Thursday, 22 October 2009

The BNP, New Labour, and Climate

A very hectic week so far, and thus not much time to blog. Normal service will be resumed shortly, especially as there is so much to write about at the moment!

However, I wanted to cover a few things briefly.

On Nick Griffin, the BBC and Question Time, I will just refer you to this excellent article by Gary Younge. New Labour have created the conditions for fascism - and now they are reaping the whirlwind. My own personal position remains that of 'no platform', which I will likely discuss at another time.

Secondly, there's my continuing Diane Abbott Watch - holding Diane to account and monitoring how she votes in Parliament. I've already blogged about her opposition to a transparent Iraq war inquiry and other such veerings towards New Labour orthodoxy - and yesterday provided another one. The Liberal Democrats, to their credit, put down a motion calling upon Parliament to support the 10:10 climate campaign (the campaign to reduce carbon emissions by 10% by the end of 2010, which Hackney Council made a big hoopla of supporting). Given the Council's stance, and Diane's reputation, you'd expect her to have supported the motion. Umm, no, as it turns out. As you can see from the vote tally, Diane voted WITH the government and against the 10:10 target - unlike other, more reliable rebels such as Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. But then, given that I also recently discovered her steadfast support for nuclear power, I'm not entirely surprised at this latest example of shaky green credentials...

Lastly - I've just come back from a public meeting in Clapton about Afghanistan. I'd urge everyone who can to go along to the demonstration on Saturday (meeting at Hyde Park at noon). The familiar litany of Labour's crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq never fails to make my blood boil - and I can do no better at expressing it than Pablo Neruda's poem about the Spanish Civil War. I leave you with it for now...

I'm Explaining A Few Things

You are going to ask: and where are the lilacs?
and the poppy-petalled metaphysics?
and the rain repeatedly spattering
its words and drilling them full
of apertures and birds?
I'll tell you all the news.

I lived in a suburb,
a suburb of Madrid, with bells,
and clocks, and trees.

From there you could look out
over Castille's dry face:
a leather ocean.
My house was called
the house of flowers, because in every cranny
geraniums burst: it was
a good-looking house
with its dogs and children.
Remember, Raul?
Eh, Rafel? Federico, do you remember
from under the ground
my balconies on which
the light of June drowned flowers in your mouth?
Brother, my brother!
loud with big voices, the salt of merchandises,
pile-ups of palpitating bread,
the stalls of my suburb of Arguelles with its statue
like a drained inkwell in a swirl of hake:
oil flowed into spoons,
a deep baying
of feet and hands swelled in the streets,
metres, litres, the sharp
measure of life,
stacked-up fish,
the texture of roofs with a cold sun in which
the weather vane falters,
the fine, frenzied ivory of potatoes,
wave on wave of tomatoes rolling down the sea.

And one morning all that was burning,
one morning the bonfires
leapt out of the earth
devouring human beings --
and from then on fire,
gunpowder from then on,
and from then on blood.
Bandits with planes and Moors,
bandits with finger-rings and duchesses,
bandits with black friars spattering blessings
came through the sky to kill children
and the blood of children ran through the streets
without fuss, like children's blood.

Jackals that the jackals would despise,
stones that the dry thistle would bite on and spit out,
vipers that the vipers would abominate!

Face to face with you I have seen the blood
of Spain tower like a tide
to drown you in one wave
of pride and knives!

see my dead house,
look at broken Spain :
from every house burning metal flows
instead of flowers,
from every socket of Spain
Spain emerges
and from every dead child a rifle with eyes,
and from every crime bullets are born
which will one day find
the bull's eye of your hearts.

And you'll ask: why doesn't his poetry
speak of dreams and leaves
and the great volcanoes of his native land?

Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see
The blood in the streets.
Come and see the blood
In the streets!


  1. As you say Matt, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are far more reliable rebels - and both have solid green credentials.

    Will there be Green candidates against them next year? I hope not, but I've heard mixed reports from people I know in Islington and Hayes. Could you let us know?

  2. Hi there Andrew,

    Ultimately that is a matter for the relevant local parties, but my understanding is that the London Federation of Green Parties has a 'full slate' policy - it's one that I agree with, I have to say. I have lots of time for Jeremy and John (have even played cricket against the latter!), but ultimately they are in a party which I regard as a complete dead end for social change....and so, with regret, I'd personally support standing against them.

    My feelings are different in a few other, non Labour cases - I think there is definitely a strong argument for not standing against Salma Yaqoob in Birmingham for example...but Labour candidates? I'm afraid I think Greens should always be providing an alternative to them.