Saturday, 30 May 2020

TOO LATE IN MARCH AND NOW TOO SOON - EXTRAORDINARY FAILURES IN 10 DOWNING STREET

My next literary venture is well underway. It is a tale shaped by these Covid times. As I write my book, I see unfolding the latest episode in this UK horror show. SKWAWKBOX keeps me informed as to the detail but the general thrust of events is one that I, like them, have been expecting. My task in these blogposts is to pass the parcel, as Alan Bennett wrote in the concluding pages of 'The History Boys'. Please do remember to pass on what you discover through reading this blog - however you see fit.






Exposed again: Boris Johnson's claims to be 'following the science'




Lock-down in the UK arrived on Monday March 23, at least three weeks too late. Ten weeks later, we are being encouraged out of lock-down too soon for the health of the nation, prompted by neoliberal Tory concerns for the nation's wealth. Having made a similar mistake at the beginning of the crisis, they are apparently intent on repetition. Even more people will die needlessly. The economy will take

Thursday, 28 May 2020

THE ART OF LOVING - AND THE DARK SIDE OF BORIS - PART FOUR

And so we reach the fourth week of May and the fourth and concluding post in this series which presents a psychoanalyst's view of how people should love one another - alongside a parallel study of a terrible failure in love. The PM of the UK does not love himself. He acts to maximise his own interests but that is not the authentic self-love that Erich Fromm is advocating. Unless you know how to love yourself, you cannot love other people. Tens of thousands of UK citizens have died of Covid 19 as a consequence of the actions and inactions of two emotionally crippled men, Boris Johnson and his narcissistic special advisor, Dominic Cummings.



Love works



And so back to Professor Fromm. Having discussed what is needed for the practice of any art, Fromm hones in on the qualities that are needed for the ability to love. He states as a given that 'the main condition for the achievement of love is the overcoming of ones narcissism'.

Just let Fromm's magisterial insight work its magic as you read these words:

'The narcissistic orientation is one in which one experiences as real only that which exists within oneself, while the phenomena in the outside world have no reality in themselves, but are experienced only from the viewpoint of their being useful or dangerous to one.'

Think of Johnson or Trump considering their next move, their next statement. Do Fromm's insights

Monday, 25 May 2020

THE REMARKABLE LIFE OF JAGO STONE - THE LATEST UPDATE - MAY 2020

My latest Jago Stone Mailchimp Newsletter was written and circulated a few days ago and has been seen by 45 people - 65% of those who have subscribed at some point over the last four years. Following the usual pattern, I am now recycling that Newsletter as a blog-post in order to widen the circulation of its contents - specifically, in this instance, to tell the story of the Daventry Express Review last week and share a couple of pieces of correspondence from across the Pond. It's also an opportunity to brighten up your screen with a further reminder of some of Jago's finest artwork! 




Untitled - Jago Stone (1971)



This MailChimp newsletter is another opportunity to share the feedback that I have received to date from readers of 'The Remarkable Life of Jago Stone'.

Many of you will have seen the blogpost that I published on May 6 and also posted on Facebook. Here's the main thrust:


'I couldn't resist sharing this [an online review from Frost Magazine.com - see below] having received the alert

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

THE ART OF LOVING AND THE DARK SIDE OF BORIS - PART THREE

The conjunction 'AND' is vital in the title - this is not a blogpost detailing the art of loving the dark side of the prime-minister. I do recommend reading Parts One and Two in this series first, before gathering the fruits of this third part.

Here is the link for Part One - just press.

And here is the link for Part Two - just press.

In Part Two, I outlined Erich Fromm's understanding of the active nature of real love for other people. Such authentic loving always has these four characteristics: we care; we respect; we recognise our responsibilities in the relationship; we seek to understand that person and empathise with what has shaped them.



Love is …..



In 'The Art of Loving', Fromm develops his argument further as he examines the love between parent and child; brotherly love (by which Fromm means love for neighbour in a biblical sense - the masculine gender is a token of the decade in which the book was written); motherly love; erotic love; self-love; and love of God. Fromm then moves on to consider what he sees as the disintegration of love in western society.

Fromm is clear about the economic and social reasons for such  a collapse of love:

"Modern capitalism needs men who co-operate smoothly and in large numbers; who want to consume

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

THE END IS NIGH, PRIME-MINISTER AND CO

When the going gets tough, knives are sharpened in Tory ranks - and their leaders will need to look to their fig-leaves. Today, the 'i' newspaper carried a short article - under the title: 'Reckoning is coming for Johnson' from an associate editor, Sean O'Grady, which would have been unthinkable for them to publish even a fortnight ago. Here's a taste:

"Every bumbling performance at Prime Minister's Questions. each stumbling appearance at a coronavirus media conference, all the 'ramped up' insincere promises only serve to build up the evidence that we have placed a clown in charge of dealing with the worst pandemic in 100 years.
When will the madness end? i think by Christmas.  .... In due course, Johnson will become an insupportable political burden for his party. .... More than anything, the people are beginning to comprehend the human cost of Johnson's failures. He has let us down. That is the unforgiveable bit. .... There will be a reckoning.'

I had the clown nailed back in 2019. So did all the other socialists in the Labour Party. My resistance started a couple of days after our election defeat in December. See my blog-posts, all safely stored within my website. Then came Covid-19 and the clown turned murderous. See my blog-posts published this year that have brought you, my readers, the latest real news from Skwawkbox which otherwise is ignored or airbrushed by the mainstream media. Until now. We are seeing, I hope, the beginning of the end.



Johnson behind bars



Here's the latest from Skwawkbox:

 Government's scientific advisers - and other scientific groups - recognise return to school likely to fuel second and potentially larger 'spike'



The government's measures for 'COVID-secure' work and school places are a joke. The Tories know that putting children back into schools spreads the virus but have taken no significant steps to limit that spread. There has been no

Sunday, 17 May 2020

STAGE TWO OF THIS COVID DISASTER JUST GOT WORSE

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it has.

UK deaths drastically understated - and even Financial Times' 'cautious' estimate misses mark
(Skwawkbox: Friday 15 May 2020)



The global comparison on the government's own sham figures - this is what is being withheld from the daily press briefings




The UK government continues to understate the deaths Boris Johnson's mismanagement of the UK's response to the coronavirus pandemic has either caused or allowed - many of them entirely avoidable. The official daily total, exposed weeks ago by the SKWAWKBOX as a sham, barely states half of the deaths even according to the 'cautious' analysis of the Financial Times.
ITV's Piers Morgan on the latest FT figures


The Tories' daily charts - now abandoned after the UK reached second-worst in the world even on the government's figures - showed this country in a cluster of European nations, including France, Spain and Italy, with the US way above.
But even based on that cautious FT analysis, an honest chart - shown in a linear form so the distances

Saturday, 16 May 2020

A BIT OF MUSICAL JOY - BUT STILL WITH RADICAL EDGE

I need a break from the horror story of our misgovernment. You may well feel the same way. I will return soon enough to the task of speaking truth to power and spreading touches of reality across the canvas of lies and deception created by those who have power and wealth. But today I bring you a blogpost with two wonderful videos, courtesy of YouTube. They feature different artists but it is the same song. And it's a song with radical edge.

I'll start this story with a tale from my formative St Catz years at Oxford. In my second year, 1968-9, I found myself President of the Dean Kitchin Society, in effect the college historical society. I rose to the challenge with a flourish and sent off invitations to historians left, right and centre. Come and speak to us! We will entertain you, with a college meal and the pleasure of our company! Peter Burke came from the University of Sussex - he seemed so young; I guess he was my historian of the centre. It never occurred to me he would need travelling expenses. My tutor, the late George Holmes, rescued me from that pit-hole. George Holmes later became a don at All Souls in Oxford. One other invitee was already a don at All Souls. He was Max Beloff and definitely a historian of the right. I remember him making mincemeat of my attempt to ask a question after his talk; my mind was befuddled with the rather good burgundy we had been served in the dining room set aside for our gathering. And then there was Christopher Hill, master of Balliol College in Oxford - and definitely a historian of the left. A Marxist, no less.

Christopher Hill was my academic god. His book: 'The Century of Revolution' had been my school text book for A-level history; I gained my Oxford entrance scholarship in part on the back of Hill's 17th century wisdom. It took two shots but I bagged Christopher Hill on the second attempt; he replied; 'It's a fair cop ….'. I still have the letter. And it was from his writing that I had learned about the Diggers.



Sweet music to a swinging sixties radical looking to turn the world upside down himself



Hill distinguished between the Diggers and the Levellers, another radical force who emerged with the world turning upside down during the English civil war. The Levellers expressed the outlook of men of small property, the artisan, yeoman, and husbandman majority of the population; the Diggers advocated a communist programme under the leadership of Gerrard Winstanley and began communal