The Sting in the Tail Column from the July 1989 issue of the Socialist Standard
Left Wing Futility
Denis Canavan, Labour MP for Falkirk, is refusing to pay his £50 fine for not registering for the poll tax which came into effect in Scotland in April.
His response to a sheriff officer's threat to impound some of his property was to refer him to a 15 stone unemployed miner with two large greyhounds who will be looking after his house when he is at Westminster.
So eat your hearts out, you left wingers. Here's a guy who will take on the forces of the state without your workers' militia, barricades, etc. He only needs a man and two dogs. Of course Canavan knows there will be no aggro of that sort because the authorities can collect the fine plus expenses by simply arresting wages or freezing bank accounts and this is what the Labour controlled Central Regional Council have done with 130 people who haven't registered.
Canavan's show of bravado is therefore seen for what it is—empty political posturing, and there ought to be a fine for that.
Right Wing Duplicity
The much vaunted impartiality of the BBC and the ITV takes a severe knock when you discover the dirty tricks brigade that are involved in broadcasting.
In his book A Decade of Decline the author Peter Thornton tells us:
In September 1987 It was reported that MI5 tried to have Anna Ford, the broadcaster, blacklisted from the BBC in the mid-1970s on the grounds that a former boyfriend had once been a communist. It is believed that in that period local Special Branch officers recruited journalists in the BBC and ITV companies to pass on information about colleagues.
Economic League Stupidity
One of the more poisonous organisations in Britain today has got to be the Economic League. A crowd of creeps and snoopers who compile lists of workers that they consider to be subversive.
Active trade unionists, CNDers or just anyone who has taken part in any sort of demonstration or protest goes into their malevolent little black book.
Employers use this information to black list workers from getting jobs.
Attempts to legislate against this organisation were defeated in Parliament last year when a spokesman for the Home Office stated: "This organisation has been investigated twice - once by the Data Processing Register and once by the police. It is doing nothing illegal".
Michael Noar, director general of the League is reported recently as saying: "I agree that the political climate has changed. Class struggle is no longer an issue".
This piece of nonsense from the head snooper of an organisation whose sole reason for existing is to provide information to the bosses in their struggle against workers.
No class struggle? Tell that to the nurses, teachers, university lecturers and more recently the dockers who are engaged in this "non-existent" struggle.
We learn from The Independent that a group of religious nut cases have recently been having a seminar to discuss such weighty matters as God's intervention in the affairs of we mere mortals.
Among the participants were the Archbishop of York, the most Reverend John Hapgood and the theologian John Polkingbourne.
One of the weighty matters given consideration by this learned body was prediction in science and J.R. Lucas illustrated the strength of Christian philosophy when he stated:
... it might have been reasonable for him to say an hour before that he was going to give this talk, but he could not have known he was: I might instead have become an existentialist, flown to Paris, and mounted an art exhibition in a public lavatory.
But if you think he was a star turn . . . he doesn't hold a candle to some of the other plonkers.
Much time was spent discussing parking spaces. This may seem odd, but one member of the group had been much exercised by a priest he'd heard on the radio who claimed that when he was in a hurry to a meeting in town God would always find him a parking place.
But for our natural compassion for the workers in Paris, going for a leak, we would wish Lucas and the rest of his Crazy Gang had flown to Paris and held their seminar in a public toilet.
Best place to talk crap!
The Logic of the Market Place
Futility, Duplicity, Stupidity and Lunacy: perhaps you think we exaggerate the shortcomings of capitalism?
Well how about this piece of information from The Glasgow Herald (17 May):
Brussels bureaucrats are destroying mountains of fruit and vegetables worth tens of millions of pounds. Figures released yesterday show the EC spent £67m getting rid of fruit and vegetables in the four months up to February this year.
Who is to blame for this shameful situation? The Glasgow Euro MP Janey Buchan has no doubts about the matter.
Mrs. Thatcher should stop trying to browbeat everybody else and help to find a way of getting this food free of charge to the people who need it.
What crass hypocrisy from a member of the Labour Party!
Does she imagine that the Labour Governments of Wilson and Callaghan favoured the free distribution of food? Does she imagine that a future Labour Government headed by Kinnock would do so? His recent praise of the market economy should leave no one in any doubt on that score.
Everything inside capitalism is produced for only one purpose - to make a PROFIT!
People starving while food is destroyed is the logical outcome of a society based on production for profit.
Only inside a socialist society can you have the free distribution of food.