This is the 51st state…


When all that’s missing on her return is a piece of paper in her hand, yet again I’m ashamed to be British.  History is there to learn lessons from but our Prime Minister is either ignorant or a fool.  If you appease fascists you’re gonna get yours.  In this case imposing a racist, islamophobic travel ban should have been met with a clear message of opposition, not the holding of hands and the promise of a state visit.  The bigotry and ignorance of the travel ban is matched only by its stupidity.  It is clearly not going to prevent terrorists entering the country.  15 of the 19 Twin Tower terrorists were from Saudi Arabia and yet it is excluded from the ban. Perhaps not so surprising given the money made by the U.S. in selling arms to the Saudis or Trump’s investments in the country so let’s not try to dress this up as anti-terrorist unless you’re willing to admit that the protection of capital is worth more than the protection of human lives.  All the travel ban will do is play into the hands of people like ISIS by providing a “look the West hates us” recruiting tool that they don’t deserve to have served up on a plate.

It’s heartening to see so many out on the streets today in opposition to the travel ban.  If you were unable to make it then you can still try to make a difference by supporting the only travel ban that matters –

Back in 1986 it was easy to get entwined in the brash, uncompromising small world of the discordant reactionaries railing against all that was wrong with the world – Redskins, Three Johns, Big Flame, etc – and I did, but unfortunately none of them made much of a dint in the mainstream.  So when Matt Johnson came out with Infected under his ‘The The’ guise on the Epic label that was part of the sinister CBS capitalist conglomerate(!) it would have been easy to turn my nose up (as I usually did back then).  For once I did the right thing because that album was a perfect state of the nation address with Johnson barely able to contain his venom beneath surely enough pop hooks to steal the nation’s heart.  I don’t suppose it did really but it felt like it did at the time and it seemed quite ground-breaking in being accompanied by a video album of every track.

There’s a nice little interview with Matt Johnson here which looks back on the album – “the most political record I have ever done” – and it’s clear from his comments that the anger still burns.   One of the good guys.

“All you can do is reflect as accurately as you can. So the ‘piss stinking shopping centre’ in ‘Heartland’, people immediately recognized that, it resonated; the realisation, as expressed in the lyrics ‘this is the 51st state of the USA’, that actually we’re a colony, we have no independent foreign policy, that we were brought up as a generation in the embers of, shall we say, the afterglow of the British empire, and believed that Britain is a powerful and independent country, and then had this realisation – and it’s so big that you can’t see it for a while –  that we don’t make any independent decisions for our foreign policy, we have no foreign policy, that in fact we are part of the invisible American empire.”


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