Poppies, Row on Row

PART 1: ‘THE BEAUTIFUL GAME’

This autumn has seen a succession of spats between the football associations of the ‘home’ nations and FIFA the international governing body of the game over displays of poppies, which FIFA deems to be a political symbol. These disputes reached something of a fever pitch last week when FIFA laid a number of charges against the Football Association of Wales (FAW) linked to the game against Serbia on November 12 (which I attended).

Press reports suggest that one of the charges was that fans had worn poppies in their coats! Which, if true, is insane. For not only would such a charge infringe personal liberty but also open up a vat of worms for those having to decide what qualifies as a political symbol. (At the game I wore a discreet Glyndŵr flag lapel badge.)

serbia-ticket

Consider Barcelona, one of the biggest clubs in the world, intertwined with Catalan identity and the independence movement. Everywhere at their stadium you will read it spelled out for you – Mes que un club (more than a club). Their big rivals are of course Real Madrid, the club of ruling Castille, the club of the monarchy, and the multi-ethnic – but definitely unified – Spanish state.

Last week Barcelona played in Glasgow against Celtic, an intense, occasionally tetchy, but nevertheless enjoyable game that saw the magnificent Celtic fans waving their Irish tricolours and singing their Irish rebel songs. Across town you’ll find arch-rivals Rangers, whose fans wave union flags and sing ditties such as The Billie Boys (‘Up to our knees in Fenian blood, etc’).

There are hundreds of other clubs in the world with an intensely partisan identity that is overtly and unmistakably political, or even ethnic. Until very recently only Basques were allowed to play for Bilboko Athletic Kluba and even though that rule now appears to have been relaxed Athletic Bilbao and the other Basque clubs retain an intensely nationalistic ethos. (Though Celtic and Rangers may be unique in that the fans are animated by the history and politics of another country.)

Come to that, what about international games, such as the one between Wales and Serbia that caused FIFA’s representative such concern? As with every competitive international game there were national flags, and national anthems – aren’t they ‘political’? Come to that, national teams, the raison d’être for FIFA, are obviously political because they represent nation-states or, in the case of Wales, a nation without a state.

Whereas on the other hand, the Serbs might argue that Serbia is a nation-state but too many Serbs are stranded outside the homeland, in Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo. And yet, Kosovo, a breakaway province of Serbia, handed over by NATO to Albanian gangsters was, in a blatantly political decision, admitted to both FIFA and the European governing body, UEFA, in May 2016. Too late to qualify for the World Cup Finals in Russia in 2018, which is just as well, because Russia doesn’t recognise Kosovo.

In other words, football at club and international level has always been political. Whether it’s the England team giving a Nazi salute in 1938, the so-called ‘Football War’ between Honduras and El Salvador in 1969, or German football fans welcoming refugees (last year). So for FIFA to try to punish Wales for individuals making the personal decision to wear a poppy is absurd. Worse, it could be dangerous; for does FIFA now wish to dictate what people wear to football matches?

Early in the second paragraph I qualified my criticism of FIFA with “if true”, partly because I find it difficult to believe that anyone would try to dictate what football fans wear, and partly because it could be that what FIFA meant by ‘fans in the stand’ was the display organised by the FAW, not far from where I was sitting with my son and grandsons. (Being aware of this stunt in advance I was praying that our section of the crowd wouldn’t be involved. Taid being thrown out could have spoilt the night even more than the late Serbian equaliser.)

This stunt was arranged by placing cards on seats which, when held up, combined to give the image of a big poppy. This was rather naughty of the FAW, and very silly. Naughty because it forced people to be part of something about which they might have had reservations, and silly because it was sticking two fingers up to FIFA, which had already warned the FAW that the players should not wear poppies on their shirts, nor should there be other displays. But then, the Sun, the Daily Mail and other good friends of Wales said it should be done, so that presumably made it OK.

faw-poppy

Now if it is this display of poppies organised by the FAW that FIFA is objecting to, and if it results in points being deducted and Wales not reaching the World Cup Finals, then I believe that the officials of the FAW will have failed us all and should consider their positions.

I say that because the duty of the FAW is to manage the game in Wales in the best interests of the member clubs, the national team and the fans, not to jeopardise the best interests of Welsh football by falling into line with the cynical and engineered poppy frenzy.

Personal freedom is one of the cornerstones of a democratic society, and must be defended. And that’s why FIFA is wrong if it charges the FAW for individual fans choosing to wear a poppy in their lapel. But considerations of personal freedom also put the FAW in the wrong for forcing individuals to be part of that poppy display.

I think we’re entitled to answers, from both FIFA and the FAW.

PART 2: “SQUEAKY BUM TIME”

Demanding that everyone, including footballers, wears a poppy for the weeks leading up to Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday is quite recent, maybe no more than a decade old. Here’s a photo from a Scotland v England game played on Saturday November 14, 1999, the day before Remembrance Sunday. There are no poppies. There was no one-minute silence before the game.

It’s fitting that the photo comes from 1999, and was taken in the home city of Sir Alex Ferguson, the great Manchester United manager, because that year almost certainly marks the start of “squeaky bum time” (a period of nervousness and uncertainty) for those who were soon promoting the poppy and what they wanted it to stand for.

england-v-scotland-1999

Because 1999 was the year of the first elections to the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly. The SNP got 28.7% of the vote and 35 out the 129 seats in Scotland, while in Wales Plaid Cymru achieved 28.4% of the vote and 17 out of 60 seats. So even though Plaid Cymru did better than expected there was nothing for our masters to get overly concerned about in either country, yet within the establishment there were those who already feared where devolution might lead.

September 11, 2001 saw the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, soon followed by retaliatory US and UK air strikes against Al Qaeda and Taliban targets in Afghanistan. To be followed by ground troops. January 4 2002 saw the first US soldier killed by enemy fire. The conflict dragged on.

The USA and UK invaded Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein in March 2003. All kinds of reasons were proffered to justify this aggression but none were convincing. It was regime change linked to oil, and another ‘All be home by Christmas’ intervention that dragged on, and on.

Then, in July 2005, London experienced suicide bomb attacks that killed 52 people, and carried out by British-born Islamic terrorists. These bombings were the most extreme expression of the growing anger within Muslim communities in Europe and the USA at the West’s military interventions in the Islamic world.

The May 2007 elections to the Scottish Parliament saw the SNP’s share of the vote climb to 32.9% of the vote, giving it the most votes, and with 47 seats (one more than Labour) it was now the largest party. Squeaky bum time was really upon us (or them).

By the end of 2007 it became clear that the Western world was entering a period of economic turmoil. It was equally clear that the recession had been caused by irresponsible lending by banks and mortgage institutions coupled with the imaginative trading of debts and other worthless packages. As with Afghanistan and Iraq, it was the USA and the UK leading the way, with other countries quick to blame ‘the Anglo-Saxon economic model’ of quick-buck trading having no concern for the wider economy, let alone society as a whole.

By 2010 everyone knew that the UK was up shit creek economically, with the public purse bailing out criminally irresponsible banks. The public turned against banks and the City of London. The UK was still bogged down in Afghanistan and Iraq. Al Qaeda had been overtaken by the much more ruthless ISIS, which had support from young British Muslims.

To cap it all, the Monarchy started losing what had been its 90+ per cent approval rating. I suspect this started with the death of Princess Diana in 1997, made worse by divorces and scandals, with the prospect of Charles becoming king viewed with concern in certain quarters.

So our elite consulted that well-thumbed manual, ‘Cunning Plans For When Things Go Pear Shaped”. And there, in among chapters headed, ‘Blame Somebody Else’, ‘Start A War’, ‘Scapegoat A Minority’, ‘Do A Runner With The Loot’ and ‘Pray For Divine Intervention’ they found ‘Whip Up A Frenzy Of Faux Patriotism’.

This explains why, in the mid to late noughties the largely neglected poppy saw the first drops of revivifying water and became the symbol not of sacrifice in war but of British identity and ‘pulling together’. The UK media played its role with an enthusiasm almost unknown in democratic societies.

Could it get any worse for the establishment? Yes it could, for in May 2011 the SNP took 44% (+13%) of the vote and 69 seats, giving it a clear majority in the Scottish Parliament. There would now be a referendum on Scottish independence.

Television companies responded by going into overdrive in promoting British unity. In the final year of the Labour – Lib Dem coalition in the Scottish Parliament (to May 3, 2007) there were just 25 television programmes with ‘Britain’ or ‘British’ in the title. Between January 2013 and January 2014, with the SNP in power and the independence referendum looming, the number of ‘Britain’ / ‘British’ programmes had risen to 516!

Which brings us to where we are today. To the point where the now regular autumn hysteria has reached absurd proportions. Here are a couple of examples.

On the evening of Friday November 18 I watched a televised football game (Brighton & Hove Albion v Aston Villa) and I couldn’t understand why the players had poppies on their shirts a week after Armistice Day and five days after Remembrance Sunday. Then the commentator told us it was to commemorate the last day of the Battle of the Somme!

So are we now compelled to remember every date that someone, somewhere, deems significant? And if so, where does this end? Can anyone remember any other instance of poppies being worn after Remembrance Sunday?

Nowhere is the poppy cult more slavishly followed than at the BBC. It is now obvious that from mid or late October no one is allowed to appear on any BBC programme without a poppy. (Though Evan Davis on Newsnight held out longer than most.) So terrified is the Beeb of falling foul of the Sun and the other directors of the national mood that anything that moves is liable to have a poppy pinned to it.

But this fear of manufactured British patriotism can bring its own problems, such as when someone at The One Show pinned a poppy on the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. This outraged some for “trivialising the sacrifice of millions”, but as Dara Ó Briain suggested, it might have been satire, somebody having a pop at the poppy fascists. Here’s how the story was covered in Heatstreet, MailOnline, The Express, and the Huffington Post.

cookie-monster

As the BBC discovered with the Cookie Monster, when you’re dealing with poppy fascists it’s difficult to do the right thing. Perhaps the rule for broadcasters should be to pin a poppy on everything that breathes irrespective of whether it wants to wear one or not. Which might result in an apologist for ISIS appearing on Newsnight  or Channel 4 News wearing a poppy.

PART 3: CUNNING PLANS GANG AFT AGLEY

What I hope I’ve explained is that the past decade has seen a poppy cult engineered to engender a sense of Britishness, patriotism and unity, in order to counter threats from within and without; also to divert attention away from military blunders and other cracks in the façade of the British system that had led people to question the roles of the armed forces, the Monarchy, the City of London and other institutions.

To some extent this has worked. For example, the first referendum on Scottish independence in September 2014 was ‘won’. Then, the prince who many would like to see accede to the throne instead of his father has knocked out a few sprogs, and the ‘Ah!’ factor always works for the House of Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha.

Yet the success of this strategy is now causing problems that the Elite had not foreseen. You’ll note that I’m talking now of an ‘Elite’, so let me explain myself. Perhaps the best way is to refer back to my post EU Referendum: Why I Want OUT! where I wrote of an Elite that opposes “nation-states, national identities, local governments, languages other than English, regional tastes and peculiarities. In fact, many of the things you and I cherish.”

Those behind the relentless promotion of the poppy are linked to that global Elite. They opposed Scottish independence and they were against Brexit, for they believe in the Elite’s agenda of globalisation and mass migration as these drive down wages and help destroy the national identities that are viewed as an obstacle to globalisation.

The problem is that for most English people ‘Britishness’ and ‘Englishness’, ‘Britain’ and ‘England’, are synonyms, and the English make up almost 80% of the UK’s population. Which has meant that by clumsily promoting the poppy and British nationalism as a short-term fix for assorted problems the Elite unleashed insurgent English populism that resulted in UKIP and Brexit, and may now take us on a journey no one foresaw.

This revolt against the Elite is not confined to the UK. Donald Trump is President-elect of the USA. François Fillon is the Centre-right’s candidate against Marine le Pen, and he will fight that election on a platform that Donald Trump would approve: making friends with Putin, cracking down hard on Islamic extremists, opposing same-sex couples adopting children, etc.

When the French go to the polls in April to elect a new president it will be a choice between a weak and demoralised Left on the one side, while the alternatives are the Hard Right and the Very Hard Right. Then, between Fillon and le Pen, attitudes to the EU could be the main and defining difference.

The liberal, globalist, ‘do your own thing’ consensus we’ve lived with since the 1960s is almost dead. Accidentally killed by an Elite that over-reached itself, assisted by a Left that had been allowed to dictate the social agenda (because it complemented the ambitions of the Elite) but so detached itself from the concerns of most people that ‘liberal elite’ is now a term of abuse.

For me, it’s one of the great political ironies that an annual propaganda exercise to defend established interests favouring the EU, centrist politics, globalisation and unrestricted immigration has breathed life into forces representing their very antithesis. But so fitting.

♦ end 

97 thoughts on “Poppies, Row on Row

  1. Dai

    Good article on poppy hysteria, not sure why Brits always pick on Putin. Global elite hates him. And he ain’t no worse than UK or Wales establishment.

    1. I think more and more people are realising that Putin ain’t the problem, nor a serious threat – unless he’s pushed. Yes, he may be a bit of a bastard, especially with his internal critics, but then, Russia has never been a democracy, most Russians seem to want firm leadership.

      People like Fillon, Trump, and many others understand that if NATO stopped threatening Russia then Putin would be more amenable to combining with the West against the shared threat from militant Islam. One obstacle is that the US elite has been in cahoots with the Saudis and others in the Gulf, funders and suppliers of ISIS, for decades.

  2. Tony Bianchi

    Yes. And it gets even worse. The British Legion now sell poppies made of exploded WW1 shells and REAL Somme earth (with maybe a smidgen of your own Grandad’s DNA?) How much further can the obscene kitsch of warfare be pushed? Rib necklaces from Passchendaele? In the right sentimental packaging we’re game for anything. ‘Aw, there’s tragic … Now then, have you got it in pink?’ See https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/media/4143/somme100_poppyshop_flyer.pdf

    1. JE Lloyd

      We are told be the British Legion that wearing a poppy is primarily a symbol of “remembrance and hope”.

      But is it a fitting symbol of remembrance of the many victims of British imperial and post-imperial atrocities?

      – Of the Irish victims of their War of Independence, including the burning of Cork and murder of the Lord Mayor, the Croke Park Massacre, and the numerous outrages perpetrated by the Black and Tans?

      – Of the millions of Indian victims of the British during their liberation struggle, including the thousands of peaceful civilian demonstrators shot during the Amritsar Massacre, and the victims of the Bengal famine during British rule which prompted Churchill to say “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits.”

      – Of the 25,000 German civilian victims of the carpet bombing of Dresden contrary to the Hague Conventions?

      – Of the Malaysian victims of the “Malayan Emergency”, including the Batang Kali massacre, and the decapitations and mutilations, concentration camps and collective punishments?

      – Of the tens of thousands of Kenyan victims of rape, torture, abuse and murder at the hands of the British during the Mau Mau Uprising, including the Chuka and Hola Massacres, the British concentration camps, and the hanging of over 1000 “suspected” insurgents?

      – Of the Cypriot victims of torture at the hands of the British during their War of Independence 1955-1959?

      – Of the Iraqi civilian victims of beatings and killings at the hands of the British Army?

      – Of the 321 victims of the torpedoing of the ARA General Belgrano positioned outside the area maritime exclusion set by the British Government and posing no threat to British forces?

      – Of the expulsion and forced removal of the Chagossians from their homeland to make way for military installations, and the continuing prohibition of their return?

      Or should our acts of remembrance airbrush away the millions of innocent civilian victims of the British forces from the outbreak of the First World War until the present day?

      Yes, many members of the British armed forces have demonstrated great physical and moral courage since 1914, sometimes for worthy causes.

      However, it is utterly deplorable to see how the symbol of the poppy is now used to elide the highest acts of heroism and sacrifice with the most barbarous and despicable acts of cowardice, criminality and inhumanity by the British State.

  3. dafis

    As I have said on here before I retain a degree of respect for that which the Poppy symbolises – remembering people who have been killed in action or killed just by being in the wrong place at a time of conflict. Nothing wrong with respecting those who fell tackling assorted enemies who would have not done us any favours had they, the enemy, won those conflicts. At a local level standing in silence in front of a simple memorial is just about right. That serves to keep it within the community right up to those who have been killed needlessly in places like Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.

    On the bigger picture I tend more towards your view and that of others who see the Poppy being hijacked by the elitist establishment for an assortment of “bad” motives. It’s the same with everything in our lives today. There is an insidious creeping “policy” that things should conform to some statist norm, and there will be no dispute or debate tolerated by those who hand down these edicts discreetly. There was no big ballyhoo way back around 2000, but you are right there has been a huge growth since then in the conformist circuses that happen almost weekly.

    The London Poppy Parade on Rememberance Sunday is now a grand show which Uncle Joe, Adolf and Benito would be proud to attend. All those Cvnts in attendance in their posh suits and overcoats who haven’t seen a second of action in their pansified cosseted lives but who glibly send our youth to fight useless campaigns in god forsaken holes just to impose a fake western political philosophy on tribesmen who still prefer a village council. That these same poseurs even entertain the return of that arch criminal Bliar into any form of political debate is a sure sign of their deviant corruption.

    Organised sport has been hijacked by the corporate state, evidenced by the presence of the ultra deviant Lord Coe in a position of power within the Olympics and within international athletics governance. And, of course, the ultimate irony of the debauched FIFA reading the riot act to national FA’s about conduct when their own cesspool has hardly been touched let alone cleansed.

    So I remain on the side of the ordinary Poppy wearer but, like you and others, would love to take it back from those spivs and frauds that have stolen its symbolism from us. The big question is – does anyone care enough to want to do that ?

    1. I was a kid in the 1950s when people wore poppies for the right reasons. There were still many veterans of WWI alive, they wore poppies for the mates they’d lost. There were plenty of others who’d lost someone at ‘the Front’. Everyone remembered WWII, and knew someone who hadn’t come home. It was sincere, and almost spontaneous.

      Utterly different to the cynically engineered ‘patriotism’ we suffer today, and done for reasons that cannot be stated.

      The tragic and nauseating irony is that the memory of ‘those who gave their lives for freedom’ is being used to justify coercion.

    2. Brychan

      It’s not the first time the British Legion was used as a political pawn by the establishment. It was not established until three years after the end of WW1. At that time, particularly in Wales were was already a movement to commemorate the fallen in the form of independent public subscription. It funded ‘Peoples Parks’ reflected the ‘new era’ that peace was to bring.

      One of the biggest collections in Wales, from the miners shilling, was the purchase of Ynysangharad Park in Pontypridd from the Lennox estate. There was already sports ground adjacent to this land. Peoples Parks had already been established in other parts of Wales. These movements must have shaken the British establishment. It was the time of the Russian revolution and insurrection in Ireland.

      The first collection of the British Legion did not fund tablets of stone, but purchased food and clothing for the abandoned veterans who could not find work. Those which the British Government abandoned.

      The top brass were then employed to do a systematic renaming of ‘Peoples Parks’ to ‘War Memorial Parks’. Only then did the tablets of stone start to appear.

      The Legion never owned the land used and most of these in Wales have since been adopted by the local authority. In Labour areas, the council use them as a Brit Fest venue, often eclipsing the movements (some nationalist, some communist, and some non-conformist religious) that originally set them up.

      I notice that the British Legion (the Royal was not adopted until 1971) are now funding some facilities of service personnel still in service. What a disgusting situation when the British Government are again failing to help wounded veterans, but more disturbingly, using the poppy money collected to fund activities for existing servicemen.

      Perhaps this is the real reason for the latest stuntathon.

      FAW should not have fallen for this wheeze and remember that when their clubs were set up and very ground on which the first matches were played, it was the very much ‘the peoples game’.

  4. Brychan

    In 1935 the Royal British Legion embarked on deligation to Nazi Germany. Led by their chairman, Major Fetherston- Godley. Amongst the activities during the trip was a dinner with Adof Hitler, and they laying of a poppy wreath at Stahnsdorf cemetery in Berlin with Hermann Goering. During the trip the Royal British Legion to the Dachau Concentration Camp, followed by dinner with Heinrich Himmler.

    So successful was this visit that the Royal British Legion organised a reciprocal visit. The Nazi top brass visited London, paraded the Swastika and Poppies on a boat up the River Thames and that evening was entertained at Buckingham Palace by King Edward VIII.

    FAW, itself, should not be entertaining emblems of poppies at football games.

    It’s a very silly way of sticking two fingers up at FIFA. It’s based on false patriotism and ignorance. The correct method of commemoration on the pitch is an unadorned black armband. That is accepted as such throughout the world, including Germany.

    Any fine imposed by FIFA should be paid from the money saved by the suspension of the trustees Sport Wales, and a letter of apology sent for the poppy mosaic in the stand. Strangely, the BBC and the Wasting Mule have yet to find any fan at the game who had their poppies removed from their lapel. This is their right as an individual.

    The poppy I wear at election time is Welsh, not British.

    1. When I think of the Royal British Legion I wonder who’s really running it now, and whether they couldn’t spend less time playing politics and do more to help those they’re supposed to be helping.

    2. dafis

      The British Legion too seems to have multiple personalities. At street level you generally meet old boys perhaps with a bit of an excessive layer of Brit patiotism or deference to “them who are wiser than us and govern us” ! but generally tend to be harmless enough as their focus is on the memories and pastoral care for some of the older and injured. The real shits are to be found at senior level within the RBL who enjoy grand events funded from donations and enjoy hobnobbing with their mates from elsewhere in the elite. They still provide havens for double barrelled Majors to prance about, dressed up in uniforms and regalia. Now the Legion “administers” the Poppy, possibly owns whatever rights relate to it, but I wonder whether they could stop a group of people setting up an alternative red poppy and distributing proceeds to charity. Just a thought.

  5. sian caiach

    The Plaid Cymru Emblem is of course the welsh poppy, not a stylised flattened daffodil designed by someone expressing their love of their childhood Spirograph, as often assumed. The real flower has only 6 petals but that’s just a detail. lost on political emblems. Perhaps RBL should consider a Welsh version in yellow next year?

    1. Brychan

      Nonsense.

      The Welsh poppy four petals, and four offset sepals, these are the protective folds that also open when flowering. Nothing to do with the childhood Spirograph slur made by the Labour Party at the time it was adopted (and correctly represented) as the Plaid Cymru emblem.

      It’s disappointing you repeat that slur, Ms Caiach.

  6. Armistice Day has been totally devalued in recent times. I remember with fondness several damp Sunday mornings and the march to the war memorial in Crumlin as a member of the cubs / scouts with a plastic poppy tenuously clinging to my beret. Shedding a tear or two when the last post sounded and thinking about who and what that represented Now what have we got ? A celebrity culture ably led by the BBC and the establishment which has turned November 11 into something of a fashion statement. Rarely is it about remembering those long gone, now it is about attempting to outdo one another with the most original, expensive, designer poppy from Kleshna Handel or some other gaudy designer.

  7. Troi

    Like dafis i’m agnostic on the poppy. The whole business has become commercialised and vulgarised in recent years as the Great Generation passes on and collective memories gradually morph into national myths about the Finest Hour etc. Visibly demonstrating support for the Royal British Legion ought to be a purely personal choice.

    FIFA is a corrupt oligarchy, but the FAW are little better. Sadly Welsh football is a microcosm of our economy in general. Our 2 really big clubs (along with Merthyr, Casnewydd & Wrecsam) I believe choose to play outside the FAW altogether in the EFA’s league pyramid Inevitably youngsters with talent get scouted and from age 16 offered contracts by clubs in English lower divisions. Virtually no proper professionals play in the FAW leagues. Whereas the FA has vast resources and a TV revenue stream that puts FIFA in the shade, the FAW are a bunch of elderly duffers in blazers who once captained Bala Town’s finest 11 and now enjoy sharing out their freebies to World & UEFA Cups and the annual summer outing of our Champions League contender. Right now we have our strongest national side for decades (though Wayne Henessey’s lamentable performance in goal at the Liberty on Saturday was not calculated to ease Coleman’s beauty sleep), but a bit like Big Jack’s Republic of Ireland team it is unlikely to be sustained long-term and the national association seems unlikely to use the revenue windfalls effectively.

    The fact is that the FAW’s position on the poppy parlarver, as on so much else, is completely determined by their client / tributary relationship with the EFA and the no strings gifts it bestows to support “community football” around the UK. According to one EFA CEO (I forget whom & the quote is from memory) “once a year they (the Welsh) send a posse to Lancaster Gate. We let them fill their saddlebags with our gold and they turn around and ride off again.” So long as the money keeps flowing and the EFA resolutely stymies any efforts to mess with the political status quo by which, uniquely, there are four national sides from the state known as the UK then they won’t rock the boat. With England and Scotland both determined that in the face of the media driven public interest they had no option but to defy FIFA one can imagine the call over the old boys network ‘I say old chap our chaps want to show that we won’t be kicked about by jonny foreigner … wonder if you could lay something on … don’t worry about any qualification penalty the krauteaters need us to have their tournament … and we can always refund you any fine …’ more than likely this calculation will prove sound. FIFA is nearly broke and cannot afford Russia to turn into a still greater fiasco than looks on the cards already (the less of Russia’s immediate neighbours qualify probably the better – It used to be joked that in latin america wars broke out around football matches; this world cup tournament definitely has the potential for a serious diplomatic incident).

    1. What I find odd is that there’s no Welsh Premier League club in Swansea or Cardiff. Does the FAW have an understanding with the Swans and the Bluebirds not to accept an application from those cities?

      1. Troi

        Neither side was always as good as they are now – much although we Jacks would like the present status quo to go on indefinitely. Even in a city/region of 250,000 in my mis-spent youth there were only ever limited numbers prepared to turn up to the Vetch to watch a soggy nil-nil against York in late November and the gate receipts from them as did were pretty much all that was available to pay the players. Even so at least it was proper professional players we were paying to watch, not some pub side from Llandarcy Refinery kicking the daylights out of some patch of grass in Briton Ferry as they fouled and hoofed their way through 90 mins against a bunch of farmboys from Oswestry (or some other unlikely village).
        Obviously both the Swans and Cardiff (I assume) today sell out all their home games and seeing as both grounds are limited in capacity ticket prices have risen to unheard of levels such that there are now fanatic fans who’ve followed the team since Toshack’s days now have to watch down the social. So it is conceivable that there MIGHT be an audience for a reasonable semi-pro squad nowadays
        St Helen’s stands empty save the occasional local rugby match. Glamorgan despite the name play in Conwy more regularly. The Oystermouth Rd stand is pretty much gone but any new team would presumably have to start from the bottom of the pyramid and work their way up to the dizzying heights of the WPL over several seasons

        1. I think the one and only time Cardiff filled their new stadium was during their season in the Premier League and the game against the Swans, this season it’s about half full for most games. Largely because they made the miscalculation of expanding the stadium in the belief that they’d stay in the Premier League. St Helen’s would be an ideal venue, and I’m sure the FAW would fast-track a well-funded outfit from Swansea. As they would a similar new club from Cardiff.

          1. Troi

            Once Labour lose Uplands this May I rather suspect Rob Stewart and his Morriston clique will be tempted to ‘develop’ (i.e. build posh flats and ’21st century townhouses’) in the immediate vicinity of St Helen’s (the authority owns the ground, but the leasing is complex) and the Rec to boost their capital budgets so they can build a handful more of the most expensive social housing in Britain (if you don’t count royal palaces!) …

            1. St Helen’s and the Rec are unquestionably prime development land, but there are bound to be covenants to overcome, especially on the Rec. The focus should be on bringing people back into the city centre – and not just re-housed dossers, druggies and students but normal people. (Provocative? Moi!)

            2. Troi

              The thing is nobody really goes to work in Swansea City Centre anymore. The retail offer (and nowadays workforce) is minimal – most Swansea residents do their shopping in fforestfach, trostre, or the lower swansea valley enterprise zone – and the office work is largely gone too. The demand for housing is in the areas with decent access to the M4 (unless you can afford to bid against the Anglos for a property on the Gower itself).

              Sadly Swansea City Centre has become so hollowed out as a retail/commercial hub that its only youngsters in private rentals who don’t own cars (by no means all students, many are local youngsters but learning to live semi-independently) and enjoy the nightlife, the vibrant Indo-Asian new communities which have clustered near Sandfields / St Helen’s Rd and the public sector clients who are interested in properties near town (with the big exception of the old south dock redevelopment colloquially known as the Marina). Thankfully the University is going nowhere in a hurry as I shudder to think what kind of people might move into the townhouses converted to HMOs that now cover most of Brynmill.

              The real challenge for Swansea’s econonmy will come when some bright eyed Minister in Marsham St realises that practically all of the DVLAs functions could nowadays be safely outsourced to India via Serco or Crapita. Realistically one barely needs more that a postroom (to open and scan hard copy forms and printshop (to print out and post the driving licences) in the UK itself. Virtually all the jobs in Morriston being variations on data input and call handling … (Provocative … Nah!)

            3. dafis

              Your last paragraph sums up neatly how globalism’s corporate state vision tries to get us all by the bollocks. They can shift stuff to India or elsewhere then for some reason it screws up and they blame the users of the service rather than consider how piss poor communication skills elsewhere is at the root of the problem.

              On a smaller scale some twat at HMRC is working really hard, possibly in collusion with Cynulliad, to shut a Welsh language service based at Porthmadog and shift to Cardiff where some Anglo will inevitably answer the phone with ” I’m sorry my Welsh colleague not here today, how can I help you ” type of nonsense and that service will be on the slippery slope.
              The more I rant about these issues I become convinced that globalisation is an English-centred plot to give it competitive edge over the other big language groups like Chinese and Hispanics and will destroy everything else while they are at it !!

            4. As I argued in EU Referendum: Why I Want OUT! “The European Union is a bureaucratic nightmare run by weaklings and a failure on every level. Worse, it no longer serves the interests of Europe’s peoples but those of a shadowy Elite that regards all nationalities, and all languages other than English, as obstacles to a world unified without the knowledge or consent of its peoples.”

          1. Dai

            A quote from above “But he’s a medical doctor and has absolutely nothing in common beyond language with an illiterate, mixed-race migrant from Central America.” Illiterate on whose definition?

  8. Ian Perryman

    The marketing language of the RBL seems to have changed over the years.
    It used to be remembrance of the fallen and support for ageing veterans.
    Now it seems to be more focused on support for ‘our’ armed forces.

    I suppose this was an inevitable shift as the old veterans died off and neither the younger generation nor their parents knew much about the reality of war or the sacrifices that were made.

    It was probably an act of self preservation. I mean a ready made, well-paid job for all that retiring top brass could not be allowed to simply disappear.

    I suppose that it has been embraced by Westminster politicians recently as a symbol of ‘Britishness’ that binds the UK together. In much the same way as they refer to a war that ended over 70 years ago as if it happened only yesterday.

    But this is a delusion of the Establishment. Westminster politicians, the BBC and the London tabloids buy into the jingoism as if their jobs depended on it – which they do, of course.

    Whether or not the younger generation, more used to international travel and the global freedom of the internet actually buy into it is entirely another matter.

    The concept of Nationhood has changed. The idea that you can enforce borders and fight off invaders (or immigrants) in a modern world is just the sad wet dreams of the ageing Canutes that infest public bodies.

    It is being replaced by regionalism, where belonging is more important than place of birth, and community is more important than duty to the elite.

    This is what drove the formation of the EU. When the ‘War to end all wars’ staged a re-run shortly afterwards it was decided that the lives and livelihoods of the population should not be the playthings of the (largely aristocratic) families that ran each country. It is now, in effect, a single democratic state with regions.

    What is lacking is the ability of historically subservient regions (Wales, Scotland, Catalonia etc) to become active members of the family. Which should be addressed.

    Globalisation is nothing new. You can trace it back to the days of the old European empires, or even the Romans.

    Industrial globalisation is spawned, in the main, by massive and wealthy conglomerates that have far more power than small individual countries. Calling the EU an agent of globalisation ignores the part it plays in fettering the industrial giants that strive for World Corp Ltd.
    Industrial globalisation will continue, but it can be controlled by the big players such as Europe, China, India and the US. But probably not by sad little islands desperately trying to go it alone.

    Social globalisation is different. Controlling millions of individuals is far more difficult than controlling a relatively small number of large businesses. It is already well advanced and continuing apace. The ‘traditional’ ideas about the make-up of of national populations is decades out of date.

    In the 2011 census it was widely reported that in London 44.9% regarded themselves as White British. In the USA (U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 2012) there were 11.6 million non-Hispanic whites living in Texas, making up 44.4% of the state’s 26.1 million residents. That’s right Anglo-Saxons, you’re a minority group.

    You can look at other figures, such as the number of English people living in parts of Spain and see similar trends.

    This is the reality of the World. Ideas such as Brexit and the policies of the Front National in France are the swansongs of the fading imperialists. Distorted delusions of the glory of the past are not the basis for the policies of the future.

    The nation state is dead. Adapt or die.

    1. Why take pleasure in the fact that whites are now a minority in Texas? “That’s right Anglo-Saxons, you’re a minority group”, you say. But not all the white people in Texas are Anglo-Saxons. Though if you want to think along those lines then in a generation or two white Hispanics will be identifying with the ‘Anglo-Saxons’ rather than with the ‘Mestizos’ and the recent arrivals, many already do. That’s why Trump won Texas by 9.2% over Clinton.

      ‘Hispanics’ is a misleading term anyway. All it means is people of a Spanish linguistic or cultural background. A white European immigrant from Spain would be ‘Hispanic’. I know a Welsh Patagonian living in New Jersey, as Welsh as you and me, who is ‘Hispanic’ because that’s what him and his wife speak at home. But he’s a medical doctor and has absolutely nothing in common beyond language with an illiterate, mixed-race migrant from Central America.

      And what about the Cubans in Florida, mainly white, who are currently celebrating the death of Fidel Castro, and who helped Trump win Florida. Where do they fit into your classifications?

      You obviously believe in open borders and uncontrolled immigration, but why is it only ‘white’ countries that are supposed to accept this? (I’m talking now of Europe, USA and Canada, Australia.)

      The answer is of course that Japan won’t accept immigrants; China, even if she does became the global superpower, will adopt the same attitude to ‘inferior’ races; Africa is a basket-case and has nothing to offer immigrants; In Latin America Brazil and Argentina may attract migrants, but mainly from the poorer parts of the continent; and only those from even poorer Asian countries will migrate to India, or any other part of Asia.

      You seem to argue that what Europeans have built up wherever they’ve settled, through a combination of ingenuity and hard work, is to be opened up to the billions living in fucked-up countries. Because if we’re talking about economic migrants, then the majority of the human race would like to move somewhere better. That’s understandable, but that doesn’t mean they have a right to move anywhere.

      I’m sure nothing I say will persuade you to change your mind, which doesn’t really matter, because attitudes like yours put Trump in the White House. So they have a purpose.

      Your penultimate paragraph reads, “This is the reality of the World. Ideas such as Brexit and the policies of the Front National in France are the swansongs of the fading imperialists. Distorted delusions of the glory of the past are not the basis for the policies of the future.”

      On the contrary, the rejection of the Elite-Left axis is anything but colonialism. More importantly, it confronts those who want the West to pay for its past with some kind of open borders revenge for colonialism.

      1. dafis

        I read Ian P’s long note and understood the first 6 paras, saw him develop in the next 7 his views of nationhood and influences of globalisation, but the last 5 completely spun out into a bit of a mess. There may have been a change or evolution of ethnic mixes across the world but the key thing is the extent to which native cultures and values are retained, modified or drowned by this chain of events.

        His example of Texas is particularly useful. Until about 1840, after events at the Alamo, that country was largely Comancheria with smaller tribes living along the coastal strip. A small population of Hispanics and other whites had lived in small enclaves trying desperately to survive by coexisting with the natives. The events of 1836 were a turning point. As soon as Houston beat Santa Ana the extreme expansionist elements among the whites from east of the Mississippi and further north took over and over the following 30 years, despite a civil war, they had effectively cleansed the state of any meaningful native presence. Such is the legacy of pre 20th century colonial expansion. This pattern can be found world wide and is not only a “western” phenomenon. Parts of Asia were similarly exploited by Imperial Russia, and the abuse of Africa is only superficially recorded in their histories.

        More recently the patterns of exploitation and neo colonialism have changed but the net effect on the older cultures and identities remains the same. Retaining identity and culture is as important today as it ever was and defence is even more difficult as the enemy often comes in subtle ways rather than via the “frontal attack”. The nation wherever it is has a right to survive and prosper and that is best done on those territories that it recognises as its homelands. And thus the nation state remains an ideal as a symbol of identity and independence in this globalised world.

        1. Ian’s a good old mate of mine, but like too many of my mates he’s a Leftist. I don’t know how I’ve kept my sanity.

          1. dafis

            I don’t know him at all although he turns up here from time to time. I don’t feel any hostility or emnity towards him, his content tends to be free of abuse and he presents his case coherently.
            On this occassion I disagree with him especially on the note with which he closes. From his account in preceding paragraphs you can just as easily reach the kind of conclusions that I tend to draw, that the nation is a natural entity, it does evolve as new “joiners” mix with the pre-existing populace, and can cope with that as long as factors permit its cultural characteristics to evolve in a similar way. The damage is done when there is a “flood” of external influences – otherwise known as cultural imperialism, with Anglo American being the most pervasive in our neck of the woods. I was going to say that mass invasions were a thing of the distant past but given the way assorted migrants, refugees and “special cases” are getting into Europe it may be back in a new variant !
            The Left, such as it is, finds this difficult because they have never been happy to “distinguish” as opposed to “discriminate”. Perhaps they have a block or a phobia but to find that such a flaw exists across their ideology shows it up for what it really is – a globalist vision where ineviably subordination, power relationships, and ORDER are key characteristics. Not so far removed from the so called extreme Right !

            And maybe that’s where the real truth, or problem, lies with all this. The linear model with Left at one end and Right at the other is so defective and old fashioned. In reality it’s more 3D or spherical which places those seen as Hard Left and those on Hard Right back to back so close to each other you can’t shove a fag paper between them. Now a guy called Gary Allen wrote about this like 40-50 years ago. While his text contained some fanciful stuff he correctly identified the proximity of the Left and Right at a time when conventional wisdom placed them poles apart. Time to revisit those thoughts, clear our heads and see all these power crazy ideologies for what they really are.

  9. ffranc_sais

    Yes, the FAW was stupid to put the cards on the seats. One presumes that is the reason no action seems to have been taken against England and Scotland for their more overt remembrance on the pitch.

    Yes, governments do like to start patriotic wars when they are in trouble – witness the incitement to Argentina to invade Falklands/Malouines.

    However, i think from personal experience that there may be a demographic explanation for the resurgence of the British Legion in the 1980s and 1990s. Men would have reached retirement then who had been squaddies during the second world war. Still active, casting about for something useful to do, many would have joined – or become more active in – the Legion, remembering the comradeship of their army days and with sympathy for the current regulars.

    But the way the Establishment has hijacked what is, after all, a charitable event, is despicable. I do chip in to Legion funds at least once a year but refuse to be bullied into flaunting the poppy for more than the occasional ceremony.

    1. As I understand FIFA rules action can be taken if one of the teams involved complains. Obviously that didn’t apply to the England v Scotland game, but Serbia had been attacked by Britain, the USA and their NATO allies within recent memory, so there was a very strong chance of the Serbs protesting. In fact, the Serbian FA might have lodged a complaint with FIFA for all we know.

      I take your point about the resurgence of the British Legion in the 1980s and 1990s, but what we’re experiencing now is no more than a decade old, and most of those who fought in WWII are now dead or incapable of playing an active role in anything.

  10. sian caiach

    Sorry Brychan, I’m afraid the Labour Party may well have been repeating what I said at the launch of the new logo, a long time ago when I was in Plaid. I much preferred the old logo and was not impressed.by the new one, or the money and time spent on it.

  11. dafis

    Jac I disagree with your petition to move the Cynulliad to Aber, not because Aber’s a bad place as such despite having too many seriously negative influences of its own, like all those shitty academics who creep around using London centred values to guide their actions and those of the snivelling undergrads that come from all over the shop to swallow every word of bullshit that comes out of their mouths.
    So while a programme of work is undertaken to clean up Aber I suggest that the Cynulliad be towed out into the Severn Channel and sunk along with all those quislings who seek to do down Wales strapped in for that terminal ride. Bit nasty I know but serious problems call for serious remedies.
    While cleaning up Aber other locations might wish to bid for the Cynulliad Newydd which would only be populated with saner people who would be totally committed to doing what’s best for Wales as it embarks on its transition to Cymru. I have been impressed recently by Porthmadog now under threat from some snide little gremlin working within HMRC. Well let them take their Tax Office but stick the Cynulliad on a prestige site somewhere on that Bay where one can look out over the splendour of Northern Bae Ceredigion and the vista inland. Not having to see England in the near distance would in itself be quite theraputic.

      1. dafis

        Any good sized plots along that stretch of coast near your base? Wasn’t there an old RAF place along there that could be converted into a national H.Q ? I must admit the more I jest about this matter the more a move up to Meirionydd or Arfon/Dwyfor begins to really appeal ! Environmentally it would be giving people a new lease of life away from the toxicity of the big city.

  12. dafis

    To digress even further. Check out the Lib Dem victory somewhere in affluent West London. As a result of a freak(ish) result they are jabbering on about reversing the vote to Leave the EU, a “new dawn” for “progressive parties” whatever kind of doomsday scenario that may entail, and by Sunday should be arming up to reverse the recent election of Donald Trump !!

    That really represents the “quality” of the Anglo Brit political debate and the sooner we distance ourselves completely from it the safer and saner we are likely to be.

    1. This area voted heavily to Remain and the Lib Dems cleverly turned this by-election into a vote on Brexit, giving them a freak victory. But only an utter twat would think that this heralds the resurgence of the Lib Dems. But then, Farron is a twat.

  13. O/T

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08313b4 (2 hours 11 minutes in)

    Listening to Radio Wales this morning where they were creaming over a new charity set up on Pembs to help students leave Wales to study in England. http://www.horizonswales.org/our-story/

    There is also support from the Welsh gov through the Seren Network http://gov.wales/topics/educationandskills/learningproviders/seren/?lang=en . It was all started when Paul Murphy found that not enough of our brightest were leaving our country. Radio Wales proudly state that such and initiative is unique to Wales ie wanting it’s brightest to leave. But it does give one a warm feeling to see three philanthropists making their way to Wales to help the natives. Is there cause for a dash of cynicism here?

    1. I wrote about this back in June 2014. It’s one of the worst examples of the colonial cringe, the belief that Wales is shit at everything. That said, our universities are crap, but that should make the priority improving them not paying our brightest and best to leave.

      1. dafis

        linked into all this is the inability of Cardiff Medical School to make adequate places available to meet evident demand for new bloodstock into the health service professions. Too busy training Sais who then buzz off back over Clawdd Offa, while our bright kids who go to Med schools in England seldom return. Takes a real moron to organise things in such a bass ackward way.

      2. Brychan

        One of the issues that was exposed by highly publicised failures of Finance Wales (the business loan scheme run by the Welsh Government) was that it is…

        wrong by sector (too many tourist and fruitcake enterprises),
        wrong by going concern (many enterprises that would fail anyway),
        wrong by footprint (many where the main activity was in or moved to England),
        wrong by type (many of low wage, low tech),
        wrong by restriction (EU Risk Capital guidelines excludes Coal, Steel, Agriculture),
        wrong by personnel (not allowed to sponsor graduate retention).
        wrong by business structure (too many pseudo charity businesses).

        What is required to retain graduates in Wales and equally important, entice Welsh graduates back to Wales is a change in which public sector capital support is delivered. There are a number of requirements…

        working capital retainer loans (secured on shareholding),
        development finance (expansion loans to be spent wholly within Wales),
        commercial deposit (own the premises, move away, the asset value cannot),
        to include new tech in ‘dirty industry’ like coal and steel and high tech alloys,
        to include under-grad ‘gap out’ funding as a retainer down-payment off student loans.

        Some time ago, Plaid Cymru launched a policy document ‘GreenPrint For The Valleys’. It’s now time to ditch the greenwash. What is required is a ‘GraduatePrint for Wales’, and it revolves around providing opportunities for graduates from Wales to stay in Wales, and importantly, RETURN to Wales and be valued as an asset to the economy.

        A successful policy will not be found in hippy meetings of English good lifers in Crymych nor will it be found on sharp suited public relations flip charts in the Bae. It will be found at some of my ‘business breakfast’ haunts. The burger vans located at A484 Pwll, A4059 at Trecynon, A4042 at Griffithstown. I’m sure there are similar establishments in the north.

        There you will meet men (and some women, surprisingly) in white vans, small Welsh owned businesses , as varied as specialist railway welding for CrossRail, re-bar contracts for London skyscrapers, precision tooling for car plants in Wiltshire, and control valve maintenance for oil refineries. You can also have a business dinner on the Friday evening at Greggs Pie shop on the M4 near Wooton Basset on the return leg. Maybe ‘Finance Wales’ experts should ditch the Chardonnay and invest in a cheeseburger to see what Welsh enterprise can do.

        These are the people who need business support, REPATRIATION and get new sponsored graduates here in Wales to remain competitive. If you’re English and want a degree in surfing, or media relations, then fuck off.

        It’s also the case that for every white vans away on contract there’s a Bethan doing the books, or an Arwel doing the roster and drawings from a portacabin in the yard. This is the talent that needs education support, to become chartered, certified or maybe a BSc. We should not be importing English failures to Swansea who couldn’t make it to Warwick or Cambridge.

        BTW – My comments on Tata on this blog not so long ago did not go un-noticed. I was right!! Maybe Jac can provide a back-link.

        1. dafis

          Spot on , though I would add “Skilled” to the Graduate emphasis as there are loads of craft/technician trained people educated to Higher National or Full Tech Cert who have loads more commercial acumen than graduates. These accreditations are at Level 5,same as degrees but the community at large still see graduates as better ! Many of these talents also migrated following the jobs to England or further afield. Coming back they bring with them a wealth of experience and expertise.

          1. Brychan

            I’d go further, and delay access to a higher education grant/loan in Wales except those already on a Higher National or Welsh Technician Diploma for at least a year.

            Access can be released after completing a year or two working as a trainee. Instead of an employee paying income tax during this period a substitute ‘witholding tax’ be earned, part banked by the Welsh Government, part held by an employer. It will also allow a Welsh student to earn some cash in the work-gap.

            This can be subsequently ‘paid out’ for the student as a tuition fee to Technische Universitäten or Fachhochschulen like in Germany. This would make English students coming to Wales financially worse off (actually pay more), and insentivise the brightest Welsh students to study and work in Wales. It would also provide a liability in the books of an employer if they shut up shop and move out.

            It would also short-cut income tax payments the Welsh skilled pay up to Westminster that is currently paid back as block grant for further education.

            I also think that there are many ex-pat Welsh graduates currently working in England and we should entice them back with reduced income tax via the same mechanism to study higher degrees. This would also encourage high tech businesses in England to move to Wales. I want the R&D departments of multinationals to be in Wales, not the warehouse and call centre.

  14. Daley Gleephart

    It’s a good job that we’ve got Nigel Farage, Douglas Carswell, Neil Hamilton, Paul Dacre, the Barclay Brothers, Donald Trump, Vlad Putin et al to challenge the ‘shadowy elite’ isn’t it.

    1. dafis

      Sorry butt, but you should address those tongue in cheek remarks to the readers of online Guardian, Guido, Daily Mail Express etc. Shame Telegraph won’t allow comments any more, even the Guardian is now getting very “guarded” about some of its writers. Poor dears can’t take a bit of rough handling on line, wonder what they are like in real life !

      By the way most of those pricks you mention in your 2 liner are as embedded in the elite as the flakey muppets now mourning the trappings of the EU, and those goodies have not yet been lost ! Talk about premature grief.
      As for Vlad and the Trump, time will tell. If those 2 manage to cut some kind of peace deal that avoids the mass destruction of the post 2001 era then many of us will be grateful for their hard nosed attitudes. Read up on the double dealing of the Brit elites and their USA buddies, not just since 2001 but way back to 1945 and earlier, and you will discover that IS, AQ etc are not accidents but products of devious manipulative antics of that elite which you appear to admire so much.

      1. Daley Gleephart

        Obviously, you’re not too hot on post-modern irony and you appear to have not noticed who Trump is lining up for prominent roles. It’s not a fluke that saw the value of Goldman Sachs rise by 21% since 8 November.
        I wonder if Baron Griffiths of Fforestfach has had a call from Trump Towers?

    2. Now listen Daley, don’t come back here playing the clever bugger after a long absence somewhere in the sun.

      Of those you list, and no matter what you may think of them (or those who voted for them), Farage, Carswell, Hamilton, Trump and Putin all have democratic credentials, which is more than can be said for George Soros, the editors of the Washington Post or Guardian, EU bureaucrats and lots of others I can’t be bothered to list.

      In addition to the ‘shadowy elite’ working towards globalisation and homogenisation there is the sneering cultural elite, made up in the USA of Hollywood luvvies, singers and other entertainers (very often thick as shit but very, very wealthy), plus ‘intellectuals’ and others.

      Now these can afford to be liberal, these could afford to support Clinton, because they don’t have to worry about crime in their neighbourhoods, or rather, their mansions with their multi-million dollar security systems. And it might take their jobs being exported to Bollywood or somewhere before they began to get an inkling of why Appalachian miners, unemployed steel workers and others voted for Trump.

      And yes, these fuckers shout that ‘Black Lives Matter’, which of course they do; but apparently the lives of poor white people, and the quality of those lives, are of no account. Because poor whites are, without exception, racists and red-necks.

      Over here we have something similar, one particularly odious group of self-regarding wankers is ‘stand-ups’. As you know, a stand-up is an opinionated fucker who feels that anyone who doesn’t agree with him or her is deserving of contempt and ridicule. But then, like his US counterpart, a successful stand-up is insulated from the realities faced by so many people, the kind of people who voted Ukip and Brexit. Which results in these ever-so liberal and socialist fuckers taking the piss out of people who didn’t get much of an education, who are bumping along on the minimum wage, or less, and in desperation voted Ukip or Brexit.

      Tell me, Daley, why is an aristocrat looking down his nose at such people unacceptable, but it’s fine – funny, even – for some glib cunt with a line in patter to take the piss?

      When the next revolution comes it won’t be priests and capitalists hanging from the lamp-posts, it’ll be stand-ups, giving their last public performances. And I’ll be there, carrying an extending ladder.

      (Yes, the Swans lost 5 – 0.)

      1. Daley Gleephart

        So, voting for UKIP and Brexit results in stand-up comics getting the rope whilst the bankers remain masters? I’m sure that Murdoch, Rothermere, Desmond and the Barclays will drink to that.

          1. Daley Gleephart

            … and judging by tweets on twitter and comments on social media networks the lamp-posts will be for the scapegoats.

            1. Listen, the clowns you are referring to, who sound off on social media, couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery – you ever seen an EDL or BNP march? The only people who mistake a few dozen drunken knuckle-draggers for the advance guard of the Fourth Reich are people like ‘anti-fascist’ activists who must promote the idea of fascism on the rise in order to push their own hard Left views which no one would listen to otherwise.

              No, if we are to have a round-up and systematic lynching of stand-up comedians and other sneering elitists of the Left then it’s best left to those with the organisational skills required.

            2. Daley Gleephart

              Who, apart from yourself and fuckwits, gets riled by stand-up comedians?
              Comedians and comic writers who pass on observations of contemporary matters don’t usually change anything. Johnny Speight’s Alf Garnett was hero-worshipped despite Speight’s portrayal of the character as a thick bigot, John Lloyd’s Spitting Image of Margaret Thatcher peeing whilst standing in a gent’s toilet boosted her popularity and Harry Enfield’s Loadsamoney performances were heavily attended by investment bankers and traders.

        1. Murdoch may have global influence – but the influence of the others is very localised. Don’t be so anglocentric, Daley. There’s a big world out there!

          1. Daley Gleephart

            When I go into Downing Street they do what I say; when I go to Brussels they take no notice – Rupert Murdoch.

            1. If you want to be picky, maybe I should have confined Murdoch’s influence to the English-speaking world. Happy?

  15. dafis

    “shadowy global elite” and “sneering cultural elite” – 2 toxic ingredients in an unpalatable political sandwich. There are some people who will consume it and believe that it’s good for them.

    Ychafi !!!

    1. Dai

      So much invective in these comments. Not much on what people are for. Maybe the last brays of grumpy old men? By the way some Welsh Universities have excellent international reputations e.g. Bangor School of Ocean Sciences, and the person who called them shitty ought to go and apologise to the many Welsh students studying there and elsewhere.

      1. Re Bangor and Ocean Sciences, I’m sure we could all find a diamond in amongst the dross, but that don’t change the fact that Welsh universities nowadays are about quantity not quality, they’re businesses, and more students – irrespective of ability – means more income. The only factor keeping the expansions in check is what Aber’ found recently to its cost – even those with appalling A Level results are reluctant to go to a university sliding down the league tables.

        This ‘growth at all costs’ policy has had the inevitable consequence of diluting or overwhelming the Welsh identity of ‘our’ universities, and in some cases, the surrounding area too.

        And who are you calling “grumpy old men”?

      2. dafis

        Last brays ? and plenty more to come good boy.

        Nowhere will you find me saying that the Welsh universities are full of crap. Quite rightly you point out that Bangor has a genuine centre of excellence in Ocean Sciences, and no doubt can put up other claimants for such status as well. However that makes it even more perplexing that such institutions – the old University Colleges and the newer arrivals such as Cardiff Met, South Wales, Glyndwr and the impossibly long winded Trinity St David…. ….etc – can put up with evidently second rate Faculties/ Departments populated by students who are only there because some wise guy decided everybody should have “access” to a degree regardless of how well suited they were to such programmes of work/study.
        This is a big factor in the climate of entitlement and expectation so prevalent in our society but only serves to add to frustration when little Lucy can’t get a “proper job” at S4C with her hard earned, expensive 3rd in Media Studies.Not hypothetical, I’ve met them, interviewed them and had to explain to them that the degree is not a matter of automatic access to the jobs market but merely a ticket to enter the competition. As Jac rightly points out the mindless growth of universities is a waste, especially as decades of vocational training went down the drain of neglect simply because that “wise guy” referred to above was also signing the death warrants of assorted industries and indirectly denigrating career choices in “skilled trades”. Today the shortage of good plumbers, fitters and sparkies is used as a reason for shipping in loads of Poles into the UK. Now London and other major centres may have needed some of those immigrants but had the Tories pre 1997 and Blair/Brown regime that followed understood what really makes a country tick they would have paid more attention to Craft and Technician training and severely limited access to the arcane subjects that have become such a sick joke today ( or at least slapped a career health warning on them ! )

        In a round about way I hope these comments shed light on my understanding of “what people are for” in that I see little or no merit in conning kids that University is the best and only way forward and by implication only “twpsods” don’t go there. I gain a lot of dark pleasure from hearing an acquaintance in a local authority management post whining that his neighbour who builds and repairs houses is “making lots of money”. Too bloody right he should be as he’s a craft trained guy, good at his job,and adding value. That situation is a microcosm of the superiority fixation that our nasty elites generally display.

  16. dafis

    Bit of good news – Putin’s boys take down yet another ISIS Leader in the Caucasus, or will this be yet another “reason” for our noble leaders in the West to have a bitch and moan at Vlad !

    ISIS North Caucasus group leader killed by Russian security forces
    Abu Muhammad and four militants close to him were killed near Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, in Russia.
    http://www.ibtimes.co.in/isis-north-caucasus-group-leader-killed-by-russian-security-forces-706878

    1. Daley Gleephart

      Putin on a list: –
      1. 2015 – Rehearse troop invasions of Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
      2. 2016 – Give troops real experience in Syria. Test NATO responses to Russian Navy and Russian Air Force. Get Trump thinking about NATO costs to USA.
      3. 2017 – Up the strategy a notch.

      1. dafis

        man working to a list ! sounds like someone might even be thinking ahead. How unusual !

        Beats the “making it up as we go” style of all those pricks in Whitehall/Westminster and Washington over the last 20 or so years, in fact getting closer to 30 considering the nonsense in the Balkans kicked off about 1989. Maybe Trump will be the man to put a stop to this habit, pause and get his country’s defence and foreign policy thinking straightened out, because that lame duck Theresa can’t make her mind up about anything other than pickin’ a pair of shoes and the EU will sign up for any kind of nonsense as long as it promotes EU unity!

        There again all this is heresy to the admirers of Clinton,Blair, Bush, Obama, Cameron and sundry other support acts like Sarkosy, Hollande, Merkel.

        1. Daley Gleephart

          I doubt that those who live in the Scandinavian countries see it the way that you do, dafis.

            1. Daley Gleephart

              Did I say that I think a Russian invasion is imminent? Where did I say that? You seem to be trying to liken me to those scare merchants in the Brexit campaign who warned of 70 million Turks coming to the UK. If you have proof that the Russian military exercises aren’t real and it’s all fake news from the shadowy western elite, let us know.

              “Almost half of all Norwegians believe Russia and President Vladimir Putin pose a “real security threat” to their country, according to Norwegian daily tabloid Dagbladet.” – Newsweek 2 August 2016: http://europe.newsweek.com/putin-splits-norway-norwegians-fear-russia-threat-486354?rm=eu

            2. Big Gee

              For pity’s sake Daley- you base your comments and views found on NEWSWEEK.COM? Jesus – are there any more dinosaurs out there that still actually believe the propaganda of the “official” news media? Wake up man – the others who are now awake have already moved on after (at last) realizing that they have been fed bullshit from the mouth pieces of the establishment, who in turn are being played by the elitist New World Order puppet masters. At this time of the year I suppose you still believe in Santa Claus and still hang up your sock for that lie?

              Here is how Newsweek is described in Wilipedia:

              Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine founded in 1933. It was published in four English language editions and 12 global editions written in the language of the circulation region.

              Between 2008 and 2012, Newsweek underwent internal and external contractions designed to shift the magazine’s focus and audience while improving its finances. Instead, losses accelerated: revenue dropped 38 percent from 2007 to 2009. The revenue declines prompted an August 2010 sale by owner The Washington Post Company to audio pioneer Sidney Harman—for a purchase price of one dollar and an assumption of the magazine’s liabilities.[2][3]

              In November 2010, Newsweek merged with the news and opinion website The Daily Beast, forming The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, after negotiations between the owners of the two publications. Tina Brown, The Daily Beast’s editor-in-chief, served as the editor of both publications. Newsweek was jointly owned by the estate of the late Harman and the diversified American media and Internet company IAC.

              Dear, oh dear, oh dear. Haven’t you heard that the “official” news media is in it’s death throws as people are incresingly turning to truth based journalism on the internet? As Jac o’ the North does in this little corner of the globe.

              Dafis: just a little eyes up – Trump & Clinton are two different masks on the same face. Don’t get sucked into believing that Trump’s agenda is any different from the agenda of the ‘hidden hand’.

              Trump V Clinton Is Just A Circus Designed To Hide The Reality Of The System!” (click the link)

              Oh and I forgot to mention Daley, guess who is on IAC’s board of directors? Surprise, surprise – CHELSEA CLINTON – now where have I heard that name before . . . . oh yes – Clinton Foundation? Check it out. . . .

            3. Daley Gleephart

              It’s Newsweek quoting a Norwegian newspaper and I hyperlinked rather than the original Dagbladet* piece. I presume that you’d have preferred the headline in a language that very few visitors to this blog understand.
              Are you saying that Russia’s military manoeuvres in which troops trained for beach landings in Northern Europe never happened and they are nothing but lies spread by NATO, western governments and right-wing tabloids?
              There are many who are deeply concerned so, don’t dismiss them as fools led down the garden path by the MSM.

            4. dafis

              Give it a break, Gee. Newsweek ranks high, somewhere between Beano and Dandy, as reliable source of info for the gullible masses or for people who deliberately elect to avoid the truth. Just like the Mail and Express etc who deliberately regurgitate Anglo Brit bile and puke to those readers who draw sustenance from such slurry. Their hatred for Nicola Sturgeon is a good current example of how their cross eyed prejudice is aimed so intensively on a person just because she adopts a stance contrary to Anglo Brit “wisdom”. I disagree with her on EU but I don’t feel a deep need to call her by a variety of abusive names or terms.

      2. Dai

        2nd World War, Vietnam, Cambodia, Grenada, Iraq, Libya, Syria etc – not sure who is ramping up the notch there.

  17. Big Gee

    Interesting contributions whilst I’ve been away. The eyeball op has been a bit of a nightmare, but I’m getting there – ‘she who must be obeyed’ has now relented and given me a bit of screen staring time. Nice to see people waking up to the reality of our world on here. The lifting of the mist to expose the nightmare of the elites in the shadows is most certainly under way. A pity that there are still those who can’t scrub the bullshit they’ve been programmed to believe out of their little skulls. Maybe with a bit more time . . . .

    I’ve also been in official mourning over my political hero’s sad departure – I’ve admired him so much from childhood. God how I wish we could raise up someone with a 100th of his patriotism and love of freedom and hatred of colonialism amongst the people of my country. I promised myself a trip to see the great man over many decades – just to shake his hand – before it was too late. Now I’m kicking myself for never getting around to it. “Patria o Muerte” – you’ll be gravely missed El Comandante – Fidel VIVE!

    Castro’s commitment not to allow privileged elitism never wavered to the day he died, and that is evident in the faces of those who carry the most animus toward him. These people either fail or refuse to understand that the Cuban Revolution was and remains a revolution for the world, not just Cuba—and especially not just for them.

    El Comandante famously closed his defence argument during his trial in 1953 insisting that history would absolve him. In many ways, it already has. For each error and tragedy that came out of the Revolution, many more successes were realized. Because of this, more people around the world have received news of Fidel’s death with sadness than the relatively small number of ghoulish people in Miami who celebrated it, and the other white faced imperialist, colonial pigs that we have the misfortune to have in our vicinity in the west. Even Corbyn got a dose of ‘shittyness’ and ducked his funeral – shame on him (you didn’t expect any different from the elitist witch on the other side of the chamber). As for Cymru – “what? Who? Oh nobody told me he’d died – I WOULD have been there if I’d been told!”. Shit-houses most of whom would not be fit to wipe Fidel’s arse.

    I have learned over the years that Cuba had erased illiteracy which approached 40 percent in remote areas populated by peasants living in unthinkable poverty. I learned about the tens of thousands of medical school graduates and the medical teams that are still despatched to disaster areas. Most recently a delegation of doctors trained in Cuba announced they were going to North Dakota to assist and stand in solidarity with the water protectors at Standing Rock. I learned that Cuba, has the lowest infant mortality rate in the Americas. The infant death rate in the WHOLE of Cuba is lower than in Washington DC.

    The more I learned the more I needed to go to the island and meet the great man with a vision that he materialised. To see things for myself as an adult. What I have learned about it is that everything that I had been taught about Cuba from the British Bullshit Corporation (BBC & other establishment propaganda puppet media organisations) was a lie. There are NO homeless people, NO foreclosures, NO one without medical coverage, NO child without a school, and more importantly every child knows the truth about their culture, history and heritage.

    I also learned more about Cuban support of African and Latin American liberation struggles especially in places like Guinea-Bissau, Algeria, Mozambique, and, perhaps most famously, Angola.

    Dr. Fidel Castro was a principled giant amongst pygmy gargoyles that mostly live in the shadows.

  18. dafis

    Looks like the Italian public are expressing their deep dislike of the oh-so successful EU superstate model. Apologists are already out flapping about other factors contributing to Renzi’s embarrassment but there’s no illusion here the people on the streets are seriously pissed off with being talked down and dictated to by unappointed bureaucratic crooks.

    Gee – welcome back boyo good to know your eye ball is working 20/20 or fast approaching that. Don’t worry about my focus on Trump, I can see where he’s coming from although I do think he’ll be a safer pair of hands than the mad cow !

    1. Big Gee

      Diolch Dafis!

      Yep, all that crap about immigration, economics, single market disaster etc. etc. were merely smoke-screens. The REAL reason why the elites are having to change their breeches on a regular basis nowadays is because their grand conspiracy to take a step towards a New World Order has been badly crippled by the free thinkers among the public around the world – especially in Europe – where the main step had been taken to set-up a ‘region’ of undemocratic control of European nations. Now that the Italians have also woken from their slumbered and realised that there’s a totalitarian ‘tip toe’ taking place, they have have also started revolting. Hopefully the EU will collapse nation by nation like dominoes from here on. It won’t scupper the plans of those dark suits in the shadows, but it certainly buys us a bit more time to address the problem.

      The choice of the witch or the clown in the US was akin to giving the people a choice between a punch in the face or a kick in the balls – a choice delivered by the same local thug who sends his bully-boys around to your doorstep to deliver the choice to you. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that somewhere else on here or possibly on some other blog. Not really a choice is it? The pain is the same.

      Two masks on the same face – those in control just give the people a choice to see which one they fall for. On this occasion it was Trump, because he was deemed to be more acceptable to the voters, because of the general anti establishment leanings across the globe. The last time it was Obama instead of Bush – same logic (black face, said the right things and promised CHANGE). The witch tested the water amongst those who were having an orgasm about the first woman president. Fact is Bush, Obama, Trump and Clinton are the puppets of the ‘gang’ and very friendly with one another, in fact they are all blood relatives – which opens up another can of worms for debate!

      1. Daley Gleephart

        The main problem with your view on current events here, in the USA and in Italy is that the electorate isn’t a wise as you claim. The secondary problem is your ‘grand conspiracy’ theory.
        You’re quick to dismiss anything that comes from official sources but where do you suggest people go for news? Are you saying we should rely on the internet?

        “US police have arrested a man wielding an assault rifle who entered a pizza restaurant that was the target of fake news reports it was operating a child abuse ring led by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her top campaign aide.” Fake news that was spread on twitter and re-tweeted by General Mike Flynn, Donald Trump’s pick for national security adviser.

        Comments where you paint the average elector as intelligent and rational are intended to fool who?

        1. dafis

          DG you say “Comments where you paint the average elector as intelligent and rational are intended to fool who?”

          That reads like it’s straight out of the handbook for sneering, superior metropolitan aspirational twats. Most of the electorate possess intelligence, of varying kinds. However even those that you would probably dismiss as thick have a well developed sense of “smell” especially when some patronising shit comes down “from above” and starts telling them they didn’t make the right choices. They made their choices to remind those who aspire to be elitist that the imperfect democratic system still gives us choices and a chance from time to time to whack you on the nose.

          1. Daley Gleephart

            “… a chance from time to time to [try and] whack you on the nose [whilst shafting themselves up their own backsides].”
            I’ve inserted the words that you left out.

            btw: I’m not part of an elite in any sphere of influence. It’s just that I despair at the utter stupidity of the average voter and I’m disgusted at Cameron and his Cabinet for caving in to Kipper pressure and allowing a referendum on an issue that even Professor Richard Dawkins considered himself lacking in the knowledge required to reach a sensible decision.

            1. dafis

              by repeating your underlying contempt for the average voter – [whilst shafting themselves ……..] you highlight your own cheerful willingness to ally with those elites even if you ain’t one yourself ! You may be disgusted at Cameron not because of any fundemental flaw ( and he has/had a shed full of those ) but simply because he let loose those people for whom you feel utter contempt. So you are better placed than others to judge what THEY should do. One more step and you will be judge, jury and executioner, but be careful, as people who reach that stage often end up signing their own warrant.

            2. Daley Gleephart

              You’re so far off the mark.
              Maybe, one day, you’ll realise that stupidity is incurable.
              My contempt is not with those who cannot make rational decisions on complex matters but with those like Farage who quite happily lead people down the garden path by appealing to their base instincts.

    2. Dai

      Well thanks for that unappointed expert analysis on Italian politics – personally I am glad the left wing are on the rise in Italy and that the right wing got a kicking in Austria.

      1. “A kicking”! I thought it was 45% of the vote. And the aristocrat who won is hardly a socialist. As for Italy, the winners were a wide range of anti-establishment parties, and anti-EU parties, including the Northern League.

    3. Brychan

      To say that the latest turmoil in Italy is a considered political rejection the EU is wrong. No more than the thousands of people who voted Ukip in the valleys is a considered political rejection the EU. It’s a protest vote of domestic politics by the disenfranchised ignored. A disgruntled kick in the teeth for established politics. It’s the ‘espresso rant’ your mates go off on the piazza before work, expressed at the ballot box. I actually find it quite amusing the BBC and international commentariat are in panic that Italy is in some kind of turmoil. Turmoil is normal in Italy.

      They’ve stuck a finger up at the men in suits who want to curtail the powers of the municipal authority. It’s actually a quite healthy state of affairs. If Swansea was more like Rome, councillors would be in jail for corruption not criticised for tweeting a sexist joke, the smoking ban would be ignored after 10pm, the football club would be owned by the fans, the misses would spend half your wages on a pair of shoes, if you’re not allowed to take an extra few weeks off for maternity, you just do, and things get worked out. Maybe we should be more like Italy in Wales. Nothing wrong in principle with EU membership or the Euro, you just don’t allow politicians to take the piss or ignore the people.

      1. dafis

        Healthy logic there Brychan, shame the politicians hijacked the whole idea and turned it into a joyride for power crazed spongers with a core ideology of “Fuck you, I’m alright, you got no say in it” They were soon sucked into the world wide manipulations of a mix of corporates and institutions, operating on a scale that should have been prevented decades ago, in collusion with a self appointed cabal of politicans who won’t let go of any vestige of power.
        I’ve seen nothing to indicate that these bastards are going to give up just yet, indeed the minor tremors caused by Vote to Leave will probably harden their resolve to tighten their grip on things. Accordingly anything that disturbs that grip, spoils their equilibrium, is “good”. So the close result in Austria, the tremor in Italian politics, anything that makes those smug bastards feel bad is fine by me.

        By the way all this claptrap about Nazis on the rampage in Austria is so typical of our lazy media and the pale pink idlers who scribble away about it. Austria remains committed to tight border controls, given its location it has little choice otherwise it would be full of “eastern promise” a bit sharpish ! They have a collective memory back to the late C17th when a horde of Islamic invaders got as far as Vienna before they got whipped and sent packing back whence they came – but not all the way hence the shit fest in the Balkans today.

  19. Big Gee

    I suppose there isn’t the biggest build up of western troops (NATO) right on Russian borders since WW2″? Must be a figment of our imagination – as we don’t hear a lot about it on the ‘mainstream’ propaganda news channels do we?

    Putin (& now China) are not being goaded into a WW3 conflict with the west? Thankfully Putin is too level headed and intelligent to fall for it – but the demonising goes on – because the west’s propaganda mouthpieces are told to fan the flames. It’s a good job they’re around to put us straight on matters like this isn’t it? Oh and IS are NOT a US/ Saudi funded and armed false flag terrorist group – we know that because the ‘mainstream’ news media doesn’t report it – so it must be untrue.

    There is no ‘Pizzagate’, Hilary Clinton is not a criminal, the Clinton Foundation is not corrupt, Wikileaks made it up and got fed their info. from Russian hackers (forget the fact that sections of the CIA have now leaked the fact that they fed the information on Podesta to Assange).

    The ‘mainstream’ media have truthfully and accurately reported all news in the past with principle and independence from the machinations of the establishment?

    The ‘alternative’ news media, properly investigate and produce stories that have been found to be true, but of course are always wrong – because the establishment just says so?

    The so called ‘far left’ – as they are labelled in Italy & the ‘far right’ – as they are labelled in France, Austria & Germany (a load of bollocks as there isn’t such a thing as ‘right’/ ‘left’ – as most serious political experts agree) are all in a conspiracy to wreck the EU. It has nothing to do with the people waking up. Brexit was a mirage and part of the conspiracy to take away the UK’s wealth and living standards – we know that because the establishment told us so beforehand. They also predicted the results so accurately in the process.

    I could go on and on infinitum, but I won’t waste my time. There will always be the wide-eyed brain-washed ‘zombie’ portion of the population who will believe what they’ve been programmed to accept and believe – because they are the intelligent ones in our midst aren’t they? Easily recognised because they also believe in Father Christmas. The rest of us are just stupid aren’t we DG?

    I’ll take your wise advice Dafis and I’ll ‘give it a break’. You know the result when you cast pearls before swine or attempt to pish into the wind.

    Bless old Abe Lincoln (he must have got some of his wisdoms from the Welsh genes in his mother’s family!). He said:

    “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”.

    Interestingly, he got assassinated because of his introduction of the ‘Greenback’ and a desire to divorce government from the usery involvement of the banks. Kennedy met the same fate when he declared war on secret societies and said that he would return to the gold standard and cut out the debt lending/ interest profiteering of the banks.

    There again, I must be wrong because I didn’t get that information from the trusted ‘mainstream’ media!

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