The Early Days of a Better Nation

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's Friday. Here's your effin' cat.

It's our neighbour's cat, for whom hedges are just more stuff to explore.

A reprint of the paperback of The Execution Channel dropped through the letterbox this morning. The first printing came out in April, so that's encouraging.

Also this morning, in the early hours of a better nation (when I, like most of it, was asleep), came the news that the Scottish National Party won Glasgow East. I must admit, I'd have been a little disappointed if it hadn't. This is one of those issues where I'm as undecided as Schrodinger's cat in a hedge. Not independence - the Labour Party. On the one hand, New Labour deserves every bloody-nose defeat it gets. On the other hand, the prospect of a Tory government in Westminster and the SNP winning its independence referendum ...


You mean you don't want 'socialism in one country'?

This from the man who gave us a vision of Britain split into a multitude of tiny states and non-states.

Ray, perhaps you missed the American boot stomping on a Scottish face forever, which occurs in that and other works... if so, you really ought to pick up his latest for a refresher.

Some of the punditry seems to be pointing at a pattern of huge anti-Labour swings in by-elections, which don't hold in the subsequent General Election.

Whether that continues when the SNP is a genuine party of government, it wouldn't take much to swing the seat back to Labour.

What really worries me are the authoritarian creeps being suggested as Gordon Brown replacements.

Obviously, an independent Scotland requires an independent nuclear deterrent to keep the Yankee off our necks (as depicted in one of Ken's novels with Norlando as the weaker party). Conveniently, the nuclear subs already dock up here.

We just need a Battleship Potemkin moment.

Was out on polling day for my party (ah, just guess), and the feeling is definitely an angry anti-Labour vote rather than a wholesale conversion to the SNP snakeoil. Loads of people in Shettleston, Easterhouse and the rest were keen to give Nu Labour and El Gordo a kicking, plain and simple.

A propos The Execution Channel; Ken, I dined with Darko Suvin two days ago and he was very impressed by The Execution Channel; your best so far he thought.

All the best,


Wow! I didn't know Darko Suvin had read any of my books. I hope he didn't mind my use of Stalin's theory of uneven development as the novum:-)

Speaking of which, Ray, no I don't want 'socialism in one country'. Long ago I wrote a fanzine article called 'Balkanizing Britain and other bad ideas', which unfortunately only exists in Croatian translation.

Hi Ken, Oisin from the Book Festival here. Just a quick note to say I brought the execution channel home with me this weekend (borrowed one of our office copies) and finished it between last night and this morning. It's been a very long while since I've read some of your stuff, but I absolutely devoured this. really enjoyable, and I thought you did a fine job with some of the characterisations - nobody comes off as a bad person per se. Loved the ending. anyhows, see you in charlotte sqaure in another couple of weeks.

Pity. I kind of hoped that Scotland might go independent, then communist, then invade the south - followed by tens of thousands of USA military advisers arriving to prop up whatever corrupt regime existed in London.

20 years afterward, Hollywood could re-make Apocalypse Now and set it in Wales.

I've probably been too influenced by re-reading A Cure for Cancer.

"a Tory government in Westminster"

The conjecture on today's news that Gordo the Magnificent is thinking of following Still President Bush down the borrow for a tax cut road removes any lingering doubts on the stripe of government we currently have in Westminster.

Seeing as I was a child during the Thatcher regime, I find it hard to understand why the Tories we have now would be any worse than Blair/ Brown.

Surely a sensible question is how do we, the ordinary people, take back the labour party from those who infested it and took it to the right?

Oisin, good to hear from you, and it's good to know you enjoyed the book.

Tonyc, I think Guthrie is asking the right question. To which the answer may be, we can't! But it's still the right question.

Yes, I'm leaning towards that idea mysef- let it implode, and try and do other things instead. Yet the modern situation demands mass action, and a political party is one way of organising it. Which then of course makes one nice target to be subverted, but before that happens you can theoretically get a lot done.

Sitting in my little room, the idea of founding a national mass membership party along decently democratic lines seems an incredible task. (And we'll have none of this personality nonsense thank you very much)

Okay, I'm quite ignorant on !USA governmental theory... I'm with it enough to get that the UK doesn't have a "Constitution" per se, but does have a large conglomeration of legal precidents etc.

In principle, what would be required to make structural changes to your government (eg. move from elected representatives to representatives selected in the same maner as jurors in the United States, and I assume the UK-- lottery.)?

Is Parliament empowered to make such changes, or does this get to cavalier/roundhead revolution sooner rather than later?

Hmmmm. I am not a lawyer...
I think in theory that parliament could pass such laws. But nobody actually in Parliament these days would think it a good idea, since by definition, those who are part of the system want to perpetuate it.

The rule of the cats will continue undiminished no matter which party has a majority in Westminster. saying all that, what a fine looking tabby...

Yeah, she is one cute little cat! She has a slightly older housemate and they chase each other up trees, pounce at insects, investigate every change in our garden, etc.

Aw, what a cute little kitten!

Yes! Not so little now ...

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