Thursday, 29 December 2011

The debt we apparently all owe to the Greenham Common Wimmin

I used to feature a Nonsense column on this blog featuring written examples of left-liberal silliness. I recently got rid of it because I simply can’t bring myself to read the Guardian or the New Statesman or the Independent any longer. I’ve spent too much of my life listening to this sort of irrational rubbish to want to hear or read any more of it. But now and then I come across examples of world-class idiocy, which I feel it my duty to share with you (as I did recently with a spectacularly ridiculous article by Naomi Klein).

All I know about Sarah Dunant is that she used to front late-night culture shows on the BBC (often looking a trifle… distracted?) and that, amongst other things, she used to write supposedly hard-boiled detective fiction – I once heard her reading out one of her stories on the radio, and I would rather find myself naked on the concourse at Waterloo Station during the evening rush hour than ever again suffer the embarrassment of hearing an Englishwoman reading out tough-guy detective prose which she has written.

Two days ago, an article by Ms Dunant, entitled “A Point of View: the meaning of debt” was published in the News Magazine section of the BBC website. Here’s an extract:
When I look back over the political landscape of the last 30 years, the words Greenham Common come to mind. In my early 20s, though, I certainly didn't want American cruise missiles on my shores. I didn't have time - or maybe I was too ambitious and driven - to give up my job and go and live in a tent for six months in order to draw attention to it. 
I did, however, visit Greenham. My ears were ringing with snide jokes about hairy women and lesbian grandmothers (in the media's eyes, feminism was a dirty word even then). I was duly astonished by it - the collectivity, the humour, the energy, the intelligence and the power, the quiet - but determined - power of those women. I came back very clear that whatever happened at Greenham, I - we - were in their debt.
If you haven’t actually thrown up yet, here’s a bit about a visit to the illegal slum set up by the Occupy St Paul’s nincompoops:
What I found was a diverse mix of people, old and young, of all social classes, employed and unemployed, full time, or occasional, using forms of direct democracy (the tone and management of their meetings would put parliament to shame), lectures and conversation, to protest against the ways that the blind pursuit of growth and profit was corrupting our social and political systems and causing a dramatically increasing rift between haves and the have-nots. 
Two central messages have emerged from the Occupy movement around the world, and both have been used as a stick to beat it with. The first is that it does not offer direct solutions. 
The second that it refuses to promote leaders to speak for it. Instead, what it is saying is that we need an altogether deeper, bigger conversation than we have yet to manage about how we change the direction of the world in which we live, and that it is not interested in throwing up spokespeople who can become minted as instant personalities, paraded and then discarded when celebrity culture has got through with them. 
Far from being naive, I think these central planks are both culturally sophisticated and politically challenging.
I bet you do, you silly cow!

I realise that, because of my background, the Biased BBC blogsite (which offered a link to Sarah Dunant’s deranged wittering) is probably of more interest to me than it is to most people, but, if you haven’t paid a visit, I strongly recommend doing so – it’s almost invariably spot on.  


  1. Me, too. I also get Naomi Klein and Naomi Wolf mixed up. The identity of indiscernibles. But the difference is discernible. NaomiK does a lot of fact-finding and then weaves theories from them that right-thinking people find unlikely. NaomiW weaves hers from hot air.

  2. Marta Koulakandris, Neasden Women's Collective, London NW.3 January 2012 at 22:54

    What are you afraid of, in your phallocentric high tower of masculinism, built on the bricks and cement of the breast milk and period pains of repressed mothers and sisters who nurtured and comforted you through the ages? No answer? Yes. I thought so.

    All the way through history our heroines from Rosa Luxemburg to Marie Curie, Emily Pankhurst to Pam from Eastenders, Virginia Bottomley to Ang Sang Lang's Syne wimmin have been downgradified and objectificated in a way that your blog both substainificates and positivises. The fact that Sister Edwina is now only remembered for her naked expolitativisation by a male PM, rather than her egg-based liberation activism just proves my point.

    I shall return to this blog frequently until you discover and give space to a feminist world view.

  3. I certainly look forward to your cogent observations, Marta - but could you please leave my phallus out of it? And to be honest I've always been a bit squeamish about breast-feeding in public (I mean about women doing it, rather than me doing it) - chap doesn't know where to look. Anyway, how do you have access to the web, given that I presume you'll be camped out in front of St Pauls'? Is it a wi-fi hot-spot. Or are you accessing my blog on a smart-phone (I just saw it on one the other day, and it looked rather attractive)? Anyway, if you've got a moment, love - fetch us a cup of tea, there's a good girl.

  4. Douglas Jay
    The Socialist Case
    The Socialist Book Club, 1937

    Housewives as a whole cannot be trusted to buy all the right things, where nutrition and health are concerned. This is really no more than an extension of the principle according to which the housewife herself would not trust a child of four to select the week's purchases. For in the case of nutrition and health just as in education, the gentlemen of Whitehall really do know better what is good for the people then the people know themselves.

    My dear Mrs Koulakandris, be a Mensch, join the Conservatives.

  5. Francis Dolarhyde5 January 2012 at 08:10

    Please see Harry Enfield's sketch "Women know your limits" on You Tube. It explains everything and contains an interesting group photograph.

    Now, where are my little glass fragments.....?

  6. Marta Koulakandris, Neasden Womens's Collective.6 January 2012 at 20:56

    How many sugars in your tea? Yo! Don' t think you can patronise or out feminise the NWC. We'll chant an inter-denominational lament for your soul in the hope that you'll join us in the struggle at St Paul's. Be there.

  7. I have broached the subject of the "feminist world view" as you call it, Mrs Koulakandris, with a leading thinker of the centre left and she summarises it as follows: "all men are white #dianeabbott".

  8. Marta Koulakandris, Neasden Women's Collective6 January 2012 at 23:23

    Well so, Mr Moss, I guess your reference to Sister Abbott is meant to be ironic? Yea? That is sexist in itself cos you must know that, genetically, us women have an underdeveloped irony button in our neo-frontal cortex. So don't bitch-slap me with your irony phallus, born as it must be from a phallocreaocratic masculinist orthodoxy that shapes your world view.

    By the way, from your blog, you look like the kinda guy that could fix my home IT. Any chance?

  9. Francis Dolarhyde7 January 2012 at 07:59

    Diane Abbott. Who said: "She has the voice of a petulant teenager recovering from a stroke" or a face like a large, glistening blancmange"? Not me. She is basically a female Christopher Biggins on helium with similar mental wattage. She is destined for "Big Brother"/"Celebrity Coach Trip" or the House of Lords.

  10. PC Support Callout Report
    Customer: Koulakandris
    Fault: "IT not working"
    Action: Re-booted router on desk in "den" next to photograph of Mr Koulakandris shaking hands with John Major and smiling, left working
    Parts: none used, say £81 + VAT
    Hours: 4, I told Mrs Koulakandris I had another call to get to but she said she couldn't face another Christmas like the one they'd just had and thank God the boys would all be back at boarding school soon and come in the kitchen and have a cup of tea, sorry about the German oak, they're getting bleached ash soon like Mrs Abbott next door, and I must meet a lot of interesting people in my line of work and I said no and she said I wouldn't get a cup of tea then, only joking, and aren't Apple marvellous and I said they're just computers and she said I definitely wouldn't get a cup of tea and did I know anything about dishwashers because hers had been on the blink ever since Ben put the cafetiere in without cleaning out the grounds first and they were practically reduced to third world squalor without a working dishwasher and sometimes she felt like nuking the whole lot of them but it would be OK when the wretched cleaning lady was back from the Bahamas, ... Showed her where filter is, left working. Think she needs re-booting.

  11. Mysteriously, the following blameless prose of Naomi Wolf's has been inscribed in Pseuds Corner, Eye 1305: “I believe [Princess] Diana knew that Britain and its elites had to change if the country was to enter an authentic relationship with the world and history, and she took on in her own persona, in a Wildean way, the tasks of driving and embodying that change. She waged a kind of conscious, semiotic war on the static status quo.” Naomi Wolf International Herald Tribune Magazine