Saturday, 31 August 2013
As expected. There has been much chatter about Britain’s role in the world and about the supposed breakdown of the mythical ‘special relationship’ with the USA. So important are Britain’s ties with America that Barack Obama will simply go ahead and use somebody else instead as his political whipping boy. We may share a language – although ‘share’ is an interesting way to describe a wholesale massacre – but otherwise our common history is very much that; in the past.
For Britain and America, despite some superficial similarities – and to some parts of the world, that means bloodthirsty and interfering – are very different peoples. While Britain, until recently, was a largely homogenous culture of traditional and conservative values, the USA was always a bubbling pot of over-excited go-getters. The stereotypical portrayal of an American in British sitcoms was always that of an overly loud, socially gauche child with far too much money and self-confidence. I miss those days.
Anyway, it seems America has a new ami today – oh fickle friends – as it skips about the playground, hand in hand with La belle France. Oh, sorry, they've always been friends – ‘America’s oldest ally’ Obama says. Being British we will watch eagerly for the cracks to appear; this could be great fun. No more bullets whistling around our ears; we can just throw brickbats from the sidelines. It’s what we are exceptionally good at, although I think the establishment calls it diplomacy. If the USA thought that the British secretly looked down their collective nose at them, they are in for a treat with the preternaturally huge-schnozzed Francais.
We Brits hate people getting too big for their boots. Remember Sarah Beeny and her enormous house? Hands up how many of you secretly wanted her to fail? And the Grand Designers; isn’t the best bit when it all gets a bit too much for the budget and the nerves? An Englishman’s home is his castle, they say. Have you any idea how much it costs to run a castle? And then you have to employ people, who probably hate you for it. And you have to live the part too.
Soon, from what seemed like just another rung on the property ladder you’re chartering yachts you can’t afford to holiday with people you don’t really like but have to keep in with because your daughter’s internship depends on it. And if you want her to marry a prince she really has to be properly blooded, so she needs a horse for the hunt. And you simply must be seen at Ascot, Henley and Monaco. Suddenly your leap into the upper strata of society is a millstone round your neck as the east wing roof falls in, the scaffolding goes up and you have to relocate your annual summer bun fight to an expensive hotel. And… and... and it’s all gone horribly, expensively wrong.
Don’t you envy the ‘little people’, the ones with the simple honey-hued mellow stone walled cottages on the green? The ones who can live and let live because they live within their means? Being part of a great big club means you have to appease the great big club’s rules which, you soon find, are not for your benefit but for the furtherance of the club’s vainglorious ambitions.
When you finally, reluctantly sell the country pile and slide back down the social order don’t you feel the weight lifting from your shoulders? No more rigged blackballing at the golf club. No more sneers at unforgivable, yet trivial, social gaffes. And all that money you had to spend just to stay treading water. No more face to save, no more lies to defend. Ah, peace and quiet. You can keep up with the Joneses; it was keeping up with the Rothschilds that was the problem.
Yer, ah kno'
There is a YouTube video currently doing the rounds. It shows Barack Obama praising every country as being ‘one of America’s closest allies’ and telling all small countries that they ‘punch above their weight’. He has so much regard for these important friends that in order not to praise any of them above the others he just trots out the same old aphorisms time after time. So much for that relationship being in any way special. Great Britain? That was hard work. Little Britain sounds bloody good to me.
Friday, 30 August 2013
I may be wrong - it happened once before - but I don't get all the politicking around David Cameron's so-called ‘surprise defeat' in the Commons yesterday. What I saw was a prolonged debate with plenty to think about, followed by a vote which was – if there was any surprise at all - much closer than I expected. The narrow result of 285-to-272 against the motion reflected a persuasive performance by David Cameron rather than, in my view, any support for Ed Miliband or his muddled message. If our Parliament truly reflected the mood in the country the outcome should have been more like two-to-one against.
Sure the doves are out, chanting victory and singing outside their tepees, ululating in joy and hugging the hell out of any tree in range, but nobody except the BBC is hugging Ed Miliband today. I expect he is waiting for his summons to Len McCluskey’s office to find out if he keeps his prefect badge for another term.
Yet today’s papers are full of views that this spells the end for Cameron. I really don’t see that. Why? He didn’t do what history suggests Tony Blair did and take the country into an illegal, unwinnable war on ‘sexed-up’ evidence. If anything, Cameron’s term in office may come to be remembered as the time that Britain finally gave up wanting to play world soldiers and got on with democratically rebuilding its own nation state. I only say ‘may’ because I believe there is still much to do.
There may be many reasons for Cameron to stand down as party leader, but I’m not convinced this was the decider. I’ve not been a great fan, but his performance yesterday was, I thought, impressive in huge contrast to the push-me-pull-you antics of Mr Ed. It is reported that some Labour MPs ended the day still unsure as to what Miliband’s position actually was.
So it seems we’re not going to war in Syria any time soon. That should be a decision to celebrate. It seems the much-vaunted but always abused ‘special relationship’ may be in doubt. Good. It seems like a victory, albeit a narrow one, for democracy; at least our version of it. And if democracy won on war, we might just have a chance of it winning in peace; it’s about time. Maybe now we can get on with deploying a bit of democracy at home and sort out our far more important relationship with Europe.
I wish you'd won. I know. Loser!
Ed Miliband is today being bullishly myopic, claiming a victory and calling for Cameron to consider his position. Be that as it may, I know which of them looked like a leader yesterday and which looked like a bewildered youth way out of his depth. There definitely was a loser yesterday, but I don’t think it was David Cameron.
Thursday, 29 August 2013
There once was a great country called Britain and although the ‘great’ was added to distinguish the island containing England, Scotland and Wales from Brittany on the continent, in view of its former world be-striding position as a huge empire, many of its citizens and admirers took the great to be a compliment. Certainly when I was growing up, nobody ever took the time to disabuse me of this notion and it seems many today still believe that ‘Great’ is who we are, not where we are. It’s part of the problem.
Where once we needed a strong and efficient military to project firepower around the globe in support of our own colonial interests now, after a succession of world wars, trade wars and cringe-worthy appeasements of foreign powers our armed forces are stretched beyond what would normally be considered a joke. Nineteenth century cartoons often portrayed other foreign powers as a native dugout sent against a British Man o’ War. This is how the Royal Navy now, realistically, compares against the US Fleets (plural).
We no longer have an empire, but surely we still have a little bit of dignity? Enough, perhaps, to recognise that if we did end up going into Syria it would be, once again, as a flea on the USA’s back. Belligerent John Bull is no longer the towering world figure he once was – he is a little old retired fella in his tool shed, wanting more than anything else to be left alone to do quiet things. As Britain’s talent deserts our shores in droves, to be more than replaced by new colonists there will soon be nobody left to demand bloody action in foreign fields. Some ask if we even have enough firepower to repel a foreign invasion. No need. Look around you; it is a fait accompli.
All of which is why I am relieved that it seems we are not, for now, about to plunge into a prolonged and unaffordable conflict with Syria and its indeterminate allies. I am glad to see the climb-down from a David Cameron champing at the bit for his Tony Blair ‘legacy’ moment. And also a little bit annoyed at Labour’s prevarication throughout yesterday, playing party politics when several national interests were at stake and worse, threatening a simple abstention if they couldn’t get what they wanted – that’s like taking the ball away instead of playing the game. For a while, what was right for the people of Syria seemed the least important thing.
It’s good to see a decision in accord with (though almost certainly not because of) a decisive majority of UK citizens against action. But if clear evidence of the origin of chemical weapons had been, or is later found, I doubt very much that the democratic will of the people would hold much sway. Successive British Prime Ministers, including Mrs Thatcher, have too much been in thrall to the USA. Indeed it is this relationship that has hampered, probably more than others, our ability to get to grips with a priority far more important to our interests than Syria – Europe and our place inside or outside its cloying embrace.
So, I say “Phew”, for the moment. But there is another, far worse, outcome from all of this; one that has been overlooked in all the shouting and jostling. While politicians have been playing games with other nations' affairs has nobody considered the dread implication that possibly the worst thing about the whole Syria affair is that Diane Abbot will not now have to carry out her threat to resign?
Wednesday, 28 August 2013
Sorry I’m a bit late today, but it’s not my fault. I have a medical condition that makes it literally impossible for me to meet deadlines. Yes it was diagnosed by a doctor. At least I assume it was a doctor; I was twenty minutes late for the appointment. What’s the condition called, you ask? Hang on while I find the paperwork… Yes, here it is, it’s just called ‘Chronic Lateness’. I know, you couldn’t make it up… although my ‘doctor’ appears to have done just that
Reported in the Daily Mail today is the strange case of Jim Dunbar, who has been late for everything in his life; work, holidays, first-dates, funerals – you name it, he’s been late for it. His chronic tardiness has been diagnosed as a medical condition, related to that other well-known imaginary ailment, ADHD, which is, of course, brilliant news. At last I know that my poor result in that crucial exam was simply because I was late to finish the paper; it wasn't my fault I ran out of time. It was medical, see? Not my fault at all.
In this world where we routinely refuse to condemn and correct what was formerly seen as aberrant behaviour this should come as no surprise at all. Thus a steady decline in rigorous educational outcomes can be dismissed by a whole series of lengthy, acronymic disorders and treated with suitable drugs, relegating teachers to junior nurses in the national lunatic asylums we used to refer to as ‘schools’.
Thus parental failings, antisocial behaviour, repeated offending, drug addiction, welfare dependency, wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony can all be chalked up not to individual or collective failings, but regarded as the inevitable outcome of some sort of syndrome. And the list of such crippling diseases is ever added-to by an army of selfless practitioners, ready to diagnose yet another acronym on, if necessary, an individual basis.
Thus my chronic idleness is different from your chronic idleness because it has different letters in it and pity the poor worker with no label because he or she will have no excuse come the day they dare to throw a sickie because of some piffling excuse, such as a broken leg. Who wouldn't want to have a prescription that says they stay at home watching Jeremy Kyle and drinking White Ace cider not because they are worthless but because they are a bit poorly?
This explains so much. It explains New Labour’s inability to recognise the unaffordability of the welfare state and its failure to prevent major failings in some NHS Trusts. It explains why it took so long for Ed Miliband to grudgingly confess that its open door immigration policy had been incompletely thought through. Maybe the labels, inter alia of racist, sexist, Europhobe, homophobe, bigot and misogynist are actually not meant to be pejorative at all, but are simply the collective medical terms for an inability to recognise when a politician is right and you, little person, are wrong?
Tony Blair displays his horrific injuries
So relax, fellow sufferers, it really is not your fault. It’s a disease, plain and simple and such diseases affect not just the masses, but the great and the good. When Tony Blair says, from a billionaire’s yacht, that we should intervene in Syria, he is not being a war monger. Neither is he protecting his own not inconsiderable financial interest out of any form of greed. No, not at all. You see, dear Tony suffers from a terrible affliction which makes it impossible for him not to recommend the annihilation of thousands of foreigners on a regular and predictable basis. His syndrome is called Middle East Peace Envoy.
Tuesday, 27 August 2013
You’re walking down the street and you see two hooded youths going at each other, being goaded on by other hooded youths. From where you are you can safely stand and watch… so you do. More people join the fray and although there are clearly opposing sides it’s not entirely obvious how many there are. Two, three, four even and what is more inexplicable is just what exactly the fight is about. Now there are casualties, knives have been drawn and wrecking bars are being wielded.
You have no idea who these people are, what they want or what they are truly fighting about but you do have a gun. Do you, A) Charge in, firing wildly, hoping they will stop? B) Pick a side and lay into the opposition with your mighty weapon? C) Wait and see – if there is a winning side, should you help it finish off the others, or should you level the field by supporting the underdog?
Then one side appears to have used a weapon considered even more ‘evil’ than bombs and bullets and scimitars and stones. Chemical weapons of mass destruction have reared their ugly heads once again. Does this ring any bells?
There is a saying attributed variously to Churchill/Lincoln/Twain/Eliot/Johnson? That “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt “. In Syria perhaps we should be heeding this sage advice.
I rarely comment on Middle Eastern affairs because, quite frankly, I don’t understand them. This I have in common with every US and British & European foreign minister, prime minister, defence secretary… How do I know this to be true? Because even the participants do not understand. They are driven blindly to war by ingrained instincts which predispose them to believe in an almighty and vengeful god, who they call peaceful and good even as they hack each other to pieces in his name.
This is an instinct we are slowly outgrowing in the west, but it could take a few more centuries of theological evolution before the islamics finally drop the veil and let fall the scales from their very scaly eyes. That’s if they haven’t killed each other before then.
The Telegraph reports, “Britain faces a choice between military strikes against Syria or allowing tyrants around the world to use chemical weapons ‘with impunity’, William Hague has said. However, Mr Hague risked angering MPs by suggesting that it may not be necessary to recall Parliament prior to launching military action.” Meanwhile President Assad has said in an interview with a Russian newspaper that any intervention in his country was doomed to fail.
But is the supposed chemical attack a put-up job? In this world of conspiracy theory and counter conspiracy theory who knows what is really real? And is it possible, as some suggest, that behind the scenes various jihadists are trying to foment another great war to help usher in a new, islamic world order?
Our lands are filled with people with a real or imagined stake in this region and their young men are becoming increasingly radicalised. The hands of our security services are full as they impotently try to prevent amateur terrorist attacks on our own soil. While muslims are free to fight other muslims we are damned if we are complicit in the demise of a single islamic soul, however much good we think we are doing.
Twitter is alight with warmongers and naysayers and deniers and pacifists. Not one of them has the answer but at least the more sensible recognise that they don’t.
@David_V_Smith said “To say that the use of force is never the answer is as bone headed as saying use of force is always the answer. “
@ChrisClandestin said “To anyone who thinks a Syria intervention is justified, please cast your mind back to the tricks, lies & propaganda that took us into Iraq.”
So what do we do? I know I’m always right but I’m fucked if I know. I simply do not possess the necessary information to make a reasoned judgement. You’ll excuse me then while I stay out of this debate and get on with looking after Number One.
Monday, 26 August 2013
Once upon a time, all American television used to be easy to decode; the goodies wore white, the baddies wore black and in the end truth, justice and the American way prevailed. Lantern-jawed heroes fought armed assailants with their bare fists and came out with barely a scratch as the police arrived to mop up the scene and the token broad fell into the hero’s arms. The credits rolled as rousing music sent them on their way, silhouettes against a setting sun. The End. Buy our peanut butter; you’ll be a better person for it.
Over here in Britain during the cold war we only got to see the best of US television and that was bad enough – by all accounts some of the output during the fifties and sixties was execrable – but, oblivious to the entirely obvious Reds-under-the-beds message we lapped it up and no doubt picked up the morality tales along the way. Why not; it was entirely compatible with our own Christian-lite sensibilities and just like the ‘hidden’ sermons the screen itself was in black and white. Happy days, they say.
Then it all got rather complicated. As audiences grew bored, shades of grey were introduced. As more liberal views took hold, good and bad merged together to confuse and distort and most of all to keep you watching (and buying the product). Suddenly you were rooting for the bad guy; suddenly the pillars of society looked a lot less solid and the outcomes of the struggle a lot less certain. Necessary steps to get us to Breaking Bad, a show where the bad guys are the reason we watch.
A meth-head loser, an ex-cop who kills to order and a Machiavelli in the making have us eating out of their hands as they stumble from disaster to triumph and back to disaster while the body count rises and morality becomes pointless. But you know the worst part? I’m going to tell you the worst part. Are you ready? Because here it is. The worst part… after these messages from our sponsor…
After watching the box set of ‘Season’ Four, I put Season Five – the much vaunted final season on my Amazon Wish List and waited patiently for it to be released. It was, I bought it and waited patiently for a day when I could devour it in one. There was only one disappointment. While previous seasons had been the standard thirteen episodes long this set, entitled The Fifth Season states “contains all 8 episodes on 3 discs”. Still, if it was only eight episodes it was watchable in a day.
Then something curious happened. I started to see trailers for it on the telly – fevered announcements about the final eight episodes about to be shown on both sides of the Atlantic; about what a rip-roaring finale it was going to build up to be; how the ending was shrouded in secrecy. But wait, I had the box set sitting on my coffee table. How odd to be making such a fuss when people everywhere could already see it?
Yesterday was my chosen day and I loaded up disc one. All good, onto disc two. After episode four I decided to check out the DVD extras and found they had recorded commentaries on each show – basically, showing the episode again but with annoying voiceovers from cast and crew. And then I heard it; somebody refereed to episode eleven. I assumed I’d misheard when another interjected with a wee tease about episode thirteen. What was going on? I’ll tell you… after this break.
Coming up… Search Amazon for Breaking Bad, Fifth Season and you’ll find it straight away. When I first ordered it, the blurb also said “contains all 8 episodes on 3 discs”. But now it says, “This product has previously been called Breaking Bad - Season 5 (Part 1). For the next instalment see Breaking Bad - The Final Season.” The bastards! Not only was I NOT in possession of the finale, I was now – half-way through my box – back behind the telly showing again, having to wait months to find out how it ends. Badly, I hope!
Yes you, Walter... I'm talking about you!
So if you are concerned about the government’s plans to bomb Syria, or a lefty think tank suggesting fining young people for not voting, or who is what in Celebrity Big Brother, put aside your insignificant woes and think how bad it is for me. That disc doesn’t come out until the end of bloody November!
Friday, 23 August 2013
Under the Mental Health Act 1983 people may be sectioned for their own safety. Under earlier forms of legislation, such as the the Madhouses Act 1774 and the Lunacy Act 1845, "lunatics, idiots and persons of unsound mind" could have been detained indefinitely. It should be a concern to Diane Abbott that the term "mental disorder" is very loosely defined by the present act; under most ordinary people’s assessment she would be locked away immediately and permanently. The woman is a menace.
Never far from the news, she is now not only demanding a review of the government’s resolve to reduce immigration, but calling for an uncritical increase in the numbers of immigrants.The response to those, like me - like anybody who has actually observed the changes of the last twenty years – who question the opening of the floodgates of ‘multiculturalism’ is always that Britain is a nation of immigrants and that without immigration we would have achieved little in the world. What utter bollocks.
Like every nation on the planet with anything to offer, Britain has long been a magnet for enterprising souls. What nation wouldn't welcome people with the gumption to get off their arses and pursue betterment? And apart from invasion, which we have successfully resisted for nigh on a thousand years, we have received with open arms those who have chosen, individually, to invest their energies here, sometimes at considerable cost to themselves.
But Abbott, by some strange socialist logic, equates the get-up-and-go of some people motivated enough to get up and go where the socio-economic climate best suits their talents as a natural and desirable quality of anybody moving from one place to another. It fits very well her illogical reasoning that as a black person she feels discriminated against in a predominately white country, therefore black people cannot be accused of racism, therefore objection to immigration is racist. She ignores completely the salient facts that some people migrate to escape justice and many others are persuaded to come here by the meddlesome social engineering of her own party.
When MV Empire Windrush arrived here from Jamaica in 1948, the 493 British Empire subjects were both a necessary addition to the workforce and a shock to the system. While most people tried hard to help them assimilate there was a natural, some would say disappointing, reaction to the fact of their differentness. One black face is a novelty, but ten, twenty, all at once was cause for, at the very least, curiosity. But somehow we coped; after all 500 people added to a population of 50 million is a drop in the ocean (0.001%)
Under New Labour we added 4 million to a (supposed) population of 58 million (6.9%) a relative increase in inward migration of almost 7000 times that of the Windrush disembarkation. Seriously, Diane, you thought we wouldn't notice and shouldn't care?
Britain is NOT a nation of immigrants; it is, or rather was, a mostly homogenous nation assembled from some diverse origins which evolved slowly to have a profound effect on the development of the entire planet. Of course we are an attractive place to migrate to; who wouldn’t want to have been British over the last couple of hundred years? But now?
As a direct result of Labour’s deliberate open doors policy we are a nation not OF immigrants but crippled by unregulated immigration. It’s absolutely not their fault but a country that has to import cleaners and labourers because its own aren't capable of simple, menial work has serious issues. I would welcome with open arms engineers, scientists, doctors and teachers, but every foreign accent at a supermarket checkout makes me wince, knowing that it takes the tax of at least five of them to keep a native-born, worthless Brit idle.
Room for one more?
An anagram of Diane Abbott is ‘bent biodata’ (as is ‘tainted Abbo’- I did a search). If she isn’t deliberately using manipulated statistics to further a political cause which has already been lost then she is simply a certifiable nutter and she should be locked up for the safety of herself and others.
Thursday, 22 August 2013
Settle down children. Now, today we are going to start with sums. There’s no need to boo, my dears, because Uncle Len says that sums are simple; sums are fun. Now, repeat after me, “One, two, three, Clause Four…” What is a clause, I hear you ask? There’s no need for you to know that right now, but as long as it is followed by a four it is a very good thing. One day you will need to remember that, but for now it will be our little secret.
We used to say that school days were the happiest days of your life; now it’s likely they may become the most politically active too as ‘Red Len’ McCluskey’s union, Unite, wants to enlist malleable young brains in the cause of Communism. Len knows what he’s talking about – he worked out which side his bread was buttered early on, becoming a shop steward at the tender age of nineteen, back in the days when the unions really did tell the government how to run the country.
If the thought of your kids being gently indoctrinated into the ‘four legs good; some are more equal than others’ machine fills you with no fear, then it’s probably because you don’t realise it is part of the Fabian Society’s long game. To realise how long you only have to reflect that yesterday was the 100th birthday of its propaganda sheet, The New Statesman. Current regular contributors to “The Staggers” include such exemplars of unbiased opinion as Mehdi Hasan, Will Self, David Blanchflower and Laurie Penny, peddling neo-Marxism as intellectual and ‘progressive’.
Persuasion is normal, we all do it all the time; letting those around us know what is acceptable and what is not by gentle repetition of preferred themes. In this way we both mould and are moulded to fit into our little life niches. If we’re not comfortable we can move on, but it’s rare not to accept some compromises in order to fit in, because straightening up and flying right is ultimately easier than fighting all the time. But who is doing the straightening and what course are they setting?
The EU has been gently steering your kids into an uncritically Europhile mindset for years and now Unite wants to lead those same ductile ducklings to the picket lines by funding video lessons in the art of protest. Were it a balanced view of the democratic process and how to take part that would be fine, but the material appears to focus on how to oppose local businesses and fight plans for privatisation. In other words there is a deliberate bias towards the Fabians’ ideals, dressed up in the harmless ‘fun’ of dreaming up slogans and making placards.
Two legs bad!
You can tell Len McCluskey what you think of this idea by following @Untie4Len on Twitter and putting forward your point of view. But for now, children, it’s back to the lesson. Repeat after me, “Two plus two equals five.”
Wednesday, 21 August 2013
It is quite possible that the last time I watched The Apprentice was the 2007 series where Katie Hopkins walked away from the Brillo-bearded Sralan Sugar. The format was already going stale and has since become an obvious and unwatchable freak show, but the Katie Hopkins One-Woman Phenomenon has gone on to become a triumph. KT’s schtick? Good old, plain speaking; unapologetically saying what political correctness doesn’t want to hear.
In a world where you can offend by proxy – for instance, last week I was berated and blocked by a long term twitter follower because I retweeted a picture she found distasteful (although it was actually hilarious!) – La Holmes just carries on regardless. And she’s loved for it. She has well over 50,000 followers and only a tiny number of them follow just to be outraged. The rest of us, ‘for the lulz’.
Here’s a sample tweet from yesterday:
Katie Hopkins @KTHopkins Marvellous. It is Learning Difficulties week. Is there an Academic Excellence week? This country is a liberal left leaning minefield of pc.
See what I mean? Her followers retweet such pithy, philosophical musings then sit back and await the oncoming storm. What fun to see just how very humourless the left can be. They call her a troll, but she’s not hiding under any bridge, she’s just sitting there in full view, dangling a baited hook and my, do those wrigglers bite! Anyway, as for Learning Difficulties Week, I bet you could see their lips moving as they negotiated that particular sub-140 character missive.
I watched Benefits Britain 1949 yesterday - the episode focussing on the allocation of council houses. The clearest message was not of fairness or unfairness then and now, but of the ingrained sense of entitlement displayed by today’s participants, along with aspirations way beyond any apparent ability. In this respect it had something in common with The Apprentice but whereas the Sugar Show deflates the arrogant self-worshipper, Benefits Britain shows the unfortunate obverse of the no-fail culture.
How utterly reliant the general population appear to have become. The state must house them, feed them, nurture and eventually contain the worst excesses of their children. These people are not turning out the next generation of doctors, scientists or engineers; they are simply replenishing and expanding the common herd. And because our soft, liberal, socialist society dares not face the truth we need commentators like Katie (and me) to remind you of the forgotten notion of self-reliance. (On BB1949, it was a Polish vegetable picker who had to tell you all to get off your arses.)
While the Labour Party have allegedly banned the use of brand-toxic words like benefits and welfare and while the anti-frackers dance to the tune of the giant corporations that control so-called green energy and while people languish in front of Jeremy Kyle, their self-esteem slipping between the sofa cushions, KT was up at the crack of dawn this morning to review the papers on Sky news. I tweeted this fact to be met with a few dissenting replies and therein lies part of the problem.
People find it hard to listen to a message if they despise the messenger, but isn’t this exactly what Goebbels exploited so well in reverse? Thus Labour, desperate not to offend, wheel out the platitudes, spouted by friendly we-love-you mouthpieces, knowing the recipients of such unaffordable largesse will be oblivious to the very reality Katie dared to repeat this morning. The paying public have had enough of the welfare state.
See? She says what you wish you could!
So, three cheers and say what you like about Katie Hopkins; if she was up for office, I’d vote for her! (Although I’m not entirely sure I’d want to work for her. :o)
Tuesday, 20 August 2013
While sleeping off the night’s excesses amid a mountain of uncollected bin bags in Brighton I was surprised to bump into local MP, Caroline Lucas, in the early hours of this morning. “Community Service?” I asked, surprised that the court system had acted so quickly after her Public Order offence arrest yesterday. “No,” she said, “this is my regular shift. The council pay double time on the bins after hours and I need to pay off the overdraft.”
Surprised that an MP would be short of cash and brought so low as to need a second job, I pressed her on the matter
“No, it’s this global overdraft.” she said and went on to explain that humans have used up all the natural resources the Earth can provide for the year and are now in 'overdraft'. Caroline explained that we are at 'earth overshoot day', and have exhausted supplies such as land, trees and fish and outstripped the planet's annual capacity to absorb waste products including carbon dioxide. According to the Global Footprint Network, for the rest of the year, the world is in ecological debt, with supplies depleted, land degraded and carbon dioxide building up in the atmosphere
I gazed up at the fresh dawn skies and undepleted land and countered that I had never noticed the world shutting down after August before and asked, “What happens next year then? Does the planet get a fresh stock of resources every New Year’s Day?” Caroline wasn’t listening. Instead she was furiously tapping at her iPad to find the evidence. “See?” she said, showing me, “We should aim to be like Gabon!” I gazed at a graphic. Sure enough, Gabon is well into ecological credit
“But Gabon’s a low-population, fertile, oil-rich country isn’t it?” I asked. “Yes,” she replied, “but here in the west we have a massive energy deficit. We are running out of oil and gas and soon we won’t be able to keep the lights on!” Her voice had edged an octave higher and her trademark stridency was showing through. “In a decade we will be like a Third World. When democracy fails we must take direct action to save our country now!
“But they told us in 1973 that the oil would run out by 1990,” I said, adding “and they also said there would be a new ice age by the end of the last century. None of that happened. And anyway, we are sitting on a gazillion cubic metres of natural gas, right here in Britain.
Caroline pondered this for a moment. “But it’s deep underground, in the shale,” she said, ”our only option is renewables!” She gazed intently at her iPad screen and found the page she was looking for. “Look!” she said, displaying the National Grid page, where the combined might of our thousands of creaking wind turbines was currently supplying less than two percent of our off-peak energy consumption. “Oh…"
We sat there in silence for a few minutes, as seagulls soared overhead in the clear skies. High overhead an airliner left chalk-mark contrails on the blue canvas. “Windpower won’t get you on your holidays.” I suggested and with that she stood up, resolved. The screen on her iPad faded as her battery died. “Can I borrow your phone?” she asked, “I need to book a taxi for Balcombe.”
Caroline Lucas - doing it right!
I sighed. “Back to the picket line?” I asked.
“Frack that,” said Cazza, “I’m with Cuadrilla – We must Dash for Gas!”
Monday, 19 August 2013
Everybody loves a bogeyman. In the face of a good old yarn about fire-breathing monsters tearing up the earth, eating whole villages alive and leaving behind the stench of brimstone, logic has no hearing. We’d rather thrill to tales of an evil Frankenstein who can create dangerous life from spare parts, than address the likely-impossibility of the science. In the past humans have been led to perform blood sacrifice on an industrial scale to assuage the dread caused by unappeasable forces of nature.
The ability of the human imagination to conjure up fear is so powerful that the shaman who stokes the fires can tinker with a crude fundamental unease to dream up ever more outlandish versions of the threat – add glowing eyes here, a touch of acid there. Invent an earth-shattering narrative and bingo, wait for the tributes roll in. In fact, draw up a detailed enough myth and you can make a living from it for ever more; ask the Vatican.
It seems that, even in the twenty-first century, we are no more able to overcome our irrational instincts than were our forebears and while we may not, beyond the age of ten, believe in demons and dragons any more, some of us are all too ready to invest our ancestral fear-seeking in other fripperies. Billions are spent in holding back the waves of time as the age and beauty industry peddles its outlandish claims. And it appears we’d rather accept a constructed conspiracy theory based on an unlikely series of sinister events than the much simpler explanation that the driver was a bit drunk; he crashed, she died.
But not everybody is that stupid. Oh no. For those who care not for their appearance and hold no reverence for the memory of princesses spurned; for those who see through the mountebankery of the eternal-youth racket there are bigger fish to fry; at least there would be had they not seen through the blatant lies of the protein production industry and turned to veganism instead. For them, the big evil is oil and money, money and oil. The two go hand in hand and the modern-day crusader knows that where there is money, there is evil. They’ve never forgotten the Sheriff of Nottingham
The pragmatic approach to the extraction of oil and gas recognises that we have been digging, drilling and demolishing for centuries to extract the materials we want. Mountains have been flattened or cut in half to bring roads and rail and waterways have been diverted to create canals and reservoirs. Whole settlements have been abandoned – but more often because the resource has run out or become too difficult to extract than because of the adverse effects of the industry. But that’s too prosaic for the fracking protesters.
Suddenly, in an age of unprecedented wealth due largely to the harnessing of cheap energy, we have to flagellate ourselves in penance as a new religion comes of age. After fifty years of myth and legend they claim the perverse narrative that doing the thing that has brought all the benefits of progress is a palpable evil as dread as any dragon, as powerful as any volcano. Whipped into froth by their own high priestesses they will brook no argument. Feed Gaia or die in her vengeful flames, they believe.
Right on, sistah!
The Anti-Gas movement is no less an industry than gas itself, with its own lies and legends. There is even some credible suspicion that its furtherance is funded by the inefficient and unsustainable-without-subsidy wind power industry. What is certain is that the convinced anti-fracker is a believer and not a critical observer, quick to deny others the known benefits of cheap energy in support of an unproven ideology. I do hope they don’t hypocritically employ the fruits of the industry they so fervently oppose. But, of course, pointing that out would spoil a good story.
Friday, 16 August 2013
So another day older and the Internet Outrage Bus, powered by the mighty, howling hamster wheel of rage, rumbles steadily on its way to Offence Archipelago where its cargo of miscreants will be discharged into Shameonyou Square to protest and demand the immediate execution of anybody, anywhere, who causes the tiniest amount of distress to anybody, anywhere. But don’t panic, I shall have the snipers positioned and ready to do good work.
Honestly, it’s as if some people have nothing to but patrol social media with a view to taking offence on our behalf at the flimsiest of imagined slights, the tiniest of unintended slurs. Oh wait, that’s exactly what they do. In order to seek out the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against humanity, these hair-trigger guardians of our freedom from freedom, lurk quietly in the background, sniffing out the smallest morsel of distress like a... like a... well, like a troll, actually. So, the moral crusaders are resorting to trolling other people’s conversations to bring about a world in which, should anybody be offended, somebody must be jailed.
I expect the police are delighted. One press of the [Caitlin] Moron Button and it'll be, “What did the nasty boy say, ma’am? You can’t tell me because it was so hurtful? That’s good enough for me, get him in the back of the van, lads.” No hassle, 100% clear-up rate and very little in the way of knives and fists and broken bottles to contend with. In the future you will all be incarcerated for your own safety and any argument will be treated as insurrection, to be met with extreme state-administered violence; you may be forced to listen to hippies loudly playing bongos without any apparent irony at an anti intolerance demo near you.
Through the door just now, an important communication from South East Water; what can it be? Important supply-disrupting work to be carried out? Compulsory water meter fitting? An increase in the charges? No, it’s a “How did we do?” survey, whose sole purpose is to head off at the pass any future attempt to claim they didn’t listen to their customers; to prevent any offence been taking. Never mind the piss that’s been taken with their customer’s money, offering £2000 in prize money for a draw from completed surveys, let alone the cost of paying somebody to write the damned thing, plus printing and postage. I’m outraged, but I suspect it’s the wrong sort of outrage for Twitter.
So where is it all going anyway, this outrage entourage? Once speech is curtailed entirely will we find offence in the way people walk, or the clothes that they wear? Or the quizzical expression on their offensive-looking physiognomy as they try to present a mien of absolute neutrality? Luckily, science has the answer. It seems that in the future we may be able to exist just as brains, detached from our frail and hateful human bodies. Free from the possibility of animation and thus physical contact and able to wage war ONLY with words. Oh and remote controlled robots.
Bring it on. I look forward to a lexicon-laden labyrinth of illiberal legal offence-seeking bollocks to occupy us well into the next millennium.
Thursday, 15 August 2013
While The Twitter has gone for over-egging yesterday’s ovarian assault on beleaguered Ed Miliband under the #EggMiliband hashtag, the bit of news I’m focusing on today is the assertion by one ivory-towered Andrew Ashworth that we shouldn’t jail thieves and fraudsters. In The [not] Independent he states, “The law says that a prison sentence should not be imposed unless the offence is so serious that neither a fine nor a community sentence can be justified. My argument is that for pure property offences like theft, handling stolen goods, criminal damage or fraud, prison should not be used; fines and community sentence should be imposed instead.”
I'm sure the many victims of multiple repeat offenders will be delighted to hear it. Long before anybody gets anywhere near a custodial term for such offences as burglary they will have to have been up before the beak many times. Each time a huge cost to the public purse, each time any fines or costs levied will have been unpaid and any community sentences will have been ignored. The career criminal already knows jail is an unlikely outcome so, brilliant idea Andy old son, let them know up front that they'll do no time.
They must be quaking in their boots. Some are so recidivist that the ONLY preventative measure that can be applied is a restriction of their liberty, but one of Ashworth’s justifications is that imprisonment is our most extreme punishment and it should be reserved only for crimes against the person. Well, apart from the fact that there are already different tiers of incarceration, there’s an easy way to solve that problem – introduce some harsher penalties. I’d ask the victims what they think should be done, if I had the time, but here are a few ideas to throw into the mix.
First off, reintroduce the death penalty - as a clear majority of ordinary voters back the idea, this would also be democracy in action - that takes care of the ‘most extreme punishment’ argument right off. Second, get prison right. We could bring back ‘hard time’ and ‘corrective training’; remove all the prison reform do-gooders and get right back in there with some retributive justice. They won’t pay fines, they won’t stop robbing, but they will cost the country a fortune in ineffective rehabilitation so fuck ‘em. Sod the ‘brutalisation’ theories - make prison really hard and, if necessary, break them. Just like their activities have broken many lives.
For every long term prisoner who gets to write a book and become a celebrity amongst the simpering liberal softies there are a thousand, ten thousand nasty, antisocial animals who are being told they can get away with pretty much anything. Prison CAN be used to deter crime and to redirect the wayward but society also needs to be able to remove and restrain those who won’t behave and yes, there is a very definite public appetite for prison to be a plain and simple punishment in some cases. In fact, taking the temperature of the public mood, reformers like Andrew Ashworth and the whole human rights brigade might well need to be incarcerated at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, for their own safety.
Are there any women here?
Of course none of this matters very much because in a generation or so it’s quite likely we’ll be having public executions and the hacking off of limbs live on national television. Under Sharia Law there are already some very effective non-custodial remedies for wrongdoing. Including blasphemy. “All I said was, that bit of Halibut was good enough for Jehovah!” Which way to the stoning?
Wednesday, 14 August 2013
In response to the so-called Go Home Bus, bearing a billboard advertisement offering assistance for illegal immigrants to voluntarily give themselves up, a wag has photo-shopped a van bearing the legend “Fuck off back to Eton”. Funny because it reflects the generally held view that the generally held view of our ruling elite is far out of touch with the rest of us. And funny as hell because they used the word ‘fuck’. Even the ordinarily prissy can get behind a good fuck if it is levelled at unearned advantage.
There is a natural envy of those born into privilege. It doesn’t matter what good they do with it; from most people’s perspective it is easy to be good if it costs you little. It is also so easy to be seen as nasty if you don’t ostentatiously use your power and wealth to help others. That seems to be the stance of those on the left – we should share it out. But of course it simply doesn’t work that way. You could give it a try but within a generation the imbalance would be back because once you have gained an advantage you will naturally pass it on to your own.
We are all born with equal (that is, zero) inherent knowledge, but we are also born with unequal abilities to acquire knowledge and character both in quality and quantity. A council house kid could easily outperform a silver-spooned toff and go on to do great things – as the Grammar School system used to demonstrate so well. It does seem odd that the socialists in power tore it down, effectively pulling up the ladder behind them once they’d got to the top.
They claim they want a democratic meritocracy with equal opportunities but somehow they don’t want to give those with a poor start in life the tools to better themselves. Oh my, did I say “better themselves”? That’ll be me packed off to the re-education gulags. For under the doctrine of whatever name you’re giving it today nobody can be seen to be ‘better’ than anybody else. Rather than encourage people to exploit their potential it does rather seem their energies are directed at punishing those who have done so.
No wonder Labour are in such a mess. Give the poor a leg up, but chop it off once they get ahead of themselves. They seem to recognise the fairness of meritocracy but don’t like it when that same system produces unfairness. “Equality!” they cry meaning equality of opportunity, but secretly wishing for equality of outcome.
Labour were formed to fight for workers’ rights. Now they seem to be there just to defend their own right to office, as privileged a position as any in the land. Plenty of Labour millionaires out there, all climbing the same greasy pole; doing the very thing their muddled policies would discourage others to do. It doesn’t seem fair somehow, does it?
Tuesday, 13 August 2013
I have had a most excellent idea. Are you fed up with your kids lounging about, getting under your feet during the holidays, when they should be outside in the fresh air? Do they tug on everybody’s nerves during school time, running you ragged and abusing the neighbours? Do you despair, knowing that they won’t get their grades, you’ll be constantly dragged down to see their heads of year and ultimately you just dread that thirteen-year old Speshal-Bru is going to be pregnant before she sees her GCSEs?
Do you blame ‘society’ and the bad influences they come under for the way things turned out? Have they metamorphosed into your worst nightmare despite all that you have done to give them everything they demand and bring them up well? Or are you able to admit that you just weren't really up to it as a parent and you need a break from it all?
Well how about if your kids weren't the listless layabouts you have now but instead were bright-eyed and eager to please? How proud would you be if every day they brought home examples of yet another small achievement; some art, high marks in the homework they actually did by themselves, or complimentary letters from the headmaster? Would you be thrilled if they had a sense of purpose and knew what they wanted in life but didn't expect any of it to be handed to them on a plate and were determined to go on to high-flying careers?
Well there IS a way you can have all that – because, let’s face it, you deserve it, innit? Across Eastern Europe there are millions of children who wake at dawn and carry out household chores before walking five miles to school where they sit in attentive rows because they understand that education is a way to a better life. Raised in nuclear, two-parent families they understand the value of strong family ties and the timeless logic of the work ethic and would not dream of treating their parents as servants. So here’s what you can do.
Let’s say you have brought three lazy, fat, good-for-nothing wasters into the world through ‘no fault of your own’ and you've had enough of them. Well don’t waste another ounce of investment on them because they’ll never amount to anything. Instead, adopt three ambitious, polite and industrious Latvian kids and raise them as your own. You’ll be able to feel that swell of pride as they cross life’s finishing lines and achieve all those wonderful things your own don’t deserve to. There you go, simple.
British skools for Brutish kidz
What’s that? What happens to yours? Oh you still have to keep them under your roof; nobody else wants them after all. Yes, yes, feed and shelter them, buy them smart phones and trainers and all that guff and no, you don’t get to have a bigger council house. You see, what you now have is a working model of British-style Socialism scaled down to domestic level so you can understand it. Overcrowding, the displacement of your own by more worthy incomers and the knowledge that when the new kids grow up and strike out for independence you’ll still be left with a bunch of idle layabouts to feed.
If only Chris Bryant had explained all that properly yesterday, he might be carrying a wee bit more credibility today. Still, good luck in the job hunt Chris.
Monday, 12 August 2013
Memories fade, often faster than we’d wish. Chris Bryant seems to have very quickly forgotten that it was his party, the Labour Party, who flooded the UK with millions of low-skilled immigrants in order to change the nation’s demographic forever. He must have forgotten this because he is now bemoaning the fact that companies, whose job it is to make profits for their owners, are employing low-skilled migrant workers in order to do just that. LINK
Of course, a more cynical man might claim that politicians employ selective memory loss as a simple tool of government, but we all have defective memories. For instance, I distinctly remember Ted Heath promising, through his piano-toothed, shit-eating grin, that membership of The Common Market would not involve the loss of even the tiniest piece of UK sovereignty. Given that a federal Europe was always the plan, right from the very inception, I must simply be mistaken.
I have other examples of my own memory loss. I don’t remember when compulsory EU number plates appeared, yet I do remember that we were never consulted about it. And I do remember that when our nice, blue authoritative British passports were swapped for European Union ones, we had a hell of a fight to retain the royal crest, but I don’t recall the vote to retain a European Defence Force.
I don’t ever remember being asked to vote for or select an EU flag or anthem and I certainly have no recollection of the British public being asked if it was okay to replace British birth certificates with European Union ones. It seems that in three years’ time no more British citizens will ever be born, just EU ones.
This little nugget must also have slipped past Shiny Dave Cameron's powers of recollection because his referendum will post-date that event, thus render the outcome of the referendum irrelevant. If Britain ceases to exist, for that is the plan, where would we go if we voted to leave the country stated on our birth certificate? We would effectively be banishing ourselves.
History, you see, has little to do with the past and all to do with the narrative requirements of the present. Around about the time that the nice Mr Heath was lying through those big white teeth of his I read Ray Bradbury’s seminal work “Fahrenheit 451”. For those who don’t know, that temperature was said to be the point at which paper spontaneously burst into flames and government ‘firemen’ were employed to destroy all the books, the records of the past and with it the memories of what had gone before.
Even as we speak I imagine the history of the EU is being rewritten, sanitised and packaged up at great expense to be taught to the new generations of EU-only citizens. National identities will simply be written out of history and past glories will be evenly distributed across the regional politburos. How long before the quiet collection and burning of great historical works begins? My treasured Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Churchill’s History of the English Speaking Peoples, Antony Beevor’s The Second World War and all the rest will be consumed in the fires to be replaced with a slim volume claiming to tell the truth about the glory of Europe’s Thousand Year Reich. National triumphs will be portrayed as false and occurring before the great unification.
Thus we will hear about how the ancient Kingdom of Albion joined the EU in 1066 and marvel at the evenness of the medal distribution at the Agincourt Olympics. The great Fire of Paris in 1666 will have been recorded in the diary of Sébastien Pepys and the legendary King Arthur of Andalucia will have formed the first democratic round-table on which the European Parliament later came to be based. The great inventions of the Industrial Revolution will have hailed not from Coalbrookdale, but from the combined forges of all thirty-plus nations, pulling together to Common Purpose, while peasants throughout the entire continent will have revolted simultaneously during the first general Strike.
Folklore, religion and all the old wives’ tales will similarly be homogenised and belong to us all. Those with centuries of written legends will see their stories distributed evenly throughout those regions with lesser history or else discarded altogether. Some tales of course, are too totemic to be edited out. Thus the story of the brave hero of Habsburg, the skilled marksman who split the apple placed on his son’s head will survive the cull. In the Great History of Europe the name of William Patel will live forever.
Saturday, 10 August 2013
Pfft... I missed all sorts of stories, didn't I? I’ve had a break from the blog for the last three weeks. Being too fully occupied elsewhere, I missed Caitlin Moran trying to kill cyberspace with #twittersilence – the ironic masterclass day when the self-righteous did their very best to block the thing they like to say they value the most - free speech. Zoe Williams said "bigots must not be tolerated" Honestly, nobody needs satire when the left just hand it to you on a plate, wrapped in gold foil and tied up in a great big satin bow... with a glass of champagne.
I also missed a royal birth. I say ‘missed’ but it was utterly inescapable that week. I lost count though – did she have three, or was it four? Happily, I managed to remain indifferent enough that it was another week before I accidentally learned its name. Mohammed, isn’t it? Or Jamal? Something its grandmother would have approved of, anyway. Still, at least he won’t be dependent on the state for a living. Oh…
Then there was all that ‘not-fracking’ at Balcombe, where hippies frightened the residents into forming an action group which nevertheless failed to prevent happening something that wasn’t happening anyway. I’m assuming some sort of victory for vegetablists was claimed as they protested against a decades-old technology which has been used all over the world to bring wealth, but it was ages ago now and I can’t be bothered to find out any more. Oh yes, DC promised a £1million community bribe for every drilling, only exaggerating by a factor of ten, which is quite good for politicians and numbers.
And who will ever forget the magnificent “immigrants go home” mobile billboards and Godfrey Bloom’s brilliant Bongo Bongo Land speech? These two issues combined were enough to add another deck to the top of the outrage bus, causing the lefties already sweating cobs in our little wave of the sort of global warming nobody was complaining about, to spout even more hot air into the ether – the dopey fucking planet killers! I tell you, seeing the left-wing getting angry gives me more pleasure than should be strictly legal.
Then along comes Richard Dawkins who has been scientifically slagging off all religion for years with only a mild gumming from various bits of the Anglican clergy and the Vatican, to whip up a zealous, howling maelstrom by mildly criticising a religion at least five hundred years more primitive. I’m telling you, there’s a fatwa in there somewhere from the Religion of Pieces (cut them into many small pieces).
Oh yes, you may not criticise, cajole control or correct anybody’s belief system, be it religious, societal, sexual, racial or political unless of course they are filthy white heterosexual Christian Conservatives who must – not necessarily only metaphorically – be stoned to extinction. There’s the tolerant left for you; “"bigots must not be tolerated” Well said, Zoe!
And today Andy Burnham, former Minister for Murder begins his premature punt for getting his old job back by effectively saying that the solution to a bloated and inefficient, uncosted, uncontrolled NHS is, yes you couldn’t make it up, to make the NHS yet larger still. Not content with it being the world’s fourth biggest employer, Burnham would have every single penny of your dwindling tax money go to feed the hungry health monster created by his party. In effect completing the Communisation of the UK by co-opting every last one of you into either state dependency or state slavery. It’s the Labour Party’s long game finally coming together.
Genius stuff and all this at a time when Parliament is dissolved for summer. Yes folks, I’m back and just think what juicy delights await my purple pen come September!