Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Roaming Charges may apply

UKIP voters are racist clowns. That’s neat and tidy and easy to understand, isn’t it? By the same strain of logic Conservative voters are cruel, fox-hunting, Eton old boys and every Labour voter was born in a mineshaft and suckled by whippets. Aren’t lazy stereotypes useful? No, seriously, aren’t they? We use them all the time: tight Scotsmen, thuggy northerners, smelly Frenchmen, stupid Oirishmen, sex-mad Dutch, Law-mad Swiss, cold, efficient Germans... and thieving gypsy bastards. We use stereotypes in jokes because - get this - they're funny, so long as you don't take them seriously.

In the non-serious, topsy-turvy world of British politics, enslaving ever more of the population to feed and be fed by the state machine is compassionate Labourism, while letting people make their own decisions and keep more of their own earnings is nasty Conservatism. Nobody knows quite where the LibDems stand – seriously; I don’t know, do you? But sod all that, let’s put aside the enormous fundamental dichotomy of state versus individual and problems such as how to fix the economy and let’s instead draw the battle lines around racism.

Except controlling borders isn’t racism at all, is it? Yet that’s what the anti-‘Kippers want you to think. Nobody has ever seriously suggested curtailing the importation of skills. If we need doctors and scientists and engineers because two generations of dire basic education means we have insufficient capability from UK-born stock, then immigration may be the best short-term answer. It may even be an acceptable longer term policy. But unrestricted movement for all? What could possibly go wrong?

Racism is the deliberate marginalisation of people who are not exactly like yourself, preaching hatred of them and in the extreme, taking action against them. What racism isn’t, is preferring to associate with people of your own background, whether that be colour, nationality, language, customs or religion. I wouldn’t be comfortable entering a mosque in exactly the same way I wouldn’t be comfortable joining an evangelical choir. You may be happy doing both of those things and bully for you, but it’s just not my thing. That doesn’t make me a racist. As much as some on the left want it to become a thought crime, preferring the company of kin is just normal.

Mixing is also normal. Britain has always absorbed people from all over the world, many of whom have become as British as anybody else. Similarly we have spread ourselves over the globe, making a living and organically fitting in. Or not; if you don’t fit you eventually move on. Intermingling is not only normal it’s enriching and interesting and exciting. What isn’t normal, however, is Labour’s version of multiculturalism; forcing an indigenous population to not only accept immigration in overwhelming numbers, to not only actively promote segregation of new communities from old, but to render any dissent, any discussion, as racist.

 If it was normal we wouldn’t have to spend a fortune promoting it, legislating for it and educating children that it is. Forcing it down our throat, or as Labour liked to phrase it, rubbing our noses in it, was a policy doomed to backfire. There are some genuine, nasty racists out there, of that there is no doubt, but to label a white-haired old pensioner in the same way because she is bewildered at how all the counter staff and shelf stackers have foreign accents while the local school-leavers are drinking cider in the park is a feat of wilful malevolence only indoctrinated socialists could achieve.

There are costs to rapid mass immigration; we have paid them and will continue to pay. It may take a generation or more to recover our equilibrium. Ed Miliband is reluctantly accepting that now and hoping that a grovelling apology for what they did will make you all forget. But don’t you dare forget and don’t you dare vote for the fools that brought it about. Britain now is far more racist than I can ever remember and certainly more racist than before we needed all that ideological re-education. You might want to take note that we’re also poorer, more divided and less optimistic than at any time since the early nineteen-eighties.

Given that UKIP’s principle aim is to take back the controls that will allow us to rebuild a stable Britain, the racist taunt just looks to me like a lazy, unprincipled way to avoid a serious debate on the way ahead. On this issue at least, it looks to me Like Tony Blair is still in charge.

Ken Clarke - Can I do my Paki joke now?

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Send in the Clowns

Well, the UKIP hate campaign has sprung into action over the weekend with newspapers and social media all lending their shoulder to the hamster wheel of rage to dish the dirt on this happy band of fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists. To be fair, the primary sources of the criticisms fairly deserve it and it’s been a bit of an open goal on UKIP’s part, but it has also been instructive to watch the big party apparatchiks wheel out the guns of ridicule.

Support for UKIP’s home spun ideas is high. Who wouldn’t, disillusioned by the polished professional politicians marching in step to the party whip, be drawn to ordinary people expressing ordinary views that chime more honestly with the will of the electorate? So what that some of them have questionable beliefs; the official church has some downright wacky stories about sky-pixies and the afterlife yet such views are not only tolerated but venerated by many. And to criticise a religion whose beliefs are even more medieval and whose avowed intent is to convert or exterminate the infidel is tantamount to racism. 

So, on balance, rooting out a few embarrassing oddballs is a small price to pay for a refreshing breath of sanity in British Politics. Ken Clarke can say what he likes about clowns but he’s often been just a pratfall away from needing a squirty flower of his own during his long, limp-wristed career. For my part, unlike Ken, I want us out of the failed and always-doomed-to-fail Socialist experiment, the European Union, not least because then our leaders would be unable to hide behind their faux helplessness in the face of Brussels diktat. And on the outside we would be free to revitalise our own economy without having to endure the raggle-taggle band of gypsies, tramps and thieves coming soon to a soviet Europe near you. 

It must be a relief for the Tories and Labour to be able to poke fun at the amateurish antics of UKIP instead of, A) Trying to get the country out of the shit Labour put us in without being seen as nasty. Or, B) Coming up with a policy, any policy, that isn’t straight out of Coco’s Bumper Book of Circus Economics. Or, C) If you’re a Limp Dem, trying to work out what, if anything, you stand for at all. 

“But a vote for UKIP is a vote for Labour!” cry the Tories, desperate because UKIP is looking dangerously like splitting the political centre-ground vote. Labour, too will lose votes to UKIP but not in sufficient numbers to upset their stronghold constituencies, so it’s really all for the Tories to play for and all the Eds have to do is shut the fuck up and let the others slug it out to electoral defeat. Labour’s best electoral hope is that in the ensuing entertaining melee voters will forget what a fine mess they got us into. They can rest on their Laurels and rely on their die-Hardy tribal cross-scrawlers. 

“But David Cameron WILL give us an in/out referendum!” cry the Tories, knowing full well that such an undertaking is not within his gift unless the Conservatives win an outright majority and DC’s avowed and stated intention to campaign to remain firmly in the EU camp offers voters very little confidence that he would actually keep any such referendum promise. I am fifty-five years old and I am still waiting to be consulted on this issue which I believe is central to our ability to thrive in the world. 

Nigel Farage has said that Ken Clarke’s comments display contempt for UK voters and if the Conservative Party wants to understand the mood in the country they would do well to heed that view. Because that is exactly how a significant proportion of the electorate feel towards all the main parties. While the Bilderbergers like Ken plot to keep the country communist, ordinary people want to know in whose name they are being sold down the river.

So, a Scotsman, a Paki and a Jew walk into a bar... 

Of course it is right that UKIP should have vetted candidates more thoroughly and of course it is natural that the oddballs be outed but while all that is going on the current administration and opposition should be asking themselves just why it is that a potentially election-swinging number of ordinary voters might actually prefer a clown to a ringmaster.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Evidence, Watson? What evidence?

The European Commission says there is no evidence migrant workers take jobs from locals. No evidence? If that is the case then everywhere that migrant workers serve coffee, sweep streets, pick crops and clean offices there must be virtually no young people without work. Or is that just the wrong sort of evidence?

Or, if the numbers of British unskilled workers on the dole isn't evidence that migrant workers take jobs, particularly unskilled jobs, from locals, what exactly is it evidence of? Because no matter how you lie and spin, it's pretty tangible evidence of something, isn't it? There they are, not doing the sort of jobs anybody can do, yet the Eurocrats see no problem with that because it's better than it is in some other places.

Tony Blair was ushered into power after two decades of growth and rising prosperity for all who would look themselves in the mirror and decide to do better. Everything and I mean EVERYTHING was cheaper than it had ever been in real terms. Ordinary people owned homes, took foreign holidays as a matter of course and owned goods of hitherto unimagined luxury and sophistication An entire generation who had never seen a Labour government wanted even more; they wanted a slice of the new Cool Britannia. (Anybody remember Harold Wilson cosying up to The Beatles?)

A mere thirteen years later, after a disastrous stewardship of the economy, a reluctantly nominated coalition was elected to right the wrongs. But of course, they can't. We have no say in the matter and if the EU Politburo says we must redistribute the workers so that everybody can own slaves from former Eastern Bloc, then so be it. The EU needs to allow poorer and poorer countries entry to our labour markets because somebody has to pay to keep the young people of richer countries idle, while those with money flee to fairer tax regimes.

The last statement of that article is telling: "Only 1.1 per cent of working age Britons - 330,000 workers - are currently employed in other EU countries." In other words, free movement of Labour only works in one direction. No evidence that unrestricted migration lowers wages, keeps people trapped in welfare, lowers standards, causes strife and actively increases xenophobia? If the EU says it, we must see it. 

You know the bastards are winning when they can look you in the face and tell you the sky isn't blue, the earth is above you, you are happy and joyful, comrades, and despite the evidence of your very eyes you've never had it so good.

Too 'busy' to blog...

A bit of journalistic history for you today...

Jeffrey Bernard is unwell...

Go on... Google it.

Oh, you lazy fuckers - HERE.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Message to the world.

“This is our story. We started out with just a hundred survivors. A hundred people stranded on a deserted island, fortuitously gifted with pigs and goats and edible fruits. A paradise... unless your former life revolved around Twitter.

“It turned out that Steve used to be a pig farmer and he had a way with an errant sow, so off he went to round up the wild pigs. Eric had a smallholding back home so he began investigating and cultivating the local flora with a view to greater yields. Alison discovered there were chickens so she busied herself with collecting them all together and protecting them from predators so we could have eggs for breakfast.

“Among the rest we had a couple of engineers who quickly rigged up some irrigation and drinking water and some builders and roofers who managed to knock up shelter in a time which would have made them either pariahs or heroes back home, depending on which planning rules they’d circumvented and on whose behalf.

“About eighty of our survivors had no specific skills but were willing to give of their abundant physical energy and were happy to follow orders, but a few were genuinely unwell and unable to work. Luckily, we had a few carers amongst our numbers and a makeshift sanatorium was erected.

“Remarkably, within a month we had all stopped starving and we began to build a successful settlement. Everybody was happy and the island supported our needs. We began to plan for rescue despite some of our more widely read colleagues predicting we’d never be found. A moot point because discovery and rescue were not within our gift. After a couple of years we accepted our fate and resolved to make the best of it.

“By now we had it pretty well sussed. We had food and fuel and shelter and while some yearned for their smart toys, nevertheless we accepted our fate. In fact we celebrated our deliverance from the corrupt, venal world from which we’d abruptly been severed and began instead to make the most of what we’d got. It was a small world of plenty and as long as we husbanded our resources wisely we could see a future.

“As we became relaxed in our new home we began to pair up and despite our primitive state our population grew. And we worked and worked and worked to improve our lot. We welcomed each new arrival with joy and afforded the parents some respite from work, others glad to shoulder an extra burden for a while. After all, a new mouth to feed would eventually grow to become a valued member of our little community.

“ But a strange malaise began to creep over us as focus shifted from mere survival to increasingly comfortable life styles. The largest families were invariably produced by those who were the least economically productive. They made themselves look busy, of course, spending time raising children, tending the sick, decorating their huts and dreaming of rescue. Soon the bulk of their time was spent in meetings where they began to award themselves meaningless titles and grant themselves various entitlements, none of which put food on the table.

“Away from camp, out in the fields, those most engaged with keeping us alive were working ever harder and longer hours to provide food and drink and were too busy and tired to get around to breeding. Being on an island our resources were finite indeed and working hours increased to make the most of them. There came a time when the workers, the non-breeders, realised they were virtually slaves to those who saw it as their right to procreate without restraint. So they withdrew their labour in protest.

“After a few threats and a few beatings, the decision was made to cast out the stubborn striking workers, the twenty percent who just didn’t fit in with the majority view that the creation of babies was more important, more vital and more noble than crude food production, which anybody could do. This was democracy in action

“The engineers and the farmers, the builders and thatchers were rounded up and forced to built a makeshift and suicidal raft and we threw them on the mercy of the sea, never to be heard of again. I wish I was with them because now, nothing works any more. We have growing needs and dwindling resources and open mouths and failing crops. The chickens have flown their coops and the swine have returned to the wild. Meanwhile, having no other example to follow, we continue to breed.

“Everybody now continues to blame the departees (especially the thatchers, now that the roofs were beginning to fail) for our plight, spending more time in committee meetings, dreaming up more inventive ways of stretching what we’ve got between us. We’re all equal now. And we’re all starving. Something will surely turn up.

“If you find this message, please help.”

[Message found in a bottle ]

So, how is Über-Socialism working out for you MonsieurHollande

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Whose side are we on?

So, we can start allegedly illegal wars with impunity, we can invade other people’s countries, we can detain internees in Guantanamo almost indefinitely, we can enact laws unvoted for, we can ignore the wishes of the electorate until the cows come home yet we can’t get rid of a loathsome shitbag who hates us and preaches our destruction at every turn. Hava Banana remains under British protection at vast cost despite not even being a UK citizen and being wanted in Jordan to face terrorism charges. True or not – really, who cares? - many attribute all of this to the undue influence exerted by the European Courts on British judicial decision making.

Meanwhile the Bishop of Exeter decides to play politics by doing his bit to undermine the possibility of renegotiating Britain’s relationship with the European Union by tut-tutting in his purple frock and suggesting that David Cameron’s reforming rhetoric is damaging to what he refers to as the European Soul. Europe has a soul? Ah, that’ll be us then, the European Arsehole, backward-looking, apologetic for our former proud past and forever cringing and cap-wringing and self-flagellating and forcing subjugation on ourselves.

Scare stories, lies and deceit. “Bigger is better.” “United we stand.” “Better off in than out.” “We need each other.” What sheer claptrap. The only thing that bigger buys you is more government. More bureaucrats filling ever more virtual filing cabinets with ever more indecipherable Euro diktat. More directives, more laws, more fucking diversity, possibly the most destructive policy towards unity ever invented and by the last government’s own admission deliberately foisted upon us in an effort to cripple any attempt by other parties to appeal to the true British character. You racists, you.

Why do we always end up doing what others want? Do we have some craven national desire to be popular? Why can’t we tell everybody else to fuck off while we mind our own business and strive to once again be good at something? Why do we pour gazillions into the European money brazier when we need it right here? Why do we allow ourselves to be bullied by a government we didn’t elect in an institution we despise?

Because big is not beautiful, big is not efficient. Big is bureaucratic, big is clumsy... big is bollocks. I’m working this week at an NHS Trust, speaking at first hand to employees of the world’s fourth largest employer and what is their experience of ‘the cuts’? You guessed it – fewer on the front line, more in management. Management never acts in the interest of those they manage; management never votes for smaller management.

Thus bishops rarely speak with the voice of their flocks and Ministers long ago lost touch with the party faithful. Even Labour – the imagined voice of the people - is largely at odds with the views and wishes of its core voters even as it bows to the might of the likes of Red Len McCluskey who wants, you guessed it, Big Unions.

Economies of scale work for large companies; they don’t work for countries. Being able to buy cheap in bulk only works if you don’t have to create entire new ministries to do the haggling and distribution. More government is always the wrong answer. So we need some new slogans: “Small is good, too.” “Be better, be British.” “Better out than in” and “Fuck right fucking off, the fucking lot of you!”

Come on then - wipe the smile of my face!

We should celebrate the culture of superiority - it's not racist to be right, it's not bigoted to be the best. Be British, buy British and bollocks to the bureaucrats. Of course, I’m pissing in the wind here because despite all the evidence you see every day you still think the answer to government incompetence is more government. It’s just not. Go back to looking after number one first and you’ll soon see the rewards. Stop blaming others for your failures and you might find success. Little Englander? You’d better believe it.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


It used to be the fault of video nasties – remember them? The copying of the violent behaviour of characters like the evil doll, Chucky, would become the norm as youngsters grew up to disrespect the law and behave in ways outside the bounds of common decency. Or did we have all that the wrong way round? Was the advent of the Video Recordings Act 1984 an attempt to genuinely curb the excesses of movies like Texas Chain Saw Massacre, or was it merely a way of apportioning blame for extreme behaviour already growing violently out of control?

In the 1984 act, the British Board of Film Censors was renamed the British Board of Film Classification; was that itself not a form of censorship? Banning a movie, restricting who can watch it or ordering its editing before release is undoubtedly censorship, so why not call a spade a spade? Or does the very word ‘censor’ evoke the unhelpful spectre of intrusive state control? Hmmm, 1984? That year rings a bell... nope can’t quite put my finger on it.

There can surely be no doubt that observed behaviour must have some influence on actual behaviour, if only in terms of creative input. Following Reservoir Dogs half the dopey fucksticks out there walked with a swagger, wore dark glasses and wore out jukebox copies of “Stuck in the Middle with You”, imagining that one day they would harvest their very own copper’s ear trophy. A bunch of sad wannabes, of course, but it’s not inconceivable that a saddo might turn sicko, if he somehow felt he’d given permission by the turning of a malevolent act into a piece of gory entertainment.

Except that we are supposed to have self-control; we have a choice in how we behave, don’t we? So, no matter what our fanciful, impressionable selves may imagine we might do, punching the air after seeing the first Rocky movie (you know, the good one) surely not more than a handful of idiots went out afterwards and rented time in an abattoir freezer to pound the meat, only to find out how sore it makes you afterwards. Does watching extreme behaviour genuinely change yours, or is it just a serving suggestion for an already deranged personality?

Of course the mantle of responsibility has now passed from movies to violent video games, or indeed violent gamesmanship. While the jury is still out on the firmness of the causal links, some people grasp at anything to explain or blame the bad behaviour of their nearest and dearest. Thus it is that in a heartbeat the cannibalistic urge of Luis Suarez on Sunday has been blamed by a parent as directly causing her own little angel to end up as first course in a literal knuckle sandwich.

So, what is sauce for the goose, etc and should we just accept that whatever the rich and famous, or infamous get up to, it is beyond our control to do otherwise? Of course, with behaviour comes responsibility and those who transgress must pay the penalty. By this, also, do we learn. So it was not a little disappointing to learn that those two vindictive nasties, Huhne and Pryce are to be released after serving just two months of their eight month sentences.

What's the point, you may ask yourselves, of not following your urges when it is clear now that nobody is responsible for their own behaviour any more and the punishments meted out clearly reflect this lack of control? I wonder how many will now blame their reckless and violent speeding point transfer and marital stife behaviours on the Huhnes? It’s madness I tell you!

Monday, 22 April 2013

How very dare you!

If you’ll allow me I will summarise: So here we go: last week on Twitter seemed to be very much all about competitive moral outrage. Starting with general pro and anti-Thatcher sentiment and then devolving down to the more intimate minutiae. What was very clear was the underlying theme: ‘My personal grief is very much more important than your personal grief’. Well duh-err!

I am always taken somewhat aback by how poorly the majority of you mere humans can expunge emotion from your judgement. For most of you there appears to be a line beyond which thou shalt not trespass. A hitherto hilarious comedian becomes a pariah the instant he crosses that line. An ally becomes an enemy because of a few sounds in the air or characters on a page or screen. The trouble is the borderline of rationality is set at varying distances inside each individual’s perimeter of indifference.

For some it is deemed acceptable to attack the personal lives of any opposing political affiliation’s Members of Parliament but probably not the personal lives of their supporters, the rationale presumably being that the MPs have chosen to live a public life but their supporters merely lack judgement. Or, it is absolutely okay to rail against the parents of marginalised, criminalised, dehumanised children but not against the system that allowed this state of affairs to come about, maybe because ‘there but for the grace of god…’? Alternatively, the parents of one lost child are fair game for personal attack but the parents of another are not?

Richard Dawkins came under attack yesterday for ostensibly dismissing Mehdi Hassan’s views and opinions on anything at all because he holds what Dawkins (and I; let’s nail my colours to this mast) knows to be utterly irrational religious beliefs. He has a point – practically by definition all religious beliefs are irrational - but recently he has become so vociferous and fanatical in his atheism that it is tantamount to fundamentalism in its own right. Fucking hell it’s complicated, all this thinking shit, isn’t it?

And it gets worse still when you have to ponder this: at what point does an ill-considered opinion become an actionable crime? When you think it? When you voice it? Or when you deliberately provoke others to join in? And does the threat have to be physical, or is mere online harassment a crime in itself? If a social media mob bays for blood using the personal details of an individual most of us would consider that unacceptable. But if the attack is in the form of a caricature of an entire city, surely its individual citizens can be big enough to shrug it off? Is it less offensive if nearly everybody else agrees and finds it funny; consensus ridicule? Apparently not.

It’s not often I get to take the moral high ground but have you listened to yourselves lately? I’m all for freedom of expression yet there are definitely some things I would censor; even I have a line. But where does my opinion of what should be allowed differ from yours? As soon as you introduce any form of proscription you introduce a hydra with more heads than the ones you can imagine. Laws tend to get used in ways you didn't foresee and one day the mob may come for you.

The whirling hamster wheel of rage.
Grrrr, I'm hopping mad!

They say that offence can not be given, only taken. That's palpable crap - any deliberate attempt to provoke an emotional outburst is expressly intended to offend. So, if that's the case it strikes me the best possible line of defence is not to accept that offence. Grow a thicker skin. On my planet we call it growing up. 

Oh and once you've mastered the growing up thing you can try another little technique we like to call moving on. Life's too short.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Next Door's Fucking Cat!

It's been a funny old week on Twitter. Friday's blog hit new heights with over 1250 views, fuelled mostly by the still ongoing row over Old Holborn and resulting in a few sympathetic walkouts and many protracted arguments. The hamster wheel of rage could probably power Liverpool right now, if only we could generate steam for the turbines from mere hot air... But Saturday was a lovely sunny day so I decided to change the mood and lighten up and demonstrate my sheer joy and love of nature.

I done a pome. I hope you like it:

The sun is in the sky today 
And all the birds are fat. 
They’ll need to slim to get away 
From next door’s fucking cat. 

I went to plant some seedlings,
Some cabbages and that…
My bed’s a giant litter tray
For next door’s fucking cat.

My feline-loving neighbour is 
An idle welfare twat. 
I wish he’d move away from here, 
Him and his fucking cat. 

He’s scratching in my flower bed, 
He’s ginger and he’s fat. 
I hate the little git as much 
As I hate his fucking cat.

The little sitting shitting thing 
Could never catch a rat. 
I might just put some poison down 
For next door’s fucking cat. 

Now finally they’re moving out 
They’ve got a council flat 
I only hope that they’re prepared 
For next door’s fucking cat. 

New neighbours moved in yesterday 
And there upon my mat, 
I found a little present from 
New next door’s fucking cat!

Friday, 19 April 2013

To the death?

Voltaire didn't actually say that he would defend to the death your right to say something with which he disagreed, but he is usually quoted as saying so and it is widely agreed that's what he meant. It's often the last thing somebody tweets before then trying to rouse a nice, caring hate mob to get a user's account closed down.

Whether or not such action is successful seems to depend very much on from where the disagreeable words originate and at whom they are aimed. It's exactly as if some people's hate is more acceptable than other people's hate. So, it is okay, apparently, for people to loudly demand for two decades the death of an individual, yet it is wrong to observe that almost every suicide bomber hails from one closed community holding a single irrational and unprovable belief.

It appears to be hateful and loathsome and vile to drunkenly utter on social media a racist taunt which you then withdraw, but it is fine to loudly and widely revel in the death of an octogenarian and hurl abuse of the most extreme kind at any who defend her legacy. And now it turns out that being from Liverpool places you in a special class affording you protection from nasty words, presumably because you can't handle them when they're coming your way.

Thus it was that Twitter stalwart @Old_Holborn was reported to Essex Police yesterday for repeatedly tweeting and blogging harsh words about Scousers, yet no such action seems to have been taken against any of the many that took it upon themselves to call for a mob to descend on his home and take the abuse from the merely verbal to the physical level. Predictably, Twitter has 'gone off on one' today. (Search the hashtag #SaveOldHolborn if you really need to know.)

Is it naivety, gullibility or plain old immaturity? What ailment afflicts those who believe free speech is a one-way street? And if it is,what law says so? When I was growing up the mantra "sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me" was the accepted defence against jeering and name-calling. We were told that millions of men had died in wars to defend, literally to the death, our right to a free society; and that freedom has always meant the right to express oneself, however misguided, however distasteful.

We even allow frequent Islamic protesters to loudly and fanatically call for the actual death of all non-Muslims, yet quickly deploy police to turn away those holding counter protests, denouncing those views as hate crimes.

The originators of cries for speech suppression seem to me to most often be those who hold to socialist inspired views, those who have self-identified as victims and those who most vociferously demand the Police uphold their own imagined 'rights' not to ever hear, see or suffer offence. Defend freedom of speech to the death, Lefties? Or defend it only so long as it suits the cause?

Enough commentators over the centuries have made the point for it to be taken as valid, that freedom includes the right to make a twat of yourself in public, in print, on placards; to support or oppose a person a cause or a principle. Laws exist to prevent you from spreading harmful lies in the form of libel and slander. But we already have laws that suppress your right to express your fear or dislike of people who don't look like you. Arresting somebody for merely saying 'out loud' what a significant number of people are thinking is one step on the way to making opinions a legal matter.

And when we get to that point (this year, next year?) who will decide what opinions are acceptable? In fact, will we allow individual opinion - let's call it dissent - at all? I believe such things have been tried before and Winston Smith would easily recognise the sort of world that creates. What thought crimes have you committed today?

For a more dramatic, close up view of events I urge you to read this blog also, by another Twitter worthy, @fatcouncillor to see how far some people will go to deny freedom of speech.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Pick up thy bed and walk!

On Monday I accidentally deleted – like the twat I clearly am – approximately sixty thousand words of a novel I have been ‘working on’ for nearly two years. Bugger. I could blame somebody else of course, Bill Gates maybe, but it’s entirely my own fault and it was entirely avoidable; I was just stupid. I've been told it might be recoverable and I've had a go - no joy - but actually it’s not an issue.

Truth is I've been dragging my heels a bit because I had distractions and anyway, it got too involved and too ‘plotty’ to be able to leave for long periods and then get back into. If it was hard work for me, how much harder for a reader? All just excuses, really. So despite offers of help to recover the files, I've decided to start over. The plot is in my head, I know where it's going and I know the characters, so it’s just a matter of ditching a struggling project and adopting a new, streamlined routine with a view to meeting a deadline and getting to market.

See, for my one-man wording band the means of production are truly under the control of the worker and I can make the right decisions and live with the consequences of any shortfalls. Same with my household budget. In straitened circumstances I've cut my cloth to suit and managed to reduce my outgoings by the simple expediency of doing without. It’s hardly rocket surgery; you just have to pick up the pieces and get on with it.

What a shame that back in the dark days of the late seventies the entire country didn't have an inspirational leader with exactly those same values of thrift and balance and a sense of proportion.  Oh, wait... The irony of the poor, supposedly oppressed people of Goldthorpe dressing up and cavorting and recording their Thatcher hate day with their smart phones and posting the photographs online wouldn’t have passed the great lady by.

We have NOTHING! Look, we're burning it!

Whole countries have survived cataclysmic natural disasters killing thousands, have come through ethnic cleansing and have undergone economic revolutions in under a decade, yet a few thousand people in a mere dingy shithole like Goldthorpe can’t get off their collective fat arse and organise themselves into something better in an entire generation.

Instead they mourn a world most of them never knew. As David Tristram said on Twitter, you are allowed to have opinions about things that happened before you were born, but they won’t be your opinions. For thirty years all they've done up there is gripe and moan and wait for somebody else to tell them what to do; wait for somebody else to help them out. Their helplessness deserves none of your pity; it doesn't even deserve your scorn.

Margaret didn't invent selfishness. She didn't invent living within your means. She didn't invent the dole and she didn't invent market forces. Most of all she didn't invent class-driven strife and management and union corruption. Anybody believing she did could do worse than watch the 1959 film I’m All Right Jack

'Divisive'? Of course she was divisive. I'm divisive, you're divisive, everybody who isn't a doormat is divisive... and we don't even agree about that. Oh and why are ex-mining communities somehow more important than ex-fishing communities, or ex-shipbuilding communities, or anybody else? You have to wonder. I fully expect to generate a bit of hate myself for this - the downtrodden are remarkably quick with their fists and their brickbats - but the fact remains they are more victims of their own apathy and bigotry than anything else.

A society in which we all club together to help out others less fortunate is a lovely thing to belong to. So it's good that we already do. But ultimately the means of your salvation must lie in your own hands. How many more generations will pass before they grow up and realise the world doesn't owe a living to those who can help themselves? 

If anything it’s the other way round, Lazarus.

(PS: Goldthorpe Colliery wasn't even closed until 1994.)

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A moment of silent reflection

Some days there really is nothing useful to say and no way to say it gracefully.

"May you live in interesting times", goes the supposed Chinese curse. Having grown up through the sixties and seventies and seen at first hand a country pulling itself apart, then pulling itself up by its bootstraps in the eighties and nineties, then spending itself into destruction at the turn of the century and now, pulling itself apart once again, I feel we must have been so cursed.

Looking beyond our borders, from the end of the cold war, in which we trembled at the dread fear of assured mutual destruction (which turned out to have been illusory propaganda ) we ushered in the supposed end of murderous Communism, brought down the Berlin Wall and cheered the onset of world peace in our times.

The minor and major atrocities, inconveniences and unhinged demands of assorted groups of dangerous nutters and fanatics: Baader Meinhof, Black Panthers, Branch Davidians, Khmer Rouge, ETA, Shining Path and closer to home the IRA and UDA rumbled on then seemed to quietly dissipate as the interesting times almost, almost came to an end.

And then out of the blue, the anachronistically named 9/11, followed by 7/7 (which is much harder to get the wrong way round) and a resurgence of Middle Eastern and Asian sub-continental violence defining the rise of another ill-formulated threat driven by pure hatred and deeply-ingrained ignorance. North Korea, too, now flexes its muscles and postures to The West. And alongside all of that the rise, once again, of localised malevolence within communities - schoolyard shootings and other killing sprees and rampages of whatever the hell to fuck are you doing and why?

Then yesterday, the cold near-to-home shock of the Boston Marathon bombing.

While Boston mourns its dead, one of our own is laid to rest this morning. Whatever ill you think of her, whatever cruelties you wished on her in life, you only have to look a short distance afield to see what real  terror is and what true evil lurks in the human heart. Whichever version of her life you choose to believe, you can't point to killing fields, suicide sects and mass graves enacted in her name. Be careful who you cheer on today, be mindful of what you do, for the second Chinese curse is said to be "May you come to the attention of those in authority".

Ringside seats for the end of civilisation?

And the third Chinese curse? "May you find what you are looking for." The world is a dangerous enough place as it is. Today, as Big Ben falls silent, do likewise and be careful what you wish for. Me? I'm saying nothing.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Daydream Belieber

When Justin Bieber's career is just a nostalgic tear in a post-adolescent eye nobody will even remember the slightly crass Anne Frank affair, that caused a few people to turn it into an 'international' outrage. Do people not have anything better to worry about? Apparently not; if Europeans really were starving none of this would have even seen the light of day. For what it's worth, I didn't see anything offensive in what he wrote. It was only the slightly self-centred postscript that caused the ripple and that ripple has now disappeared. Que Sera, Sera...

What gets written on social media is ephemeral. Here one second, gone the next. Unless of course somebody copies it and passes it on. Or even better, takes offence and then copies it and passes it on. Then there is the chance of reaping the whirlwind. A carelessly chosen word, a poorly phrased reply... forget to type 'lol' or 'lmao' or append an appropriate smiley and you could find yourself at the centre of the storm.

I quite like it there, at the centre; all nice and calm while choppy waters and shrieking skies rage all around. And I quite often find myself there, sometimes by design. There is nothing quite like the incoherent rage that grips the losing side in an unequal battle of wills. And anybody that gets quickly offended enters the battle already outnumbered. Sun Tzu counselled that you should pick your battles wisely and not join a fight you cannot win.

Against rage, nothing is a more effective weapon than calm,wry, good-humoured indulgence. And against knee-jerk Socialist 'solutions' to complex problems, nothing is more effective than reason. "Kill the bankers!" they scream, "Eat the rich!" they opine and "We demand a living wage", blind to the likely consequences of their mob madness. And I have to confess I quite enjoy seeing how easy it is to provoke their unchecked fury

Communities and economies have both momentum and inertia and few politicians have the will or the means to alter anything at a stroke. Any outright solution will cause somebody, somewhere to lose out - that's the true nature of redistributive policies. No politician in his right mind will do anything to drive away the geese that lay the gold, so all that's left - apart from bloody civil war - is to balance the budget with what we've got.

Ordinary people aren't any sort of political. They just get on with what they've got it and if they ever give voice it is to the side which seems to speak their language. Why wouldn't they? That's Labour's target vote, but while they may not be political, they are not entirely unpersuaded by calm logic. Which is why, in poll after poll, they express their opinion that while they may not like the treatment, it is preferable to Labour's non-credible plans to increase the dosage of the disease.

Back in your box, sunshine

So, carry on amusing me, Twitter haters, master-baiters. It gives me immense pleasure in seeing one of you descend into a howling spiral of self-destructive, fist-shaking anger after taking offence on behalf of others who are calmly watching and hoping it's not them you are trying to defend. And then - and you'll love this - it's even funnier when you block me and then subtweet about your Pyrrhic victory, not realising I can still see you.

If you're going to end up blocking me anyway, why not do yourselves a favour - that bile must sit sharp on the stomach - and go for the early exit. Block and blow, there you go. Leave it kev, it ain't worf it.

There. An entire blog without mentioning Margaret Thatcher.


Monday, 15 April 2013

She sold my brain!

How lucky I was to be born before Margaret Thatcher privatised all the intelligence. This week I was unfortunate to have watched Question Time, the Andrew Marr Show, Sunday Politics and The Big Questions, all of them on the BBC. I've also listened to the radio and watched television and there has only been one news item of significance. (I shudder to think what is going on behind the smokescreen.) 

On audience participation shows every quiet tribute to Mrs Thatcher was met with animal howls of unintelligent, unthinking, jingoistic rage. “Thatcher killed my father!” yelled one, “Thatcher ripped the heart out of my community!” chorused many and then the inevitable simple untruths; she did this, she did that, as if she was an omnipotent and omnipresent deity, individually conferring the curse as people slept in their beds.

Spoken with such certainty and repeated so often, often by mere children, such claims take on the mantle of truth, where no such truth exists. While the pro-Thatcher voices have been steady and measured, often with a balancing statement that the speaker didn’t necessarily agree with everything she did, the voices on the hating left all speak with one illogical, bitter tongue. 

Every Anti-Thatcher voice sounds like the chants of a brainwashing cult. It’s as if the Moonies invaded and took away their ability to think, to reason and more importantly their natural human ability to adapt and survive. For, while Mrs T may have prescribed the bitter medicine, the alternatives could have been so very much worse. What news of the turnip harvest, comrade? And a whole generation later (two in some communities) what's the point of blaming your life chances on events you can never change?

They say there are lies, damned lies and statistics. To that we should add Thatcher fantasies. For, much of the Left’s hatred of Margaret is based on falsehoods and those with most to gain from the useful idiots repeating the agitprop know this well. The best moment of my television viewing was watching the odious Neil Kinnock squirming in the Martin Durkin documentary when confronted with the simple truth that she left the country as a whole very much better off than when she found it. 

Kinnock may look stupid and sound stupid, but he’s made a lot of money by knowing exactly which master to serve. When he had the opportunity to redeem himself by admitting that undeniable fact he found he just couldn't bring himself to do it. In the face of logic and simple truth he had the physiognomy of a pug licking piss off a nettle. It was hilarious. 

Pre and post Thatcher era brain scans

And then the big battle line was drawn between two mediocre songs, neither of which meant what their supporters wanted them to mean. It’s like the country has collectively lost its ability to make up its own mind. I blame Thatcher; she sold off all the brains. Probably.

Friday, 12 April 2013

They limp among us.

Apparently, I am a hateful man. A vicious, evil, nasty product of an unfeeling, uncaring political ideology. That’s right. The Labour Party made me what I am. I grew up watching them do their craven best to accede to the demands of their greedy, self-serving Union paymasters and I would have watched a lot more of it had the power not been cut, night after night. From a naturally Labour voting family my first ever vote went blue for the simple reason that I had obstinately refused the tribal imperative and instead opted for making up my own mind.

I’ve done it ever since. Not that I can’t be swayed by argument and far from being actually (as opposed to ideologically) selfish, those who know me know I generally put my own needs second to doing a good job or helping those in need of what limited talents I may possess. I’ve always worked longer hours than I’ve been paid for and I frequently give up my supposedly free time to do things from which I don’t personally gain. Or, as I like to sum it up, I’m a bit of a mug, really

Whatever it makes me I’d rather thrive in a successful country than vote for a policy which might merely line my personal pocket. Mind you, that’s partly because I don’t pretend to have insider knowledge or sooth-saying powers, so I have no idea what is around the next corner. Accepting a narrow argument or voting on a single principle seems to me to be doomed to failure, or at the very least, ridicule. I think that’s reasonable.

Which is why I’m a tad miffed that I was harangued a bit last week for refusing to accept that, apparently, one fifths of the British population is disabled. The conversation – on Twitter, naturally (I have no friends in real life) – went something like this.

@Them 1 in six people in Britain are disabled, although only 17% were born with their disability.

@Me Bollocks. And by the way 17% IS 1 in six.

@Them You uncaring bastard. Here’s a link to a charity website which PROVES it www. blahblahblah.co.uk

The site actually states the 17% born disabled figure but also claims that almost one in five people are disabled. When I dispute this I get a mild toothless gumming for being a heartless bastard and then we just drift apart; Twitter is like that. But it reaffirms my belief in humanity; that humans are pretty gullible and believe any old guff, particularly if it casts them in a good light. In this case a caring, nurturing, we-must-never-cut-benefits light.

But stop and think about it for a moment. Really? One in five? Is it genuinely just me or would there have to be entire cities fully populated only by the disabled for that to be true? One in five? I live in a pretty downtrodden area and I’d say the true figure is probably more like one in a hundred. And that’s only if you count many of the aches and pains of old age. So what in the world of what-can-I-claim is going on?

Where does ‘not as able as some others’ become actually disabled? Is being a bit deaf a disability, or is it really a condition to be got on with and overcome? If you get fitted with a hearing aid that restores your hearing are you still disabled, or are you cured? If a prosthetic allows you to live a normal life and hold down a job are you still disabled? My father is nearly blind; he’s also nearly eighty. He wouldn’t take kindly to being called disabled, although he is well pissed off about it.

 Then what about encumbrances of our own making? Obesity, alcohol and drug dependence and all the new behavioural diagnoses to excuse lack of effort and discipline in families whose very existence is nothing but a drain on our resources? Calling any of these things ‘disabled’ is an insult to the genuinely needy and it inflates our invalidity rate (and I use the word invalid in both its senses) to percentages so utterly implausible that the thick end of the electorate swallow it whole.

Whatever those who desperately need the figures to show heart-wrenching levels of misery believe, the fact that many hundreds of thousands of disability benefit claimants simply opted not to be reassessed is telling indeed. Wouldn’t we do far better by our citizens if we started telling the truth? Yes, Mr Normal, you are a fat bastard. I prescribe, “Get the fuck out of my surgery now!”

No, you're alright... I've got this.

Once we were called ‘The Sick Man of Europe’. They thought it was all over. Well, according to these inflated statistics, it is now. 

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Drama Queen

I’m from a deprived generation. I wasn’t lucky enough to be born into a mining community; I wasn’t lucky enough to be brought up to believe I deserved a job for life. I never inherited the right to harbour hatred for anybody who managed me, or for anybody who achieved success outside the confines of collective action. And I never did master the art of looking down on anybody who believed he could get by on his own merit without the permission of a shop steward.

Outside of the hive you have to do it all for yourself; there is nobody else to blame. But at least you don’t have to undergo the indignity of being spat on because your grandfather was a scab. In some caring communities the sins of the fathers will be visited upon the sons and bitter memories are long and twisted. I didn’t have the union to fight my corner, but I also didn’t have the unions to tell me and mine, forever and after, what to think and how to vote and who to hate.

When a company I worked for went into decline, or when I was made redundant or made up my own mind to leave, or on the one occasion I was constructively dismissed, I neither expected nor received assistance. It was my life, my decisions, my responsibility to accept the consequences, good or bad. It’s called freedom and it’s a good thing, but to some people it appears to be pure selfishness.

To Labour, Mick Phillpot was a product of Thatcherism. “Greed!” shrieked Glenda Jackson, among others blaming the actions of every bad British citizen on the legacy of somebody who left power over two decades ago. This is the same opposition who snarl and spit at whatever the coalition proposes to rein in thirteen years of Labour profligacy, which ended just the other day. Of course, not a single Labour MP ever claimed dubious expenses or took lucrative seats on boards; no union leader ever earned a salary way in excess of those he represented, or demanded free living for life and as we all know, Lord John Prescott fought tooth and nail not to be ennobled.

Always with the shouting and the spittle, the Left, always the apoplectic outrage. High drama. No wonder they attracted an Oscar winner to their ranks. It’s a wonder she isn’t rolled out to rend her garments in public more often. Perhaps they could erect a small stage for her at the funeral next week, where she can give her Ophelia... to an audience of none. Those staging their own little protests will selfishly try and disrupt the occasion. But their hysterical ranting will be drowned out by the quiet dignity of those they despise so much.

Glenda in The Commons Yesterday

Maybe this is the fundamental difference between Left and everybody else. The Left live in frenzied denial of human nature and treat every manifestation of it with visceral loathing as a thing to be suppressed, subjugated and legislated into change. Whereas everybody else accepts the animal that we are and then we shrug and try to rise above it.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Stately Piles

Being born with a silver spoon in my mouth was a curse. I inherited an enormous pile, but stately it most certainly was not. Its crumbling, mouldy stucco costs the earth to maintain and death duties and death watch beetle conspired to rob me of all my prospects. As a Grade One listed building the planners will not allow me to demolish and rebuild a more economic home and in its current dilapidation I have not managed to find a buyer in over ten years.

To keep the farm workers in wages I had to sell off the tapestries and the paintings and turn off all the heating. We live, my infirm wife and I, in two rooms and by attending every session I can manage in the House of Lords we just about stave off the demands of the tax man and the local authority, after which we have under £53 a week to live on. If there was a mansion tax we wouldn't even have that.

Thankfully we didn’t have children and the family name will die out with this generation but at least we’ll finally be free from worry. The estate workers will probably get by – a generation ago we gifted them their cottages - but if we had children they would be crippled by the next round of redistributive taxation that props up the precarious society in which we now live. I securely bolt all the doors every night, fearing the attentions of the baying mobs we see on the news; running riot in the streets, looting stores and throwing fire bombs at the police.

I admit that yes, my family made a fortune from our mills, three hundred years ago. And a century later we were ennobled because of the great largesse of my ancestors who built the town’s alms houses and library and later a school and we carried on the tradition to eventually found the local museum and donate land for the cattle market. But since the “War to End all Wars”, when my Great grandfather and all his brothers perished, our fortunes have declined somewhat.

My father was a child when the family celebrated the election of Clement Atlee in 1945 and, committed Socialists at heart, they cheered the creation of the welfare state and a whole, brave new world. It was wonderful to see the philanthropy we had always exercised over our mills and farms and their workers extended to the country as a whole and they thought this might bring our crippled country together to become wonderful and happy and prosperous again.

But it didn't happen. We assumed the common man to be a decent, hard-working example to us all, putting the welfare of society ahead of personal gain. But we were wrong. He was just like my forebears – why should he be any different? Given a chance to advance himself, the relative poverty of others was no concern until he had tobacco in his pipe and beer in his glass. Only then did he care whether his neighbour had the same. And he didn't care a great deal.

For a brief period in the 1980s we thought the rot had been arrested as the net wealth of the country expanded at breakneck speed. Our dear friend Margaret may not have been loved by all, but she got the country back to work, buried the dead and curbed the destructive forces trying to tear us apart. We got our faith in humanity back through her dedication, hard work and refusal to bend to popular, insular, selfish demand. She showed us the way; she showed us that Conservatism really cared.

The estate picked up. We started to believe we might save the east wing. We began to talk about starting a family... establishing a new dynasty. Even the weather got better – or at least it seemed that it did – and with every little victory Maggie brought us we felt a surge of confidence, a thrill of renewal. It was a good time to be the Lord of the Manor.

But then came Socialism again and the great sell-off of everything we held dear – courage, honesty, integrity, national identity, character and fairness – everything was sacrificed to bring us to where we are today. We have given back everything we ever had, most of it before I was even born. We have atoned for every advantage our family ever gained. We have nothing left to give, yet they still come after us for more. Toffs they call us, but we can't afford Sky TV and I'm typing this on a ten-year old computer.

Our house. In the middle of our estate.

So, we're on our uppers too. We're about finished. When we go that will be the last of us, but it is beneath our dignity to go on the rampage. And I don't mean to grumble, but I still can’t afford the operation to get this fucking spoon out of my mouth.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Ding Dong!

Oh my head! I love party politics! I was up all night partying and singing the song I was taught at my mother’s knee. It was a riot. The song goes “Ding dong the witch is dead...” I don’t know any other lines but neither did any of us in halls. I should explain: I’m at university studying Politics and Philosophy because that’s the way to get a really good job and earn loads of money, which the Mighty Ed has shown is ‘the Socialist way’.

The Champagne’s flowing because somebody called Mrs Thatcher died yesterday and the whole world can now be free again. We don’t really study her at uni because there’s no room in the syllabus for such a divisive monster, according to Professor Owen, or Eóin or however it’s spelled... or pronounced.  But I know she was super-horrid because my mum told me all about her. Of course, my mum doesn’t really remember her – she was only a kid in school when I was born - but she passed the knowledge down from my gran.

Gran is very wise – she is 48 after all – and she made sure I was prepared for any argument with a hated Thatcher supporter by telling me the facts! Everybody knows that facts are much more important and much more effective than just bigoted opinion. So here I give you the facts about “Fatcha” The Factcha, if you will:

1. When Fatcha was in power education was free. This was ridiculous because it could bankrupt the country and back then it meant that any idiot could go to university. Well, that started the rot for sure and you can see that legacy even today; I look around me and see a bunch of brainwashed idiots – especially the engineers who seem to want to get on and do stuff all the time, instead of talking it through for hours like we do.

2. Immediately after the Second World War, when it was desperately needed, she personally went round all the schools and literally stole the free milk from needy children, one by one. Straight out their mouths, like. As a result, half the adult population grew up with brittle bones and rickets and stuff. The hateful cow! Of course, they are all long dead now, so nobody will ever hear their story.

3. Because Arthur Scargill, the brave freedom fighter and most popular person in the country, was winning the War of the Mines, she deliberately invaded Argentina by colonising The Falklands – which are a group of islands off the west coast of Scotland – and made friends with General Bill Grano, the sick man of Europe, who then closed the British Leyland factory and put eleven million people on the sick.

4. Then she set fire to the coal mines, demolished the steel mills and flooded all the Welsh valleys and in a disgraceful show of guilt caused billions of pounds worth of hard-working people’s taxes to be sent to try and redevelop those areas. The nasty, spiteful bitch wanted everybody to find work, instead of living off benefits which is their right in a compassionate socialist country. And all that stuff caused global warming, so it’s her fault we have German wind turbines everywhere now.

5. She believed that everybody should provide for themselves if they can and we should only care for the old and infirm and children and ‘the less fortunate’. How hateful is that? On our course we are taught how everybody is better off when we all care for everybody else, because ordinary people are pretty thick and need to be told what to think. We are all ready to take offence and intervene on behalf of people too stupid to be offended themselves. She believed in low taxes, small state and self-determination when any fool can see that if we all shared everything out and everybody worked for the state we’d all be equal. I mean, it stands to sense, doesn’t it?

6. Every bad thing that has ever happened to any person, any company, any industry or any region; Any bad thing that has ever happened to any country, to the planet, to the weather and even to the universe itself is all directly attributable to ‘The Big Bang’ which is how Margaret Thatcher started the expansion of the universe, which is ‘a bad thing’, probably. I think that’s proven fact.

I couldn't find a picture of the evil Fatcha, so here's a 
nice one of somebody who looks a bit like my Gran.

So, even though I still don’t really know who she was and don’t care anyway, I’m glad she’s dead. She’s gone and with her go the slaves to her controlling policies. Now, everybody can finally be free again. Free to work together for the glorification of the mother state, from whose wondrous teat we all must suckle. For ever and ever, Amen.

Oh. I found an alternative view here. But my tutors tell me it's all lies.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Labouring on...

Well, I’ve been working almost all of the weekend so I’ve missed a great deal of news but even here, in the throne room, Twitter gives me the occasional bitter glimpse of the world outside. I say glimpse, perhaps gimp would be more appropriate, because the Labour gimps [non-partisan comment – they ARE gimps] have been whipping themselves up into a right old froth ever since the Philpott trial.

Like rabbits, they are; myxomatosic, pink-eyed bunnies, pinned in the glaring headlights of the belated realisation that – whouda thunk it – ordinary working people have an opinion on benefits as well. And their idea of the Welfare State ISN’T the system we’ve got. Yes, even people who haven’t been born into privileged lifestyles and gone on to Oxbridge to study Socio-economo-make-trouble-ology or Fuckitupistics or taken a Masters in Machiavellian Misanthropy, going on to work in Daddy’s constituency office as an expenses fiddle can see that a system which allows some perfectly able, yet economically worthless people to not only survive, but to thrive without work is a nonsense.

Labour’s response, having methodically used every trick in the book to absolutely not, I repeat not, use Philpott for cheap shoddy political point-scoring is to cobble together for the first time in three years a little bit of policy. I don’t know what Demos has been doing, cooped up in its little old thinky-tanky there, but this load of old cobblers is hardly the work of the greatest minds the opposition can muster is it? I mean, even a thicky like me can see it’s just a hollow, opportunistic and belated leap onto a  bandwagon that’s been gathering pace for a couple of decades.

Labour are planning to somehow link welfare pay-outs to personal historical contributions. How can that EVER work? The biggest payers-in are absolutely the least likely to ever need to take anything out - in so many ways Socialism literally robs the rich to pay the poor. And the obverse, of course, is that those most in need of welfare are the least likely to ever make significant contributions. And what about young people in precarious employment?

“Aha!” say Labour, “but we have a plan!” Is it a cunning plan, I ask?

“At the heart of Labour's plan is the reinstatement of full employment as a government objective.”

And where, pray would these jobs come from?

“…they would be offered a real job with appropriate training funded by the taxing of bankers' bonuses and restructuring pension tax relief for the wealthiest.”

Oh, I see, so you still fail to grasp the nature and inter-relatedness of earnings, taxation, the economy at large and the sheer folly of employing ever more people directly by the state, then? Oh and guaranteeing jobs in return for welfare? Isn’t that, did I miss something… weren’t you virulently opposed to workfare?

Labour's entire budget solution

In another brave attempt to absolutely not distort statistics to make a cheap, shoddy political capital Ed Balls added, "The whole country will today see whose side this Conservative-led government is really on and who is paying the price for their total economic failure." claiming that as a result of the changes working families will be up to £4,000 worse off, while millionaires receive average tax cuts of £100,000.

Listen Ballsy old fella, any “millionaire” receiving tax reductions anywhere near that figure is clearly not taking full advantage of the many perfectly legal tax avoidance vehicles that you and Brown were quite happy to allow. Once again, Labour’s answers are scribbled on the back of a fag packet and once again they rely entirely on the fruits of the magic money tree.

PS: As the late, truly great, sainted Margaret Thatcher remarked, "The problem with Socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money." Goodbye Mrs T, the world will never see your like again.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Oh no! It's Owen Again!

I didn't study Politics and Psychobabble at the University of La-de-bleeding-dah, but I didn't need a degree in name-calling to pass through education into gainful employment where I have resided ever since the nineteen seventies. Picking up tools, producing real things, turning a profit and by and large contributing to the economy is an excellent vantage point to observe that the devil does indeed make work for idle hands to do.

At ‘street level’ this means simple benefit fraud, a bit of light theft, casual smuggling, counterfeiting and the cultivation and dealing of illegal substances. Among the alumni of the London School of Busybodies it takes the form of the study and furtherance of cults[sic]. At least it looks like it. Who knows the truth behind The Frankfurt School, Common Purpose, the Bilderberg Group, Demos, The Fabians, et al? One thing’s for sure; wherever the left gather there will be plenty of theoretical politics.

What the Philpott case has revealed is the utter desperation of a policy-free Labour Party and the callow opportunism of its cheerleaders. It is so much easier to rail against success than to achieve it; so much simpler to hate than to cooperate. While the media has naturally focused on the lurid lifestyle of the odious man, outraged rhetoric has been hotting up on… er just one side.

You can’t help but notice how those in the centre ground – there really is no ‘right wing’ in British politics - tend to calmly carry on, accepting the bad news then resuming their best endeavours, doing what they can to reduce the size of the shit pile. George Osborne’s response, after making it clear that Philpott’s crimes were his alone, was to echo what many millions of ordinary people feel – that questions should be raised about this sort of lifestyle.

“Questions should be raised”? From Ed balls’ spluttering hysterical response you might think he’d proposed the slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem as, red-faced and foaming with outrage, he denounced the Chancellor’s perfectly reasonable and well considered words as exploiting a tragedy for political gain. It was hilarious – has Ed ever considered a career in pantomime? (Oh yes, he should!)

The left wing press went into overdrive to echo the cry with a great wailing and a gnashing of teeth and gallons of spittle flew across the land as various commentators rolled out their finest faux fury to hurl the same accusation – 'how very dare' the Nasty Tories exploit a tragedy like this? Oh, the irony.

Twitterrati in full flow

Any minute now they’ll get the Boy Wonder, Owen Jones on the telly… and there he is. And there. And there! He stated on Twitter that had the evil government not been so vile he wouldn’t have had to be on telly at all. Had to be? Oh Owen, your hunger for exposure would shame an X-Factor retread!

If anybody is using this event to further political objectives it is surely the opposition who have never grasped that simply saying no and stamping their feet at every single government policy is just silly. Rolling out The Jones to do a Violet Elizabeth Bott to order on the telly box does them no favours whatsoever. Because more and more people are recognising that many of the things they denounce became entrenched during labour’s wasted riding of the no-more-boom-and-bust years.

So I have a challenge for Owen – the biggest foot-stamper out there. Iain Duncan Smith has worked tirelessly to understand the problems of Britain’s society at large and through the Centre for Social Justice has made positive steps to bring about change for the good of all. How about, instead of ranting about £53 a week challenges, you actually listen – I mean really listen – to what he has to say and divert some of your time away from your own media career to work with him?

Borrowed time, Owen?

Your time in the sun may be short-lived and there are only so many times you can say “demonise” and pass it off as original thought. If you truly want to improve more than just your bank balance then swallow your Marxist pride, shake the man’s hand and roll up your sleeves.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Another Brick - how bad was that?

In the late nineteenth century, Britain was still the world’s dominant power. A wealthy country, it recognised the drawback in having an uneducated population so in a series of acts beginning in 1870 it introduced state education, gradually compelling all children to attend school from 5 to 10 years of age.

It was quite normal for children to work to help support the family and very tempting for parents to keep them thus employed so the new law was enforced by Attendance Officers and the child catcher was born!  The school leaving age was raised to 11 in 1893 and to 12 in 1899. Rab Butler’s reforms raised this to 15, from 1947.

What brought about this train of thought about? On my rambles yesterday I came across the old Upper Wortley Board School built by the Leeds School Board in 1876. Later in the day I learned that my elderly neighbours had attended that same school and in a good old gossip-over-the-garden-fence we fell to discussing the good old days.

That red brick edifice is much like my first school. A grand school, a sturdy school. A school built to last, to do a worthy job for the good of all.  The smell of polish and piss and the sound of a headmaster fully engaged with his primary task, patrolling the corridors and maintaining standards. Children busily engaged in actually learning their lessons and dreaming of the day they could get out and get a job. A school fit for the engine of the world.

By 1918, when the school leaving age was 14, all men over 21 were allowed to vote (women over 30 – they had to wait another ten years for electoral equality) So, the average working man could have been gainfully employed for at least seven years before exercising an opinion on how he and everybody else was to be governed. Universal suffrage was a hard-won privilege and a vote was not something to be given lightly. From a platform of real-life experience they passed onto their children the surety that getting a good education would give them a better start in adult life.

Soon, all children will be compelled to remain in full-time education until the age of eighteen, yet there is a clamour for voting rights to granted at sixteen. For every parent who drools over their brood and extolls their virtuosity and wisdom there is an employer desperate to get a decent day’s work out of them, such is their sense of rights, unbalanced by any sense of responsibility. You would let these mere children vote? You would have to be mad to believe this makes any sense.

Because the dreams of old are long gone and the old, low-grade jobs for a school-leaving population (in so many ways less well equipped to do them now) are taken by economic migrants. The emphasis on teaching creativity and freedom and individuality consigns them to a life unlived. Unfit for unskilled work, unable to cope with higher education we are breeding a rabble of entitlement-obsessed, overgrown babies.

If you want to see how education is failing the young you need look no further than the school that has replace Upper Wortley. A school fit for what, exactly? Who in the world will proudly call that their alma mater?

Here’s an extract from Dan Hannan’s Telegraph blog from yesterday;

“The argument for the welfare reforms is altogether more prosaic. We have been spending more and more money without any noticeable impact on either poverty or inequality. Under the last Labour government, the welfare budget rose by an almost unbelievable 60 per cent during an economic boom. Yet the gap between rich and poor widened. Why? Partly because the benefits system deterred some people from getting onto the first rung of the employment ladder. Throughout the Blair and Brown years, 900,000 working-age Britons were permanently economically inactive while 200,000 foreigners a year walked gratefully into jobs as waiters, receptionists, cab drivers, farm workers and cleaners.”

The same argument applies in education – for all the billions of extra resources poured in the only noticeable impact has been a steady downward trend in the attainment and ability of what should be the primary source of our workforce. Just as the answer to welfare spending cannot be more welfare, the answer to poor education cannot be more poor education.

So let’s ditch progressive education and get back to the slate and the times tables. If you’re not academic – and most aren’t - leave school at fifteen and wash dishes, sweep roads, flip burgers or whatever you need to do to earn a crust and learn how the world around you actually functions. Until you can appreciate the worth of work, any work, you have no right to rely on the taxed incomes of those who do the dirty jobs to keep you idle and in false hope.

Oh and you don’t get to vote until you’ve reached 21. And passed an old eleven-plus exam.