fredag den 28. august 2009

Gillingham 1 Blackburn Rovers 3

The Gills' cup run is over. Alas, once more the shots at goal and on target stats revealed too little Gills action up front and everything the other way. It is, to be fair, what one would expect against a team like Blackburn. (Although Kent Messenger reported that the Gills were lively at times and played some good football.)

It's Official - Banks are Socially Useless

In a searing critique of the industry, Lord Turner described much of the City's activities as "socially useless" and questioned whether it has grown too large.

Before we get too excited, this isn't a call for a society of common ownership, production for use and free access. Lord Turner is merely calling for taxation to prevent bankers' excessive profiteering (sic) if they continue to take risks.

Lord Turner is correct, though: banks are socially useless. They don't feed people, care for people, build homes or anything else of use.

onsdag den 26. august 2009

I heart Lara

I have finally got my grubby paws on "the Angel of Darkness". It's a shame though that many of the old PC Games don't work on Vista. (OK, there are a variety of ways to overcome that problem, but all the same....)

This will now join all the other Tomb Raider games and the film boxset on my shelf. She's not bad; she was just programmed that way.

mandag den 24. august 2009

When Will They Ever Learn?

The SWP has once again revealed its anti-working class colours.

The idea that the Taliban, as a movement fighting against U.S. occupation, is a force we should be supporting is, unfortunately, a somewhat controversial position to hold, even on the far left. This is a serious mistake and speaks both to the extent to which Islamophobia has penetrated the left, as well as to the lack of understanding of the social dynamics of an oppressed and devastated country like Afghanistan.

Will the SWP rebuke that contribution? We shall have to wait and see. However, it does speak volumes that this so-called socialist party has members quite willing to support prize loonies like the Taliban. This isn't the first time, though, we have seen the SWP support totalitarian theocrats. The SWP supported the Islamic Republic of Iran during the Iran-Iraq war. More recently, they have argued that socialists shouldn't attack the Iranian theocracy.

Latest Gills News

Darn it, tarnation, etc, etc.

Two games and two losses. Colchester 2 Gillingham 1 and Gills 0 Hartlepool 1. I am not sure the latter was deserved. The Colchester game, on the other hand, saw the Blues score on one of their two on-goal shots, whereas Colchester had something like 12 shots on target. With stats like that, the Gills were lucky not to get a drubbing like "the Squatters" did. (That is our affectionate name for Brighton, who lost 7-1 the other day and who shared Priestfield for a little while when they had financial difficulties a few years back.)

Other news is "Brian Moore's Head Looks Uncannily Like London Planetarium", the Gills' fanzine and then internet blog/ezine has died a death. The guys who ran it for nigh-on two decades just haven't got the passion to do it any more. That is a huge shame as it was a really fun mag; so all that remains is to thank the gentlemen in question for their fantastic work down the years.

Rugby Match

My old rugby team has finally cobbled together a film and posted it on YouTube. They are in the dark, navy blue. The Tacklers are in black, with the white "ribs" on the side. (It was a bit confusing at times.)

søndag den 16. august 2009

the Carnival of Socialism

It had to happen - picking up the baton from Wombat , this edition of the Carnival is presented to you by a member of the Socialist Party (i.e., not them or them!).

I had to think a bit before accepting the task because the SPGB is, of course, well known for its clause 7 and views that stand in direct contrast to most left politics, such as: workers shouldn't vote Labour; leninism isn't a development of marxism; state ownership is state capitalism; and Russia et al did not establish socialism nor were/are they "degenerate workers' states". However, I did promise PhilBC that I would refrain from calling everybody else a bunch of non-socialist reformists. So I shalln't!

Naturally, whilst disagreeing with so much, there are nonetheless interesting posts on the left blogosphere that do catch one's eye as they invariably are about my weird interests and tastes. Apologies to those who do not get a mention; there are only so many hours in the day for blog reading and some of you haven't blogged at all this month (which renders a fortnightly round up rather hard to do). Please, please do use the comment box if there is something you think is worthy of attention.

I will do shameless plugs first though. So there is Darren - he is always good for bad SPGB jokes and insights into Glasgow Celtic. The Socialist Party blog is Socialism or Your Money Back, which has your present reviewer and Alan on the team. (It is also the name of a book which was published in 2004 to mark 100 years of the Socialist Party.)

Apropos Scots who love their football, Kevin blogs about an old passion of mine: astronomy. I shalln't say a word about the Hibees result against Gillingham's old rivals Preston.

I want to point you - if you don't know him already - in the direction of anarchist Andy from Australia. He has been blogging about the far right (down under) for absolutely ages and is thus an important resource for activists. Besides, any person who likes Napalm Death cannot be at all bad!

Vulgar Marxism will raise a few knowing smiles amongst the Leftist Trainspotters out there.

Another anarchist, whom the SPGB debated not so long ago, is Ian Bone; he remembers a forgotten fighter from the Spanish Civil War.

Humour is of course a great way to fight the far right - (via River's Edge) the Nick Griffin Diaries exposé.

Phil takes a look at Twitter and the recent attacks on the NHS. (New technologies and the political process is an important topic for sure as the Iranian demonstrations showed. Although not a blogger, this guy will get a mention anyway.) Shiraz mentions another aspect of the NHS affair. Since it has been a hot topic of the week, here's Dave Semple too.

American Commie reminds us of other matters.

Another Dave gets an obligatory mention - here is a post/comments which I enjoyed. However, the kid in question might want to check out what Splintered Sunrise had to say about leftist personality cults.

Hakmao answers a question I have wondered about.

Prof. David Harvey (of City University New York) gave a lecture at the SWP's major event Marxism this year. A video of this is posted on his website (blog?!). He seems to be a convivial fella, always willing to give his take on Marx, Capital and Capitalism - after all, he has even agreed to be interviewed by me next week!

I have been fascinated by art history so take a gander at Swuppie John Molyneux's blog and a lengthy, but interesting, look at Michelangelo

Liam has a slightly lighter posting on art here as well as a discussion on anarchists and the Spanish Civil War here.

I love the movies too so I look at what people write about films. Harpymarx's latest post is on releases in 1999. I can't believe Harpy was gripped by the Blair Witch Project though.... John Hughes is remembered (erm, perhaps) at The Soul of Man Under Capitalism. The quote/scene there sums up that idiot Ben Stein pretty well, me thinks.

Finally, Climate and Capitalism post on Peterloo. These words from Shelley

Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many – they are few.

and Adam Ford's reflections on recent struggles seem like a stirring and apt way to close this carnival. Don't forget Louis Proyect's blog since that is where the next carnival will be in a fortnight's time.

lørdag den 15. august 2009


Diagram: the position in Ivanchuk-Kamsky, FIDE Grand Prix (Jermuk) 2009, with white to make his 113th move.

Picture: Ivanchuk. (Source -

Certain Grandmasters simply bore the pants off people. Others are great favourites with the playing public. One of the latter variety is Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk. He has been a top grandmaster for many years now and is as well known for his great chess as he is for his eccentricites. His nickname is Chucky.

He was in huge trouble today, around move 11 no less, against Gata Kamsky; he sacrificed his queen for two minor pieces but never had real compensation. He managed - goodness knows how - to survive and get a draw, using the 50 move rule- (If no pawns have been moved and no captures made in 50 moves, the game is a draw.) In the position above he played 113. Bc4-f1 and there followed 113...Qh3-h7 114. Rf4-d4.

The last capture had been back at move 64 (and there hadn't been any pawn moves since either). For a short while, the official site showed 114... B:d4, causing some confusion to us following the game over the internet. After some minutes the move was cancelled and the draw result posted. Black was completely winning, of course, but Chucky was saved in the nick of time. Whether Kamsky is out kicking innocent kittens is not clear. It must be terribly frustrating for him. However, he isn't the only person to have suffered this. Last year at the Aeroflot tournament, the Nguyen - Vachier Lagarve game reached a position where Nguyen had checkmate in 2 moves. The Frenchman, though, could quietly call the arbiter and claim a draw under the 50 move rule.

I haven't experienced anything quite so dramatic, although I have saved a lost position many years ago because an opponent repeated moves in order not to lose on time. (A certain number of moves have to be made in an alloted period of time.) I was able to call the arbiter and claim a draw under threefold repetition. I certainly ruined his evening.

Maybe this all sounds odd but then cricket has its draws simply because it rains for days! (Normally this is England's best saving clause when playing at home.)

Back to Reality....

Tranmere 4 Gillingham 2

fredag den 14. august 2009

Did Trotsky Point the Way to Socialism?

The debate between the Socialist Party (represented by Adam Buick) and Hillel Ticktin has been uploaded to YouTube for your viewing pleasure.

Rugby 7s

The news that Rugby 7s is set to become an olympic sport, from 2016 if an upcoming motion is passed by the OL committee, is welcome news. It's a damn sight more fun than watching women (or men for that matter) punch each others lights out.

It's quite probable that the olympic champions will be Fiji as they are past masters of 7s. There is an old joke that they even play 7s in "proper" 15-man rugby union! (Their entertaining matches v. Wales and v. South Africa at the World Cup in 2007 lend support to that theory.)

Pictured are Fijians "the Viti Outlaws", who won the recent Plate Tournament in the Scandinavian 7s, which is held in Copenhagen every year and is always well attended by teams (old boys, women, etc) from around the world and of various abilities.

(Hat tip Ork.)

onsdag den 12. august 2009

Gillingham 2 Plymouth Argyle 1

Gillingham’s impressive start to the season continued after dumping Championship side Plymouth out of the Carling Cup.

Goals at the end of the first half goals from Simeon Jackson and Andy Barcham sent them on their way to the second round for the first time in four years.

The KM report continues here.

Here's hoping the good start carries on all season as the Gills march ever forward towards the premiership title, champions' league and world domination!

mandag den 10. august 2009

Mein Kampf

Germany's Central Council of Jews has taken the unprecedented step of backing a proposal to republish Adolf Hitler's infamous autobiographical manifesto Mein Kampf, which has been strictly outlawed in the country since the end of the Second World War.

Although many German Jews still oppose reissuing Hitler's anti-Semitic work, Stephan Kramer, the general secretary of the country's leading Jewish organisation, supports a new scholarly edition of the work designed to inform future generations of the evils of Nazism.

"It makes sense and is important to publish an edition of Mein Kampf with an academic commentary," Mr Kramer said. "A historically critical edition needs to be prepared today to prevent neo-Nazis profiting from it."

The Indy looks at this contentious issue today.

Of course Mein Kampf should be re-issued; it should also be read. The way to understand history and defeat today's scumbag racists is not through bans or sweeping things away under a carpet. Racism, in fact, depends upon such ignorance. Bans and censorship never really achieve the aims they seek anyway for that reason as well as driving the subject underground.

As the Indy leader column put it so pithily: publish and let Hitler be damned.

Gillingham 5 Swindon 0 - the reaction

Alas, there was a bit of trouble at Priestfield and afterwards. There is a certain predictability about this because the Gills and Sw*ndon just cannot stand one another.

Manager Stimson was happy with events. As he told Kent Messenger

As a team and individually I can’t fault any of them. To win the first game is a massive boost because before it I would have possibly taken a point.

Swindon finished mid-table last season, but they’ve introduced a couple of decent players. To come away winning 5-0 is what dreams are made of it.

World Chess News

I came across something I hadn't heard of before: chess news, in swedish! Made by the Krzymowska sisters (Adriana, Antonia and Amelia) and their two brothers, it is a useful show though.

Chess in swedish is "schach"; when pronounced it sounds a bit like "whack". It sounds quite funny.

lørdag den 8. august 2009

Gillingham 5 Swindon 0

An excellent start to the season, with Simeon Jackson netting a hat-trick.

Another 80s Film Flashback

John Hughes R-I-P.

Another Friday, another collection of 80s classics.

tirsdag den 4. august 2009

It's Coming....

One more week and the Football kicks off in England. The Gills start off the 2009/10 campaign at home against the old foes Sw*ndon Town. The full list of fixtures is here.

Just to make life more fun, we're up against some other riff-raff: L**ds and Millscum.

lørdag den 1. august 2009

80s Film Flashback

Ah, nothing like a good ol' 80s teen flick on a Friday night! And I thought Molly Ringwald was hot even then.

Bobby Robson (1933-2009)

A fond memory was inter-railing in Italy in 1990 and watching the world cup football. Cheers Bobby.