We need more anger right now

James O’Brien shows us the way. It’s a UK-centric rant, but that’s OK, everything he says can be applied to the US, too.

I really like that guy. Can we clone him and export a copy to America?

I feel a little more fortified now. Maybe I’ll be able to march off to the university and confront my trivial anxieties.


  1. says

    I’m betting on the Scottish lifeboat. As the weeks go on, I’m more and more in the Scottish Independent camp. It’s a no brainer now. I have no idea how we right the UK ship now. The English voting public are always going to vote for this crowd. Always. I don’t want them. I don’t want Brexit. I don’t want the corruption and lies anymore. Did you know, the last time the Conservatives won in Scotland was 1955? That’s a big enough reason for wanting to leave, but the disaster of Brexit and this shower of liars and self serving public school boys is the last straw.

  2. outis says

    Thanks for the post, it’s a fine example of the kind of tasteful, thoughtful rant we almost never get to hear.
    And there’s a lot to rant about to be sure… don’t make me start… argh.

  3. says

    That was a righteous rant.

    When I hear something like that I always wish I could aim it like a firehose at the things and people I hate. For example, Frankie Boyle’s comments on the UK elite are brutal (I’m just waiting for him to whine about political correctness or something and then I’ll cancel him)

    So much to hate right now. Well, at least “hate” can be used; we’re past getting tone-trolled for not being proper liberals when we say we hate the loathesome bastards that are running the world. How did it get this way, that the worst people rise to the top? Or I suppose that is how it’s always been.

  4. davidc1 says

    He is always good for a laugh or two,the gammonite/britshiters tie themselves in knots trying to
    explain why they voted to leave.

    But before we raise a statue to him,he admitted that he voted for that twat faced twat johnson for mayor of London.

    I think it all started to fall apart for the UK in 2010 when the tories got into power with the help of those libdem bastards.
    The economy was starting to recover after the bankers had fecked it up.
    Now 12 years later,we are short of hundreds if not thousands of Doctors and Nurses,we have left the world’s biggest trading
    bloc right on our doorstep,and other things that can be laid at the door of those bastard lower than vermin tories..

  5. Rob Grigjanis says

    Stewart Graham @1:

    The English voting public are always going to vote for this crowd.

    Well, south of the Humber maybe. Despite recent setbacks, Labour still has the majority of seats in the three Northern regions. I wish the NIP well. A boy can dream.

  6. blf says

    @4, “I think it all started to fall apart for the UK in 2010 when the tories got into power”.

    No, it all fell apart completely when the hierarchy dictatorship was reinstated after the new model army drove them out. That does not mean it was very good before then, nor during the brief period (c.11 years) without a hierarchy dictatorship. What it does mean is teh “U”K threw away the only opportunity it had to become civilised.

  7. opposablethumbs says

    James O’Brien certainly has his moments and he makes very listenable shows, but he’s a bit of a both-sides-er when it comes to the crunch. He looks down on the left just as much if not more than he does the gammonati (not to mention his voting for Johnson for Mayor, as davidc1 points out!).

    (e.g. he also devoted his not inconsiderable eloquence to repeatedly trashing the UK’s approximate equivalent to Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn. Amusingly – and by amusingly I mean sadly – most of the UK’s population has been utterly sold on the fiction that Corbyn was pro-brexit; Corbyn was in fact very much anti-brexit (while being critical of the EU and “giving it 7 out of 10”). Why am I sure of that? Well, among other things because I saw and heard him argue passionately in favour of remain with my own eyes and ears twice, at two different rallies. Oh well.)

    O’Brien is, quite rightly, impatient with the current crop of tories but he’s a very long way from being on the left much less a socialist. I guess he’s some flavour of liberal (?)

    Anyway, I agree with Stewart Graham. In the light of experience, Scottish independence is the reasonable position.

  8. says

    As I’ve said in my 2016 publications: Politicians are whores. The corporations that own them are the pimps and the sheople pay to get screwed by them. Very few who hold public office do so for the good of the public. Most only do so to garner funding and/or phony praise from their cults. (end of soapbox rant)

  9. ajbjasus says

    Sadly, I think O’Brians generalised disatisfactionwith the political classes is pretty understandable. I take #9s point that Corbyn was pro EU, but he missed a lot of opportunities to stick it to the brexiteers.

    Equally non of the above is a thumbs up for all the conspiracy nutters out there.

    You can probably tell, I’m pretty disillusioned.

  10. ajbjasus says

    PS what’s the betting Johnson sees the Ukraine as his Falklands moment?

    We are already sending weapons out there.

  11. F.O. says

    I don’t think we can get out of this unless the information we get stops being just a way to make money.

    The media (and state education) controls the Overton window and with that the real of the possible.

    How do we break this control?

  12. kingoftown says

    @5 davidc1

    The coalition government? The English have fucked up ruling my part of the world since the Tudor conquest.

  13. says

    How do we break this control?

    Counter-programming. If the US government spent a fraction of the money it spends advertising for the military on science promotion, fact-checking and PSAs it could be done. Imagine if, for example, education was promoted with the same energy devoted to sportsball…

    In other words, a propaganda campaign promoting public service, courtesy, and economic justice. It won’t happen, of course, because the US collectively wants none of that stuff. An ignorant population is a malleable population, says the Ministry Of Truth.

  14. davidc1 says

    @8 Well you could say we have ben in decline since the Romans left.
    @9 Wow,I never knew that about Jeremy Corbyn,I always thought he was anti EU.
    One day the full truth about how a decent caring gentleman like Jeremy Corbyn was
    trashed by the media in this benighted country.
    He still has the whip withdrawn from him,next step I think Starmer will try and deselect him at the next GE.
    In that case he might stand as an independent,and seeing as he is very popular,he will be re elected and Labour will look silly.

    @14 Sorry about that,which part are you talking about,Scotland or Ireland?

  15. davidc1 says

    This is from the Wikipedia article about Jeremy Corbyn.

    “Analyses of domestic media coverage of Corbyn have found it to be critical or antagonistic.[4][530] In July 2016, academics from the London School of Economics published a study of 812 articles about Corbyn taken from eight national newspapers around the time of his Labour leadership election. The study found that 75 percent of the articles either distorted or failed to represent his actual views on subjects. The study’s director commented that “Our analysis shows that Corbyn was thoroughly delegitimised as a political actor from the moment he became a prominent candidate and even more so after he was elected as party leader”.[147][5]

    The British Media could make Bambi and Thumper look like adolf and uncle joe.

  16. Walter Solomon says

    davidc1 @16

    Well you could say we have ben in decline since the Romans left.

    Do you mean politically? Intellectually, Britain has reached great heights, perhaps the highest ever achieved by any civilization, since that time.

    Newton, Darwin, Faraday, Maxwell and Hawking are all British. Then, of course, there’s the literature. There’s also a lot really good TV shows and actors.

  17. Rob Grigjanis says

    davidc1 @16: Scotland was never conquered by England, although there were many invasions. In the end, the Scots were bought and sold for English gold, as R. Burns tells us.

  18. springa73 says

    blf@8 – I only have an outsiders’ perspective, but I don’t think the political problems of the modern UK have much to do with monarchy vs. republic. Of course, in my opinion a constitutional monarchy is basically a republic with a few extra ceremonial trappings.

    Rob Grigjanis @19 – That may be true, but as far as I know Scotland did pretty well as part of Britain and then the UK for most of the 19th and 20th centuries. That’s why there wasn’t much of a movement for independence for a long time.

  19. birgerjohansson says

    Britain has always been a class society but the existence of royalty acts as a seal of approval for the injusticies.
    In Scandinavia, the royal houses realised what a shaky ground they rested on and went along with being a part of modern society, dialling down the pomp and circumstance and at least pretending they care for common people. One or two of them might actually have been sincere.

  20. birgerjohansson says

    Stewart Graham @ 1
    The Irish republic is close by, if you wait for the republic of Scotland to join the EU it will take a long time.
    It is my understanding that the EU leaders are not eager to welcome even parts of Britain back.
    Even a post-tory Britain will have a long road to rejoin the common market and customs union, much less the actual European Union.
    But Ireland has the same language, and the archaic residue of Catholic power over politics is getting washed away.

  21. Rob Grigjanis says

    birgerjohansson @21:

    the existence of royalty acts as a seal of approval for the injusticies

    Nonsense. A capitalist society without hereditary aristocracy/royalty creates its own in a minute, and happily perpetuates whatever injustices you can imagine. See America, the United States of.

  22. kingoftown says

    @16 davidc1
    I was referring to Ireland, specifically the part of Ulster still under British rule.

    @20 Springa73
    The UK is pretty far from a republic, I consider things like having having an unelected head of state and upper chamber big problems. I also think that all the ceremonial trappings contribute to a national delusion of imperial grandeur which could have contributed to the brexit vote.
    I wouldn’t say that Scotland benefited from being part of Britain, only that certain Scots did. Scottish highlanders were banned from speaking the Gaelic language or wearing their traditional clothes, the clan system was destroyed and Catholics were/are discriminated against. Lowlanders did discriminate as badly as the English but I think that a shared “British” identity contributed to Anglo Saxon supremacism and discrimination against Celtic cultures. Let’s not forget that the UK’s national anthem once contained this verse:

    Lord, grant that Marshal Wade,
    May by thy mighty aid,
    Victory bring.
    May he sedition hush,
    and like a torrent rush,
    Rebellious Scots to crush,
    God save the King.

  23. Rob Grigjanis says

    kingoftown @24: So, if the Jacobites had won, we’d all be better off? Do you think Bonnie Prince Charlie gave a fuck about the Gaelic culture?

  24. kingoftown says

    @25 Rob Grigjanis

    I think the Glorious Revolution was a bad thing, doesn’t mean I like the Stuart kings. Do you think the crushing of Gaelic culture and religious discrimination were fair reaction to the Jacobite rebellions because I find that verse pretty damn objectionable no matter what the “Rebellious Scots” were fighting for.

  25. Rob Grigjanis says

    kingoftown @26: Neither side gave a shit about Gaelic culture. But if the Jacobites had won, England and Scotland could have ended up with the same regressive attitudes (e.g. regarding abortion) that have plagued Ireland.

    The “crushing of Gaelic culture” in Scotland couldn’t have happened without the co-opting/cooperation of the clan chiefs.

  26. kingoftown says

    Ireland’s formerly conservative attitudes have nothing to do with it being majority Catholic. The majority protestant Northern Ireland banned abortion and gay marriage for longer and it was the protestant/unionist DUP that blocked reform. I think it was poverty and later, partition that allowed churches to gain so much power in both parts of the island.
    I don’t think the Stuarts gave a shit about Gaelic culture and I don’t know why you think I do. All I’m saying is the Jacobite rebellions were used as an excuse to discriminate against Gaelic Highlanders (and the Irish for that matter).
    The Glorious Revolution was a coup by a bunch of wealthy, protestant, mainly english aristocrats. Parliament was no more representative of the people than the tyrant they overthrew.
    Also I don’t think England would have converted to Catholicism if the Stuarts had stayed in power. All James II had tried to do was allow tolerance of Catholics and this was blocked by parliament.

  27. loop says

    The main problem with Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t his politics or the media (mis)representations of him – it was fundamentally his lack of leadership skills. I saw an interview once with his shadow transport secretary, who had just resigned. She said that her team had been working for months to draft Labour’s new transport policy, then on the date (agreed with Jeremy) where the policy would be announced in a way to make it the main news story of the day, Jeremy went off and did something else which made the news instead. She didn’t think it was malice, just incompetence.

    The reason his Remain leanings didn’t reach the general public wasn’t the result of the media working against him – it was that he was useless at articulating his position. Imagine during the referendum campaign him making a major speech, full of passion, pointing out that, for all its flaws, the EU (and its predecessors) had helped keep the peace in Europe for 70 years, and how the EU was now on the side of the workers with many new protections such as the Working Hours Directive, etc? But that didn’t happen. The guy kept his head down throughout the campaign, avoiding the topic as much as possible, and grudgingly saying things like the 7 out of 10 only when pressed.

    The guy had a vote of no confidence from all Labour MPs go 172-40 against him. This wasn’t just right wing bitter Blairites – this was a broad spectrum all agreeing that he had to go. The fact that Jeremy refused to resign at that point helped Boris get in 3 years later.

  28. F.O. says

    @Marcus Ranum #15

    Ok, but basically what you’re saying is that if we could take back control of the government (necessary to overhaul education) then we could.. take back control of the government?

    My problem is that we seem to be stuck on a chicken-and-egg situation.

    Those in power have an interest in keeping people gullible, so they will not push through the reforms you are asking.

  29. John Morales says


    The guy had a vote of no confidence from all Labour MPs go 172-40 against him. This wasn’t just right wing bitter Blairites – this was a broad spectrum all agreeing that he had to go.

    How did that work out for them? ;)

  30. davidc1 says

    @24 Well to be honest ,if the whole of Ireland had become independent,there would have been civil
    war in Ulster,plus I understand as a reward for fighting in WW1 the Ulster Division was promised they
    would not be forced to become part of a united Ireland.
    That’s my understanding of how it was a hundred years ago.

  31. kingoftown says

    @34 davidc1
    Ireland had a civil war any way and I’m sure you’re familiar with the 30 year conflict that resulted from the civil rights abuses of the original majoritarian Northern Ireland parliament.
    I think that having to accommodate unionists would have reduced the power of the Catholic church in Ireland. It would have been good for both sides.
    Partition as a tactic hasn’t really worked out in Ireland, India or Palestine.