thumping the tub
Tub-Thumper - 1. A speaker or preacher who for emphasis thumps the pulpit; a violent or declamatory preacher or orator; a ranter. (from This blog will be a combination of reasoned posting somedays and an occasional rant.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Its difficult even for politicians to keep up with some of the jargon, spin and rhetoric these days so, in order to help, there follows a brief description of some of the more common phrases.

Fiscal Prudence - this is a nicer way of saying that you are going to cut social security spending. Prudent is a nicer word than mean. Ebenezer Scrooge suggested that he was prudent - not mean.

Multiculturalism - respecting the symbols, values and idiosyncrasies of all colours, creeds and religions - provided that is, that they can be co-opted into a neoliberal economic order and packaged in plastic and sold off. If it is not possible to do this then the adherents of whichever ideology it is must be considered to be "depraved opponents of civilisation itself."

Special Relationship - The much-lauded "special relationship" between the US and the UK has many facets to it. At its origin the relationship was that in exchange for bailing Britain out in the First World War the British would agree to American control over much of the war effort. The arrangement continued during the Second World War but this time the Americans insisted upon having some permanent bases on UK soil[1]. Finally, at this well-developed stage the "special relationship" has reached a new phase: everyone has to do what America tells it to, and the British get the special privilege of pretending they were in on the decision beforehand and can therefore contrive to save face.

Standing Shoulder To Shoulder With - this phrase is traditionally used in joint military ventures. To be "standing shoulder to shoulder" with someone means you are backing them up at a time of crisis. How you can back someone up whilst standing beside him or her remains a mystery.

Open Government - technically this means transparency in government. It is no coincidence that nearly all opposition parties promise some sort of freedom of information bill while in opposition then renege on it or produce an extremely watered down version while in government (see the 1999 UK Freedom Of Information Act and compare it to New Labours original proposal while in opposition).

Doublethink - George Orwell described doublethink as "the ability to hold two contradictory thoughts in ones head and simultaneously believe in both of them". Therefore you must appear to be sympathetic about lives ruined by poverty and be tough on crime at the same time. You must talk about the evils of despotic governments and yet repatriate people who have escaped from such regimes and accuse them of being "bogus asylum seekers". You must be able to attack people in the name of peace, (in fact, as Orwell said, the policy is "war is peace"). Furthermore, you must believe yourself to be following the will of the public and setting an agenda for it simultaneously.

Frank Exchange Of Views - This term is used where participants in a fight wish to hide the fact that they hate each other and wish to make it appear that at least some communication occurred between them. A more violent variation is "Frank, bordering on direct" which means that someone had to mop up the blood afterwards.

Social Exclusion - This is the polite way of saying poverty. It's a suitably vague political phrase in that is much less of a definite statement to say, "this government has successfully targeted the problem of social exclusion" than it is to say, "this government has successfully targeted poverty". There is room in the first phrase for more obfuscation. The public can identify poverty but social exclusion is a more difficult concept to define therefore its harder for them to disagree with you in a cogent manner.

[1] It is a little known fact that from these bases the Americans can, if they so wish, launch nuclear strikes on other countries from British soil without first consulting the British Prime Minister. This could make Britain the first target for a retaliatory strike even though the British government or people may not have been consulted. Satellites would show that the missile was launched from within the UK.
posted by michael the tubthumper @ 10:25 pm  
  • At 12:51 am, Blogger Newsguy said…

    Fascinating explanations.

  • At 9:35 pm, Blogger justin barker said…

    Very nice, Michael.

  • At 4:07 am, Blogger mikevotes said…

    I love this series, keep them coming when you get them.

    The US press always uses "Frank and open discussions" as their phrase for yelling at each other.

    Another one you might want to add that the Bush group uses alot is "wide ranging discussions" which also means that nothing is getting done.

  • At 1:24 pm, Blogger michael the tubthumper said…


    just added a poll (down a bit on the right hand side

  • At 2:53 pm, Anonymous Mickey Z. said…

    Great post...

    Where'd you get the Food Bin image? Unless there's more than one, that store is in Santa Cruz, CA. I've been there many times.

  • At 2:55 pm, Blogger michael the tubthumper said…

    just did a search on 'bush is a liar' or 'politicians are liars' or some combination of that sort

    i have been making a habit of putting the word 'liar' next to blair a lot. i think i am trying to make it stick in peoples minds when they see him - if it didn't already.

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What is Tubthumping and who is doing it?

Name: michael the tubthumper
Home: Glasgow, Scotland
About Me: Tub-Thumper - 1. A speaker or preacher who for emphasis thumps the pulpit; a violent or declamatory preacher or orator; a ranter. This blog will be a combination of reasoned posting somedays and an occasional rant. 28 years old, I write and research for a couple of websites and also do my own stuff.
See my complete profile

Thumping The Tub Video

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I have made a few short movies. Here are links to free downloads for them all in the order that I made them (as far as I can remember). Please feel free to use, distribute, disagree with, shout at etc etc

  • Praise The Lord and Pass The Ammunition
  • This was a REAL song from World War 2. I was so stunned by it I had to make a movie

  • How Far Is It From Here to Nuremberg
  • This is my attempt at a video for the excellent, if worrying, David Rovics (see links) song

  • What You Like
  • I believe the word for this is "splenetic". Only 20 seconds long.

  • Imperial Measures
  • What is going on in Iraq? Some things you knew, some you didn't. A couple of bits of info are out of date now.

  • Wish You Were Here
  • Wish You Were Here is a 6 minute film about the unprecendted rate of animal extinction we are currently experiencing

  • Gorillas and us
  • I don't like creationism, neither did Douglas Adams

    Recent Thumping
    Older Thumping

  • spinwatch
  • adbusters
  • internet archive
  • art not oil
  • blairwatch
  • bushflash
  • camcorder guerillas
  • corporate watch
  • campaign for press freedom
  • noam chomsky
  • common dreams
  • counterpunch
  • cost of war
  • david rovics
  • democracy now
  • dissident voice
  • the dossier
  • downing street says
  • etims
  • robert fisk
  • food not bombs
  • global research
  • gmwatch
  • impeach blair
  • indybay video
  • killing hope
  • lobbywatch
  • mediachannel
  • medialens
  • mickey z
  • mixed up records
  • george monbiot
  • mark thomas
  • john pilger
  • radio 4 all
  • schnews
  • snow shoe films
  • sourcewatch
  • tom englehardt
  • ukwatch
  • video activist network
  • howard zinn
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    some of the blogs I look at
    Arse of the month

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    The inaugural 'Arse of the month' award goes to our very own Scottish First Minister Jack (Joke) McConnell. He seems to spend a lot of his time sucking up to english politicians and yet it appears they don't even know his name. Follow the link to see..

    It's All Gone Scottish

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    A list of some other Scottish sites and blogs most of which, if not all, are pro-independence. I don't agree with content on all of them obviously. Some are Scots at home, others abroad.

  • The Scottish Patient
  • Kim Ayres
  • Our Scotland
  • average tosser
  • 1820
  • big stick small carrot
  • J. Arthur MacNumpty
  • World of Jack McConnell
  • The Firefox Chronicles
  • Independence 1st
  • Radio Free Scotland
  • Scots and independent
  • Scottish Independence Guide
  • Small Nation
  • Inveresk Street Ingrate
  • Radical Glasgow
  • Want to Swot?

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    If you like this site and think it is time to start getting informed here are a few real favourites of mine that will help you blow away the corporate and government propaganda you are constantly bombarded with. It is added to every so often.

  • politics and the english language
  • Beyond Hope
  • the gore exception
  • your tax dollars at work
  • a cultural chernobyl
  • choose life (not trainspotting)
  • shooting an elephant
  • a war crime within a war crime...
  • the menace of liberal scholarship
  • the modern era of law
  • naming the problem
  • the four ages of sand
  • a news revolution has begun
  • come september
  • money is the cause of poverty
  • countering corporate power
  • Other Stuff

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