A note of closure for readers of this blog

As it may be known by some readers of this blog I cross post most entries from here on to the Though Cowards Flinch blog (http://thoughcowardsflinch.com/author/raincoatoptimism/). The blogosphere (especially on the left) seems to be moving further and further into collaborative efforts rather than individuals trying to compete with the big shots – and I will take heed. Therefore I’ve decided I will reserve this particular blog space for pieces of work that may be unsuitable for TCF (such as walk write-ups or other non-political issues I choose to pen words on).

TCF will soon be undergoing some sort of design/operation change to catch up with the other collaborative left blogs (that really should be in our shadow, not us theirs! Fact!) and I will want to put all my blogospheric time and energy into promoting that rather than living the blogospheric life of a cross-poster – a lonesome existence I can tell you.

It does mean that raincoat optimism will almost cease to exist.

But for those of you who may be interested my political output will be at TCF – to repeat the address: (http://thoughcowardsflinch.com/author/raincoatoptimism/).


Batman may remind us of Burke’s key kernal, but conservative he ain’t

Clearly having trouble with Robert Coville’s conclusions earlier, Anthony Painter seems to only reluctantly suppose that Batman is a rule of law doubting conservative. But, come on, this is too easy.

His age-old fight for truth, justice and the established social order, as Coville terms it, is done from in that very framework of conservatism, of bringing about order and the law; the difference here is that he is not maintaining it.

This is important I think, especially to what conservatism is and what it is in history.

Instead of trying to explain it myself, I will quote generously from Ed Rooksby’s recent article on what conservatism stands for where he says:

It’s clear that what most alarmed Burke about the revolution was not the violence (he wrote before the terror set in) and it will not do either to say that it was the overthrow of the constitutional order as such that really angered him (he supported the American revolution). What he really feared about the French revolution was that it was driven by, and put power into the hands of, what he called “the swinish multitude” – it perverted “the natural order of things”, which was that the wealthy should rule and the poor should remain subordinate.

Burke is that great true conservative thinker, but he did not do so by accepting the existing order on its own merit – even if that order could be defined as traditional. This is the interesting part of conservatism.

The conservatism of someone who simply exists to restore the existing order because all change is perceived of as dubious within conservatism is a myth. Whereas for Burke, he didn’t trust the existing order (or indeed the coming order) because he felt them swine-like, immature, and not able to bring about the real conservative ideal, that of an elegant “natural” order.

Of course this is all fine. The real point here is that Batman, rather than being a conservative, is actually a Communist.

Batman is perceived by some as a philanthropist. But as the Ludwig von Mises Institute has noticed, regarding Batman:

the implicit message [of philanthropy] is that such actions are morally and economically superior to running a successful industry.

So in the market place of doing good, if Batman was a philanthropist then he would do this alone to undermine industry-led, trickle down capitalism – perhaps in the spirit of von Mises himself whose opinion was that:

The riches of the rich are not the cause of the poverty of anybody. The process that makes some people rich is, on the contrary, the corollary of the process that improves many peoples’ want satisfaction.

Instead Batman seeks to change the very core of industry itself, to get to its root, to try and directly undermine those owners of the means of production.

The problem of Batman’s Communism is that he is alone in it. He doesn’t engage the party, nor does he organise at the point of the trade union. This is perhaps what has confused the Socialist Party. In their review:

As Batman, his main concern is reacting to visible street-level crime, only going after corrupt capitalists if they’ve got a mob connection. With working-class youth lacking jobs or leisure facilities and turning to gangs as a source of income, the best thing he can think of is a luxurious party to get his super-rich buddies to fund a politician who pledges to be tough on crime.

Batman is operating at the level he knows how to, satisfying the class war where he is able to engage in it on the ground. His Trotskyite entryism, engaging with on-side politicians in the political mainstream is proof of his weakness.

Of course trying to ensure order is not the preserve of conservatism. It is very much in the Communist DNA, too. When Communist officials in China manhandled Christian Bale as he tried to talk to activist Chen Guangcheng during a visit, they did it not to maintain anarchy, but to restore order.

The real Batman (not the false one, parading around as Christian Bale) wants an orderly society that befits a later Communist one that he wants to pursue alone. Call this the conservative core of Communism if you will, but that would be wrong. Conservatism is as deep into Communism as white is on rice.

So is Batman a conservative? Only insofar as conservatism cannot be separated from Communism itself. Is he right to be a Communist? No, of course not, Communism is dead!

Lower the VAT rate on all sanitary products to the zero rate (0%)

From January 2001, the rate of VAT for eligible sanitary protection products was lowered from the full rate of 17.5% to the “reduced rate” of 5%. Now we must pick up the campaign to see all sanitary products (including sanitary towels; sanitary pads; panty liners; tampons; keepers and maternity pads) be reduced to the zero rate (0%) alongside most food items, books, newspapers, magazines and children’s clothes.

They are very necessary items and rates on them disproportionately hit women the most. Some common sense on behalf of the government is needed.

Sign the e-petition here

George Osborne: Change the City can believe in

In 2009 George Osborne said:

The fact that people in the City give us money, even though we are promising tougher regulation, is a sign that many people in the City understand that there needs to be change.

Osborne once sold himself as the Chancellor who would be progressive and tough on banks, carry out well needed reform, and still walk away with votes from the city, because he was decisive, on top of things, and they recognised the need and public thirst for change.

So what, 2 years on, was the change the bankers could believe in?

Britain’s biggest banks are to be given until 2019 – longer than had been expected – to implement radical reform of their operations to prevent another taxpayer bailout of the system.

Of course, George Osborne welcomed Sir John Vickers’ findings, or what the Independent Commission on Banking have admitted were “deliberately composed of moderate elements” – but, given the almost universal agreement that high street and speculative arms of banking should be separated (apart from Bob Diamond and a few others), one wonders why the ICB stopped short of a recommendation for a full break-up, plumping only for a ring fencing of the two activities.

(On the subject of Bob Diamond, he met with the Chancellor on the 1st of this month to request he delay banking reforms, possibly repeating previous threats that he’ll take Barclays and leave the UK. Just saying).

As an Independent leader article put it: “ring-fencing still leaves open the possibility of banks stealthily dismantling the internal demarcation over time.”

I guess with (not so) tough measures like this, it’s obvious why big shots in the city are bankrolling Osborne – they want a man who can get things done for them.


(amused me).


Turki Bin Faisal Al Saud

Brian Conley

Ryan Giggs

News about Ryan Giggs seems pretty usual i.e boring:

But yet a look at his name on google realtime shows a different story:

Is Twitter dangerously undermining usual media outlets? Will it therefore be the end for Twitter?

Songs to sit outside to

In no particular order:

Orbital – Adnans

The Orb – U.F.Orb

The Future Sound of London – Pulse State

Underworld – Dark & Long (Dark Train)

Faithless – Salva Mea

Fluke – Kitten Moon

Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy

Primal Scream – Trainspotting

Brian Eno – Deep Blue Day

Lamb – Darkness

Leftfield – Melt

Leftfield – Song Of Life

Dreadzone – Little Britain

Zero 7 – Destiny

Air – Kelly Watch the Stars

Goldfrapp – Lovely Head

Bjork – Isobel

Royksopp – In Space

808 State – Pacific State

Aphex Twin – Xtal

Ceephax – Vulcan Venture


Missing anything?

Kurt Cobain died this day, 1944?

Save Open Spaces – From Pitsea to Hadleigh Castle

I took a quick walk in the local area only to find details of last week’s march to Basildon Town Centre posted on a tree – Save Open Spaces

From then on I took photographs on my phone of open spaces. The Tories and the Liberals are going to try and privatise our services; they are doing this by offering to tender our services and weakening the public sector, all the while expressing the vacuous notion of a big society to cover up for the fact that they are chipping away at the fabric of our lives.

In the distance, Pitsea Mount, oldest recorded building in Pitsea, now used as mobile phone mast

A chair in the middle of a vacant field. This just happens to be my old school, in the background on the tarmac, some boys have obviously climbed the fence to use the space to play football on

In the distance is Castle Point, this is taken by Hadleigh Castle

Overlooking Canvey to the left, Benfleet to the right and Tilbury Power dock in the distance

Between Benfleet and Chalkwall on the C2C line from Shoeburyness to London Fenchurch Street

Legend has it that before the Shoeburyness to London Fenchurch Street line was built (primarily to transport rich Londoners who had, or were thinking of investing in, weekend homes in the Pitsea Marshes) Dick Turpin and the highwaymen would walk the route back to London. Crime did find itself down this path. Which is why irony was not lost on me when a friend of mine was fined too many times on the line, bunking his fare, on his way to Southend College. He was living in a temporary accomodation after being thrown out of home, but once a summons came through the post requesting money he did not have, he took his tent and lived next to Hadleigh Castle. His girlfriend at the time, who lived nearby in Thundersley, used to bring him food, and I did too from time to time.

It’s fair to say he occupied some space in Hadleigh Castle, which looks like this:

Open spaces are important, free from commercialisation and profit-driven enterprise. We’ve never known anything else, but we’ll soon realise it all the more, and if we don’t do our duty as citizens, we can remember these days as the beginning of the end for the welfare state – and we know who are to blame.

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock, and the like

Wat Tyler Park

Today I walked to Wat Tyler Park in Pitsea; here’s what I saw:










I came across this abandoned building, what looked like a small house. It had two rooms, one completely uncovered. There was a box with what looked hay or straw inside, and droppings possibly from a mouse. I’m aware that around this area – close to Pitsea Marshes, there was an explosives factory, conveniently placed near pillboxes. Unfortunately during the war that factory caught fire. Near the train line there were houses, which believe it or not Londoners used as holiday homes. When the line to Fenchurch Street was first built, landowners would indulge visitors with champagne auctions – clearly the logic was to get the silver spoons pissed enough to invest in little homes in the marsh. Perhaps this house was one such example.




















There was a site specifically for the production of nitroglycerin – a nitrating house – work in which was described as very boring. So much so, in fact, that the workers were made to sit one one legged stools to avoid falling asleep. The vat of mixture would go to a flushing tank. This tank was, presumably, situated near this tunnel.