nature of Ukraine's forces a long time ago; that The Great Zelenskiy himself is no liberal and no democrat, as witnessed by his edicts closing down opposition media and political parties from almost the moment he clowned his way into power in 2019; and that The Mighty 'Z' is as much up to his oxters in the wealth of oligarchs (such wealth being stashed where the people of Ukraine can't get at it, natch) as Vladimir Vladimirovich himself. No, These Things Cannot Be Said!
(For a good overview, I recommend this interview at The Grayzone with the US-based Ukrainian academic Olga Baysha)
- Closer to home now, and all the froth around the Johnson régime's consistent and condign breaking of its own laws - encapsulated in the term 'Partygate' - is interesting again for what it says about the deliberate and dangerous obtuseness of those who claim that their rôle is to inform the public. Aleksandr Borisovich's true nature would have been obvious to them long before he even attained his first Cabinet post, and yet they chose to remain mute about it at the very best, and deceitful about it at worst, doing their utmost to ensure that there could only be one winner of the 2019 election (and the most deceitful of all were the faux-progressives at Guardian Media Group who clearly preferred a far-right government under someone they clearly believed to be essentially one of their own than a mildly social-democratic administration headed by someone they had a fierce collective animus against; a clear trahison des clots).
(The Twitter user known as Flying Rodent makes this point over and over again because otherwise those who have betrayed integrity and honesty in their reporting and columnising might think that they've got away with it. Again).
The trouble with all this is not that it isn't serious - it most emphatically is serious when a government behaves from its very outset as if its own state's laws are of little or no consequence to them and, like any notion of propriety, may be disregarded - but that (allied to the fact that politics and political 'journalism' have become nothing more than a combination of celebrity gossip and fairground freakery) it is masking developments which are far more sinister.
- And so we come to This Week In Galloping Fascism.
Mark in your Memories Book the week commencing 25 April 2022 as the point which marked a shift to overt authoritarianism; not merely undemocratic but anti-democratic.
In these last few days, the following pieces of legislation have been eased through the Conclave of Con-artists referred to in self-regarding Brit Nat propaganda as 'The Mother Of Parliaments' (although, as I've said before, the 'Mother' part is now merely an abbreviation of the fuller, more appropriate description):
- A measure which will mean that it will not be possible for people to vote in elections, referendums and other such exercises in mass futility without a photo ID. This, we have been assured, is to prevent voting fraud, a phenomenon so widespread that there have been all of, ooh, half a dozen or so prosecutions for it in the last decade or so. And in any case, those nice people in Westminster have assured us that anyone devoid of such ID (e.g., me) will be able to apply for a special government-issue card, no doubt contracted out to a party donor who will fail to deliver it on time or within the originally-stated budget
- A law which will give a minister of the government the powers to give orders to the Electoral Commission. This will mean that the mechanisms for registering political parties, for ensuring that elections are run according to law, and for investigating instances where they weren't, will all now be directly controlled by a politician with a vested interest in screwing over his party's opponents. And remember how we've constantly been told that election monitoring bodies must always be independent of government and that - if they're not - then that's a clear sign of a nasty dictatorship?
- And if you feel sufficiently strongly about your democratic rights being removed in these ways as to actually, y'know, protest against it, then there has been a third piece of legislation passed this week which will mean that any protest or demonstration which is deemed to be - or in peril of being - 'seriously disruptive' or even simply 'noisy' can be outlawed merely on the say so of a copper or two. Insisting on your right to protest will lead to a punishment of up to a year in the chokey, and even if you're not convicted of anything the Plod can get an order from a complaisant magistrate or judge to ban you from attending any protest of any sort, anywhere, anytime, or even from suggesting that others attend one. And the heinous crime of damaging statues is now to be dealt with by a brand-new offence which could lead to up to a whole decade locked up.
- But where has Her Majesty's Official Opposition™ been while all this was going on? As ever under the new dispensation of Continuity Blairism, it has been largely sitting on its hands, in the hope that the Daily Blackshirt and the Cun will not think that Labour is 'soft on crime' or 'failing to defend lumps of stone shaped like Winston Churchill'. Instead of anything which could seriously be called 'opposition' to these substantial erosions of our fundamental freedoms, Sir Sheer Stumer has instead been continuing his pogrom against anyone in the party tempted to think that moderate, mainstream European-style social democracy might still be A Good Idea, breaking off only to give a simpering interview to the Jewish Chronicle (one of the most persistent turds in that gutter which used to be called 'Fleet Street') about how loyal he is to Zionist Apartheid, and schmoozing with representatives of an Israeli Labor Party which is as committed to that Apartheid system as any Likudnik.
So, as ever, no frigging use at all.
- While I'm here, Fuck The Jubilee! Especially as some multi-purpose tool in what passes for the government has suggested that we should have a permanent extra public holiday (or, far more likely, that the public holiday which is supposed to represent the working people be moved to a new date) in praise of Lizzie Dripping and her ever more dysfunctional family. This coming from the same régime which has time and again rebuffed the 'requests' of our own pretendy parliament for our own national day to be made a public holiday (we have to 'request' because we are not permitted to set such a day ourselves, and our politicians are too much a gang of cowards and tuft-hunters to do what they should do and demand such a thing); rebuffed them with various specious arguments, such as "It would inconvenience the Bizniss Communiteh!", or "It would be too complicated because of all the cross-border journeys made every day!", or simply, "We hold you in such utter contempt that we won't even take your 'request' seriously. Now piss orf!"
I'm not really a malicious person, having never developed the required skills for that any more than I ever became an accomplished liar (both of which failings meaning that I could never be a politician), but I do find myself hoping that the old bat will drop dead about six days before the event; the amount of desperate scurrying around trying to swap red-white-and-blue bunting for black crêpe would be amusing, as would the discombobulation of all those flag-shaggers and Union Jack-offs in my own country who have planned street parties.
- Back to the mundane, and I have to say that shopping at the moment is proving to be a frustrating experience. Lines which Sainsbury's have stocked for years have in the last month or so vanished completely from the shelves. These include:
- Their own-brand Potato Gratins, very nice with Mr. Brain's Faggots and peas every third Friday teatime
- Speaking of which, the fact that they are currently only stocking six-packs of such pork delicacies, which is no faggotting use to me; I can't eat a pack of six in one sitting.
(This is also an example of the discriminatory behaviour shown towards single people in general by the retail trade, as I described here)
- Pots of marinated herring produced by Silver Tide Marinades of Grantown-on-Spey, Scotland. Neither the dill-marinated herring (my preferred purchase), nor the mustard-marinated variant (which I wouldn't have because I don't care for mustard in general), nor the fall-back position of rollmops, has been seen on the shelves since February
- Most grievously of all, Sainsbury's own-brand King Prawn Makhani and Rice, which has long been something to look forward to every other Saturday teatime. Vanished, possibly forever, although every type of curry on the general theme of 'chicken' may be had. If you can find where they've put them, of course.
- All this has necessitated some serious re-ordering of my menus, something which doesn't come easily to someone who is happiest with a routine, and I could do without having to think on the hoof at 0730 on a Saturday morning when confronted with yet another gap on the shelves.
(I do have a contact within that shop who informs me that Sainsbury's are having considerable trouble sourcing a lot of things, and are having similar difficulties in finding alternative products from elsewhere which meet their exacting standards).
(None of this is the fault of Br*x*t causing a shortage of truck drivers or making supply chains look like a kitten's freestyle knitting, oh deary me no!
And there we have it. In short, an awful lot in the world is FUBAR (Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition) in one way or another. I shall just sit here and wait for my bus pass and my Civil Service Pension (you know, the one tabloid readers insist is Gold-Plated), both of which are due to accrue to yer Ould Judge in less than six weeks from now.