Month: November 2011

Striking Out

With UK strikes on the way and the media, as usual, only ready to focus on the disruption that may be caused and barely willing to focus on the reasons for it here are a few ideas, mostly in an American context but applicable to anywhere, taken from here, on the subject of striking that aren’t likely to get much play in the next few days…

[T]he strike is inherently dangerous to the rich, and to the corporations who have brought this country to her knees, because it is the only defense the ordinary citizen has.

Keith Olbermann, speech at Cornell University, March 29, 2011

In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as ‘right-to-work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining… We demand this fraud be stopped.

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

The governor can stop a strike any time. If I were the governor I would stop a strike by simply saying, “These men have a grievance and demand redress from you. Come and discuss these questions with the miners on the fair soil of America like intelligent, law-abiding citizens. If you refuse I will close up your mines. I will have the state operate mines for the benefit of the nation.” It is not right for public officials to bring scabs and gunmen into any state. I am directly opposed to it myself, but if it is a question of strike or you go into slavery, then I say strike until the last one of us drop into our graves.

Mother Jones, 1913

Never forget, people DIED for the eight hour workday.

Rebecca Gordon

The only thing workers have to bargain with is their skill or their labor. Denied the right to withhold it as a last resort, they become powerless. The strike is therefore not a breakdown of collective bargaining-it is the indispensable cornerstone of that process.

— Paul Clark, 1989


Rare Monty Python Interview

I am not sure how rare it is given that it is now on youtube but it might be one you haven’t seen before.

Amongst other things they talk about how good concert or show crowds are in Glasgow..

Not In Mine Name

The BBC are reporting that “Landmine use is at its highest since 2004 despite record clearances”.

They get straight on to blaming all the official enemies of the state of Airstrip One and one or two allies whilst neglecting to mention that neither the Bu$h nor Obama administrations would/will sign treaties against their use.

In order to fill the information gap, here is an advert about landmines that most of the TV companies that are supposed to provide free and open information to the public wouldn’t show, even for the same money as normal adverts get…

OLD Jokes

In the magnificent Candide, Voltaire said something about Admirals in Britain…

In this country it is a good thing to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others.

Nowadays of course, they don’t do that. What they do is promote royals to admirals without them having earned it and put out embarassingly fawning pieces about the decision to do so.

The Queen has formally presented the Duke of Edinburgh with the title and office of Lord High Admiral of the Navy to mark his 90th birthday.

The post – the titular head of the Royal Navy – dates back to the 14th Century.

Prince Philip gave up a promising career on the seas to devote his life to royal duty. He had already reached the rank of commander before stepping down from his active role in 1951 as the health of his father-in-law George VI deteriorated.

Some believe he could have been First Sea Lord – the professional head of the Royal Navy – and the Queen’s birthday gift could be seen as an acknowledgement of the sacrifices the Duke has made for his wife

As you can see, the article says that one of the reasons he gave the navy up was to devote his life to his royal duties.

Let’s see, in the light of the meritocratic, inclusive and free society that this appointment speaks loud of, how well he has occasionally done on some of those duties. This is by no means a full list. These are selected ones from here…

  1. To female sea cadet last year: “Do you work in a strip club?”
  2. To President of Nigeria, who was in national dress, 2003: “You look like you’re ready for bed!”
  3. To a British trekker in Papua New Guinea, 1998: “You managed not to get eaten then?”
  4. Peering at a fuse box in a Scottish factory, he said: “It looks as though it was put in by an Indian.” He later backtracked: “I meant to say cowboys.”
  5. To Lockerbie residents after plane bombing, 1993: “People say after a fire it’s water damage that’s the worst. We’re still drying out Windsor Castle.”
  6. To a woman solicitor, 1987: “I thought it was against the law for a woman to solicit.”
  7. To the Aircraft Research Association in 2002: “If you travel as much as we do, you appreciate the improvements in aircraft design of less noise and more comfort – provided you don’t travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly.”
  8. To then Paraguay dictator General Stroessner: “It’s a pleasure to be in a country that isn’t ruled by its people.”
  9. To Susan Edwards and her guide dog in 2002: “They have eating dogs for the anorexic now.”
  10. To black politician Lord Taylor of Warwick, 1999: “And what exotic part of the world do you come from?”
  11. “People think there’s a rigid class system here, but dukes have even been known to marry chorus girls. Some have even married Americans.” 2000.
  12. On being made Chancellor of Edinburgh University in 1953: “Only a Scotsman can really survive a Scottish education.”
  13. To a British student in China, 1986: “If you stay here much longer, you’ll go home with slitty eyes”

Great Missing The Point Moments In History – Five – An Old Work Colleague of Mine

This one hardly ranks as a famous moment but is worth a mention. For the others in the series click here.

Anyway, I had completely forgotten about this till I was just reminded of it there in an email.

In the run-up to euro 2004 tournament there was talk of an office sweepstake for the winner. Voice from other side of the office shouts “Can I have Brazil”.