OPINION: The fact they they’re incompetent doesn’t mean you can trust them.


Can we trust a political class whose proven untrustworthiness is only one dimension of its dysfunction? Discuss.




Around the blogosphere, the theories flew back and forth yesterday as to why London Bridge killer #3,947 had been let out of prison early, and why they shot him dead so quickly. My own mercifully brief experience of the British justice system leads me to favour incompetent chaos as the key determinant on this one, but that’s neither here nor there: the fact is, more and more Brits now find it impossible to put their trust in anything or anyone as a reliable source of information.

The media went semi-bonkers over the weekend about some polls showing that Labour had “slashed the Tory lead”, and it now looked like another hung Parliament was on the horizon. Lots of agendas in there of course, but also lots of total inability to do gains/loss maths or calculate margins of error.

The bomber conspiracy and hung Parliament “stories” however lacked the same basic ingredient: an assessment of cui bono. Was the bomber’s job to push ‘softie’ Corbyn into a corner? If so, Labour was very quick to blame the Tory justice system. Was the polls hysteria designed to get out the maximum Tory vote? If so, it’s hard to see why they thought it was necessary: it’s the professed Labour vote that’s wobbly, not the Tory one.

But to reprise the headline above, ‘The fact they they’re incompetent doesn’t mean you can trust them’. Most Cohen Brothers dark comedy movies are based on this thought, and it is highly relevant to the epoch we are unfortunate enough to be living through. The Court, release, tag and probation services in Britain are shambolic, underfunded and past meltdown: they are now but liquid metal pouring onto the heads of the citzenry….as Ministers throw meaningless cold water cop statistics over the lava flow, ignoring the hot ashes raining down murderously from elsewhere.

Yet more things not on the election syllabus, and therefore untopics that shall not be recognised or discussed. Such as, the introduction of Islamic “culture” into Britain.

This is what Boris Johnson said about Islam in 2005, shortly after the London Tube bombings that the British Muslim Council took three weeks and a great deal of Blairite arm-wrestling to only equivocally condemn:

‘To any non-Muslim reader of the Qur’an, Islamophobia – fear of Islam – seems a natural reaction, and, indeed, exactly what that text is intended to provoke. Judged purely on its scripture – to say nothing of what is preached in the mosques – it is the most viciously sectarian of all religions in its heartlessness towards unbelievers.’

But when interviewed by Andrew Marr on Sunday, the Prime Minister felt compelled to say, “People are always going to drag out bits and pieces of what I have said over the years to distract”….as if he should be forgiven for saying something silly.

As a historian and longterm student of Islam, I endorse every word Johnson wrote in that Spectator piece as a courageous attempt at being frank and empirically accurate. So I wind up now not only angry that the BBC employs a former Trotskyite Socialist Worker activist as an attack dog against Truth, but even angrier at BoJo for meekly disowning his comment from fifteen years ago.

All one can do is add cowardice to the growing list of character defects among our political class.


It’s quite a list: incompetent (fiscal management) scheming (Brexit process) greedy (expenses) gravy-training (Brussels) mendacious (moving lips) and cowardly (Unlected State). Their loveliness goes on and on. But we are becoming inured to the sight, sound, actions and cloud-filled curriculum vitae of these people….and so now anyone who promises anything is acceptable.

This is analogous for me to the Vietnam War after 1965 – the first TV War in colour that showed, on the kitchen telly at teatime, day in day out – kids with their backs on fire, Napalm chucked around as if it might be so much harmless Guy Fawkes Night fireworking, generals being interviewed about “burnin’ every Victor Charlie on this goddamned peninsular” and so on…..but not ad nauseam, because the nausea never arrived: it just became another part of de nooz: “And now here’s de man for whom de nooz wouldun be de nooz widout de nooz….heeeerrreees Dicky!”

‘Why is this happening?’ I wondered at the time. But later that year, I went to East Germany. I saw, heard and indeed felt the terror of the DDR. And I realised that perhaps life wasn’t quite so black and white after all. The word ‘soundbite’ was still to be invented; all I felt at the time was ‘there’s no way you can précis this shit’.

The nearest I’ve been able to get to it since then was something I wrote in a letter – remember them? – after reading a Congressional report into the murder of President Kennedy. It was an email to a since deceased friend, and it read as follows:

‘It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the Vietnam War was fought between the bastards that killed JFK, and that bastard Ho Chi Minh who invited the Red Army in to kill his own country’.

Well, sixteen years on, that trend is still rumbling along: the attempt by a tiny Mob of blocist and internationalist bastards to dismiss country and compassionate compatriots as dangerously violent fascist jingoism. And their chosen medium is the simplistic slogan-cum-soundbite favoured by Momentum, the US Fed, Guy Verhofstadt and all the other disturbed gargoyles.

The only addition to the puerile soundbite media theology has been the practise of biting off the sound of anyone saying, “Er, hang on a minute here….”

Is there really any difference on these bases between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn? Let me answer my own question: there is not an iota of difference.

They both support violence (be that Darius Guppy or the PIRA) they both think Superbig is Great, they both unequivocally believe antithetical ideologies can take us forward to the Past, they’re both happy to enslave their children for a vote, they both want to borrow too much too late – and they both have some exceedingly dubious fellow-travellers.

As always – in the 21st century since a bloke was crucified for asking why money changers in the Synagogue were approved by Pharisees in the Money – it’s all about damage limitation: there are no political leaders in Europe who will protect us from global debt and unelected hawks.

The UK choice is between one man who’s quite happy to roger the Poor up the backside in the name of neoliberalism, and another man slavering at the thought of making us all equally poor in the name of socialism.

I have voted once since 1992. I shall not be voting in this farrago: I am disenfranchised not by Law, but by ideology cooperating with evil in my name.

I choose to search the social media and my own physical acquaintance circles for those who not only share the feeling of being castaways, but who genuinely grasp that yet another political Party is the last thing we need.

Only a bottom-up, grounded socio-cultural movement is going to banish the bottom-feeders we are offered for election. Ironically, the people who stand the best chance of saving elective democracy will not have been either selected or elected. They will simply join with others who have but one measurement criterion: the maximum mutual fulfilment of the maximum number of human beings in society.