Friday, November 28, 2003

An Indymedia user has dubbed the current consultation exercise a ‘con-sulation’ and they are 100% right. It is. Make no mistake about it, the ‘Big Conversation’ is nothing more than a big scam, not only is it a big scam but it is profoundly anti-democratic and immoral. It’s spin in its purest and most cynical form. How do I know this? From the political landscape against which this idea emerged and a brief look at the recent history of Neo-Labour’s other con-sultations.

This is the third con-sulation of recent times. The other two notable con-sulations being the GM debate and ID Cards. Bristol has a strong anti-GM population and it was mobilised into the governments so-called consolation on the issue, GM Nation. On this major topic of national interest the government initially allotted a pathetic £500,000 of funding. Sounds a lot but when you consider this works out at less then 1p per person in the UK. One single penny to promote, co-ordinate, involve and collate the views of each citizen of the UK. Was Neo-Labour ever going to listen to the outcome of the results? No, it never mattered what the public said, Tony wanted GM and nothing was going to change that. Not even a con-sulation. So if it was never going to change policy, what was the point of it?

Next up was the con-sultation on ID cards. This was another sham. The majority of people who responded were against having ID cards. The government claimed the majority were in favour but only after they doctored the results removing half of the responses because they came from an organised campaign. Let me repeat that – THEY REMOVED HALF THE VOTES BECAUSE THEY CAME FROM A ORGANISED CAMPAGIN. What else is democracy based on but the organisation of like minded people? The government did not remove the votes that were organised by lobby groups who stand to gain from the contracts to be handed out – they removed the votes of citizens to took part in a legal, open and transparent political campaign. Then they commissioned their own research that purported to show that people wanted ID cards then made plans to introduce ID cards anyway. Con-sultation.

The idea of the big-conversation’ comes from political landscape of the US. But far more important is another US import – it comes form the mind of Republican master strategist Frank Luntz and I would bet that it is far more influential in government thinking than anything else. Luntz’s theory is simple – you don’t have to change policy at all to win votes – just change the way you present existing policy. So how does Neo-Labour change the presentation of policy (because as has been said time and time again, Blair won’t change the direction of policy)? Simple – get a huge state-sponsored focus group exercise going (aka ‘The Big Conversation’) then use the results to spin what you were going to do anyway in a better light. Welcome to politics Republican style. Welcome to politics Blair style. Welcome to politics empire style – a veneer of democracy with a core of fascism – and I mean that with the definition Mussolini used; "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power."

Monday, November 24, 2003

Doormouse attacks Bristol
Every now and then you go to see a gig and get blown away. This is why live music is so important. This is why live matters most. I went to see Doormouse play in the Take-Five cafĂ© and got blown away. Doormouse, aka Dan Martin a Miami based breakcore music-maker who gained UK exposure after his album Broken (on Planet Mu) was featured amongst John Peel’s record box favs for September 2002.

2003 sees him touring the UK with a new release, Method (on Violent Turd), a tour which included one stop in Bristol alongside local acts Sheriff Rosco, Gusset & Parasite.

I'll get to being blown away in a moment, first it is worth addressing the climate across the UK the gig was held during, as it was hard to escape. Bush as also in the UK, and so there I am, late Thursday night, watching the equipment being assembled and wondering what Dubya and Blair are unto. I know they're at the American ambassadors house where GW has got the queen and all that over for dinner. I'm guessing that Blair is there, and maybe they retired after the food for port and cigars (except Dubya don't drink no more) and they're exchanging old war stores, George is telling how he dodged Vietnam and Blair is saying about how he dodged here I am, also with an American who is visiting the UK, but where we are and where they are is a world apart. Doormouse isn't protected by a £5million security operation. We're all cramped into a basement under the Take 5 Cafe and Mr.Mouse is rocking the house.

Prior to the gig I'd not heard any Doormouse, I kind-of knew what sort of thing to expect. Prior to playing, he had solid support from Sheriff Rosco, Gusset and Parasite, so the crowd was hyped and ready. The set-up looked interesting; a laptop, mic and sequencer thingy and a mixer. When the time came, Doormouse was poised, not on a stage elevated above the crowd, but in the pit with the rest of us. Poised in his white socks and Bermuda shorts and t-shirt. Given its winter here, this clothing is either a statement of intent ("It's gonna get hot.") or a statement from home ("I from Florida."). The former is the truth; Intent. It got hot. What followed was a blistering assault of talent that proved beyond any doubt that the breakcore scene is one of the most dynamic, innovative and uncompromising happenings of today. Dynamic because Doormouse's sound was electric, dirty and raw. Innovative as he jumped from a Michael Jackson done at 720bpm to playing sampled crowd noises back at the crowd. Innovate as he flipped from rap to punk to death-metal. Uncompromising as he did what he wanted to do, from the 'fuck Bush' lrycis to all-out gabber assault drum beats. You were left in no doubt that this was his sound, done his way - like it or lump it. I liked it so much I brought the CD. Doormouse live is a five star, thumbs up recommended event.

You can see pictures of the event at Gusset's website. To find out more about Doormouse, visit Addict Records.

PS. Another funny IRC exhange from
<@minion> i think abortion is a time travelling alien's plot to stop us from advancing
<@NrK> no
<@NrK> conservitives are