Sunday, March 23, 2014

Some Motherfuckers etc.

Now, I do like this - all this death and destruction is your fault because your government, wholly independently of your opinion on the matter, refuses to drop high explosives on Damascus. 

There's something bracingly bullshitty about entirely accepting that "there is no appetite for putting military pressure on Assad" in the UK or the US, and then laying the blame for this on "kneejerk peaceniks" who have, as has been repeatedly and graphically demonstrated, no influence whatsoever on foreign policy.

I suspect that some folk just really enjoy putting grand, self-contradicting statements like this out there and the overall effect is like James standing in his back garden holding armfuls of dead pigeons - he hurls them into the air, crying "Fly, my pretties!", to the sound of feathery thumps.

This meme about how, like, "Syria is the anti-interventionists' Iraq" is all well and good but you know, what's so special about Syria?  Wars have been cutting a bloody swathe through e.g. Democratic Republic of Congo for decades, but you seldom hear anyone blaming the damn hippies for the millions-strong bodycount there.  People almost never run up to you waving pictures of dead South Sudanese under your nose screeching "You did this, you monster!" or anything similarly daft.

And why is it kneejerk peaceniks' fault, specifically?  There are damn few of us, and we're vastly outnumbered by people who basically couldn't give a shit one way or the other.  I'm against the UK hurling our military around other countries for no sane reason, but I fail to see why anyone who shares my opinions should have to answer twenty questions about our collective culpability, while millions of our compatriots change over from Channel Four News and curl up on the sofa in front of Coronation Street.

Anyway, this all amounts to one basic fact, and it's this - the UK's war fans are really, really pissed off  that a lot of people see them as belligerent lunatics, partly responsible for a gigantic pile of dead Iraqis, and so they want to spread some blame around a bit.   Thus, all those dead people in Syria must somehow be our fault.

I can understand that urge but it's a criminal's mindset.  It's like, okay, I may have murdered some grannies, but you saw some news stories about grannies being murdered on television and didn't immediately don a Batsuit and stab a lot of Allawites to death, so you are technically just as much of a granny-murderer as I am, innit. QED.

Kudos though for James burbling about "the lessons of Iraq" in a column that advocates bombing hell out of Syria in the name of peace, but articulates no actual practical means or achievable outcomes.  Remember, the principal lesson of Iraq was "Thou shalt not invade a country for no sane reason without any idea of what thou wantest to achieve".

Being from Edinburgh, I well remember Mercedes, the old mental polar bear at the zoo that used to just swim around in circles or sit there banging her head on the bars of her cage.  Here, we see a graphic illustration of similar human behaviours, but with "getting paid to be belligerent" replacing "being large, white, ursine and institutionalised".

Do I have to say it again? Well, looks like I do - Some motherfuckers are always tryin' to ice-skate uphill.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Panda Pen

Watching Telegraph bloggers beg and plead for some war over Crimea, just a little bit of war, or maybe some harsh sanctions, or just harsh language at a pinch, or a pillow fight...  Well, I can't get enough of it.

It's like having a live feed into the keepers' office next to the panda pen at Edinburgh Zoo.  They pipe Marvin Gaye records into the animals' enclosure; they feed Tian-Tian oysters with a powdered rhino horn side-salad; they show Yanguang hardcore XXX panda porn films and shovel viagra-flavoured bamboo down his neck by the half-ton.  They pray and will them on and hope and strive.

And still, after all the cajoling and massaging and stimulating, the pandas will not fuck, and instead sit around chewing absent-mindedly, crapping everywhere.  The keepers, defeated, heave a sigh and get back to work.

True, I've never seen a Telegraph columnist conclude that the pandas won't go at it because they're weak and cowardly but then just like zookeepers, they're always willing to give it another try next year.


Fresh Meat

So it's come to this - Chancellor George Osborne frantically frottering the gussets of grannies nationwide in an effort to demonstrate that while he may not despise the Krauts and the Dagoes as much as that nice Nigel Farage does, he can still shout you a nice night out at the bingo.

The responses I'm seeing range from stunned hilarity to swoons over Chancellor George's tactical wizardry, but I like it because it'd have old Henry Mencken in stitches.

Here, today, we've seen all of British democracy reduced to a heavyweight politician hurling bribes at the wealthy and the elderly, in an effort to prevent a minority party of dingbats and leathery sexual deviants shaving a few points off the Tory Party's probable electoral walloping.

Democracy in all it's glory there, kids - necrophilia, employed as a weapon to fend off the half-dead and the mindless.  HLM would have a field day.

And the best part is, it almost certainly won't work.  I don't know about you lot, but I can't see a few cash bungs coralling many potential UKIP voters back into the Tory fold.  After all, most of them seem to feel wholly entitled to whatever they've got, oblivious to whatever gifts are chucked at them and viciously resentful that they don't have much, much more.

What drives and has always driven the section of the electorate that habitually chases after the most determinedly and consistently cruel psychopaths in UK politics is spite - red raw, seething spite, an unceasing churn of bitter disgust at the idea that somebody, somewhere, is living a modest existence without being harshly immiserated.

Surely this shouldn't need spelling out?  They don't want politicians to make them wealthier.  If Osborne stuffed their wallets they wouldn't notice or if they did, they'd assume that it was their absolute right anyway.  They're not asking for more money - they want politicians to give them what they don't have, and that's their enemies' heads on sticks, preferably being paraded up and down the high street.

When certain types of voters keep telling you that they're really bloody angry that we're not battering criminals or ejecting immigrants or kicking the workshy or cracking down on this, that or the next thing, they're not asking for e.g. a boost in their basic pensions.

They want you to get out the billyclubs and start bashing fuck out of everyone that they hate.  They want you to dress the coppers up like space marines and send them to beat some respect into whoever last annoyed them on television.

Chucking a few penny-cheaper pints at feral yokeldom like this is like flicking cocktail sausages at an advancing pack of ravenous zombies.  If you're lucky, you might bonk one on the forehead before it sinks its teeth into your cheek.

All of which is probably worth bearing in mind, while you watch the Tory analysts whoop it up on Newsnight.

Anyway, I always kind of welcome these moments of glaring insanity as demonstrations of the severity of our current situation.  When one of the nation's most powerful politicians so publicly straps on the kneepads and hits the doormats of the NWA from Hot Fuzz desperately trying to gain their favour, we're far past the point where we can pretend that our politics are a sane or edifying spectacle.

All the kratos, wielded to impress some very small, select and unimpressable slivers of the demos. 

I admit that all this does hold out an enticing possibility of an eventual 28 Days Later kind of outcome for conservatism a few years down the line, but remember - there was a sequel.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Tony Benn (1964-2014)

Like everybody else, I was devastated to hear of the passing of Tony Benn. 

If you were born between 1975 and 1980, Tony was your first true hero in the sport.  I remember watching his fights when I was about 12 years old, awestruck by his incredible passion, commitment and his hard-hitting athleticism.  He was one of a kind, a true British hero - a man who endured everything that Chris Eubank could throw at him, and yet came back for more.

RIP Tony, we will miss you.  



Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bunny Ears

And continuing my recent trend of poking Telegraph bloggers with a stick, here's excitable, self-promoting Tory windbag Dan Hannan explaining that us lefties have been far too successful in ensuring that the people of Britain are protected from the excesses of an overly-powerful state.

Don't believe me?  Well, Dan wonders "why the courts have a leftist bias", his evidence for this baleful judicial socialism being that judges strike down unlawful deportation orders; that they restrict ministers' ability to impose maximum tariffs on prison sentences and that they overturn ministerial decisions on prisoner releases.

Now this is a pretty odd thing for a self-professed libertarian to be stressing about, since it's theoretically Dan's own political tendency who are supposed to big on restricting ministerial diktats over individuals, but if he's giving away the British liberty flags for free, I'll take 'em. 

I don't recall e.g. early release for prisoners featuring heavily in Capital*, nor do I remember anyone saying that the spectre haunting Europe was "judicial activism".  Still, I suppose that if Tory libertarians are now bashing the gavel for centralised authority and rule by decree, we should probably leave them to their daydreams of gleaming, freshly-painted panopticons. 

Anyway, Dan also somehow manages to confuse "some activist fannies petitioning a court to arrest George Bush" with "George Bush being arrested";  Blames Labour for deliberately encouraging judges to massively inconvenience Labour ministers, and claims that "diversity" is a scam designed to pack the benches with Commies, thus keeping the red flag flying over Britain even while the Tories occupy Number Ten.  It's all wacky, tinfoil-hatted stuff but then, this is the Telegraph.

But I do like these claims that the judiciary is full of socialists.  They'll probably come as news to the judges themselves, of course - having spent years around lawyers, I can confirm that the only kind of politics most have any interest at all in are green politics, if you know what I'm getting at.  

It's all about as serious and dignified as a big rubber dick at a Hen Night but then, I've always thought that if you strapped a pair of vibrating bunny ears to Dan Hannan's feet, he'd closely resemble a gigantic pink sex toy, so it's all in character. 

*Mainly because I haven't read it.  Have you seen the size of that book?  Life's too short.

Are You Gonna Bark All Day, Little Doggie?

"(On Crimea) ...thanks to (David Cameron's) government's ill-considered defence cuts, he will find that the military options available to him are very limited indeed". - The Coughlin again, at the Telegraph. 

Now, as fun as it is to point and laugh at the likes of Con Coughlin's ongoing attack of the vapours over our unwillingness to forcibly evict Big Bad Vlad from Sevastopol, the game inevitably gets old after a week or two.

Admittedly, I usually enjoy these bouts of handbag-clutching horror at the weakness of the UK; at how spineless and supine we are, how craven and cowardly and every other simile that that your average war-enthusiast spends his Thursdays disinterestedly hacking out of the thesaurus, to cram into blobs of rowdy argle-bargle. 

Theatrical journalistic sabre-rattling like this is, after all, supposed to be funWe should always remember that these wails and shrieks basically amount to little more than a regular and wholly humdrum piece of performance art, put on for the entertainment of the nation's small but noisy belligerent idiot demographic, signifying nothing.

When the tank-tracks meet the turf though, the question will have to be asked - if, say, the UK possessed a terrifyingly huge military machine, would it currently be massing for the big assault on Russian forces?

Well, no, of course it wouldn't.   It wouldn't, even if the British Army was ten times the size.  Barring some incredible act of lunacy, nobody is making war on Moscow for Ukraine's territorial integrity. 

I know it, you know it and, embarrassingly for everyone who reads him, Coughlin knows it too - that's why he's just savvy enough to not say, Let's have a really big war.  So you know, why even bother with the pretence?

Anyway, I blame Hitchens for rehabilitating this kind of bombastic, fantastical, not-quite-advocacy-for-war,  the old formula being - Oh, I am not saying we should kick off World War 3, I am merely saying that it is morally unacceptable to do nothing.  

And that's fine as far as it goes, but sooner or later you have to man up and admit to your own logical conclusions, or just bugger off and stop annoying everyone.

It's all a bit reminiscent of a disappointing hissy-fit at the arse-end of a dull, drunken party, when the briefly-shocked guests realise that actually no, there isn't going to be a fistfight to liven up proceedings after all, because the huffing, sweaty, angry guy in the living room is just some aggro wee tit who likes attention, and not a badass at all.

Monday, March 10, 2014

If It Hadn't Been For You Darned Pesky Kids

God, this is great - the Labour Campaign for Human Rights* considers the War On Terror and concludes that it could've been a roaring success, with only a few minor strategic tweaks.

I'll save you time by listing the key errors that LCHR say would have to be rejected for tWoT to foster peace and plenty:

-  Not invading Iraq;
-  Committing resources to Afghanistan to "build the Afghan state";
-  Not killing lots of Afghan & Pakistani civilians for no good reason;
-  Respecting Afghan customs and rights; 
-  Working with local partners on the ground;
-  No Guantanamo Bay, no extraordinary rendition and zero-tolerance on torture;
-  Developing effective counter-insurgency with local authorities;
-  Developing a diplomatic initiative to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict;
 
...All of which would have allowed the Terror Warriors to

-  Prevent the Taliban from becoming a threat and build the capacity of security forces, so they can
-  Bring moderate former Taliban into the new government and root out corruption, which will
-  Ensure good govrnance and development, all of which would 
-  Swing British Muslims behind the War on Terror...

...Which would all have allowed the UK and US to now

-  Launch a new counter-terrorism initiative that "puts public perception at its heart".

Now, far be it from me to cast aspersions upon such a meagre list of simple, straightforward requests, but I suggest that any strategy that relies upon, for example, "resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict" is perhaps a tad unrealistic.

Additionally, the idea that, say, not invading Iraq would've made it much easier to "build the Afghan state" seems to be based upon an assumption that this is so.  Well, a few thousand more soldiers, bigger bribes and some more expensively-painted schools, a peaceful and coherent liberal democracy does not make, ya dig?

So let's quickly flag up a couple of minor problems with LCHR's analysis, including that

- e.g. "human rights... and zero-tolerance on torture" and "effective counter-insurgency" are pretty much mutually-exclusive concepts;

- That "working with local partners on the ground" in a warlord-riven country almost inevitably means "working with warlords";

-  That killing lots of people for no good reason was basically one of the core functions of the War on Terror, indivisible from the whole;

- That "respecting Afghans' customs and rights" is a euphemism for e.g. junking most of our woman-protecting justifications;

- That even "moderate Taliban" would probably rather open fire than open negotiations, and

- That "rooting out corruption" in Afghanistan is like trying to root the rocks out of Afghanistan, to pick just some of the more egregious examples.

What we're left with looks like a Labour thinktank miraculously rescinding the vast bodycount and wrongly assuming that Afghanistan isn't the way it is because it's full of Afghans, but rather because of some daft but easily-corrected tactical errors.

With a bit less violence and some more focus upon "public perception", by which they basically mean "public relations", we may yet win this thing!   We don't need to fight harder, we need to fight smarter!

Ladies and gentlemen, the Labour Party - wishing away the bad wars so that we can have better ones in future. 



*God knows who these people are or how much of the party they represent but still, Jesus.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Baby Steps Pt. 2

While things remain tense and grim in Ukraine, Russia's lunatic military dick-swinging has somehow resulted in the most bizarre and unexpected phenomenon of all in the UK - a sudden national outbreak of reason, common sense and rationalism.

I noted this before and again, you'd be better looking to other, better-informed sources for analysis on Crimea itself, but the UK's incredible national conversion from raging nuttery to wisdom is gathering pace at an astounding rate.

I mean, where to start?  Having lived through the late '90s and the '00s, I never suspected that I'd be able to crack open a random newspaper to find universal agreement on the idea that Invading other countries and fucking with their politics for your own ends is wildly irresponsible and dangerous.

And yet here we all are, throwing up our hands together in mutual disbelief at the sheer mentalism of Moscow's mad gambit and the terrifying outcomes that it's made possible. 

Where once there was but wibble and woo about the grand wonders of unilateral whizz-bang in the name of truth and justice, we now discover that - set your faces to stunned, folks - Unilateral deployment of hard power for insane reasons is inherently destabilising and is often used to intimidate entire regions.

Not only that, but we also discover that The illegitimate use of force is not a sound basis for the pursuance of co-operative international security.  If anything, hurling armies around decreases our collective security, because it's the kind of behaviour that fills every government watching it with a desire to crack open an arms catalogue and run up a massive credit card bill on warplanes and high explosives. 

Remarkably though, it doesn't stop there - we've now spotted that Supposedly democratic events that occur under military occupation tend to be either distorted or entirely undemocratic.  Wow!

And after Mad Vlad's hilarious comedy turn in front of the Russian press earlier this week, in which he railed against fascism and oppression and all manner of gorgons and grumpkins, we appear finally to have noticed that Governments quite often tell massive lies about their supposedly humanitarian and anti-evil intentions to justify their crazy actions, as a matter of routine.

This notion will astound less attentive UK citizens, who could be forgiven for imagining that when it comes to war and mayhem, no decent politician would ever knowingly let a single falsehood slip from his or her lips.

Hell, when it was revealed that the UK government doesn't intend to throw sugar into the fuel tank of commerce by e.g. seizing Russian assets, even the wackiest free market evangelists began to whisper that Britain's ruling class cares far, far more about money than it does about justice.

But I think my favourite revelation this week was the one that followed Russia Today hack Liz Wahl chucking in the towel - an astounding, incredible epiphany that appears to have rocked the socks off many of the nation's top columnists.  Namely, Journalists should resign rather than accept being forced to repeat offensively obvious state propaganda


My Twitter feed this week has been full of hosannas for the woman and the nobility of her stance, and much of it from hacks who have plenty of experience in the tirelessly-repeating-offensively-obvious-state-propaganda business.

I'm no expert but I'd guess that up until now, many well-respected British journos have spent quite a lot of their time not-resigning in protest over the issue of repeating cretinous state propaganda...  But who can now doubt that the next UK Government bullshit extravaganza will inevitably result in mass walk-outs on an unprecedented scale?

I can barely wait.

Sadly though, the twin examples of Russian crackdowns on anti-war protests and the insistent British yelps about slapping some sense into Putin remind us that certain attitudes are carved into the bedrock of our respective nations.

In Russia as in London, the idea that we should leave other countries alone to get on with it without our own nations smashing everything up with cutting-edge military equipment at all but the most remote outer-edge of absolute necessity, remains regretably outlandish and alien.

It looks to me like we may have to wait a long while for It's almost always a stupid idea to attack or invade foreign nations to enter mainstream thinking as a reasonable proposition, and it's likely to be perceived as an extreme and unacceptable notion for most, if not all, of our lifetimes.

Nonetheless, the trend is clear, unmistakeable and entirely welcome.  Just a few baby steps in the right direction, but long may they continue.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Q&A

"Governments are spying on our sexual lives. Will we tolerate it?" - Van Badham, Guardian

Dear Van: 

Yes. 

Yours, 

FR

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Gee, I Wish We Had One Of Them Doomsday Machines

Not one or two, but three utterly deranged opinion blahs at the Telegraph today, each perfectly insane in its own particular way but each carrying much the same message: the West has yet again shown despicable weakness by not blowing even more shit up.

Well, let us note that what underlies all this spectacularly homoerotic talk of Strength and Will and Courage  is neither anger nor regret, but jealousy

All of these mocking invocations of Britain's "weedy fist" or its "weakness" - "the weakness within us all", no less - or Barack Obama's "adolescent sass" and (ahem) his "small stick"... 

...Are placed in odd proximity to talk of Vladimir Putin as "the strongest leader among the world powers", with his Flexing Military Muscles and so on.  He's a martial-arts proficient former KGB colonel, don't you know.

Why, just look at those pecs.  Mmm.

Now, all these jokers would flat-out deny man-crushing on the hunky Butcher of Grozny like teenage girls at a One Direction show.  Call me an amateur psychologist if you will but in their Scrappy-Doo routines, I detect unspoken demands for enlargement pumps and Viagra, motivated by stark terror that the Russkie is just plain waving a bigger wang.

Telegraph writers are hardly alone these days in swooning over a rugged man of action in a smart set of epaulletes, but we should note that this desire to condemn all Britain's metrosexuals who are so thoroughly gaying-up our proudly martial nature springs from much the same urges as the very ones that put a glowering, tiger-blasting, secret agent stripogram on the Russian throne.


No doubt this craving for "strong leadership" has always been part of our national character and God knows, there was enough of it around back when e.g. Chris Hitchens was lusting sweatily after the firm western will to beat off contain the Iranian Mullahs, or whatever.

Still, it's been spurting forth in hilarious profusion ever since Labour decided that they didn't want to fling a bunch of aimless rockets at Damascus.  You could argue that that vote represented actual democracy, I suppose, and I tend to see our fractious and bickering behaviour as one of our better qualities.

Plainly however, to guys like Coughlin and Hodges, our much-remarked fecklessness and our temporarily wussified, murder-phobic politics need to be reined in, channeled and directed by more forceful men.

Consider the broader phenomenon: when mainstream figures criticise NATO, is it not almost always on grounds of insufficient belligerence?  Don't we routinely hear complaints of European unwillingness to plough arseloads of cash into the construction of a massive, throbbing military machine to match the meat of the manly Americans, so that we can all then thrash some sense into whomever?

That's always struck me as strange.  For a Treaty Organisation from the North Atlantic specifically aimed at countering Russia, its fans don't half spend a lot of time complaining that it doesn't look and act enough like the Warsaw Pact. 

Anyway, all of this strikes me as a bizarrely militaristic, if not comically totalitarian, impulse to direct against actually-existing thugocracies such as Russia or threatening phantasms like the ever-incipient but never quite solidifying Caliphate.  Ironic, even.

But you know, I would say that, being the huge quivering pinko that I am.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Yet Another Football/Politics Post

"The Daily Record's claims that Rangers bent the rules in order to win more competitions, dodged taxes to gain advantage and may still be guilty of cheating like fuck even today have been met with outrage and widespread criticism."

I'm just fucking with you there - that's actually the JC boiling with rage about Amnesty taking issue with Israeli soldiers shooting civilians, and I've messed with their prose*.

Isn't it odd though, that the tone is indistinguishable between a well-respected national news publication and some utter tool bleating about non-existent persecution on the internet?

Now, you and me both know how bizarre and unedifying it sounds when a nuclear power claims unfairness vis a vis a bunch of teenagers throwing rocks, but we're not talking about a sane situation here.  We're talking about a Hiroshima-capable nation that has absolute military supremacy over all of its potential enemies, getting arsey with an NGO for mentioning some uncomfortable truths.

Unlike some, I'm actually quite open to the idea that Israel doesn't get a fair hearing in the press - everyone has biases and angles to push, after all, and certain (small and insignificant) sections of the UK media are entirely unreceptive to Israeli complaints.

Nonetheless, let's imagine a different scenario - one in which the Palestinians get three billion dollars' worth of free armaments a year plus the occasional shitty report from Amnesty, and the Israelis get the food parcels.

Which do you imagine the Israelis would rather have, I ask: a couple of critical Amnesty reports, or a fuckload of cutting-edge murder weapons?  I suggest that the answer should allow us to reach some fairly significant conclusions.

I think we'd find out soon enough what is and is not fair; what does and doesn't represent bias.  If the Palestinians were suddenly delivered a hi-tech air force and drone capability and so on, I think we'd start to hear quite quickly about actual unfairness and real terrible biases.

Which should surely put all of this Woe is us, a soldier can't even shoot a teenager for no sane reason without getting a lot of grief nonsense into perspective, I would've thought. But then, I am an arsey and biased person, like everyone else.

*Although as a connoiseur of both Israeli and Rangers FC boo-hoo, I have to tell you that they're basically interchangeable with only minor alterations - the UN standing in for the SFA, the Guardian/BBC in place of the Daily Record etc. and so on.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Rhubarb and Custard

I actually quite like the new Scotland away kit - it's disappointing, hard on the eyes and when all's said and done, it's basically a bit rubbish and embarrassing.

All in all, the perfect outfit for the national side.

The Singular Impulse

Now, when the name of Vladimir Putin has appeared on this here blog, it's usually as an almost comical gangster; as a violent, glowering, dictatorial, ludicrous, tiger-shooting, chest-baring mafioso; a blood-splattered, dead-eyed criminal; as democracy Kryptonite.

And you know, it's not like this is exactly a controversial opinion.  Crack open a random newspaper or fire up a TV and you'll discover that it's almost universally held by the British public, political class and press. If I note that Putin is not a nice man, and that he's fond of jailing or killing his enemies, it may help to illustrate a point but it isn't exactly what you'd call Breaking News.

Similarly, when Putin cracks down on the media or flattens Grozny or steamrollers the Georgians out of South Ossetia, the British do not stand up en masse to praise his democratic bona fides or to ponder the depths of his humanitarianism.  When he launches discrimination drives against gay people, academics and hacks and politicians and so on do not generally pen bajillion-word diatribes upon his altruistic yearning for peace and justice and screech about the infamy of his detractors.

What you definitely do see at times like this though, is plenty of is folk issuing shouts of Why are the supposedly anti-war left silent when Putin blah blah blah and Where are the protests outside the Russian embassy? and so forth.

The most hilarious suggestion here, of course, is that there's any such creature as an anti-war faction in the UK, beyond the usual tiny gaggle of politically-irrelevant holdouts on the outer rim of the yakosphere, but that's a point for another day.

So let me just say that if prompted, I'll gladly reissue the previous list of complaints about the Russian government, but you know, what's the point?  The only people in the UK who aren't aware of Putin's villainy are those who'd struggle to name the Prime Minister of the nation.

And I don't even bother my arse to protest our own wars any more, let alone those of other nations, because it's been amply demonstrated that there's no point whatsoever in doing so.  Our own government is utterly indifferent to our opinions on its adventures, and attempts to sway them from whatever madcap schemes they have in mind are like firing a water pistol at a sex-crazed bull elephant.  Like it or lump it, que sera, sera.

Which leads me to also conclude that a thousand furious flag-wavers outside the Russian embassy are unlikely to dissuade the Kremlin, innit.

The basic complaint under these Wilt Thou Not Condemne chuckles is this - why do you criticise our own government's bone-crushing inanities more often than the worse enormities of others?

And there's a long list of perfectly valid and logical responses about holding your own rulers to account and so on, but when it comes down to it, what impels me towards Blogger and Twitter is the daily avalanche of blazing horseshit about humanitarianism and our duty towards the suffering peoples and all of that utter drivel that masks the singular impulse:  Bombs away. 

I don't fantasise that Vladimir Putin is a more reasonable man than our rulers.  I don't imagine that he adheres to the law, or that he holds higher principles, or expect him to adhere to lesser standards of behaviour.

I'm saying that when the bombers take to the air, there is no law; there are no principles; there are no standards of behaviour.  There's only pragmatism, cynicism and cant, and that almost every time you hear the word humanitarianism, it's a mere euphemism for whatever we wanted to do in the first place.