The war of Kylie’s arse

300px-thewickerman_howiewarnsvillagers.jpg

Sergeant Sheridan stands at the window of the castle. He watches with mounting horror the cavortings around the bonfire. Suddenly, a voice booms from behind him.

Lord Galloway (for it is he): I trust you find the sight of the young ladies invigorating, sergeant?

Sheridan: Invigorating? No sir, I do not! It is an offence against public decency and an abomination before the Lord! I as a family man should not have to witness such lewdness!

Galloway: Come, come, sergeant. The young ladies are simply expressing a natural joy in their sexuality and their ripe young bodies.

Sheridan: But – but they are in their knickers!

Galloway: Not any old knickers, sergeant. Not your cheapo knickers from Primark. No, these are Kylie’s knickers. A fine product, if I may say so. Indeed, I myself have procured a pair for my woman…

Right, that’s enough of The Wicker Man. But really, I find it difficult to take seriously all the sound and fury over Galloway’s daft little piece about Kylie in the Daily Record. Really, from what some people are saying, you’d think he’d invaded Iraq or something. For some intelligent commentary, I refer readers to Piers’ thoughts over at Liam’s blog.

Here’s what I think. There is of course a thin line, when commenting on matters sexual, between what you can get away with and outright sexism. A lot of this depends on tone, context and who is saying what to whom. Even as a humble blogger, I at least am aware there’s a line to be walked, and take care to stay on the right side of it even if I’ve arguably strayed over once or twice. But I don’t lead public opinion and don’t aspire to. George, as an elected representative and party leader, has to be careful of what he says and hold himself to a high standard.

And this is the occupational hazard of working with Galloway. He says an awful lot – often very good, sometimes terrible, and sometimes just plain daft. He has a tendency to let his wit and eloquence run away with him. Even though this can be his strength, it’s also been his downfall more than once. The man is, I have to say, a bit of a menace and you never know what you’re going to get from him next.

But we know all this. We know George blows hot and cold. We know too that he has a tendency to play to his audience – in this case, I presume, Glasgow barflies. A lot depends on who he’s talking to and what reception he thinks he’s going to get.

As a regular listener to Radio Galloway, I can confirm that he does have a tendency to veer from one extreme to the other. Sometimes he can be quite censorious. For instance, several weeks ago George was waxing wroth over the media’s ongoing obsession with Jacqui Smith’s cleavage – this story having run for months thanks to the parliamentary sketchwriters, a gang of public schoolboys who apparently think it’s hilarious that a female politician has big boobs. For the record, I agree with George (and Jacqui) that the Home Secretary should be judged on her policies and her performance in the job, not on the size of her breasts.

On the other hand, George does lapse into phwoar territory much more often than I would like. And while you can argue that, yes, Kylie uses her sexuality to market herself, I’m afraid George’s comments come under the category of phwoaring.

So what of the gauntlet thrown down to Respect Renewal supporters? This is dead simple. Nobody except George is under any obligation to defend George’s dafter utterances. In fact, it’s perfectly all right for anyone challenged on this to say politely that, in their opinion, George was out of order. Indeed, if someone sent in a letter to the new Respect paper saying that George was out of order, I’m sure it would get printed. This would underline that Renewal is not a personality cult and is rather different from the old Respect. God knows, George is thick-skinned enough to take it.

But, and I have to say this, this doesn’t change the fact that a great deal of the criticism of Galloway has been in transparently bad faith. I will leave aside the members and fellow travellers of the AWL, who just hate Galloway and will use any stick to beat him. What is much more entertaining has been the great outpouring of synthetic outrage from the Swops. Remember, these were the guys who defended George to the hilt over the Big Brother fiasco and prevented him being censured in Respect. The Gorgeous One’s cringeworthy GQ interview, when he regaled us with the arresting image of him waking up with a broomhandle every morning, passed them by. And now they are outraged over this? If George really is the sexist monster they would have us believe, doesn’t it raise at least a question mark over their past relations with him?

And don’t even get me started on institutional sexism in the SWP. Some of the carryings on in the party hierarchy – which the grunts in the branches may be only dimly aware of – would make even George’s hair stand on end, like quills upon the fretful porpentine. Mote and beam alert, I think.

114 Comments

  1. margo said,

    November 27, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    Interested in your last paragraph. What do you mean?

  2. Louise said,

    November 27, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    Splintered: Oh fantastic! I haven’t laughed so much in ages though just to say… M&S knickers are just as good as the Kylie range but cheaper.

    “Right, that’s enough of The Wicker Man”.

    Noooo, the audience wants more…..

    I agree with a lot of what you say re the criticisms of GG. It gets me wondering about how much of the arguments about GG’s sexism is said in good faith and without a political axe to grind?

    Because when that does happen real understanding, awareness and challenging sexism (and other oppressive behaviour) is kinda lost to the point scoring, hidden agendas and the arguments become invalidated.

    Some of the criticism is ‘cos they just don’t like GG and some due to a Road to Damascus experience in the guise of Andrea Dworkin (and that’s pure farce in itself). The eternal flip-flopping of the SWP…

    I think a level of serious political honesty and criticism in good faith is needed.

    And I think it is absolutely correct to point out the institutional sexism within the SWP but would also argue that institutional sexism is alive and kicking in the left overall and other revo groups are by no means immune to sexism and other forms of oppression.

    Btw: very good post SS….

  3. Liam said,

    November 27, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Good luck with this one Splintered. It began driving me up the wall.

  4. Elephant in the Room said,

    November 27, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Indeed it did; it made him quite trigger-happy with the delete function on ‘his’ blog. He used to moderate with greater integrity.

    Interesting that some are criticised for criticising Galloway because they’ve always disliked him, while others are criticised for criticising Galloway because they’ve recently changed their ‘opinon’ of him.

    It leads me to wonder from what path one can criticise him, as you ‘can’t’ if you’ve always done so, but ‘can’t’ either if you’ve not always done so.

    What a two.

  5. stroppybird said,

    November 27, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    “I will leave aside the members and fellow travellers of the AWL, who just hate Galloway and will use any stick to beat him. What is much more entertaining has been the great outpouring of synthetic outrage from the Swops.”

    Im not going to repeat all I said over at Liams as life is too short !! Just to say though that its not just those categories of people who are raising issues about GG. I am neither of those. I am not in either group, or a fellow traveller, and never have or will be.I have also not just suddenly become aware either.

    I agree that the SWP are hypocritical, but my concern is the issues will get lost because of them.

  6. johng said,

    November 27, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    This is all getting a bit desperate isn’t it? I don’t think SWP members said very much about this at all. Its just that if anyone criticises Galloway they must be SWP members. Good to see early signs of the kind of healthy inclusive pluralism in Respect Renewal. Stroppy Bird. Its really not GOOD enough to casually denounce the SWP. You have to be completely obsessive about it. I suggest you begin by helping the lads at SUN out in their hunt for ‘tactical non-SWP members’ (I kid you not) on Respect’s NC, and stop it with all these ‘distractions’ which are not only hypocritical but quite possibly middle class as well. Its a tough and frankly meaningless job but in these new pluralist times its neccessary to be ever vigilant. These totalitarians get everywhere you know.

  7. Phil said,

    November 27, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    tactical non-SWP members’ (I kid you not)

    Point of information, John. You seem to be saying that it’s absurd to suggest that the SWP has ‘tactical’ non-members, i.e. reliable sympathisers who have been advised (for whatever reason) not to take the final step & join the party. Are you saying there are (as far as you know) no such people and that (as far as you know) this doesn’t happen?

  8. Andy Newman said,

    November 27, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    John, I know you have been following the debate on SU blog closely, so when you say ” I don’t think SWP members said very much about this at all. Its just that if anyone criticises Galloway they must be SWP members” you know as well as I do that is, ahem, counterfactual.

    Nearly all early the running on this issue was made by your friend and political ally, the young SWP intellectual “East is Red”, helped out by the “Canadien.”

    And the issue here is that there was clearly bad faith and hypocrisy.

    Comrades who I know for a fact have turned a blind eye to bullying of women in the real world get on their high horse about some off colour remarks by George. When a comrade writes that George’s comments about Kylie would deter women being invloved, while that same comrade tolerates and colludes in a climate of hostile bullying abuse against anyone outside the “in-crowd” on her own blog, then I scent a double standard.

    Comrades who turn a blind eye to comrades being advanced in left organisations for sexual favours, or women being minimised by these left organisations by ebing expected to play an eye candy role, suddenly discover that sexism is a burning issue in the middle of a faction fight.

    Comrades who have turned a blind eye while bogus charges of sexual misconduct were trumped up to expel and anathamatise dissident voices, suddenly get all upset about Kylie.

    An organisation that promotes someone to their CC who while they were student organiser used to refer to black students as Darkies (ironically obviously), suddenly discovers that language excludes people from participation.

    I think these issues do need to be treated very serioulsy, which means not using them as a factional football.

  9. Andy Newman said,

    November 27, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    And as Splintered Sunrise hints, there are worse skeletons in the closets.

  10. stroppybird said,

    November 27, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    Andy , rather than allude can you say who you are talking about.

    I expect you mean this

    “When a comrade writes that George’s comments about Kylie would deter women being invloved, while that same comrade tolerates and colludes in a climate of hostile bullying abuse against anyone outside the “in-crowd” on her own blog, then I scent a double standard.”

    about me ? Not like you too be mealy mouthed and as I said at the time its all a bit rich considering the bear pit that is SU at the moment. Nope I don’t go round deleting or moderating and that goes for all, not just some fantasy ‘in crowd’ you talk of. I want stroppyblog to represent a range of views and unlike another fantasy you have it is not an AWL blog. Janine is a member, no one else is. I am in the LP and have never been in any other group. Nearest I got was some meetings I went to with the Millies back in the 80s.

    You are right though, the left needs to get its act together re sexism and thats certainly not just RR. I just wish it could be done without all the point scoring and people could openly discuss the manner and not be defensive.

    Im not though going to waste more time on this again . I did so on Liams and frankly I can’t be arsed at the moment.

  11. Andy Newman said,

    November 27, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    Stroppy – well I was thinking of Tami, but you obvioulsy felt the description fitted Stropyblog too.

  12. stroppybird said,

    November 27, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    Andy

    You came onto Stroppyblog and talked about us all bullying Louise. So thats what I assumed.

    Anyway no point debating with you as you obviously think little of my opinion as I drink with Jim etc etc.

    You know I really can’t be arsed anymore. I really do wonder why I bother to try to be involved in the left when its such a hostile point scoring place.

    You know its really a very small world and any one new would wonder hpw such people who seem to spend their time attacking each other could ever help create a better world.

  13. Andy Newman said,

    November 27, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    Stroppy

    Given that you do have a friendship with JIm Denham, who screams LIAR, ANTI-SEMITE and FASCIST at everyone who disagrees with him, then your sensitivity about what might exclude people from participation in the left is a bit subjective.

    And given that Denham defends the statement from Martin Amis that people of Middle Eastern or Pakistani origin should be strip searched, deported and discrimianted agaisnt, then your sensitivity to the Kyllie’s bum debate does smack of an amazing double standard.

    If a mildy sexist comment about Kylie puts women off being involved, why doesn’t defending the idea of strip searches and deportations exclude Asians and Arabs?

    I think we not only need to get our hoiuse in order, we need to be consistent, and be equally critical whether people are our allies or our friends.

  14. Andy Newman said,

    November 27, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    And Stroppy

    You did tolerate and collude in bullying of Louise by “Voltaires Priest”.

  15. stroppybird said,

    November 27, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    Andy

    Don’t you thibnk you may get more people on board with RR if you didn’t go round attacking people, people who may be quite open.

    I used to have a lot of time for you Andy . I have never met you but thought you were fair on your blog and seemed to genuinely want ‘socialist unity’.

    I mean this genuinely , you are alienating people . Instead of discussing the issues I raised you attacked me and Tami. I have said it all before over at Liams.

    Why can’t the left see that its methods pushes more people away than it draws in.

    Im not trying to score points here. This whole debate over the last few weeks has made me feel less not more like getting involved.

    Can’t people take on board the issues instead of fling at them reasons why their views should not be listened to.

  16. stroppybird said,

    November 27, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    Andy

    That issue is something I have discussed in private with Louise off blogs. Im not going to do it here .

  17. November 27, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    Great post, Splintered.

  18. margo said,

    November 27, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    Andy you say, ‘I think these issues do need to be treated very serioulsy, which means not using them as a factional football’, and you list a number of things about the SWP. What are you getting at exactly. I cant work out the hints. It’s strong stuff but detail please.

  19. Madam Miaow said,

    November 27, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    The amazing travelling debate.

    Love from Banquo’s Ghost.
    X

  20. Andy Newman said,

    November 27, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    Stroppy

    Thanks for the kind words – even if they are in the past tense!

    But actually you are alienating people too.

    the chorus of deununciation about George’s Kylie remoarks was totally disproprtionate to what he had actually said. Mildy sexist, regretable, quiet word maybe in order. Not a full scale demand for denunciations, public retractions and apologies, etc.

    And all I have pointed out is that:

    i) a lot of the “scandal” was politcally motivated as part of the SWP’s deleiberate “strategy of tension” at the moment (which is also responsible for why the atmoshere at SU blog is much more unfreindly)

    ii) the criticisms of george were also disproportionate becasue they wrre fetishisiing some unfortunate comments, but very real issues of sexism and bullying in the movement are glossed over. Pperhaps it is easy to deal with a newpaper articlle and a man you don’t know. Less easy to deal with behaviour that is intimidating froom people you do know, or bullying, where there is still a culture of blaming the victim. tis is especilly so becasue ach individual incident may be borderline, but the cumulative effect is intimidating and excluding.

    Generally, the blogs are not safe places where people feel confident to express a dissenting view. And two of the very worst in terms of intimidation are Stroppyblog and Shiraz socialists, because you tolerate the verbal bullying from Voltaires Priest and others.

  21. Andy Newman said,

    November 27, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    Margo

    I am not saying any more, ask around and keep your eyes an ears open.

  22. none the wiser said,

    November 27, 2007 at 7:16 pm

    Oh, right.

  23. stroppybird said,

    November 27, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    “Not a full scale demand for denunciations, public retractions and apologies, etc.”

    I didnt call for any such thing.

    I thought that RR was going to be more open . It was also not a one off thing with Galloway, he has done similar in the past. Also I agree that its rich coming from the SWP as they made would not allow any criticism of him.

    I had hoped the new RR would be more open to the issues.
    He is your most prominent member and an experinced savvy politician. What he says had an effect.

    I also agree that sexism in all its forms needs to be dealt with. This isn’t just an issue for RR or GG, of course not. I think the trouble is it appeared to some that RR were being defensive and so those who wanted to raise it felt frustrated and silenced and so the cycle goes on. as I said I really don’t want to get much more involved in this. It just makes me want to drop out altogether sometimes the way we debate and behave on the left.

    Hands up, I can’t quote lots of Trotsky or Marx. I can’t dredge up the minuatae of who did what in what sect thirty years ago. Probably what I say can be dismissed. Who knows and sometimes I am past caring.

    All I know is this latest bunfight on the left does not make me want to engage. Now some would say who cares, but I suspect I am not the only one.

    And I do think the description of Stroppyblog as one of the most intimadating blogs is unfair. I personally won’t comment on SU because of the nature of the debate there and some of that is due to my experinces when i did discuss sexism. I have had abuse from some regular commentators on other blogs as well.

    I also have had abuse on my own blog. Aas I said I don’t delete or moderate.

    Anyway given your views about me and my blog I don’t really see much point trying to debate further. Perhaps I am alienating as well, but Andy you are the one trying to engage people with RR. Its likely you will end up on the NC and you have a blog that is widely read. Think about your tactics. I do mean that genuinely.

  24. splinteredsunrise said,

    November 27, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    If I can come back on Stroppy’s original point, I’m quite prepared to accept that plenty of people have reservations about GG for plenty of genuine reasons. Even those who count him as a friend will tell you he’s a loose cannon.

    But, and there is a but, there is something in people’s reactions to GG in that there are folks who don’t just recognise him as a flawed figure, but are absolute in their determination that he’s totally beyond the pale, and any bit of evidence will do to prove that. Do I think he’s out of order? – yes. Do I think this is a hanging offence? – probably not, even though it does fit a pattern. And I come back to people who pretend to be much more PC having, let’s say, dubious records in this regard.

  25. Piers said,

    November 27, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    Hi Splint

    Just a few additional comments to my original posting on Liam’s blog that you were so gracious in commending. It was a bit of a stream of consciousness and I’m not sure it deserved it.

    1. There was a typo adding in a word “not” – in relation to Kylie Minogue, like her mentor, appearing to engage in some form of social critique – when it shouldn’t have.

    2. An additional way in which this should and I hope will be dealt with in Respect R will be through the self-organisation of women in the party. Something sorely absent from the original Respect, perhaps due to the SWP’s historic hostility to the concept.

    3. I hope it was obvious, but in case not, I was not aiming my remarks at ALL those raising the issue of GG’s sexism. There are clearly perfectly valid motivations. I include myself among the critics. There are also many feminists who quite reasonable expect to be listened to and responded to on the issue who are not simply being cynical or sectarian. Socialist men haven’t a cat’s chance in hell in persuading women to get involved in their organisations unless they are seen to take sexism seriously.

  26. stroppybird said,

    November 27, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    “And I come back to people who pretend to be much more PC having, let’s say, dubious records in this regard.”

    seems some people are putting me in that category. (not saying you , don’t know that)

    I am trying not to be cynical or sectarian . My head though is hurting from the virtual brick wall it seems to be coming up against on the blogs.

    You know sometimes life feels a bit too short to keep bothering with arguing with leftie men who i suppose I expect to be better on this.

  27. splinteredsunrise said,

    November 27, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    No, I wasn’t putting you in that category at all. I had other folks in mind…

  28. stroppybird said,

    November 27, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    Well my views have been dismissed on those grounds by others.

  29. splinteredsunrise said,

    November 27, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    No, what I was thinking of was the sort of practices Andy mentions in #8 paras 5 and 6. In fact I do know numerous people who have been at the rough end of those practices.

    I’m absolutely clear that leftie men need to take sexism seriously and to be seen to take it seriously if we’re to address the scandalously low participation of women in the movement. And quite apart from GG needing to be more careful before shooting his mouth off (some hope that), there is at least one organisation that needs to put its own house in order before it can be taken seriously on this point.

  30. Elephant in the Room said,

    November 27, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    To misquote my football team’s fans: ‘Stand Up If You Hate The SWOP’. It’s not all about the SWP, is it?

    My question remains. Who is allowed to criticise Galloway’s blunders now? During ‘happier’ times, when GG and the SWP were ‘on the same side’, the SWP took much criticism for enforcing the ‘see-no-hear-no-speak-no-evil’ policy towards the rotund Scottish politician. Now Socialist Resistance/Unity/Irony are pursuing the same policy! And attacking anyone who quite rightly condemns certain actions of the professional MP. Just like the SWP did to them in the good/bad days.

    The advancement of socialism is not well served by this sideshow. And Galloway’s language about women is inappropriate far too often.

    I like to think that when Socialist Resistance/Unity/Renewal one day come to the same sticky end as the SWP did in the original Respect, and the next split comes, you guys will all end up on the same side (I’m calling it the Socialist side, though a party name would be better) and live happily ever after. Rich self-interested politicians can then deliver their own election leaflets, and we can all work on campaigning for socialism instead.

    You never know!

  31. splinteredsunrise said,

    November 27, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    To quote Huey Lewis, “Those who were the farthest out have gone the other way.” Yes, Hip To Be Square is much underrated.

    In fact you’ll hear plenty of criticism of GG from Renewal types. What raises a smile with me is the erstwhile enforcers of see-no-evil-hear-no-evil going completely ape and borrowing their lines off the shelf from the Soggy Oggies.

  32. johng said,

    November 27, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    Just to point out that Andy has made some pretty horrid and possibly libelous allegations above, although he’s probably covered himself with his vague and insulting innuendo’s (the whole sexual favours business is conveniantly dismissive of both genders one notes). More specifically I wonder if he has any evidence when he claims, he ‘knows for a fact’ that ‘Canadian’ or ‘East is Red’ collude or turn a blind eye to sexist abuse for example: is it enough that they’re SWP members?

    Of course rumours that Andy is busy whipping up a witch hunt atmosphere against his former comrades, aided and abetted by the terminally bitter and twisted (ex-organisers, I gotta admit, as a rule, don’t like ‘em) are simply ridiculous. Of course.

    It’s interesting that Andy fulminating about SWP hypocrisy revolved around two posters, one of whom I believe, lives in Canada. Ah I forgot. Its a huge and vast co-ordinated campaign. John Ree’s is giving us orders by the minute. Sadly I suspect its true that RR are co-ordinating this ridiculous business, hence the high seriousness.

    Its all a bit strange and Andy’s demented hysteria about the SWP is more and more reminicent of the worst kind of stalinist goonery.

  33. johng said,

    November 27, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    I should say that I don’t mind ex-organisers really. like ex-press officers they can be ok. they should just shut up about it though. It really isn’t as terribly interesting to the rest of us as they think, and they never really were as important in the movement as the deeply regret they no longer are.

  34. johng said,

    November 27, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    “In fact you’ll hear plenty of criticism of GG from Renewal types”

    As long as its entirely ineffectual.

  35. splinteredsunrise said,

    November 27, 2007 at 9:23 pm

    Well, I believe libel would require individuals to be either named or at least identifiable.

    But, comrades advanced in the hierarchy because of who they were sleeping with? Seen that.

    Other comrades framed up for sexual misconduct, when all they were guilty of was political dissidence? Seen that, more than once.

    Not to say that this sort of thing happens every day, or that it characterises the whole organisation the way physical violence used to characterise the WRP. But it happens often enough that an organisation with a more open and less deferential culture would have had a serious Control Commission investigation years ago, and more than one head would have rolled.

    Just keep your ear to the ground.

  36. splinteredsunrise said,

    November 27, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    they should just shut up about it though

    I think that speaks volumes.

  37. johng said,

    November 27, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    I have always been a bit bigoted about full time organisers and press officers when they reach the end of their usefulness it has to be said. Its certainly not the formal position of the SWP but I’ve always thought some form of permenant termination might be kinder all round. Sadly no one will take me up on the idea, and most people think it a bit extreme.

    Its an argument though. And who can honestly say at one time or another they haven’t had similar thoughts?

    Truth and Reconciliation and all that. Or are you bunch all ex-full timers?

  38. splinteredsunrise said,

    November 27, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    I have never been an SWP fulltimer, as it happens. I have felt like terminating a few, but unfortunately those buggers just seem to rise and rise up the greasy pole.

  39. Liam said,

    November 27, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    I warned you!

  40. splinteredsunrise said,

    November 27, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    Just like clockwork, it shifts from one place to the next…

    I should state that if this starts to get personally abusive, I will moderate with an iron fist.

  41. Phil said,

    November 27, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    rumours that Andy is busy whipping up a witch hunt atmosphere against his former comrades

    John, I really think you need to take a few deep breaths. A ‘witch hunt atmosphere’ is presumably an atmosphere that would facilitate people being witch hunted out of an organisation. Two questions: which organisation? which people? What, specifically, are you actually talking about?

    (OK, three questions.)

  42. stroppybird said,

    November 27, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    This is what happens. Everyone gets caught up in their own issues with different groups and then wonders why women look on feeling pissed off that the issues raised get lost .

  43. splinteredsunrise said,

    November 27, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    The thing is that John is perfectly capable of making a perfectly sensible comment. I think he should perhaps just have a nice cup of tea and calm down before he thinks about replying.

    I certainly intend to go and have a nice cup of tea. All this grinding isn’t good for my teeth.

  44. stroppybird said,

    November 27, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    Well over at Stroppyblog Cat is suggesting a nice cup cake with a cup of tea.

    Think I need something stronger :-)

  45. Andy said,

    November 27, 2007 at 11:47 pm

    Rushing to the defence of his organisation over the chrage of sexist bullying, John game says he thinks A**a C**n should have been killed:

    I have always been a bit bigoted about full time organisers and press officers when they reach the end of their usefulness it has to be said. Its certainly not the formal position of the SWP but I’ve always thought some form of permenant termination might be kinder all round

    Oh but it is “ironic”, so that is alright. Actually no, this was i believe intended to discredit Anna as a witness of institional sexism in the SWP, and tell you what it is intimidating for a man to joke about violence to a woman.

    And john. if you want to take this furthert then i am prepared to give evidence naming names to an impartial labour movement investigation. Including some really bad things, that I am not going to discuss on a blog.

  46. Andy said,

    November 27, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    Stroppy

    I really am sorry.

    I think the remarks you made about GG were in good faith, and you do have a right to raise them, and sexism shouldn’t be minimised or excused.

    I probably handled it really badly, but I felt that the over-reaction to GG’s Kylie remarks were self-serving from a lot of people.

    And what i handled really badly was the issue of criticisng tami and you.

    I genuinely do think you have a double standard, but that shouldn’t invalidate your right to criticse what you expereinced as offensive sexism.

  47. twp77 said,

    November 28, 2007 at 12:07 am

    Hey Andy,

    You coming to the bloggers piss up on Saturday? Stroppy and I might actually intimidate you in person…. Booo! Oh and the big boogeyman racist Jim D will be there…. Oh no!!!

    Didn’t think so. I doubt you’d have the gall to seriously accuse me and Stroppy of being intimidating in person – why? Because frankly you know it is bollocks and all of these accusations against both me and Stroppy only started AFTER we raised the issue of Galloway’s sexism.

  48. twp77 said,

    November 28, 2007 at 12:18 am

    Seriously – everyone’s invited on Saturday – 4pm – til at the Euston Flyer. Feel free to come, blow off steam and whatnot. Hell, maybe there will be a big fist-a-cuffs and we will all give each other hugs and make up afterwards – it’s worth a shot right? It might be a lot more productive than all of this back and forth on the blogs…. who knows???

  49. charliemarks said,

    November 28, 2007 at 5:53 am

    The Kylie thing is immature but I wouldn’t class it as sexist: he doesn’t imply that she is inferior or should be discriminated against because she is a woman.

    Would we be having this debate if Galloway was a gay woman or perhaps if he was a straight woman or a gay man remarking on the arse of a male singer? I doubt it, because whoever’s making such remarks is merely indulging in puerile – rather than offensive – behaviour and not acting in a discriminatory manner.

  50. November 28, 2007 at 9:11 am

    You did tolerate and collude in bullying of Louise by “Voltaires Priest”.

    That is untrue on not one, but two counts. Firstly, I did not “bully” anyone. I disagreed with Louise on a point of politics. I’d invite anyone who so wishes to look at the thread concerned if they want to verify my version of events. Secondly therefore, Stroppy “colluded” in nothing whatsoever. Ape ologies for dredging this up again but I simply won’t allow such a stupid and poisonous allegation to go unanswered.

    You on the other hand have attempted to abjure criticism of sexist comment from Galloway by way of libelling Jim Denham, calling him an “open racist”. Which leaves you looking like something of a hypocrite and a cynic to say the least.

  51. johng said,

    November 28, 2007 at 9:23 am

    Well when I say witch hunt atmosphere I’m referring to the way in which the distaste which some people have for the SWP leadership is being transferred onto the whole membership of the organisation (despite disclaimers) including locally respected socialists and trades unionists (I’m referring here to Ger’s rather bizarre mixture of half truths and fabrications in the article on SUN with a title which describes what Ger is trying to do rather more accurately then what the SWP is trying to do). This is something most SWP members understood from the beginning.

    When Andy attempts to argue that no SWP member has the right to raise issues about sexism for example, or accuses me of advocating the murder of A**a C**n (this on his blog!!) there is clearly a rather desperate attempt to raise the ante. this strikes me as an attempt to whip up a wider hysteria which is intended to have real effects within the movement. One of the things I noted earlier was that attempting to take the SWP out of the equation of movement politics in Britain will of political neccessity involve a much wider kind of political attack. And I think the logic of the situation is one where day after day the attacks become more and more hysterical, the discussion more and more obsessive, and the political divides more and more unbridgable. And this is the intention. Because otherwise how could you justify what happened?

    Andy is now talking about holding Labour movement enquiries into the institutional sexism of the SWP. Its a curious response to people suggesting that Georges comments about Kylie’s bum were a bit off really, but one can see the logic.

  52. Andy Newman said,

    November 28, 2007 at 9:45 am

    Ok – I should clarify Stroppy.

    I am apologising for “invalidating” your right to object to the Kylie’s bum remarks.

    I still think there is verbal bullying on you blog, and appealling to your mates who do the bullying to judge whetehr it is bullying or not rather misses the point. And I don’t just mean the instance you rasie about L, generally you tolerate ganging up on people who disagree, inclusing foul mouthered abuse.

    I find it intimidation, and I am as tough as boots, so goodness knows how it seems to someone less hard bolied.

  53. splinteredsunrise said,

    November 28, 2007 at 9:54 am

    John, if I sometimes seem to bang on a bit about dodgy practices in the SWP, it has nothing to do with a desire to write the SWP out of movement politics. I would love the SWP to clean up its act, but under the current leadership that seems impossible. And actually, if you care about the SWP’s public standing, then I think some of the ropier aspects of the regime should be of concern to you. I myself think a labour movement inquiry isn’t a bad idea – why be a Trotskyist rather than a Stalinist if the practices of your own movement don’t concern you?

    Now, I think you were bang out of order as regards Anna. She isn’t a Galloway supporter and doesn’t have an iron in this fire. Why even mention her by implication, unless your intention is to claim that every criticism of the SWP is part of this “witch hunting atmosphere”?

    I must say, this really is a weird situation where the SWP is effectively whipping up a witch hunt against itself.

  54. Andy Newman said,

    November 28, 2007 at 9:55 am

    JOhn

    You raised the issue of whether the points I was making about the SWP were libellous. As the spectre of the courts were raised then I was merely pointing out that there are other more appropriate ways of investigating if you really doubt my points.

    In actual fact Anna was distressed by your remark, and there is a general tendency for you to include violent imagary. (“razor blades in cotton wool” on the SU blog). John – specifically you need to lose the fequent references ot politiciall violence in your debating.

    Imagine as a trade unionist that a female employee raisies issues of sexual discrimination, and two long term former employees say they have seen similar incidents in the past.

    At which point a junior manager of the firm publicly posts an identifiable remark that she should have been killed. Any trade union would hang that company out to dry.

  55. Andy Newman said,

    November 28, 2007 at 9:59 am

    Splintered,

    Can you please edit #45 to obscure the explicit reference to Anna’s name?

  56. johng said,

    November 28, 2007 at 10:17 am

    razor blades and cotton wool was Trotsky’s reference to the methods of argument of Stalinist smears, directly related to my point about half truths and fabrications. I was quite serious about Ger’s methodology here recalling the old CP methods of attacks on Trots, and therefore, whether I am right or wrong on this, do not think this is in any way objectionable.

    On the reference to individuals, I am much more generally, suspicious of the way in which disapointed apparatniks have played a large role in the debates, and perhaps its wrong of me to include this particular individual within that general critique. But, having read the piece written by the individual at the time, it did seem to me that on a number of points, it recalls this general critique. So for example its suggested that its a terrible thing to be accused of making yourself indispensible. I think this relates to a kind of seperation of powers that has to exist between political leaderships and bureacratic functionaries, and has to do with democracy in the movement.

    Press Officers should in fact follow the line of political leaderships (whatever criticisms one has of those political leaderships). I also obviously got somewhat pissed off with the individual concerned a week or so ago. This was not just one of my usual flaps but related to my general critique of this sort of thing. Anyone who does not understand the leadership role of working class militants in workplaces and the relationship between this and questions of sexism, and even seeks to mock this, on the basis of unpleasent fracas with leading politicos (basing myself soley on what the person concerned has published themselves), I’ll get a bit pissed off with.

    But perhaps its true that we should all stop flaming each other.

  57. johng said,

    November 28, 2007 at 10:18 am

    Having said that I’ve just seen you attempting to compare me with a junior manager. On reflection and drawing a deep breath why don’t you go and fuck yourself. etc.

  58. margo said,

    November 28, 2007 at 10:42 am

    *55
    Andy is now asking for a name to be withdrawn which he brought out, and somehow blames Johng?

    The problem is of your own making Andy, as you happily gave a list of examples of bad behaviours that remain as a smears when they are not backed up. I think personally comments should remain concrete, and if there is a sensitivity then dont make the comments.

    Just as an aside as an SWP member I have been confronted by reports of sexual misconduct by members. On two occasions the men have claimed political differences and the women have said they were victims of abuse. On both occasions I felt there was no reason to think the women were lying. Call me old-fashioned but this is generally the view I take when women say they are victims of assault etc.

    I have also called into question something myself, and was met with a sympathetic ear at all levels. However, people who told me not to bother (outside the SWP) were not exactly thrilled when I told them not only had I done it, but I survived to tell the tale. They seemed to be happier with the idea that the SWP was an unaccountable organisation.

    At the time of the above I did feel a little uneasy before I raised my concern, but I took the view that if I could not openly ask questions to my organisation then maybe i should not be in it. I cannot comment on everybody’s experience and do not seek to generalise but I can say that I still feel the same way today.

  59. Elephant in the Room said,

    November 28, 2007 at 10:52 am

    Why is Andy Newman qualified to instruct and police the terms of debate on this, Liam’s, and his own blog? I know we’re supposed to let leaders lead, but the misrepresentation and constantly telling other people how they can and cannot wirte their own weblog commentary is beyond ridicule. I do not have the words to mock the extraordinary attempt to turn a lighthearted quip about an SWP ‘cull’ into ‘incitement to physical violence’. JohnG was as obviously not calling for murder as I am obviously not a real elephant.

    Andy should perhaps get his own house in order before appointing himself as both guide and director of the weblog commentary of others people.

  60. Andy Newman said,

    November 28, 2007 at 11:03 am

    Margo

    All the issues I raise are real. For obvious reasons I am not prepared to go into further details. I also have personal expereince of the SWP geting it right as well, but some good behaviour doesn’t justify bad behaviour elsewhere.

    Suffice to say that I am not alone in observing this, as Splintered Sunrise has completely independently raised the same issues, as have other comrades.

    elephant completely misses the point, no-one may believe that John was advocating murder, but his “joke” was intimidatory and belittling of A**a C**n.

    Two seperate women comrades have written privately to me supporting what I am saying over this.

  61. margo said,

    November 28, 2007 at 11:18 am

    I would not dream of using one to justify another, my point is simply if you cannot give substantive detail then all you leave behind is innuendo – and bad feeling.
    You puzzle me a little as on the ocasion of visiting your blog some weeks ago you raged at someone who made an assertion but did not back it up. Does this mean you operate a more liberal apporach on other people’s blogs?

  62. Madam Miaow said,

    November 28, 2007 at 11:37 am

    That’s OK, johng, having seen the SWP up close, I’m aware of the level of impotence within that organisation and I understand how this feeds down from the head. Of course, when people feel powerless they lash out and do things they might ordinarily regard as lowlife, cowardly and gratuitously nasty such as advocating violence towards women. That doesn’t necessarily mean to say they are themselves lowlife, cowardly and gratuitously nasty.

    Thank you, sisters, for your concern and for giving me such heartwarming support. Tami, I was pleased to engage in the debate when you were making some pertinent points concerning Galloway and his Kyie comments over at SU so it was a good lesson in politics to then see you put your defence of women into practice. Congrats, BTW, for your election to the LRC women’s group. You’ll do us all proud.

    It’s been another cheering foray into the left. So glad to be able to discuss and raise issues in a safe comradely environment. So many people “out there” assume doublethink and the politics of envy are alive and well in the left – if only they knew. Beyond the high jinks and lively spirit, good to see us all capable of looking at ourselves, our experiences, and what we’ve learnt in such a mutually supportive and productive way, with love, honesty, intelligence, introspection, reflection and analysis. For here is the vanguard which will take the movement forward.

    Excelsior!

  63. Phil said,

    November 28, 2007 at 11:57 am

    when I say witch hunt atmosphere I’m referring to the way in which the distaste which some people have for the SWP leadership is being transferred onto the whole membership of the organisation (despite disclaimers)

    I call tosh and taradiddle. Tell us when you see Karen Reissmann being smeared. Tell us when you see denunciations of Mike Lavalette. Come to that, tell us when you see people calling on militants like Karen and Mike to leave the SWP, or saying they’d do so much better outside the party.

    It’s not about “the whole membership of the organisation”; never has been and hopefully never will be. RR and its sympathisers don’t have a problem with SWP members. They have a problem with the SWP leadership and those who follow its lead. It’s really very straightforward.

  64. johng said,

    November 28, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    You have a problem with those who follow its lead? Phil are you aware of what you just said?

  65. johng said,

    November 28, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    Lavellette would certainly be someone who see’s themselves as following the SWP’s lead incidently. This attempt to make out that he’s in some strange sense not a proper member is misconcieved. Its just that he’s a bit difficult to attack.

  66. Phil said,

    November 28, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    You have a problem with those who follow its lead? Phil are you aware of what you just said?

    Am I aware that the SWP’s structured as a democratic centralist organisation, meaning that once a line has been (democratically) decided every member is duty-bound to follow it? Yes, I do. But the fact remains that not all SWP members actually agree with the current leadership line on RESPECT – and not all of those who do agree with it think it’s important enough to pursue over and above other priorities, e.g. effective campaigning work. Perhaps I should have said that RR’s problem is with those who actively, knowingly and willingly follow the leadership.

    By the end of October, at the very latest, I think the SWP CC had come to the conclusion that a split was inevitable and decided to try and control it, with a view to keeping the split outside the SWP itself (or keeping the SWP as a whole on one side of the split). Paradoxically, whether they succeed in this will depend on how hard they push it within the party – they could yet create the split they’ve been trying to prevent, for instance by demanding active commitment to the current line.

  67. Phil said,

    November 28, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    This attempt to make out that [Lavalette]’s in some strange sense not a proper member

    “Strange” is the right word, considering this is precisely the opposite of what I actually said. Reading between the lines can be useful, but you do need to read the actual words as well.

  68. Phil said,

    November 28, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Yes, I do.

    s/do/am/

  69. johng said,

    November 28, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    “Perhaps I should have said that RR’s problem is with those who actively, knowingly and willingly follow the leadership”

    Lavellete I would argue is actively, knowingly, and willingly following the line. Given the leaks I’m sure you’ve seen the IB. So why have there been no attacks on him? I would suggest because its rather difficult to attack him politically. So an attempt is made to pretend that he is somehow not one of the ‘bad guys’. Sorry. He is. And it is politiquing of the most dishonest type to pretend differently.

    Also if you read the above sentance about who RR have a problem with its meaningless. Those of us who agree with the SWP on this question believe that this split is a left/right one about how to respond to electoral pressures. Those on the RR side think its simply about SWP methods and no substantive political questions are involved. That I think fairly sums up both sides in ways that they would not have deep objections to.

    So what you are saying is that RR has a problem with anyone who agrees with the SWP that the split is a left/right one about how to respond to electoral pressures and not really about SWP methods. Presumably this means that anyone who tends to think the SWP may have a point about this is also a problem. Lavellete certainly believes this is a left/right split which has emerged about how to deal with the pressures of electoralism.

  70. johng said,

    November 28, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    Oh and incidently I think those who now make up the leadership of Respect Renewal believed a split inevitable considerably before the end of October.

  71. Liam said,

    November 28, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    The split probably became inevitable when JR said that the GG letter was a “declaration of war” and that the SWP would “go nuclear”. My source for this is a supporter of SR on the NC with a bad habit of always telling the truth..

    The split was inevitable because we had all tried the SWP’s method of building Respect, seen it had failed and that its leadership was unwilling to have a real discussion about the problems.

  72. Elephant in the Room said,

    November 28, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    ‘elephant completely misses the point, no-one may believe that John was advocating murder, but his “joke” was intimidatory and belittling of A**a C**n.’
    Don’t patronise me, Andy. Your overestimate you intellectual advantage. I read this and wonder whether to respond in writing or intead to arrange a psych referral. What’s with the asterisks on someone’s name you’ve already deployed and is self-publicised on the aforementioned log?

    I’ve had a read of Anna’s weblog before, and she’s more than capable of defending herself in writing – the poisionous invective aginst her supposed enemies will testify to that.

    ‘Two seperate women comrades have written privately to me supporting what I am saying over this.’
    That calling for a cull of ex-SWP full-timers is intimidating? Well, laughable as that may be, it’s a rather less aggressive than your dismissal, smearing, and attempted ‘invalidation’ of other women who you don’t presume to speak for. I don’t think you’re gonna get any.

    ‘I am apologising for “invalidating” your right to object’
    You didn’t, as far as I can make out. Why not resign your internet police brief? It’s not working, and I suspect you don’t speak for as many people as you presume to.

  73. Phil said,

    November 28, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    Lavellete I would argue is actively, knowingly, and willingly following the line.

    I’ve seen nothing to support that. As and when I do, I’ll happily include Cllr Lavalette on my (as yet fairly short) list of SWP Members Who Are Part Of The Problem. (Well, not so much ‘happily’ as ‘regretfully’, but you see the point.)

    You see how this works? It’s not about ‘the SWP’ as a whole; it’s not even about ‘the SWP leadership’ in the abstract, as if RR couldn’t work with any possible leadership of any possible SWP. It’s about the current line of the current SWP leadership – which includes a pattern of deliberately disruptive interventions – and about people who actively follow that line.

    Presumably this means that anyone who tends to think the SWP may have a point about this is also a problem.

    No – and, once again, that’s rather precisely not what I said. For reference:

    the fact remains that not all SWP members actually agree with the current leadership line on RESPECT – and not all of those who do agree with it think it’s important enough to pursue over and above other priorities, e.g. effective campaigning work.

  74. Elephant in the Room said,

    November 28, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Phil, what you say might be true of yourself, but it’s not been true of others on here, Liam’s and Andy’s, including the hosts. There’s been endless personal, political, dishonest, and divisive attacks on the SWP as a party, as a concept, and as an organisation. Anyone defending them, including non-members are dismissed as ‘tactical non-members’, ‘revolutionaries’, and other odd labels that don’t usually fit.

    Lavalette’s committment to the SWP is not seriously doubted by anyone I know who knows him. He can just handle situations and people much better than many of the SWP’s CC, and is better at not making a complete prat of himself.

    He won’t break the line, althopugh he might yet gain the influence to change it.

    As for calling him ‘Mike’, Phil, I urge you to continue as he really doesn’t like that!

  75. Madam Miaow said,

    November 28, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Wit and irony – pearls before swine. Or elephants.

    I never tire of re-reading Animal Farm. Especially the final paragraph.

  76. Andy Newman said,

    November 28, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    Elephant

    I claim to speak for no-one but myself.

  77. Elephant in the Room said,

    November 28, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    ‘Wit and irony – pearls before swine. Or elephants.’
    Have I just been called a pig? I do hope so Anna.

    Anyway.

    All this talking about the fucking SWP again (we love them really), the CC or the rest of the membership leaves me feeling ill-informed.

    Can someone help me and link to or possibly list the names of the CC members? I can only name five of them. Being, as they are, the SWP, they don’t exactly publish internal mechanics. Anyone?

  78. margo said,

    November 28, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Wiki has it but some of the names are now out of date.

  79. johng said,

    November 28, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    Phil, I’m unsure what you mean about deliberately, disruptive interventions. If you mean on the blogs I can assure you that absolutely none of it is being organised by the SWP ‘leadership’. Indeed some of us think it ought to be, given the amount of defamatory stuff going up here (there are a number of examples where allegations were made and left hanging which later turned out to be untrue: oddly in at least two cases these allegations were not answered simply out of basic decency, odd though that might be to believe).

    If on the other hand you mean what George referred to in his letter as ‘divisive’ (ie raising matters to do with selection and politics) then I’m afraid you’ll have to add Lavellete to the list. Those who are printing excerpts of IB’s which are critical of the SWP happily wish away the substantive and detailed pieces by very credible people, on the basis that it would be proceedurally wrong to publish them. They’re right about that, but the onesided reporting of what was in that IB from people who must have read the whole thing struck me as deliberately and unambiguously obfuscatory and misleading.

    But you see the problem. There is nothing that can be done about this from the point of view of how the SWP works. And in the end not leaking internal documents or circulating unsubstantiated gossip, seems to me a better set of practices then an ‘openess’ which amounts to little more then muck raking, a kind of muck raking its known in advance you won’t be held accountable for.

  80. johng said,

    November 28, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    sorry, the ‘you’ here does not refer to phil.

  81. Andy Newman said,

    November 28, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    JOhn

    What proportion of the SWP membership actually received the last two IBs?

  82. johng said,

    November 28, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    Andy I have absolutely no idea, and if I did, why on earth would I tell you after your latest performance?

  83. margo said,

    November 28, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    Don’t worry Andy any member who wants one can get one.

  84. johng said,

    November 28, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    Was Andy trying to imply that members aren’t allowed to have them?

  85. margo said,

    November 28, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    I don’t know but his concern is noted. I have two of each as it goes, as my district seemed very keen on me being in the loop.

  86. Mike said,

    November 28, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    If I recall correctly Kylie’s gold knickers were bought second hand. Not that it matters……

    Nor do the comments of GG regarding Kylies arse really matter come to that. The mans a twit and holds attitudes towards wmen that are typical of the men of his generation. Despite which he is not know for molesting women so lets have a sense of proportion?

    Far more important is the SWP’s reaction to these silly remarks. The truth is that Respect today, that is the real Galloway led Respect not the SWP’s rump (sorry rump might be construed as sexist), is not led by a sexist anymore than it was when the SWP formed its organisational spine. nor, for that matter is Respect any more electoralist/communalist than it was when the SWP were still chummy with GG.

    But the claims coming from the SWP that there is a left-right split are, to some small degree, true. But the split is entirely within the SWP has been generated by the tactics of the CC which are a distortion of the Leninist deas they claim to defend.

  87. johng said,

    November 28, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    I think people should not generalise from the ‘SWP’ to those of us SWP members who make a comment. I didn’t intervene in the argument largely because it was clearly an attempt to change the subject from something rather more embarressing from the renewal side. Then it became embarressing for the renewal side and they started attacking everyone who was discussing it. Then i made my ill-advised joke and suddenly Andy is terribly sympathetic to those he was denouncing a few paragraphs back. Its kind of not too impressive really.

    I don’t think SWP members generally rationalised those statements of George’s they disagreed with (some might have of course). Instead they highlighted those parts of his politics they agreed with.

  88. margo said,

    November 28, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    I have posted on another site since before CBB started in 2006. Up to that point I joined the forums around Iraq and Palestine primarily. As you can imagine GG featured here fairly often, although the sentiments were mixed. I should say this other site is not exclusively political, and definatley not only frequented only by the left.

    Then came CBB and I remained in the forum. Support for GG slumped dramatically amongst the political posters, but he gained some new support from BB punters who had never seen him before.

    Anyway, how I dealt with all this was by never trivialising the things he said, or the impact it had on people. I simply maintained the position that on many important questions he was second to none – such as the Middle East etc.

    With those that were disappointed with him, including many women who viewed his opinions and language with alarm, I was patient and sympathetic. I got involved with many discussions about the roots of sexist behaviour, and how best to deal with it. With those who used CBB to attack him from the right I was steadfast and uncompromising. And the best way to do that was to acknowledge and move on.

    I never ducked anything, or pretended it never happened.

  89. November 29, 2007 at 12:27 am

    Yo Andy;

    Still waiting for your apology. You’re done. It’s over. Best be going back to sales.

  90. Martin Wisse said,

    November 29, 2007 at 11:35 am

    The English left really can’t organise a pissup in a brewery, can they?

    None of the people involved in this split, on either side, come out looking good. Argue long and hard about who’s to blame, who did what to whom, but in the end it really doesn’t matter as none of this is helping to make the country a better place. All it does is make y’all look like clowns.

  91. twp77 said,

    November 29, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    We ARE organising a piss up – Saturday – 4pm at the Euston Flyer!!! See? We are still good for something!

  92. splinteredsunrise said,

    November 29, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    And on that note, unless someone has an actual point to make I think that’ll do for this thread.

  93. Elephant in the Room said,

    November 29, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    Funny that, Liam did the same as soon as him and Andy started losing dominance. Your criticisms of the SWP control-freakery would carry more weight if you didn’t demonstrate the same.

  94. Phil said,

    November 29, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Relax, EITR, Splinty’s bark is worse than his bite. I need only point to comment 94, which contains no ‘actual point’ at all but has been allowed to stand unchallenged.

    It looks like you’re being repressively tolerated. It must be awful for you.

  95. Andy Newman said,

    November 29, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    And what is Volty on about. #90

    Not only have I never worked in sales, and that is an extremely anti-0working class remark.

    but how is a pseudonymous AWL hanger-on who is not even politically active outside of a blog able to say it is “over for me”

    The thing is Volty, bullying is in the judgement of the victim. Your constant abuse, foul language etc actually did in fact intimidate a woman comrade.

    It is notgood then appealling to the gallery and saying “judge for yourself”, especially when the gallery is made up by the self-selecting gang who participate in the bullying, foul mouthed in-crowd.

    Once someone complains that they are feeling bullied, then if you continue wthout modification then you are a bully.

    Now I find it interesting that some of the comrades who get on the high horse that the Kylie’s bum comment might exclude women, themselves run blogs where anyone who steps outisde the effectivley AWL group-mind gets abused as a “fuckwit” gets told to “get back to sales ” and otherwise mocked.

  96. mm said,

    November 29, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    *96
    Oh, the irony.

  97. Elephant in the Room said,

    November 29, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    ‘Relax, EITR, Splinty’s bark is worse than his bite. I need only point to comment 94, which contains no ‘actual point’ at all but has been allowed to stand unchallenged.’
    Like 95?

    ‘It looks like you’re being repressively tolerated. It must be awful for you.’
    I’m not sure I understand, but my comments have in fact been deleted here already, so perhaps we’re on different wavelengths, I don’t know.

    I’m off though. Sycophantic policing (borderline bullying) of these Renewal blogs (by ‘Splinty’, Andy, and Liam – not you Phil) has left me disillusioned with the prospect of persuading them to put aside their hatred for socialist revolutionaries in thew SWP and elsewhere in order to create the mass socialist party that is the one and only item on my agenda.

    In a dark moment this afternoon, I even considered rejoining the Labour party, such is my current pessimism towards the radical left to find a way of uniting.

    I think I’ll have to be patient, and when I finally get to start work I’ll go the union route, although I can’t claim to be that optimistic about socialist advancement through Unison either!

    Good luck to everyone who actually wants to unite the left, one and all. When Galloway stabs you in the back; and I assure you, he will; I hope those of us who’ve already been there will be prepared to work with you to build something better.

    I can promise that I will, anyway. Peace.

  98. November 30, 2007 at 12:22 am

    Andy, you’re a joker.You really are.

    Anti-working class

    That remark is just beyond contempt. The idea that you see taking the piss out of commission-based mobile phone sales as “anti-working class” is an insult to the very people who are preyed upon by the big phone networks, battered by their advertising into accepting contracts, and chased by their bailiffs when they cannot afford to pay them.

    Bullying is in the judgement of the victim

    That’s both factually untrue, and a conceptual nonsense. I did not swear at Louise, as anyone who reads that thread (which you’re tellingly trying to discourage people from doing) can clearly see. Neither did I seek to intimidate

  99. Andy Newman said,

    November 30, 2007 at 12:32 am

    Volty #98

    you hide behind your stupid pseudonym and intimidate people by hostility and sectarian huff and puff.

    If a woman tells you she finds yout manner intimidating and you don’t modify your behaviour then you are conscioulsy deciding to continuing intimidating.

  100. November 30, 2007 at 12:33 am

    Andy, you’re a joker.You really are.

    Anti-working class

    That remark is just beyond contempt. The idea that you see taking the piss out of commission-based mobile phone sales as “anti-working class” is an insult to the very people who are preyed upon by the big phone networks, battered by their advertising into accepting contracts, and chased by their bailiffs when they cannot afford to pay them.

    Bullying is in the judgement of the victim

    That’s both factually untrue, and a conceptual nonsense. I did not swear at Louise, as anyone who reads that thread (which you’re tellingly trying to discourage people from doing) can clearly see. Neither did I seek to intimidate her in any way whatsoever. I disagreed with her about a nonsensical point that she made about “the groups” (ie people who organise on a general political basis, which you, she and I don’t). I didn’t back down when she argued against my stance. I was civil to her throughout. That’s not “bullying” Andy, that’s political priciples at work.

    Incidentally, if bullying is purely in the eye of the self-perceived victim then boo hoo Andy, you’re bullying me now with these intimidatory accusations. I expect a hug and an apology.

    In terms of “appealing to the gallery”, the audience is made up of everyone who reads splinty’s blog, most of whom (including his good self) would probably politically disagree with me about many issues. Nevertheless, I’m quite happy for people to read the thread, and decide whether I am telling the truth or not. I’m curious as to why you’re not so comfortable with that, although I’m sure you won’t share the roots of that concern here.

    Incidentally if you don’t want to look like a total weasal and a hypocrite, a good first step for you might be to occasionally have a word with Ian Donovan, who abuses people on your blog on a regular basis.

  101. November 30, 2007 at 12:38 am

    Volty #98

    you hide behind your stupid pseudonym and intimidate people by hostility and sectarian huff and puff.

    If a woman tells you she finds yout manner intimidating and you don’t modify your behaviour then you are conscioulsy deciding to continuing intimidating.

    You know damn well that I did no more than disagree with Louise about a political point. The evidence is publicly available for all to see, and no amount of emails from Louise to you, or you acting as her cipher, will prove otherwise. I was utterly civil with her throughout, you’ve already lied about what I said (let alone your disgusting libels against Jim). You really need to drop it.

  102. November 30, 2007 at 12:40 am

    Incidentally, don’t go there with the personal info ;)

  103. November 30, 2007 at 12:42 am

    And really don’t go there with the personal info stuff. Wrestling with a pig in mud is a bad idea. You both get dirty and the pig likes it. ;)

  104. November 30, 2007 at 12:47 am

    Sorry readers, thought that didn’t post the first time. Just to make an obvious point clear, the “Pig” not to be wrestled with in the second version is me, before Andy starts accusing me of Swineophobia :D

  105. Garibaldy said,

    November 30, 2007 at 9:22 am

    Are you turning into Edmund Burke? Will we hear about the swinish multitude next?

  106. johng said,

    November 30, 2007 at 9:50 am

    Small thing to add. Phil asked early on whether I am denying that there are such things as tactical non-members. I can honestly say that I have never come across such a thing in twenty five years. The reason I found it comical was that I have spent many a fruitless hour trying to convince such people to join. The reason I find it a politically dubious accusation is that it seems to me based on the assumption that there must be something underhand about prominant individuals being broadly sympathetic to the SWP’s position on certain question but not being members. In general the cost such individuals pay is attacks from the right (as well as tedious attempts by minions like me to recruit them).

    Its certainly useful that such people will often defend us or promote our arguments on this or that issue. But it would be a lot more useful if they were members. Of course in some cases this is simply unimaginable given other differences. And this is fine too.

  107. November 30, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    Will we hear about the swinish multitude next?

    Or maybe about pearls going before swine…

  108. Garibaldy said,

    December 1, 2007 at 12:41 am

    What about pigs and people becoming the same?

  109. Lobby Ludd said,

    December 1, 2007 at 1:21 am

    “What about pigs and people becoming the same?”

    So what have you got against pigs, Garibaldi?

  110. December 1, 2007 at 10:01 am

    Perhaps he just dislikes a pig in a poke…

  111. Garibaldy said,

    December 1, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    Nothing against pigs. Unless the pig in question is George Orwell.

  112. December 2, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    In which case s/he deserves to be in apple sauce no doubt. (Don’t bully me now Nooman!)

  113. June 2, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    [...] even have succeeded, had it not been for your friend and mine, George Galloway. After last year’s Kylie’s arse affair, you would think George would have been careful about veering into this kind of territory. But no, [...]


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