The Plastic Hippo

July 9, 2013

Walk like an Egyptian

Filed under: History,Politics,World — theplastichippo @ 2:46 am
Rock the Casbah

Rock the Casbah

It is alleged that when the late Joe Strummer was told that the words Rock the Casbah had been painted on an American bomb about to be dropped on Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War, he burst into tears. He and the rest of The Clash were not at all pleased at the airplay given to the song by Armed Forces Radio and the British Forces Broadcasting Service during Desert Storm. Strummer died in the months leading up to the Second Iraq War and so was spared hearing his song being used as a call to arms again.

Those that are happy to compromise with the lesser of two evils remain conveniently unaware that evil is a stranger to relativity. The absurd notion that powerful and wealthy nations can bestow favour and patronage on one evil bugger over another evil bugger because the other evil bugger is judged less evil that the first evil bugger is a concept so fatuous that only powerful and wealthy self interests can grasp it. This manipulation in the name of profit goes back to times way before the Plantagenets and the overseas adventures of Richard Coeur de Lion yet remains at the heart of modern diplomacy. From General Haig to Al Haig to William Hague, the same gung-ho opportunism results in human destruction off-set by healthy share prices for arms dealers and “reconstruction contractors”.

The West`s reaction to what has been described as the Arab Spring exposes a complete lack of understanding when it comes to foreign policy and a blissful ignorance of history or consequence. Regime change by covert skulduggery or crude military superiority has not, regardless of justifications stating the contrary, made the huddled masses free but has made a very few people untouched by conflict very rich. Apart from the South Atlantic unpleasantness when victory was secured by the courage of boots on the ground, it is difficult to recall a war the West has won since 1945. The Korean War has never officially ended, Vietnam did not go terribly well, Afghanistan is still a mess but at least we are talking to the Taliban and two wars in Iraq got rid of one evil bugger. It is also good to know that the War on Drugs and the War on Terror is being so successful and that another evil bugger got blown away in his bedroom. It might be best in the current climate not to mention the Balfour Declaration, the British Mandate of Palestine or all the fuss over Suez in 1956.

Given this less than ideal diplomatic CV, it would not be unreasonable to suggest that our politicians with an eye for a fast buck should tread very carefully in calling for the extraction of the teeth of despots. When stuff goes horribly wrong, our blundering leaders talk of lessons to be learned just before falling into another elephant trap. When the evil bugger in Libya met his end in a sewer, our own battle hardened Cameron flew to Benghazi with a bunch of arms dealers to bask in the adulation of the crowd and then flog them some weapons. He pulled the same deal in Cairo before moving on to those other bastions of freedom and democracy, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

This is where Dave Warbucks hits a snag. He considers evil as being inversely proportional to the size of an evil bugger`s bank account and their addiction to heavy ordnance. Arming madmen, it seems, is in the British interest. So, as the embarrassing William Hague and an unelected Prime Minister talk of arming evil buggers in Syria to remove the evil bugger in charge with the ridiculous supposition that more weaponry will stop the killing, Egypt has a military coup; or maybe a military coup according to the White House and definitely not a military coup according to the Egyptian military. Cameron clearly does not do irony.

If it wasn`t for the fact that people are being butchered, the incompetence of Cameron and Hague would be laughable. Supporting “freedom fighters” in Syria and being pleased at the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi in Egypt goes beyond hypocrisy. When the evil bugger Mubarak got his marching orders, democracy returned to Egypt and no amount anti-Islamist rhetoric will change the fact that Morsi won a fair election which, incidentally, is something that Cameron never achieved. We may dislike the Muslim Brotherhood and might like to forget that they have helped the poor in Egypt for decades, but they came first in a democratic election and the military shooting worshippers as they kneel in prayer is unlikely to promote secularism above theism. The Brotherhood have certainly used their position of elected power to advance their own ideology but they have not, unlike unelected Cameron, targeted the poor, stigmatised people with disabilities, removed human rights, denied access to the law, put education into reverse and destroyed a National Health Service.

There is something strange and frightening going on in the world. Discontent and anger are just below the surface. In Brazil, a rise in bus fares sparked massive and often violent street protests. In Turkey, the proposal to build a shopping mall on a city park brought crisis. In Egypt, a year of poor government resulted in a military coup. In Britain, after three years of a hopelessly inadequate government, a man wins a game of tennis and everything is fine. As a bonus, we are to be blessed with another heir to the throne to take our minds off the suicides caused by unemployment and welfare benefit sanctions. Forget about child poverty, the Queen and MPs deserve a pay rise.

Cameron will continue to Rock the Casbah and continue to ruin Britain. Rest in peace Joe Strummer; I doubt Coeur de Lion and Cameron will.



  1. Face reality. Democracy is now well and truly dead and floating face up in the waters of the Arab Spring.

    Meanwhile, the UK economy benefits from an upsurge in demand for arms and a supposed confidence-boosting result at Wimbledon. Thanks no doubt to PR advisors, Murrays achievement was grotesquely punctuated with close-ups of the free-loaders, liggers, toadies and hangers-on that comprise the political ruling classes.

    Sunday and Monday shenanigans absolutely clarified the nations priorities. Despite the prospect of another civil war in the middle East, the press ’em masse’ produced wrap-arounds to celebrate a great British success.

    Meanwhile, Egypt begins to collapse, Syria is in turmoil and Iraq is, well, just Iraq. Human rights continue to be abused in Saudi, Iran is struggling to deal with the appointment of a man only slightly more moderate and Afghanistan continues its unblemished record of never having been conquered.

    In the midst of this, Tony Blair pops up (again) to tell us all that it is entirely proper to overthrow a democratically elected but unpopular Leader by dint of military action. Even Gordon hesitated at this prospect, despite his ambitions.

    The Blair Switch Project lives on.

    The Realist

    Comment by The Realist — July 9, 2013 @ 11:41 am | Reply

  2. The point —–>

    <—– The Realist

    Comment by BrownhillsBob — July 9, 2013 @ 9:38 pm | Reply

    • Bob

      Once again, I am at a loss. I am mystified as to why you feel the need to comment on my Hippo responses. It is clear that your well earned reputation for local blogs, together with your unfailing erudition and innate understanding of matters civic, foreign and global far surpass my own fumblings.

      So why pick on me?

      The Hippo was making a serious point and in my own pathetic way, I was agreeing with him.

      For all of your good work, when it comes down to it, you really are a smug bugger.

      The Realist

      ps do not use this website to continue the matter. It is reserved for better things that stupid piont-scoring.

      Comment by The Realist — July 10, 2013 @ 4:43 am | Reply

      • Why do you always shatter when anyone even dares to point out that might actually be wide of the mark?

        Your ‘pity poor me victimhood’ at nothing more than a playful tweak speaks volumes.

        The lovely statue of Sister Dorothy Pattison on the Bridge gets a regular coating of pigeon droppings. I understand amongst many of the duties of Streetpride is removing the ordure. Every great artwork deserves the guano dislodging from time to time.

        There are worse things than having your views challenged


        Comment by BrownhillsBob — July 10, 2013 @ 7:53 am

      • Bob

        Please explain what upset you regarding my addition to the Hippos blog?

        References to Sister Dora, pigeons and street cleaning regimes, like most of our feathered friends, pass over my head.

        If you have a point to make or a comment to offer,so be it. If not, try silence. Excepting, of course, for your habit of ticking the ‘like this’ box

        Have you thought about taking treatment for obsessive/compulsive behavioural tendencies?

        If not, I suggest that you consider it.

        The Realist

        Comment by Th Realist — July 11, 2013 @ 8:47 pm

      • Realist, my point is made.

        You just illustrated it beautifully.


        Comment by BrownhillsBob — July 11, 2013 @ 11:48 pm

  3. My dear Realist,

    Your comments are always welcome here even if they do simply regurgitate opinions expressed in the original post. I operate a policy of allowing all comments and only moderate contributions from sources that promote processed pork product purchased in a tin.

    However, I must point out that this is my blog and you have no right to instruct other commentators to “not use this website to continue the matter” when your judgement has been questioned. To then ask a question of your interlocutor seems, at best, a little hypocritical as you seem keen to “continue the matter”.

    Suggesting that someone who disagrees with you requires “treatment for obsessive/compulsive behavioural tendencies” is possibly more ironic than offensive but that does not deny you the freedom of speech. Unfortunately my comprehensive security systems and my vast legal team have now started to identify your comments as the stuff that Monty Python Vikings like to sing about. I find this rather sad as your comments are generally well constructed and, for the moment, I continue to approve them.

    Can I suggest that you start your own blog. It`s very simple and begins by googling WordPress. If I, as a man who turned up blind drunk to a council meeting can do it, then so can you. Please keep the comment coming; it is doing wonders for my page hit stats.

    Best regards,
    The Hippo.

    Comment by theplastichippo — July 12, 2013 @ 12:29 am | Reply

  4. Hippo

    Sadly, I disapprove of yours, so, as Bob would say


    The Realist

    Comment by The Realist — July 15, 2013 @ 9:53 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: