BNP GLA election broadcast 2012

The British National Party has issued a ramshackle campaign video ahead of May’s London elections. In it, BNP leader Nick Griffin gives a tinny airing-cupboard narration over horribly staged footage of his party’s campaigners supposedly meeting ordinary people on the street. The faux-Joe Bloggses then tell the camera why they’ve been convinced to vote BNP – their reasons ranging from hatred of the congestion charge and wanting to smoke in pubs to fear of creeping Islamification, and a desire for ‘British jobs for British workers’.

This being the modernised, PR-savvy ‘New Labour’ BNP, the video has a lame stab at making Britain’s foremost cryptofascist political faction sound cuddly. Griffin, for example, warps the rhetoric of Obamamania into the BNP’s own nauseating ‘message of hope’. It’s not the first time the Party has shamelessly copied from elsewhere- since 2010 the Party has used an impressionistic scribble of a heart emblazoned with the union jack as its logo, clearly aping the modern Tories’ own Crayola-scrawled patriotic tree emblem. Continue reading

Formula One: Bernie in Bahrain

By the fantastic Martin Rowson

By the fantastic Martin Rowson

Formula One was already fairly politically dubious, shadily nurtured by billionaire investors, hoovering up abhorrently large sums of money without yielding any substantial benefit for the majority of mankind, and generally representing the West’s flippant wastefulness at its most tastelessly extreme.

This weekend, however, Formula One showed the true extent of its gross detachment from reality – while ordinary Bahrainis were trampled by an authoritarian regime for having the sheer cheek to expect a modicum of democratic accountability from their government, the country’s Grand Prix was allowed to go on as normal. Continue reading

I Started A Joke (Bee Gees)

At risk of the Bemolutionary music section becoming a morbid recurring item where tributes are issued to ailing millionaire musicians, we’re very sad to hear Robin Gibb, one third of the Bee Gees, is currently in a coma following treatment for pneumonia and a long recovery from cancer.

The Brothers Gibb have stamped themselves fairly permanently on the Western popular consciousness, their high-camp disco period hard-wiring funk basslines and falsetto refrains into the skulls of millions of unsuspecting people. Our beloved Frank Zappa rarely passed up an opportunity to declare that disco sucked, but, unashamedly, we just can’t agree. Anyone who doesn’t enjoy Stayin’ Alive at some level has either got a heart made of granite or surely can’t be human. That said, Maurice, Robin and Barry were arguably at their best long before their donned their medallions and took to the dance floor, during a creative flourishing in the late ‘60s, where they demonstrated their skill at penning quirkily melancholic ballads. ‘I Started A Joke’, sung and mostly written by Robin, was track number eleven on the band’s 1968 album Idea.

Sedately plodding bass, gently arpeggiated guitar lines and Gregorian-chant backing-vocals from Maurice and Barry provide a backdrop that’s simultaneously soothing and plaintive – apparently inspired by the sound of a British Airways Vickers Viscount in mid-flight – over which Robin’s impassioned bleat can soar. Lyrically, it remains fairly enigmatic, although some have bizarrely suggested it might be written from Satan’s perspective. Music is fabulous, but when there are people offering subversive interpretations of Bee Gees lyrics, civilisation may well have gone too far. Regardless, get well Robin.

And we couldn’t resist.

Foreahead!: Hot To Trot

swpThe Bemolution missed the Malteaser’s Easter egg by a whisker at the Forehead! AGM raffle, and walked away with an Ordnance Survey map of Britain before the Norman Conquest instead. 

A period of mourning was cut short by the neighbouring rock-and-roll guitarist turned hard-left Labour councillor, who leant in conspiratorially to tell me he thinks we’re being infiltrated.

A middle-aged couple have started turning up to Forehead! meetings, and the word on the street is that they’re members of the Socialist Workers Party.

For the uninitiated, the SWP is a revolutionary anti-capitalist organisation, the largest far-left group in the country, with a reputation for being domineering, ultra-sectarian and very, very awkward. Several initiatives that have attempted to bring together Britain’s fractious left-wingers have ended shambolically in recent years, with various parties claiming they fell apart because the SWP were trying to take over. Forehead!’s veteran politicos warily bristled at the sudden appearance of our two new comrades. Aware of the baffling array of long-standing left-wing prejudices that have prevented people from getting things done for decades, the Bemolution was less concerned. Continue reading

The Somali Famine

A girl stands on the outskirts of the Dabaab refugee camp, surrounded by 70 freshly-dug child graves

A girl stands on the outskirts of the Dabaab refugee camp, surrounded by 70 freshly-dug child graves

Early this month, the United Nations announced that the famine wracking Somalia, itself just the worst aspect of a food crisis afflicting a swathe of East Africa, was officially over. Given that this meant little more than the amount of food available to keep scores of ailing human beings alive had just crept over an arbitrary threshold, this doesn’t come as much consolation to the 2.34 million people still teetering on the brink.

In as much as it means that material conditions are improving in the areas afflicted by the world’s worst food crisis, the news is excellent. In the West, though, it was far more depressing than it should’ve been, only serving to highlight how few people had any idea it had happened in the first place. This was a situation that occurred, worsened, took a horrific toll and began to peter out while the vast majority of Western civilisation obliviously went on with its business. It’s hard to blame individuals when the amount of media coverage given to an event of this grim magnitude has been pitifully small. While tens of thousands of human beings starved to death, their plight was inexcusably allowed to slip down the back of the news agenda. On the rare occasion that it was deemed newsworthy enough to make the headlines, coverage was customarily blasé  – events were conveyed in random flashes with little attempt to explain the context or the causes behind them, the crisis generally presented as just another freak happening in an inherently backwards netherworld where nothing ever goes right. Continue reading