HiSTORY/POLITiCS: Nye Nails Tory Duplicity, 1944

‘Nye’ Bevan, 1897-1960.

‘Honest politics and Tory politics are contradictions in terms. Lying is a necessary part of a Tory’s political equipment, for it is essential for him to conceal his political intentions from the people. This is partly the reason for his success in keeping power.’

The founder of the NHS, and a chief builder of the post WW11 Welfare State, Nye Bevan, in 1944.

All these years later, after a period in which over 75% of the time has seen Tories in government (add New Labour’s Tory-Lite era, and it’s been an era of near as dammit total right wing dominance!), his words seem more apt than ever.

POLiTRiCKS: The ‘Makes No Difference Who’s In Office’ Fallacy

I love Steve Bell!

These days I try and avoid the political. Or at least I kind of do. It’s just sooo depressing! Butt, for some reason I can never quite shake an interest in how and by whom we are ‘governed’.

One thing that I really hate to hear, is the über lazy cop out of ‘it makes no difference who’s in power/office’. I do appreciate that politicians of all types can be wearisome, and may at times seem to share many regrettable qualities. But I strongly disagree with the idea they’re all exactly the same.

Labour gave us the NHS, the Tories (or at least large powerful sections thereof, sections that are also usually in power at the time) have always wanted rid of it, and have acted – albeit slowly and surreptitiously (aware that is a much loved national institution) – to undermine it, as a prelude to dismemberment and privatisation.

One of the greatest ironies in all of this is how the Tories, and their sickening allies in the billionaire non-dom owned press, continue to stoke fears of Socialist Bogeymen taxing us all to oblivion.* When in fact the Tories are both taxing everyone more than ever (oh, except for the wealthiest pensioners), and borrowing on a totally unsustainable scale.


* Some of the insanely bizarre crap I’ve heard working class Tories say beggars (buggers is much more apt) belief. Such folk are so obviously parroting propaganda they’re fed, day in day out, by a press in cahoots with the country’s ruling Tory elite.

The greatest irony of all is that actually the Tories – supposedly (ie according to their own much trumpeted hype) good with money – are actually totally fiscally incompetent. Should that come as any surprise? They are the (a)morally if not fiscally bankrupt heirs to the traditions of Serfdom, and Royalty, ie they remain the ‘robber barons’.

They got rich, just as they continue to get rich, not because of skill or intelligence, but thanks, mostly, to inheriting wealth and power, and/or ‘insider trading’, corruption, bullying, and plain old-fashioned theft.

The Covid pandemic, during which our government ought to have been looking after the most vulnerable, was used as an excuse for an orgy of state-organised larceny. And the right wing capitalist ideologues ‘masterminding’ this short-term grab for the greedy even openly talked of the benefits of Covid ‘culling elderly dependents’. Nye Bevan, founder of the NHS, was absolutely correct: Tories are lower than vermin.

HEALTH & WELLBEiNG: Pre-Medieval Nonsense of a New Age Nutjob

This is both a book review (my first zero stars one!) and a polemic, I guess. It also touches upon troubled familial relations.

Many years ago my mother gifted me a copy of Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life. I read the first half, and found it asinine. But, in essence, I agreed with Hay, that thinking positively is healthier than thinking negatively.

But the second half of the book? That was another matter entirely. And it is in that part of her ‘work’ that Hay’s true colours are shown to be, not to put too fine a point on it, a motley flag of insanity. Insane, and very dangerous for anyone taking her advice to heart.

I have, I suppose, some unresolved issues with my mother, around both the break up of our original ‘nuclear’ family. And, subsequently, being treated less equitably than other siblings. When my sister lived abroad, my mum visited Spain far more frequently than travelling the few miles to us, for example (I’ll leave it at that, for now).

Anyway, back to the main topic of this post. Her having bought me this book, whilst in part motivated by good intentions, perhaps, revealed a deeper – I might say unstated, except it wasn’t/isn’t – view of her apparent opinion of my life circumstances.

What it boils down to is what is nowadays referred to as ‘victim blaming’. In this case it’s the ancient pre-scientific idea that illness is a form of punishment for ‘sin’, wrongdoing, evil, or just a bad attitude. Call it what you will.

When I first read You Can Heal Your Life I put it down in absolute shock, horror and disgust when I read Hay’s moronic assertion that the disease Polio is caused by ‘Paralysing jealousy. A desire to stop someone.’ She has an A-Z, or, more accurately, an A-W, of similarly ridiculous ‘explanations’, for everything from Abdominal Cramps to Warts! [1]

The impact of polio on my family’s lives is huge. Polio killed my grandmother on my father‘s side, contributing to the consequent disruption of his life (he and his brothers were brought up in foster care, as orphans). Polio also disabled my maternal grandmother, meaning she lived her adult life on crutches, and eventually in a wheelchair. My mother had issues with family, quite possibly related again, in part, to the knock-on effects of this disease, running away from home very young (so I’ve been told), and ultimately into the arms of my father.

Does she really and truly believe that these two ladies got polio as a kind of cosmic or psychic punishment for ‘Paralysing jealousy. A desire to stop someone?’ Such views are horrific; they are obscenely offensive, and totally unfounded. The actual cause of polio is, as should be universally known now, a virus, identified in 1909, transmitted for the most part via water contaminated by human faeces. [2]

Something that struck me very forcibly when I decided to research this post is the total mismatch between endorsements and critiques in relation to Hay. Everybody , from Wikipedia’s entry on her, to the Guardian’s obituary, simply parrot Hay’s own completely unsubstantiated ‘personal history’. There’s no mention at all of any sceptical views of her anti-scientific ideas and claims.

I find this deeply shocking. Does her financial success make her immune to proper evaluation? Apparently so. The only objective or balanced critiques I could find were those of individuals, pointing out what crackpot nonsense she grew rich peddling.

It’s a great shame, I feel, that so many people – millions, perhaps, if sales of her stuff is any indication – are suckered into uncritically adopting her bullshit. Even if only thanks to the positivity aspect of her ideas. It smacks of a blinkered desperation. I can understand that. Having chronic ailments myself, I recognise that deep longing for some kind of simple solution to what might otherwise appear to be intractable problems.

It has been demonstrated – the placebo effect, for example – that the mind can be very powerful in relation physical health. But to adopt Hay’s alleged position (her own life needs to be thoroughly investigated, as to the truth of her own claims/actions [3]) is to fly in the face of the findings of all modern medical science.

It has been medical science, not New-Age quackery, that has dealt with my psoriasis and related arthritis, and manages both my physical pain and mental ill health. We can thank (or curse?) developments in public hygiene, in light of this hard won knowledge, for creating the conditions that have allowed for humanity’s demographic explosion.

I thought about giving this book half, or maybe even just one star, for the first part, about the benefits of positive thinking. But the issue is that these come attached to the second part, which, in my view, is poisonously bad. Evil, in fact. The rose here is attached to an enormous stinking turd that really cannot be ignored.

It has oft been said the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It’d be damning enough if one were to know how many desperately ill people have died as a result of taking Hay’s unfounded nonsense as truth [4]. That people will have died following her advice is sadly inevitable.

But, just as bad in my view, is the pernicious and completely bogus idea that illness is the fault of and consequence of the sufferer’s thoughts and/or actions. This adds self-righteous condemnation to the arsenal of the healthy, and unnecessary guilt and self-condemnation (how ironic, given the alleged healing of loving oneself Hay professes to peddle!) to the afflicted.

My mum needs both her hips replacing. According to Hay’s worldview this is somehow my mother’s own fault, on some negative psychological level: ‘Fear of going forward in major decisions. Nothing to move forward to.’*

This would be laughably preposterous applied to a car; do my tires regularly need replacing because, A) they have a ‘Fear of going forward in major decisions. Nothing to move forward to.’ Or B) due to physical wear and tear?

If your local garage mechanic said ‘You don’t need new tires, your tires just need to truly love and value themselves. Here are some affirmations for them to repeat.’ Would you pay them, or go back there in future?

Not the cartoon I wanted. But the same idea.

In her lifetime Hay profited monumentally from peddling her dangerous brand of nonsense. Her personal claims are all totally unsubstantiated. And her broader claims fly in the face of medical science. Why – other than the toxic marriage of hopelessness to comforting BS – has she not been taken off her pedestal? It has to be the present day sanctification of success. She’s made lots of money, so she must be right.

Louise Hay (source: wiki)

* These quotes are lifted from the appalling second part of You Can Heal Your Life. It ought to have a Government health warning: New Age BS is no substitute for scientifically grounded medicine.


[1] Her ‘explanation’ as to the cause of warts would be hilarious, if it weren’t so frighteningly vacuous: ‘Little expressions of hate. Belief in ugliness.’ Her list reads like a dotty New Age analogue of horoscopes; arbitrary, open to wide interpretations, and based not on real knowledge of understanding underlying facts, but a vague even whimsical form of associative imagining. Warts are in fact caused by a virus. Not by the mind of a person who may have them.

[2] Tragically, under our current Tory rulers the potential return and rise of such diseases is being increased by the total disrespect shown to both the environment and the humanity it sustains, by their rampantly capitalist ideology. Brexit is part of this downward scramble towards private profit-motivated deregulation.

[3] As far as I’m aware none of Hay’s autobiographical claims, from the alleged facts of her childhood, to her ‘miraculous’ curing of her self from cancer are in any way reliably documented.

[4] I need to re-find the quote, but one of the few critical things I found about Hay included a comment from a bereaved man whose wife died whilst following Hay’s imbecilic ideas.

BOOK REViEW: The War For All The Oceans, Adkins

This is a fantastic book. Worthy of the rare but coveted six stars.

In some respects it’s quite surprising that there’s so much interesting naval history to be told, when one remembers that Nelson’s 1805 victory at Trafalgar meant there wasn’t another major maritime engagement ‘twixt then and the end of the era, at Waterloo, in 1815.

The book commences with three chapters that culminate in the ill-starred fate of Napoleon’s Eastern adventure. Once again it’s Nelson who puts the kibosh on ‘Little Boney’s’ plans, at the Battle of Aboukir.

Remarkably, despite the period that Trafalgar indubitably represents, there is still much of great interest to be told, as Britain and France carry out global economic warfare, Bonaparte with his Continental System, and England with her blockading and her growing global hegemony at sea.

It’s quite revealing and surprising, given how The Napoleonic Wars as a whole have come down to us as a vastly oversimplified tale of the British David vanquishing the ‘Corsican Upstart’s’ Franco-European Goliath, to learn how often we bungled things.

And the British Royal Navy, as much as it formed the oaken walls protecting Fortress Albion, was complicit in some of these disasters. (?)’s Buenos Aires fiasco is dwarfed by the almost D-Day like (in size) but also Dunkirk like (in losses) Walcheren affair.

Add to all this Britain’s nautical rise to ascendancy in both the East and West Indies, and eventual supremacy in the Med and Adriatic, and even accounting for such mishaps as the 1811 Baltic convoy disaster (the biggest loss of life of the period being attributable to Nature, not war!), and a brewing stand-off that develops into war with the US (again!), and it’s apparent that it’s only natural that this era is so ripe for vivid storytelling in the age sail.

The colour and drama leant to the overall narrative, excellent as that is in itself, by the supremely well chosen and deployed firsthand testimonies, can’t be overstated. This is a rollicking good read. History at its dramatic finest.

BOOK REViEW: Finest Hour, Clayton/Craig

This is another book gifted to me on my recent birthday, by friend and neighbour, Chris. Thanks, mate!

The first I read from this new batch of books was Waiting For Hitler (read my review of it here). That was about the 1940 invasion scare, and there’s a significant amount of overlap with this book, which is mainly about the 1940 Battle of Britain.

I say mainly because this really quite epic and yet very homely account starts with the collapse and retreat of the BEF, in France, and is therefore initially more land and sea based, rather than aerial.

Authors and historians – and, I guess, TV presenters; this is the book companion to a BBC TV series (which I haven’t seen) – Clayton and Craig expertly weave together accounts from every level of British society (plus a few others, mostly Americans). There are sailors, pilots, soldiers, child evacuees, WAAFs, secretaries, journalists and even the big guns, like Churchill and FDR.

I found this a thrilling and very gripping read. And I was glued to it from start to finish. Starting out in France, with an ignominious retreat in the face of the seemingly invincible Wehrmacht, via the ‘miracle of Dunkirk’, to the Luftwaffe’s battles to first destroy the RAF, and then bring terror and ‘revenge’ to London and Britain’s cities.

I’ve knocked off half a star, about which I feel a bit conflicted, for the slightly ‘tally-ho, chaps’ populist tone the books slips into occasionally. It is in truth a very broad ranging and nuanced account. But just every now and then it tips a little too far towards the ‘celebratory patriotic myths of WWII’ vibe.

But in conclusion, Clayton and Craig very deftly weave together a highly exciting and often quite moving tapestry of accounts of this incredible period in British and World history. One is drawn into the very real moments, and even the feelings, from the mundane to hugely significant, from personal sorrow, to national hope.

A superb book that I’d highly recommend.

MEDiA: Royalist Propaganda Overload

I’d like to know who this brave lady is.

Teresa, having dined royally, so to speak, on Versailles, is now watching Marie Antoinette. As she does so it strikes me that in the last few decades we’ve seen not just a rising tide, but a veritable tsunami of royalist propaganda.

These two shows are about past French Royalty, admittedly. But the almost universal chorus of abjectly sycophantic bootlicking around the recent passing of Liz II really shocked and upset me. This toadying, far more than the passing of one elderly and obscenely overprivileged woman, is what I find deeply saddening.

We had a brief period, post WWII, in which, for a while, there was a semblance of some move towards real progressive and enlightened change in the UK. The creation of the NHS, a growth in the ambitions of the BBC. But all these things seems now to be under the very real threat of Tory vandalism and dissolution.

A great but rare sight. The ‘other’ view in public sight.*

And the orgy of misty-eyed revisionist veneration for royalty that we’re living through now is a stark reminder of the degree to which we are now an increasingly enslaved and backward looking nation.

I wondered if anyone in the UK shared my feelings, and googled the theme using numerous selections of search terms. And what I found most of was the very same obsequious royalist garbage that so disturbs me. It took quite some digging to begin to uncover what one might call such things as republican or anti-royalist stuff.

Alas, if only ‘t’were so.

Here is one of the few things I found. And it’s very good. I think I might try and use this and future similar posts to try and gather together such thoughts/links, etc.

Interesting to note that I can not, so far, find the names of either the ‘not my king’ lady, nor the ‘f*ck imperialism’ protestor. The former was allowed to continue her protest, whilst the latter was removed and charged with a ‘breach of peace‘.

A truly scary sign of our times…

In a previous post that touches on this theme I was able to find the identity of another protestor. That individual was Paul Powlesland, above, a barrister who said around the time:

‘One of the many things that makes me proud to be British is our freedom of speech. It’s one of our most precious and sacred rights and it’s far more precious to me than the royal family is.’

Amen to that! But is the idea of free speech in the UK now no more than an illusion? It’s starting to look that way.

* The most recent Jubilee was, for the most part, a horrifying display of forelock tugging idiocy. I didn’t encounter any anti-Royal views in the media at the time. Even allusions to other viewpoints were rare. And, of course, the vast propaganda machine supporting royalty steamrolled over any neutered opposition. So Liz wasn’t the last of her ilk. Alas…

POLiTRiCKS: Toryism Out Of Control…

It’s really saddening to find ourselves in a state where Jonathan Pie and The Daily Mash are better and more reliable sources of news than any of the mainstream screen media.

I’m a staunch supporter of the BBC, as a ‘national good’, a publicly owned and run non-politically affiliated institution, there for the benefit of all in the UK, free from commercial exploitation.

Ever since its inception most Tories have disliked the BBC, and even as they continue to disassemble and co-opt it, from within, they still caricature it as a hotbed of leftist ne’erdowells. In actual fact it has been infiltrated and taken over by bean-counting place-serving yes-men/women, appointed by the Tories for so long now I’ve lost track.

It’s gotten to the point now that even so called news items are actually party political broadcasts for the Tory agenda. I heard a piece on the NHS ‘collaborating’ with private healthcare on BBC R4 the other day, and couldn’t believe how blatantly Tory it was.

Essentially it portrayed the private sector as coming to the rescue of the ailing NHS. No examination of why this has come to pass. Nor what it means for the future of the NHS, beyond the programmes’ blatantly biased message that public/private cooperation can only be good.

But coming to Pie’s latest rant; it’s a theme many on the left are slapping their faces at. When Starmer recently took Sunak to task over the economic meltdown the Tories have gotten us into, and in particular the role of Tory self-serving greed – in the latest form of Mone – in all of this, Rishi did exactly what Pie is talking about.

Rather than address the blatant theivery of the super rich, at a time when the nation was and still is supposedly ‘all in it together’, this City millionaire instead tries to steer the conversation towards blaming those sections of the ‘lower orders’ who are having the temerity to strike, in pursuit of such outrageous demands as living wages and job security.

And let’s not forget that Toryism has always campaigned for the erosion of workers’ rights. That’s why we’ve seen a thermonuclear mushrooming of ‘zero hours’ contracts. That’s what Brexit was always really about. Removing that pesky EU red tape, aka deregulation, has always been about taking away rights and powers from those lower down the food chain in order to benefit those further up it, making it easier for them to skim off the cream.

As Mick Lynch is constantly saying, to anyone who’ll listen, these rich greedy fuckers are getting wealthier by parasitically exploiting all of us. And yet, because they have vast wealth, they brazenly use it to manufacture a ‘divide and rule’ scenario, in which the middle and working classes blame each other, and especially those at the bottom of the pile – from those fleeing poverty, persecution, war, etc, to those who actually serve us day in day out (teachers, posties, rail workers, nurses) – it’s literally fucking insane!

As The Daily Mash have noted, we’re drifting dangerously close to outright fascism. A right wing one party state, run by a wealthy clique whose rapine self-interest is gradually being set in legal stone.

Two World Wars and the sacrifices of rivers of blood, mostly the blood of the cannon-fodder workers, saw the demise of the Victorian and Edwardian era of aristocracy, and – in response to those collective sacrifices – the setting up of many national and international forms of governance.

The NHS and the EU/NATO, etc, were all born out of those bouts of unprecedented blood-letting that occurred really quite recently. And we’re seeing it all carved up, flogged off and destroyed by greedy capitalists whose self-interest and short-termism are totally unsuited to a world in which we face so many human-made (and other) threats to our collective existence.

Nuclear proliferation and war, chemical and biological (never mind ordinary) weapons, pollution, climate change, mass extinctions for which we are the chief cause, all these require strong and morally directed governance. Not rapine neo-liberal capitalism.

It’s grim out there right now. And I’m not talking about the winter weather.

MiSC: Politics & Media

This post arises out of my despair at being mugged every month by Virgin Media.

My loathing for Toryism grows and grows. Cursed with the Thatcherite style ‘choice’ of a shower of money-grabbing swindlers, aka broadband service providers, and currently being fleeced by Virgin Media, I can only marvel at how Boris, with his execrable ‘bus of lies’, had the bare-butt-faced-cheeks – the goddamn effrontery – to swindle, nay, to rape our nation so effectively.

Un-fucking-believable! Bohnson, you neo-fascist shitbag.

According to Bozo, Corbyn’s pledge to give all in the UK free internet was a ‘crazed communist’ plot. Instead of publicly owned assets that serve us all, we have shitty privately owned corporations intent on robbing us blind, the ongoing nightmare of Brexit, recession and rampant inflation. And still the billionaire press barons prop up the rotten Tory establishment, merrily scapegoating the weak and poor at the bottom of the collective heap, whilst they and their fat cat ilk wallow in the cream at the top.

A neo-liberalist wet-dream. AKA a nightmare.

Evil? Unquestionably. Beyond fucking disgusting? Indubitably. And these evil fuckers are currently embarked on a process of gutting the UK of any rights to protest. The real reason for Brexit. At a time when many scientists are saying humanity is teetering on the brink of self-annihilation, it’s business as usual for the robber barons.

Smiles and suits belie pure evil; a cabal of self serving right-wing hooligans.*

* I know there’s been a changing of the guard since these cyphers were photo-collaged together. But you can take pretty much any set of Tories, and the putrid essence of evil remains unchanged.

For the meat and potatoes, try this, in which some of the reasons for my anger are elucidated. For many years I’ve allowed my own personal issues and petty problems to contribute to almost total political apathy. But these self-serving bastards and their rapine policies are driving me back towards activism.

Abysmal (unelected) architects of the UK’s self-destruction.

So now we have Rishi Sunak, a product of The City, whose tax-dodging wife epitomises exactly what’s so rotten about Toryism. Another unelected (by the people of the UK) neo-liberal capitalist stooge. So he’s going to fix the appalling mess years of Tory misrule have brought about!?

Rishi to the rescue…

Pull the other one. Oh, wait… there is no other leg to pull. All the limbs of the rotten cadaver of British politics have already been torn off. The corpse of British Democracy has been sent to the Tower, hung, drawn and quartered.

The UK needs to see Toryism killed off. Banished. Fired into a black hole. Exorcised. Otherwise we are, er… royally fucked.

If only this were the end of such backwards ways.

MEDiA/MiSC: Thoughts on the Christchurch shootings.

An infamous image: Australian Brenton Tarrant turns his cam on himself, during his murderous live-streamed rampage.

Yesterday, whilst reading online about the recent Christchurch mosque shootings, I watched two clips from the shooter’s infamous livestream footage.

The first was an approximately 5-6 minute segment in which he – Australian Brenton Tarrant – drives to the location of the first of his two attacks, a Mosque in Christchurch, NZ. This first video clip contained no graphic violence. I saw it on a British online mainstream news website (I forget which network it was).

Like so much POV media one can see these days – and there’s a lot of it online, from extreme sports stuff to the body-cams of cops or soldiers in shoot outs or combat – the initial impression is one of everyday banality; man in car drives around, talking to himself/his assumed audience.

Interestingly, what this live-stream ‘selfie’ video culture does, is make real a narcissistic fantasy we all share, to differing degrees, re the interest (or lack thereof) others might take in our ‘private’ lives.

Here, however, beyond the immediate everyday banality, there are a number of worrying things to be seen and heard: the ‘first person’ view reveals the driver is wearing combat gear; the passenger seat is strewn with firearms (the weapons themselves covered in weird white writing); something in one of the footwells flashes continuously[1]; the driver’s talking in a manner calculated to alarm anyone who isn’t a racist lunatic feeding on a diet of conspiracy theory bullshit; and a weirdly eclectic playlist of music – including the pop song Fire, a British military march and a Serbian song popularly known as ‘Remove Kebab’ – accompanies the whole bizarre scenario.

Less than a week after these shocking events, which occurred on March 15th, 2019, I spent about an hour or so reading a number of versions of much the same content, splashed across multiple online mainstream media outlets.

Frustrated at their uniformity and lack of detail, I decided to try digging a bit deeper. The result was that I found a longer version of Tarrant’s footage, which appeared to contain the entirety of his first attack. Most of the images in this post are screen grabs from this longer video.

Behind the wheel, some of Tarrant’s sizeable arsenal can be seen on the passenger seat.

The homicidal zealot exits his car, intent on killing. Note combat gloves.

One of the most horrifically iconic images from the livestream; approaching the Al Noor mosque, Tarrant prepares to open fire.

A chilling view, Tarrant hunts for further victims, in the mosque car park.

The location where I found what I think is the full livestream video (about 15 or so minutes?) – bestgore.com, an infamous shock site [2] that has subsequently closed – also featured a large number of user comments, mostly of an appalling sort that I won’t dignify with further attention.

What I will do, is say a few things about having seen this video, a video that most corporate sources, from governments to the media itself, quickly sought to suppress. More on this latter issue later.

One of the strangest and potentially alarming things, to my mind, and this probably reflects the saturation of media violence one is so inured to in Western culture, is that – and I guess this will surprise and upset some people who know me – I wasn’t really very shocked by the violence in itself. Why? Well, apart from the already mentioned jaded/overexposed aspect, it all resembles those very popular POV video game shoot-’em-ups.

I knew, or at least believed, that what I was witnessing was real [3]; appallingly so. But it doesn’t look any more real than countless scenes from films, or the action in many popular first-person shoot-em-up video games. Popular entertainment has revelled for so long now in much more overstated and gory violence, and to such an intense degree, that the real thing sometimes looks, ironically, ‘less than real’.

When there’s so much deliberately pornographic violence out there – from Tarantino movies to the endless quest for shock-horror baseness that underpins entire careers (Rob Zombie), and spawns such things as the Human Centipede franchise (leaching into popular culture to the extent that the latter is referenced in The Simpsons!) – in the mainstream media, the real thing, rather like a trip to Niagara Falls (which, unlike US style mass-shootings, is something I’ve experienced), winds up having less impact, even when it’s ‘real life’.

Much of the media I read before seeing the unexpurgated footage talked of ‘deeply disturbing’ footage of ‘men, women and children’ being shot. The quality of the video I saw was not HD, but blurred and grainy. And the helmet or head-cam POV makes it harder to see things clearly. Pretty much all the individuals I could make out, on first viewing, appeared to be adult males. [4]

There is one notably unfortunate woman, who crosses Tarrant’s path outside of the mosque. How he dispatches her is, perhaps somewhat strangely – given she is just the one person, whereas the men he kills are many – one of the more disturbing parts of the video. He shoots but doesn’t kill her. Leaving her wounded in the gutter, audibly crying out for help. A little later he appears to drive over her prone body. Is she dead yet? We don’t know. Clearly the callously sadistic Tarrant doesn’t care.

Tarrant pleads guilty to all charges via video-link to the court.

Aside from this lone female victim, one of the only moments that seemed less ‘abstract’ and video-game like is when someone inside the mosque makes a desperate attempt to run past Tarrant. In doing do their head/face pass very close to the headcam. This gives a momentary semblance of individuality and humanity to what otherwise appear as random undifferentiated bodies. It’s hard to see what happens, but I don’t think this brave but terrified individual escaped alive.

Amongst the tsunami of sickening verbal effluence posted in the comments at bestgore.com, one or two people posed a counter-view. I mention these comments again because I concur with one or two points some of the more sober commenters made about Tarrant: one concerns the obvious hypocrisy of a white male of Australian nationality perpetrating such a ‘race-war’ style crimes in another similarly colonised land, New Zealand.

Tarrant published a ‘manifesto’ (a cut n paste hodge-podge of racist right wing memes and conspiracy theories which I’ve read about, but not actually read) in which he seeks to explain/justify his actions. According to summaries of its contents it’s a familiar toxic mix of far-right white-supremacist nonsense (Great Replacement Theory type stuff). In it Tarrant describes muslims and immigrants as The Invaders.

Not having read his ‘manifesto’ I don’t know if he addresses the fact that, if you follow his own logic to it’s natural and inevitable conclusion, the Maoris of NZ and the Aborigines of Australia ought to be out en-masse, rampaging through the churches and shopping malls of those nations blowing the very real white colonial Invaders off ‘their land’.

So the first critical point has to do with Tarrant’s appallingly limited , indeed, moronic lack of understanding of human genetic diversity and movement around the globe.

The second has to do with his m.o. In the footage after the first massacre, he drives off at some speed, through the streets of Christchurch, presumably en route to his second killing spree, and says a few things.

One of the things he mentions is leaving unused ammo lying around. Another is, I think, not being as methodical and thorough in his slayings as he’d like (I think he may also mention something about the victims being mostly adult males).

In this latter reflection he refers to his totally one-sided murder-spree as a ‘firefight’. Clearly, in his poisoned mind, he’s in a battle. But, obviously, a firefight requires that your enemy is also armed, and firing back. A firing squad is not a firefight! Nor was Tarrant’s brutally one-sided butchery.

Mid-massacre, Tarrant returns to his car, to re-equip; this is what’s in his boot. The red fuel canisters were intended for use as petrol bombs.

Click here to view a video synopsis these events.

And this brings me to the core of what some of the less demented commenters on bestgore.com were concluding: Tarrant is clearly a dumb and deluded coward. Many men turn their frustrations on themselves and commit suicide. But some, like Tarrant, turn their anger cans frustration on the world.

From serial-killers to warmongers, such folk seek to displace the sense of threatened inadequacy they feel in themselves, by manufacturing a conspiracy they can go to war against.

And for Tarrant, as with disturbingly large numbers of extreme right-wing racists, this is a war that he seemingly happily feels can be waged by the armed against the unarmed. A ‘war’ that includes as legitimate targets not only the apparently ‘fair game’ of adult males, but also women and children.

His manifesto is where he allegedly sets out why this is so: Islam seeks to displace Christianity – I don’t know where his ‘facts’/figures come from (if he has any?), nor if they have any relation to reality or not – and ‘they’, the ‘Invaders’, aka Muslim immigrants, are outbreeding whites.

According to those who have read his bilious outpourings, Tarrant specifically justifies the killing of children in terms of a strictly utilitarian argument: kill as many as you can now, including children, so your own kids have less to kill further down the road. The cold logic of such ideas is, to me, as shocking as the acts it prepares the ‘believer’ for.

Whilst on the subject of belief, I once read a rather difficult book (difficult more for its stodgy academic style than it’s disturbing content) called Believe And Destroy, which aimed to examine how and why intelligent people willingly murdered fellow humans in pursuit of Hitler’s Nazi racial policies.

The author, a Spaniard named Ingrao, reasoned that Nazism worked like a religion, cultivating a sense of belonging, and also a sense of ‘faith’. Together these would prepare believers for the transition from ordinary law-abiding citizens into mass-murderers.

I’ve also read books claiming that the category or concept of ‘race’, as commonly understood, is a false one, in terms of ‘true’ scientific categories. Whatever the reality of this latter point may be, certainly Churchill put it very well when he described the alleged reasoning behind Nazism as ‘a perverted science.’

And here we get to the rub: for Tarrant his killing-spree is justified as being an attempt to actively coerce evolution in the direction of favouring his own supposed in-group, which he identifies in terms of race and religion, i.e. white Christian.

But, of the trio of Abrahamic religions born of Jewish decent, it’s only the founding branch that, as far as I know, holds to a specifically ethnic tribal/clan/blood view of belonging (God’s chosen people, etc.). Christianity and Islam are, in theory/by contrast, open to any and all (even Judaism has evolved to the extent that non-Jews can ‘convert’); as long as the faithful meet certain criteria – wide and varying, depending on the particular sect/brand of any given religion – then racial origin/identity is irrelevant.

Temel Atacocugus survived being shot nine times by Tarrant!

Sam Harris, in his book The End of Faith, makes a cogent and I feel very reasonable argument as to why people might reach a point of saying ‘this far but no further’ (or, more bluntly, ‘at this point we go to war’), over how one is free or otherwise to live. Harris’ vision pits a basically rational humanist one against the devout religious believer. And I share his basic views.

It’s kind of facile and, much worse, potentially very misleading, to observe that Harris and Tarrant share some aspects of thought process: an enemy is perceived, and a stand against that enemy is taken. Crucially and very significantly it’s where they part company, massively, in how those boundaries are negotiated, how differences might be resolved, and how such social visions are manifested in personal action, that shows the gulf between their outlooks.

Harris hopes that a secular culture can grow robust enough to collectively deal with such threats, whereas Tarrant seeks the ‘lone wolf’ path of the individual terrorist, of whatever race or creed.

What all these ideas begin to reveal are complex multifaceted problems: to those who admire Tarrant’s actions – a frighteningly larger number than many would wish to believe – he’s fighting fire with fire, and taking on a personal role/responsibility, something they believe liberals like Harris comfortably abnegate, instead delegating such action to others (law enforcement, the army, etc.).

And they argue further, that liberals and intellectuals and suchlike – known disparagingly these days as ‘woke’ or ‘snowflakes’ – are like the appeasers of Hitler, failing to see in the rise of fundamentalist Islam it’s real degree of intent and threat.

If you hear some of the talking heads interviewed in Richard Dawkins far too short and overly simplistic TV series The Root Of All Evil, you might well think, as I did at the time, uh-oh, there really is a danger of Islam seeking to overthrow ‘The West’. Certainly Islam, the adolescent to Christianity’s father figure, and Judaism’s grandfather figure, can oft-times appear the most juvenile and belligerent of the three branches of Abrahamic religious descent.

Scrawled all over spare ammo clips, white-supremacist Christian vs Muslim graffiti. Tarrant’s weapons and body armour were covered in such texts.

When I hear someone like the American ex-New Yorker convert to radical Islam (I don’t recall his name), in the aforementioned Root Of All Evil, ranting about ‘your women’ being ‘dressed as whores’, it is worrying. It ought to be merely sad, suggestive of, in his case, unresolved developmental and relationship issues.

It’s much the same problem we encounter in Tarrant: personal inadequacies are cloaked under a mantle of perceived societal threats. Strange fantasies evolve, allowing the individual to act aggressively in seeking to make the world conform to their damaged perceptions. Or, failing that, exacting revenge on a world they feel is letting them down.

It’s stating the obvious, I know; but tragedies like the Christchurch massacres just go to prove that, even if categories such as race or religious creed are perhaps redundant or fallacious, they remain potentially fraught and divisive ideas.

I often read things, for example I recently read Against Hate (Emcke), or before that the far superior Better Angels of Our Nature (Pinker), which appeal to reason as the way to resolve these problems. I hope fervently that this is how we proceed. But the pessimistic part of me does worry about where we’re currently headed…


NB: These include some stuff added much later than my original drafting and posting of this stuff, most of which was first written in the week after the events of 15th March, 2019.

If you’re interested in how the NZ government reacted to and dealt with the livestream footage that Tarrant put out, and which was viewed a lot online at the time – some of which I saw – and for some time after the events, read this.

It’s also worth knowing that people seeking to distribute the video in NZ have been jailed for their actions, under the legal codes to which the above link relates.

This still from Tarrant’s livestream video shows him firing through the front windscreen (whilst driving!).

[1] This turns out to be a strobe light weapon-fitting, used to disorientate ‘targets’, making them easier to dispatch.

[2] Hosted by Mark Marek, an Eastern European guy living in Canada, bestgore.com achieved worldwide notoriety when Luka Magnotta posted his home-made snuff movie ‘One lunatic, one ice-pick’ to the website.

[3] The bestgore.com posting of Tarrant’s livestream footage was littered with comments suggesting the video is faked. Most of these comments were, it was clear from the context, not worthy of the slightest attention. One or two, however, did make mention of a section in the film where Tarrant fire one of his guns through his own front windscreen, with – they allege – no discernible effect on the glass. On first viewing it did look that way. I must admit I did find that surprising and weird. But close study of the still above suggests one can see window damage, in the form of cracks. Tarrant also fires through his left passenger side window at one point, and the glass shatters, as you’d expect it to. The whole firing through the front windscreen bit makes me think that if he is indeed doing what he appears to be doing, then he presumably knew that he could do so. Me being a firearms dunce, having almost no experience with them, I would’ve assumed that one ought not fire in an enclosed space (ricochets, flying debris/shrapnel, etc.). Perhaps the weapon has such a high-velocity it can be fired through glass or whatever without significant deflection? And perhaps it’s simply that the video resolution is sufficiently poor it’s hard to see the holes the bullets make in the front windscreen? Anyway, as far as I’m aware, the overwhelming consensus is that Tarrant’s footage is, tragically, all too genuine.