Month: April 2017


If Le Pen Wins It Will Affect The UK General Election

Just a thought – but there’s a degree to which the UK general election on 8th June will be decided in the French Presidential election. If Macron wins, then it’s one up for Europe and the future of a united Europe.

And the Liberal Democrats in the UK can point to that and ask the British public to vote to reestablish Britain’s relationship with the EU.

But if Le Pen wins, then the Liberal Democrats are finished because no one in the UK will want to get back into bed with a Europe that includes an extreme right wing French President.


With Jalkh, Did Le Pen Send Out A Signal

Jean-Francois Jalkh, Ms Le Pen’s stand-in as party leader of the Front National has had to step down because of holocaust-denying remarks he made in 2000.

The belief that is being talked about in the media is that it’s going to work against her. The belief is that people who might have voted for her will shy away because the real bared teeth behind the smile has been revealed. The belief is that people will shy away from voting for someone who is connected to, appointed, a man who is one step away from being a nazi.

Yes it’s hard to imagine the Le Pen did not know about the remarks that Jalkh made in 2000. She is, after all, the leader of a major political party – all these potentially embarrassing things are recorded, noted down, kept by the functionaries of the party so that they can rebut them or avoid embarrassment or whatever, aren’t they? Surely that is how it is? She cannot have been so inept as to let this slip past her and her party without notice? Surely?

So let’s suppose that she knew exactly what she was doing when she appointed Jalkh. Let’s suppose she knew the mention of the remarks he made would come out. Let’s be outlandish and even suppose she encouraged the remarks being made public.

Why? Well, maybe she wants to signal to those who worry that her party is going soft, that they can safely vote for her because underneath the smiles she and her party are still the same hardline extreme right wing party that they were under her father’s leadership.



Socialist Realism and The Danger Of Thinking

Tamara and I went to see the Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932 exhibition at the Royal Academy. We learned that Lenin viewed culture as a stepping stone to the Communist State. When that was achieved, art would have no function and it would be removed ‘snip, snip’ as he described it.

Stalin allowed only Socialist Realism in art. That is art that could be understood by the most uneducated of workers.

The narrator described how Stalin disliked Avante Garde art because its message was unclear.

And suddenly I understood it. Art that has a message that is unclear requires that the viewer makes an attempt to understand it. The viewer has to think – and that is what Stalin did not want. Because of course, once people think, they are wild cards – unfathomable and unreachable.

And of course I understood why the Nazis banned what they described as decadent art – for the same reason. Previously I had thought it was because its themes were racy or against the stereotype of the Germanic ideal. But the reason was more basic; that people might think. And thinking carries all kinds of dangers.

Poster For Sale

We saw a poster from the exhibition for sale. The image at the top of this post is a snippet from the poster. The full image shows that giant carrying a red banner, marching inexorably towards Revolution while the masses march and run to defeat the Bourgoisie, the Church, the old State.

We were both attracted to the graphic of the image but we both also thought that the violent scene was one we didn’t want to live with. We came together at one point to talk about buying the poster and it struck me how wonderful it was that we had both independently concluded that we didn’t want to buy it.


Jilted By Johnson

In the Guardian today, The Russian Foreign Ministry is reported as follows on Boris Johnson’s cancellation of his talks with the Russians about events in Syria.

The Ministry said the cancellation showed a “fundamental misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of the events in Syria, Russia’s efforts to settle that crisis and the general objectives of diplomacy”.

“The decision to call off Johnson’s visit to Moscow confirms once again doubts in the presence of added value in speaking to the UK, which does not have its own position on the majority of present-day issues, nor does it have real influence on the course of international affairs, as it remains ‘in the shadow’ of its strategic partners. We do not feel that we need dialogue with London any more than it does.”

Russia’s embassy in London, meanwhile, said it was “deplorable” that Johnson felt unable to meet his counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. It tweeted mocking polls, including one that sought views on Donald Trump “as a wartime leader and Johnson as his lieutenant”.

Talking only about the narrow matter of the statement, and not talking about who has or has not carried out what attacks in Syria, it seems to me that Russia is acting like a jilted lover pretending the other party doesn’t mean anything to it, when in fact it does.

I mean, why spend so much time and so many words explaining how Britain is inconsequential? If it is inconsequential, a single short sentence would have sufficed – something like ‘No loss.’