The Flying Column #12

Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!

By Connor Kelly

New Year Tidings Formality

What is a tiding anyway? They come to your door, offer you “good tidings,” and then ask you for your money. We’re all due a shit-load of tidings in back-payments if you ask me. Humbug! First off, after returning from the Christmas sabbatical, I would like to wish all my faithful readers commiserations from the depths of my soul on surviving long enough to see the year that might become 2016 – I am truly, truly sorry. It is with a heavy heart that I resign myself to begin another year of whining and prophesizing on horror. Love and thanks for your continued reading. So what has been occurring on our buzzing little planet and what does it bode for 2016?

The Saudis Spice Things Up


Well, it seems that our brothers in arms, the Saudi Regime have murdered over 100 “oppositionists” in one foul swoop (quite literally) – and are planning a war with Iran. Whoodathunkit? Who would have thought that one of the most reactionary and vicious regimes in the world – one that makes ISIS look like amateurs – would bring the Middle East to the point of Total War? An ISIS member reportedly killed his mother in a public square recently because she advised him – quite rightly – to leave the group. The Saudis say “Pah!” to such insolence, “We shall kill 200 mothers, in 5 public squares – and the West will love us for it!”

And they do. Particularly one Daniel Kawczynski, the Tory MP oft dubbed, “the Honourable Member for Saudi Arabia,” acting as their chief apologist in the British media this week with arguments that can be more or less summed up as – “it’s a cultural thing.” But the only odd thing about Kawczynski is his brazenness – he says what the rest of our ruling class is thinking. Not only is Saudi Arabia allowed the sort of impunity usually reserved for Israel, it is funded and armed by the British State. Cameron is in bed with the House of Saud – and will go to war with them if necessary. As the great powers of the world are lining up – assembling the board for the next great scramble for the spoils of war – it is more important than ever to build a mass movement against such barbarism. The only bulwark against war is us.

Mein Fuhrer – I can walk!


Meanwhile, through the looking glass in North Korea, the winner of the Eternal Pyongyang Beauty Contest and leader of the Democratic People’s Republic Kim Jong-un has announced the detonation of that country’s first doomsday device – known as “Doomsday Device #1.” In an address to the nation and the world, with much pomp, the demonic imp of a dictator announced:

“Be afraid, be very afraid. That’s the whole idea of this machine, you know? Deterrence is the art of placing in the mind of the enemy the fear to attack! So because of the automated and irrevocable decision making process which rules out human meddling, the Doomsday Machine is terrifying, simple to understand, and completely credible and convincing!”

He then looked to the assembled crowd of baffled journalists before letting out an entirely un-related shriek of delight. When asked about the necessity of such a device and whether it would actually work as a deterrent, he (rather more dryly) said:

“As the 101st Vanguard submarine patrol begins, a credible and continuous independent doomsday deterrent remains a crucial component of our national security. It is an insurance policy that the Democratic Peoples Republic cannot do without. That is why I am determined that we will maintain and renew it for generations to come.”

Corbyn, thou art revenged


Astoundingly and with much fanfare, the world’s first “Revenge Reshuffle” happened inside the British Labour Party this week. The ever devious Jeremy Corbyn couldn’t just do a standard New Year cabinet reshuffle! No, he had to make it a revenge reshuffle. How utterly contemptible of him! I imagine him now, sat in a darkened Islington lair – the secret base of the dastardly international terror ring the Shadow Cabinet – stroking a white cat: “Yeees, yeees Diane, we shall move the Eagle from her current roost. They won’t laugh now will they?” This would inevitably be succeeded by a maniacal laugh and the detonation of a doomsday device (Doomsday Device #2). But we are not The Telegraph.

So what has Corbyn actually been up to? He’s done a – quite moderate – bit of house-cleaning in his Shadow Cabinet to strengthen his position as the democratically elected leader of the Labour Party, and carry through the mandate upon which he was elected. This isn’t exactly high-brow Machiavellianism. If you are besieged on all sides, you want allies in positions of authority and your enemies isolated. What the Telegraph, the Mail, the BBC and practically every other news outlet across the country – all of whom went along with the ridiculous “revenge reshuffle” sound-bite – would have Corbyn do it seems, is stick the knife into his own back and then apologise for staining the carpet.

I cannot, however, for the life of me understand why Hilary Ben Hur has remained as Foreign Secretary. Perhaps someone who knows more of the ins and outs of the internal politics of the PLP could shed some light on this – but to me, this is like inviting Brutus to a knife throwing contest on the Ides of March – just for the f**k of it.

 Weather – or not?

As climate change continues to not happen all around us, The Bogmans Cannon will be launching a series of articles, poetry and fiction features that tackle the issues of our changing climate and weather, our reaction to the loss of nature and wilderness, and different forms of environmental activism and resistance happening across these islands. Expect demanding emails green-people! But for the meantime, in next week’s Flying Column, we will be discussing “Which part of Britain will be underwater next?” and “Dingy-boating in the Pennines,” with George Monbiot as we attempt to get to grips with the “new normal” in a light-hearted and family friendly way. We will also discuss the a recent opinion poll which shows the British public is overwhelmingly in support of the idea of a “revenge government.” Keep strong, Bog People; we’ve got a whole year ahead of us!
We’ll meet again.