How long before people get it into their heads that the Poppy has nothing to do with peace?
Before this year is out, you’ll see Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore strutting the streets with the emblem of the British Legion on their lapels.
For years now, the poppy has been promoted as a symbol of commitment to peace, love and understanding on our little island, with the inference that it symbolises peace and its opponents are all in favour of bloodshed. The hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the ’14-’18 war will see a huge escalation of this nonsense.
British Tories have been bombarding the media with complaints about Bolshies and Blackadder denigrating patriotism and painting the conflict as a shameful shambles. Let them. There’s less excuse for the sleeveen simper of establishment politicians here. Many, including Kenny and Gilmore, have taken to referring to the slaughter as “a fight for freedom”.
Explaining his attendance at a Remembrance Day ceremony in Belfast in November, Sinn Fein Lord Mayor Mairtin O Muilleoir said: “Remember also the fact that many of those who died, many of the Irishmen who died had joined the British army to fight for the freedom of Belgium, the freedom of small nations.”
If he’d said that the victims had been bamboozled by lying bastards into believing that the war was a war for freedom and that we should be extra-wary of such warmongers today, he’d have had a point. Instead, in the interests of “reconciliation”, in effect he endorsed the slaughter.
Belgium, at the time, was a savage colonial power. It “owned” the Congo, where it was torturing and murdering millions.
The Germans were no better in what is now Namibia. The holocaust against the Herero people provided the prototype for Nazi genocide against the Jews.
The Brits, of course, were up to evil everywhere.
Here’s how the war came to pass: A Serbian nationalist assassinated the archduke of Austria-Hungary; Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia; Russia mobilised in Serbia’s defence; Germany declared war on Russia; France came to Russia’s aid; Germany stormed across Belgium to attack France; Britain made Belgium’s cause its own.
There wasn’t a suspicion of a hint of idealism about any of it. These were European imperialisms in a dance of death, each manoeuvring to defend its franchise for enslaving other, lesser breeds.
Sandino’s in Derry on February 2nd will see the first of a number of When This Lousy War Is Over gigs. Poetry and songs of the period. Abby Oliviera, Connor Kelly, Paddy Nash, Technopeasant. Coming soon to a space near you.
I took part a couple of weeks ago in an angry debate on BBC radio about the legalisation of cannabis, pegged on the lifting of the ban in Colorado. Angry because the guy I was up against – I forget his name and have better things to do than look it up – knew zilch but felt able to pronounce that, “Research shows regular use causes mental illness,” “Places where it’s been legalised have seen crime rates soar,” and other such bare-arsed lies.
I must remember not to screech on the radio in future. I did immediately afterwards serendipitously chance on a splendid quote from the late William F. Buckley, founder of the US National Review and one of the few challenging, coherent conservative thinkers of recent decades: “Narcotics police are an enormous, corrupt international bureaucracy… and now fund a coterie of researchers who provide them with ‘scientific support’… fanatics who distort the legitimate research of others… The anti-marijuana campaign is a cancerous tissue of lies, undermining law enforcement, aggravating the drug problem, depriving the sick of needed help, and suckering well-intentioned conservatives and countless frightened parents.”
A sensible fellow, all will agree. And now that I’m on the subject… One of the clown princes who spoke in the Dail against Ming Flanagan’s moderate (indeed, rather timid, I thought) bill to ease the law on cannabis had once shared a joint with me, showing a nimble-fingered dexterity in multi-skinner construction. Maybe they aren’t all wankers after all, I murmured to myself at the time.
Now I have to face the fact now that maybe they are. Apart from Clare Daly, Richard Boyd Barrett and a couple of others. An old fact to keep in mind (I wish I’d thought of it during my on-air argy-bargy) is that, on dope, Paul McCartney wrote “A Day in the Life”; off dope he wrote “Mull of Kintyre.” Case closed. Say no more. End of.
The New Dinkum Aussie Dictionary is such a dangerous book it’s been banned from the Guantanamo gulag.
Likewise, The Gulag Archipelago, Jack and the Beanstalk, Booky Wook Two and The Merchant of Venice.
The US bosses at the internment camp in the stolen Cuban enclave have confiscated copies of all these books sent in to prisoners by relatives or well-wishers.
Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Money by Martin Amis and Uncle
Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe have also been blacklisted.
I know that in certain areas of the North you could still be putting life, limb and liberty on the line by travelling around with a copy of Plato’s Republic in the glove compartment. But Cinderella?
I learned all this when somebody invited me to send in a book of my own in expectation of it being banned and thereby, perhaps, acquiring a radical cachet which might result in it doing what it didn’t do when it published some years ago – ie, sell a few copies.
But I thought it best to give the suggestion a miss. I mean, imagine the embarrassment if they let it in.