Thursday, 8 December 2016

It’s the Law

Ah, ‘tis the season of nativity, when – in all the best primary schools where they still dare to do this sort of thing – a donkey will lead the procession into the school hall while a motley of bed-sheet-clad, miniature Arabs sing their hearts out... to several different tunes at once. Bless, literally. In years to come, the proud parents will embarrass their rapidly maturing offspring with video footage of the day... Oh, but wait. No video; it could end up on the world-wide-paedo-web. If you want photographs of your children all dressed up and living through their important little milestones you must take them furtively, at home, without including any of their little friends. It’s the law.

It’s also the law that if somebody imagines that somebody should feel offended, whether they do so or not, you are bang to rights, son. The CPS says a hate crime is “Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.” So the law, effectively, depends on perception. Imagine if the same approach applied to burglary. “Officer, I would like to report the theft of the Rolex oyster I perceive I used to possess...”

In order to turn imaginary crime into real crime, the law demands hard evidence and the CPS site instructs: “If you, or anyone you know, has been called names, been bullied or had anything happen to them that you think may be because of one of these factors, then you should report this as a hate incident. Even if you don’t want the incident to be investigated, it is important that the police know about it, so that they can build up a picture of how many incidents are happening and where. This information can help police investigating other hate incidents.” This sounds to me like incitement to invent hate crime.

But here’s a thing; what if the law is just a great, big con? I mean, religion is a con; a con so obvious that children need indoctrination from birth to accept it. Philosophy; it’s just one man’s opinion versus another. The cons are everywhere. Homeopathy’s a con. Crystal healing’s a con... Aromatherapy? Oh, come on... We live every day under the shadow of one piece of inveiglement after another. The experts that Michael Gove railed about adopt the mantle of wisdom when many of them have simply managed to convince less complicated minds that big words and complex theses trump clear thought and common sense.

And so to Brexit and the vexed legal questions about Parliamentary oversight, whether or not people knew what they were voting for and who has the power to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Oliver Letwin put it simply: “We’re leaving. We’re leaving the single market and the customs union. We’re going to have control over our own migration. If you want that it implies that you’re leaving the single market. We’re going to be able to negotiate our own free trade deals with the rest of the world. If you want that you have to leave the customs union. That’s all pretty clear.” And it is clear... to everybody who voted to leave.

The Supreme Court in session

And yet the Supreme Court (although subordinate to Brussels, so not supreme at all) is now examining what all the long words mean. The House of Commons just held an utterly pointless opposition day debate and resolved nothing except to superficially give the government permission it may not actually need to progress the referendum result we already decided. All these braying donkeys...led by more donkeys... The spectacle in the Supreme Court looks less like a solemn judgement and more like a fancy dress sideshow and all dressed by their mums; the Brexit Nativity, starring its very own eleven gilded donkeys. Is this proof, if proof were needed, that the law is, you know... an ass?

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

New World Order?

There are disturbing stirrings across the developed world reminiscent of central Europe in the 1930s, or so they say. Millions of ordinary people are telling each other stories about ‘the other’ and there is a rising tide of extremism emerging from slumber. Families are becoming divided as some members succumb to a vision of how they believe the world ought to be; the way it is currently headed runs directly contrary to their memory of how we were and their hopes for how we will be. Telling themselves that their instincts are simple human nature helps them maintain their course despite the clear threat they pose to stability and peace.

As they find more and more people who think like them they grow ever bolder in facing off against the opposition. What were once maybe small clusters of bigoted opinion-holders is once again mobilising as a mass movement under marching banners proclaiming their righteousness and condemning those who they blame. Cleverly using the mass media they sow seeds of dissent among the grass roots and embolden others to join their cause, claiming that they alone understand the popular mood and rejecting the legitimate concerns of millions.

He who controls the narrative controls the course of history, they say, but he who controls the language controls the narrative. And just look at how they are twisting the meaning of words as the lexicon of fascism rises to the surface. Fit in or fuck off, they are shouting; you are with us or against us. Prove your credentials by chanting the chant and no longer hide your hatred, but get it out there. Gather, protest, change the world; threaten violence if it advances your cause. Since the Brexit vote there has been a noticeable ratcheting up of hateful language, of verbal hate crimes and the rule of the mob.

These people are using the result of the referendum to legitimise their aims and elevating their flag-bearers to the status of demagogues. The followers despise the establishment yet are happy to demand that this same establishment recognises their cause and challenges their enemies. The older generation. The racists. The Little Englanders. The uneducated.  The too-thick-to-know-what-they-voted-for. As ever the young recruits to the cause adopt its lazy stereotypes with the greatest alacrity. Despite their rejection of binary gender identity, they are only too ready to accept simplistic political labels.

Youth Cult members worship at the EU altar

As the Supreme Court sits in judgement at the behest of the mob, for whom democracy has become a dirty word, let us hope that wiser counsel prevails. The spokesmen for Remain complain about the tyranny of the majority, yet use their own enthusiastic numbers to push forward their own agenda. The irony of their accusations against that majority – their parents, the old order – and their insistence that their youthful protest is the future - tomorrow belongs to them - can neatly be summed up in one phrase; Hitler Youth. We must combat the rise of a new fascism, they say, but who are the real Nazis here?

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Winners and Losers

Another day, another vote and the war on Brexit continues. The LimpDem ‘leader’ - or do they call him Akela at their cabinet meetings coffee mornings? – has been skipping about like a giddy new foal after the Richmond Park by-election proclaiming the second coming of a party that doesn’t entirely know what it stands for. Even after their five years in Downing Street as Cameron’s poodles I can’t recall a single policy utterance of any import that was uniquely theirs. Yet, according to Tim, the party, having gone from 57 seats in 2010 to just 8 in 2015, is now ‘back in the big time’. (I use the word ‘party’ merely out of respect for the dead.)

I did the maths; from 8 to 9 MPs is a rise from 1.2% to 1.4% of the 650 Commons seats. Basically, they have gained a fifth of an MP... a leg, at best. Another bit of arithmetic reveals that 70% of Richmond’s constituents voted in the June referendum to remain, but less than 50% of a lower turnout voted for Sarah Olney, touted as the remain candidate. Far from revealing the deep desire of Britain to stay in the EU, it rather shows a drop in such sympathies. Yes, that last is a purely semantic piece of political prestidigitation, but it shows how you can’t place too much confidence in what was, after all, a rather small victory against zero opposition.

Oh, sorry, I forgot to mention that the Labour candidate managed to lose his deposit by demonstrating that enthusiasm for Jeremy Corbyn’s buccaneering barmpots might not be all the Islington Party would wish – he got even fewer votes than there are actual Labour Party members in the constituency. The left is in trouble and once again they begin their excuse by labelling all who vote against them as extremists. A coalition of the left has been tentatively proposed to ‘fight back against the far right’. This was discussed on Friday’s PM on Radio 4 and barely disguised contempt coloured every utterance.

The Greens, LibDems, Labour and others, said Caroline Lucas & Co, should form a pact and agree not to contest each other’s patches. So, for instance, where Labour are the second biggest party, the others should agree to stand aside in the hope that their voters will turn out for Labour just to defeat the baby-eating Tories... the party which won a majority against all-comers and against all expectations just last year. Once again the staggering arrogance of the left is exposed; the little turkeys, they believe, were duped into voting for Christmas. They’re in for a shock.

The rise of Ukip, Brexit, Trump and coming upsets in France and Germany and all across Europe is not, as they dearly want it to be, the resurgence of Fascism; it is just the reaction to years and years and years of ‘progressive’ socialist claptrap. Unlike the militant French we don’t go setting fire to sheep at the first provocation. We just waited our turn and then quietly delivered our verdict on our tormentors at the ballot box. If Labour and the left believe they represent the 99% it’s no wonder they are always surprised when a majority of that 99% vote against them. All a coalition of the left will achieve is infighting, desertion and gifting the Conservatives a massive majority at the next election.

"Hallo, my darlings!" Tim Farron addresses the nation.

In other news, England won the rugby again for the fourteenth straight time this year, defeating Australia in a blatant display of aggressive nationalism at Twickenham, Richmond’s close neighbour. No doubt the sight of 80,000 cheering fans singing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot sends chills down the spines of people like Tim Farron. The left will not see what everybody else sees. What’s this; cheering on a national team? Rejoicing in victory against Johnny Foreigner? Celebrating superiority? Why, to them it’s practically Nuremberg!

Friday, 2 December 2016

The Death of Satire

All hail the mighty man-girl-child-genderblack-wrongskinned-dudewench Godfrey Elfwick who trolled the Guardian the other day with this magnificent cheek-tongued piece of hilarity. Cue the barrage of mediocre attempts by the inspirationally challenged who will now be machine-gunning the popular press with Viz-level parody in the hope of being published. I have no such illusions and bow before the towering sage of our age, for Godfrey truly is a one manwoman multicultural emblem for our millennium.

The whole phenomenon of fake news is rendering satire a tricky medium to work in as it is becoming almost impossible to distinguish fake from fiction. It was bad enough when we only had climate nutjobs, illuminati adherents, chemtrail devotees and vegans to scoff at. Now, even the most outlandish of human experiences could be real. The Guardian, from once being a respected bastion of journalistic integrity [citation needed] leads the charge into Narnia by stuffing its pages with opinion pieces masquerading as news. Godfrey’s little saga slotted right into their editorial narrative.

So, anything goes, nothing is real, up is down and coupled with a net population change of close on a million a year (650,000 in, 300,000+ out) pretty soon we won’t even have good old British phlegmatism to rely on. You’ll be able to tell people anything and they’ll believe it. Oh, wait, we’re there already: A recent scientific study has found pregnant women who use vibrators are 90% more likely to have a child who stutters. Accordion to surveys most people don’t notice when you replace words with the names of musical instruments. A pizza is a three-dimensional pie chart... that shows you how much pizza you have left. And an Oxygen atom went into the bar and said “I’m thirsty; give me a hydrogen atom. Wait; better make it a double.”

And there’s your problem. What do you get when you combine a joke with a rhetorical question? How can you take seriously a report which reads like an early Monty Python sketch? The surreal has become... a fish; Dali would be right at home. Political parties, ever the opportunists, are working on ways to get to grips with this post-factual reality, to which end Jeremy Corbyn has been employing a stage hypnotist at his cabinet meetings to render his shadow appointees susceptible to new ideas without having to filter them through a sieve of cynicism and mistrust.

Separating fact from faction...

Having realised a modicum of success through this technique, the hypnotist was invited to assist at JC’s keynote conference speech recently. The lights were dimmed, the audience hushed to silence and they all focused on the man on the platform. He took out a shiny gold watch on a chain and invited them to observe as he began to slowly swing it from side to side. As one, the attendees followed the watch, their eyelids began to get heavy, they found themselves relaxing... relaxing... entering a deep sleeeeeeep. But suddenly the watch-chain slipped from his grasp. “Shit!” exclaimed the hypnotist. It took a week to clean up the conference hall.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Schrödinger’s Cake

I genuinely don’t get all the column inches devoted to the slip-up/deliberate revelation that the government’s position on Brexit can be summed up as, ‘have cake and eat it’. After all, notwithstanding the metaphysical fallacy of possessing something which no longer exists, isn’t having all the cake the default starting position for all negotiations? Going in to Brussels armed with the feeble demand that we only want a few crumbs is a stance more suited to the Jeremy Corbyns of the world than to any rational Anglophile.

But the media, perhaps sensing their days of credibility are numbered, are grasping at straws to attract business to their increasingly ad-encumbered web pages, where clients linger for a few seconds before being driven away by the incessant barrage of pop-ups, auto-start video and animations, none of which bring anything resembling ‘enhancement’ to the experience. Even Radio 4’s PM programme had a discussion about ‘Schrödinger’s Brexit’; something which could both exist and not exist until somebody looked at it, when it would then be in only one state of being.

While most of those who voted to leave are quietly getting on with business, or better yet, planning for the opportunities which Brexit will bring and thus preparing themselves to both possess and devour all the cake coming their way, the clamour of naysayers shows no sign of abating. The Schrödinger comparison was actually quite apt in that the world is divided into three camps; those who are intrigued by the whole cat-in-a-box conundrum and will lie awake at night worrying about it, those who know that, alive or dead, the cat isn’t the issue and those who are blissfully unaware that anybody is worrying about a fictional bloody cat.

Asking for predictions about Brexit, complaining that the starting point is wanting everything and all the time talking down our prospects sounds just like petulant teens claiming their parents are ‘ruining their lives’, then locking themselves in their bedrooms and proceeding to stew themselves into a frenzy of loathing, thus bringing albeit temporary ruin to their lives. Brexit will be what we make it and repeatedly shouting that the UK cannot survive ‘on its own’ is hardly helping towards the positive outcomes that, surely, help everybody.

Try telling a child you can't have your cake and eat it.

You hear talk of children ‘divorcing’ their parents; I wish this lot would get on with it. But hey, in the meantime you can amuse yourself by getting in a lather about potentially racist money. The new UK £5-note contains traces of animal and is thus untouchable by vegans and some minority religious sects who haven’t yet worked out that, A) God doesn’t exist and B) If he did, he wouldn’t be worth worshipping if he cared about you coming into contact with what he’d created. All of which goes to prove that even if you did manage to both have your cake and eat it, some people would still never be happy.