...a blog by Richard Flowers

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Day 2045: Strength through Unity; Unity through Faith; Faith through Total Cobblers


It would appear that I am not the only woolly-headed person to have been watching "V for Vendetta" this week.

Many people would probably be very relieved to hear that the MINISTER FOR MAGICAL ACCIDENTS has been locked in a room with a plate of pies and a DVD player and has not, in actual fact, been left in charge of running the country (that is THIS man's job, apparently – more on him later).

Unfortunately, the man Lord Blairimort calls a complete BAR STEWARD seems to have gotten the wrong end of the stick. Business as usual, then, at the Office of the Deputy Laughing Stock (formerly the Ministry of Making it Look Like We Take Old Labour Seriously).

What the Magical Minister seems not to have understood, is that the man with his face on an ENORMOUS television screen may be in charge of the government but he is NOT the hero! The entirely fascist ideology of "either you support the government or you support the terrorist V" seems to have stuck in his head as though THAT is the main point of the movie.

I am not, for once, being over-the-top in calling this "fascist": "Strength through Unity" is THE central tenant of fascist ideology, all the way back to the Romans where a "fasces" was a bundle of sticks bound together – separately the sticks could be broken, but together they were too stupid to realise someone had set fire to them!

Only yesterday, I was criticising Mr Balloon for using the old "You're not being tough enough!" canard.

Well, barely had that duck stopped quacking, than along comes the Magical Minister with the announcement that Mr Balloon was: "almost beyond belief."

"At a time when we should all stand united in the face of alleged terrorist threats, he seeks to undermine that unity."

He may as well have just stood there and yelled "Unmutual! Unmutual! Unmutual! Unmutual!"

"You're either with us or against us" is an ENTIRELY FALSE choice between two groups of people both of whom believe that EXPLODING the other side will win the argument.

I am against BOTH of you. Now go and stand in the corner until you can play nicely!

Long running BBC comedy the Newsnight Show was busily throwing themselves into this same FALSE DICHOTOMY last night: but probably just so that Ms Kirsty Waaaaark could get to stand in a dramatic pose in her new black dress at the head of the programme.

"Is it time to pick a side in the War on Adjective?" she announced like she was auditioning for the Weakest Link.

NO, Ms Waaaark, it REALLY isn't.

You cannot pretend that there is some "big debate" between Mr Balloon and the Magical Minister.

They are BOTH pro-war, pro-Bush, pro-big "England Prevails" style authoritarian government.

A proper journalist would be pointing out that they are squawking MEANINGLESS rhetoric at each other.

A proper journalist wouldn't be buying into the escalation of insanity that their new bidding war of: "You're not tough enough!" / "No, you're got to agree with us or YOU'RE not being tough enough!"

This is just a PANTOMIME!

Opus Dave: "Anyone you can bomb, we can bomb harder!"

Magical Minister: "Bomb them, than you can harder we would in the proper way be bombing, than you!"

Opus Dave: "No you can't!"

Magical Minister: "Can we yes!"

Opus Dave: "No you can't!"

Magical Minister: "Oh yes I put it to you we can! Can we YES! We can YES! And I am unanimous in that!"

The genuine debate – and there IS a genuine debate to be had even if no one at the Newsnight Show is interested – is between the people who BLINDLY follow the NEO-CON agenda of "no arguments: kill them till they're dead and then kill them again a bit!" and the people who think that there may be a BETTER ANSWER.

Isn't the WHOLE POINT of Western Liberal Democracy that we get our strength from DIVERSITY and NOT from unity?

We EMBRACE alternatives and we LISTEN to lots of different answers.

That doesn't mean rolling over and accepting Sharia Law; but it does mean not dismissing the whole of the rich culture of Islam, the religion that kept science and mathematics alive during the dark ages, just on the basis of a small bunch of loudmouths who call for a return of a Caliphate. It's not like there aren't enough loudmouths in America lauding the famously FLUFFY and BUNNY-ISH Roman Empire.

Surely one lesson of the last hundred years is that if only you have ONE big answer and it turns out to be WRONG, you topple over and DIE!

Lord Blairimort is supposed to be in favour of finding the THIRD WAY. If ever there was a time to be looking for an alternative to a simplistic choice between left and right, west and east, rich and poor, goodies and baddies, bonkers and, er, also bonkers then it is NOW!

Instead Lord B is just parroting the Monkey-in-Chief and name-calling about an "Arc of Extremism".

(Daddy Richard says something VERY rude about Lord Blairimort puckering up and kissing the Monkey-in-Chief's Arc of Extremism!)

We have got to stop dividing people into US and THEM like no one can wander between these groups. We have PARTICULARLY got to stop saying that people that we call THEM should be EXPLODED!

Ali and Ben and Chris all support Manchester United. That's right, they live in Southend. Ali and Ben both vote for Mr Balloon, but were against the Iraq War; Chris supports Sir Mr the Merciless but thought that it was a good thing to get rid of Saddam. Ali and Chris both go on holiday in Europe, but Ben prefers to take his children to Disneyworld in Florida. Who cares that Chris goes to the mosque on Fridays or that Ali is getting civil partnered married to her girlfriend. They all want Lord Blairimort to go.

Who is with us and who is against us? And do you REALLY think any of them should be exploded?

Our differences DO NOT have to be divisions.

And the Magical Minister should go back to watching DVDs that are more his level.

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