Thursday, 16 January 2020

Celebrate!

I won’t be going to the celebration on January 31st – I just don’t do that sort of thing - and I really couldn’t care either way about Big Ben or fireworks; they can do their damnedest to dampen spirits, but then they are missing the entire point. Spirit isn’t encapsulated in pyrotechnics and bongs. To the half of the country (actually considerably fewer) who steadfastly refuse to countenance marking the latest Brexit Day, I have to ask: Why do you care? It has nothing to do with you. Stay at home, drown your sorrows, but don't imagine for one second that your petulant cause is noble.

It is continuity remain, as if there was still a cause to fight for. They’re all out there: Yasmin Alibhai Brown’s sour-face performances on – well every fucking chat show in the land; Femi, who imagines he still has relevance; that idiot Lib Dem peer who sees 1930s Germany in his stupid fat head and all the minions who will attempt to overthrow any celebration by demonstrating in the hope they can provoke violence from the leavers in order to prove their thesis. What is wrong with you all?

They are afraid, of course, that the nasty, small-minded, Union Flag waving xenophobes will be out there to gloat. Well, why not let them gloat for one night? It’s not like you haven’t spent the best part of four years daily hurling invective, decrying motives and generally behaving like pantomime villains pretending to be princesses. You are baffled by why we want to leave, we get that. Whenever we have explained what sovereignty means to us you have refused to accept its value. We know you are afraid, when we are optimistic; we know you are filled with hatred, while we just want to help you come to terms. But for pity’s sake, just give us one day.

But this is a part of a wider battle. It wages daily across the airwaves, on the internet, in the grand houses of western government and quite keenly in the mosques and madrassas of the developing world; death to the west. Don’t upset the ethnics, we are told. Don’t mention Christmas in case it upsets muslims. And don’t you dare use your white privilege (which only people of colour and the enlightened can see, of course) to mount any kind of platform. Anything ‘not British’ is to be celebrated and every ethnic festival receives a warm and heartfelt tweet from Jeremy Corbyn, whose life work has been to bring down the country and the system which gave him everything.

Who needs fireworks?

The socialist rallying cry used to be “Workers of the world unite – you have nothing to lose but your chains!” But you simply swapped one set of chains for several others. Over the last few decades an ideological opposition to every freedom gained by the advancement of the west has been denigrated as somehow being at the expense of the rest. Well it just isn’t true. So if you wish, get out there and celebrate this latest new freedom; freedom from remote, foreign government; independence. Resist, overcome, enjoy and sound a new battle cry: “Brexiteers of the world unite - you have nothing to lose but your shame!”

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Burning Up?

So, war is over, for now, and much to the distaste of the left everywhere, Trump’s decision to splat the rat turns out to have been rather a good gambit. With the admission of guilt over the downing of the Ukrainian 737, Iran is back in its bad boy kennel and elsewhere it’s smiles all round. So, for the radical, woke, progressive set it’s back to the climate change business with protests and marches popping up all over the place, not least in defiance at the Australian government’s impotence in the face of fires ‘caused by climate change’… and matches.

But here’s the thing. Lobbying governments to spend money for large causes is, A) often rather pointless, and B) not necessarily any way to get useful things done. A) because governments famously ignore protests, unless an election which they might loses is imminent. B) because there are far better ways of being a ‘climate change activist’ if you want to do more than just be bloody annoying. Seriously, you think that going around shouting at people with whom you disagree is a good example to set your kids?

But, you ask, what can I, an individual, do, if everybody else is doing nothing? True, one individual, acting alone, is largely pointless, you might think. But millions of individuals, acting individually, can effect massive change. It’s how economies work, it’s why your food costs less than at any time in history. It’s how you came to have smartphones. And if you used them more smartly you could educate yourselves and communicate with others, not to badger people who really don’t care about you, but to actually do something. You know, be active in your ism.

For a start, instead of leaping into your 4x4 or a train, bus or taxi and travelling to the capital to wander about aimlessly, shouting inane slogans at buildings whose occupants are not listening; thereafter to retire to a massive corporate coffee shop to congratulate yourself on your impotence, why not stay at home and put the time and money you would otherwise have wasted into something which makes sense. Insulate your loft, sort out your draughty doors and windows and consider whether they way you use energy in your home is efficient.

If everybody did that, we would not only create a near-instant change for good collectively, but individually we might even be a bit better off. Do all those lights need to be on? Can you convert to LEDs? Does the heating need to be on when you’re not there? Can you bear to turn the thermostat down a couple of degrees? Use that smartphone to google energy efficiency and, as Gandhi said, be the change you want to see in the world.

Food production is energy intense. Eat less and get fit and better still, don’t waste it. Just as every time you hit the brakes you are throwing away some of the energy you used to drive too fast, every time you throw away uneaten food you are a part of that massive problem. (Of course, some jobs in mass food production may be lost, but if you buy less and of better quality, welfare standards, etc, that might create employment in more ethical methodology.)

Recycling is also energy intense and often ineffective. This is one reason why they charge you for plastic bags; use fewer and pay a penalty when you forget. But why not, instead of chucking stuff away, consider whether you can re-use it? Do you need quite so many clothes, shoes, gadgets… stuff? Your life (my life, all of us) is full of unnecessary stuff. You want to resist global capitalism and save the planet? Stop feeding it then; two birds, one stone.


They say charity begins at home. In this age of corporate charity where your contributions disappear into the gold-lined pockets of despots and CEOs, this maxim could be the one that saves you. All of that effort expended on massive movements which then become proxies – they always do - for political aims with which you may not agree or understand, could be far better expended on yourself. You really want to save the planet? Physician, heal thyself.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Commandments

It’s hard work, all this moralising. I mean who is right and who is wrong and all that. What makes a good person and what makes them bad? And of course, in that simple concept which everybody must recognise is revealed the lie of equality. How can a murderer be ‘equal’ to a philanthropist? And so we get to the thorny business of moral equivalence, whereby your theology is equal to mine, or their culture is superior to ours, etc.

But it really is quite simple. The Ten Commandments might have no force in law but as a moral code they’re not so bad, are they? Would they work today?

You shall have no other gods before Me. Given that one culture’s omnipotent deity must, by simple logic, be the same god as that of all the other monotheistic religions, surely those who believe should embrace a common understanding. But as this seems to be problematic for one particular religion, perhaps they aren’t so confident in their beliefs as they insist. Maybe this could be revised to: “Worship who you want and don’t be a dick about it”.

You shall make no idols. Well what a boring world that would make. Not sure I could support that; no art, basically. Luckily the ancient world and Christianity ignored that one, then. Maybe the commandments are more pick’n’mix than prescription? How about You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. Good god, no. That way lies the kind of blasphemy laws a certain culture would like to introduce to the modern world. Scratch that.

Keep the Sabbath day holy? Nope; far too much stuff to do. I wouldn’t be able to write this, for a start, which some may see as a bonus. Next? Honour your father and your mother. Yes, this is a keeper, although in the society which has been allowed to evolve, mostly through neglect, a great many have only a tenuous association with any father figure. We’re not doing so well with the first five, but the Old Testament saved the best ones for last.

Who could legitimately argue against keeping the prohibitions on murder, adultery, theft and coveting? Okay, I’ll confess that adultery is not the sin it once was, indeed in public life it almost seems to be de rigueur, but it’s not something to be encouraged. And all of this leaves us with: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour, arguably the sole purpose of social media. I’m not sure we will ever get a grip on this.


So where does that get us? A quick summary: Some people are better than other people, that’s an absolute fact. And while some cultures are better than others – another indisputable fact – all societies have some basis in law and tradition similar to the ten commandments. If we could all just crack on and heed the secular versions of these edicts - and not be a dick about it – the world might just spin a little more freely on its axis. I’m not holding my breath.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

The Book of Jeremy

I thought I was going to be better in 2020. Not to judge people quite so quickly; not to wade in and be dismissive before considering the other side’s point of view; to respect firmly held beliefs, however out of whack. But no matter how much you want to reserve judgment, some ideas need challenging. Yes, I know I could just ignore it, but where would be the fun in that? And with such rich pickings for my snidey view of the world to seize on, I would be denying myself some excellent opportunities.

So, where do we start? How about the idea that ‘Ethical Veganism’ should have the same protections as religion? Well, for one, I thought we had a secular society in which people were allowed to follow their religious beliefs but not be afforded special privileges because of them. Maybe I’m wrong but isn’t there only one religion today which qualifies for such special treatment? Ipso facto, veganism is the equivalent of islam; that should please the mullahs.

This case alone illustrates the ridiculous position our judiciary have put themselves in; a more cynical me might suggest that the legal profession has a vested interest in prosecuting highly lucrative nonsense such as this. As ‘a nice idea’ veganism has much to recommend it; don’t exploit animals, I can see that. But as a philosophy it is a crock. Worthy of respect? An ethical vegan refused to use buses because insects die on their windscreens. Well, what about the ground you walk on, does that not involve crushing insects? Or the microbes you inhale with every breath? And how many insects -and other pests - died during the production of the vegetables you worship?

And don’t wind turbines kill birds and bats? Surely it would be unethical to consume the electricity they produce? It just doesn’t hold up at all. But wait, you’re thinking, being vegan doesn’t equate to being Green! Doesn’t it? Really? You see, what might just qualify for religious philosophy status is ‘The Left’ as a concept. And so religious is it that it even has a caste system. A dynamic one, admittedly, where one day the status of vegan is higher than, say, the status of transgender, but this flux is just them sorting out their theology. Mark my words, before long they will have a book

One part of it will deal with how much adoration should be laid at the feet of murderous regimes, such as the one Qasem Soleimani, (also spelled Qassem Suleimani or Qassim Soleimani – see how sneaky these fuckers are?) killed for. The current furore over the Donald Trump-ordered drone assassination is an excellent example of the divide in society that lost Labour the recent election. For the strike is the majority of decent, hard-working, right-thinking people, including many Iranians. Against? Well the usual suspects from the political caste of The Left, amongst who are many vegans, LGBT folk, etc. (It’s not an infallible correlation, but it’s a bloody good bet!)

Striding into this battlefield comes the loathed – by The Left – figure of Dominic Cummins. They are variously up in arms, dismissive or contemptuous of his desire to break free from the Westminster circle-jerk of self-congratulatory woke claptrap. He, rightly, sees the identity-driven, human resources-led approach as part of the problem. And if he wants to recruit weirdos and misfits to break the stranglehold then I, for one, will support him in that ambition.

Another thing The Left as religion has is its maturity. You see, the so-called progressive agenda is now the tired old establishment in its own right. The chanting, the marches, the constant protest. The dissatisfaction, the victim-pleading, the bleating on and on and on, forever repeating words which mean nothing to most of us. The progressives are now the old order, slipping into history as surely as the seas claim the cliffs. They used to hold aloft the red book. In the future will they clutch the book of Jeremy?

The Left truly WILL eat itself

This is where the divide in society truly is; On the one side the proponents of all the stuff of hobby-politics. On the other, those who are for the pragmatic business of getting on, accepting the outcomes of fairly fought elections and building a consensus. Where the old order, the order of Corbyn occupies an eroding platform based on nebulous, unprovable concepts of equality and diversity, believed by fewer and fewer grizzled old class warriors, a truly new order beckons. The next decade might just see an unprecedented push for a truly decent society; one that actually does work for the many, not the few.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

We're all backing Boris?

So here it is, 2020, everybody’s having fun, to paraphrase Slade. Actually, in contrast to the Christmases of my earlier years, when fun really was the object, along with peace and goodwill of course, this season was just a continuum of the same old enmities played out against the backdrop of booze and Brexit. I may be misty-eyed about this but back when we only really had one culture it somehow seemed easier to put aside the grievances for a few days at and just get on with each other.

Only this morning an avowed leftie @SocialistSuzy jumped into a discussion on Twitter about the resurgent trending hashtag #OhJeremyCorbyn and how indicative this was of blinkered thinking. Corbyn lost, he will never fully accept that he lost, he is convinced he ‘won the argument’ and he has been putting out propaganda shorts as if he was campaigning for a general election. Even his detractors actually credit him with generally being a good campaigner, but to continue to do so after such a disastrous rout is simply denying reality.

Anyway, our tame lefty trotted out the usual tropes; people didn’t know what was good for them (she does, though), stupid people voted for their own downfall, the masses (99%, apparently) supported Saint Jeremy, therefore, he could have only lost because of the media onslaught on his character. They do say you can fool some of the people all of the time. The ‘discussion’ ended, predictably enough, with Suzy blocking me. All the animus was from her side, but to save her from having to experience a contrary opinion, she chose the coward’s way out.

I hope this won’t set the pattern for the coming year, this refusal to face reality, this inabilty to engage. When even Gary Lineker has come out and finally accepted the referendum result, surely we can persuade more lefties down from their high horses and lofty moralistic positions to have a national conversation? We have a big enough battle ahead trying to forge a working relationship with the EU without having to also prosecute open warfare in the country at large.

Boris Johnson’s message for the new year was one of hope, of inclusiveness of coming together and making this country what it could be. Whatever you think of him personally, he has the necessary charisma to bring people on board in a way that the borderline sociopath, Jeremy Corbyn, never did. Had Labour won the election you can guarantee that we would have years ahead of internecine squabbling, ineffective policy and deep divisions in our society. Under Johnson, who knows what might be achieved?

This is what we escaped

A new start? Absolutely. The twenties could be the decade of Britain, but it won’t be unless we make it. We should have at least five unfettered years with unprecedented access to the hearts and minds of the population. Interconnectivity means that government can talk to the governed in a way that was just not possible before. While the losers will spit and snarl the winners should be gracious and accepting and find ways to engage as many as possible in a forward-looking plan for the future. I never thought I’d say this but perhaps we should all strive to be more like Boris.