Friday, 1 July 2016

Skeletons in the cupboard

Well, Who’d’a thunk it? They say a week is a long time in politics and boy, what a week it’s been. Game of Thrones has nothing on the real thing. Okay it’s got blood and battle... and dragons... and a lot of nudity. But, apart from that... Anyway, Boris is out and some commentators are saying his political career is over. Gove, who has repeatedly denied Prime Ministerial ambition may be going the same way very soon – who would trust him after his little coup? So it’s lukewarm May versus hot new ticket Leadsom versus mister religious baggage, Stephen Crabb, who the papers are already trying to bury. Oh and the disgraced Liam Fox; not fancying his chances.

You could be forgiven for thinking this is the only game in town but there is also the not-so-small matter of Labour’s own meltdown and then finally the teensy-tiny little issue of re-shaping the country post-Brexit. We don’t even know yet when Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty will be invoked or whether we’ll simply run out of time and be unceremoniously kicked out of the club regardless. Interesting times, as the Chinese curse goes, we’re certainly living in them. Speaking of which, life must go on, for politicians as much as for we ordinary folk. And most lives hold a little intrigue; those cupboard skeletons need attending to.

Which brings me to a little story of a certain business transaction I heard about recently. A rather dignified, well-dressed man in his late forties arrived at a London brothel and spoke to the madam. “I want to see Suzy." He requested. The madam looked him up and down and explained that Suzy’s rates were rather high, the highest in the house in fact, at £5,000 per night. The man insisted and produced the fee immediately and in cash. Suzy was duly summoned and they went upstairs. After just an hour, however, the man calmly left, saying nothing to the madam, merely nodding a polite goodbye as he departed.
The next afternoon he reappeared and once again asked to visit Suzy. Suzy was surprised and explained that no one had ever come back two nights in a row as she was so expensive. "There are no discounts,” she said, “the price is still £5000." Once again the man just smiled, produced the money and again they went upstairs. Just as before he left after an hour, unruffled and quietly dignified. Suzy and the madam thought no more of it...

Until he came again for a third afternoon and then a fourth. On each occasion he produced the £5000 fee in cash but left after only an hour, having engaged in what, presumably, was the central purpose of his visit. No conversation, no sleeping over, just straight down to business. But curiosity being an insistent urge, Suzy and the madam confronted him before he left on the fourth evening. “Nobody has ever been with me four times in a row.” She said, and then asked, “Where are you from?” He replied, in a soft, Scottish burr, that he had travelled down from Inveraray.

Not bad... just drawn that way

Suzy was taken aback. “What a coincidence!” she exclaimed, “I have family in Inveraray.” The stranger said “Yes, I know." the man said.  "Your Great Aunt died, and I am her solicitor.” Suzy was surprised and a little confused, she had hardly known her great aunt. “But why have you come here? Couldn’t you have just written a letter?” The lawyer explained that in fact her relative had not been without means and had left Suzy a sum in her will. “How much?” asked Suzy. “£20,000” the lawyer replied...

Thursday, 30 June 2016

For the avoidance of doubt

In 1961, the communists of the German Democratic Republic built a barbed wire and concrete “Antifascistischer Schutzwall”. The wall was said to prevent western fascists from undermining the East German socialist project. But mainly it imprisoned its citizens in a totalitarian communist state, preventing mass defections from the slavery of the East to the freedom of the West. In 1989 it ended and it is the images of young people bringing hammers and picks and bare hands to tear down the wall that endure. If those youngsters averaged 23 years old then, today they are 50 but they still cherish freedom.

In Britain, if you are 50 or over, the 23-year olds are busy, not shaping a free and tolerant society but demonstrating against you and blaming you for exercising your knowledge and experience in bringing about a vote to leave another totalitarian state. The EU is hell-bent on closer union and yes, it will have its own army; to its leaders the citizens are mere resources, furthering the aims of centralised control. The kids of yesterday, who cheered freedom are still true to their cause but the children of today appear incapable of cutting Mother State’s apron strings and don't understand the difference between diversity and freedom or division and rule.

In their anger and their blind rage they are demanding to be let back inside the prison and they are confecting nonsense arguments and fabricating stories to reinforce them. One of the biggest lies is that Brexiteers are fascists and are openly attacking immigrants and refugees and anybody ‘other’. This hysteria is being whipped up by the media, who love nothing more than creating havoc with images of photogenic young people wielding placards of love – messages such as ‘Kill Farage’. The irony is almost deafening.

People are suddenly wearing safety pins to show they support Britain’s immigrant population. What? Now you have to virtue-signal that you are not going to pour petrol over a stranger and set them on fire? What if you support immigration generally, but you are vehemently against unrestricted immigration; should there be different coloured pins because, heaven forfend we should all be forced to hold identical opinions? And how long should you wear this safety pin for? A day, a week, a year? What if you are a British Nationalist neo-Nazi who just happens to have lost a button? And where do you wear this pin; do different positions represent different levels of tolerance? We need clarification here.

Britain was once the most tolerant nation on earth; it was one of our core values. What happened to that? Do we now have to wear our politics on our sleeve; declare our allegiances to all, even those who would wish us harm? Might you lose a job if you attend an interview not wearing a pin... or wearing one? And what if you are over fifty and haven’t even heard about this weird, ill-thought-through idea? Will it be assumed that you are therefore in favour of herding refugees into cattle trucks? How long before somebody is actually attacked for not wearing one?

It is one thing wearing a ribbon or a wristband to show you have donated to a particular cause. It is quite another to have to declare to strangers what sort of person you are. Didn’t they try that in 1930s Germany? Should I just sew on a yellow star-shaped patch to mark me out for vilification? Maybe a nice forehead tattoo for the avoidance of doubt? While we are waiting for our wise young people to decide what form of mark we should be compelled to wear I have designed this lovely pin which will serve the same purpose as wearing no pin at all.

Don't be stoopid, be a smartie - come and join the Nazi Party!
All pins are equal... some are more equal than others.

The world was a safer place before people began demanding safe places and tolerance was far more widespread before it became mandatory. People exercised free choices before they were forced to become ‘free’ by legislation and British society in particular was a much friendlier place all round before it was demanded you signal how friendly you are. But hey, you’re young. The world will forgive you your youthful follies and one day you will grow up and begin to understand. It would be lovely if you could begin that process now.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Do you want to see the future?

The world is still reporting on, analysing and trying to fathom why the unexpectedly successful Leave machine is throwing away their referendum victory and backsliding into the arms of the EU. I was among many saying that an out vote might not be honoured and now we see a sort of sick stalemate while, instead of the elected government getting on with the job, the country is rudderless. No leadership, no opposition and meanwhile the noisy children are once more indulged by the media who love the idea that a few thousand pretty young airheads can overturn a decision voted for by more people than ever in the UK’s history.

Similarly there has been a plethora of articles questioning whether a plebiscite is ever an appropriate way to decide how to deal with complex issues. This ignores the fact that when issues get complex decisions are rarely made for fear of offending one party or other. The country has spoken, but it is now up to the government to implement it. Every day of delay fuels the supposition that there is a chance to overturn the hateful wishes of ‘old people’ and return to the sunlit uplands of happy, smiling Euroland. But something the youngsters might want to consider is just how many European countries are looking to Britain to the lead the way out of the matrix.

You can’t blame young people for being young, but who filled them with such hatred for the society in which they have grown up? Obviously, that isn’t how they see it, as they ask for anybody over 65 to be disenfranchised, or for a majority verdict to be overturned because it doesn’t suit them even though most of them declined to cast their own vote. But one thing young people forget, or simply cannot fathom, is that every one of those hated ‘old people’ (ageism being an entirely acceptable form of bigotry today) was once young. And there is a reason why the vote went the way it did, despite the massed ranks of the establishment lined up to browbeat them into staying.

If the young were a little older, or had been paying more attention, or hadn’t swallowed the drip, drip, drip of unerringly pro-EU soft propaganda that has surrounded them and their parents their whole lives, they may have noticed that our relations with the EU have been less than amicable. They may also have spotted that despite almost every single media prognostication to the contrary Europe and the European Union are quite different things. They may be surprised to learn that their grandparents went grape picking in France or skied in Switzerland, or ran the bulls in Pamplona long before the EU even existed.

But, of course old people know nothing. The children are the future, after all and tomorrow belongs to them just as assuredly as it did former generations of smiling, healthy young people who would never grow old. The referendum outcome should be a source of joy to the kids demonstrating in the streets of the capital. This is the gift to them from an older generation that understands, as they don’t yet, that they know nothing. The EU is the facilitator of the very globalisation that the same young people also protest about. Far from offering them freedom and prosperity the EU seeks to burden them with ever more obligation to the will of an unelected and autocratic bureaucracy which treats them as resources rather than as people.

Chips... is it chips?
The yoof have spoken!

Lest you think I am being harsh – they are, after all getting off their arses and letting their views be known – it is worth sharing a little insight into the wisdom that pours from the mouths of babes and sucklings. Allow me to leave you with this short YouTube clip of Holly, whose three favourite things about the EU are, the NHS, “everyone all being like uni’ed all togever and like having the same opinion” and ... well it’s not at all clear what the third thing is. Not to cheapen the debate but she could at least have said chips because who doesn't like chips, right? 

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Party's Over

It began some years ago when people who served behind bars – let’s call them barmen – became ‘assistant managers’ on the same deal: the same unsocial hours, the same minimum wages, all for dealing with the same crowds of drunken buffoons. But hey, a titular upgrade and they’re management. Children no longer have Saturday jobs as shop assistants but gather curriculum vitae credits ‘in retail’. To have worked ‘in retail’ is much like referring to yourself as being ‘something in the city’. Yes, dear, but what did you actually do and how’s that CV bearing up now that online shopping bypasses the annoying ‘can I help you, sir’ obstruction to unfettered retail therapy?

Actually the phrase ‘something in the city’ has for years concealed the fact that in wealthy industries you could afford to have people sitting about twiddling their thumbs or indulging in their hobby horses on good salaries while others did the hard miles. Similarly it is a mark of affluent countries that, freed of the need to strive to survive, plenty of people earn their crust, often quite lucratively, by doing what interests and amuses them. It’s no wonder the post-Brexit shocks are felt more keenly by those in the media and the social meddling industries. Who’s going to need diversity coordinators once people wake up to the reality that diversity actually coordinates itself, pretty much?

Imagine an economy where everybody participates in productive endeavours and the non-jobs aren’t even options? We could become wealthy enough that it might be normal to take time out to pursue personal interests, or retire extra-early and live off secure investments. We should certainly be able to save and pass on a head start to the next generation. Instead, successive governments have pursued progressive agendas for short-term gains in popularity rather than face up to the fact that nothing comes without putting in the hard work first. Our bar manager is no more a manager than a 23-year old ‘business advisor’ is a businessman.

Instead of solving the problem, changing the name of the problem has been deemed sufficient. Studying, redefining, re-framing and facilitating understanding of a circumstance is not the same as tackling that circumstance head on and solving, eradicating or improving it. We need more engineers and fewer consultants, more real scientist and fewer 'cause scientists’, more labourers and fewer highly indoctrinated dupes appropriating the ‘L’ word and calling themselves a political movement.

All of which brings us to Corbyn’s cataclysmic cabinet collapse. Labour’s sole raison d'être was to represent the working man, not the trendy, right-on Islington set and their cadre of politically correct activists for whom no cause is lost until a career has been spent losing it. What Labour needs more than anything if it is to survive is to stop trying to be all things to all people and get back to basics. Maybe the reason they have become an irrelevant party of eternal opposition is because they have forgotten how to appeal to their core vote. We’re all middle class now, said John Prescott in 1997, stating an aspiration as if it were fact and in that moment setting out New Labour’s stall to tinker with the pretty fringes and forget the unattractive core.

In the same way that creating a subject called ‘literacy’ could never replace actual literacy and setting diversity goals helped bring about the resentment of the multicultural morass we now wade - or tiptoe - through, Blair’s focus-group driven policy unit pandered to the eccentric while ignoring the actual centre. No cause too faddish to be célèbre, no genuine concern too basic to be beneath contempt. Work, health, education, welfare; there’s your core, those are your prime concerns. The rest is frippery.

But this is where the political class still just doesn’t get it. Instead of appointing shadow ministers with real backgrounds in working and then representing workers, rather than career unionists with sociology degrees, Jeremy Corbyn has fallen for the old traps. Diane Abbott is a liability. Thornberry is loathed by, well everybody, and nobody has even heard of the rest. The first task for Cat Smith as Shadow minister for Voter Engagement (if she is still in post when you read this) is to work out what on earth that title even means. From where I’m sitting the engagement is well and truly over.

(Latest: Only 40 MPs supported Jeremy Corbyn in a vote of no confidence this afternoon. He remains defiant and intends to fight any leadership challenge.)

Monday, 27 June 2016

Do unto others...

Well, here we are at ground zero. But instead of finding nothing but scorched earth and a chance to rebuild a society from scratch it turns out that very little was actually cleared away in the blast. Nobody seriously expected anything different and no sensible observer imagined the smoke clearing to reveal a smiling army of politically neutral busy bees eager to get on and start the work. All the old structures are still in place and the gaping mouths of the dependent millions gape just as wide as before. There is no selective glyphosate that can rid us of the weeds and leave the crops, no magic decontaminant that can disinfect without damaging healthy flesh.

But there is one thing we didn’t have before and one principle we now need to inculcate in future generations if they are not to grow up to despise the decision we just took. The European Union – rightly in the views of many admirers – took away from its members the very things that make human society tolerable. National identity and pride in same; self-determination and an ability to shape things how people want them, not how a small elite think they should want them. And the opportunity for the whole of the population to be included in the national conversation, not just those who represent the vocal minorities who demand so much yet contribute so little.

Nobody is going to start tearing down legal rights and roaming gangs of vigilantes are not, as some suggest, going go around targeting people they don’t agree with – at least, no more than usual. False flag racism accusations proliferate, oddly after the vote; hopefully, they’ll tire of it or be found out eventually. But nothing will be done and the pains of this confrontation will not be eased if we don’t act to quell the clamour of blame and accusations of disenfranchisement from those who imagine their birthright has been stolen. If anything it has been handed back to them; they just need to know how to use it, starting with confronting a few home truths.

Firstly, nobody owes anybody a living. The illusion of a prosperous society in which nobody except imported wage slaves need to work for their daily bread is just a flimsy lie. The notion that everybody is equal, regardless of the evidence in front of your face is no noble truth but a meaningless slogan; the doors may be opened for you but you still have to walk through them yourself. The elevation of imported cultures above that of the indigenous stewards of this land has to cease. And all of this has to start where the socialist indoctrinators started generations ago; that old principle that rights come with responsibilities needs to be reinstalled at the heart of our democracy.

This applies as much to government as it does to individuals and the new-dawnsters of this post-Brexit, post-Christian world might do well to heed the moral foundations of what went before. The sermon on the mount is a good place to start. “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Whatever Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Uncle Tom Carswell and all think of Nigel Farage, this referendum would never have happened if it hadn’t been for his tireless mission. He has endured a relentless onslaught of personal attacks in recent years and now, when he should be exonerated they are trying to bury him.

They were more than happy to use his willingness to confront realities that the establishment refused to do and let him cut through to voters abandoned by their own parties long ago. They were happy to let him campaign on issues considered too toxic for polite conversations but which nevertheless needed confronting. But now, Boris having made his power play – and make no mistake that Boris couldn’t give a toss whether we’re in or out of the EU, the referendum was merely a convenient vehicle for his personal ambitions – he doesn’t want the small matter of discussing what the country actually needs to obstruct his road to coronation.

For Boris, the ghost of campaigns past...
Never fob off the Farage!

Already he and others are rowing back on the rhetoric which brought about the Brexit result. Under Boris and Co. it looks like we may actually get the worst of both worlds. Instead of the Ukip leader’s positive vision for a free, independent and united Britain, leading the world, not yoked to the lumbering cart of a sclerotic political union, there is a danger that Project Johnson will be a moribund, business-as-usual affair. The fight for independence is not yet over and I very much doubt we have seen the last of Nigel Farage.