Zac Goldsmith, a man with integrity?

Zac Goldsmith ran a racist campaign for London Mayor. You know that, right? He mailshot Indian voters telling them that Sadiq Khan’s party wanted to put a wealth tax on family jewellery. He repeatedly used the dog-whistle word “radical” in talking about Khan, and attempted to claim he was in cahoots with the “one of the most repellent people in the country,” the imam of Khan’s local mosque, Suliman Gani, who he claimed to be a supporter of ISIS—a claim which rather unravelled as it transpired that the gentleman in question had regularly spoken in events denouncing ISIS, had broken with Sadiq Khan over the latter’s support for equal marriage (which is, to be honest, on the repellent scale—but rather further down it that Goldsmith was implying), and tweeted a lovely photograph of himself posing with, um, Zac Goldsmith, who looked rather more comfortable next to this apparently scary West-hater than he does attempting to do what a sizeable portion of the population do with thoughtless ease. And he penned this article for the Daily Mail (hold your nose).

But if not leaping to his defence, at least nodding a little in his favour, his sister! Jemima tweeted this a while ago:

Sad that Zac’s campaign did not reflect who I know him to be- an eco friendly, independent- minded politician with integrity.

Here’s the thing, though, Jemima. Integrity means sticking to your principles, no matter what. You can’t turn it on and off as suits you. That’s, um, lacking in integrity.

Zac Goldsmith is either a racist, in which case he may well have integrity, but a racist with integrity is still a racist. Or he is not a racist but ran a racist campaign, in which case he has no integrity. It has to be one or the other—and, whichever way it is, London is rather better off without him.

 

 

For shame

The government have—narrowly—managed to defeat the Dubs amendment to their immigration bill, which would have extended the pitiful number of refugees we are accepting to include an additional 3,000 unaccompanied children, after arguing that it would act as an “incentive” for families to make the difficult Mediterranean crossing.

To which there can be no response but: fuck you. Fuck you, every single one of the 294 inhuman, vile, despicable, callous, soulless, revolting, xenophobic bastards who voted this amendment down. Fuck you again, and then fuck you backwards. After a short pause for respite—because I, unlike you, am not inhumane—fuck you again. And again, and again, and again. Also: fuck you.

This, my privileged friends, is the incentive for making the crossing.

Assad Crimes in Syria

Destruction in Syria. Flickr/FreedomHouse. Public domain.

If there are unaccompanied children in Europe, my loathsomely indifferent parliamentarians, then one possible cause could be that their parents are here:

Mass-Grave-of-230-Killed-by-ISIL-Terrorists-Found-in-Syria

Mass grave following ISIS massacre. News Impulse/Creative Commons.

And in the instance that there are living parents who have sent their children on ahead of them… well James Brokenshire, Home Office minister suggests that the Dubs amendment would “inadvertently create a situation in which families see an advantage in sending children alone, ahead and in the hands of traffickers,” and, James, you may well see your own children in such cold-bloodedly exploitative terms, but I would suggest that when parents do send their children on alone, it is rather more likely because they cannot make the trip themselves, but do not want this to happen to their sons and daughters:

The body of a child lies on the ground next to other bodies afte

What happens in war. Flickr.com/FreedomHouse. Creative Commons.

The fuckers who voted down this amendment constitute the moral detritus of humanity, and those—like the odious James Brokenshire—who did so suggesting that any of the victims in this horrific war act out of calculated cynicism and not simply from desperation make me aghast and ashamed to live in a country governed by such hatefully indifferent, shameful, vile, sordid, steaming excreta of the world.

 

Rogues’ gallery

Do you remember George Speight? In 2000 he usurped Fijian democracy, nominally standing for indigenous rights, but by a strange coincidence he was also an undischarged bankrupt about to face court proceedings.

Or how about Pervez Musharraf? In 1999 he usurped Pakistani democracy, purportedly fighting corruption, but he had also just overseen the disastrous Kargil operation and was facing calls to be court-martialled.

Hell, do you remember Gaius Julius Caesar, who usurped Roman democracy supposedly to restore order to the empire, but who was about to lose his consular immunity and face repeated Senatorial prosecutions for exceeding and ignoring their military instructions?

And now? Now a man facing charges of taking bribes worth $40 million, pillaging of state assets, and money laundering is firmly on his way to removing a democratically-elected president accused of a bit of creative accounting, in the name of the family and God, of all things. Congratulations, Eduardo Cunha. Welcome to the dismal brigade of self-interested, power-hungry, democracy-screwing arseholes.

Speight, Musharraf, Caesar, Cunha

Can we quit with the “German” jibes about Mrs Windsor, please?

I’m a republican (with a very definite small r) and, as I didn’t get handed a nice little earner as a senior civil servant on my father’s retirement, I see no reason why Charles Windsor should get his Mum’s job—or anyone get it, for that matter. I’m quite happy to take down the monarchy, and as I’ve written elsewhere, jokes and satire are a very good way to undermine the presumption of the right to power upon which institutions such as the monarchy depend.

But then there’s this, retweeted by the Republic official account. And Frankie Boyle asking whether we should “be forced to sing songs about a German.” And Russell Brand’s Facebook idiocy. And many other dull variations on the same theme.

Can we stop this, please? The last monarch to be born outside of Great Britain was George II, in 1683. Mrs Windsor’s real name, Russell, is not Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, because it was changed to Windsor, and if we are republicans then surely we consider Elizabeth Windsor and her ancestors to be no different from us, and not due the special considerations they currently get. As such, they are just as entitled to nativization as anyone else and they are just as entitled to change their names as anyone else.

This is not simply a matter of being pedantic about a cheap, inaccurate, and lazy joke. In the poisonous atmosphere of anti-immigrant rhetoric that currently pervades our political culture, calling the Queen a German is not just a silly throw-away line, it is endorsing an almost BNPish refusal to accept that three hundred fucking years, for God’s sake, is enough to grant one the entitlement to be considered a citizen of a country. A narrative about immigration with which most progressive leftists would be unhappy is suddenly embraced when it comes to knocking the monarchy.

Please, stop. It’s an embarrassingly lazy and unoriginal joke, anyway, but in its dogmatic and far-right refusal to accept the fact that descendants of migrants have the right to be considered natives of the country in which they are born it is doing far more damage to ordinary people struggling against the xenophobia currently gripping the UK than it will ever do to Mrs Windsor.