Timmy elsewhere

In City AM:

As to why Oxfam is leaping aboard the latest piece of bien pensant whataboutery, consider what the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief was set up to do (the clue is there if you look for it). Now that we know that modern famine is a result of idiot governments and that, thankfully, there’s fewer of those around, the aid bureaucracy decided to concentrate on poverty. And there’s a certain amount of running out of that to deal with, as the last 30 years have seen the greatest reduction in absolute poverty in the history of our entire species. Billions have moved from peasant destitution to the global middle class, and the major beneficiaries of globalisation have been the poor. Even sub-Saharan Africa is showing decent signs of the people in general getting richer. As a result, global income inequality is falling.

As C Northcote Parkinson pointed out, a bureaucracy that has solved its problem will not gracefully fade away. It will search, desperately, for a new task to justify its continued existence. As long as there’s something to shout about, the donations will continue to roll in.

Oxfam is just trying to survive, but it doesn’t mean we need to pay them any attention.

35 thoughts on “Timmy elsewhere”

  1. So Much for Subtlety

    Oxfam is just trying to survive, but it doesn’t mean we need to pay them any attention.

    It is interesting that while Oxfam did nothing to preserve famine, their entire economic policy seems predicated on preserving poverty. You can see why. But why not support those regimes that caused famine too?

    I would like to think it is because famine is more serious, morally speaking, than poverty. But actually I expect it is a cultural shift. Oxfam back in the 70s, when famines and the regimes that caused them were all the rage, was still run by old fashioned liberals. Today it is run by Sixties radicals – the baby boomers have taken over. I think they are fine with both the regimes that cause famine and the policies that cause poverty. Just not as many of the former left to defend.

  2. I expect at the subconscious level, or even entirely consciously, they denied the reality that their governments were major causes of famine. It is very, very easy to deny reality if you believe strongly enough.

    People who accept reality and change accordingly have historically been a tiny minority of the population, and not that much bigger now. Faith and delusion are still with us and showing no signs of going away any time soon.

  3. The oxfam video “how to lose a friend in 3 minutes”.
    Someone got unfriended because her rich father denied a bright person an elite education by closing the factory where her papa worked and relocated it abroad because tax avoidance.
    Thus Papa was forced to seek work down a mine which then lead to instant health problems for which treatment can’t be paid for. Thus bright gal looks after him and siblings at the cost of the crazy revision schedule. Thus she loses her chance to become one of the 1%. It’s not clear at what point she unfriends her old school pal because of this.

  4. SMFS: “Oxfam back in the 70s, when famines and the regimes that caused them were all the rage, was still run by old fashioned liberals. Today it is run by Sixties radicals – the baby boomers have taken over.”

    To be an adult Sixties radical in 1968, they’d have been born in 1950, becoming 65 years old this year. Yes, it appears that SMFS believes Oxfam is run by crazy Maoist pensioners.

  5. > Yes, it appears that SMFS believes Oxfam is run by crazy Maoist pensioners.

    They aren’t?

    Anyhow the trouble with Sixties radicals is that they took over education, with the result that we have at least four decades’ worth of them.

  6. @Squander Two: “Anyhow the trouble with Sixties radicals is that they took over education, with the result that we have at least four decades’ worth of them.”

    Firstly, end this capitalisation of “sixties”. I was just copying SMFS’s exaggerated style.

    The new high achievers in education arrive from different generations. They are equally confident that they can solve all problems in young people. They have allegedly suffered and conquered endurance of Callaghanism and Thatcherism. Mostly full of shit.

  7. So Much for Subtlety

    Charlieman – “The new high achievers in education arrive from different generations. They are equally confident that they can solve all problems in young people.”

    Sure. But only the Sixties radicals thought that Mao had all the answers. And the Chair of their Board of Trustee is Joris Voorhoeve. Who was born in 1945. Famously Private Eye criticised them because Marjorie Scardino sat or sits on their board – the former Head of Pearson. She was born in 1947.

  8. Ha ha yes, how long (soon) before Oxfam become an organisation campaigning against ‘obesity’? It would be the most ironic event in history.

  9. So Much for Subtlety

    I wish Oxfam would campaign against obesity. Might keep the little f**kers busy. Instead:

    In November 2000, Oxfam adopted the rights-based approach as the framework for all the work of the Confederation and its partners. Oxfam recognizes the universality and indivisibility of human rights and has adopted these overarching aims to express these rights in practical terms:

    the right to a sustainable livelihood
    the right to basic social services
    the right to life and security
    the right to be heard
    the right to an identity

    So basically the campaigning arm of the Social Workers Party.

  10. SMFS: “But only the Sixties radicals thought that Mao had all the answers. And the Chair of their Board of Trustee is Joris Voorhoeve. Who was born in 1945.”

    Who gives a shit. It is common for rich idiots to subscribe to tossery. Welcome to the world of Russell Brand.

    SMFS: “Famously Private Eye criticised them because Marjorie Scardino sat or sits on their board – the former Head of Pearson.”

    Who gives a shit.

  11. So Much for Subtlety

    Charlieman – “To be an adult Sixties radical in 1968, they’d have been born in 1950, becoming 65 years old this year. Yes, it appears that SMFS believes Oxfam is run by crazy Maoist pensioners.”

    I prove that in fact Oxfam *is* run by crazy Maoist pensioners.

    Charlieman – “Who gives a shit.”

    Oh well done Charlie, well done old bean.

  12. @So Much for Subtlety: “I prove that in fact Oxfam *is* run by crazy Maoist pensioners.”

    That’s fine. Show it and write it down.

  13. Oh, come on. Some of them may be Trots.

    Trots are the syphilis of leftism – no matter how hard their fellow (coughs) socialists try, no matter how many of them slaughter each other, every “New Spring” will be blighted by an infestation of Gramscian Trots.

  14. Surreptitious Evil: “…every “New Spring” will be blighted by an infestation of Gramscian Trots.”

    Interesting analysis but I can’t help noting that Trotsky was a Trot. Antonio Gramsci was (perhaps) the first Eurocommunist and he had very different ideas.

  15. So Much for Subtlety

    Charlieman – “Interesting analysis but I can’t help noting that Trotsky was a Trot. Antonio Gramsci was (perhaps) the first Eurocommunist and he had very different ideas.”

    Gramsci died two generations before the PR lie that was Eurocommunism. What you mean is that you like him and his ideas and so he must be nicer than the Stalinist sh!t he actually was.

    Although in the 1920s he famously wrote a letter highly critical of Stalin and supporting Trotsky to the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party (as it wasn’t then) which, lucky for him, Togliatti refused to deliver. So he may well have been a Trot.

  16. So Much for Subtlety: “Gramsci died two generations before the PR lie that was Eurocommunism.”

    What’s the PR lie about?

  17. So Much for Subtlety

    Charlieman – “What’s the PR lie about?”

    That the utterly loyal, disciplined, run-by-Moscow Stalinist Italian Communist Party was anything other than an utterly loyal, disciplined Stalinist Party run by Moscow.

    And hence it collapsed when Gorbachev threw Communism into the Crack of Doom.

  18. @So Much for Subtlety: “That the utterly loyal, disciplined, run-by-Moscow Stalinist Italian Communist Party was anything other than an utterly loyal, disciplined Stalinist Party run by Moscow.

    And hence it collapsed when Gorbachev threw Communism into the Crack of Doom.”

    Don’t know. Made it up.

  19. So Much for Subtlety

    Charlieman – “Don’t know. Made it up.”

    Yes we know you did Charlie. But we like you anyway.

  20. So Much for Subtlety

    Charlieman – “You made it up. It is always about you.”

    Made what up? The Italian Communist Party is one of those that has been relatively openly about its records and there was a nice grab from Moscow’s archives before Putin closed them all again. The ICP’s history is relatively well documented.

    And yes, they were a loyal, disciplined Soviet lackey. All the way to the end. They were allowed to make a few token protests about invading Czechoslovakia. But they did not turn down Moscow’s money – and they did not dissolve until 1991. When Evil Empire fell, so did all its little imitators.

    If you like I can even provide references.

  21. You are making stuff up, SMFS. Everyone knows that PCI are the commies. ICP? You do not have a clue about what extrudes from your bottom.

  22. So Much for Subtlety

    Charlieman – “You are making stuff up, SMFS. Everyone knows that PCI are the commies. ICP? You do not have a clue about what extrudes from your bottom.”

    So let me get this right – all your objections have been dealt with one by one until we are down to the fact that I used my own abbreviation for the Italian Communists (whom you were ever so recently claiming were not actually Stalinists) rather than the standard Italian version?

    Come back when you have a point Charlie. You’re wasting my time.

    Charlieman – “But coming back a bit, SMFS: “I prove that in fact Oxfam *is* run by crazy Maoist pensioners.””

    And you don’t think their policies speak for themselves?

  23. Re the oxfam video. What about the benefit to the people in the country where the business relocated? Don’t they matter?

  24. “it doesn’t mean we need to pay them any attention.”

    Indeed, because they’ll get our money anyway.

    Via the tax system.

  25. @ SMFS
    The PCI was the most successful Communist Party in western Europe precisely because it was *not* a totally loyal Stalinist puppet and gained credibility as being home-grown. The second reason for its popularity was its reputation for being “clean” when the incumbent parties were rife with corruption (remember that Berlusconi launched his political career on a platform of cleaning up the corruption in the established parties – if Berlusconi was “Mr Clean”, what was he standing against? The only Socialist PM fled to Tunisia to avoid trial so maybe, by comparison, Berlusconi was, relatively, “Mr Clean”). The PCI frequently disassociated itself from Moscow’s propaganda line.
    It did not collapse when Gorbachev introduced perestroika: it merged into the United Left after Berlusconi upset the applecart where it was the largest single component and hence influences the current government.
    FYI I am anti-communist but also honest with a long memory.

  26. So Much for Subtlety

    john77 – “The PCI was the most successful Communist Party in western Europe precisely because it was *not* a totally loyal Stalinist puppet and gained credibility as being home-grown.”

    It was the most successful party because it fought against the Fascists once it was safe to do so and because it tapped into a long Italian tradition of anti-clericalism. But slavish to the Soviet Union it was. Home grown it was not. It was so slavish in fact that Togliatti got a city named after him in Russia. On the issues that were important to Italians after the war, Togliatti and the PCI (if you must) took an entirely Soviet line. So they rejected Marshall Plan money. And they supported Yugoslavia’s claims over Trieste, not the Italian government.

    To quote Wikipedia:

    Agarossi and Zaslavsky (2011) argue that Togliatti and the other leaders of the PCI were fundamentally subservient to Stalin, and did their best to promote Soviet interests. They argue Togliatti was above all a Stalinist, and that he remained one for years after Stalin died in 1953 and the Soviet Union had repudiated much of his legacy. They argue that it was Stalin who ordered Togliatti to play a moderating role in Italian politics, because the time was not yet ripe for a showdown with capitalism. Agarossi and Zaslavsky rely not only on Togliatti’s papers but those of the Kremlin, especially the highly detailed reports sent in by the Soviet ambassador in Rome. Stalin forced the PCI to reject and work against the Marshall Plan, despite the loss of much support from Italian voters who wanted the American aid.

    Elena Agarossi and Victor Zaslavsky, Stalin and Togliatti: Italy and the Origins of the Cold War (2011)

    I recommend A&Z’s book.

    “The second reason for its popularity was its reputation for being “clean” when the incumbent parties were rife with corruption”

    Sure. Fanatics are often above things like bribes. If the experience of Fascism taught the Italians anything, it was that they were better off with people who took bribes than people who ran Auschwitz – or the Gulag.

    “The PCI frequently disassociated itself from Moscow’s propaganda line.”

    Only in public. And only later on in the party’s life. When Moscow allowed them. Slavish on Hungary. Mildly dissenting on Czechoslovakia.

    “It did not collapse when Gorbachev introduced perestroika: it merged into the United Left after Berlusconi upset the applecart where it was the largest single component and hence influences the current government.”

    I did not say it collapsed when Gorbachev introduced perestroika. Nor can you claim that this happened in an vacuum. Especially when the Communists who did it were very clear about why they did it:

    In 1991 the Italian Communist Party split into the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS), led by Achille Occhetto, and the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC), headed by Armando Cossutta. Occhetto, leader of the PCI since 1988, stunned the party faithfully assembled in a working-class section of Bologna with a speech heralding the end of communism, a move now referred to in Italian politics as the svolta della Bolognina (Bolognina turning point). The collapse of the communist governments in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe had convinced Occhetto that the era of Eurocommunism was over, and he transformed the PCI into a progressive left-wing party, the PDS.

    It wasn’t some random event. Once they lost the hope of being liberated by the Soviet Army, and appointed to nice jobs in the new People’s Democracy, the Communists lost heart and gave up being Communists. The two were intimately linked.

    Of course Berlusconi’s rise was also linked to the collapse of Communism because once it was safe to play silly games – as there was no chance the Stalinists would win – the Italian voters played silly games.

    “FYI I am anti-communist but also honest with a long memory.”

    Honest? How long do you expect me to play nice if you don’t?

    All over the world Communist Parties collapsed when the Soviet Union did. Like the orcs cowering when Sauron’s Tower collapsed in the LotR. That is not a coincidence – and it is not just about the money the Soviets gave them either.

  27. @ SMFS
    I don’t expect *you* to play nice, just me.
    It was not the destruction of Sauron’s tower, it was that of his Ring. Hint in the title LotR,
    Cuba’s Communist party (and those in China, North Korea and Vietnam) has outlasted the Soviet Union.
    “Once they lost the hope of being liberated by the Soviet Army,” The Soviet army would have to march through Austria or Yugoslavia to get to Italy, so there was no hope of being “liberated”by the Soviet army (even if you assume thatNATO would not go to war)..
    PDS did not give up being Communist: they just changed tactics.
    Trieste was a Austro-Hungarian city, with, I guess, the two largest employers prior to its award to Italy after WWI being the Austro-Hungarian navy and Generali. Tito was taking an independent line from his former paymasters so that is hardly evidence of subservience to Moscow.

  28. “Cuba’s Communist party (and those in China, North Korea and Vietnam) has outlasted the Soviet Union.”

    Spot the difference between the Cuban, Chinese, Nork and Vietnamese communist parties and the Italian, British, French etc.

    Surely the obvious distinction is obvious?

  29. So Much for Subtlety

    john77 – “I don’t expect *you* to play nice, just me.”

    I don’t think calling me a liar is playing nice. I don’t think you ought to do that.

    “It was not the destruction of Sauron’s tower, it was that of his Ring. Hint in the title LotR,”

    This is going to be a long thread isn’t it? Let me see if I can say this without expressing what I think of your comment using four letter words. Thank you john. What would I do without you? Of course if you read what I wrote, you would have noticed I first used this analogy by referring to Gorbachev throwing Communism, ie the ring, in the Crack of Doom. However the destruction of the ring was not apparent to the Armies of Sauron of the Fields of Cormallen.

    But the Nazgul turned and fled, and vanished into Mordor’s shadows, hearing a sudden terrible call out of the Dark Tower; and even at that moment all the hosts of Mordor trembled, doubt clutched their hearts, their laughter failed, their hands shook and their limbs were loosed….
    Then rising swiftly up, far above the Towers of the Black Gate, high above the mountains, a vast soaring darkness sprung into the sky, flickering with fire. The earth groaned and quaked. The Towers of the Teeth swayed, tottered, and fell down; the mighty rampart crumbled; the Black Gate was hurled into ruin; and from far away, now dim, now growing, now mounting to the clouds, there came a drumming rumble, a roar, a long echoing roll of ruinous noise.
    “The realm of Sauron is ended!” said Gandalf.

    So what is it precisely about this analogy that upsets you?

    “Cuba’s Communist party (and those in China, North Korea and Vietnam) has outlasted the Soviet Union.”

    So they have. Only one of them even vaguely sticking with Communism. But they are different aren’t they? Because their leaders do not want to step down and face war crimes trials.

    “The Soviet army would have to march through Austria or Yugoslavia to get to Italy, so there was no hope of being “liberated”by the Soviet army (even if you assume thatNATO would not go to war)..”

    They lived in hope. And exactly how were the Austrians going to stop them?

    “PDS did not give up being Communist: they just changed tactics.”

    None of their policies are now remotely Communist. So while I am sympathetic to this claim, it is not, you know, true.

    “Trieste was a Austro-Hungarian city, with, I guess, the two largest employers prior to its award to Italy after WWI being the Austro-Hungarian navy and Generali.”

    So basically you have nothing to add here, you just want to make it look like you know about this subject?

    “Tito was taking an independent line from his former paymasters so that is hardly evidence of subservience to Moscow.”

    Not then he wasn’t. And it is irrelevant. The Soviets told them, and we have the orders, to take the Yugoslav line. And they did. At the cost of public support.

  30. You identify the “towers of the teeth” with Barad-Dur.
    OK – it’s over 50 years since a schoolfriend lent me his copy but I do *not* believe they were the same. Since you seem to have a copy to hand perhaps you can quote me the passage which says they are the same and that Barad-Dur was visible from the battlefield?
    What you do without me? Well, probably, keep spouting rubbish without as many people pointing out that it is rubbish.
    In particular claiming that Togliatti was the whole of PCI; was the whole of the Australian Labor Party KGB agents just because Gough Whitlam was?
    You have manouevred to change the debate about the PCI into one about Togliatti: a large part, probably the majority, of PCI membership was thanks to the appearance (whether or not it was true) that the PCI was independent of Moscow. Can you dispute this?
    “And exactly how were the Austrians going to stop them?” A major reason for the abdication of Nicholas II was the poor showing of the Russian armies against those of Austro-Hungary and its allies. The Austrians halted and drove back the Ottoman invaders. Stalin wasted over a million Russians in the battle of Stalingrad against less than one-third of a million German/Austrian troops who eventually ran out of bullets (and food). Also the threat of NATO inytervention applied equally to Austria as to west Germany.
    Trieste was not Italian and after years of occupation its citizens opted to rejoin Yugoslavia despite knowing that Italy was far more prosperous. So, I do know something about the subject: do *you* know *anything*?
    Why would the leaders of Cuba, Vietnam and North Korea face war crimes trials? Cuba’s “revolution” is not defined as a war, Kim Jong-Un wasn’t born until 1983 and the President of Vietnam was unable to commit any war crimes becasuse he was in jail.
    You seem to think that we all are stupid.

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