Allergic Reactions

Allergies. Lots of have them and I think I’ve finally discovered mine – I’m bullshit intolerate.

Take, for example. Tony Blair’s reaction to the this week’s poll that indicated pretty widespread. support for an English Parliament.

Tony Blair has said that setting up a separate English parliament would be “unworkable” and “unnecessary”.

Unnecessary? Well fair enough, that’s a matter of opinion.

Unworkable? Now that’s complete bullshit.

Whatever you actually think of the idea of an English Parliament, the one thing the idea isn’t is ‘unworkable’. It would require some very substantial consitutional changes, true, but there is at least one perfectly sound model that could be used that would allow for the creation of such a Parliament: Federalism.

Now, if Tony think federalism is unworkable, then perhaps he mention that to his mate George, next time he sees him, because the Americans have been using a federal model of government for more than 200 years and they seem to think it works.

All Tony has done here is try to redfine ‘unworkable’ to mean ‘I don’t like the idea and I don’t want to talk about it’ – which is bullshit.

Same BBC article, more bullshit – this time from Oliver Heald of the Tories.

Shadow Constitutional Affairs Secretary Oliver Heald said: “We welcome the results of the Newsnight poll showing strong support for continuation of the Union throughout Great Britain.

“But this does highlight the need for a constructive unionist response… so giving English MPs a greater say over purely English matters.”

EVOEM (English votes on English Matters) is unworkable because under our present system of government there is no effective separation between the Executive and the Legislature and but for the Private Members’ Ballot and quirky stuff like 10 minute rule bills, which rarely go anywhere, its only the Executive (actually, strictly speaking only the Prime Minister) that has the authority to introduce legislation into Parliament.

So, under EVOEM, it would be quite possible to have a government that is in the majority on UK matters but only because of its Scottish (and perhaps Welsh) MPs, but in the minority on purely English matters, however, even though the opposition holds the majority on English matters, they would still not gain the right to introduce legislation as only the UK government can do that, leaving us with a Parliament capable of doing precisely fuck all.

EVOEM is a dumb idea, one that ‘makes sense’ only if you’re a half-baked opportunstic twat – its bullshit.

Elsewhere, David Milliband in majoring in non-sequiteurs:

After the terrible drought in Australia, Malaysia is now being hit by record floods. It will be interesting to see how the independent report commissioned by the Government into the impact of climate change on Malaysia assesses the prospects (led by Professor Fredolin Tangang).  It is relevant that nearly 20% of greenhouse gases are estimated to come from deforestation, and Malaysia has significant forests of its own.

Ah, so its deforestation, greenhouse gases and climate change that’s causing the drought in Australia and the floods in Malaysia?

No, we’re actually in the middle of an El Nino, at least until the spring – so this shit would all be pretty much happening anyway.

It’s just a bit more bullshit.

I had to read this one a couple of times, just to be sure that its not a bid of bad satire…

Who does he think he is? We must ask this question, because it’s the kind of question that would be asked if a 45-year-old female political neophyte declared, as Barack Obama did today, that she was taking the initial steps toward a presidential bid. In fact, the public wouldn’t get the chance to ask it of a 45-year-old woman with barely two years of national political experience, because, unlike Obama, the media would never take her seriously and we would rarely, if ever, hear her name.

Some say we should celebrate the candidacy of a minority. Yes, we should. But we weren’t interested in doing that when former US Senator Carol Moseley Braun ran in 2004. Like Obama, Braun was launched onto the national scene with a stirring and powerful speech – in her case, to the 1992 Democratic party convention. In fact, the parallels are astonishing: she is also African-American, also graduated from an elite law school and in 1992 won election to hold the very same Senate seat that Obama now occupies. But that’s where the similarities end. Braun served as a federal prosecutor before entering politics and, after a full six-year term in the Senate, she went on to serve as a US ambassador. Yet, despite an endorsement from the National Organization of Women, the media and political pundits never took her seriously. I recall being excited about her candidacy, only to find in every article that mentioned her an undercurrent of “who does she think she is?” At the age of 57, her campaign never caught fire…

…We must ask this question, “who does he think he is?” because there are 14 female US senators more qualified than Obama, one of whom is currently millions ahead in fundraising and has a double-digit lead in the polls. If Hillary Clinton were a man, her gravitas, formidable fundraising ability and giant presence in the party would dwarf his bid. Yet the media rushes – no, tramples – to fawn over a young man with far less life experience, less national political experience and less business experience.

Yes, how dare you run for President, you bastard – you’re a man and an under-represented fucking minority, and as a woman I demand that its our turn to be the under-represented minority with a candidate at this next election.

That’s Lisa Nuss, who’s profile says that she’s “an attorney and writer based in San Francisco, who attempts to write humorously on the topic of women and power.” which explains why it took me a couple of reads through to realise that she isn’t taking the piss.

David A Bell is the Andrew W Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and the the author, most recently, of The First Total War, which discusses the birth of modern attitudes about warfare in the late 18th century – yep that is a barely edited cut and paste job from the Groan.

David A Bell writes articles that compare late 18th century with the modern day in ways that are historically rather misleading, like this one, which appears in his article on CiF

In 1790, France’s new revolutionary government went so far as to issue what has been called a “Declaration of Peace to the World”. But soon afterwards, France declared war on Austria, starting a conflict that would drag in all of Europe’s major powers and continue, with only short interruptions, until France’s final defeat in 1815.

Yes, France did declare war Austria in 1792, but only to give the Austrians, under the Duke of Brunswick, and excuse to invade France.

Confused? Let me explain.

Quick history lesson on the French Revolution.

End of 1791, France is being run by the Estates General and King Louis XVI is under what amounts to house arrest in Paris having been caught trying to sneak out of the coutry by a postman – no, I’m not making this up – because he’s got completely pissed off with having to share power with a bunch of disrespectful proles and figures that he might just his old job back (without having to deal with the proles) if he can hook up with the big fuck-off Austrian army that’s been marching up and on France’s borders making all manner of threatening noises for about the last 12 months.

Remember Louis’ wife, Marie-Antoinette was an Austrian royal.

Meanwhile, in the Estates General, the Feulliers (constitutional monarchists) and Girondins are starting to seriously shit themselves over the growing power of the Jacobins and their shit-kicking foot soliders, the sans-cullottes, and just about everyone is crapping themselves over the Austrians apart from Danton, who’s partying like its about to go out of fashion.
So, the King and his oppos come up with a cunning plan.

1. France declares war on Austria.

2. France’s few halfway decent generals and professional soldiers switch sides and hook up with Brunswick, his Austrians and a bunch of Prussians who’ve recently joined the party.

3. Austria kicks France’s arse, gets shot of the Jacobins and then puts Louis back on the throne.

Problem solved.

Except that the Austrians get complacent by thinking that kicking the shit of a bunch of French proles will be a piece of piss, because they all run away when the shooting match kicks off, until the Battle of Valmy, when the proles do the unexpected and don’t run away – at which point the Austrians and their mates think ‘fuck this for a game of soldiers’ and go home.

This leaves the Jacobins running the show in Paris, and a quick kingly execution, a new national anthem and a purge or two later and we’re all set for the Terror.

Bell is peddling the classic modern myth of the French Revolution, in which the Jacobins are presented as bunch of 18th Century Freddy Kruegers, when in fact things were all rather more complicated – the Jacobins didn’t actually take power until 1793 – yes, Dickens did get the year wrong in a Tale of Two Cities – and France’s declaration of war on Austria had next to fuck all to do the Jacobins – some of them actually voted against the declaration of war – and was all contrived as a stitch up to put Louis back on the French throne, which is why the Brunswick Declaration, made just before the Austrian invasion of France states that his aim was:

“to put an end to the anarchy in the interior of France, to check the attacks upon the throne and the altar, to reestablish the legal power, to restore to the king the security and the liberty of which he is now deprived and to place him in a position to exercise once more the legitimate authority which belongs to him.”

The wikipedia article on Brunswick also notes that ‘the manifesto threatened the French public with instant punishment should they resist the Imperial and Prussian armies, or the reinstatement of the monarchy.’

Instant punishment, in this case, meant summary execution of anyone who fought back or generally managed to piss Brunswick off, up to and including the entire population of Paris, except for the King’s oppos – or at least the ones that Jacobins didn’t manage to execute before they got there.

The modern equivalent of France’s declaration of war in 1792 would be America declaring war on Iraq in 2003 and then ringing Saddam up to ask if he wouldn’t mind invading Florida so the Yanks could avoid all that messy business with the UN and get right on with bombing the shit out of Baghdad, which rather makes all that stuff with dodgy dossiers look a bit amateurish.

Yes, even historians talk bullshit when it comes to the French Revolution.

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