Monday, March 31, 2008

London Skolars v. Barrow Raiders

Maybe I'm a jinx. I think I'm yet to see Skolars win, I tend to miss those golden moments.

Saturday's kick off was scheduled slightly late, 1630hrs, and was delayed due to mysterious reasons. The pitch was like the Somme - leading to ironic chants of "Come on you browns" from the fans towards the end.

My end of game cry was "Keep them below fifty, please." After having watched Rochdale annihilate the Skolars 5-54 on bank holiday monday(*) I didn't want to see a similar score line.

Overall, this was a disappointing performance, although they occasionally applied pressure, in reality the game was all one way, and the maority of the Raiders tries came through finding gaping holes in the London team's defence. The latter also gave away too many penalties, and cleary seemed to drop the (albeit sodden) ball too often.

Raiders were better at powering through the Skolars' lines, passing the ball and running with it.

Still, at least it wasn't a three figure score, lets look on the bright side.

Skolars 4 - Raiders 54.

(*) I saw two matches over the Easter weekend, and couldn't get round to blogging them, but it was two defeats, Skolars v. Hornets 4-54 (sounds familiar) and Quins v. Dragons 22-24

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Election fever

Well, Vaux Populi is back up and running because we do indeed have a candidate standing in Sarf Landan.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

London Skolars v. Sheffield Eagles

Fresh from two away wins, one against Sheffield, Skolars must have been confident walking into this match. Sadly, such confidence wasn't rewarded.

In a brave, but sometimes tetchy, match (the Sheffield 15, a big brute of a bloke, certainly needed a few words from the ref from time to time) Skolars managed to struggle to stay in the game. Although they scored first, their try was a sneaky one, won off a kick - deserved, but all the same, not a sign of powering through the oppositions ranks.

Sheffield did power through, though, they bulldozed, and although scores were level by the third quarter of the match, the reality was that most of the play, and repeat sets, had belonged to Eagles in the Skolars' half.

That well known sign in sport of being outmatched happened in the fourth quarter, the collapse, as the Eagles repeatedly ran over the line - their final try, symbollic of a weary opposition, came from a failed tackle where the Sheffield man bounced his tackler off, and stomped on to score a try.

In a pathetic fallacy, the skies turned to grey, and began to weap a little for the London team.
Skolars 14 - Eagles 34

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Gold finger

Follow up from here.

According to the BBC, Gold has now hit $1,000 an ounce.

Now, mark you, this is a significant sign of recession. The beeb points out people are fleeing the dollar, looking for secure investments - gold is the ultimate safe commodity.

Imagine, as my previous post did, that we had gold backed currencies. If that were the case, what we'd be seeing now, would be massive deflation, as the value of money rose and rose, and more things could be bought. Prices would tumble, left and right. That is a classic part of a crisis.

The effect of a massive down push on nominal prices would be that firms would be harder pressed to make the nominal price of their debts. Many would go under.

The fact that we are under a fiat money system means such massive deflation doesn't occur. Instead, we have bankers behaving as if inflation is still the problem (and we have official government inflation targets).

Inflation in a time of economic slow down, I believe, is called stagflation.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Harlequins RL v. Huddersfield Giants

BBC version here.

So, the Twickenham Stoop. On a cold grey day. Planes heading to Heathrow with landing gears down seemed to hang in the mist behind the far goal posts. The cheerleader lassies were allowed to wear trackie bottoms against the cold (I did wonder to myself if their cropped top outfits were some sort of slave driving technique - "dance, or freeze!").

Quins broke through early, with a converted try. For much of the first half, though, they stonewalled the Giants, proving their defences to be impregnable. They scored once more in that half, and twice in the second. Ending with a penalty kicked goal for good measure.

The giants only crossed the line once, in a disallowed try due to an earlier knock-on. Other than that, it was grind most of the way. The pure skill of the big time players showed through, with nifty dummies, tackling, crossing moves and impeccable catching.

3,284 attended in the crowd, and the Quins go second in the league, slightly unusual for a London club...

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

From the comments...

It may be a half remembered anecdote - and thus embellished beyond recognition - but i seem to remember reading that the Glasgow ILPers who were part of the 1922 Parliamentary intake - Maxton, Wheatley, Kirkwood, Stephen etc - did more than chide themselves because they were convinced in later years that it was their votes that swung the leadership contest MacDonald's way against Clynes in '22.

If what they felt was true, then they contributed far more to Labour in Government then MacDonald ever thought imaginable.
Quoth the Ingrate in t'comments.

Yes, interestingly, reading about MacDonald for a talk I gave somewhere (Ramsay MacDonald: Bastard - was the title, for obvious reasons) I discovered that he came to power as the left-wing candidate. In 1914 he resigned the Labour leadership in order to oppose World War I. He was villified throughout, to the extent that John Bull magazine publicly revealled his bastardy.

In 1917, at a meeting in Leeds, MacDonald moved a resolution calling for the establishment of Workers' & Soldiers councils in the UK - MacDonald was calling for Soviets! Indeed, in his biography, Lloyd George called MacDonald "the British Kerensky."* Without a doubt, had Red Clydeside and the revolts of 1919 gone anywhere, MacDonald, would have come to head up a revolutionary government as a part of the left.

So, that's a moustacheod Scottish MP, who opposed a war coming to the forefront of the British left, only to cause mayhem by his tendency to renegadism. Where have I heard that one before?

Update Tsk! I forgot my own footnote.

*Intriguingly Alexander Kerensky, according to Wikipedia, is himself buried in Putney Vale cemetary, apparently, no Russian orthodox cemetaries in the US (where he died) would have him, blaming him for the Russian revolution.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Why I (re)joined the Socialist Party(*)

I suppose I never really blogged on my adventures into reformism. Partly, I think, because some of the issues were background personal ones rather than political theoretical. Partly because I don't think it involved that much of a change of position for me. That much. Anyway, here goes to try and explain my reversion of the masthead of this blog, and my re-application to join the Socialist Party.

OK, my basic political principles are that I am a democrat, and believe that the minimum requirement is to "just get involved" - the mere involvement of millions changes politics. That's important. Involvement plus objective circumstance is what makes things move.

As a democrat, I have to accept when I am outvoted, and argue to change the view of the majority. What difference, thinks I, does it make if I do that from within or without the Labour Party, recognising, as a basic, that it is a part of the workers' movement, and that it does contain socialists (albeit ones of a different tradition). Either way, I will be outvoted.

I suppose, what I missed, or underestimated, was the role of a political party in reinforcing ideology/identity in an organised and communal sense. I tried joining various strands of Labour organisation, but tended to find that unless you were prepared to be a hyperactivist who won your spurs through performative acts of loyalty (leafletting and phone canvassing), you were going to get no-where. How, though, could I canvass when I was profoundly at odds with the thrust of the party's policies (though believing that, at worst, they were better than the Tory/Liberal alternatives).

To stretch an anology, early on, Labour surrendered to the symbollic hegemonic conservative values on entering their first period in office, they won their spurs by demonstrating a loyalty to the existing ordering (including Ruritanian privy council costumes). They pegged for small wins, without overly rocking the boat.

My still small voice was as drowned in the Labour party as it is without it. Except, the problem of politics is how to square the big picture with the day-to-day. Ramsay MacDonald - who can be described as the real ideological founder of the Labour Party, much as he is reviled as its great traitor - Oedipus Rex, anyone? - proposed a tripartite structure - Trade Unions, Parliamentary Labour Party, Independent Labour Party. The latter was to function as an almost purely propaganda vehicle for Socialism, leaving day to day legislation to the PLP, workplace struggles to the Unions. He would chide the ILP for getting too involved in government policy, rather than promoting socialism.

The reality is, that, for many in the Labour Party, there isn't time for a big picture, they hae councils to run and opponents to chivvy and chide. Big politics is scary and a gift to the opposition. But we need the big picture.

Except, for much of the left, the big picture has been a sort of fantastic support, a utopia which make the present possible and bearable - the lunatic derangement of the impossiblist is to think the fantasy can somehow become real and thus pursues it. We're trying to climb up to our castles in the air. But, this willful, instranigent belief in faerie tales breaks the Labour compact, the idea that taking care of the pennies now will win us pounds in heaven.

So, we return to the other vexing question, what does the revolutionary minority do in a time of class peace and majority support for capitalism? They get outvoted, and get themselves seen to be outvoted.

(*)If they'll have me, that is.

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Some people are right on t'internet

Pinched from Stroppybird, who pinched it from Darren who pinched it from Marx and Coca-Cola blog.

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